Here are the day trips, little weekend breaks and holidays that we’re got coming up with our three year old in 2019. I know, I know we’re on the last day of February, but this time of the year is definitely when we tend to be most at home and therefore plotting and planning what we’re up to for the rest of the year! We also haven’t taken any trips yet, that starts in March, so it still feels like the Winter travel lull. 2019 is also the last year we’re going to be completely free from having to go away in school holidays so we’re trying to make the most of that flexibility.
Where We’re Going
Amsterdam – March When I got an email from Eurostar advertising £35 fares on the new-ish direct train route direct to Amsterdam, I couldn’t resist booking in a sneaky trip just before the dreaded Brexit day. We’re only going for a short time so hoping it won’t be too tiring for Chick as there is so much to see and do both for kids and for us grownups. Making it a little bit more exciting we’re also breaking the journey home in Brussels. There is no currently no passport control in the Netherlands for Eurostar trains, you have to break your journey back briefly to get your passport checked in Brussels anyway. We are extending this a little and going to lunch with some friends who live in Brussels on the way home. One of the many reasons I love travelling by train in Europe.
Kent – April This is our regular haunt as we stay at my parent’s restored Edwardian railway carriage by the sea. It is basically Chick’s favourite place in the world as it is two minutes walk from a wonderfully safe sandy beach, then a quick nip into the village to a little funfair which she adores. We tend to go for Easter with my Mum and Dad, then by ourselves at some point in the summer months. We will definitely be making the most of our new English Heritage membership here and hitting up Dover Castle and possibly Deal and Walmer Castles too if we’re really keen.
Bosinver Cottages, Cornwall – June Cornwall is my favourite place in UK, and in 2018 we loved the super family friendly facilities at Bosinver Holiday Cottages. This year we are going to be joined by my Mum and Dad too. As my Mum is now unable to walk very well, as she has Parkinson’s Disease, knowing where will work well as a holiday destination for her is tricky, but Bosinver have accessible houses so we’re hoping it’ll be perfect for everyone. Chick is already planning which cuddly toys she is taking and keeps checking that there are animals, soft play and a swimming pool, so it clearly made a big impression on her last year!
Corfu – September Corfu has been on my list of places I want to visit for so long, thanks to the wonderful book My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. It always makes me roar with laughter no matter how many times I’ve read it, something Will and I connected over early in our relationship, it’s one of the only books we both really like! Of course we’ve always wanted to visit Corfu, where the book is set, and although I’m well aware modern Corfu is going to be very different to the 1930s island described by Gerry in the book, I’m hoping there are still hints of the amazing wildlife brought so vividly to life. As Corfu is one of the most northerly Greek Islands, it can be cooler in the Spring and Autumn, so we have always decided the weather is too risky when we’ve been looking in October. This year though we had some time in September, and as Chick loved our trip to Crete so much last year, we decided to do something similar this year with another TUI Family hotel. I’m currently trying not to over plan our week long stay as there seems to be so much to do, and we want some time to enjoy our family friendly hotel too. Top of our must do list at the moment is exploring some of the wilder (Durrell) related sites on the island, exploring Corfu Town and perhaps taking a day trip to Albania. The city of Saranda, just across from Corfu, looks fascinating, as well as the National Park of Butrint and the UNESCO archaeological ruins there as well.
Always plotting more trips…
Norfolk – Will’s parents now spend a large portion of time at their house in Norfolk. This is such an easy trip for us as it’s our nearest bit of coast; I love the sea so it’s very much circumstantial we live in the most land locked part of the UK! During last year’s hot Summer we were even able to pop down early on a Saturday, spend the weekend at the beach, then be back in time for work on Monday – glorious. North Norfolk is just wonderful if you’re at all interested in wildlife, countryside or just being outdoors, so we shall definitely be back sometime in 2019.
Lake District – one of my very best friends moved here a few years ago and we’ve only been up to see her once, so I really want to find time for a visit this year. I think Chick will love all the Beatrix Potter connections as she’s become a big fan of the books and TV shows. I absolutely love the scenery in this part of the world, although I’m sure Will and I will have our usual ‘spirited discussions’ where I will be exclaiming over a view whilst he mutters ‘ecological desert, no wildlife’ under his breath. It’s something which may surprise a lot of people as the Lakes has the reputation as the premier outdoors focussed area of England, and it is certainly a fantastic destination if walking is your thing, but it isn’t so good for wildlife, aside from a few specific places. There’s no denying how utterly gorgeous the landscape is despite of this though, so I’m even debating two trips – one with the family and one on my own to do some walking and general not so preschooler friendly outdoor adventures.
And the unrealistic. By this point it should be clear that our holiday leave allowance and money are fairly well stretch already. Yet I can’t help keep looking at Skyscanner and dreaming. I really wanted this to be the year we made it to New Zealand, but we simply can’t afford it at the moment. Denmark is a possibility, I am a complete Scandifile and still haven’t been, and the Billund area with the original Legoland looks like it would be perfect for a family friendly break. Chick is campaigning to see a real panda and although we’re definitely not going to China anytime soon a trip to Edinburgh would be possible. We shall see!
We can’t and don’t particularly want to be away from home all the time, but we still rarely spend a weekend without some kind of outing. This year we have not only kept our National Trust membership but also were given English Heritage membership for Christmas. It’s going to be a busy year of visiting our local favourite places, discovering some further away gems on days out and during our UK trips or even just using properties as stop offs on long journeys. I’m also hoping that at age three, Chick will be able to start to get excited about castles now. I was obsessed with castles when I was little!
As well as this we’ve swapped our membership to ZSL (Zoological Society of London) to Woburn Safari Park. This year, as Chick is now three, we would have had to buy her a pass as well for ZSL so it worked out to be quite expensive. Instead, we bought Woburn Safari Park membership for her birthday. We have already made such good use of this as driving around in the car and then the massive soft play centre has been a brilliant Winter day out. I’m sure they’ll be even more to do in the Summer and I will be sure to blog about it.