Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2017 have whistled past in a happy haze of fun family time, yummy food, festive tipples and one too many delves into the obligatory box of Celebrations! Today is New Year’s Day, a typical time to start thinking travel plans for the year ahead, but I can’t help but reminisce about the amazing year of family travel and days out that 2017 saw us experience!
After a very busy 2016, we had a very low-key January. The temperatures in the UK were chilly to say the least, but we still ventured out on a day of -5 degrees to visit the beautiful grounds at The Vyne, a National Trust Property in Hampshire.
February saw us heading into London for a day searching for Roman Londinuim. We headed to the Museum of London, the Roman Amphitheatre below the Guildhall Art Gallery and even used an app to virtually discover Roman London too. We were all super excited and had a fab day out.
I was also lucky enough to have a child-free day, enjoying the spa at the Brooklands Hotel & Spa in Surrey with a friend. We had a few hours of pure relaxation including treatments, lunch, hot tub and a session in the amazing Meditation Room with warm water-beds.
The boys and I headed to the Hertfordshire countryside for a day of bushcraft fun. We were there to experience what a Camp Wilderness summer camp would be like, and I have to say that we loved it!! The boys relished the opportunity to get hands on with fire building, camouflage, and survival bracelet making.
As a birthday treat, I was whisked off to Bruges for another child free treat. After a pretty disastrous attempt at visiting Bruges with the kids back in December 2016, I was super excited to get another chance to visit this beautiful town – without a child melt-down in sight! It was a truly wonderful 24 hours.
In early May we braved the chilly temperatures and spent a few days camping at the Andrewshayes Holiday Park in East Devon. We all loved this family and dog friendly park; the boys enjoyed the freedom of being able to explore the safe park, we ate very well in the on-site restaurant, the kids loved the covered pool and we all had wonderful days out exploring the local area.
One of our favourite days out during our visit to East Devon was on the Seaton Tramway. It is rare to find a dog friendly attraction like this, and we all had a great time – even if all the other passengers found it hilarious to see a greyhound on a vintage tram!
I was able to tick off a bucket list destination with our visit the beautiful island of Porquerolles, just off the South coast of France. We had the most amazing visit to this stunning and unique little island. The beaches were reminiscent of those in the Caribbean, the food was fresh and delicious, and the kids overcame language barriers to play with local children each evening. We loved it so much that we have arranged to return in 2018 for a whole month, with the boys attending the local school (keep an eye on the blog for lots more on that this year!)
This month Baby Dais Like These and I headed out to Nerja in Spain to visit my brother and his family. She was a fantastic travelling companion, either sleeping on the flight or entertaining fellow passengers with her general happy self! She coped so well with the heat (it was super hot!) and had a great time splashing in the pool or the sea.
My little cutie enjoying a walk around El Capistrano Village, just outside #Nerja #Spain She is an absolute pleasure to travel with and coped beautifully with the heat, the long days and without her beloved big brothers to keep her company this time!! We are trying to squeeze in as many trips as possible before we have to pay full price for her flights at age 2, so this little lady has been to 7 different countries already (if I can count 2 uk countries?!). 😊
July also saw us attending our first ever family festival; Camp Bestival. We’d wanted to go for a few years but had never taken the plunge until now. Unfortunately for us it rained…a lot! And it was windy. And cold for July. We were simply unlucky, because for the previous nine years of the festival the weather had always been perfect.
Despite the weather we still managed to have an awesome time, with so many funny memories to look back on. It obviously hasn’t put us off, as we’ve already booked our tickets for 2018!
This was the big one for us – our biggest and most extravagant trip as a family. Fuelled mostly by the fact that we wanted to squeeze in one last big trip before Baby Dais Like These turned two and we would have to pay full price on a flight for her, we headed over to the USA for a bit of a fly drive to New York City, Long Island and Connecticut. This really was a trip of a lifetime for us and we will treasure the memories forever.
The boys were in awe of the city and were in their element playing soccer in Central Park, watching the Mets vs Yankees baseball match at the Citi Field ground, and scooting through the streets of the city. I was in heaven surrounded by the wineries and seafood restaurants on the North Fork of Long Island and Mr Dais Like These happily relaxed on all the beautiful beaches that we found. I would honestly do this holiday again and again.
After a busy few months of travel, we happily stayed locally for some fun days out. We headed to the beautiful Virginia Water lake in Surrey to road test the VTech 5-in-1 Stroll and Grow Trike with Baby Dais Like These, and even put together a special route for their Tour de Trike campaign.
We also enjoyed a wonderful morning at the London Aquarium where we discovered the mesmerizing jelly fish.
In early October I took the kids along to the newly opened Little Street in West Byfleet where they enjoyed a fun few hours of role play in the super fun (and impressively clean!) imitation high street. Complete with shop, doctor’s surgery, school, theatre and more, there was something for even the most imaginative of kids!
We also headed up to North Wales for a long weekend where we enjoyed mountain walks and cold but fun beach days.
What a way to spend the morning! We’ve had a lot of adventures this year and it has hit Mr Dais Like These’s annual leave balance! So he is having to work from home, back at our cottage, and the kids and I are spending the morning at Beaumaris. Many happy childhood memories here for me, and now my kids are making their own 😊
And spent a spooky day at London Zoo for Boo at the Zoo, which was so much fun!
A 🎃spooktacular🎃 day of #BooAtTheZoo at @zsllondonzoo with @attractiontix. Now heading home with 3 tired but very happy kids 😊 pic.twitter.com/NKwFHCRwFE
— DaisLikeThese (@DaisyHuntington) October 23, 2017
With bonfire night out of the way my thoughts obviously turned to planning for Christmas, naturally! I started to think about the best places to visit Father Christmas in the UK, and enlisted the help of some of the UKs top family travel bloggers for their recommendations.
The festive season had finally arrived and we certainly got into the spirit with a trip to the Victorian Grotto at the Museum of London, which was a lovely start to the festivities.
We also headed to Denbies Wine Estate, in Surrey, for another visit to the big man – and I have to say it was one of my favourite Santa visits to date! A ride on a little train up through the vines, followed by a walk down past the huge vats of wine to see Father Christmas in his grotto, it was perfect and I think it will be our new go to visit.
To get into the party mood, we took Baby Dais Like these to a Raver Tots family rave at Fire nightclub in London and had such a fun afternoon!
SO much fun @RaverTots this afternoon 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉 pic.twitter.com/ywhVZm1KAb
— DaisLikeThese (@DaisyHuntington) December 16, 2017
After a wonderful family Christmas at home, we headed once again to what seems like our second home – North Wales. It was our third visit this year and we relished the opportunity to spend some time just us. With some mega walks, a few cosy pubs and evenings playing games in front of the fire, it was the perfect end to a wonderful 2017.
We feel so lucky to have enjoyed such a travel filled year, and have big plans for 2018. Thank you to everyone that has followed our adventures this year, for all the tips and suggestions, and the general support and good wishes along the way.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I look forward reading your family travelling in 2018!