I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who likes having things to look forward to. I like to know we’re doing something nice at the weekend or planning a day trip, and it makes me even happier if I know we have a holiday coming up. This year we have a few trips organised (and a few unplanned that I haven’t got around to mentioning to Stew yet), so I thought I’d write about our family travel plans for 2017.
Our first trip was quite unexpected, but a lovely surprise. We were offered a last minute Monday to Friday stay at Bluestone, in West Wales. I was very lucky to be invited as a Bluestone Blogger, and we had a beautiful lodge close to the village and a short walk from the activity centre.
Unfortunately the weather was pretty grim the whole time we were there (I think we need to go again in the summer!), and we only managed one day trip to Pembroke Castle, but it was nice to get away and spend some time together.
The facilities are fab, especially the Blue Lagoon swimming pool, and it’s an amazing place to visit if you like outdoor adventures. It helps that Bluestone is in such a beautiful location too, so if you want to explore the area there’s a lot of choice.
Some of our favourite places are Tenby, the coastal path from Stackpole along to Barafundle Bay, and Bosherston Lakes, and you can even visit the UK’s smallest city – St Davids – within an hour’s drive.
We’ve had our main family holiday booked for a fair while now. After going on a P&O Baltic cruise when Santi was a year old we realised how stress-free it is to cruise with children – we’ll see if that’s the same when we return from our holiday with two little menaces.
We’re sailing on the Britannia, which is the newest in the fleet and looks like it has fab children’s facilities. There’s a soft play room for babies aged six months to two, clubs for ages 2-17, and activities from face painting and juggling lessons to discos and scavenger hunts.
There’s also a children’s tea party every evening so we won’t have to worry about taking them to the restaurants if we want a stress-free meal, and if we fancy a few hours off we can even leave them in the night nursery or Santi in a movie night – bliss!
Our itinerary is … Cadiz (Spain), Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Civitavecchia (Italy), Naples, Cagliari (Sardinia), and Gibraltar, with a few sea days at the beginning and end of the fortnight.
We’re undecided about going in to Rome from Civitavecchia, which is about a 90 minute train ride away. We’ve both been to Rome a few times, and while it’s one of our favourite cities it might be a bit much with the boys. We’ll see.
I got a bit overexcited looking at the tours and day trips on offer the other day when I saw one called Capri on your own … I then realised they meant unguided, not literally me on my own! Capri is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and I’d love to spend the day there, but again it might be a better plan not to venture too far from the ship with the boys. I think we’re going to wing it and take each port as it comes rather than lan out each day.
While I’ve had a couple of bad experiences in Naples (being sprayed with shaving foam is something I’ll never forget) it is the birthplace of pizza so it would be rude not to indulge! And we all know Santi loves an ice cream, so it’s likely we’ll spend the day eating!
We’re classing Monte Carlo as another tick on our capital city challenge as Monaco is a principality – if Wales counts, Monaco counts, right?
I’m so looking forward to this holiday, even if the only way of affording it is for the four of us to squeeze into an inside cabin with bunks (insert laughing crying emoji)!
Eurocamp and DisneyLand Paris
We had our first Eurocamp holiday in September and absolutely loved it. The area around our parc (Domine des Naiades in the south of France) was so pretty and we had a great time exploring the nearby towns. I was so excited when Eurocamp contacted us and asked if we’d like to work with them this year. It turns out they’d seen my photos on Facebook and Instagram and wanted to use them in their new toddler brochure!
After deliberating over a few sites – we were torn between Lake Garda and Annecy for a while but the flight times weren’t great – we decided we’d take the opportunity to take the boys to Disneyland. So we’ll be staying at La Croix du Vieux Pont near Paris for seven nights, and driving from there to meet Mickey and the crew.
I was trying to convince Stew that Disneyland would be a good plan this year, and he finally came around. I think he likes the idea of having a few days at the Eurocamp and one night at Disney in the middle. It doesn’t seem so much of a full-on theme park trip that way.
There are also a couple of other places I’d like to squeeze in along the way…
I’m not sure how likely this one is, but I really want to tick Edinburgh off our capital challenge list. I’ve never been to Scotland at all, so it would be another country too!
A quirky weekend
I’ve been toying with the idea of throwing a birthday party for Santi and Ezra this year – being a day apart a joint party is acceptable! But after looking into the cost of a bouncy castle alone I’m so tempted to put the money towards a couple of nights away somewhere. I’d love to stay in a treehouse or a converted bus or train.
I know Santi would love it too, and it would be more memorable than two hours running around a hall. I had a quick Google for quirky accommodation ideas and now I’m getting a bit too excited about a trip that might not even happen … uh oh!
So there are our family travel plans for 2017 (and the ones that aren’t actually plans … yet!). Do you have any holidays or trips coming up?