2016 was a year of finding our feet as a family of 6. We were pretty busy nursing and raising little Logan for the first part of the year meaning a lot of our adventures this year were days out and UK short breaks. Despite this…I feel pretty happy that we packed a lot in! Here is our year of adventures…
In February we stayed at the gorgeous West Withy Farm, deep in the heart of Somerset. This was a real getting away from it all experience with no phone reception at the cottage we played board games and chatted more than we have in years. The kids thoroughly loved having a taster of farm life and we our confidence in travelling as a larger family was boosted.
Back in Sussex we enjoyed great days out at both Bodiam and Hever Castles. Bodiam is a great place to explore stairways, draw bridges and recreate fairy tales. A firm family favourite. Hever is somewhere we visit less often, but we loved this visit! We enjoyed a great Easter trail and loved exploring the grounds and play areas.
Summer was a busy season! We drove down to Devon to spend a week in a friend’s holiday home near Saunton Sands. The children got to grips with body boarding and we thoroughly enjoyed a week of the beach bum life. We explored beautiful seaside villages like Ilfracombe, Bude, Lyton and Lynmouth. I think Devon life certainly suits us as a family….as does a diet of cream teas and pasties!
From Devon we drove down to Cornwall spending a night trying out the new Glamping accommodation at the Eden Project. We were lucky to arrive on a glorious evening allowing us to enjoy a wonderful sunset view over Fowey, take out on the verandah, and the children playing out and making friends until bedtime. A night in the bell tent was warm, spacious and comfortable…even with 6 of us. We all slept like logs…but unfortunaly woke up to a 3 day downpour for our visit to the Eden Project. Lucky there is so much to do indoors!
Moving on from the Eden Project we were treated to a night at the Headland Hotel. I worked here for a Summer season about 20 years ago and it hasn’t changed a dot! It was great taking a trip down memory lane with family in tow. Sadly the weather was horrendous so we snuggled up indoors…only popping out to sample the Rick Stein’s fish and chip shop down on Fistral beach. The Headland is a really smart venue, a real icon of a hotel. The children loved the pool and the games room (a godsend in bad weather) and Matt and I enjoyed the bar and lounge areas.
Our final adventure of the Summer was a long weekend up to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. After a horrific train ride up (think standing room only, leaking nappies and spilt Coca~Cola) we spent a brilliant 4 days exploring the city and coastline. Another trip down memory lane as this is where I studied at University for 3 years, and another chance to share my past with my family. Newcastle is a great, family city! With sand pits by the Quayside, fantastic exhibitions at the Baltic Museum and the Hancock and even a cat cafe! The highlight of the trip was a day spent on Cullercoats beach though. We were lucky to have a perfect sunny day. The beach was practically empty…..with fish n chips and a browse around the market in Tynemouth Metro station to top it off. Perfect!
Much of Autumn was spent putting our new National Trust family membership through its paces. This our first year as members so we spent a wonderful couple of month’s blitzing local properties and gardens. We are lucky to live near some great locations…in a matter of weeks we ticked off Sheffield Park, Chartwell, Bateman’s, Scotney Castle and Knole. I would recommend an annual family membership to anyone, really good value!
Matt and I were lucky enough to get away for a much needed spa break at the East Sussex National. A 24 hour quick fix away from the kids where we enjoyed cream tea, 3 course meal, mud wrap treatment and most importantly……quality time together! The East Sussex National is only a few miles from where we live, but this little getaway made the stresses of home feel a million miles away!
Which brings us to Winter….endless blue skies meant that we managed to enjoy a host of days out. We got lost in the maze at Leeds Castle. We enjoyed meeting the elves at the magical Groombridge Place in Kent and had a brilliant day ice skating in Tunbridge Wells.
We finished the year with a short break to see family in Portsmouth. What a great city! We spent a lovely afternoon in Gunwharf Quays having lunch, browsing the sales and bowling. We spent the night at the Holiday Inn Express – North which really impressed us with it’s family suites and stylish lounge areas…..not to mention the fry up! We spent the next day at Portsmouth Historical Dockyard, a brilliant Museum where history is brought to life. The children loved learning about life on Nelson’s HMS Victory, being spooked by the Ghost Ship The Mary Arden and acting as deckhands on HMS Warrior.
Wow…we actually achieved quite a lot in our first year with Logan onboard! With 2016’s adventure’s firmly under our belt we’re all the more excited to see what 2017 has in store! So tell me…what plans have you made?