Our Top 10

With another half term approaching  and one of the last few for us in primary school, I’ve been reflecting back on some of our top days out and holidays up to the tender age of 10.

When I look back, we have done some fabulous things.  We do love a trip in this household and we have really enjoyed making the most of our time together.  We have always tried to do things that are fun for the three of us. Let’s see how that continues!

Of course the landscape is now changing for us in terms of days out, activities and holidays and we are excited to explore how the next ten years worth of things to do together will take shape.

We are saying goodbye to the ‘littles’ and hello to being a bit more ‘grown up’.

We have all put our heads together on this and come up with the following list which is our top 10 places, days out and holidays of the last ten years.

In no particular order – because they have all been great in their own special way.

What has made me laugh here is that I seem to be wearing the same outfit in some of the photos over the years.  I also still have the outfit!  That’s what we call the OOTD (Outfit of the Decade!)

In my defence, I did put on several  stone when I was pregnant.  Life took a funny turn in the first few years of parenting. My fashion choices also took a bit of a dive.  This must have been me coming out the other side.  And you can’t keep an outfit down when it’s saved you from yourself can you?!

 

Disneyland Paris

 

Disneyland Paris

 

We did this as a surprise for The Kid when she was 6.  In my opinion that was the perfect age.  One can never know how these things will be received and I have to say that the timing was spot on.  As well as getting a great deal in the Disneyland Hotel, we also had one of the hottest weekends of the year to enjoy this experience.  It was also the 20th Anniversary of the park.  Just looking back at these photos has been a joy – it was worth every single penny.

 

 

The memory that will always stay with me is how The Kid just ran towards Mickey Mouse on arriving in the park.  We had packed the Disney dressing up outfits just in case and they were worn every single day even though it was absolutely sweltering.  ‘OOTD’ can also be seen here.

From the park to the hotel, the parade, fireworks and lunch with the princesses – it was just magical. Shame Belle couldn’t see her way clear to a shift that weekend.  She does seems to have the iconic status of favourite princess of the decade.  No show though!

 

Disneyland Paris

 

Legoland Windsor

 

Legoland

 

I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the last of this place yet.  We have had many wonderful trips here.  Mainly as part of an overnight deal in order to see the fireworks in November – which are amazing.  Requests for a repeat visit are still forthcoming.

I thought this one had been put to bed, but it appears that we shall once more ride the great Legoland express – best start eating some cornflakes rather than using up the pension pot!

 

Willows Farm, St Albans

 

This place is just brilliantly brilliant.  There is a whole days worth of entertainment making the entrance fee such good value.

 

Willows Farm

 

Special events at Easter, Halloween and Christmas are fabulous.  I would certainly put the Santa experience as one of our top visits to the see the Big Man.

 

 

Holidaying in France

 

Travelling to France by car saw the start of some fabulous holidays that were perfect with a young child.  The freedom of being able to throw everything in the car and go was a particular joy.  Travelling outside of school holidays was also crucial to making these trips so successful.

 

 

Siblu holidays offer fabulous ‘mobile home’ style accommodation on their parks in Europe.  We stayed in some fabulous locations.  Also the many gites available throughout France offer perfect accommodation for the littles.  I cannot believe how much we carried around in the early years.

A great way to see rural France with our favourite areas being the Charente and Frejus.

 

Poitiers

 

Attempting this trip in August didn’t yield such great results.  Probably could have got to Australia quicker.  Traffic jams in August on long journeys are not recommended.   Let the plane take the strain.

 

Butlins

 

 

The home of the giant deck chair.

There is still much debate over whether Butlins or Disneyland were the best in this house.  Two visits to Butlins at Bognor Regis have been chalked up.  Wall to wall entertainment and fun for the kids with an action packed itinerary.  Have outgrown this a little now.  It is an absolute must do.  Iron Man still has a Skyline Gang Towel!  Forgot his own! Another scene.

 

 

UK Lapland

 

 

UK Lapland

 

Without a doubt, the most magical (and expensive) of Christmas experiences.  Worth every penny.

We went the first year that this opened – you may remember there was some controversy around at the time when several contenders entered this market.  There was some Elf identity issues and sinking car parks.

Not UK Lapland though.  Top notch.  Couldn’t fault a single thing.  I won’t do a spoiler in case you have never been but if we only took the Kid to see one Santa it would be here.

 

UK Lapland

Winter Wonderland

 

Winter Wonderland

 

We were there for the first year.  Taking The Kid to see Father Christmas when she was too young.  Yep we all do it!

 

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

 

We also forgot to change the nappy and realised just how much these things hold.  They also make the child twice the weight.  Sorry about that Kid.  You totally smelled of wee all day and we were too goofy to realise.

There were 3 rides and it was nothing like it is now.

An almost annual event now.  Too big and cheekily expensive now but it’s made it’s way into the family album too many times not to feature here.

 

Hyde Hall Gardens, Chelmsford – RHS

 

Hyde Hall Gardens

 

We recoil when we recall this type of visit back in our day.  It was like punishment.  Stately bloody homes, National Trust properties and gardens were the preserve of grown ups historically (pardon the pun).  Boring. Boring. Boring. When I think back I realise that there was nothing to protect us from this kind of thing as children.  Not a pencil or a dot to dot in sight!

Now look though.  Excuse me while I yell ‘the kids of today don’t know they are born.’  Look at them with their back packs, quiz sheets, treasure hunts and prizes.

Asking to go to Hyde Hall Blooming Gardens.  That’s just showing off.

Big win for all.  Hyde Hall is a family favourite all year round.

 

Dymchurch

 

 

Our favourite seaside place.  The seaside for ‘small people’.  Beautiful beach, donkey rides, old-fashioned eateries and a small fair and arcades make this the perfect seaside town.  A regular annual visit during the August bank holiday until we became too big.

Big enough for a whole days entertainment.   Suitable for ‘OOTD’.

 

Dymchurch

 

Gulliver’s Land

 

Gullivers Land

 

Gulivers Land will always hold a special place in our hearts.  An annual visit to this fairground and adventure park for ‘littles’ was a delight.

It’s like being thrown back to the 1970s but it’s perfect for ‘smalls’.

 

Gulliver's Land

 

Not many people had heard of it at the time but if you are OK with nostalgia, you must go.

So that’s it.  Our Top 10.

I measure a top experience by whether we still carry a piece of it in our hearts.

And also if the The Kid still remembers where she was sitting and what she was wearing.

I say keep it simple and wear the same outfit!

Happy Half Term!

Nicky x

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