Saturday, 15 February 2020

Irchester Country Park

Irchester Country park has a fabulous enclosed children's play area as well as trails through 200 acres of mixed woodland. You can just wander or follow 1 of 3 trails woodpecker, woodland or ironstone.  My kids love climbing up the hills and exploring but do take wellies in the winter as it can get muddy! 

Irchester Country Park

There is also Quarryman's rest cafe, Jungle Parc UK (£20 per child) and the Irchester Narrow Gauge Railway museum. The museum is open every Sunday 10am to 4pm (3pm in winter) and entry is free. 

Parking is £3.20 for up to 4 hours and £5.20 for up to 8 hours. 

There are events on throughout the year including Nature Tots for 2-4 year olds £3.50 per child and Irchester Country Parkrun every Saturday morning at 9am.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Snowdrops in Northamptonshire

January is behind us and many of us are looking forward to Spring but February brings with it lighter evenings and snowdrops!

Get outside, enjoy the lighter days, wrap up warm and enjoy the snowdrops around Northamptonshire.

Coton Manor is well know for its magnificent bluebells but also has a beautiful display of snowdrops. Open Saturday 15th February to Sunday 1st March 2020 11am to 4pm £8 adults and £3 children NN6 8RQ

Evenley Woods has snowdrops 1st February to 1st March 10am to 4pm.  The café is open Friday to Sunday 11am to 3.30pm £6 adults and £1 children aged 4 to 16.  NN13 5SH

18th February to 21st February there is also half term activities for children.  For a small fee children can make a bird feeder or take part in the bug trail.

Badby Woods (near Daventry) parking is limited especially at weekends recommended to use picnic area on the A361 north of the village. The ancient woodlands have snowdrops on show during February.

Lamport Hall & Gardens is hosting a snowdrop walk Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th February the gardens will be open 11am to 3pm £5 adults and £2 children aged 11 to 18 and under 11's free! To access the house charges increase to £11 and £6. Light refreshments will be available from Saul's of Spratton in the carriage house. NN6 9HD

Many National Trust properties have snowdrops within the gardens Waddesdon & Stowe both have snowdrop walks.

Evenley Gardens 2018


Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Belton House National Trust

Belton House is a quintessential British country house in enormous grounds.  It is one of the National Trust properties that really does offer something for everyone.  A massive outdoor adventure playground, a miniature train for the little ones (charge applies), Stables and Ride Play café, second-hand bookshop and masses of space.  Spot the wild deer, wander through the woodland and find the gothic ruin water feature.

We loved Belton House as it suited all our family needs. Play area for the children and lovely fresh air and walks for the adults.  We didn't venture inside the house preferring outside adventures at National Trust properties but this is one I can wholeheartedly recommend.

If you fancy a little look watch this short video


Littlesea Haven Tried & Tested

Littlesea Haven is near Weymouth and has access to the famous Jurassic Coast.  Littlesea is a lovely compact site with a two tier arcade which my children loved, 3 tier show bar and nice indoor pool. The entertainment complex is the hub and very central with the caravans splintering off uphill in all directions. If you are hungry you can choose from Haven's Mash & Barrel, Cook's fish & chips, Papa John's pizza (who will deliver to your caravan) and Starbucks.

If you would like to see a mini tour of the Littlesea Haven complex you can watch this short video

There's loads to do onsite ranging from play areas, adventure golf, archery, indoor & outdoor swimming (depending on season) and multi sports court but if you fancy exploring the local area I can recommend some fab family friendly places.

Portland Bill - The famous lighthouse. Sadly, when we visited it was closed for refurbishment but the gift shop & small museum were open £2 per adult and free for children. The lighthouse is due to be reopened in Spring 2020 and will be £7 per adult and £5 per child family ticket £20.  My children loved exploring the rocky coastline and looking for fossils. After have lunch or treat at The Lobster Pot cafe which was lovely & had amazing homemade quiche!

On the way back to site make sure you stop briefly to take a picture of the Olympic rings & enjoy the view over Portland.

Durdledoor - Visit this breath-taking beach it really is stunning in all weather. Beware though it is a long way down! We were slightly taken aback. It is well worth it but I needed oxygen staggering back up! 😆

Lulworth Castle - If you fancy something a little historic visit the beautiful Lulworth Castle. There's also a small children's play area, café (can be used without paying admission charge for the castle) and events on throughout the year. We took part in the Halloween bat treasure hunt. The castle is closed over the winter months and re-opens 29th March 2020.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Boost Trampoline Park - Northampton - Review

**Updated February 2020.  Boost Northampton is having a refurbishment and 3 new action stations are being installed.  The new slide is complete and open.  The other zones are under construction and due to be finished soon.  The price is still £10 per hour and the after school club is still £11 for 4-6pm and a childrens meal which is amazing value. The main trampolines, dodgeball, high jump etc is still open as normal. Will be interesting to visit once it is all finished**

Boost Northampton is an indoor trampoline park. There’s over 50 interconnected trampolines, 2 Extreme Dodgeball Courts, Wipe-Out Zone, Battle Beam, Foam Pits and Basketball Hoops.
My kids did the Free Jump which is £10 per person + £2 for the Boost anti slip socks. There is also Boost mini sessions for under 5's and is £5 per session + the socks.

Boost Trampoline Park

Boost Trampoline Park

Boost Trampoline Park

I was a little worried my 5 (nearly 6 year old) may get bored but he loved it apart from a slight bump to the nose on the Wipe-Out Zone and wanted to stay when the session was over.  My 9 year old LOVES trampolines so I knew she would enjoy the session. She happily has awarded the new park 9.5 out of 10 so high praise.

The trampoline park is big, clean and has a café area for the parents where you can watch the kids and enjoy a snack/drink. There are lockers plus cubby holes to put shoes or jackets away.  Jumpers are given coloured bands so when each session ends it is clear who needs to leave the area.  It was quite busy but well organised and I would definitely go again.

Boost Trampoline Park

My children where both red faced and happy when we left. I would recommend light clothing and for long hair a plait/ponytail. My son is still wearing his Boost socks and for once seems tired out on the sofa!!!

If you live in the Northampton area and want to tire the kids out I would recommend a visit.  Check out the website for more information and to book.

Boost Trampoline Park

Emma xxx

P.s - Since this visit we've been about 8 times. The kids love it.  They sometimes have vouchers on Groupon but I think there are time restrictions but might be worth a look. Boost now also offers sensory sessions with low lighting and a calm atmosphere £6.95 per person and carer free.   4pm – 7pm the first Wednesday of every month.  They also do Boost Fitness £7.50 per hour and children's parties from £16.99 per child. 

Disclaimer: I was given 2 £10 tickets in exchange for a review.  All opinions are my own & 100% honest 2nd August 2016.

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Sunday, 26 January 2020

Houghton House & Ampthill Great Park

Today we ventured out of Northamptonshire to visit Houghton House.  This is an English Heritage site and free to enter.  It is the shell of a 17th century mansion and has stunning views of the countryside.

There are no facilities and really its just a lovely spot to wander.  You could obviously take a picnic in warmer months although note there are no benches.  You can walk into town following a 1 mile track.  There is a small free car park enough room for approximately 4 cars. The address is Hazelwood Road, Ampthill, Bedfordshire, MK45 2EZ

Houghton House

Houghton House

Houghton House

As Houghton House is a quick activity we combined it with a trip to Ampthill Great Park which was close by. A good large spaced out but enclosed children's play area, 3 signposted walks, café (open 9.30am to 5pm), tennis courts (free use for 30 mins) and free parking.  A really lovely place to visit. The park is off Woburn Road near the Parkside Community Hall and has 2 car parks. The park also hosts cricket, football, fishing and has a 3 day festival each year.  I can see why Ampthill Great Park is so popular with locals and won a Green Flag award.

Ampthill Great Park

Ampthill Great Park

Ampthill Great Park


Saturday, 4 January 2020

Cuba Holguin Things to do with kids

Whilst the main area is known as Holguin where we stayed was called Playa Blanca.  The resort is mostly known for the amazing beaches!

So what are the best things to do with kids in Holguin, Cuba. Here's my top 5.

Number #1 Swim!
The sea is crystal clear and just beautiful.  Get your sun cream on and dive in. Most of the hotels also have amazing pools which is perfect for cooling off and keeping the kids happy.

Number #2 Water sports
Sticking with the water you can try a Hobi Cat, pedelos, kayaks, snorkelling at most of the hotels in this area.

Number #3 Horse & cart ride
In rural places in Cuba this is still the most popular method of transportation.  We took an hour trip away from the hotel.  It was interesting to see some of real Cuba.  The homes, people and scenery.  Our guide took us to a locals home (described as a zoo) who rescued animals mainly birds.  She was so warm and welcoming.  

Number #4 Visit the Wednesday carnival (opposite Playa Costa Verde Hotel)
In our resort several hotels join forces and put on a weekly carnival.  There is a small shopping centre Bolera de Playa Pesquero, market (larger market is in Guardalavaca) and live music and dancing. Our hotel operated a shuttle train for a small fee but lots of people hired the old 1940's/1950's cars which look incredible. You can even try bowling at Bolera el Pescador.

Number #5 Visit Dolphins at Delfinario de Bahia de Naranjo
This is a small but well looked after dolphinarium. We ummed and ahhed due to animal welfare but it really was a highlight of our trip.

We also took a trip into Holguin city which was very interesting but a little too long and hot for the kids.  It was a great way to see more of Cuba.  Large parts are incredibly rural which I had not expected. Holguin City itself is very built up and busy which after the calm of the countryside was an assault to the senses.  Everyone we encountered on our trip was extremely friendly and great with kids.