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, cafĂ© (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.