Alton TowersAs it was half term, we tried to have a couple of things planned so we didn't go stir crazy at home. We went to Alton Towers as we had some discounted tickets to use up. It would not have been our first choice of theme park to go to with it being 3hrs drive away but with the cost of these parks to consider we didn't want to waste the saving we could make on the tickets and the drive was actually OK. We did it in a day so that we didn't have to pay through the nose for a hotel etc. and am glad we did. We left home at 8am and got home at 10pm, long day but good to be home at the end of it to collapse.
We were slightly worried about how many rides there would be for our two to go on (5yrs and 2yrs) but we needn't have. There was plenty (see more info here on the rides for young ones), at least for one day there was, and beyond the rides for small ones there were a couple of really good play areas too which they enjoyed.
The park itself was much nicer than I expected both in terms of the way it was organised, helpful staff, quality of rides and restaurants but also the immaculate grounds and the original Alton Towers building were pretty stunning. We came away wondering who on earth used to live there and discovered that the grounds were paid some serious attention by a young Earl called Charles Talbot back in 1924, you can read the history about it here.
Daddy takes them both on the squirrel nutty ride.
It was a cold but sunny day and my sister was over to see the kids so we got ourselves out in the lovely sunshine to Ray Park in Woodford, Essex. They have a great playground there that the kids love, it's good for all ages. It even has a sandpit (they have a cover for it and seem to take good care of keeping it clean which is nice to see), wobbly bridges, tunnels as well as the usual climbing frames, swings and the like. It does get busy but it's big enough to entertain a lot of children at the same time so there's always something the kids can play on. They have a nice cafe there too selling hot and cold food.
Note: The car park in the car park is pay and display and it's not cheap. If you can find a space in the roads opposite the park then go for it.
We took my nephew with us, the boys are 2yrs apart but are loving to hang out together more these days which is nice to see.
Lunsford Farm - Feather Down Farm Days
Breakfast by candlelight
My sister took us as guests on a visit to a Feather Down Farm which she was reviewing for her website (www.beautyandthedirt.com). They have 28 locations across the UK, the one we visited was Lunsford Farm in the village of Pett, near Hastings in East Sussex. OK yes I admit, it's cheating camping, it's glamping, and we loved it.
It is exactly the same set up at each farm in terms of accommodation and I believe each site has no more than 7 tents. The tent sleeps 6 easy, including a bunk bed, and 2 double beds. You have your own wood fired stove, cold water running tap and wait for it...your own flushing toilet in your tent. Oh yes. Oh and a little walk up the road past the friendly sheep and past your own chicken house and they have clean showers (with underfloor heating at Lunsford Farm, what a treat) and an honesty shop where you can pick up the farm's produce (eggs, potatoes, lamb at ours) and any other basics you may need.
Lunsford Farm was about 15 minutes from the pretty town of Rye which we visited one lunchtime and we also stopped by Winchelsea beach as although it was blustery it was so bright and sunny, the kids loved throwing stones in the sea.
I would thoroughly recommend Feather Down Farms, we are definitely looking in to doing it again next year at the same or maybe a different site. I do like proper camping but it can be difficult and slightly stressful at times, this glamping may be cheating but it was lovely and I'm sold!
We could see the sea from our tent!
We had our own chicken house to collect eggs from each morning, kids absolutely loved this
Our wood burning stove. All kitchen accessories included so there's very little you need to bring, perfect.
All in all a great week, I hope the kids enjoyed it too. Better start planning next half term now...but first, let's get Christmas out of the way. Hmmm which Santa's grotto will we visit this year...and I want to think of something Christmas craft-y bits they kids can make, any ideas? Decorations for the tree I guess. Please share if you have any good ideas.