I’m a holiday addict (there I’ve said it!). Now that I’m back at work, after my second maternity leave, time is of a premium and longer holidays are restricted to holiday periods (and we’ve got some exciting trips coming up!). With our daughter having her half term holiday we wanted to do something together as a family. We only really had a long weekend (between my teaching commitments) so settled on the UK and Bath (I’ll say more about our reasons in a moment!).
Yet again we settled on an Airbnb – choosing a beautiful little cottage in the picturesque village of Freshford. The village has a truly stunning community run cafe/shop (yummy bacon sandwiches and home cooked croissants!) and a lovely play park behind the shop (with a wooden pirate ship as well as the more standard play equipment – a big hit with the children!).
The cottage was ideal for us as a family – two lovely bedrooms, an upstairs bathroom (with bath and shower) and a lovely downstairs area (fully equipped kitchen, living room etc). The highlight for us (travelling with our two little people) was the child friendly touches – the top end travel cot, the high chair, the stair gate, the step in the bathroom and the great selection of Disney films. The wonderful thing about booking through Airbnb is the amazing owners who you get to meet. Chris and Hannah made us all feel so welcome and even dropped some toys around for the children (they were such a hit that I had to add them to the Christmas list!). The cottage was lovely and warm (ideal in a particularly cold October!) and it was incredibly quiet at night. Parking was a little tricky but by no means impossible.
*Top Tip: Live like a local, book an apartment through, this link for £25 travel credit with Airbnb and we get a little something off our next booking too, enjoy!
It’s always nice to explore new areas….but I don’t think that’s the real reason why we do so much on our holidays! Action packed days are almost an imperative when travelling with our little people – limited time for tantrums and squabbles!!! Anyway, here is what we got up to on this short staycation…
Ive always wanted to visit Stonehenge…..ok so it’s perhaps not the most child-centred place to go but hey travelling with children isn’t always about them! Its all about compromise! We booked in advance (it’s worth doing it – you avoid the queues!). Irritatingly, entry is free if you have English National Trust membership (we recently changed ours for the cheaper Scottish National Trust card!).
There was plenty of parking (and some mummy and baby spaces) but it’s worth noting that unless you book tickets in advance there’s an additional charge for parking (and cash is required). There are plenty of toilet and baby changing facilities at the main reception centre. There was a bus on hand to take us up to the stones – whilst its by no means too far too walk our two wouldn’t have made it! The walkways around the stones are all very pram friendly and there’s also loads of open space for little ones to stretch their legs. Definitely a must see site and one ticked off my bucket list.
If your budget doesn’t stretch to a trip (and let’s face it with children in tow you hardly get to absorb every word of the audio guide or to wile away hours in the modern and no doubt highly informative visitor centre!) – you can see the stones from various points around the area – including a number on public walkways. The National trust lists a walk on their website.
A must see site for any family in the area. We booked using Tesco club card points. Book in advance for the best value tickets and join their Facebook group for occasional offers. Perhaps unsurprisingly the biggest draw is the drive through Safari. We started our day with this. We were glad we’d packed a picnic. We easily spent 2 hours driving around and there’s obviously nowhere to stop and buy food half way around! It’s worth factoring a loo stop at the visitor centre just before you start!
The attractions up at the house are also well worth a visit. It was nice not to have to pay for all the little extras – so our daughter loved going in with penguins, feeding the parrots and taking the little train journey. It is worth noting that you can’t take prams on the boat or train. This is not ideal when you have a sleeping child (cue my husband sitting in a rose garden whilst we fed sea lions!).
As a undergraduate student I visited bath on a fair number of occasions (a close friend lived near by). Jump forward a few years (more than I care to remember) and I also enjoyed my hen do in the city. Despite so much time spent visiting the city I’m ashamed to say that I’d still not managed a visit to the Roman Baths. Again, it’s worth booking in advance (to avoid queues) and children under 5 are free. You can’t take prams into the baths (for obvious reasons!) – but they do allow you to lock them up and exchange them for a baby carrier (either a Baby bjorn for younger/lighter children or a rucksack carrier). The baths cater really well for younger visitors with an age appropriate audio guide (that was a big hit with our 3 year old) and interactive activities and videos throughout the bath as well as costumed characters. So after a morning soaking up the history of the Roman Baths (ok, so perhaps not a morning but more like 1.5 hours!), we had a run around in the Parade Garden (just down from the abbey). The website says there’s a small charge but we didn’t anywhere to buy a ticket! It would make a perfect picnic spot during the warmer months, with stunning views over the river. Given the weather during our visit we booked into the Clifton Sausage Company for a cheeky family lunch! We skipped pudding and instead made a visit to our all time favourite cookie shop….Ben’s Cookies.
All in all a lovely weekend away and a time to re-connect in the middle of a busy first semester of teaching. Whilst I am the first to look forward to boarding a plane its always nice to explore closer to home.