Days out and travel

Write ups of some our favourite family days out. Also, some articles about our experiences of travelling as a family and how you can make travelling with children that bit easier.

There’ve been a few changes round ‘ere…

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This man wrote a famous song about changes. Pic credit below.

I thought it was about time I wrote a blog post about this blog. I worry that it seems a little self indulgent, but it seems like the correct thing to do.

I’ve made a number of changes to the blog over the past couple of months. Some of them are very obvious, such as coming out from behind the blog’s logo with a proper profile picture. Others changes are more subtle. View Post

Days out: Royal Windsor Horse Show

Going to an event like Royal Windsor Horse Show (RWHS) with the family is always a gamble because you’re reliant on good weather. Thankfully on the day we visited there was glorious sunshine all day long.

The RWHS is held in the private grounds of Windsor Castle so it’s in a marvellous location. This year’s event was five days long (14 – 18 May) and featured four different kinds of competition; jumping, driving endurance and dressage.

days out, Royal Windsor Horse Show,

Show jumping at the Royal Windsor Horse Show

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The challenge of entertaining children (economically).

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I am relatively inexperienced in these matters, but I’ve already learned that entertaining children during a school holiday can feel like burning cash (see below for photo credit)

Well that was it, the Easter holidays have passed in a blur and we seem to have spent the majority of it entertaining children. This break was particularly significant for my family as we were testing just how thrifty we could be.

There is a reason for this austerity. Our oldest daughter, Helen, started school last September and so this was only the second school holiday we’d ever had to deal with as a family unit. When the Christmas holidays came up at the end of 2013, we were entirely unprepared and we spent stupid amounts of money keeping the children entertained.

This time around we made a serious effort to conserve cash and the results weren’t too bad. I was geeky enough to keep a diary of all the money we spent entertaining the kids over the past two weeks. Yes, we spent much more than I anticipated but it wasn’t the ludicrous money-fest it could have been.

The solution was preparation. There were no eleventh-hour visits to soft play centres or the cinema as there were at Christmas. Instead we spent time researching when the Kids AM showings were on at the movies. We also borrowed DVDs from the library and had fun choosing them. We also spent several days at granny’s house. Needless to say, granny spoiled the kids but, hey, that’s part of the deal, right?.

Interestingly, one of our most cost-effective days out was to London. Helen was fascinated by the Natural History Museum while her younger sister couldn’t get enough of a boat ride on the Thames Clipper.

I guess the next challenge is going to be the summer holidays. I’m looking forward to keeping both children entertained in the most economically attractive way possible. It’s only 12 weeks away. I think I may start planning for it now.

Photo credit: Images Money.

Image reproduced under Creative Commons license.

 

A day out in London

A day out in London with the family

#MySundayPhoto 20 April, 2014

The Easter holidays presented one of those rare occasions for my wife and I to take the kids into London for the day. We visited the Natural History Museum before going for lunch and then caught the Thames Clipper catamaran up to Greenwich.

I wasn’t sure how Elizabeth, out youngest, was going to react to the Thames Clipper. Thankfully she loved it. In fact I have a sneaky suspicion she may be a potential recruit for the Royal Navy when she’s older.

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Pictured here is Helen, our eldest, getting to grips with one of the exhibits at the Natural History Museum. I’ve written before about a previous trip we did to the museums in London and she just loves them. I’m never sure how much information she takes in but she clearly finds the displays fascinating and it’s a joy to watch her going from exhibit to exhibit.

Wishing you all a very happy Easter. I hope you get to enjoy what is left of the Easter break and good luck returning the kids to school on Tuesday!

 

 

OneDad3Girls

Days out: Ascot Country Fair Raceday

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Enjoying the racing with the kids at Ascot

Having a day at the races is always appealing, but it’s not something I would ever have considered doing with the children. I was therefore delighted to hear that Ascot racecourse runs several “family days” each year.

Not only are these days out great entertainment for the family, but they can represent surprisingly good value for money. I thought a family day might be prohibitively expensive but it turns out under 18s go for free and entry to the grandstand for adults can cost as little as £15 per person (you will pay more if you want a private box).

We were invited along on Mother’s Day, when Ascot was holding its annual Country Fair Raceday. As a family we were all really excited at the prospect and we weren’t disappointed.

In addition to the racing, which I’ll come on to in a minute, there were a number of attractions that

you’d expect at an agricultural show. There was a falconry display, pony rides, climbing wall, soft play area, lamb racing (yes, you did read that correctly) and an air rifle target range. As it was Mother’s Day, a Mother’s Chill Out Zone offering massages and other delights was also available.

Ever the equestrian, Mrs Adams was more interested in the racing than massages so after checking out the country fair we returned to our private box to watch the racing. These are very spacious and an ideal place to base yourself if you are going to spend an entire day at the race track.

With your own private balcony, you get a fantastic view over the track.Rather foolishly I’d handed over my wallet to Mrs Adams to make all the bets as I was busy looking after our youngest. I returned to find a massive wad of betting slips all paid for with my cash. There were seven races in total and we didn’t win a single penny!

Ascot, days out, family days

Horses in the parade ring prior to a race.

I can imagine some people being concerned by the formality of the occasion. On family days the usual dress code is relaxed so smart casual dress is acceptable with no dress code for young children.

Would we do it again? Without a doubt. The grown-ups enjoyed themselves and all the older kids (three years and up) seemed to have a superb time. I’ll be honest, at 17 months our youngest was possibly a little too young to appreciate the day but when she’s older we would happily return.

Ascot has family entertainments planned on several other racedays. These include:

  • King George Family Sunday on 27 July
  • British Champions Day on 18 October
  • November Racing Weekend on 21-22 November
  • Christmas Racing Weekend on 19-20 December.
Family days, days out, family entertainment

Sheep running on the Lamb National!

In addition to the above dates, the Red Bull Air Race World Championships will take place on 16-17 August. This will involve three rounds of racing with aircraft taking off directly in front of Ascot’s grandstand so it will be a race day with a huge difference.

I may very well see you at one of these events. Just don’t take my advice on what to bet on.