11 things to do in Amsterdam with kids

Forget the brown cafes and red light district, lovely Amsterdam is actually a great place to visit with kids. And now I’m (fairly) certain Minnie won’t try to fall into a canal, it’s high on my list for 2015.

There are also some cheap – and quick – flight routes, including low-cost airlines like Flybe, or you can take a ferry or train.i-amsterdam-sign-travel-guide

So I’ve started researching some of the things to do with a toddler in Amsterdam in anticipation… not least, climbing over the iconic I Amsterdam sign. Continue reading

Donkeys and death warrants: Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight

It’s been a castle-filled year so far. After getting to dress up as a princess in Warwick, the discovery that Carisbrooke Castle is home to several donkeys sealed the deal for Minnie. Castles are great.

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So with the best weather of the long weekend forecast for our first day on the island, we headed straight from our Wightlink ferry in Fishbourne to Carisbrooke, practising our heeee-haaaaaws on the way.

There’s far more to the castle than the four-legged inhabitants. Once a prison for King Charles I, it’s also resisted a siege by the French and seen off the Spanish Armada over the past 900 years. Continue reading

Family day out: the Owl and Monkey Haven, Isle of Wight

Minnie isn’t short of animals that she loves, but when monkeys and owls feature strongly in the top five (along with bears, cats and parrots), a visit to the Owl and Monkey Haven was a given during our trip to the Isle of Wight.

Although a few of the island’s attractions are closed during the winter months, this had opened for half-term, so we managed to sneak in before it closed again until Easter.

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And even in the kind of chilly rainy weather which makes you wish you were covered head to toe in fur, it was a lovely place to explore. Continue reading

Thursday Travel Treat: The Isle of Wight

I’ve been having so much fun going through old photo albums digging out photos of sunny beaches, exotic destinations and fantastic trips for #ThursdayTravelTreat on Instagram.

But there’s no reason to fly half-way round the world to have a travel treat (although if I could teleport to Australia this morning, I wouldn’t object).

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So for a taste of island life, with some sun and blue skies, this week’s treat is from our weekend on the Isle of Wight. Continue reading

A taste of island life: the Isle of Wight

There’s something about taking a ferry which makes me feel like a holiday has truly begun. The legacy of years traversing the Channel for family holidays perhaps.

And it’s left me with an unshakeable feeling that boat journeys will always transport me abroad, at the start of an adventure. Minnie, in turn, was equally thrilled to hear we would be going on a ‘big boat’ this weekend, to the Isle of Wight.

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Because however much I know rationally that the island is as much the UK as Ipswich or Inverness, I feel like I’ve escaped for a few days.
Continue reading