August family travel essentials – the round-up
I am exhausted. This summer holiday has surely lasted more than six weeks – for good and bad! It feels like I’m still perfecting the juggle that is time off school, travel and work (is there a perfect balance to be found? Or are we all still guessing?) and after some wonderful escapes, I’ll admit I’m looking forward to school starting next week.
We have one last break at the seaside before term – thanks to a bit of AirBNB credit to use* – and I’m planning almost nothing for it. Beach, a few last lie-ins, a lazy afternoon or two. I’ve even ditched the opportunity to visit a castle (and we’re normally all about the castles) in favour of a final few days relaxing.
But if I’m ready for a return to peaceful routine (give it a week…), we’ve had a fabulous summer packed with UK adventures. I definitely picked the right year to stay at home! Here’s a look back at what we’ve been up to, along with the usual round-up of essential family travel products purchased or sent for review this month. Plus plans to start a new email newsletter from next month – sign up here to get on the list. I promise not to spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Summer family travel essentials
We’ve been all about the experiences this month – spending on days out and places to visit (and making the most of some of July’s acquisitions). But we’ve had a few fun products sent to us, with a travel theme of course.
Far and away my daughter’s favourite is the Fuzzikins Campervan Carry Case, a very cute mini camper van which comes with stickers to decorate and colour in, plus two Fuzzikin cats which you can also decorate. And when she gets bored of their current look, you can wash them and colour them in all over again.
For now, every time I look at them, they seem to have a few new stripes or decorative features! The pair have had adventures aplenty in their camper van – which you can tote around by the detachable surf board handle on the roof – picking up most of the inhabitants of her doll’s house along the way, plus a few dinosaurs and the occasional bear.
Whatever the day holds in her imagination, they’ve finished it tucked under the blanket on the fold-down bed inside for a revitalising cat nap. It’s also available from Amazon, currently £16.90 (RRP is £19.99).
And what’s a summer holiday without a new swimming costume? And some pool toys. And some more goggles.
Zoggs let us loose on their holiday shop range, picking up some of the fun DC Super Heroes products along the way, to try to bring the fun back to swimming for my daughter – something which a fraught few months of swimming lessons had all but wiped out.
There’s a full post to come (I’m optimistically hoping we get good enough weather for a play around this weekend) but whether your kids are new to the water or more confident, there are some great items to check out.
Best of the rest
- Plenty of holiday reading for my daughter means I’ve had chance to dust down some books of my own – after working through the Spell Sisters series, Minnie is making a start on the Secret Kingdom books by the same author but I have a pre-order up my sleeve which I’m really looking forward to: Create Your Own Happy is out next week, written by two bloggers including the lovely Penny from parentshaped.An activity book with a difference, it’s designed to boost children’s confidence and help their emotional wellbeing, with lots of fun, positive ways to empower them and help them shape their own happiness. Aimed at 7+, I think this is one we’re going to be dipping into for years to come, with ideas to start us off together and more for her to try as she grows.
Summer family travel: essential plans and reading
Staycation, staycation, staycation – we haven’t left the UK all summer (even if we have been on a ferry). And it’s been a lot of fun. The holidays kicked off with a trip to Bristol and days out in London, and even if the heatwave didn’t hang around throughout, we’ve packed in a few more long weekends.
Next was a trip back to my parents, where we headed straight to Chester for some Roman history and a chance to wander around the old Roman walls.
Then some more recent history at Blists Hill Victorian Town in Shropshire, stepping back to the year 1900 to discover life, industry and chips cooked in dripping (plus some Victorian sweets). It was always one of my favourite places to visit as a child, and my daughter loved it – you can check out our video here.
And another favourite, this time to the Isle of Wight. It’s my daughter’s third or fourth visit (I lose count) and despite being a small island, we barely seem to repeat anything as there’s just so much to discover – except a few favourites, of course. This time, between beach stops, we were hunting for bears and trying out the BoRo bike, new for this summer (and very fun).
Then, squeezed in before our return to Sussex – this time to West Sussex, almost exactly two years after a wonderful pre-school getaway to East Sussex – we managed finally to tick off one of my London plans for 2018 with a visit to the Museum of London. They have some fantastic activity trails for kids, and my daughter has been chattering plenty about great fires and plagues ever since.
With the galleries starting in prehistoric times, we had yet more Romans – I think they have been the theme of the summer – and some medieval history before making it all the way to the 17th century and running out of energy. It’s amazing to have such fantastic free museums on the doorstep, plus there’s the bonus that this one tends to be quieter on a busy bank holiday weekend thanks to its City location.
I haven’t abandoned plans to go to the Tower though, with a question mark over a few September weekends. Fewer crowds and some autumn sunshine to say hi to the ravens? Sounds like a plan.
Summer family travel: essential deals
Summer sun isn’t over yet (not quite, just a bit more please) but I’m always happy to plot for winter sun too – Travel Supermarket has had some great deals, including Thailand for under £600 in December. Term time, alas, but worth keeping an eye on the deals.
And there’s up to 70% off Boden in the end of summer sale – not yet on this shark towelling beach dress but I’m keeping a careful watch on that too. And if you’re missing Kiddicare’s deals, Dunelm has a baby event on now, including 30% off some Britax car seats. Perfect if you’ve been spending as much time in the car as we have this summer!
Disclosure: contains affiliate links – any purchases you might make are unaffected but I may get a few pennies in return. If you book your first AirBNB stay using my link, we both get some credit to travel with. Some products have been sent for review but all opinions and low energy levels are my own.
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