This year saw us return to North Wales for another week of exploring.  We headed there for 5 days in June 2015 and fell in love with the rolling countryside, rushing rivers and picturesque scenery.


Unfortunately I think somewhere along the line we had also forgotten about the potential for bad weather!  The cottage we were staying in is located in Snowdonia National Park which is an absolutely stunning part of the country but this year we just didn’t get the weather…it was overcast and rained almost every single day and whilst we are no strangers to getting out and about in bad weather (we do live in the UK after all!) it did somewhat change our overall plans for the week.  All the beach gear that we had packed was no longer needed but in some respects this was better; it meant we had to rethink how we wanted to spend our time and we visited some places which might otherwise have been passed over.


Our first day we decided to visit nearby Porthmadog.  Last year we had visited Black Rock Sands beach on a beautiful day but we hadn’t actually explored the town itself so a cloudy day seemed like the ideal time.  There isn’t much going on but we enjoyed looking at the boats and trying some fish and chips..and ice cream of course!


On our second day the forecast was quite a bit better so we took advantage and headed into Conwy to see the castle and the surrounding town.


Both Meg and Eli really enjoyed wandering around the castle and the little activity sheet they were given on entry kept their attention (although it was perhaps the promise of a badge at the end that did this!)


My favourite part was definitely climbing to the top of one of the towers.  Although I was pretty nervous about one of the kids falling the views were absolutely stunning and I did manage to swallow down my fear enough to capture a few pictures.


After that we had a brief explore of Conwy.  There isn’t actually much to see aside from the castle although the town does have its own kind of sweet charm but we did come across the smallest house in Britain which was fairly interesting; and then we had to make a hasty exit back to the car when the heavens opened.


Then it was onto our first visit to the Coed y Brenin forest.  We came back to this forest later in the week to tackle a more mammoth walk but on this particular trip we kept it simple.  Well, sort of.

We had this idea to try out some orienteering but quickly discovered that we had absolutely no skill for it so after wandering aimlessly around with our map for about half an hour we went back and simply followed one of the easier marked out walks.


Is there anything better than coming across a deer when your latest love is Harry Potter?  Answer = there is not.


We also discovered that the cafe at Coed y Brenin made the most amazing wedges.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that we were soaked through and worn out.  It was enough to make us return for them on our second visit anyway!


If you are ever in the area then I would highly recommend the forest.  From the walks to the playgrounds, it was a pretty gorgeous place.  It was quite atmospheric on the day we visited as the clouds were sitting so low but I imagine it’s also a fabulous place to be on nice days too.  There were three play areas which we could hardly drag the kids away from.  

There are a lot of mountain bike and running tracks too.  We will probably head back in 2017 when the kids are a bit more confident on their bikes and give one of the easier trails a go.

This took us to halfway through our week so keep your eyes peeled for Part Two which I will post next week.  But if you can’t wait that long then I did also put together a little video of our time if you want to see that below.

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Two weeks ago I shared Part One of our trip to Legoland in Windsor and today is part two (or the second day for ease!)

This second day was always going to be a shorter one; we had the 4 hour journey home to keep in the back of our minds and, as it was a Saturday, we were expecting the park to be a lot busier.  We were right to think so and although we only really tried to do the things we hadn’t been able to get round to the day before, we spent at least three times as long standing in queues!

But this day was very much about all the things we didn’t get round to so we did a lot less and had left the park by lunchtime.

It was no real surprise but Meg had absolutely adored ‘The Dragon’ ride (the biggest one she could go on) so we headed to Knights Kingdom first once the gates opened.  It was so quiet that we managed to ride it three times before we moved onto something else.  Eli wasn’t quite so keen so James took him on the Dragon’s Apprentice and the Knights’ Quest which were much more his speed.


One of the things Eli had been really keen to do, was join the Fire Academy.  I don’t think, when we willingly went along, that we realised how wet you would get.  If you watch the outtakes at the end of our Legoland video you’ll hear the screams when I get a good soaking.


Both the Fire Academy and the Driving Academy were hugely popular so they were the first places we headed to.  We’d also spotted that the weather was going to turn by mid-morning so we wanted to get them over and done with as well.


After the Driving Academy we headed into the Imagination Centre where we took to the skies, firstly on the Sky Rider which gives fantastic views over Miniland and then onto the Space Tower which (unfortunately) only one of us was brave enough to ride so we had to wait a while in order for Meg and Eli to both have a turn.


After that the heavens really did open and we ended up wandering a bit aimlessly just trying to get out of the rain until we ended up back at the Atlantis Submarine Voyage.  As it was indoors we joined the throngs of people with the same ideas as us and went for another ride around.

Then it was pretty much time to call it a day and head home.  We rode the Spider on the way out, which moves way too fast for photos although I got some good video footage and then one more visit to the Star Wars Miniland Model Display and we were on our way home.

Overall, it was great having the two days as we would have felt rushed trying to fit everything into one, especially if our main day had been over the weekend.  The park is open an hour later on a Saturday but this was no good for us as we had to make the long drive home.

If we were to go back (and I can’t see why we wouldn’t) we’d definitely opt for a mid-week break again as it was just so much easier not having to fight through crowds of people.

But we had two very pleased children at the end of the break; and that’s what counts!



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I recently shared Part One of our trip to Legoland Windsor on the blog which you can read about here.  We had an overnight stay as part of our visit as we were booking a package break and we chose the Savill Court Hotel & Spa which is located just outside Windsor.


Savill Court is a 4 star hotel set in a beautiful red brick Georgian building and was just a 15 minute drive from Legoland and very easy to get to.  When you arrive you drive up a sweeping driveway before being directed to the car park.

As we had spent the day at Legoland and then headed to a local pub for something to eat it was around 8.30pm when we made it to the hotel.  The staff were very welcoming and handed out little activity bags to Meg and Eli (which went down a treat) and offered to send up some milk and cookies in about 30 minutes time, giving us chance to get up to our room, unpack and get the kids ready for bed.

Savill Court is a stunning building with a lot of history; there has been a house on the land from as early as 1815 and the current building has stood since 1910.  It was even used as a service hospital during the Second World War which got my spine tingling; I have to admit I love anything like that!


We had booked a family room which was a double bed with a double sofa bed.


The room was fairly spacious and had lovely views looking out over some of the vast 22 acres in which the hotel is set.  Each room has been individually styled and although it was pretty standard decor, it was nice and clean and well made.


The milk and cookies was a brilliant little extra and arrived 20 minutes after we checked in, just about giving us time to get the kids into their PJ’s and ready for bed.

The only element which tarnished what was otherwise a pretty perfect hotel stay was the fact that the sofa bed had not been made up on arrival.  We had asked staff when we checked in whether the bed would be made up and were told that it should have been but to call down if not.  We immediately called down to Reception when we arrived in the room but it took another phone call and a 45 minute wait before someone came up, meaning the kids didn’t end up going to bed until 9.30pm which was a little disappointing.  


The following morning we headed down to breakfast and enjoyed a great spread.  


Breakfast is served in The Orchid Restaurant and next door there is a lounge area with a bar.  There was a good mixture of cooked breakfast items and continental breakfast and we nabbed a few extra pieces of fruit for the kids to enjoy on the way back to Legoland.


We didn’t manage to make use of the leisure and spa facilities as we had an early start but flicking through the hotel information it was nice to see that the pool had specific family swimming times; it was good to know that we wouldn’t be disturbing other guests if we took the children for a dip as they could easily make use of the pool outside of those times.


The gym and the spa all looked great too and I really wish there had been time for me to enjoy a treatment!



Whilst James packed the car up, I took the kids for a walk through the grounds so they could burn off some energy and we could have a little explore.  There is a beautiful landscaped lawn at the back of the hotel which you can see from the terrace outside of the Orchid Restaurant.


It looked like Savill Court held a lot of events too and we had a little peek in at the extension which was set up for a wedding.  It looked like the perfect space.

After a quick explore it was back in the car for day two of our Legoland adventures which I will share the final installment of next week.

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At the start of the year we sat down as a family and wrote down some of the things we wanted to achieve this year.  This list was then stuck on our fridge and has been a constant reminder to me every time I go and get something out…

One thing which both kids were unanimous about was the fact they wanted to go to the Legoland Windsor Resort.

‘I’ve heard there’s an elephant which squirts you with water!’ cried Eli.
‘…and rides which go really, really fast!’ replied Meg.

So on the list it went but there just never seemed to be the right time.  Over Easter we visited the Legoland Discovery Centre in Manchester which was great but Windsor is pretty much on the other side of the country for us and justifying such a long drive…the long and short being that we kept putting it off!

Then we realised that the perfect time to go would be over the May school holidays; we are lucky enough to get two weeks off and the second week is usually when the rest of England are back at school so it made sense.  It would be quieter than during the holidays and cheaper too.


We booked our tickets and received an extra free day in the park which was actually incredibly helpful.

It meant that we could section off what we wanted to see and we didn’t need to rush around trying to fit everything in to one day.  Although our second day was a Saturday (and was SO much busier) we had done the lion’s share the day before which meant we didn’t need to stress about long queues.


We arrived on Friday a little after opening time, which was 10am.  Pretty much waltzing straight through we headed down the long, winding path (there’s a train which will take you up and down this hill but it’s not all that obvious) and Eli spotted the attraction which, for him, would make his entire trip.  Star Wars Miniland Model Display.


He was so enamored that we had to make sure it was the last thing that we did before we headed home on the Saturday too!  And he wasn’t the only one who loved it…


As with most theme parks of a similar nature, Legoland is divided into ‘lands’ which each offer something new to explore.  There are 11 lands altogether and they all have a good mix of rides, attractions and somewhere to eat and drink.


We took each land individually and had a good wander around, making sure that we went on everything we wanted to.  Our favourite by far was Kingdom of the Pharoahs although they were all good.


The only land which I thought was a slight letdown was Heartlake City; the Pirates of Skeleton Bay show which takes place there was great but there wasn’t much else to do; and the only ‘ride’ we could find (Mia’s Riding Adventure), neither Meg nor Eli were tall enough to ride which was a shame.


We also decided to make sure we visited Duplo® Valley; more specifically, Drench Towers and Splash Safari.  Thankfully the day was quite warm but the water was bitterly cold, something to bear in mind if you don’t visit on a hot day.  It was also possibly the busiest part of the park with lengthy queues for the changing rooms.  It’s worth making sure you take a £1 coin for a locker as you can’t go into this area without getting wet, even if you stand on the very edge.

Alternatively you can do as James did and accidentally stand over the sprinklers, thereby ensuring that you get a royal soaking when they turn on!



Duplo® Valley was also a really enjoyable land for us; it’s a bit more slow-paced than some of the others but that worked quite well after the kids have burned off a load of energy running and shrieking through the water.


Another element of the day we really liked was the Atlantis Submarine Voyage.  Again, this was something which we ended up doing on the Saturday as well because the kids really enjoyed it.  You hop into a submarine and then get taken along a little underwater journey; there are clear panels for you to see out of and there is all kinds of marine life from sharks to sting rays.  Plus Lego fish!


The park shut at 5pm on the Friday so once we had checked out the playground and Miniland we went for a quick bite to eat before heading back to our hotel (more on that later…)




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