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Category: Travel, Holidays & Days Out

  1. 9 Free Things to do in Gloucestershire (with kids)

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    Ideas for FREE family days out in Gloucestershire

    Going out with the family for a day out needn’t always be so expensive.  A family day out with an entry  cost for the four of us, along with lunch and treats, can easily rack up to £100 or more; as much as it’s great fun and OK to splurge every once in a while, we can’t do this too regularly as it’s simply not affordable.  Luckily there are several places local to us in Gloucestershire where we can enjoy a free day out and keep the kids entertained.

    9 Free Things to do in Gloucestershire (with kids)

    Here are nine of my favourite places to take the kids out for free in Gloucestershire:

    1. Gloucester Docks – Have a walk along the canal and around the historic and beautiful Gloucester Docks.  There are often large pirate type ships being repaired in the dry docks which are magical for children to see.
    2. Sculpture Trail, Forest of Dean – I’ve been doing this trail since I was a child and though some of it has worn and even been taken away as it’s aged, there’s still plenty to see and it makes a walk more interesting for children as they try to be the first to find the sculptures.
    3. Roman Ruins, Witcombe – This is a two minute drive from our home and the children love to play in their ‘castle’.  It’s a perfect picnic spot on a sunny day with scenic rolling hills right in front of you and you can even walk up the hills to the top of the cheese rolling hill along the paths.
    4. Over Farm – Located in Over just on the edge of Gloucester is Over farm where you are allowed to walk around and see the animals.  We usually see horses, sheep, pigs, piglets and ostriches.  There are benches you can eat a picnic on and if you have some pocket money do pop into the farm shop where you’ll find lots of yummy treats.
    5. Pitville Park, Cheltenham – A firm favourite in our household and one I’ve been going to since a baby!  It had a huge facelift last year and the large park was completely redesigned.  It’s pretty amazing for the children!  There are also animals to see, a huge lake with ducks to feed, a fun forest assault course, rowing boats to hire and plenty of outdoor space for picnics or to take a ball.
    6. Robin’s Wood Hill, Gloucester – The kids love to see the carved wooden sculptures at the foot of the hill and play on the slide.  If I can manage to drag them away there are woods to explore near the base of the hill and if you walk to the top you can see views 360 degrees around.
    7. Severn Ham, Tewkesbury – A beautiful meadow which is a site of special scientific interest in Tewkesbury next to the River Severn and Mill Avon River.  There are often animals roaming the meadow.  You can walk along the path to the weir or cross over the meadow to see the river on the other side.  We’ve enjoyed a couple of picnics in this meadow on a sunny day.
    8. Midsummer Fiesta, Cheltenham – A free yearly family event in the beautiful Montpellier Gardens in Cheltenham.  Entry is free and there are market stalls, a music stage, fairground rides and free entertainment throughout the day.  No need to spend a penny if you take your own food and drink and enjoy a picnic in front of the main stage.
    9. Stratford Park, Stroud – I have lots of memories going here as a child and playing Pooh Sticks on a small wooden bridge that crosses the brook.  There’s a lovely winding path to walk through the many acres of land and beautiful trees around the lake and brooks.  Feed the ducks in the river before walking up to the huge playpark.

     

    You Baby Me Mummy

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  2. Travel Bucket List: Australia

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    6 reasons I want to visit Oz

    Ever since I was a child I’ve wanted to go to Australia.  I’m pretty sure it originated from my Grandparents having Australian friends who would very occasionally visit and I became intrigued by their accents and the fact they were from the other side of the planet.  By this point I’d never been abroad so the thought of Australia fascinated me. 

    As a teenager and young adult I’d tell people I wanted to live in Australia, or even that I was going to.  Pretty silly really considering I’ve never even holidayed there!   If I'm looking to move there as an adult with children and a husband  I’d consider Lendlease housing for family living which is perfect for an outdoorsy lifestyle and safe community.  Their house and land packages look like a dream!

    Australia is still somewhere I’d very much like to visit one day and it’s high up on my bucket list.  As it’s so far away it will be something we’d do when the children are older.  I’m imagining a three week break in the summer holidays, though that would be their winter!

    Here are 6 reasons I want to visit Australia:

     Koala picture from blog post Travel Bucket List Australia 6 reasons I want

    The Weather

    Even in their winter temperatures are much warmer than here in the UK with many websites saying there are highs of 16 or 17 degrees Celsius and lows of only around 10 degrees.  This sounds like my kind of winter!  The summer averages 26 degrees which is ideal.  As their seasons are the opposite to ours it would be great to visit over Christmas one year.  I’ve always wondered what Christmas is like on a beach with a BBQ.

    National Parks

    Australia has over 500 national parks according to Wikipedia.  That’s pretty incredible considering the UK has only 15.  Their national parks contain beaches, waterfalls, rainforests, Aboriginal culture and even snowy mountains!

    The Islands

    Tasmania and Kangaroo Island perhaps appeal more to me than anything.  I’m not a big city person and much prefer the countryside with less people and beautiful views.  The wildlife, rugged landscapes and stunning beaches look like a dream to me away from the hustle and bustle of the cities.  Plus who doesn’t love a boat trip?

    Outback Adventure Tours

    These Australia Safari Tours look awesome!  Luxury remote camping and exploring some of the vast Australian outback in off road vehicles sounds like a once in a lifetime must do adventure to me.

    Wildlife

    I read somewhere that more than 80% of Australia’s plants and animals are unique to them.  They are nowhere else in the world, well unless they’re in a zoo.  Seeing koalas and kangaroos in their natural environment would be incredible.  Australia is also home to some of the world’s most deadly reptiles so I’d be keen to avoid these!

    Laidback Lifestyle

    Australians are famed for having a relaxed laidback way of life, probably helped by their great weather which promotes an enjoyable outdoors lifestyle.  I always wonder if we’d all be way happier in the UK if we had great weather all year round!  They’re also supposed to be super friendly and welcoming with a great sense of humour.  They sound super positive and way happier than us moany complaining Brits!  I’d love to learn a thing or two from their way of life.

    Have you been to Australia? Let me know what you think of Oz in the comments!

    If you enjoyed this blog post, take a look at the other blog posts in my Travel Bucket List series:

    A Luxury Family Villa in Sicily

    Why I’ve added Ireland to my bucket list

     

    *collaborative post

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  3. Important things to do once you've booked your family holiday abroad

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    A checklist before you board that flight

    Booking a holiday abroad comes with a fair bit of organising and admin, but throw kids into the mix and there’s a whole host of things you need to think about before jumping on the plane.  We’ve booked a beach holiday next year, but we’re also flying to Germany to visit family this August so there’s plenty for us to get ready in advance.

    Here’s a list of the most important things to consider in preparation for a family holiday abroad:

    6 important things to do once you book a family holiday abroad

    Passports

    Children used to be able to go on their mother’s passports up to a certain age, but now all children need their own passports.  It can take a few weeks for a passport to arrive, especially in high season, so allow plenty of time.  I once applied for a passport and it was returned with my cheque as they had put the fee up!  Allow extra time just to be safe.  You’ll also need a minimum of six months left on your passport to fly so check yours now!

    Car hire

    Are you hiring a car once you reach your destination?  Pre kids I’d have been happy to find something on arrival, but with two young children in tow I prefer to have everything organised in advance so there’s no waiting around with fidgety and potentially tantrum exploding children. 

    Car seats and Pushchairs

    Don’t forget to take your car seats and pushchairs!  Most airlines allow two bulky items free of charge per young child and these items are a lifesaver when away.  You’ll want your child to be safe in the car in a suitable car seat and little legs can get tired walking along the beach and playing all day.

    Airport parking

    Make sure you check for airport parking cashback and discount codes in advance.  If you stay at a carpark a little further from the airport you’ll get a great deal.  These often have a free shuttle bus to the airport and the tiny bit of inconvenience is made up in the savings.  We’ve managed to book well in advance and pay only £20 ish for a week’s parking before.

    Luggage

    Check your luggage allowances as many flights are quite sneaky about only including hand luggage nowadays so you have to pay extra to check in a bag – you’re going to need to check in some bags for a beach holiday abroad with kids!  Make sure you have enough suitcases for you and the kids.  I’ve been eyeing up a gorgeous copper coloured Tumi Canada packing case.

    Holiday insurance

    Did you see the recent chaos with British Airways?  Flights were cancelled and some were delayed for three days due to an IT failure, meaning many passengers were left stranded or missed their dream holidays.  It’s so important to be covered by holiday insurance in case of emergencies, lost luggage and cancellations.  My Grandad just recently hurt his ankle whilst on holiday in Europe and I always assumed with an E111 health insurance card we were covered.  Well, not so.  The hospital didn’t accept it so he had to pay upfront and then claim it back on his insurance once home.  This means it’s even more important to be fully covered, even in Europe.

    *Collaborative post

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  4. Discover the Midlands *

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    Great days out for the whole family in the Midlands

    What phrases are best suited to describe the Midlands? Some will choose words such as family-oriented, fun, engaging and eclectic. Others opt for terms including beautiful, pristine, relaxing and historic. The fact of the matter is that both of these perspectives are just as relevant. Often referred to as the jewel of the United Kingdom, there are a host of activities to be found here. Let us look at a handful of attractions which are ideal for both the young and the old alike.


    Discover the Midlands - Great days out for the whole family in the Midlands

    Cadbury World

    It can be argued that Cadbury World is one of the most famous Birmingham attractions. Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, this is an ideal destination for the entire family. Self-guided exhibition tours, afternoon tea and the chance to catch a first-hand glimpse of how chocolate is made are only a handful of the activities which can be found here.

    The Black Country Living Museum

    Why not enjoy a bit of living history during a trip to the Midlands? Located in Dudley, the Black Country Living Museum will transport you and your visitors back to pre-industrial times. On-site actors display traditional clothing and customs; offering an entirely unique experience that can hardly be duplicated by a traditional museum. The buildings themselves are extremely authentic and you will suddenly feel as if you have been transported back in time. As the museum is found only ten miles outside of Birmingham, civilisation is nonetheless not far off.

    A Unique Flying Experience

    If you have ever wanted to soar high with the birds, there is perhaps no better way to learn than by taking a chartered flight at Tatenhill Airfield. Personalised flying lessons are offered or you can simply remain a passenger and experience the majesty of the Midlands from the air. Of course, it is always wise to book reservations in advance; this is a very popular tourist destination.

    Exploring the River Trent

    The River Trent is one of the most important waterways within the Midlands and it has been used to transport goods and materials for thousands of years. Thankfully, you can experience its majesty without having to pay a single pound. There are many picturesque spots to be found along the way. One example is the famous Trent Bridge located just outside of Nottingham. You can take a relaxing walk along its shores or sit down for a picnic with the family. There are also a handful of guided boat tours available. 

    The Dudley Zoo

    If you are looking for a fun outing regardless of the weather, The Dudley Zoo is another great option. At no less than 40 acres in size, the amount of flora and fauna within its confines is impressive. This zoo is one of the largest in England and it has been in constant operation since 1937.

    The National Sea Life Centre

    This museum offers a unique glimpse into the maritime environment. There are currently over 60 displays which showcase life from the deep blue sea. Some of these contain tropical reef fish, magnificent giant turtles and even black-tipped reef sharks. Many of these exhibits provide close-up views of creatures that would otherwise remain unknown. There are also a handful of interactive exhibits and these are perfect to entertain any children during a visit. The National Sea Life Centre is likewise a stunning masterpiece of architecture and it is immediately recognisable once you arrive.

    The Heights of Abraham

    The Heights of Abraham is a large country park that offers an incredible 60 acres of pristine woodlands. It is particularly famous for its underground caverns and some of these stretch on for miles. These were used for lead mining since the Roman times. Colourful lighting displays offer a unique touch to this environment and guided tours will help to explain the rich history of such an interesting location.

    So, it should now be clear to appreciate the numerous experiences that the Midlands has to offer. This entire region is full of surprises and each will provide memories to last a lifetime. There is no doubt that the Midlands is one of the most amazing regions within the United Kingdom.

     

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  5. Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling Gloucestershire 2017

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    Have you heard of the crazy cheese rolling event?

    Yesterday was the crazy cheese rolling event in Gloucestershire.  It’s right behind our home and we can see the lunatics tumbling down the vertical hill from our back windows and garden!  Coopers Hill has a practically vertical patch of grass on it.  You really can’t tell how vertical it is until you are there.  We can walk to the top in around half hour from our home and once there in person, you really realise how crazy they are!

    brockworth gloucestershire cheese rolling 2017

    Every year on the last bank holiday in May the annual cheese rolling event takes place.  There are a few races in which a giant round block of cheese is rolled down the hill and participants chase after it down the hill to try to catch the cheese, or at least be the first to the bottom.  There’s often a rugby team at the bottom waiting to catch you, amongst all the news reporters.

    It’s impossible to run down the hill as it’s so steep, so they end up tumbling and rolling down bouncing as they go.  It’s quite a sight!  I’ve only been in the crowd one year and the atmosphere is amazing.  It brings crowds of people from all over the world and the energy and buzz is fantastic.

    I don’t think I’d ever be brave enough to do it – some people have broken bones and all sorts in the past.  There is an uphill race which I’d consider.  It sounds a lot less painful!

    No-one really knows how this event started, but there are various rumours.  One being the rich people threw the cheese down the hill for their entertainment by making the poor run after it!  There are two totally different theories on Wikipedia.

    One of my favourite TV programmes is Lives in the Wild and the presenter Ben Fogle took part in the cheese rolling yesterday.  Very brave, but he says he won’t do it ever again!

     

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