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Category: Travel, Holidays & Days Out

  1. Peppa Pig World Review 2017 (and where to stay for under £100 for 2 nights)

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    Peppa Pig World Review 2017 (and where to stay for under £100 for 2 nights)

    Are you considering going to Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park and wondering whether it’s worth it?  Want to find affordable accommodation that doesn’t break the bank?  Read on to see where we stayed as a young family of four for less than £100 for two nights.

    We finally went!  Ever since Bella was a dinky one year old, she has been obsessed with Peppa Pig.  I remember older children being so into Peppa when Bella was still a baby and I wondered if she’d ever be the same.  One day it came on the TV and she was hooked!  It was the first programme she was mesmerised by!  Me and the other parents always joked it must somehow hypnotise the children.  There’s never been another cartoon quite like it.  Bella is now five years old and still loves Peppa, though luckily she’ll watch some other shows too!  Reuben, on the other hand, is now also Peppa mad!  It’s the only thing he’ll demand to watch on the TV.  And, yes, I say demand as he is currently going through the terrible twos and he really will demand it through shouting at the top of his voice over and over and over ‘Peppa Pig!  Peppa Pig!  Peppa Pig!’

    Peppa Pig World Review 2017 (and where to stay for under £100 for 2 nights)

    When we found out there was a Peppa Pig World, we just knew we had to go.  It’s been a place we’ve wanted to visit for a few years, but for some reason or another we’ve only just made it.  I did book to go to the Christmas event last year which looked amazing, but sadly my Mother in Law passed away so we were unable to attend.  The very kind people at Paultons Park took exception to their no refund policy and kindly refunded our tickets so we rebooked this year for the summer holidays.  It felt like a long wait, but it was definitely worth it!

    Peppa Pig World Review 2017 (and where to stay for under £100 for 2 nights)

    I’m also so pleased Reuben was a little older as he enjoyed it just as much as Bella.  At ages 5 and 2.5 they were both the perfect age to enjoy it together whilst Bella is still very much into Peppa Pig.  She may grow out of it in a year or so, though I’m sure she’d still enjoy the Peppa theme park for a few more years!

    Peppa Pig World Review 2017 (and where to stay for under £100 for 2 nights)

    Accommodation

    Unfortunately Paultons Park doesn’t have their own accommodation and I feel they are missing out on a trick here.  If they had a Peppa Pig themed hotel we would have definitely stayed!  No doubt if they did it would be much more expensive than what we paid for local accommodation, but it would be worth it, if only once, for the experience.

    Instead we stayed at a nearby Days Inn at the Rownhams M27 services, less than a 15 minute drive to the park.  I booked via Top Cashback to get 3% cashback directly through the Days Inn website.  For two nights we paid just £96.90 and I’ll get a bit of cashback on top of this once it clears!  We had a double bed and a sofa bed which the children slept on.  The prices were at first coming up at double this (and a lot more when looking at the Paultons Park website for a place to stay) and then I realised they were trying to book us two rooms as I’d said 2 adults and 2 children.  As long as you can use the beds available, including the sofa bed, they won’t charge any extra for children under 15 if you only book one room at Days Inn.  We managed to stay for two nights for less than £100 which is a bargain.

    The room was just fine.  I actually had two really good night’s sleeps!  Better than I’ve had in ages.  There is no breakfast, but we drove a short distance the first morning to a Toby Carvery for an all you can eat, which was as expected for a Toby Carvery buffet, a bit grotty, but cheap!  The following morning we went to the services and grabbed some breakfast before we headed home.

    Peppa Pig World Review 2017 (and where to stay for under £100 for 2 nights)

    Peppa Pig World

    We were really very impressed with Peppa Pig World.  We pre-booked tickets online so it was super quick to get into the park.  We’d arrived at opening time and avoided most of the rush!  This also meant we got on a few rides without much of a queue, only five minutes wait or so.  One hour later and the queues were huge, around a 30 minute wait for lots of the rides.

    The children were so excited to see Peppa Pig World.  They were amazed and really believed it is where Peppa lives!  Before going we thought it looked quite small, but for little people it’s the perfect amount of rides and perfect size for the day without being too overwhelming.  They are also building some more rides for 2018, so we have a great excuse to return next year!  Perhaps we’ll even do the Christmas event next year as a treat.

    One fab thing is children under one metre are free.  As Reuben is only two we didn’t have to pay entry for him.  I wondered if this meant he wouldn’t be able to go on any of the rides, but he could go on everything in PPW and even most of the rides around the rest of the park.

    Note – take swim clothes and towels!

    Peppa Pig World Review 2017 (and where to stay for under £100 for 2 nights)

    Bella’s favourite part was the ‘Muddy Puddles’ (splash pads).  I didn’t know about these so was very unprepared!  Towards the end of the day Bella wanted to go in them so ran in with shoes off and just her Peppa Pig dress on (very appropriate attire!)

    ‘MUUUUUUM I’m having SO much fun’

    She absolutely loved the splash pads and fountains of water and thoroughly got involved, getting thoroughly soaked in the process!  It was amazing to see her have so much fun, but we should have taken some suitable clothes with us!  We decided to leave after this as she was so wet, so we left the park one hour before close.  We could easily have stayed longer and even bought the two day pass to return the next day as we didn’t do all the rides or even go in the soft play, which we only noticed at the end!  There’s plenty there for two days of fun and then no need to rush around.

    Peppa Pig World Review 2017 (and where to stay for under £100 for 2 nights)

    The rides were a lot of fun!  It’s the first time I’ve been to a theme park in the UK with the children and not for myself so it was a very different experience not going on the huge rollercoasters and instead going in the kiddy areas!  The day was all about the children and it was so brilliant to see them both so happy and excited all day.

    We’ll definitely go back to Peppa Pig World.  I think a Santa visit in 2018 might be on the cards.

    Related Blog Posts:

    A list of 50 free and cheap things to do in the summer holidays with kids

    A Kid Free Weekend: Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun at Chepstow Quarry

    9 Free Things to do in Gloucestershire (with kids)

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    Peppa Pig World Review 2017 (and where to stay for under £100 for 2 nights)

     

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  2. A Kid Free Weekend: Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun at Chepstow Quarry

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    A Kid Free Weekend: Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun at Chepstow Quarry

    It’s been two months since our last kid free weekend and night away camping in The Vale of Glamorgan.  Although time is going so quickly, our last kid free weekend and camping trip seems a lifetime ago!  We were definitely ready for another kid free night to ourselves and a more luxurious camping trip as it was Ben’s birthday. 

    Ben has often watched people doing zip lines on the internet, so I looked into somewhere not too far where we could do one ourselves.  Chepstow Quarry popped up on Groupon with a half price deal so I booked it.  Amazingly they also have camping pods which they call ‘wooden wigwams’ ranging from a standard selection with a shared toilet block to a deluxe and VIP package which includes an ensuite, bedding and a private hot tub on the cliff edge overlooking the quarry.  It sounded perfect and as it was a birthday treat I booked the VIP package.

    The Cross Inn Review A Kid Free Weekend Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun a

    roast dinner at the cross inn A Kid Free Weekend Hot tub glamping and zip w

    The Cross Inn, Aylburton

    On the way through the Forest of Dean we decided to stop for lunch at The Cross Inn, Aylburton.  This wasn’t planned, but it had gone midday and we usually eat with the children by 12pm, so our tummies were rumbling!  We used trusty Trip Advisor to find the nearest pub and this came up.  I’m glad it did as I had one of the tastiest roast dinners I’ve ever enjoyed!  I had a nut roast which was homemade with roast potatoes, mash, veg and onion gravy.  It had the tastiest parsnip I’ve ever tried!  I picked this as it hopefully had no refined sugar.  Ben went for the lamb and he was equally as impressed.  I’ve even left them a Trip Advisor review, only my second review there ever, as we thought the food was so good.

    A Kid Free Weekend Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun at Chepstow Quarry

    Beautiful Chepstow Quarry

    It’s strange how something manmade that has really destroyed the natural land that was there, can actually be so beautiful.  We were amazed as soon as we saw the quarry.  We parked and climbed up some steps to see the view and were instantly exclaiming lots of ‘wows’!  The thing that struck us most was the colour of the water.  A luscious teal colour which almost didn’t look real for water in the UK!  Normally we are used to seeing murky brown water in rivers!  I’m not sure if it’s the limestone causing the beautiful colour, but it’s really amazing to see.  The view of the water deep within the rugged rocks is something else.  With wild flowers all around the tops of the carved out rocks, it really is very picturesque.

    The Zip Line at the NDAC

    Our zip line was in the afternoon and after a temperamental day of cloud, dry weather and the odd light rain, it decided to absolutely hammer it down as we queued for our turn!  Typical!  We realised we have always been unlucky with our kid free weekends and remembered it has rained on almost every single one, as well as our family holiday to Cornwall last year!   The Wire, as it’s called, starts at 70m high and runs 700m across the length of the quarry reaching up to 40mph.  It was pretty exhilarating jumping off above the quarry and I loved whizzing down.  I tried to not go so fast as I wanted to take in the views, but the rain kind of pelted me in the face forcing me to look down!  Ben tried his best to whizz down as fast as possible!  He wanted to feel the speed!  I’d love to go back and redo The Wire on a dry day to experience the difference.

    offas dyke path A Kid Free Weekend Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun at Che

    tintern abbey view A Kid Free Weekend Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun at

    devils pulpit offas dyke A Kid Free Weekend Hot tub glamping and zip wire f

    Offa’s Dyke and Devil’s Pulpit

    We had over one hour until we could check in to our wigwam, so looked up walks nearby and discovered the Offa’s Dyke path which led to the Devil’s Pulpit – an area where the limestone juts out and there’s an incredible view of Tintern Abbey below.  It rained the whole walk, until we got back to the car!

    wigwams A Kid Free Weekend Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun at Chepstow Qu

    ensuite glamping A Kid Free Weekend Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun at Ch

    wooden wigwam A Kid Free Weekend Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun at Cheps

    wooden wigwam hottub A Kid Free Weekend Hot tub glamping and zip wire fun a

    Glamping in a Wooden Wigwam

    Once back we picked up our key for the wigwam.  It’s more a pod, but they call them wigwams for some reason.  We parked the car near the wigwams as you get one parking space nearby.  We walked up the wooden steps and along a wooden path amongst the trees to number 10.  There are 12 deluxe and VIP wigwams in a row along the cliff on one side of the quarry. 

    For glamping, we were very impressed!  The only other glamping trip we’ve experienced was this yurt in Wales, which was also amazing, but a very different experience.  I much preferred having our own ensuite and the luxury of a hot tub on our own private balcony!

    hot tub wigwam glamping A Kid Free Weekend Hot tub glamping and zip wire fu

    I also had an amazing night’s sleep.  The bed was surprisingly comfortable.  Perhaps it was the few hours spent in the hot tub totally relaxing beforehand, but I slept like a baby.  That’s actually a really weird saying as most babies I know wake up constantly through the night!  But I slept really, really well.

    The wigwam was clean and had everything we needed for one night’s stay.  We even had a robe and slippers for our hot tub spa experience!  There were a couple of minor things wrong that I noticed.  The shower gel had not been topped up so this was empty and the TV did not work.  We thought it might be fun to find a film to watch whilst in the hot tub as the TV twisted round so you could see it, but the internet connection did not work.  These are only small complaints and as we were only staying one night they did not matter.  If we were staying longer we would have said something so they could rectify them.

    The hot tub was amazing.  They have set up the wigwams so one balcony wall is fenced off so you can’t see the other balconies and get a lot more privacy.  I’ve never enjoyed my own private hot tub before, so it was great to have some quality time with Ben and not be surrounded by several people like we usually are in a spa!

    Cooked Breakfast at The View

    In the morning we had a cooked breakfast at The View café overlooking the quarry.  Check out was by 10.30am and we also grabbed our complimentary bottle of prosecco!  Not to drink with breakfast, but because it was included in the VIP package and we hadn’t picked it up the night before.  I don’t drink so this was a great gift to give to my Mum.  If you do drink then you can grab it the night you stay and enjoy it in the wigwam or whilst hottubbing!

    Krazy Golf in Lydney

    As it was Ben’s birthday he wanted to go and play crazy golf!  He had found Krazy Golf in Lydney so we headed there next.  There are 15 themed holes and it was only £4.50 each.  You can play as many times as you like and even leave and return throughout the day if you wish.  We just had the one game as we were meeting Ben’s brother for lunch.  It’s always fun to do an activity and release a bit of the kid in us, as well as our competitive streaks!  Ben thrashed me by about 20 points.  I tried to reclaim victory by playing giant checkers which was at the end of the course, but to no avail!  I also tried to beat him at giant connect four, but he won again.  I’ll beat him one day!

    A Café Lunch in Coleford

    Ben’s brother lives in the Forest of Dean so we met him for lunch at Kaplan’s Café, somewhere we’ve been a few times before.  It’s always busy which is a good sign and they do huge well-cooked breakfasts which Ben loves!  They’re also very accommodating as we always want to customize our menu choices.

    titanic steelworks remains A Kid Free Weekend Hot tub glamping and zip wire

    The Aztec Village (aka Titanic Steelworks)

    Ben’s brother recommended a walk in the forest afterwards to find the ‘Aztec Village’.  He stumbled across it when out cycling one day and thought he’d discovered some ancient ruins!  Turns out it’s actually remains of Titanic Steelworks.

    Until Next Time

    That just about rounds up our kid free weekend.  We did also pop to some recycled furniture shops and picked up three mirrors to upcycle for our home, but that’s about it!  I think we did manage to do quite a bit in two days.  I expect our next kid free adventure will be after the summer holidays and once everyone is settled back into school routines. So until then.

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  3. Travel Bucket List: Greek Island Hopping

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    Boats, turquoise seas, sunshine and a bucket load of feta – yes please!

    I am ever so jealous of friends of ours who have just jetted off on holiday to the beautiful Greek island of Zakynthos, which we also call Zante here in the UK.  Home to the stunningly picturesque ‘Shipwreck Bay’ it’s a must see.  I visited as a rather temperamental teenager, 16 years old if I remember correctly, and I’ve wanted to return ever since.  Even through my teenage mood swings I was able to appreciate and see the absolute breath taking beauty of the Greek Islands.  As an adult I am dying for Ben and I to enjoy some luxury holidays to Greece so I can revisit these beautiful islands, explore the beaches and show Ben why I think Greece is one of the most incredible holiday destinations.

    Zakynthos Travel Bucket List Greek Island Hopping Boats, turquoise seas, su

    I was also lucky to visit Rhodes and Corfu with my mum and sister when I was a teenager.  We stayed in small hotels in Greek islands and sometimes in self-catering apartments, always getting the cheapest last minute deal possible.  I’d love to do a similar holiday as a family, but most of all I want to go Greek Island Hopping with Ben.  This may be a far-away dream, perhaps once the children have left home or if we ever feel comfortable to leave them and go so far when they’re a bit older, but it’s a dream that has to happen so I’ve added Greek Island Hopping to my travel bucket list.

    Travel Bucket List Greek Island Hopping Boats, turquoise seas, sunshine and

    Greece has a staggering 6000 islands.  Out of these, approximately 227 are not inhabited, so that’s an awful lot of exploring to be done!  Obviously some of these are very small and not accessible at all, so they can’t all be explored or easily travelled to.  The larger islands have airports, but some of the smaller ones can only be reached by boat.   Travelling to each sun drenched island across the turquoise waters does not sound half bad at all!  The islands are split into groups such as Saronic Islands, Ionian Islands, Dodecanese Islands, Aegean Islands and The Cyclades to name a few.  To make island hopping easier it would be best to visit a cluster of islands from the same group to see as much as possible and limit the time spent travelling from one to another.

    Kefalonia - Travel Bucket List Greek Island Hopping Boats, turquoise seas,

    I was going to write a list of islands I’d love to visit, but it’s so hard to narrow it down.  Once you start researching the islands you’ll discover they all look so inviting with their rugged coastlines, white dome capped buildings, ancient ruins, postcard perfect beaches, delicious cuisine and friendly laid back attitude.  I’d be happy to take a trip to any of them.  My only avoidance would be the party resorts as I prefer a quieter relaxing scene with plenty of early mornings to explore the wonders each island has to offer.

    Which Greek Islands do you recommend?

    Travel Bucket List series:
    A Luxury Family Villa in Sicily
    Why I’ve added Ireland to my bucket list
    6 reasons I want to visit Oz

     

    *collaborative post

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