We spent half term in London in the very pretty Blackheath, just outside Greenwich. There’s loads of things to do in Greenwich and the larger southeast London region for all the family, plus it’s very easy to get into central London for some of the bigger sights too. As I’m fairly familiar with the area I thought I’d go see some lesser-known spots as well as the big hitters. Many of the places we visited were free to get in so your only cost is transport if you get organised with snacks and a picnic lunch.
Ditch all those thoughts of London being polluted and overcrowded. Our capital has some beautiful places to walk in. Did you know London is one of the greenest cities on earth? And that we’re going to become a National Park City in July? Here’s some of the best walks in London you can have. Some of these walks in London are well-known, and with good reason – they are beautiful; others are under the radar, more peaceful and just as picturesque. I’ve noted where you can get the essentials – coffee and cake – as well as where the nearest toilets and playgrounds are, so all these walks should be pretty family-friendly walks in London too. Settle in with a cup of tea – this is a long post. Told you London was green.
When I was thinking about adventure ideas and cool adventurous things parents could do, the one thing that kept coming back to me was how we really don’t need to travel far to experience adventure. The UK has so many dramatic to explore. This is good news for families, who generally don’t have the time or ability to disappear for months on end in the wilderness.
Down House is the Georgian manor home of Charles Darwin. It’s now managed by English Heritage, and is a top family day out.
We spent the week of October half term in Northumberland. I’ve always wanted to visit this stunning part of the country. I had visions of windswept moors, deserted beaches and castles at every turn, and it didn’t disappoint. We visited as a family of three generations so it was important we did things that catered for all ages. Here’s a round-up of fun things to do in Northumberland with kids.
There are obviously many other amazing things to see and do in this friendly but wild area of England but digging out your hiking boots and going walking in Northumberland should be your number one activity if you are lucky enough to come up here. Ancient Hadrian’s Wall, dramatic moorland and craggy hills, wild and wonderful quiet beaches, there’s nowhere else quite like walking in Northumberland.
What an amazingly hot summer we’ve had this year, and a fab opportunity to enjoy our best family beaches in the UK. And there’s still the promise of a glorious autumn to make the most of our spectacular coastline. In fact, these beaches are so lovely they are perfect to visit any time of the year. I actually really love going in the depths of winter, when you’re likely to have to whole place to yourself. I’ve chosen these beaches as the best family beaches in the UK because they tick both adults and kids boxes – family-friendly, with good access, possible refreshments or activities and shallow waters or weak currents, but also just so beautiful with gorgeous surroundings and, hopefully, fairly peaceful too.
We tried glamping for the first time in Dorset at Featherdown glamping, and were very pleased we did. As its name suggests, it offers glamorous camping. If you like the idea of camping and getting closer to nature, but can’t face a whole week with kids, glamping is a great midway choice.
Watersports were made for the Jurassic coastline. Our trip to Dorset was the perfect opportunity to continue with part of my ‘4 adventures in 4 months with a 4 year old‘. I abandoned the idea of wild swimming as my son can’t swim yet, so probably not the best idea. However there was still plenty of choice to do some adventuring offland. We chose sailing for June and kayaking for July. Snorkelling is another option, and Kimmeridge Bay is actually a brilliant place where you can do it even if you can’t swim, as the water levels are so low.
Sailing around Portland Harbour
I couldn’t find any small boats to have a go on with my son. Most operators seem to only offer sailing courses, or trips if you are already qualified. I found a few places near home which occasionally take out families for a hour or so to show them the ropes, but nothing was happening when I wanted to do it. Luckily we did find Moonfleet Adventure Sailing.
Think of an old pirate ship – big white sails, flag, ship dog, and you’ve got the Moonfleet ship! It’s very rough and ready, and a real man’s ship. We were given a brief tour, and there are no luxuries on board. Expect to shape up and chip in on here. Luckily, our son was keen and was super excited to help pull up the mighty sails and lower them down again, and even sail around some of the harbour.
We went out for the shortest time, which is two hours. It was plenty. We all went, so that included my two year old son, though I probably wouldn’t bring him again, as I spent most of the trip clinging onto him and making sure he didn’t trip over odds and sods on the deck.
Highlights of the boat according to my son was the dog and the biscuits. I’m not sure we would go again to be honest. Maybe one to save for when kids are a bit older.
Kayaking at Studland Bay
Kayaking at Studland Bay, on the other hand, was a downright win. It was so successful, my two year old had a paddy because he wanted to have a go as well, which he did. Again, I looked for places that offered kayaking or canoeing for young kids, but the only operator I could find was Foradventure, on selected dates. They do look very cool, so another time maybe.
However, it’s so easy to hire kayaks at Studland Bay for 30-60 minutes and just paddle around the shallows of the bay – which are just perfect for first timers. Very calm and pretty. My husband took the kids out and I watched from afar as I’d had a recent eye operation, but its safe to say we will definitely be going out on kayaks or canoes again somewhere near us.
My children can’t swim, so life jackets are a must (and for those who can swim too), so we’ll make sure we choose very calm and shallow waters. And we’ll carry on with our swimming lessons!
Other watersports to try along the Jurassic coastline
Jurassic Coast Activities offers kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayaking, coasteering and paddleboarding. Land and Wave offer coasteering, paddleboarding, family survival skills and sea kayaking. You can learn to sail with Shell Bay sailing. Shallow snorkelling is available at Kimmeridge Bay. And of course, if you can swim, the world (or sea) is your oyster.
Dorset with kids is a must-do holiday. Dorset has always appealed to me as a fantastic UK holiday destination, particularly now with kids (it’s not called the Jurassic Coast for nothing). Plus who needs to fly abroad in summer with this gorgeous weather in England?! Here’s my itinerary for families who want to enjoy the best of coastal Dorset with kids.