A Beach and Inflatable Play Park at Lee Valley

If you’re planning your diaries for the school summer holidays, you might want to include a visit to the Lee Valley White Water centre. Just 5 minutes from the M25 in Hertfordshire, this top notch white water sports centre was built for the Olympics, so it’s probably the best place in the UK for canoeing or rafting adventures. (You can see my white water experiences over on Space In Your Case). But the water isn’t the main reason you’ll want to go this summer. Unless you have older kids with a fancy for it. Lee Valley White Water have installed …

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Climbing the O2 Dome – what to expect when you climb the millenium dome

We’ve had a couple of big birthdays in our family recently. Just before Christmas, I made a big song and dance about turning 50. Ok, so really it was all an attempt to justify the complete wardrobe haul spending spree I went on. Call it mid-life crisis, if you will. I don’t care. Once you’re 50 it’s ok to stop caring what others think, right? Anyway, it was great, we celebrated in New York – well, mid-flight en-route to the Big Apple, to be exact, but who’s counting? Oh yeah, right. That would be me. Anyway, again… my brother and I …

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Meet Meerkats: Fall in Love (review of Paradise Wildlife Park)

The meet the meerkats experience at Paradise Wildlife park is a very special treat

Have you ever been this close to a meerkat? I snapped this picture over the half term holidays at Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, and I wasn’t using my zoom lens. I was actually sitting on the stump right next to these two guys as they got up close and personal after their feed. Aren’t they adorable? The Bug has long been a fan of meerkats. My self-professed ‘next David Atteborough’ boy loves anything about animals and nature, and whilst he might struggle to remember what 7 x 6 is, the space in his brain reserved for creature trivia is …

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Days Out: SEA LIFE London Aquarium

Kids love the fun things to do at the London aquarium

Our summer holidays would never be complete without a visit to the London aquarium. Ever since the Bug started his ‘day out with dad’ tradition, the fishy attraction has always topped his list of favourite things to do. Recently he has begun to identify every fast car he sees on the road, and is adamant he will one day own a Lamborghini, so this year they chose to see the James Bond car exhibition. But he couldn’t skip the aquarium, so we all went. One of the biggest highlights is watching the rays in the shallow pool. They are bizarrely …

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Taking Kids to Planet Hollywood London (review)

The kids had the best time at Planet Hollywood. And it wasn't just about the food...

I have to say we’ve had the best summer. Quite apart from the weather playing ball for once (shhh…), we haven’t been away on holiday. And that’s a good thing. Instead, we’ve had a series of brilliant days out, lots of them in London. The kids, at 9 and nearly 12, are super company, pretty safe to take out in a crowd, and capable of doing some walking without getting tired. (Though I do have to carry their stuff as the day wears on). Without a doubt, one of our best days out was spent around Piccadilly Circus, visiting Ripleys …

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Easy Family Trips with Virgin Trains

Liverpool's iconic Liver Building, against a stunning blue sky

Twenty hour queues to Dover. Holidaymakers camping out like waifs and strays on airport benches. The car park of the M25, M4, and M6 as Summer starts. Motorway logjams from the moment the schools finish, until well into the following week, when seemingly 75% of Brits have finally made it to their holiday destinations. Travelling anywhere in the UK by car in the school holidays is always fraught with stress and boredom. Take the train instead! Last weekend we took a trip to Liverpool. We had a rare free day as a family, and fancied something different to our usual …

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A Day Out at Liverpool’s Albert Dock (review)

Imagine a square half mile that provides enough entertainment for the whole family for an entire day. It’s not a theme park, or a festival (although it has a festival atmosphere this summer); it’s just a city attraction that will keep all ages happy just hanging out together. I’m talking about the Albert Dock, in Liverpool, a small but vibrant commercial centre built around the historic old dockyards of Liverpool’s port. It’s years since I’ve been to Liverpool, but it’s only 2 hours from London on the train, so we decided to have a day out somewhere different now that …

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Where to see Bluebells in Hertfordshire

Photographing in the bluebells at Ringshall

Ringshall, 2008. It’s been years since I updated our photo albums. Since the Bug was born, in fact, and I somehow lost a whole section of time in my day. It was something I always pushed to the bottom of my list, from where it nagged me weekly. For seven years. Last week I finally began the process of sifting through old images on old laptops and even older hard drives; and I found this picture of my daughter, aged 4, in the woods at Ringshall, on the Ashridge estate. It’s not the perfect photo – I don’t do Photoshop, …

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Blackpool Illuminasia light show

Blackpool Illuminasia - Terracotta Warriors in the Mysteries of China Zone

We visited Blackpool for a family weekend away whilst the Blackpool Illuminations were on. Every year, from the end of August, until early November, Blackpool’s seafront plays host to the most incredible light attraction you will see in the UK. I loved it as a teenager, and I loved it again when I took my family 3o years later, and it has really left me in the Christmas spirit. Blackpool Illuminasia But if the 3 mile stretch of Blackpool’s illuminations aren’t enough for you, you can extend the pleasure of colourful light installations with a visit to Illuminasia, the world’s …

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Starstruck at Madame Tussauds Blackpool

Madame Tussauds Blackpool One Direction

The stars at Madame Tussauds Blackpool. On our recent trip to Blackpool we paid a visit to Madame Tussauds. We’d heard that someone rather famous, and very very important was going to be there, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet them… 😉 We’ve visited Tussauds in London previously, and whilst it is undoubtedly a spectacular day trip, it is massively busy, which can be a bit stressful with young children. Madame Tussauds Blackpool was refreshing though; all the wow of the same stars, without such a big crowd. We did still have to queue up to see …

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