14 Jul

Warner Brothers Studio Tour Review

This family of muggles travelled to London and decided we’d like to visit the studios where the Harry Potter films were made. It’s not a theme park, it’s a genuine interesting, thrilling, and exciting studio tour. We thought it was well worth it; here’s a flavour of how we got on.

Harry Potter Experience ReviewIf you travel to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour by public transport, please, please take the bus from the train station. It’s inexpensive enough (costs about €3 per person), and it’s mocked up to look like the night bus. If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, this is probably going to be the most boring thing you’ve ever read. Sorry! If you are a fan, then you’ll certainly be interested in this family visit review. Read More

07 Jul

Legoland Windsor Review

Both hands up, we love Lego, all ages play with it in our house, and the idea of heading to an entire theme park dedicated to Lego had us all excited. Legoland Windsor is located in a scenic location in, yes, Windsor. There are a couple of hotels nearby, but we had based ourselves in London City Centre so we used the rail network to get there instead. This was a bit of a kerfuffle as it involved taking a tube from our hotel, 2 trains and a shuttle bus. It took about 90 minutes excluding the tube journey on a rainy Summer’s day. Read More

30 Jun

Free Things To Do In London With Kids

Free Things To Do In London With KidsAlthough I’ve intended this blog post to be about free things to do in London with kids, we found that any one of these activities were equally enjoyable as adults. It’s just that our kids particularly liked these excursions. All of which come free of charge, although in some cases we did have to organise things a little in advance. Read More

16 Jun

Hodson Bay Hotel Family Break Review

When you have a wide age range of children, like we do (4, 7, 16), it can be difficult to find somewhere to go that offers plenty for everybody to do, and a chance for parents to get some downtime too. Members of my family have been heading down to Athlone to the Hodson Bay Hotel for years and speak very highly of the family break package. Therefore for a family celebration in the Spring, nearly 20 of us descended on the hotel over school holidays. Here’s just a flavour of our experience. Read More

06 Nov

Seeing London For The First Time Through The Eyes Of A Child

2015-08-23 07.57.00You might remember last week I said that giving your children the mushroom treatment will pay off in the long run. Well it certainly did in our case. On a Saturday in August we made our way to Dublin airport on the premise that we have to drop a bag off to friends, we then broke the bad news the boys that we wouldn’t going home for a few days. I had bought tickets on Ryanair in a sale for the four of us, travelling to London Gatwick, for the princely sum under €75 one way. The three year old had never been on an aeroplane before and the six year old couldn’t remember whether we had been on an aeroplane before or not (he had but he was under 1 at the time).

Over the course of the previous fortnight I had packed the hand luggage and hidden it in the attic. As I already mentioned we travelled only with hand luggage, I also had printed travel folios one each for my husband and I with our entire secret itinerary. We also carried a small amount of Sterling/British pound, and preloaded oyster cards for travelling the public train network. You can order them here if you’re interested & yes they do ship to Ireland. Read More

30 Oct

Travelling On A Budget With Kids

Travelling On A BudgetLast Summer we packed our backpacks and went on an adventure with the two smaller boys (the teen elected to stay behind). Travelling on a budget with kids is actually easier than you would think, providing you stick to some of our tried and tested tips!

Research, research, research.

Use Trip Advisor, online chat forums, and/or ask friends and families to see what they would recommend. However, I’m sticking a caveat in here! Be wary of some online reviews. We visited a number of places that had been recommended by bloggers while on our travels. It became clear to us that the reviews may have been influenced by sponsored visits outside of peak times, and seen through rose-tinted glasses. I’ll return to this again over the next few weeks. As a blogger myself, I’m kicking myself for not taking their reviews with a pinch of salt.

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30 Jul

Inis Mór

Just 24 hours. That’s all we had on Inis Mór. It’s not enough time to do all the things we wanted to do. The last thing we wanted to do was to climb on board a tour bus. Hubby spends enough of his time driving buses so even if it meant we missed out on some of the landmarks, for the most part we walked.

Journey

It takes about 3 hours from Dublin to Rossaveal Harbour, where you can park  your car to get aboard the ferry. You can also travel to the Aran Islands via Clare but this was the best option for us.

It’s a further 40-odd minutes to get to Inis Mór on the boat. However do bear in mind that it may take longer if the weather is bad! No matter how sunny it is, a raincoat or wind-cheater is a must for the boat if you intend to stand outside. I always stand out on deck if I can, if you suffer from motion sickness, make sure you’re in the fresh air, even if it’s raining.Aran Islands FerryAccommodation

We stayed in the Mainistir Hostel which is about 2km outside of Kilronan in the townland of Mainistir. They have a dedicated family area where you can book adjacent family rooms, and it’s private to the rest of the accommodation. For the 5 of us, including breakfast, it only set us back €100 for the night.  It’s about a 20 minute walk up a hill, 30 minutes if you’re pushing a buggy with bags and cranky toddlers/teens.

This kind of room was not the kind of lodgings I expected to get from a hostel:Bedroom at Mainistir Hostel

Joel (proprietor) will also cook an evening meal for the very reasonable price of €15 per person for a mainly vegetarian buffet cooked from local ingredients. It has been highly recommended to me, but we didn’t get a chance to try it out as dinnertime was a bit too late for the small ones. I do trust the recommendations I got from more than 1 learned person so it’s certainly something to bear in mind if you want excellent food cooked for you on a budget.  Otherwise there are ample cooking facilities in hostel.

The breakfast by the way was all homemade. Some freshly boiled eggs, homemade blackberry preserves, muffins still warm in the cases, lashings of toast, fruit compote and yoghurt. There was also a selection of cereals, all eaten in front of a massive window overlooking the sea and washed down with a giant pot of strong tea. I could have stayed there for hours.

Here’s a short video of what we got up and there’s more information our stay below:

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23 Jul

Camping In Mountshannon

The day we packed up our things from carvanning in Kerry, we headed up the road, past Limerick to Mountshannon in County Clare for a 2 night stay. Before I start this blogpost I have to confess, as we didn’t have space for camping gear, thanks to the Irish Caravan And Camping Council, we stayed in a caravan on site. We had as close to a camping experience as we could get! You’ll need to play the video to see more.
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15 Jul

Caravanning In Kerry

For the past 4 years we have organised one of the local Summer Projects instead of going on holiday. This year we knew that we needed to take a break, and decided to staycation around Ireland and in particular in the West. When the opportunity arose to go caravanning in Kerry, we decided to take the Irish Caravan and Camping Council up on their offer, packed the car, and travelled down the country.

The plan was to spend 3 nights in the Glenross Caravan & Camping Park in Glenbeigh, on the Ring of Kerry, then a further 2 nights at another location in the midlands. I’ll be back next week with our account of how we got on when we left Kerry but in the meantime, here’s what you need to know. Read More

03 Jun

Bloom In The Park 2013

If you’re into gardening and the UK is just a little bit too far for you to travel to see the big flower shows then Bloom In The Park is for you. While it might be the Irish version of the more popular events like Chelsea Flower Show, it is in fact far more as Bloom also hosts a vibrant food festival. Read More

24 May

Northern Lights in Dublin

This is a super quick post, I literally just took this shot only 10 minutes ago and I want to go to bed! Read More

14 May

Hafan Y Mor Holiday Park Review

Yesterday I told you all about how we got on when we travelled with Stena Line to Wales and today I’m going to give Hafan Y Mor Holiday Park a review.

Confession time. Before this trip, I’d never actually stayed overnight in a holiday park.  Hands up. Who remembers Butlins? While I was a regular visitor in my childhood, with a family member who lived close by we never got to stay over so I really didn’t know what to expect at Hafan Y Mor. Read More

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