Days Out

Just because you have a baby doesn’t mean you’re housebound! Here we list a whole raft of ideas of things to do, places to go and what to see when you have a baby in tow.

Our First Baby Friendly Holiday

At the back end of June, wetook our first proper baby friendly holiday. No travelling to some far off place with guaranteed sunshine, instead we headed to a cabin in Sherwood Pines Forest with Forest Holidays.

Who Are Forest Holidays?

In a nutshell Forest Holidays initially appear similar to Centre Parcs but without the crowds & indoor swimming pools. A little more of a relaxing, unwinding and escapism feel to it, offering a range of cabins for parties of all sizes, some of which are pet friendly too!
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AC/DCs Chris Slade approves of G-Man

Being a life long fan of AC/DC and having attended numerous concerts I, like other AC/DC fans, were disappointed with the news that Brian Johnson would no longer be part of their latest UK tour dates.

Having seen Brian perform in Wembley only last year, he is undoubtedly going to be missed by AC/DC staunch supporters as Axl Rose steps in (or should I say wheels in) to mixed reactions.

Still, for me, the AC/DC concert at Manchesters Etihad Stadium, is a chance of seeing one of my favourite bands, albeit with a slight twist, perform another amazing show. Also it’s a chance to enjoy a night away with the boys and possibly getting a good nights sleep.
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UK Days Out With the Kids

Now that we have finally welcomed in March, it gives us an opportunity to spend a bit more time outside with Little G-Man and enjoy the (hopefully) warmer weather. Following on from my previous post about our day out at Liverpool Luminous Laterns, I have decided to put together a list of places that are perfect to take your little boy or girl for a fun-filled day out so of which we plan to do in the coming months.

It is worth remembering that days out with your little one don’t have to be fully family-focussed, so you can attempt to maintain some kind of balance and ensure that you aren’t pulling your hair out by the end of it.

If your kids are little bit older than my little G man, then it is worth remembering that the Easter holidays are quickly approaching, so what better way to make sure that you don’t have to put up with the endless complaints of boredom?

Turbary Woods

Turbary Woods Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre is located just outside of Preston and is perfect if you and your little one are fans of wildlife and the great outdoors. Turbary Woods offers a unique collection of over 90 birds of prey, including eagles, hawks and owls. The birds are housed in large, open aviaries in sheltered woodland settings, and you can even see Falcons flying.

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Luckily, the centre is open all year round and there are flying displays on offer every day of the week; it is worth remembering that these commence at 12:00pm on weekdays, and at 1:00pm on weekends and school holidays. It is possible to take the whole family (2 adults and 2 children) for only £13, an absolute bargain, if you ask me!

Fishers Adventure Farm Park

This one is a little bit too far afield for me, but was strongly recommended to me by a friend whose son goes to a nursery in Hove and heard through the grapevine that this is a must visit place. After having heard such positive comments, I felt it was worth including for those of you who are located in the south of the country.

Lamb Friends

Lamb Friends

This Adventure Farm Park has won numerous awards and is packed full of indoor and outdoor activities for all of the family. There are a wide range of animals including: Shetland ponies, ducks, sheep, cows and even reptiles! In addition to this there are a huge selection of adventure play areas, soft play-zones with drop slides and even a climbing wall!

If you are visiting during the summer months, then there is also Splash Attack to cool things down and professional magicians performing in the theatre every day during the school holidays.

Rufford Old Hall

While this one is more appropriate if your children are a little bit older, the mix of history, garden games, house trails and den building will surely provide hours of entertainment for both adults and children alike; it is also an excellent way of making sure that your youngsters get a bit of culture and it is certainly a worthwhile day out if they are going to be studying the Tudor period at school in the near or distant future.

Rufford Old Hall

Rufford Old Hall

You can make the day all that more fun with the garden games that are offered, and you and the little ones are free to explore the garden and see how many bugs you can spot and tick off the list! If you would prefer to stay indoors, then there is a free trail on offer as you enter the house that encourages children to discover fun facts about the estate.

Rufforld Old Hall will also captivate the adults amongst you as well; the beautiful dark oak panelling, rich velvet fabrics and the stunning four-poster beds will take you back to the Tudor era and you will experience their interior design first-hand.

It can be somewhat expensive to enter a National Trust property as a family, but it is possible to sign up for membership on the day. This can prove to be a shrewd investment if your kids enjoy themselves as you will have free entry to over 500 National Trust properties in the UK.

We used our National Trust membership to visit, with Little G-Man, Dunham Massey towards the end of 2015. Dunham Massey was used as a hospital during the First World War Military and the National Trust brought it back to life to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of WW1.

York Maze

This is one of those days out that never fails to please and it is not difficult to see why when you consider that York maze has been created by from over one million live maize plants. As you can probably guess, this is the largest maze in the UK and has won plenty of awards in recognition for the fun-filled day on offer to both adults and children alike.

York Maze

York Maze

Luckily for those of us who live in north, the maze is easily accessible, especially to those living in Yorkshire. However, I would like to make it absolutely clear that York Maze is only open in the summer months; this year the maze will open from Saturday 16th July and close on Monday 5th September. While it can be something of an expensive day out, it is well worth the investment, a family of four can get a family ticket for under £50 when bought online.

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Days Out: Liverpool Luminous Lanterns

This weekend saw us wrap up warm and head off to Liverpool for the Luminous Lanterns: Spring Festival of Light held at the Liverpool Festival Gardens, the former site of International Garden Festival in the 80’s.

Created by Liverpool Lantern Company, the same company who co-create the ever popular Chester Zoo Lantern Magic events over Christmas, they transformed the gardens and woodland areas into an extraordinary landscape or bugs, creatures and dinosaur fossils all illuminated using UV lights.

Liverpool Luminous Lanterns: Spring Festival of Light

Liverpool Luminous Lanterns: Spring Festival of Light

What is the Spring Lanterns Festival of Light?

The idea behind the event was to show what is usually hidden beneath the lake beds and woodland floors in a fun, almost magic, manner.

Things that usually creep, crawl and fly around at night were overblown in size and lit up against the night sky and woodland areas making it a delightful feast on your senses.

Some of attractions and creatures such as the army of ants and stick insects were static, while many others interacted with the visitors. Actors dressed as flamingos moved in a way that reminded me of a War Horse theatre production. Obviously the actors had studied their creatures behaviour and mimicked them so well you actually forgot they weren’t real.

Ribbitting Frog

Ribbitting Frog

An Owl cooing and wooing whilst flying amongst the woodland area, frogs ribbting in a pond and an army of ants crawling up a tree were just some of the other highlights of the self-paced walk, while brightly coloured giants roamed and mingled with the crowd to some unusual mystical music provided by a band in tow.

Strolling round the festival gardens at night with so many lights certainly caught Little G-Mans attention (for the 30 minutes he stayed awake) but the interaction between the animals (actors) and the older children was fun to watch. Wolves, bugs, giants and flamingos all moving in character as little ones looked on mesmerised.

Value for money

Considering it was only £5 for adults and £2.50 for children, the 2 or so hours we spent with friends walking round the festival gardens was fantastic value for money, something Little G-Man should enjoy and appreciate more next year when he’s a little older.

We’ll definitely be buying tickets should they repeat it next year, but I think they may also run a similar event at Festival Gardens over Halloween as well as the Chester Zoo Christmas Lantern Magic event in December every year.

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