Friendly and comfortable Scottish family-run hotel. Very relaxing for a weekend away.
On the doorstep of The Isle of Arran, great golf courses and other attractions.
Very nice restaurant and bar, and the rooms were very clean and comfortable too.
31 Ardrossan Road, Seamill, Ayrshire, KA239NA
West Kilbride Station
It's 100 giant outdoor photos of wildlife from all over the world. you can see it at even at night.
The photos are huge, incredible, and moving, and the whole exhibition is easy to find, and free!
Raoul Wallenbergs Torg. Really central.
Sidmouth itself, for most of the year, is a gorgeous sleepy little seaside town, with a pebbly beach, great coast walks and really good ice cream.
But for the first week of August every year it turns into a fantastic festival - traditional music from all over the world, dancers, singers, musicians, ceilidhs until the early hours of the morning.
It's really family-friendly, with loads of craft activities for kids, and lots of the young musicians now performing at the festival got dragged there by their parents as children, so there's a real cross-generation atmosphere.
Personally, I wouldn't miss it for the world - spending a week in seaside sunshine, in pubs and marquees, listening to some of the best folk musicians around...bliss!
www.sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk - nearest train station is Honiton, with regular buses to Sidmouth.
The Gallery provides a large collection of great permanent and special event art exhibitions which would interest all ages.
All sorts of works from all periods of art history, including paintings and sculptures. The building itself is architecturally very interesting with its new all-glass section connecting two parts of the main buildings. Other galleries in the area worth noting are the Whitworth (on Wilmslow road across the road from the hospitals) and the Lowry centre (in Salford Quays).
Mosley Street, not far from the Central Library and the Town Hall.
York Green Festival is a one-day free festival in Rowntree Park, 11am til 5pm, with bands, stalls, children's activities and more.
We have just come back from a self catering holiday in the Deux Sevres department of France at a gite complex called Les Cygnes.
Although the weather was variable there was huge amounts to see and do both outside Les Cygnes and inside. It has beautiful pool and games room.
One of the best things though was that the owners had really thought about what makes a good family holiday.
They also helped us offset our carbon footprint by planting a tree on their land to help use up the CO2 used in our travel and stay there. A really good idea.
Le Breuil Coiffaud
My friend and I recently visited the 4 star Hotel Lungomare, Cesenatico to take part in the Nove Colli Annual cycling event which takes place in May each year. Opting for the shorter 130km route (as opposed to the gruelling 200km route!) we decided not to take our own bikes as we had already experienced the loss of one through an airline several years ago, the hotel immediately put us in touch with their professional hire company, Neri, in Cesena who supplied us with bikes that rivalled those of our own. The hotel provides a great package for all its cyclists - a secure workshop with all the equipment you need for minor repairs/calibrations as well as offering a very impressive pre-event hot meal (at 4am!) and a very friendly welcome back after our long long day with a post event buffet all freshly prepared. The hotel is right on the beach with a huge pool and great spa/health facilities - everything was done in true Italian style and always with a smile! We have already booked to go back in September to explore the area more - some great hill climbs and some wonderful nature reserves to visit and we also plan to watch the Giro Della Romagna professional event which takes place on 9th September. Cesenatico is the home town of the late great Marco Pantani so cycling is taken pretty seriously here!
It is also a great hotel for families - plenty going on in town all the time, kids club, shops and bars just a stone's throw from the hotel - one not to be missed!
The cycle routes are so beautiful and plentiful in Holland, often set apart from other traffic, that I really recommend going on a cycling holiday. I have done it regularly since I was about 7 with my family and it is very exciting, safe and beautiful (the countryside in the east/south is magnificent).
There are also special 'trekkershutten', little wooden cabins at many campsites throughout Holland specifically for cyclists. It is cheap, basic but clean accommodation usually with 2 bunkbeds, a kitchen and a terrace. Even though I have been on holidays to far away places as a child, my best memories are still these cycling holidays!
www.trekkershutten.nl, it is in Dutch, but if you click on 'Contact' and then request information in English, you should be okay. Otherwise contact the ANWB, info was in Saturday's (16/06/2007) Travel section.
If you liked Rosenborg Palace in Copenhagen you'll like Frederiksborg even more because it's in the same Danish Renaissance style (toy soldier castle) but even bigger. Like most royal things in Denmark it was originally built for Christian IV (about the time of our Charles I) but suffered a disastrous fire in the 19th century. It was then restored to its original appearance by the brewing family of Jacobsen (of Carlsberg fame) and since then has been the Danish Museum of National History.
Its interiors are magnificent and show a range of works of art, including the national portrait collection. Beautiful gardens outside.
Hillerod, a short train and bus ride from Copenhagen. S-tog lines A or E. Buses nos 701 or 702 from Hillerod station. www.frederiksborgmuseet.dk
We spent a week on the beautiful island of Alonissos with our family. Our accommodation at the apartments Patitiri was excellent, cheap prices, nice view and good service.
Michael's is a neighbourhood restaurant in Birkdale, Southport. The chef, Michael Wichmann, has worked all over the world before setting up in Birkdale and the food is fabulous. Scallops with taboulleh and sea trout with minted new potatoes and red onion apple salad were some of the dishes on the menu when we visited recently and it was fabulous. The service is professional but friendly, and children are welcome.
47 Liverpool Road
Nearest Station: Birkdale
A lido jutting out into the lake. Perfect when Geneva is hot and you are feeling envious of the ducks paddling around - you can join them. Entry is super cheap, there is a good cafe serving substantial salads and terrines and showers/ loos/ changing rooms. There are different sectioned off swimming areas, some deeper, some shallower (and with a pebbly beach for little ones). Super relaxing and quite fun to be bobbing around next to a family of ducks. It's open from early til 8pm and they also have a hammam and massage facilities (but think hammam is currently being refurbished and you definitely need to book for massages).
Quai du Mont-Blanc 30
The Vias Verdes are "green routes" through Spain. Former railway lines, the gravel tracks are traffic-free and suitable for cycling and walking. They provide a beautiful alternative to on-road cycling, ideal if you have young kids in tow.
Routes are pretty flat or at least nicely graded, even in hilly areas, because they were originally designed for trains. The network is not huge at present but there are plenty of 2-3 day excursions to be enjoyed on the existing Vias. This is a really fun way to explore Spain!
www.viasverdes.es - only in Spanish, I'm afraid, but the map etc. is easy enough to follow and the routes are generally well-signed once you are there
This gallery opened in 2002 and shows the visual arts and design of the 20th and 21st centuries. It was designed by Stephan Braunfel. It is spacious, full of natural light from a huge rotunda, and offers both a permanent collection and changing exhibitions. It is a pleasure to visit. The design work in particular is imaginatively displayed, on ramps, on huge open lifts that revolve in the air, or suspended at eye level from the high ceilings. Like the other nearby museums, it has a good cafe, and an attractive shop that sells both mementos of your visit and scholarly material. The entry fee was 9.50 euros but that covered all the shows offered in the gallery.
Museum District; tram 27 from Karlsplatz (Stachus) www.pinakothek-der-moderne.de
A beautiful beach. Within easy distance from Cala D'Or and the sun-worshipping 'let's make like a sardine' beaches, is a way to escape the hordes at a gorgeous, wooded, white-sanded cove.
It is accessible by road and then a short walk and just along the coast from Porto Petro. Busy with families but not packed and set in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Fantastic, safe swimming/snorkeling - it gets deep quickly but very sheltered and only a short walk along the rocky path (from which you can dive in several places) to another beautiful and much quieter little beach.
Facilities include two restaurants/ bars with great reasonably-priced food and also showers. We all loved it (11 of us, ages 5- 62). We've been back there each year for the last four and never tire of it.
Tucked away down country lanes between Concarneau and Pont-Aven. A really lovely beach - ideal for children with soft sand, sloping gently into the sea. A small Ile off-shore and small dunes and rocks for exploration and adventure.
A number of excellent campsites - the one where we camped was linked to the beach by a path through a field of poppies. Good place for the first French camping trip with a young family.
Raguenes Plage, Nevez, Brittany
We stayed at the Villa San Raffaello for our first family holiday in Italy. The Villa has recently undergone extensive renovation and refurbishment and now has four spacious self-catering apartments. There is still plenty of exposed original stonework and wooden beams and ceilings to remind you of the heritage of the place.
We stayed in apartment Elisa - a first floor apartment comprising double bedroom, twin bedroom, bathroom, lounge and modern kitchen and dining room. Access is via the courtyard with jasmine plants growing up the walls. The great feature of this apartment is the balcony and breakfast area which is accessed from the lounge. We spent most mornings having our breakfast here together (and evenings when the children were asleep!). You look down upon the beautiful courtyard below, but best of all are the stunning views across to the medieval hill-top town of Sarnano a couple of miles away, with the backdrop of the spectacular Sibillini Mountains and National park. The view changed every hour!
The huge swimming pool was a massive hit with the children and came in very handy during the heat of the day to cool down.
We hired a car from Ancona Airport which was an absolute must, but make sure you check the cost of hiring child car seats in advance. We visited the stunning Lake Fiastra, 25 mins away up and over the top of the mountains (remember the roads in the Italian Job?).
Also visited the Roman town and ruins at Urbisaglia, the market at Macerata and fully explored the town of Sarnano. We found we could have a two-course meal with wine for around €15 a head.
We can recommend the 'Osteria scherzi a parte' a great little restaurant 15 mins up the mountain road from Sarnano to Sassotetto, the local ski resort (yes, you can do some skiing here too!).
We will definitely be returning to the Villa San Raffaello some time soon. Damien and Sharon, the owners, were extremely welcoming and invaluable for their local information, suggestions for walks and sightseeing, markets and help with the language, both being fluent in the local lingo!
One and a half hour drive from Ancona Airport (Ryanair fly there from Stansted).
Roskilde was once the capital of Denmark, and the beautiful cathedral there (a World Heritage site) contains 38 royal tombs, including that of Harald Bluetooth.
The fjord is a short walk down the hill and has an extensive museum and boatbuilding yard where traditional Viking longships are made and sailed before your very eyes.
When I visited the place it was swarming with tiny children all done up in lifejackets enthusiastically climbing aboard these craft and setting sail, under expert supervision. The Vikings are evidently still keen.
Roskilde town, a short train ride from Copenhagen central station. Then walk to the cathedral and fjord.
This is Sweden's national gallery and shows a wide range of work from the middle ages to the start of the twentieth century.
Like the other countries in Scandinavia, Sweden's painters especially loved landcape and nature, and there are many beautiful examples of this kind of work. The murals on the grand staircase are by Carl Larsson.
Nationalmuseum, a short walk from Gustav Adolf's Torg (city centre) westwards, along the waterfront, past the Opera House.
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