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.
The theatre offers a very wide programme each year of new and classic plays, often in radical productions. Last season's production of Macbeth (in Swedish - well, you know the story) was set at the time of the Great War, and was highly imaginative and wholly convincing.
Drama in Sweden has a long and distinguished history, and the high quality of work at the national theatre is a reflection of this tradition.
The website is clear, well illustrated and easy to use.
City centre, short walk, or subway to Ostermalmstorg. www.dramaten.se
Charming and friendly 4 star hotel located in the town centre. Stayed there on business but would return again for pleasure.
Avda. Reyes Católicos 30, ES-9001,
Tel. +34 947 222 300.
To get there from Madrid take the A-1 motorway.
Our trip to Hon Fleur was our first with our new 12 week old baby, and what a perfect first holiday it was.
Hon Fleur is French enough to feel 'foreign', but close enough to the UK to feel 'safe' with a newborn in tow. We travelled from Dulwich to Hon Fleur within six hours, door to door, less than it often takes us to get up to Lancashire!
We rented a self-catering restored French gite on a sheep farm, about 4 miles outside of Hon Fleur. Rural, peaceful, surrounded by a big garden and fields, and with the loveliest owners imaginable, we felt like we had secured our little family haven.
Using Hon Fleur as our base, we explored local areas - with the amazing French roads, driving was an absolute pleasure. Evenings were spent either sipping good wine and dining in Hon Fleur (baby asleep in his pram beside us), watching the world go by - or sitting outside our gite listening to music, eating homemade food and, yes, you guessed it, sipping good wine!
One week later (but feeling like it was much longer) we returned to the UK relaxed, refreshed, and looking forward to many more enjoyable self-drive family holidays.
This good hotel stands across the river from the wonderful castle of Josselin. It offers a range of excellent rooms which have retained their essentially French character. The restaurant takes the form of an enormous baronial hall, with swords and shields galore but the important thing is that the food is excellent. Many of the rooms have a view of the castle opposite, and in the early morning the mists from the river disperse to reveal a huge curtain wall, topped by steeps roofs, turrets and pinnacles galore.
60km west of Rennes, off the N24; 40 north of Vannes, off the D778.
Logis de France 2 cheminées - 1 rue du Général de Gaulle 56120 Josselin
Tel : 02 97 22 20 11
Valognes is a small town with a lot of character, good, small hotels and restaurants, and a market on Friday mornings. The town's heyday was in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries, when some spectacular buildings dominated the place, such as the wonderful Hotel de Beaumont. However, like most towns in Normandy, the weeks following D-Day devastated most of Valognes and what remains is a tribute to the determination of the people who survived that time and rebuilt their town. Valognes is worth a stay for its own sake, because it lies at the centre of an interesting region, and for the fact that it is close to the ferry port at Cherbourg but retains its own distinctive and attractive character.
18km south of Cherbourg; signs for Valognes, off the N13.
Superb location - plus riding on a beautiful beach! Caters for all abilities including children. Good local accommodation, history and legends, good local pubs in the area where you can enjoy fueling up for the next day!
Filey on the Yorkshire coast is an enchanting 5 mile long stretch of clean golden sand. Great for walkers, children, surfers and anyone who enjoys beauty and quietness. From Filey Brigg jutting out into the North Sea to the cliffs of Speeton and Bempton it is an uniterrupted paradise.
Filey, North Yorkshire, has its own passenger train station and frequent bus services. It is also in reach of the North Yoks Moors, Scarborough, Whitby, Robin Hoods Bay .....
Rome's zoo is being gradually improved and has been renamed the Bioparco. A greater emphasis is now being placed on its ecological and environmental credentials. I visited it on a Wednesday afternoon. Apart from three Russians who asked me for directions to the exit, I was the only visitor. I think the animals were glad to see me. If you like wolves there are lots here. Very wolfish and sleek. Apart from its intrinsic merits, it's one of the few places in Rome where you can get away from the crowds.
Viale del Giardino Zoologico. Trams 3 and 19, plus a short walk.
What a beautiful campsite. It is situated next to the sea with fantastic views from every point. You can choose to camp metres from the sea or on a cliff top. Take binoculars for dolphin watching!
The site is a hidden treasure and is usually discovered quite by accident as the entrance is on a very steep bend and is easily missed. The facilities are fine - clean shower/toilet blocks, and a washroom containing a small freezer for use by all. Each pitch has a small area for campfires.
When the tide is out you can explore the rocky beach and if you walk south along the beach you will discover a natural swimming pool in the rocks - perfect. Friendly owners, reasonable prices and a dream place to stay. Fantastic.
Cae Du Campsite
Tel: 01654 711234
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