Just half a mile from Arundel town centre is one of England's leading wildlife reserves. The new visitor centre at Arundel is surrounded by ancient woodland and overlooked by the town's castle.
The wetlands at Arundel are home to many rare wetland species.
The centre is open 364 days a year and is a great day out.
More details see www.wwt.org.uk/visit/arundel/default.asp
See one of the UK's greatest wildlife attractions. There are over a thousand Grey Seals at very close quarters at the Donna Nook nature reserve between mid-November to mid-December.
Location details can be found here www.lincstrust.org.uk/reserves/nr/reserve.php?mapref=15
For more details www.lincsuk.com/donnanookseals.htm
If you like colour, passion, noise and friendly people try to get a ticket for a game at the Millerntor.
Age, race, sex and fashion sense matters not one bit. There are families, skinheads, anarchists, hippies, punks and office workers all there having an enjoyable time, win, lose or draw.
The vast quantities of beer consumed in the local bars pre-game only serves to make people more amicable. This is not a club to come to if you think going to a football match is all about you displaying your macho aggression.
A ticket for the terrace costs about 12 euros. As the Reeperbahn is just round the corner, why not pull yourself away from the strip clubs for a couple of hours, and let St Pauli fans show you a good time.
Millerntor Stadion, Budapester Str, U-Bahn stop St Pauli (line U3).
Go to the zoo and see the animals ..and get up close with the animals. After closing time, "Roar 'n' Snore' starts with dinner followed by a nightime guided tour of the zoo. You get to explore the zoo as night falls and see the zoo's nightlife...animals whose activities start at dusk. Supper follows..before you bed down for the night...in your tent in the middle of the zoo.
I might add, nightime at the zoo is NOISY!
Breakfast is served next morning before more walks around the zoo.
This is simply a wonderful activity that has to be experienced.
For adults and families with children 7+
Elliot Ave, Parkville
Melbourne Zoo is located only minutes north from the city centre, within Royal Park. Car parking is available or visitors can take the tram or train to reach the Zoo. Trains run from Flinders Street Station stopping at Melbourne Zoo's own Royal Park Station
Sledge down La Truite, a green piste which leads from Mottaret to Méribel - a lot steeper on a sledge than it looks on skis!
Great fun, you are given a sledge (with brakes of sorts), a helmet and a glow stick so you can spot the other sledgers in the dark as you hurtle down the slope, and are accompanied by ski guides to give you a push if you get stuck.
Tuesdays at 5.45pm, meet at Méribel-Mottaret tourist office (costs €3 per person, including sledge and helmet, put your name down at the tourist office)
The kids loved the pizza here, and the fact they could wander round unhindered. The statue of the naked lady in the corner caused great amusement as well. On the very top floor there is a theatre. It's worth finding out if there is a performance on when you're there. We watched an entrancing xmas story monologue, which kept even the jaded Playstationer glued to his seat. Free soup with a ticket was also a bonus on a cold winter's day.
78/9 Grafton Street
+353 1 6727720
There is a great cycle path along Palmas seafront and beyond towards the west, if you have a hire car you can get free bicycles in the underground parking on the seafront across from the cathedral as long as you are parked there, then cycle west and enjoy a ride along the busy neighbourhoods of Palmas coastline. There are many good places to stop off and grab a bite on the way.
The entrance to the garage is on the main causeway along the seafront across from the cathedral.
Chang means elephant in Thai and so it is fitting that when a new home had to be found for the elephants from northern Thailand, as they were no longer used for work or transport, that they were brought to Ko Chang. It is possible to go on a 1 or 2 hour elephant trek to the interior of Ko Chang taking you through rubber and mangrove plantations. Our elephant, Banyen, treated us to 2 hours of pure pleasure - we rode her through the plantations, watched her bathe in the pool and fed her pineapples and bananas. A fabulous trip to be enjoyed by all the family for only 900 BHT per person - approx 11 pounds.
Klong Prao, Ko Chang
It's virtually impossible to get onto the beach at Malibu if you don't own a slice of it, but Bob Morris' Beach Cafe is right on the beach at Paradise Cove. The food is also great - lots of surf and turf type dishes - and you can hang out on the beach before and after dining. To get to the beach, you have to drive through what is probably the world's most expensive trailer park.
Turn left off PCH North, about 30 mins from Santa Monica.
Dundee has really changed for the better over the last couple of decades. It has transformed from a down at heel city to a bright, fun place to visit. There's lots to do and see for everyone, shops, museums, theatre and the beach and castle at Broughty Ferry.
You can read my guide to Dundee at
Kids complaining? Don't know where to take them during holidays? The Melbourne Fire Services Museum is a great place to take them. Adults will also find this place of great interest. Located in the old head office of the Melbourne Fire Brigade, the Fire Services Museum Victoria was opened to provide a home and focus for the history of fire fighting services in the Victoria. The Museum includes a large collection of fire related items...fascinating.
Take the kids!
39 Gisborne Street
(Cnr. Gisborne Street and Victoria Parade), East Melbourne
take the tram from Flinders Street railway station.
Open Fridays 9am to 3pm
and Sundays 10am to 4pm.
In Paris with two boys, one our cheerful seven-year-old, the other our stroppy 15-year-old "Little Englander" who was determined to be unimpressed by anything French (it was just a phase - he is now studying international relations at Bradford University's Department of Peace Studies). The Eiffel Tower was "OK", the Pompidou Centre was "torture". Paris in the company of a teenage grump was turning out to have been the trip from hell when we saw the posters for tours of Le Stade de France. Ok, about the last place I would choose out of all the many places and sights in Paris which I may never see, but hey, this was supposed to be a treat for all of us.
We found our way to Le Stade in an uninspiring suburb. It was a comprehensive tour, taking in changing rooms, stands, pitch and presidential box and loads more. It felt like we got to look in every storeroom.
Most of it bored me silly but it was worth every minute to see the transformation in the boy. He was so appreciative that his uplifted mood lasted for the rest of the trip. That afternoon, he sat patiently watching his little brother playing for two hours and more in the childrens' playground in the Luxembourg Gardens. Later on we wandered round the local streets and found a great pizza restaurant. And so home to hotel, all of us content and well fed. It was a special day.
Fantastic online retailer of sun protection kit which I couldn't find in the high street for the kids. Really helpful lady on the phone and I got it really quickly.
Web address is www.beachfactory.com and London phone number 020 8332 7467
Tarbes’ most attractive feature, the Jardin Massey is a 19th century English-style garden located in the heart of town, replete with resplendent peacocks and a mini train for kids. There's also a complete 14th century cloister, a cactus house, a duck lake and an outside cafe. Beside the cafe you'll find a free horse-driven carriage for sight-seeing trips round Tarbes, from July to mid-September. Tarbes isn't renowned for its saving graces, but this park is one of them.
Accessible from Rue Massey, Rue Achille, Rue Andre Fourcade, near the station (Tarbes).
We rented a flat direct from a Venetian Family just 50m from the Rialto Bridge and shopped at the famous markets for fish and vegetables. Wander the backstreets and copy the local habit of eating ciccetti with a glass of prosecco at any time between 11am and 8pm.
For great value food and wine eat at an enoteca in the quiet areas of Castello or San Polo, for luxury arrive in a water taxi at midnight during Carnevale!
We found or flat at www.holiday-rentals.co.uk
Visit Colmar in the region of Alsace for the Christmas markets and pop into Germany for the afternoon! That's what we did with our kids (aged 10 and 8) just before Christmas.
We flew BA to Basel-Mulhouse, hired a car and stayed for 3 nights at the (cheap) Novotel on the edge of Colmar.
The town was breathtakingly decorated and boasted not one but five Christmas markets selling festive produce from decorations to outdoor food and lots of vin chaud. Yes, some of the merchandise was a bit tacky, but the markets were fabulous for families and Christmas lovers like us! The weather was cold but gloriously sunny.
All in all a great little pre-Yuletide trip and a much more cost effective way of getting in the mood than Lapland!
An adventure playground in the trees where you can spend up to 3 hours on rope bridges, cargo nets, death slides and even skateboards high above the ground. Choose your own level of difficulty, or just spend time in the cafe below watching others sway, wobble and teeter above you. Fantastic fun for all the family, and the Chateau de Val is well worth a visit on your return to terra firma.
Chateau de Val, Val, nr Bort-les-Orgues in Correze.
I spent a lot of time on the Cote D'Azur as a student and longed to go back but with a young family thought it would be almost impossible to find somewhere suitable and not too expensive.
This wonderful campsite, which we booked through Keycamp, however, proved just the job.
Not far from the glamour of St Tropez, it has everything for the perfect family holiday - including fab swimming pool and even a children's club. Accommodation was great too - we stayed in a really well equipped mobile home under the shade of a lovely forest.
Mill Green Museum is a fully working watermill (undershot wheel) run by volunteers and housing the local museum for Hatfield, Herts. You can watch milling of organic flour every week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday, and see the waterwheel in action every day (except for Monday when the mill is closed), which my children love to see.
Lots of gears and cogs and flour leaking out. Children can try grinding corn the hard way or the easy way. In the summer there is a small cafe with outdoor seats in the sensory garden. There is also a local collection of bits of history, with things for children to find.
And it's all free.
Herts AL9 5PD
Tel: 01707 271362
Nearest station is Hatfield (Herts) 23 mins from London Kings Cross every 30 mins (Mon-Sat), 1 fast per hour Sundays, plus two slower. Then either a 20 min walk, 5 mins on a bike National Cycle Network route 12 or bus 301 or 603 every 15 mins, 5 mins ride.
By car, follow signs from A1(M) junctions 3 or 4.
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