The guidebooks I read before setting off to Nice failed to mention Cagnes. I wanted to go to Renoir's museum so that's why I went. I was very taken with the place. I imagine it's like Brighton was in the 1960s but with a lot more class and a lot more sun. Pay this place a visit. There are restaurants a plenty and they are much cheaper than in Nice yet to the same standard. There are so many children here having fun in the sun too. A very sweet family holiday place which I intend to recommend to my niece's ma and pa.
Get a boat from central Stockholm out to the island of Vaxholm (about an hour away). Vaxholm has cafés, shops, and an old fort museum that you can go and visit. It's a great day trip for a sunny day. You get to see a lot of Stockholm from the water on your way out.
Waxholmsbolaget also runs boats to loads of other islands - their website has good English pages telling you about them.
Harrods, a magnet for the tourists. Whatever you think of the store itself, the Food Halls are a wonder in themselves and not to be missed! They are historically Listed in their own right, due to the wonderful decorative wall tiles.
The selection of food and wines are among the best in London, and not always as expensive as you might think. And make sure you visit the wet fish section, truly spectacular!
Harrods Ltd, SW1
Nearest tube, Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line).
Two museums, right next door to each other, and a great way to occupy all of the family.
The Natural History Museum is wonderful before you enter it, a beautiful example of Victorian extravagance. Plenty to see and do, especially the dinosaurs; be warned though, the animatronic T Rex is very real and great for scaring small children! There's a decent little coffee shop, although it was a bit disturbing eating chocolate cake sat next to Chi Chi the Panda!
The Science Museum is more modern, although the exhibits go back some way. All kids will love the 'Launchpad' area in the basement, all hands on, noisy, messy and great fun. The Deep Blue Cafe does a decent lunch as well.
Both museums have regular exhibitions as well, although these will have an entry charge; usually well worth it though. There is also an Imax Cinema in the Science Museum, any of the underwater or outer space movies are good value.
Recently refurbished, this is one of London's best museums. It has huge displays on such topics as the history of cruising and interactive exhibits like the ferry piloting simulator. The cafe round the back is rather nice too. A walk across the road will take you into the old naval college, whose chapel has a superb painted ceiling.
Park Row, Greenwich; tel: 020 8858 4422;
Cheap and cheerful pizza and pasta restaurant on Stroud Green Road in Finsbury Park. Friendly people, massive pizzas and noisy as hell on weekend nights. Pizzas cost about seven quid. Avoid the horrible pub next door though.
131 Stroud Green Road, London N4 3PX; tel: 020 7263 2114;
Nearest tube: Finsbury park
Several thousand children, dressed as fish, pirates or spacerockets, cram the streets at the start of the Brighton Festival on the first Saturday of May. Mad, loud and brilliant; the city grinds to a halt.
If you're in Ile de Ré you'll be wanting a bike. If you're in Ars, rent one here, at Cycles et Pêche (bikes and fishing gear). Lovely people, good bikes. You can also rent bike seats or trailers for kids.
2, place de la Chapelle
t: 05 46 29 20 88
Nottingham’s a great place to visit. My top tip would be visit the infamous Nottingham Castle which today houses some art exhibitions. You can look over the entire city from the castle gardens. There’s even a chance to explore the secret caves of Mortimer’s hole which tunnel deep into the Castle Rock. After the exploration I recommend you recharge with a good pint at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Britain’s oldest inn which is just underneath the castle. Knights stopped off on their way to the crusades in the pub. It’s packed with atmosphere and history.
Nottingham Castle: Friar Lane, off Maid Marian Way, Nottingham;
tel: 0115 915 3700;
Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem: Brewhouse Yard, Nottingham;
tel: 0115 947 3171
Gunwharf Quays is a designer outlet on Portsmouth Harbour. It's a great place to pick up a few bargains with outlets by Paul Smith, GAP, Next, Burberry, Nike, and loads more including some "kitchen" shops. The day we were there, there was a skateboard event on that kept my 7 year old nephew very happy, and the week before there had been a Food Festival with Ken Hom, so seems there is always something happening.
Had lunch at Strada - there are lots of restaurants to choose from, including the usual Burger King up to Loch Fyne and other "good restaurants". Would recommend for a family day out, or just to break the bank shopping!
Every Sunday throughout the summer, live bands perform at The Bandstand - disco, indie, ska, jazz, 60s, 70s & 80s favourites, blues, rock, folk, country, RnB - you name it! Take a picnic and settle in on the grass for the afternoon, free entertainment and a great view out to sea to boot; recommended for the whole family.
The Bandstand on Southsea seafront, immediately in front of the D-Day Museum car park.
Melbourne, the culture capital of Australia, has a regular international film festival showing 300 films and over 100 shorts over 19 days at 5 or 6 different theatres. The film offerings are amazing - just go.
Various venues. For more information see www.melbournefilmfestival.com.au/2006Festival
A great film by Judy Irving, a Sundance and Emmy Award winning filmmaker. It's about, well, the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill. They are cherry-headed conures, also known as red-masked parakeets, an indigenous species from Peru. They have been also spotted farther east on Embarcadero Plaza.
This is a small and perfectly formed pirate supplies shop down in the Mission District. More installation than retail, though you can buy glass eyes, wooden legs, doubloons, flags, eye patches, loaded dice and, er, lard. Treasure troves hide under the floorboards, there's an aquarium theatre and funny writings on the walls. You can barter drawings and poems for treasure, and buy the books of bartered drawings. It's actually the front for a literacy project and is the dreamchild of writer Dave Eggers. It's SO cool I could hardly breathe...
826 Valencia St (between 19th and 20th Sts) in the Mission District;
tel: (415) 642-5905;
Corfe Castle is a story-book medieval ruin, set on a hillock above a village on Dorset's Isle of Purbeck - not, in fact, an island, but a peninsular. You could easily spend a couple of hours in the castle and its surroundings, but if the children have enough energy afterwards, you could combine it with a walk over Ballard Down to Swanage (about 5 miles, so take snacks to keep them going). While you wouldn't describe this seaside town as sleepy - chip shops on every corner - there's still something wonderfully old-fashioned about the place, epitomised by the steam railway, which runs up and down the coast, and will get you back to Corfe Castle in about 15 minutes.
I took my then 2 year old daughter to Fruitstock (the Innocent Smoothie festival) last year and it's one of the best things we did last summer. We just took a picnic and met up with a bunch of friends (none of them had children with them) and there was plenty to do for adults and children alike. There was a wonderful play area for toddlers and lots of other activities. I expect it'll be even better this year now that she is three.
This year is is on 5&6 August in Regents Park, London.
I'm just a previous attendee, with nothing to gain from publicising this other than sharing the fun!
The amazing 170m tall viewing tower in Portsmouth has fantastic panoramic views over the harbour and out towards the Isle of Wight. It also has Europe's largest glass floor on its first viewing deck ,which kids and adults alike can't get enough of... so long as you've got the nerve to take the first step on it!
Located on the fab development of Gunwharf Quays with is bustling bars and restaurants with plenty of outdoor seating in the summer and great shops to keep mums quiet too!
Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, PO1
The best secret cafe of the island is on Campos beach. Excellent sandwiches, salads and pasta, well groomed cocktails, and the must have - enormous cheesecake pieces (surely the best I've ever tasted).
After your swim, relax by playing backgammon or reading a book listening to nice world music. Before you leave, don't forget to buy a trendy George's Place souvenir t-shirt!
On the far left of Campos beach, 5.5 km from the port of Skala. When you get to the beach, You have to walk through the sand to reach it; tel. 22470 31881
A great local cafe and bar with inside and outside eating areas, a very modern menu and a great wine list. Drop in for a latte and cake or have a full meal. An afternoon next to the fire here is a lazy way to while away a Sunday. The locals (including me) love it because it’s also 'kid friendly'. Babyccino anyone?
382 Hampton St, Hampton 3188;
tel: 9521 0547;
The old port of Santorini originally could only be reached by the long winding set of steps down from Thira. All 888 of them, or 588, but lots! The locals came up with an easy way for seafarers to go up to the town of Fira: use mules to carry people up and down. Today the tourist and charter boats bring tourists in who ride the mules up to Fira for their short stay on Santorini.
One can get to the old port (it is worth a visit) by walking down (which we did). The choice is then to either take a mule ride back up or take its modern equivalent, the cable car. We chose the cable car for the views, speed and smoothness. Both the mules and the cable car cost. One can also think about walking back up... but I recommend against it.
Follow the signs to the steps or the cable car station in Fira. The cable car is 3.50 euro per person each way;
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