A seaside town a train ride from the city centre. Very old fashioned, donkeys, bouncy castle, ice creams, chips from The Marigold Cafe before coming home.
Take a picnic, enjoy sand, windsurfers and, on a good day, jaw-droppingly lovely views of the Welsh coast and Hilbre Island. Only walk to the island if you know what you're doing as the tide comes in fast, often behind you, and it is easy to get stuck!
West Kirby is on the Wirral Peninsular at the end of the M53.Trains every 20/30 mins from Central Liverpool.
Giant dragons dancing in the street, eating lettuces and followed by loud drums and even louder firecrackers. A funfair, street food and families just out for a days' fun. All in a compact, interesting and friendly area.
In the city centre, go up Bold Street (where the WAGs shop) and follow the crowds. It's in February.
Started in Victorian times for the education of the masses, this has moved with the times and has an excellent collection of modern art as well as huge, gory, or sentimental Victorian kitcsh.
As a child I adored "And when did you last see your father" and "The death of Nelson". My daughters loved "The Lady with the arrow in her booby" (not its real title, obviously). One huge room is dedicated to children who can paint and draw to their hearts content.
Right in the city centre.By Lime Street station(Lily Savage was born in Lime Street..on the pavement...allegedly)
Best views of Liverpool are from Wirral. Try New Brighton as a starting point then carry on round the coast to Hoylake/West Kirby (plenty of food choices here) then up to Parkgate for great ice cream or fish and chips.
Don't forget to call in at Thursaston, near West Kirby, for Churches Organic farm shop and walks on Thursaston common.
Children love the idea of going in a tunnel under the Mersey and crossing over on a boat. Park at Hamilton Square in Birkenhead, get the ferry to Liverpool (superb, heartbreakingly lovely view) and, after a stroll, picnic and visit to the Albert Dock, get the train back from James Street station. Steep escalators, lifts and friendly station staff. Cheap and good fun.
Hamilton Square is signposted from central Birkenhead and is itself an interesting area. The ferry is a five-minute stroll downhill from the station. Ask if you're not sure.
Albert Dock is the heart and soul of Liverpool's waterfront, with so many cool bars and restaurants, PanAm, Blue, Est Est Est and Baby Cream. New places to eat like Vinea and Circo add to the already vibrant places to eat.
Tate Liverpool, the Site Gallery and many smaller art galleries offer the perfect mix of culture, right next door to the new Arena & Convention Centre. Now the famous Duck Tour and Shiverpool tours are great fun for a day out.
Albert Dock has seen Liverpool grow up in the last 20 years and will remain my favourite place to hang out on a sunny day on the quayside.
An amazing example of public art, these statues (100 of them) stretch along Crosby beach for 3 kilometres and out to sea for one kilometre. Go there at any time of day, but make sure you check the tides - you can't see any of them at high tide. It is atmospheric and beautiful, but at the same time down to earth - it's great to see whole families having picnics next to one of the figures and kids playing around them.
You want drama? You got it. Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire is about as dramatic as it gets. An ancient ruined castle sitting precariously on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the ragged North Sea - it has been home to some of Scotland's best history, from William Wallace to the siege of Cromwell's army.
You can explore both inside and out, and then take a run along the coastal path and a peek among the rockpools down on the little beach. A perfect day out for both boys and girls! Also a good spot for budding photographers too - you can't fail to take a great pic here.
www.dunnottarcastle.co.uk/ nearest town is Stonehaven.
For a fun afternoon in Vienna, nothing will beat the Haus Der Musik. For those with and without musical prowess, this music museum-cum-musical playground allows you to explore the science and history of music without the need for a PhD.
See the colour and shape of your voice, play giant instruments or even conduct a virtual orchestra - a museum with a difference, definitely.
This little Hungarian oddity comes highly recommended, so too does having someone with you to cling on to if you choose to take the tour alone, as opposed to with a guided group.
The 1,200 metre labyrinth of caves and tunnels open to the public was once the haunt of prehistoric man, and more recently served as an air raid shelter during the Second World War. What is on offer to visitors today is a nerve-testing series of delights, with the highlights including gargoyles projectile vomiting blood and a section called the 'Labyrinth of Courage' - a terrifying, pitch-black, 'hold on to a rope and edge forward a centimetre at a time' sort of experience.
Bear in mind that to a person of a nervous disposition the labyrinth might be considered a less than pleasurable excursion, but personally I found it to be one of the most original and exciting hours that I spent in Budapest.
Budapest Castle District,
Úri utca 9.
Telephone: +361/212 0207
Nearest station: Moszkva tér on the M2 line.
Really laid back, with the greatest white sandy beach. Right by Bal Harbour but at way below half the price of the snooty hotels around you. Great breakfast of muffins and toasted bagels and coffee for free... Wow and triple wow!
The George is a hotel and resturant in Stamford. The food is amazing, and the historic setting is both relaxing and interesting. The rooms are full of character, and the personal wake up call with a cup of tea was spot on! I would recommend the Serene Sunday deal. Stamford is a stunning stone town, with lots of great shopping and places to eat.
The George Hotel of Stamford,
71 St. Martins, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 2LB, England
in the middle of Stamford by the river
There aren't too many hostels in China, and you can be sure that this one is going to be fully booked by August. Still, worth a shot. Nestling among the hutongs - the traditional Chinese streets that are now all but gone - the Far East Hostel has some English-speaking staff, a range of facilities and is dirt cheap. What's more, it's within walking distance of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City - and if you venture up Nanxinhua St you'll find a fantastic Peking Duck restaurant that's far less pricey than the overrated Hepingmen.
Parsley Bay is a small, secluded beach surrounded by bush in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, on the Harbour (not the ocean).
Go there for an early morning swim (there's a wire mesh net across the mouth of the bay to keep sharks out!) then have breakfast at the cafe there. If going on weekends, get there before 9.00 or else the small car park (with its narrow, steep, one-lane driveway) is full and you have to park way up the hills on either side and walk down. As well as a beach there's a large grassy area for picnics, and a children's playground.
Other pleasant places to swim and eat in the area include Camp Cove and Nielsen Park.
There's more cafe choice at Balmoral on the north side, but weekend parking is even more impossible - get in by 8.00!
This is a lovely holiday cottage with pool and large gardens, suitable for couples and families with children.
Set in the beautiful, quiet Charente countryside but close to nature and wildlife parks, Futuroscope theme park, Puy du Fou, etc. Surrounded by fascinating picturesque villages. Lovely days out to Poitiers, La Rochelle, Angouleme, Cognac, the Marais Poitevin, Confolens.
Good value accommodation combining ancient character and modern comforts at an affordable price.
Villegats, Ruffec, 16700 Charente France.
Tel +44 (0)191 5192257
Another nice little find in my local neighbourhood... Sarands presents a Mediterranean-based menu of seafood or meat dishes. The restaurant itself is light and airy (with an upstairs private dining area for functions), service is pleasant, the wine list small but well chosen and the (mains) servings huge. The prices are reasonable too. Coffee is excellent.
532 Hampton St, Hampton
3188 Vic (200m south of South Rd)
Ph 9598 8944
Google map: tinyurl.com/rxul2v
On a clear day you can see the vast city and that is Utrecht from the top of the tower. The guided tour takes roughly one hour (and is done in English by request) and you are taken up some 465 steps en route to the route, but don't worry, you are given ample rest time on each floor and you are briefed of the history of all aspects of the tower. From who used to live there to long living superstition and myths. As it is the tallest church tower in The Netherlands I would urge any archaeological enthusiasts and general sightseers to give it try.
3512 JC Utrecht
I did not know what to expect when I went to CBF with my family, and may I say I was quite impressed! We were told at the restaurant that their main specialty was Portuguese food, from Portugal (duh!) aside from some Spanish dishes, like paella, very good. But the best by far was their cod fish with baked potatoes, olives and shrimp, just heaven! My kids loved it too, but my husband and I enjoyed it the most. It also seemed to have some of that atmosphere based on the country where the food originates from, Portugal. Anyway, quite a family-friendly spot for an afternoon lunch.
Praça Tiradentes 83, Downtown
Often overlooked by travellers, Canberra is well worth a stop, especially if you are travelling from Sydney to Melbourne. Easy to get around, with a wealth of attractions (Parliament House, Old Parliament House, National Gallery, the Australian War Memorial just for starters) Canberra is an excellent location for travellers looking for an insight into the nation. Especially good for families.
Google map: tinyurl.com/kwswu9
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