Kids all cultured out? Take them to Aquaboulevard for the day (near metro Balard, southwest Paris) to let off some steam.
It's a great swimming complex with pools and hot-tubs, wave-machines, water-sprays, flumes you go down in inflatable boats, mini-golf, a "beach", and poolside cafes where you sit in your bathing-suit ... outdoor swimming is lovely and so are the outdoor hot tubs. It was the hit of our holiday.
If you are after a fun-filled yet educational trip for your children, this is the place to go. It's an inclusive science centre that caters to all age groups, including children under eight years old.
It refreshes exhibitions yearly and the most recent one, Fossils and Funny Bones, is specially designed for early years learners. By the end of this year, there will be even more on offer in the science centre with two new exhibitions, Inside DNA (all about human genome) and LoveSport.
The science centre is located right at the heart of Bristol harbourside, which provides the perfect setting for a great family day out!
Address: Anchor Road, Habourside, BS1 5DB
Nearest station: Bristol Temple Meads
Recently renovated inside, the Flinders Pub has moved to improve its eating areas with a formal dining room in addition to the bistro.
The pub is a favourite of motorcycle riders (it's a great place to start or end a ride) who frequent the bistro but the dining room is a nice place for those wanting something more formal... nice thick linen and quality tableware. It's a nice place to eat for those who have been tramping the wineries in the area or having a hit at Flinders Golf Club.
One lesser-known museum that was very enjoyable was the café in the Musee Jacquemart André, the café is a wonderfully elegant old-style tea room which had everything we don’t have in the U.K. Great gateaux, various delicious teas and coffees, a stunning Teipolo ceiling, polite service, watch out also for the muted conversation, maybe because it’s a museum!
There were also free activities for the kids, the best bit being that they had period costumes the kids could dress up in and then a large frame you could take photos of them in, all in a French aristocratic style.
For a very cheap way to entertain the kids while watching the world go by, go to the large fountain in the the Tuileries Garden where a Parisian with a wheelbarrow hires out large sailing boats and sticks. The boats sail from one side of the fountain to the other and then the kids use the sticks to turn them around and they sail the other way. In the meantime, you can have a coffee.
Hacienda Los Gorriones are two 'cortijos' (typical Andalusian cottages) tucked away in olive-dotted mountains in the Sierra Norte (about 1.5 hours north from either Sevilla or Cordoba).
The cottages are located in an area of dramatic landscapes, and within an area renowned throughout Spain for its Iberian cured and fresh meats. The owners of the cottages also run a ham drying facility, and for a very reasonable price you can enjoy excellent Iberian fare in the barbecue.
The cottages make an excellent detour for people visiting Sevilla and Cordoba, and are ideal for people wanting to go walking in the hills. There are very few tourists, but the cottages are often booked by locals for the weekend.
They are both family and pet friendly.
If it's still summer and you want to avoid the more touristy places head to the "beach" at la Villette and enjoy free loungers, free mini-boats for kids aged 6 to 10 and even free tea snacks for the little ones.
There are two new excellent cinemas with bookstores/DVD/cds. Also, you can walk along the Canal and head towards La Vilette science and tech exhibition and the famous Cite de la Musique.
While not completely unique to New England - I’ve heard there are some lanes in New York State and Florida - this bowling game is fun for the entire family.
The pins are posts and the balls are about the size of a softball. Anyone – from a 3-year-old to a person in a wheelchair – can be a competitive candlepin bowler, the weight of the ball has no bearing to one’s ability to aim and bowl it.
The downed wood remains on the alley and can be played to advantage or becomes a hazard. Because the pins are slender and the balls small, "splits" are a common challenge. Developing a well-placed “hook” is an asset.
It may take some telephoning to find an operating facility, but check out the Fairway Lanes on Rte. 9, Natick, Mass.
The only way to enjoy Lille is with the animals. Take a visit to Le Chat Bleu (The Blue Cat) - off the main square - one of the most devine chocolate shops in Europe.
Chat with the friendly owner, buy a huge bag of chocolates and eat them on the way to the Zoo.
The Zoo is one of the most enertaining, relaxed places in Lille with some wonderful animals.
Don't miss the wood and park land called 'The Bois de Boulogne' in the north of Lille, easily accessible from the city centre.
It houses a spacious zoo whose aim is to breed endangered species; not to trap animals from the wild.
The playful red foxes will make you laugh and as a bonus, entrance is free.
The park has a great family atmosphere, none more so than on the last Sunday in May when every woman visiting the park is presented with a carnation to celebrate Mothers Day in France.
Surprisingly, the centre of Brussels has probably the best interactive playground/museum to indulge your inner child or just the kids.
Scentastic is located underground at the Bourse metro/tram stop, and is just a couple of minutes walk from the Grand Place.
Once you’ve found the understated entrance (difficult, even if you know it’s there) you enter what looks like a large romper room/playground, all primary colours and play equipment.
Scientastic will then amaze and educate through its use of simple psychological, physiological perception experiments.
Virtually everything is hands on and a simple explanation leaflet can explain some of the impossible thing you encounter.
Try to arrive just as they open as usually a multi-lingual member of staff will perform a series of moves in front of a mirror.
Then go and play and explore at your leisure, it can and should take at least a couple of hours, adults will at least be surprised and kids just love it.
Brussels makes a great weekend trip with children.
Not so big and overwhelming, with so many "must sees," as Paris, but more than enough to keep you busy.
And there is loads of great chocolate - need I say more?
Don't miss MIM, with more than 1,000 ancient and rare instruments from around the world.
There is a lovely cafe overlooking the city on the top floor.
The best place we've found to stay with kids: Novotel Centre/Tour Noire. It has a cool hammam/indoor swimming pool surrounded by rocks which creates a very cool atmosphere. It is walking distance to Grand Place, also to many waterside restaurants and off-the-beaten path neighborhood places and playgrounds, good ethnic restaurants nearby, easy access to train station.
If you have more than a weekend, take a day trip to Bruges, Antwerp, or any other place in Belgium: distances are short!
Watch the Son et Lumiere show in the Grand Place. Make sure you get there early and take an outside table in one of the bars on the Grand Place,
buy a Belgian speciality fruit beer and savour both the beer and the show.
And when it finishes, take a short walk to Chez Leon (rue des Bouchers) for the speciality of the house - Mussels and Chips - 14 different mussel speciality meals to choose from.
nb Children under 12 accompanied by parents are entitled to a free meal.
Public swimming pool complex at the Westbad tram stop. Just follow the scent of chlorine from the tram. Entrance was nine euro last time I visited.
Inside there's a water slide, a whirlpool, heated mineral bath, sauna and swimming lanes. Good place to take kids on a rainy holiday. Outside there are even more pools, plenty of grass to lay about and sometimes ducks come down to swim laps in the pools.
Address: Weinbergerstraße 11, Westend, Munich, 81241
Phone: +49 89 23617701
Nearest Station: Westbad: Tram 19, Bus 72
The 'Show' - where city and country get together! Once a year, the country invades the city at the showgrounds and lets city families see what the country has to offer.
In addition, there are quite a few competitions where our farmers and country folk can show off the best bull, pig, horse or who can cook the best sponge or grow the best pumpkin.
Sheepdog and poultry competitions are favourites. City kids also have a chance to see new lambs or piglets or chooks. There are enough circus rides, face painting areas and handicraft stalls to keep everyone happy.
Adults have flamenco, hip hop, capoeira performers, belly dancers and others to keep them entertained.
And of course, there are fireworks at night. Everyone should go and don't forget to grab a ShowBag.
Sept 20 - 30
Royal Melbourne Showgrounds
Epsom Road, Ascot Vale
take a tram or train there from the CBD (car parking is available too)
Keep young children busy in this beautiful city by visiting Astridpark, on Schaarstraat. There's a great little playpark with slides, swings and sandpits and, next to it, a pretty park with ducks and a bandstand to play in.
If you walk from here through Vismart, depending on the time of day, your children will delight in the fish or toys and crafts on display.
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Or, so it said in Lewis Carrol's Jabberwock!
Cafè Callooh is a new cafè in Hampton with an unusual interior, great coffee and snacks. Soup of the day and other eats are great. Kid-friendly too. Tucked away from the main part of Hampton's High street, Cafè Callooh is well worth a visit! Enjoy the wall writing....
75 Ludstone Street
Hampton Vic 3188
T: 9521 6865
Google map: tinyurl.com/okdc73
We visited Amsterdam with our three year old daughter, while I was heavily pregnant.
Knowing that we would be having early nights in our hotel room, we upgraded to a room "with a view", using money saved from not using evening entertainment or so many museum admissions.
Our room overlooked on of the ubiquitous squares and we spent evenings eating a rather nice room service menu people watching.
It may not sound exciting,but we loved it and kept sane at the same timeR with no worries regarding baby sitting services.
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