Take advantage of a great offer from Legoland Holidays where kids go free on all family breaks to the Legoland Windsor Resort. For a limited time only kids go absolutely free when staying with one of their fantastic hotel partners. With prices as little as £33.75pp* – 2 whole days entry, 1 night stay in a nearby hotel and breakfast included. *Terms and conditions apply.
Feather Down Farm Holidays define themselves as posh camping with children. There’s an excellent choice of farms some with availability for October half term. Autumn is a great time to stay at one of their farms – get ready for woodland walks, beautiful bike rides, conker collecting, jumping in puddles, leaf fights and cuddling up, cosy at the end of the day. Here are just two farms with availability at half term to give you a taste of what’s on offer.
Sunninglye Farm is set in the High Weald, Kent an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Your luxury canvas tent will be in a hilltop copse facing outwards with views across the surrounding fields and woodland. Highlights include a Naturewatch Hideout, raft building on the pond, brunch adventure and homemade cakes. Close to Bewl Water for outdoor activities.
New Barn Farm is set in the Bedfordshire Wolds. Highlights including pony grooming, private chicken and guinea pig care, a farm tour aboard farm buggy and safe cycle routes. There is also open access to forestry, lake sides and country parks.
Both cost £445 for the week starting 19 October 2012 and £649 for the week starting 26 October. Mid week breaks and weekend breaks ca also be booked.
Win up to 40% off an Autumn break at the child friendly Sands Resort hotel in Cornwall rated best family hotel in the Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice 2012 awards. The hotel is running a holiday lottery draw for breaks taken between the 30 September and the 20 October and the 4 November and 24 November 2012. Each Monday 10 lucky winners will be drawn who will be offered a special hotel deal between 20% to 40% off the tariff rate.
Simply click on the link below and fill in the entry form. A minimum stay of 2 nights ona bed and breakfast tariff is required to be eligible for the discount.
Space, tranquillity and adventure – Pagel prides itself on being a secure, child centred environment where children can play imaginatively and explore in a safe environment. Pagel’s child friendly self catering gites each sleep up to five people plus babies and are designed with the needs of small children and discerning parents in mind. They come equipped with all the practical essentials required by little ones including a toy box. Set in five acres of rolling gardens and woodland, with an oak copse at the end and a small fruit orchard there is plenty of space for children to run around and explore.
Kids will love playing in the heated salt water pool and toddler pool, imaginations will run wild on the 10 metre pirate ship and in the Indian village, and there’s also an indoor play barn. It is the little extras that make the difference at Pagel with English babysitters, “Cook” meals available on a daily basis, a welcome basket and much more. Save 35% on holidays booked between now and 5 November 2012.
If you fancy getting away at Xmas then Pagel’s Winegrowers House is available for £1500 for the Xmas week – log fires, Xmas markets, French restaurants and relaxation. Bliss
Dunton Stables is an established horse and pony trekking centre based in Curdworth in the West Midlands that offers horse riding and pony trekking holidays suitable for adults and children from 8 years of age. Choose between a 2 night or 4 night holiday.
Trekking, either in walk, trot or canter forms part of any riding break. Their 2 day break is perfect for both new and experienced riders as new riders will start with a mini-trek taken in a walk through the countryside. More experienced riders will enjoy a 2 hour trek to and round Kingsbury Water Park. There’s also a chance to get involved with the grooming, bathing, tacking up and general horse presentation. Dunton Stables is ABRS approved.
A four night mid-week holiday costs £398.00 per person (based on 2 sharing). Two night mid-week breaks and two night weekend breaks costs £199 per person (based on 2 sharing). Holidays are all inclusive and accommodation is on-site. Riding breaks run until the end of October.
Try something different this October half term and take the family on a Hoseasons boating break. A great time of year to experience the waterways and with savings of up to 30% now is a great time to book. A huge choice of boating holidays are available on canals and rivers as well as the Broads.Prices start from £305 for a boat sleeping 3 for three nights (Cruiser, Norfolk) – a saving of £130. Terms and conditions apply.
Family glamping. Extremadura, Spain
When I told friends we were off to Spain for our summer holiday there were mentions of “lovely”, “thought it was France this year”; when I went on to say Extremadura blank expressions. To be truthful, I had absolutely no idea where Extremadura was either; it appeared to be in the middle of nowhere, a two and a half hour drive towards the Portuguese border from Madrid. It was an eco-friendly, safari tent holiday on a sheep farm with cork oaks that had caught my eye, or perhaps it was the photograph of two contemporary, lime sun loungers in front of the tent that had really appealed. I searched for tourist attractions in Extremadura and Google promised me many wonderful sights to see. Mentions of “a remote, secret region”, “land of the Spanish conquistadors”, and “oodles of outdoor fun” was enough to get me booking. Still we left with a feeling of not really knowing what lay ahead. Our accommodation was on a finca beneath the mountain range of the Sierra de Gata, a region full of vineyards, oak groves and olive trees. As we wound our way through low level forests towards Villabuenas de Gata my heart leapt: every village we passed appeared to have its own natural swimming pool; my son was beside himself spotting black cranes and eagles from the window, and my daughter, well she was fast asleep in the back of the car. This region of Spain is totally off the tourist path and for me this added to its appeal; somehow it felt like we were holidaying with the locals. It was hot and dry, how we like it. Our accommodation was a fully equipped, eco-friendly canvas tent set between magnificent oak trees with a beautiful vista. The kids were in their element. Upon waking they were off to collect freshly baked pastries from the owners, collecting eggs from the chickens and feeding the sheep. Daytimes were spent by the pool, and whilst we relaxed the children amused themselves playing on the swing just behind the tent, hunting for lizards, shedded snake skins and cuddling the two friendly dogs. When the heat became too much, we would head to one of the local natural pools to cool off. Some were shallow enough for the children to wade with a fishing net, others were deeper offering a refreshing swim particularly those located higher in the mountains. Our favourite – Acebo Piscina Natural – we found on our second to last day; it reminded us more of a spa resort with a bar/restaurant on site and tiered lawns. To the kid’s delight we discovered ruined castles and medieval villages with bygone architecture, alleys and passageways. There are numerous hamlets and villages sprinkled across the Sierra de Gata and I would definitely recommend visiting the isolated moutain top village of Trevejo with its ancient stone houses. The highlight is the 15th century Templar castle perched up high and precariously leaning to one side. You need a head for heights to clamber round the ruins. With some crazy golf and horse-riding thrown in our holiday was more than we could have hoped for, much more. If you want to experience real Spain, where you feel you are a visitor rather than a tourist then this is the place for you. Getting there and accommodation: We flew into Madrid with Easyjet. It’s a straightforward drive to Extremadura taking approximately two and a half hours. Finca las Canadas is located just outside the village of Villabuenas de Gata and offers luxury eco-safari tents perfect for a family glamping holiday. The tents sleep up to 6 and cost from 500 euros (open March to October). From 2012 bell tents will also be available. Interesting fact: “Bano de la Cochina” (Bath of the Sow) is a short walk from the finca. Legend goes that a sow with rheumatism bathed in the stagnant green water and after covering itself with mud for a few days it was cured. The bath now attracts people who are looking for the relief of their pains.
PGL Family Active 5 day, South Devon, England
“Mumma, can I stay all summer” requests my six year old as we near the end of our PGL Family Active holiday. “And mumma, all the instructors here are cool and I want to teach the zip wire when I’m bigger”. If someone had told me before the holiday that that was how my daughter was going to feel about our 4 night multi-activity holiday I wouldn’t have believed them. I had started the holiday with some intrepidation as I was not sure it would be suited to both my children.
In the late eighties as a young teenager I was desperate to go on a PGL summer camp – I could see myself on the climbing walls, messing around in a canoe and enjoying some freedom but it never happened. Fast forward twenty five years and suddenly I find myself invited to review with my two children Jonny (7) and Gaia (6) a PGL family holiday in South Devon.
Barton Hall in Torbay, Devon is PGL’s largest family-friendly centre and is set in 46 acres of the English Riviera with a huge, outdoor heated swimming pool (impossible to keep my children out of in-between activities), dry ski slope and lake for canoeing and rafting activities. On arrival we were met by a team of friendly PGL reps, shown to our accommodation, given a hand with our bags and sat down to run through our personalised itinerary for the next four days to check that we were happy with the activities planned. My heart skipped a beat or two when I read ‘vertical challenge’ and ‘survivor’ however, this was something I couldn’t show in front of the children.
We spent the next four days trying 14 different types of activities or ‘challenges’ including zip wire, quad biking, a vertical challenge, open canoeing, crate challenge, archery, a challenge course, raft building, abseiling, survivor, aeroball, orienteering, climbing and problem solving. The zip wire was Gaia’s favourite activity and for Jonny it was ‘survivor’ – a combination of fire-making and shelter building. Mine turned out unexpectedly to be the ‘climbing wall’. My children liked the timetabled 2 activities in the morning, 2 activities in the afternoon with meals, ice-creams and swims in-between. The children were always encouraged if they were slightly daunted by an activity but never made to do anything they didn’t want to.
Jonny and Gaia never seemed to tire and after dinner we found ourselves joining in the evening activities. Early evening games being outdoors based (think scavanger hunt, team challenges, human bingo and dance routines) and mid evening games being based in the bar area. This was a great way to socialise with the other families we had been grouped with over a relaxing drink. Plus the bar offered milkshakes, hot chocolate and fresh popcorn so always a winner with the children, plus they got to play with their new friends.
PGL has been refining its activity offer since 1957 and from our experience at Barton Hall I reckon they’ve pretty much got it right. The range of activities on offer, the beautiful site, the friendliness and competence of the young PGL instructors could not be faulted. The accommodation at Barton Hall is a little dated but the room itself was clean and comfortable, with a lawned area in front where the kids could run free and play in the trees. The kids loved the bunk beds too. The holiday also taught me never to make assumptions about what your children can and can’t do. Both Jonny and Gaia amazed me with their ‘give it a go’ attitude. PGL we will be back!
PGL offer a range of great value family activity holidays both in the UK and in France for children aged six and over. If you have a younger family member they can come too but will be unable to join in the planned activities. http://www.pgl.co.uk/PglWeb/families/default
If you would like a taste of an African safari without having to leave the country then ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s overnight animal encounter experience delivers just this. When the park gates close to the general public, a fully hosted event for small group of families kicks off with a welcome glass of bubbly, an evening safari truck park drive, a delicious bbq followed by a torchlit walking tour back to Lookout Lodge for a comfortable night’s sleep. And the fun doesn’t stop there. In the morning it’s back in the truck for one more tour with a few animal feedings and a cheeky chimpanzee display thrown in before the masses arrive.
ZSL Whipsnade Lookout Lodge, Bedfordshire, England
It was our first visit to ZSL Whipsnade, one of Europe’s largest wildlife conservation parks set on the edge of the Chiltern Downs in Bedfordshire and we will definitely be back. WIth approximately 600 acres the animals have good sized enclosures and the antelopes, white rhinos, asian elephants and zebras all enjoy huge paddocks. Australian wallabies and South American Maras (the largest relatives of the guinea pigs) all roam freely oblivious to the presence of humans and cars right by (the park is so huge that day visitors can choose to either drive or walk around).
At 6.00pm our evening tour of the park started with an open-sided camouflage safari truck drive stopping for an encounter with the charismatic meerkats before moving on to admire the Zoo’s pride of lions who were slumbering in the warm, early evening sunshine a mere foot away on the other side of the viewing glass. After dinner, children and adults were equipped with torches for an hour long walk back to the camp via the flamingos and wolves. Accommodation was in wonderfully warm wooden camping pods sleeping our family of four cosily. The kids went to bed looking forward to the chimpanzee, brown bear and wolverine morning feedings. The children loved being so close to the animals and being able to ask question after question, their inquisitive minds set alight by getting to know the Zoo’s inhabitants up close and personal.
My daughter’s verdict: “It was fun. I enjoyed feeding the animals and seeing the wolverines and the cheetahs. The flamingos could stand up on one leg and they eat from a barrel and it gives them their colour. Then I liked walking to see the tigers and putting my coin in and making it spin round. Mine spinned for the longest and it was really fast. When I was in the car [on the way there] I was imagining what it would be like and I liked the ice cream van. It was a Smartie ice cream and I liked my monkey I bought as I saw it in real life You could go to the fence and a lemur was sitting there but you couldn’t touch it because it was so old and it could get your germs. I liked my Lodge. It was small. I liked the sofa and I liked the drinks and I played outside with some torches and that was fun”.
And my son: “It was a brilliant experience. It was great. My favourite crazy bit was seeing the chimps. My favourite animal was the wolverine. I liked it when we fed the animals. They had a load of them. When we went there they had some baby boar and the cheetahs were sleeping most of the time. We got on a truck and we saw some animals. We had a walk with some torches at nine at night and it was good as we saw the flamingos”.
Respect goes out to the knowledgeable hosts who never tired of the children’s endless questions. It was a privilege to spend the night at ZSL Whipsnade and to share the park with just 2 guides and a handful of like-minded families. For more information visit http://www.zsl.org/shop/experiences/camping/
Tour start dates: December 9 2012 and January 6 2013. Adults from £699 and children from £669 land only. Accommodation is 6 nights hotel and 2 nights sleeper train. Starts and ends in Bangkok.
National Trust’s camping pods in the Lake District make for an affordable break this autumn. The pods are built locally from wood and provide an attractive, dry and spacious camping area making it possible to camp at this time of year. A family camping pod sleeps 2 adults and 3 children maximum; you will need your own sleeping bags and cooking/camping equipment.
Camping pods in the Lake District are available at Great Langdale, Wasdale and Low Wray campsites.
A pod will cost £70.00 for a 2 night break at the Low Wray site arriving on the 27 October 2012.
Imaginative Traveller have knocked a huge £227.50 off per person on their Vietnam family adventure starting on 27 September 2012. This is 13 day family adventure and the price is for land only.
Vietnam is a beautiful and fascinating country and this holiday has been designed specifically for the whole family to enjoy. Travelling at a relaxed pace, the highlights of this holiday include a cyclo rickshaw ride through Hanoi; an overnight junk cruise around Halong Bay; an overnight train journey to the imperial city of Hue; a beach picnic at Hoi An; sampan paddling along the Mekong River and the markets of Saigon.
Minimum age is 4; maximum group number 16. Other departure dates are advertised during October & December 2012 and January 2013 at £910 per person. Please check website for details.