The air is thick with tropical humidity. I take a deep breath; it tastes of earth; green and warm. The Cub scampers ahead of us through the jungle, past great towering plants, her hair curling in the damp air. I can hear a waterfall nearby somewhere, but the lush foliage is too dense to see it.
Like many families, we love getting out and about. We try to find as many outdoor activities as we can and we especially love interacting with and learning about animals.
But if you live in the UK, our chilly, damp winters can often make you reluctant to leave the warmth of home. It can be tempting to curl up at home and hibernate until spring! However, if you know where to look, winter can sometimes surprise you.
I’ll start this post off by wishing my readers a Happy New Year for 2017. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful festive season. Things have been quiet lately on my blog; we had a very busy December which included a quick trip to Sweden for my sister’s wedding, not to mention all the Christmas preparations, and so unfortunately blogging has had to wait for a bit. I’ve got lots to write about and hopefully (kids permitting) I’ll be able to settle down into posting on a regular basis!
One of the best things we did this Christmas season was to visit Longleat Estate in Wiltshire for the annual Longleat Festival of Light. Longleat is not just one of England’s finest stately homes; it is also the site of a safari park, so we went in the hope that everyone would find something to enjoy here.
Earlier this summer the Cub, Bee and I joined some friends for a day out at The Wild Place, near Bristol in South-West England. I hadn’t heard of this zoological park but was pleasantly surprised with what we discovered here.
Autumn is here again and the leaves are changing colour for a few short weeks. I love this season for its beauty and fresh air, and who doesn’t love the crunch of fallen leaves beneath their feet? While we in the UK may not see the beautiful colours on the same scale as New England or Japan there are still some lovely places to enjoy the best of the season.
If you want to visit the English seaside you could do worse than a trip to Brighton; a bustling city with plenty to do and see. Situated on the south coast in the county of East Sussex and officially known as Brighton and Hove, it is England’s most populous seaside city.
Warwick Castle is under siege. It 1642 and the middle of the English Civil War and Royalists are camped outside the castle, held by Parliamentarians. The invaders have bought cannon with them which they fire at the castle. The smoke from the cannon clears… but the defences are too strong and the castle is undamaged. Despite the Royalists’ best efforts, the siege is ended when Parliamentarian reinforcements arrive and the Royalists flee.
Just off the south coast of the westernmost tip of Cornwall lies the tiny island of St Michael’s Mount. You’ve probably heard of its doppelgänger, Mont St. Michel in France, and it does have connections to the French island as both were owned by the same set of monks back in the 11th century. It was these monks who built the chapel on the top of the Mount which is still used today. The area has a long history; the nearby town of Marazion is the earliest recorded in Cornwall and the island itself has been squabbled over for centuries.
We started our second day in York with a visit to the National Railway Museum which houses 100 or so locomotives from the 19th century to the present day. Kids of all ages will love it here and adults will love the entrance price – it’s free.
If you are visiting the UK be sure not to miss out on a visit to York, an ancient walled city in North-East England founded by the Romans. It has an incredible history and showcases architecture from Roman ruins to medieval streets and Georgian townhouses to modern glass buildings. It truly is one of England’s most beautiful and interesting cities.