Family Travel 2018 – Royal Deeside, La Gomera & Portugal

Where do you want to go in 2018? With tots, where do you feel is realistic to attempt? Which destinations might work for your family, and what's the budget? After a very quiet Christmas at home these are questions I'm figuring out too.

Going on holiday is always a treat but my little ones are often as happy at home as anywhere else so, like any parent, I have to justify taking them somewhere and appreciate what’s in it for them. With all this in mind I haven’t over-planned 2018. I want to leave time and money for chilling out and for unexpected or spontaneous trips. But we do have several exploits lined up that hopefully will provide food for thought and options for your travel ideas ‘mood-board’.

Royal Deeside

EXPLORING ROYAL DEESIDE WITH THE NTS – Anyone in Scotland knows that if a property is worth treasuring then chances are it’s in the stewardship of a charity like the National Trust for Scotland. What many folk, including myself, don’t fully appreciate is that the NTS has a large portfolio of accommodation offerings, available in historic buildings, set in stunning locations. Many of these are self-catering cottages and apartments with their own living rooms, kitchen and bedrooms, so well suited to family life. For example, you can actually stay in Fyvie Castle. In January we’ll be heading along Royal Deeside, following in the footsteps of Queen Victoria, the current Queen, and no doubt Meghan Markle some time soon. We’ll stay in Mar Lodge, a grand hunting lodge with the most memorable stag ballroom, and explore the castles and distilleries in the region, and see what kiddy friendly activities we can locate en route. Queen Victoria described her Highland home, Balmoral, as ‘paradise’ so hopefully we’ll relate to that on some level in this rugged corner of Aberdeenshire.

La Gomera

ISLAND HOPPING IN THE CANARIES – In terms of winter sun, Tenerife is the only direct destination from Aberdeen airport so we’ve visited a few times over the years, yet we’ve never made the wee hop from Tenerife to its neighbouring island of La Gomera. With a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Garajonay (that from the pictures looks like a mystical forest where fairies and goblins could live – very atmospheric for kids), as well as sweeping beaches, quaint coastal fishing villages and a plentiful and rich local larder, we’re mixing a traditional sun holiday in Tenerife with a wee three night island hop over to La Gomera. If you’re not familiar with this tiny Spanish island find out more here, and we’ll report back soon.

Lisbon

CITY LIVING, HISTORY, HERITAGE AND BEACH LIFE IN PORTUGAL – Many family friendly resorts and quality hotels base themselves in tempting beach resorts, but finding a child haven in an interesting city can be a bit more of a challenge. In the summer we’re combining both beach and city break by visiting the historic city of Lisbon, then hitting the resort of Cascais on the western coast of Portugal with the renowned family hotel Martinhal. I’ve visited Lisbon BC (Before Children) so trying it with a tot in tow should be easier when based in an uber-child-friendly hotel. When we’re not exploring the city, riding the trams or ramming the world famous custard tarts into our delicate mouths there’s the option of putting Mr Child into the Martinhal Kids Clubs, namely Fox Club or Pyjama Club. Then over to Cascais where we could try the pools, bike station, spa, kids clubhouse or playground, but this resort is close to the fairytale city of Sintra, and the glamorous Estoril so Mr Child may have to become mini culture-vulture. Family travel is often about balance, and we’re looking forward to this trip because the mix sounds really interesting from the get go.

Sintra

We have a few other ideas we’re working on but haven’t booked, but, really, this is lots to be getting on with. I’d love to hear of any recommendations, be it in Scotland or abroad, as word of mouth is a powerful tool, so feel free to comment below with any destinations you rate. Also coming soon, look out for profiles of Gordon Castle estate in Morayshire, Vikingar! in Largs and the classic Natural History Museum in London.

All the best for 2018.

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15 Comments

  1. Reply

    Tori

    January 6, 2018

    I would love to stay in a historic house like this! Wow! Have fun on all your adventures this year!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      January 7, 2018

      Really looking forward to it and discovering more about the people who originally lived there – quite possibly a lot grander than us!

  2. Reply

    What Mum Loves

    January 6, 2018

    Looks like 2018 will be amazing for you! I think staying in Mar Lodge will be the coolest experiece ever!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      January 7, 2018

      A wild yet civilised part of the world – an intriguing combination.

  3. Reply

    fashionandstylepolice

    January 6, 2018

    I am hoping to do some travel this year. Maybe even visit New York. I hope you enjoy your travels.

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      January 7, 2018

      We hope to return to New York stage too but, like you, it’s at the ‘hope’ stage of planning 🙂

  4. Reply

    katykicker

    January 7, 2018

    Looks like you’re going to have a great year. I want to do more travelling now my daughter is almost 2!

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      January 7, 2018

      Admittedly we started them v young, but the most important thing is that the parents feel comfortable travelling and actually want to do it – a holiday is meant to be fun after all. Hope 2018 is the year for you.

  5. Reply

    Nazrin Miah

    January 8, 2018

    I went to Portugal in December 2016 and fell in love with it as soon as my feet landed off the plane. There is just something in the air that makes you never want to go back. I also went during the season where there weren’t any tourists so I found the whole beach to myself!

    http://www.nmdiaries.com

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      January 8, 2018

      Sounds great. We’re going in early summer so hopefully will avoid the masses of tourists but there should still be fine weather and a buzz to the place. Glad to hear such a glowing recommendation of the city.

  6. Reply

    Zen Babytravel

    January 9, 2018

    We love National Trust and Martinhal even more! 😉 You’ll have a blast in Cascais, we have been October half term and have few posts including a very recent one with all the links includinga little video on Cascais and Sintra: https://zenbabytravel.com/2018/01/02/luxury-family-holidays-at-their-best-martinhal-resorts-zenbabytravel-brunch-with-chitra-stern/ Looking forward to reading your adventures! x

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      January 10, 2018

      So exciting to take a peak and see what’s in store. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Reply

    Kara

    January 10, 2018

    We are hoping to come back up to Scotland this year but head farther north this time. We are also on holiday with Martinhal but going in Feb – Sintra looks beautiful

    • Reply

      scots2travel

      January 10, 2018

      Doesn’t it just. Will look out for your feedback from February.

  8. Reply

    BattleMum

    January 10, 2018

    Sounds like you’ve got some brilliant trips lined up. Despite now living in the Algarve we are yet to visit Lisbon!

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