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’.
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.
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.
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.
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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