In this instalment of my Best and Worst Holidays Blog Series, we hear from Gemma of Yorkshire Mum of 4. In this blog series, my fellow bloggers share their holidays with us, the good, the bad and the ugly. In this one, Gemma is sharing her best and worst holidays to date with us. Her family loves to book a holiday that is a base and then find activities and places to go around it so they can explore places. Gemma has written below about their favourite holiday of this kind and also the worst holiday they ever had where they went home on day 2.
Our favourite holiday as a family was when we stayed in Ashby De la Zouch. We picked a Hoseasons resort to stay in and picked a lovely lodge with outdoor hot tub. There were only 5 lodges on the whole site surrounding a large lake and a kids play area with a large grass bit. It was beautiful and we were so happy when we got there, we could just relax in the hot tub on the decking while the kids played in the play area in sight and then they could relax in the warm open plan kitchen, dining and living area on an evening playing board games and family games while we relaxed as a couple.
We planned a few days out from our base. Our first day out was to Conkers in Leicester. It is a large outdoor adventure with trails, an outdoor assault course, wood walks and then an indoor cinema, soft play area and hands on experiences. When we went they were also doing a magic show which the kids loved. We also went to see a show in the 4D cinema which is included in the ticket price. We were a little disappointed that there is a high ropes course that you have to pay extra to get into but other than that it was a good full day out, more so for the older kids.
Our second day was taken up at Drayton Manor. We took part in an offer so for all of us it was £100 to enter the park for the day. We went in October half term and it was pretty quiet, we went on early ride multiple times and thoroughly enjoyed the day. They have a variety of rides for everyone from the Troublesome trucks roller-coaster to the Bulstrode barge spinning boat to the fire and water rescue hose ride where you spray water from your water shooters while moving up and down the ladder. It was definitely my favourite of the popular theme parks as we didn’t have to queue for anything, the maximum time we waited was around 12 minutes for one ride, which when we compared that to the queues at Cbeebies land, Peppa Pig World and Legoland where we had to queue for 90 minutes for each ride there is no comparison.
On our third full day we decided to go into the town of Ashby. We parked the car up and had a walk down to where the castle was. On the way there was a large poster saying they were doing some art called The Big Draw. It was a free event where you went in drew some pictures, painted some things and drew in chalk on walls. All the kids got involved and we bought some cake and a cup of tea. We spent a few hours there and then went down to the castle. The best thing about the Castle is the audio tour. You put on your headphones and press the buttons when you get to certain boards, the two guys doing the audio are brilliant and really make the experience and the audio part of the tour doesn’t cost you any more.
After a couple of hours at the castle we went down for a walk into the town and found a few discount shops that had old fashioned sweets and really obscure crisps to try, so we bought a few packs and bags and then headed back to our lodge to relax, watch the chase and chill out in the hot tub. There was a co-op near by and we bought some food to cook, the lodges are perfectly equipped for cooking and they really are a home from home. We stayed in a caravan recently and realised how basic they are compared to lodges.
Our worst holiday was when we went to Bala in North Wales. We booked in for a Monday to Friday break in a hot tub lodge again. We arrived in the middle of nowhere with just fields all around. We had travelled for pretty much 40 minutes not seeing anything as the base was at the bottom of Snowdonia. I don’t really like mountains or hills and we hadn’t researched as much as we should, so when we got there we just realised there was nothing to do.
The hot tub was nice, the lodge was perfect and there was a large open grass area for the children, they even had a games room on site. However, once you left the site for a walk, there was no path so you had to walk on the road and it was a 20 minute walk to the street of shops where there was nothing really but a library that we spent a few hours in. On another day we had a drive out to Caernarfon Castle and then just went home from there because everything around Bala was just an hour and a half drive away for the kids activities and, while we don’t mind driving, we don’t want to spend multiple hours per day doing it otherwise it would just be a touring holiday.
Thanks to Gemma for sharing her best and worst holidays with us. Two very different hot tub lodge holidays. I can understand why the Bala holiday wasn’t great. While it’s a beautiful part of Wales, it can be very remote.
Gemma is the author of the blog, Yorkshire Mum of 4. They are a family of 6 that live in Yorkshire. Kids aged 10, 8, 6 and 20 months. Gemma shares her family’s life on her blog and she can also be found on Twitter and Instagram.
And if you would like to feature in my Best and Worst Holidays series on the blog, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.