Showing posts with label UK travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UK travel. Show all posts

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Port Lympne Dinosaur Forest

We recently visited Port Lympne Wildlife Reserve and I was prepared to enjoy seeing the animals and the safari, I wasn't prepared for how good their 'Dinosaur Forest' would be.  For four children who all love dinosaurs (Cora may not be talking but give her a toy dinosaur and she knows to start roaring) it was fantastic.  As the UK's biggest outdoor dinosaur exhibition it was bigger and better than any of the ones we have previously visited.


You walk through the forest following a path that traces the different eras of dinosaurs so you can really see how they have evolved.  What made this brilliant for young children is how hands on it is.  Whilst there are signs asking you not to climb on the dinosaurs, you are able to touch them, walk around them and study the different features.  It is so much more interactive and that is perfect for these four explorers.  Port Lympne have designed it so well with plenty of information one each one and even my non-reader could understand some of it.


Each dinosaur's weight is compared to other animals and you can see that it weighs 15 rhinos or something similar by the 15 pictures of rhinos in the box.  The boys loved counting and comparing as they walked round and Dylan could read them more of the information too.


There are dinosaurs in the trees up high, tiny ones on the floor and some where even the tallest of my boys barely reached his knee.  There was so much to see and I know if we were to return, this is what they would most like to see. Towards the end of the exhibit there were dinosaurs that you could climb on/in which was fun and made a great picture too!


I have written already about our experience at Port Lympne and about staying overnight at Bear Lodge but I really wanted to share how impressed we were with the Dinosaur Forest too.






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Sunday, 12 November 2017

Staying Overnight at Bear Lodge, Port Lympne

We recently spent a night staying at Bear Lodge in Port Lympne wildlife park and it was such a fantastic experience for the children and us.  It wasn't our first time glamping, but Bear Lodge was definitely the most glam thanks to the en-suite shower and toilet and the running water in the kitchen sink.  We slept overlooking the bears as well as being able to see out 40 miles towards the coast and we had our entry to Port Lympne included the next day.

Bear Lodge, Port Lympne, glamping

We were expecting the tents to be big and from the outside they looked similar to others we had stayed in.  Inside they were quite different though, so much bigger and better.  Being a family of six, we had one of the largest sized tents which sleeps up to 8.  There was a master bedroom, a second bedroom with bunk beds and a bed built into what looks like a wooden crate.  It had a storage/crawl space underneath and you could close the shutters both sides to make it fully coccooned.  There was a small 'kitchen' with cupboards, a fridge and a sink, a dining area with a large table and a living area with a sofa.  Outside the tent were tables and chairs so we could sit and enjoy the view.

Bear Lodge, Port Lympne, glamping

Bear Lodge, Port Lympne, glamping

All of the beds were made up with thick winter duvets and fleece blankets which we were really grateful for as we stayed at the end of October and it got pretty chilly! Whilst the previous day was mild, the night was freezing and we slept wrapped up in the warm layers.  I would definitely recommend taking warm layers if you are going outside of the summer season.

Bear Lodge, Port Lympne, glamping

There were around 20 tents all grouped together with a communal playground in the middle which all four children loved.  It was really great to be able to let them run around out there as soon as they woke up in the morning too.  

Bear Lodge, Port Lympne, glamping

Just behind our tent was a small meerkat enclosure and towards the bears was another one with small mammals (I have forgotten their names) that the children loved watching run around through the wire tubes.  Whilst the area felt safe and serene at times, you were very aware that you were sleeping in a wildlife park and we heard the bears growling through the evening too.

Bear Lodge, Port Lympne, glamping

The views were breathtaking and my photos do not do them justice.  The sun set just in front of us so it was the perfect spot to sit and watch it.  As occupants of Bear Lodge you can book in to do a later safari so rather than queing with the day customers, there were later safaris for the guests to go on an hour tour of the reserve taking in animals such as the giraffes, rhinos and deer.  We were staying at Bear Lodge as part of a project I have been doing with Panasonic so we had dinner with them, but there is a restaurant on the campsite that sells dinner and breakfast and had a bar.  The tents don't have any cooking facilities so you do have to eat out.

Bear Lodge, Port Lympne, glamping

If you are thinking of a visit, then don't forget to pack warm pyjamas, wellies and some marshmallows to toast! We had a brilliant time and I would love to take the children back.  From one year old up to six, they all found different things to amuse themselves and there was a lovely atmosphere in such a small site with the children all playing together.  

Bear Lodge, Port Lympne, glamping

You can stay at Bear Lodge at Port Lympne from £210 a night and that includes entry into both Howletts and Port Lympne for the duration of your stay, all bedding and towels and the safaris.  You can read more about our experience at Port Lympne here.  I have also written about the amazing Dinosaur Forest

Bear Lodge, Port Lympne, glamping
Bear jumpers for Bear Lodge - It had to be done! All 4 are from Tootsa Macginty
Bear Lodge, Port Lympne, glamping




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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Glamping with Ready Camp

We have been meaning to try camping for a while, but with four children aged five and under, glamping was starting to sound like a better idea.  Ready Camp invited us along to their bloggers weekend at their Tamworth site and it seemed the perfect introduction to life on a campsite.  Ready camp tents are no ordinary tents, set on decking they have beds, a mini kitchen and electricity so you can start the day with a cup of tea before you even venture outside.

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping, glamping tent

Having never been glamping, I wasn't sure exactly what to expect.  I was so impressed when we arrived that I filmed a quick video tour of our tent over on my facebook page.  The tent was spacious and cosy with everything we needed and there was plenty of space for all 6 of us.   There were two bedrooms, one with a double bed and the other with bunk beds ( - a single on top, a double on the bottom and an extra pull out bunk). The living area had a sofa, a dining table with 6 chairs and then a mini kitchen equipped with hobs, a kettle and toaster and all the cooking equipment we needed.   The shower block was close by and it was modern and clean and most importantly warm.  There was a baby cubicle which had a baby bath as well as a changing station and plenty of space.


Cora and I arrived first and the boys not long after and they immediately began running.  The site has so much open space as well as a playground and the boys didn't once mention being bored, they never asked for something to do or somewhere to go, they just reveled in the freedom, soaked up the fresh air and explored to their hearts content.

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping, glamping with four under five


Our first night was chilly, but we were prepared with sleeping bags and fleece blankets as well as the heater that was part of our tent. We all slept well (once we finally got a certain two year old to actually sleep) and the boys woke the next morning desperate to go back outside with their friends.  It took them all of maybe thirty seconds to secure new best friends and they were inseparable for the weekend.  They had never met before, but they bonded quickly in a way that only children can and they collected pine cones, played hide and seek and coloured-in on the veranda.  We had planned to explore a local castle that morning, but watching how happy the boys were on the campsite, we decided to just relax and enjoy our surroundings.  Each tent had six camping chairs so I sat out the front with my book and put Cora on a blanket with a few toys and we had a perfect morning.

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping

Our afternoon was spent taking part in a tipi designing challenge which some of us took more seriously than others.  Dylan's side had a few drawings, Archie's had a blob of glitter glue, Finn's had some beautiful 'mark making' and Cora decorated hers with flowers (with a little help from a parent).  It was such a fun creative challenge using plain tipis bought from Hobby Craft and it would be a great activity to take on a glamping trip, boot space permitting. Be warned that you will find pompoms EVERYWHERE for the next few days though!




We had a bbq dinner (because quite frankly, what else would you possibly want to eat when you are glamping?) and as the children ran off the last of their energy, we enjoyed a cold beer straight from the fridge sat under the outdoor lanterns.  It felt cosy, calm and relaxing which isn't how you would usually describe a camping holiday with four small ones. The boys finally settled for the second night with rosy cheeks and worn out legs.

drayton manor ready camp, Tamworth glamping

The Tamworth site is right next door to the Drayton Manor theme park so is a great place to stay if you are visiting.  There are Ready Camp sites all over the country though, including Alton Towers and more local to me, Canterbury.  I love the fact that it can make visiting a theme park more affordable for larger families, as we wouldn't have been able to squeeze us all into one hotel room, and you can have the glamping experience as far away or as close to home as you like.

We had a fantastic time glamping with Ready Camp and are already looking to go back to a different site. We loved the freedoms of camping and being outdoors but the creature comforts that we rely on so much too and it was a great way to travel as a bigger family.





ready camp, drayton manor camping


glamping at night, ready camp

We were invited along for the weekend with Ready Camp but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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Friday, 16 October 2015

Our Weekend with Park Resorts

Park Resorts, Caravan holiday, UK family break
I grew up with caravan holidays, every year my mum and dad drove us all down to Bournmouth and we would spend the week there, visiting the familiar places, spending the mornings at Sammy the Seahorse club and staying up late in the evenings for the entertainment and kids disco.  

I have so many memories from our caravan holidays; playing tennis with my Dad who always hit the ball at my racket as I was useless at moving towards it, fancy dress competitions which we always entered and my mum coming up with costumes during the day, the zipwire in the park that was quite simply the Best Thing Ever.

Earlier this month, we took the boys on their first UK caravan break thanks to Park Resorts, and whilst we only managed a weekend due to the restrictions of school, it was everything I remembered.  We have never taken them anywhere with evening entertainment, and whilst they played at being shy for around 60 seconds, they soon joined in decorating paper butterflies with the charismatic 'green coat'.  They watched in awe as Sparky and Sparkle appeared first in a video and then on stage and they loved having a quick play in the newly refurbished arcade before bed.  It was a quiet week being October with only around 15 children for the younger kids evening entertainment but the boys loved it.


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