Showing posts with label family travel blogger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family travel blogger. Show all posts

Monday, 16 April 2018

Crealy Adventure Park Review

I hadn't heard of Crealy Adventure Park until we were asked if we would like to come and check it out and judging by the website it looked perfect for young families like ours.  My children are 6,5,3 and 1 and the park was advertised as fun for 0-12 with rides, playgrounds and soft play areas.  We were glamping on site at Crealy Meadows and ended up spending two whole days at the Adventure Park.

Crealy Adventure Park was the boys' dream place.  The mix of child friendly rides, themed outdoor playgrounds and indoor spaces where they could bounce around was perfect for them and they loved seeing the animals and exploring everything the park had to offer.  If your child is over 92cm then there is almost nothing they can't do and one of the best parts of the week for us was being able to say yes to Finn so much.  He is used to having to wait whilst his brothers go on rides he is too small for and suddenly he was big enough for everything and he loved it!

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

The park is a mixture of indoor and outdoor which meant as the weather changed we could choose different activities.  Outside the boys favourite ride by far was the driving school which they must have done at least 8 times.  We went during the Easter holidays but the weather forecast wasn't great and we never had to queue for longer than about 5 minutes which was ideal!  Finn loved the Roman themed rollercoaster although his big brothers were too nervous to go on it and my highlight was shooting the boys with water as they played on the water ride.

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Indoors there were three rides including two that Cora was able to go on.  Although she is nearly 2 she is particularly short so her options were limited but there was plenty for her to do with the soft play areas.  There was a huge soft play which was perfect for even the biggest kids and parts were too challenging for my 5 and 6 year old still.  There were drop slides, long slides and all sorts and a seperate area for smaller children.  

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Also indoors was an animal barn where you could feed the rabbits, guinea pigs and goats.  There was a bug area and regular shows throughout the day where you could learn more about the insects, reptiles and mammals.  We caught the bug show and the kids loved learning about the tarantulas and touching the stick insects.  All three boys were mesmerised and the woman doing the show was really entertaining.

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

The downside to being in an adventure park was the food and there was limited choice (pretty much burger, halloumi in a bun or a chicken burger with chips).  I have two children who don't eat chips and there was nothing for them.  We did spot a salad and subs area but it was shut for the duration of our visit which was dissapointing.  There were picnic areas so I would suggest bringing your own food if you have fussy eaters or dietary requirements. 

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Whilst we were there, there was a free Easter Egg hunt you could take part in and the children loved following the clues to collect stamps and then trading them in for an egg at the end.  The hunt seemed to be on all week which was nice and the clues helped guide us to parts of the park we hadn't explored yet.

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

The children absolutely loved Crealy Adventure Park and it was amazing to be able to stay on site. I was exhausted at the end of every day (as were the children!) and it was great not having to go too far.  We spent 4 nights glamping on site at Crealy and had two full days in the adventure park which was perfect for us.  There were areas we saw a lot and a few bits we didn't manage to get to still.  I would recommend the park, especially if you have children between the ages of 3 and 9 as there is so much for them to do.

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

Crealy adventure park, Devon, family travel blog,

We were invited to visit the park and offered our accommodation and park tickets in exchange for a review.  All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Appartello Hamburg Review // Hamburg with a Larger Family

One of our biggest issues travelling as a larger family is finding accomodation that suits us.  Most hotel rooms only allow four or sometimes five guests but with four small children, we need a bigger room.  On our recent trip to Hamburg we were invited to stay at Appartello, a hotel just outside the city centre full of mini apartments.  It offers all the great qualities of a hotel, including 24 hour reception, breakfast and housekeeping, but with the freedom of an apartment.

Our room had a large open plan living room with a breakfast bar and a kitchen, and then a seperate bedroom.  The sofa pulled out into a large double bed making it perfect for the boys to sleep on, although we actually ended up putting them to sleep in the bedroom so that we could stay up in the living area, and then transferring them when we wanted to go to sleep.

The hotel staff were amazing and happy to answer any questions (in flawless English).  I asked about a bus stop, and they printed me out step by step instructions on how to get to the venue I was after and talked me through it all as well.

The kitchen was well equipped and even had a coffee machine which you could buy pods for at reception.  You could easily cook a full meal in it as there was a proper oven and plenty of equipment.  The apartments are designed for long stays, but they are perfect for short ones too.  For longer stays there are washing machines in the basement that are free to use, and there is also a fitness centre.

We found the location ideal, there was a bus stop just around the corner and it took less than 10 minutes to get onto the main rail network where we could hop on and off trains to get to different parts of the city.  Coming back out of the centre at the end of the day was really calming for the boys and the hotel was in a quiet neighbourhood.

The bathroom was lovely and even had a little step which was Finn's favourite thing, as he has developed a fascination with water and loves washing his hands at every opportunity! It was cleaned everyday by the housekeeping service too.

The beds were really comfy although the pillows were so fluffy and we weren't used to it at all! We all slept very soundly.  I was so impressed with the hotel and it was perfect for bigger families like ours as it accomodated the six of us more than comfortably.

There was a continental breakfast service in the morning on the basement floor where you could help yourself.  The children loved choosing their food and we loved the convenience of being able to pop down and fill our tummies before the day.  

Travelling with a bigger family isn't always as easy but there are some great places if you know where to look and Appartello met all of our needs.

We were invited to Hamburg by Come to Hamburg who arranged our accommodation.  
All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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Thursday, 20 April 2017

10 things I wish I had known before visiting centre parcs De Huttenheugte in Holland

Centre parcs Holland, De Huttenheugte, European centre parks, Plopsa
We have just come back from a 4 night stay at Centre Parcs De Huttenheugte in Holland.  It was the perfect mix of nature, activities and cake and all six of us had the best time.  We booked our trip very last minute and didn't do much research, so I thought I would share 10 things I wish I had known before we went

1. The restaurants shut at 8pm.

I thought that being in Europe meant mealtimes were often later, but when we stayed out a bit later, we were caught out as the restaurants stop serving food by around 8pm.  We did manage to find one in the activity centre that was serving pizza still at 8:30 thankfully .

centre parcs Holland, de huttenheugte, Centre parcs Netherlands

2. The evening entertainment is like an 80s gameshow

We had decided just to skip the evening entertainment as it was all in Dutch and unfortunately my knowledge of the language is pretty limited (ok, non-existent).  We stumbled upon it one evening though and ended up watching for quite some time.  It mostly resembled an 80s game show - there were strange costumes, renditions of cheesy pop and a rather strange song where everyone grabbed napkins off the table and started waving them.  It is worth watching for an evening, even if you don't speak the language.

3. Plopsa is next door for longer stays

Directly next door to the De Huttenheugte site is an amazing amusement park called Plopsa.  You can opt to buy tickets when you book your cottage and they last for the length of your stay.  The boys absolutely loved it, there was so much to do for them.  I would say it was ideal for 2-7 year olds with indoor and outdoor rides, play areas and shows.  For shorter stays there is enough to do in the main site, but we loved visiting.

Plopsa Holland, Centre Parcs Netherlands

Plopsa Holland

4. Holland has different term dates.

It took me a while to realise that it was so quiet because in Holland and Germany the schools weren't on a break.  Our Easter terms have different dates so not only was the park cheaper, but there were never queues either.

Centre parcs de huttenheugte, Centre parcs in the Netherlands, me&i

5. Pool is amazing and open until 9pm

I haven't been to an English Centre Parcs to compare, but the pool complex was amazing! Set inside a giant dome, there were lots of different pools and areas, two kids water playgrounds, sun beds, a sauna, a shop selling all manner of water gear and a restaurant too where you can dine in your bikini.  We could have spent so much more time in there.  It is also worth noting that they have float vests available for children to use for free in the pool.

6. Water is expensive, bring reusable bottles

It is cheaper to drink alcohol in some places than water, I was shocked when I realised that they were charging me nearly four Euros for a small bottle of water! It is much more cost efficient to bring your own reusable bottles and top them up each day.  The tap water is drinkable, but even if you wanted to stick with bottled stuff, you can buy big bottles cheaper at the supermarket and decant them.

7. So many different bikes to hire - 10 person family bike for the adventurous.

No matter what size your family and what your ability is, there is a bike for you.  We went for the 10 person family bike for a cycle around the lake, but there are mountain bikes, kids bikes, tandem bikes, trailers and every variety you can think of.  There are also great safari trucks for the kids (worth booking in advance).

family bike, 10 person bike, centre parcs de huttenheugte

8. Everyone speaks great English, even the characters.

Every single member of staff we came across spoke wonderful English, including the characters.  The boys hadn't seen any of the shows as we thought that the language barrier may put them off, but when we visited the pancake restaurant, one of them was there to decorate pancakes with the kids and he chatted away with them easily in English.  This was one of the highlights for Dylan!

centre parcs de huttenheugte, European centre parcs, Me&i

9. Take mosquito repellent.

It just didn't register that we would be outside around a lake a lot, so I completely forgot to bring mosquito repellent.  As it happened, we were all fine, but I would suggest packing some just in case if you are planning a visit, especially in the summer months.

10. Milkshake is a big thing, try the Chocomel

Everywhere we went there was milkshake - far more than you would find in the UK and Chocomel was everywhere.  Obviously we had to try some in both hot chocolate and milkshake form and both were delicious!


We had such a brilliant time during our stay and we are hoping to go back as there was so much to entertain us all.
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Monday, 17 April 2017

A Few Days Away // Centre Parcs Holland

Centre Parcs Holland, De Huttenheugte, Travel with four children

We knew that we wanted to go away over Easter, but we hadn't got much further than that when it came to actual plans.  I wasn't sure whether we should stay in the UK or go abroad, and we have to think about what sort of holidays are practical with four aged five and under.  In the end we booked a few nights away at a Centre Parcs site in Holland and two days after booking, we were in the car on the way there.

We got the ferry from Dover to Calais in the afternoon and then drove up to De Huttenheugte Centre Parcs in the Netherlands.  I hadn't really done much research and we haven't visited a UK Centre Parcs but I was confident we would have fun regardless.  It worked out really cheap even with the added travelling costs and it meant taking the children somewhere new.  

centre parcs, de huttenheugte, centre parcs Europe

The parc is set around a huge lake and our cottage backed out onto the lake which was just beautiful.  We hadn't really considered the fact that the term dates in Germany and Holland are different to ours but it worked out well as the parc was really quiet and nothing got too crowded.  

There was so much to do for small children and we spent our days feeding the ducks, playing in the parks, visiting the animals in the small petting area and enjoying the amazing pools.  I have never been anywhere with pools quite like it.  Inside a giant dome is a selection of swimming areas including two kids play areas, a wave pool, a deeper diving pool and restaraunts, sun beds, a sauna and more.  We don't get to go swimming often with the children as with four so young there are often restrictions, but they were really relaxed and with the kids pools we didn't have to worry about baby seats so much.  There were plenty of float jackets in each area for the children to wear and we took our own seat for Cora.  I loved watching their confidence grow in the water and it was definitely a highlight of our holiday.

The restaraunts were set inside another dome which had a river flowing through it with turtles and giant fish as well as trees with parrots and a walkway up high looking down on it all.  There was such a wonderful atmosphere and so much for the kids to explore that it was never hard keeping them entertained whilst we waited for food or drinks.  

There was an action centre with a brilliant indoor mini golf, bowling and arcade games as well as a playroom where certain kids clubs were hosted.  We decided not to put the children into any of them in the end as we wanted to enjoy the time all together but I think they would have loved the 'I want to be a firefighter' or 'I want to be a chef' sessions.

On the Sunday the temperatures suddenly soared into the twenties and we hired a 'family bike' for a couple of hours to cycle around the lake.  This seemed like a brilliant idea for all of two minutes before we realised that 6 people plus a giant bike is pretty heavy and only two of us could actually reach the pedals.  The boys loved being driven round though and it was such a beautiful day that we took a little picnic along with us.  There were so many different bikes and carts available to hire.

10 person bike, centre parcs de hutteneugte

Right next to the site is an amusement park called Plopsa.  We bought passes for it and had a lovely day there.  There were indoor and outdoor rides, shows and playgrounds as well as eating areas.  The boys loved the rollercoaster, the huge indoor slides and the climbing mountain outside (which Finn scaled in a rather monkey like fashion).  There was a huge outdoor driving area for kids and they spent ages driving around, stopping at every red light, going the 'wrong' way round every roundabout and playing at being firemen and policemen.  There was so much for all three boys to do and Ed and I had a lot of fun on the climbing mountain too (although neither of us actually made it up to the slide)

plopsa Holland, climbing mountain

Our cottage was perfect for us with three bedrooms, a living and dining area, both with six chairs and an outdoor area with a table and chairs.  The cottage was clean and well equipped although we only really used it for sleeping in. 

We had such a lovely time exploring somewhere new, listening to the different languages (we only heard one other English person - they were mostly Dutch and German) and admiring the beauty of the forest and lake.  It is definitely somewhere we would visit again and I think we will try a different European Centre Parcs too after having such a great experience. 

As I am sure you can imagine, I took a few too many photos, so here are some of my favourites.

centre parcs de huttenheugte

centre parcs de huttenheugte

centre parcs Holland, de Huttenheugte

 We had such an amazing break, the children were so happy playing that they had a proper screen detox (which was very much needed) and we have so many wonderful memories to look back on.
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