It’s surprising how parenthood can shrink your holiday horizons. Before kids, I always imagined I’d be travelling round the four corners of the globe, dragging a couple of little ones round edgy souks and bazaars, like something out of Hideous Kinky.
And then, I had those children. Suddenly the practicalities of travelling to far-flung places with young kids (who are always likely to have trantrums, eject bodily fluids, or – *shudders* – get lost in crowded places) took the shine off the idea of jetting into the unknown. Nowadays, holiday happiness for me is all about familiarity. Knowing the children are going to be kept entertained in a family-friendly resort, say, is worth much more than the thrill of visiting a place whose local menu I don’t understand a word of.
And I’ve come to appreciate the UK a lot more. We spent Christmas in North Yorkshire, where it was a real treat to discover Knaresborough, a place I’d never heard of and which turned out to be a beautiful, charismatic town. There are a few other locations that I’m also tempted to visit over 2015:
This dreamy, cerebral city is justifiably popular with sightseers, but when I spent a day in Cambridge the sixteenth century College buildings were so splendid I barely noticed all the tourists. I’d love to stay in Cambridge for a little longer, to allow time for punting lazily down the River Cam, or picnicing on a grassy bank, with a few books and board games to keep us happy. The well-established Literary Festival looks worth a look, too.
Nestled in the Firth of Lorn, Oban is a beautiful Scottish seaside destination, with a horseshoe bay protected by the island of Kerrera and warmed by the Gulf stream. Oban holds an annual games, the Argyleshire Gathering, and would be the perfect place for us to use as a base while exploring the dramatic Highland countryside.
Hay On Wye
This small town in the Welsh marches punches above its weight for history and interest. Home of the world-renowned Hay Festival, the place is teeming with bookshops, perches on the edge of the beautiful Brecon Beacons, and even boasts a Norman Castle. I’ve always wanted to visit during Festival week, especially now that there are so many events designed to appeal to children and families. Perhaps 2015 will be our year.
Even in the rain, the timber-framed buildings of Chester look enticing. If the weather’s inclement, a hot chocolate in one of the city’s cute coffeeshops would appeal; out of doors, there’s a medieval castle, cathedral and Roman amphitheatre to look at. And if the kids get fed up of looking at interesting buildings, we could always pop to Chester Zoo.
Inspired to visit some UK destinations this year? What would be your place of choice for a break?