Over the past few years, I’ve found myself wanting to visit more and more places with the kids before they grow up and fly the nest. But it wasn’t until recently that I actually found the confidence to just jump on a bus or train and take them away by myself. And while I still have this new found confidence, I really want to make the most of it, and take them to more places than ever this year.
So, for today’s post, I thought I’d compile a list of 12 places I’d love to take them this year. I honestly don’t think we’ll be able to cross them all off the list before 2018 comes to an end, but we’re going to give it our best shot! OK, then. Are you sitting comfortably? Then let me tell you about all the lovely places we’d really love to visit this year!
The first place on our list is actually somewhere I’ve been vowing to take the kids for a good couple of years now. But we still haven’t been! And that place is the Calypso Cove Waterpark in Barnsley. The waterpark can be found in the Metrodome Leisure Complex, and it has 3 different pools for the whole family to enjoy.
As well as having the different pool areas, Calypso Cove is the home to 3 amazing looking flumes, a slide that’s perfect for little ones, as it goes down into the shallow end of the pool, and a fantastically fun four-lane open slide that’s great for racing your friends! There’s even a diving board made to look and feel as if you’re about to walk the plank. How cool is that?!
After your swim, you can enjoy a tasty treat at The Hideout poolside restaurant. It looks like they do some really delicious snacks and meals, and I’ll definitely be taking the kids to eat there when we finally go for our swim. I hope we can cross this off our bucket list of places we’d like to visit quite early in the year, as like I mentioned before, the kids have been wanting to check it out for years.
Next up, I’ve picked out the amazing Thomas Land at Drayton Manor Theme Park. My mum and I took Oscar for the day back in 2016, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite only just turning 3 back then, he remembers it really well and often asks if we can go back. And of course, I always say yes!
Next time we visit, though, I’d love to take advantage of their ‘Stay & Play’ offer, so Oscar can enjoy spending the night in one of their Thomas themed bedrooms. I just know he’d love it! Thomas Land is the perfect place to take little ones who are fans of the TV show, as there are loads of rides and attractions for them to enjoy. And I’m pleased to say they’re all age appropriate.
When we visited last, our favourite rides were Diesel’s Locomotive Mayhem, Harold’s Helicopter Tours, and the Bertie Bus ride. I think Oscar would get more out of it if we went again as he’d be able to go on some of the bigger rides. I really hope we can go back at some point this year.
I’m not sure whether or not I’ve mentioned this before, but my daughter, Stacey, is a big fan of singer Amelia Lily. And this year she’ll be playing the part of Princess Fiona in Shrek the Musical, which you’ll know we’ve been wanting to see for absolutely ages if you happened to take a look at my theatre bucket list last year.
The show is a touring one, too. And I noticed that it’s coming to both nearby Nottingham and Sheffield, which should mean we’ll be in with a good chance of seeing it at some point. Yay! Oscar keeps saying that he doesn’t want to see it as it will be scary, but he’s been to absolutely loads of shows over the last few years, so I think he will be OK. If you’ve seen it, let me know in the comments below if it’s suitable for young children or not. I’m sure it will be.
I think it would make Stacey’s year if she got to see Amelia in a musical. I didn’t take her to see American Idiot with me, so she’s never seen her perform live on stage before. She really is amazing, though. She has an incredible voice and really knows how to grab an audience’s attention. I bet she’ll be just as fantastic in Shrek!
Trampoline Parks are big news right now, and both Stacey and Oscar are dying to visit Red Kangaroo, which opened up on the outskirts of Nottingham last year. Firm in the belief that everyone is born to bounce; Red Kangaroo’s Trampoline Park features sessions and facilities for all ages and abilities. As well as a huge main court with wall-to-wall trampolines, which are much bigger than the industry standard.
As well as the main court, Red Kangaroo have a whole host of additional aerial activities such as an assault course that features a demanding vertical climbing wall, hanging bags to swing from and ‘doors’ to clamber through, all without touching the ground, an awesome wipeout game where players jump over or duck under a rotating sweeper arm while trying desperately to perch safely on their podiums without toppling off, a double cardio wall for two people to test endurance and reaction skills against each other, and loads more.
From what we’ve seen online, Red Kangaroo looks a lot bigger and better than any of the other Trampoline Parks we’ve visited in the area, and we’re hoping to visit over half term so we can all burn off lots of energy!
At the end of the summer last year, we went to Flamingo Land for the day. And we had the best time ever! There were loads of amazing rides for the kids to enjoy. And Oscar discovered he loved the bigger thrill ones rather than the ones aimed at his age group, which made for an interesting day! LOL.
One of the main reasons I wanted to take the kids to Flamingo Land was because it was one of my favourite places to go when I was their age. I imagined it had probably changed a lot over the years, but it was almost exactly as I remembered it. But with lots more rides and attractions, of course.
Sadly, we didn’t get time to explore the whole of the park, as it was super busy with it being the school holidays, but we still thoroughly enjoyed it. And Oscar sobbed most of the way home because he didn’t want to leave! This year I’d like to stay over one weekend so we can enjoy everything the park has to offer. I know the kids would love that too. Of all the places I’ve put down on my list, I know this is the one we’ll definitely visit again this year.
Next up on my list of places I’d love to take my kids this year is Disneyland Paris. And I’ve got to admit that there’s a super selfish reason behind this one. Basically, Stacey is going on a school trip to Paris in 2019, and one of the places they get to visit while they’re there is Disneyland. But I always imagined that I’d be the first person to see her reaction if we were ever lucky enough to visit. So now I’m desperate to take her before she goes with her friends. That’s so bad, isn’t it?!
Both Stacey and Oscar have been asking for years to go to Disneyland Paris. We’re kind of Disney crazy in our house, and I know they’d love to meet their favourite characters, and see the parades and firework displays and stuff. I think they’d really enjoy all the rides as well.
If any of you guys have been to Disneyland Paris before and have any tips for booking a trip away, please let me know in the comments below. I always think the booking process looks super scary, and I don’t want to mess it all up if we do finally get the chance to go!
As I mentioned before, the kids and I love a bit of Disney and very often head to Nottingham Arena to see the latest Disney on Ice. This year’s show is called ‘World of Enchantment’, and it has four different stories in it: Cars, Frozen, Toy Story 3, and The Little Mermaid. And as Stacey’s a big fan of Cars, and Buzz Lightyear is Oscar’s hero, I’d really love to take them to see it!
Disney on Ice never seems to lose its magic, no matter how many times we go to see it. And the skaters are just incredible. Stacey and I have seen all 4 of this year’s stories brought to life on the ice before, but we’ve both agreed that we’d still love to see them again. I just need to keep my fingers crossed that tickets don’t sell out before I manage to get hold of some.
Next on my list of places I’d love to take my kids this year is The Algarve in Portugal. We’ve not been on a foreign holiday since Stacey was 2, and I’ve recently found myself wanting to jump on a plane and enjoy the warmer climes of somewhere like Portugal.
It would be my dream to stay in a lovely villa with a private pool so the kids can go for a swim whenever they wanted, and I could take lots and lots of photographs without having to worry about being told off because I might get other people’s children in them.
As well as spending lots of time just relaxing, and splashing in the pool, I’d love to check out the local area and maybe go on a boat trip or something similar. It seems like The Algarve has a lot to offer, and I’d really love to explore it. I know that Stacey would enjoy it too, as she’s always saying how much her friends love their foreign holidays! Have you ever been to The Algarve? If so, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.
When I was younger, I really enjoyed going to music festivals with my older brother, and it’s definitely something I’d like my two to experience at some point too. And Camp Bestival looks like the perfect first festival to take them to! If you’ve never heard of it before, Camp Bestival is a multi-award winning festival that combines an all-encompassing family festival experience with an action-packed camping holiday!
Set in the majestic grounds of Lulworth Castle, on Dorset’s dramatic Jurassic coastline, Camp Bestival is jam-packed with entertainment! From first-class musical performances and cultural delights to stunning sideshow attractions and lashings of family fun.
Camp Bestival has something for everyone, which is perfect for someone like me, whose kids have a ten year age gap between them! Oscar would be sure to enjoy the soft play area and circus skills, and Stacey would love seeing some of her favourite bands and having a go at go-karting! I think it would make the perfect little getaway for us this summer.
If I had to name just one thing I’ve always wanted to do, I would have to say it’s to go on a cruise. I always think they look so glamorous! But if I’m being honest, I don’t think my kids would be quite as excited to go on a cruise as I would be. And that’s why I’d like to take them on a Disney Cruise instead!
Yes, our love of Disney has made another appearance. I’m so sorry! But their cruise’s combine a trip around lots of different places with a little bit of Disney magic! The cruise ships look absolutely incredible, and there are plenty of dining options, kids clubs, and evening entertainment to keep the whole family happy.
You can even meet your favourite characters on board. And have certain meals with them, just like you can at the theme parks. I think a Disney Cruise would prove to be a big hit with the kids. But if I’m being honest, it’s likely to be the one thing on my list that we won’t get to do. Purely because they’re quite pricey. A girl can dream, though. Can’t she?
I don’t know about you guys, but we love visiting zoos and wildlife parks as a family. And one that we’ve been meaning to visit for years is the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. I mean, it’s practically on our doorstep! It’s said to be a dynamic centre for conservation and welfare, and it boasts over 400 animals and over 70 different species. How cool is that?
Oscar loves looking at different animals, and learning about where they come from and what sorts of things they like to eat etc. So I think he’d thoroughly enjoy it here. They have lots of our favourite animals from lions, tigers, lemurs and leopards, to zebras, rhinos, giant otters, meerkats, and everything in between! I think it would make a fantastic day out that we’d all enjoy.
And last, but certainly not least, this year I would love to take the kids to LaplandUK this year! If you’ve never heard of it before, LaplandUK is an original adaptation of the Father Christmas story and the secret world of the elves brought to life through a 4-hour immersive experience of unprecedented scale and quality.
When you book the experience you get a personalised invitation and entry into Father Christmas’ arctic homeland, an Elf Passport for every child, all activities at the venue, ice skating and a beautiful gift for every child. Also included is one photograph of your children with Father Christmas per booking. Plus a Christmas Morning Thank You card from Father Christmas!
The whole experience just looks magical, and if you’d like to read more about it, then make sure you check out my lovely friend Rebecca’s review of it by clicking here. I know my two would thoroughly enjoy this (despite one of them being a teenager), and I think it would help add an extra layer of magic to Christmas this year. I actually want to go right now!
And there you have it, 12 places I would love to take my kids this year. I hope you enjoyed having a read, and that it’s inspired you to check out a few new places in 2018 as well.