Family Travel Times

Family Travel Times: October 2013

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Two! (by Robert)

                                                            The trailer

Horrible Histories Barmy Britain Part Two is a hilarious show which has two people arguing about whether we live in Great Britain or Barmy Britain. A man and a police lady act out the history in the show. Both characters have a different opinion of our country's  past.

A few of the funny moments were:

  • The Queen undercover, experiencing jobs. I liked it when she met the fired king/queen bottom wiper.
  • The only way is Essex with Dick Turpin.
  • Richard the Lionheart and all the animal noises - meow, baa, neigh but no roar - when he says his name.
  • The songs like Burke and Hare and the death song.
I think other people will like this show because it is funny, gory and very interesting. My dad liked it and so did my cousin (who's 10) and uncle, which means it's a great day out for everyone. I even thought it was funnier and more interesting than Barmy Britain Part One.

Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Two is on at the Garrick Theatre in London. It is touring in lots of different venues around the country, including Norwich, Aberdeen and Llandudno from January 2014. You can find out more about the tour here.

Read my blog post about my favourite shows.

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Friday, 25 October 2013

In praise of interconnecting rooms!

It's great to be with the kids- but it's also nice to be able to shut the door on them!
Holidays are fabulous, but there are sometimes downsides. I know, this could come perilously close to complaining, and I do realise we are extremely lucky enough to be able to go away, exploring the UK and beyond. But although I love spending time away as a family, those kids sometimes get in the way.

Let me clarify. I mean at night. And I mean when they are sharing our room.

It can be hard enough to find a family sized room, but once you have, you then all have to sleep in it together. This can mean that the children don't fall asleep until incredibly late, or that there is no space (we stayed in one B&B in Northamptonshire where I was convinced I was going to step on my toddler and kill him if I attempted to move). It also means that, if one of you likes it very dark to go to sleep (that'll be me then) and a child likes it light, you're in trouble. And I haven't even mentioned the heavy breathing (the asthmatic child) or the waking up very early (the other one).

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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Going back in time at Thornbury Castle

Thornbury Castle is absolutely beautiful
I don't know who was more excited, me, or the children. After all, it's not everyday that you spend the night in a castle, and certainly not one which has hosted one of the famous monarchs of all, Henry VIII.

Then again, Thornbury Castle is not your everyday kind of place. Instead, it is utterly gorgeous and perfect for a real taste of luxury. It is also situated right next to a beautiful church and just a few minutes from the delightful village of Thornbury in Gloucestershire. Thornbury has a very impressive array of shops, tearooms and restaurants and the most fabulous park which boasts the biggest paddling pool I've ever seen.

But back to the castle, which was built by Edward Stafford, the third Duke of Buckingham between 1510 and 1521. He was beheaded (unfortunately a common experience in Tudor times) in 1521 but the castle continued to go from strength to strength. Mary I stayed here often and Henry and Anne Boleyn (another who lost her head) stayed for 10 days in the Tower suite (yes, it's still there, although with some mod cons) in 1535.

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Sunday, 13 October 2013

Beautiful Alpine Austria

Austria by Sarah Ebner
Scheffau, where we stayed
I have a complicated relationship with Austria as you can see from this article, on my trip to Vienna. To me, it is not just a country of beautiful scenery and the finest of cakes. It is also the place where my father was born, and which forced him and my grandparents to leave.
My dad was born in Vienna in 1937. His father was taken away after the Anschluss (annexation) in 1938 and spent more than a year in Dachau concentration camp. He was extremely fortunate to be released before the start of the Second World War, and with my grandmother and baby father, managed to get to England in August 1939. Many of my father’s relatives were not so lucky.
This brief history may help you see why for me, Austria is far more than a tourist destination. It may also explain why I was so intrigued by the possibility of going to visit this tiny country as a holiday-maker.
The region I visited, the Wilder Kaiser, is a mountain range in the Tirol. It is best known for being a ski resort, but as it offers over 700km of signed hiking trails, over 400km of mountain bike routes, cable cars, six mountain adventure parks and numerous mountain huts and inns, it seems a waste not to enjoy it during the rest of the year. And of course there is the spectacular scenery.
I visited with my eight-year-old son, Robert, and we had a wonderful time although I did, at times, feel a little strange, a sensation I also experienced when I visited Vienna a few years ago. I think this is because Austria is such a very, very beautiful country, but with such a dark recent history. On this visit, I was struck by the fact that when I said my father was Austrian-born (I have an Austrian surname), only one person asked me for more details. In Vienna, people were far more interested.
The problem with family holidays is that they can often be too similar – full of beaches, chips and ice-cream. This is not an issue in the Wilder Kaiser. You can enjoy a holiday full of utterly stunning scenery, fresh air, and authentic cuisine — from schnitzel (not usually with noodles, I’m afraid) to Kaiser-schmarren (chopped pancakes)....
We stayed in the Hotel Alpin in Scheffau, around an hour from Innsbruck airport. This is a lovely place for families, offering a kids club, table tennis, fields to play in, and a swimming pool. It also has family rooms and includes buffet meals, perfect for children who are independent enough to want to choose what they eat (and easy for parents of any age, as it means you only take what you think your child will enjoy).
If you like walking and fresh air, then you will find the entire region delightful and may also be surprised by just how much there is to do. As the parent of a rather screen-obsessed child, I was thrilled by how physical everything was, how outdoorsy and fun. Robert walked and walked and never complained.
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Sunday, 6 October 2013

A Delicious Sally Lunn Bun...

This summer, my mum and I ate at Sally Lunn's - a delightful eating house and kitchen museum in one of the oldest houses in Bath. This is what we thought...

The first thing you notice when you see Sally Lunn's is the stunning tea house. It feels friendly and welcoming, and as if you are being whisked back in time when you step into it. However, I felt slightly less optimistic about the house when we were waiting in the hallway to be seated (an inconvenient place where it was impossible to be seen).

By the time we were seated, my mum and I were extremely hungry and anxious to start eating. The menu had lots of choice, and we chose to have a savoury bun each and share a sweet one. My mum chose Welsh Rarebit and I had roast vegetable. Unfortunately, the service was slow, but our buns more than made up for it. They were warm, light and fluffy, and a half-size portion was just right with the side salad.
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