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We’ve had snow this week and half term is looming.  February is always a funny one, isn’t it?   Unless you’re heading off abroad for winter sun, you know it’s likely to be cold, wet, windy or wintery – possibly all four – and it’s difficult to know where to go.  I think it’s helpful to apply my favourite motto:  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

With that in mind, we drove up to Yorkshire this time last year to visit Harrogate, the quaint spa town that had been voted the UK’s happiest place to live in three out of the four previous years.  Despite  the temperature hovering in single figures, we thoroughly enjoyed blissful cycling, mooching through parkland…and plunging into a near-Baltic ravine.

Read on here to find out Yorkshire is a great place to visit whatever the weather.


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The view of a fairy-tale castle

We love staying at La Croix du Vieux Pont in the tiny village of Berny-Rivière in northern France.  It’s around 70 miles north east of Paris and just a two-and-a-half hour drive from Calais so it’s easy to get to – and has plenty to do on-site.

It’s open from the Easter holidays until the end of October half term so it’s perfect for an out-of-season break.  You can take your own tent or stay in a mobile home with an outdoor holiday specialist like Eurocamp.

La Croix du Vieux Pont (click here to read more about the parc itself) is a great base from which to explore a stunning and fascinating part of France. Here are some of the best fab trips we’ve tried.

Disneyland Paris

The famous theme park is only 60 miles – or an hour or so’s drive – from La Croix du Vieux Pont FIve children in front of the Disney castleand is a very popular day out for families staying there.

An added bonus is the handy door-to-door coach service which leaves the parc at 7.50am and picks back up at Disneyland at 7.50pm (17 € adults, 14 € children, 10 € children under 2. Advanced booking advisable

The journey takes around 75 minutes and takes the stress out of driving.. And believe me, you’ll need all your energy for what lies ahead. With just one day there, we opted to avoid the Walt Disney Studios part and concentrate on the Disneyland Park itself (advance Disneyland Paris tickets from £32 for both adults and children).



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The Tour de France kicks off today.  But it’s a bike race much closer that home that really thrills me.  I love the hugely popular Tour de Yorkshire, a legacy of when the county hosted the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2014.

Yorkshire enjoyed it so much – and has such wonderful countryside to cycle around – that they pledged to continue their own mini version.  This year’s ended its second leg in the beautiful spa town of Harrogate, where we spent a glorious few days earlier this year.

It may be famous for tea – it’s home to Yorkshire Tea and Taylors of Harrogate – and delicious toffee but there’s so much more to it too.  Have a look here to find out more.


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IT may be most famous for tea and toffee, but by ‘eck there’s so much more to the elegant Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate.

Harrogate is teaming with quaint cafes, trendy bars, picture postcard pubs, imposing Georgian and Victorian architecture, swanky boutiques, olde worlde shops…and acres upon acres of green and pleasant land.

It’s easy to see why locals have named it the happiest town to live in three out of the last four years, citing its open spaces, culture, friendliness, safety and recreation as key.  And those factors all help make it the perfect place to take the kids for a few days.

We kicked off our trip there with an amble around Harrogate’s buzzing shops. If you’re after sweets by the quarter, handmade handbags, local designers, unique art or interior design inspiration – or a store that sells over 12,000 different buttons – you’re made but you won’t miss out on high street favourites either.

It all feels wonderfully old fashioned but the real attraction is the sheer space.  We lapped up the slower pace with a stroll around The Stray, 200 acres of open parkland right in the hub of the town and popular for picnics, dog walking, kite-flying and ball games. Continue reading “SIX GO MAD IN…HARROGATE”


THE Greeks christened it ‘Kallisté’ (the most beautiful) and the French call it ‘Ile de Beaute’ (Island of Beauty) so we weren’t surprised by Corsica’s spectacular scenery.

But it didn’t take us long to discover that this amazing gem – roughly the size of Crete and lying above Sardinia off the west coast of Italy – satisfies every holiday palette as it’s teaming with serene beaches, rugged mountain ranges, chocolate box villages and enticingly warm rivers and sea.

Unlike Italian-owned Sardinia, it is part of France but has its own distinct feel and remains refreshingly undeveloped. We stayed on the east coast near Ghisonaccia town, next to a wide sandy beach called Plage de Vignale and fringed by the Tyrrhenian Sea, its 28⁰C water perfect for swimming or pedalo rides.

Our large holiday parc Marina d’Erba Rossa had a lively hub around its swimming pool and entertainment square – complete with rooftop DJ – but elsewhere it was quiet and laid-back.

Continue reading “SIX GO MAD IN…CORSICA”


It’s 6pm and the warm evening sunshine glimmers on the gentle water.   My four wetsuit-clad kids laze on top of surf boards, casually chatting about the best wickets they’ve taken this season or their current playlist.

But as the familiar rumble starts up, they swing into action, paddling calmly then with greater urgency as the wave surges up behind them, tossing a couple of them underneath in its wake and propelling the other two to shore.

I hope I don’t sound like a harsh parent when I say I’m unconcerned about any stragglers being knocked unconscious and dragged out to sea by unpredictable currents.  Because this is not the sea…my precious offspring are having a surfing lesson in the world’s first inland surfing lagoon.  And it’s right here in the UK.

North Wales is cleverly carving itself out to be a leading light in the tourism world, with superlative after superlative flying out of the activity lists.  The world’s highest or longest, Europe’s first or fastest…it’s all here in what was once sleepy Snowdonia.

The mountain steam trains and cavern tours are still around but nowadays thrill seekers arrive in flocks to zip across the landscape in every way possible and to bounce, plummet and swing their socks off. And now it seems, to surf in safety too.

Continue reading “SIX GO MAD IN…SNOWDONIA”


Think of CBBC’s hilarious Total Wipeout adventure game show and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what Surf Snowdonia’s Crash and Splash is all about.

It’s a mini assault course set over water and virtually guaranteed to have you making waves of your own.  Rosie and Max were too young to try it out but instead watched in giggles as Harvey and Max slipped and skidded their way over a slippery pole, traversed rope bridges and giant spinning balls and swung through monkey bars…but not without several dunkings.

The grand finale is the best bit…. ‘the blob’ is a 33ft long floating air-filled pillow which one or two people jump onto from a platform, sending the person crouching at the other end flying up then crashing into the water.

According to Surf Snowdonia’s website, it’s the ‘most fun way’ you’ll ever be thrown into water.  It was…particularly for those viewing it from dry land.

The Crash and Splash course is part of the terrific inland lagoon at Surf Snowdonia where you can learn to ride the waves like a pro.

Find  out here how we got on when we tried out a lesson.



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Blogger Fiona and two of her children meet the real Santa on a dream family holiday to Lapland

‘Hello Freddie, hello Rosie,’ said the plump, bespectacled stranger as he clasped his mittened hands together.  My two children gasped, their hands shooting up in unison to cover their open mouths.  ‘How do you know my name?’ whispered nine-year-old Rosie.

More gasps followed as ‘plump, bespectacled stranger’ pulled out the Christmas letters Rosie and her brother Freddie, six, had written to Santa and sent off to Lapland just a couple of weeks’ earlier.

‘So, you like dancing do you Rosie?’ he asked before reading out a few must-haves they’d listed – Frozen dolls for her (yes, the ones that were sold out everywhere), a tablet for him. ‘Have you been kind to your parents all year?’ he added, peering over his little round metal-rimmed glasses. Continue reading “SIX GO MAD IN…LAPLAND”