Planning a Trip to Europe with Kids? You need to visit these places!

Ancient Rome. Image source: guides.i-testsite.co.uk

Ancient Rome. Image source: guides.i-testsite.co.uk

Europe is a great and diverse holidaying destination with plenty to see and do. Planning a family trip to Europe can however be difficult simply because different members of the family want different things. The priority however is usually the kids. At the same time, you want to plan a holiday that you can all enjoy together. Below is a list of some of the best places to tour in Europe for a family holiday that will have something for everyone.

Rome
Rome is one of the most beautiful places on earth. As long as you choose your hotel wisely, you and your family can enjoy a great holiday in this world-class destination. The trick is to pick a hotel that has easy access to the beach, but still close enough to the famous attractions. The Roman seaside will definitely be a treat for the family. Everyone likes the beach, so you can be sure to keep everyone happy. The kids and the whole family will also have a great time climbing the Spanish steps and touring the Colosseum.

King’s Cross Station platform 9 3/4 . Image source: images2.fanpop.com

King’s Cross Station platform 9 3/4 . Image source: images2.fanpop.com

London

Although London is known for being a rather pricey destination, it is still a definite must visit for family vacations. There is plenty to see and do in London. The stunning rolling greens of Hampstead Heath is a must-see. The London Dungeon and London Zoo are all great places for the entire family for a day out on the town. Take the kids to marvel at the fire eaters of Covent Garden and they won’t stop talking about the experience. If the kids are Harry Potter fans, the real treat awaits them at King’s Cross Station where there is a platform 9¾. This is one trip that you will all not forget in a hurry.

Disneyland Paris. Image source: feriasbaratas.com.pt

Paris
Everyone loves Paris, from the kids to the adults. The city of love has a little something for everyone. You can enjoy a romantic getaway and the children will still have a great time on the trip. Just like London, there are plenty of treats for the kids. The fountains at the Centre Pompidou will definitely tickle their fancy.

The whole family will love a day out at the top of the Eiffel Tower. This is definitely a special experience especially at night when the lights start to flicker. The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles is another great treat for the whole family. The cherry on the cake however is Disneyland. This is a dream vacation for any kid, and no better place to fulfill a childhood fantasy than in Paris.

Mini Europe. Image source: minieurope.be

Mini Europe. Image source: minieurope.be

Brussels
Brussels really is one of the most family friendly destinations in Europe with something for every member of the family. The kids are especially going to enjoy the Belgian Comic Strip Museum. Here, they will be surrounded by the favorite cartoon characters as well as get to learn a bit about them. The Atomium is also another place the children are especially going to love where there is a scale model of Europe.

Before planning a family trip to Europe
Although Europe is one of the most family friendly destinations in the world, you need to carefully plan your trip, especially where the well-being of you and your family is concerned. Healthcare in Europe is extremely expensive and a family member falling sick can ruin your entire holiday budget, or worse, easily put you into debt. Travel insurance for your family is the way to go. Children are especially susceptible to illness and/or injury which could pose a big problem. Take out an insurance cover for the entire family, and carefully go through your policy to ensure that all the essentials are covered.

This post courtesy of Alex Pejak, a girl from Sydney who loves to travel and later blog about her experiences. She often travels to Europe, where she has a lot of friends and relatives.

Rome with Kids: 5 Fun Things to Do

Visiting the Eternal City is one of the biggest dreams of many travelers all around the world. Rome is a vibrant city and there is always something one can see or do, such as visiting the ruins of the Roman Empire, or an art exhibition in one of the many galleries studding the city. But if you are traveling with kids, would they enjoy all this as much as adults? Here is a list of 5 fun things to do in Rome that will keep you and your kids entertained.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

1. Discover the Colosseum

When you arrive at one of Rome’s airports, or to the Civitavecchia port, get to the Rome city center, you can easily do so by taking advantage of Cabs4Rome Civitavecchia shuttle express, for example.

The first thing you should do when you get to Rome is to visit the Colosseum. It is probably the most famous landmark of the city and it tells the history of the Ancient Rome. Hire a tour guide or join a group tour at the entrance to learn all about gladiatorial fights, sea battles and animal hunts. Afterwards head outside and take fun pictures of your kids with Roman gladiators!

The Bioparco in Villa Borghese

The Bioparco in Villa Borghese

2. Visit the Bioparco in Villa Borghese

Take your kids to Villa Borghese, the second largest park in Rome, and have a stroll around these enchanting gardens while eating delicious gelato of different tastes. Then visit the Bioparco, which is located right in the Villa Borghese park. There are more than thousand different animals like turtles, bears, vultures and crocodiles that will surely catch your kids’ attention.

the Explora Children’s Museum

The Explora Children’s Museum

3. Head to the Explora Children’s Museum

In Rome, there is also a museum dedicated to kids. Explora interactive museum is built to child-scale and children can play and pretend to be adults in different settings such as supermarkets, a TV studio, a real kitchen and even a fireman truck!

At Explora, children can also learn many things by attending educational events and workshops that are held at the first floor of the building, situated near Piazza del Popolo.

the Largo di Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

the Largo di Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

4. Pet cats in the Largo di Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

It seems that even cats are fascinated by the history of Rome and many of them have been living on the ruins amongst its oldest temples in Torre Argentina, since the site was uncovered in 1929.

Today Torre Argentina is home for more than 250 cats that are all vaccinated, fed and cleaned by a non-profit organization of volunteers. If your kids love animals, you can also decide to adopt one at distance or buy gifts for your friends in the Cat shop.

The Burattini del Gianicolo

The Burattini del Gianicolo

5. See the Burattini del Gianicolo

Climb the Janiculum Hill with your family and then stop to watch a show at the most famous and authentic puppet theatre in Rome. Although all the shows are in Italian, your kids will be enchanted by these traditional hand-crafter puppets, called burattini and their funny antics will keep them entertained. The shows are held every Sunday morning.

These are only a few of the things one can do in Rome with kids, so don’t waste your time and organize a trip to Rome that will amuse and cheer up not only you, but also your kids.

Fascinating and Fun Theme Parks for Kids

If you’re like me, then you probably scour the internet looking for fun and exciting places to visit when you’re next travelling the globe. And what’s more exciting for the little ones than fantasy theme parks, roller coasters, and exciting rides? Well, nothing of course! So keep your kids happy by taking them to these exciting theme parks around the world.

Moomin World (Wikipedia)

Moomin World, Finland

The Moomin Theme Park, located in Kailo, is a unique attraction based on the Moomin books by Tove Johnson. Although not a traditional theme park in the sense that it has no rides, Moomin World keeps kids entertained with unique activities and fantasy trails to explore, such as Toffle’s Path with Witch’s Labyrinth, the Hattifattener’s Cave, and The Groke’s House.

Both kids and parents will enjoy exploring all 5 storeys of the blueberry coloured Moomin House, which is the main attraction of the park.

Other features include Hemulen’s yellow house, Moominmama’s Kitchen, the Fire Station, Snufkin’s Camp, Moominpappa’s Boat, and much more. Moomin characters parade the park – watch out for the witch in her cottage!

Gold Reef City

Gold Reef City, South Africa

Situated in Ormonde, Johannesburg, Gold Reef City Theme Park is an exciting theme park that features over 30 rides consisting of roller coasters, water rides, swings, and Ferris wheels to suit thrill-seekers, families, and children of all ages. In keeping with its name, this entertainment wonderland is themed around the gold rush on the Witswatersrand. Staff members wander around the park dressed in period costumes of the 1880s and the buildings are designed to mimic architecture of the same era.

Visitors can expect a day full of entertainment with shows at the amphitheatre, an opportunity to see how real gold is poured into barrels at the museum, as well as a chance to pan your own gold. Other features include an animal farmyard, 4D movie theatre, and a kids section with Cups and Saucers, a Jungle Train, Turtle Creek Putt-Putt, a Shongololo Coaster, and more.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, USA

Hogwarts Castle at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Wikipedia)

This theme park is a fantastic amusement park based on the Harry Potter novels by JK Rowling. The themed area spans two theme parks in the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. The park has been designed to launch in two phases, with the first phase having opened in 2010. The park features the Islands of Adventure which includes Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a new attraction inside Hogwarts Castle. This ride simulates a tour of the castle and its grounds, with interactive characters and props, including a speech from Dumbledore, directions from Harry, Hermione, and Ron, and realistic animatronic versions of the Whomping Willow, a horde of dementors, giant spiders, the Hungarian Horntail Dragon, and a Quidditch match.

Honeydukes at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Wikipedia)

Other attractions include Dragon Challenge, a pair of inverted rollercoasters built to overlap and intertwine with one another. The queue for this ride features many props, including the Goblet of Fire, Triwizard Cup, the flying car featured in the second film, and Hagrid’s hut.

Visitors will also enjoy the family ride, Flight of the HippoGriff, and exploring Hogsmeade with many gift shops and restaurants from the books such as Dervish and Banges, Honeydukes, Ollivanders, Zonko’s Joke Shop, The Three Broomsticks, and The Hog’s Head. Attractions set to open in 2014 include a replica of Hogwarts Express that will take visitors between the two lands, Gringott’s Wizarding Bank, and Diagon Alley.

What exciting fun parks have you located around the world?

Author Bio: Lauren Morling is a content writer for TravelGround.  She loves reading fantasy novels, exploring real life film sets, and learning about what goes on behind-the-scenes of her favourite movies. On weekends, you’ll likely find her hanging out with friends and drinking Coca-Cola.

Travelling to Brighton with Kids

How to enjoy a trip to Brighton with the kids and find fun things to do for all of your family

Brighton is popular place to raise a family for many reasons. It is incredibly accommodating to growing families and offers an infinite amount of things to do as well as being safer than a lot of other popular cities in the UK. Aside the families living in Brighton, there are always families coming to the city for holidays and even for a stop off point on a year of travels. Here are a couple of ideas for how to spend your time in Brighton and keep your children happy at the same time.

Family Fun at the Beach

The Brighton beach is a must-see place for anyone travelling to Brighton, with or without a family. The beach is a pebble beach, not sand, which suits some people more than others and means you can walk away without sand in your shoes for the rest of the year. There are always enough deck chairs to go around, so the kids won’t be fighting over them and they are priced very reasonably so if you have a larger family it won’t break the bank. Surrounding the beach are all of the seaside shops and stalls you would expect, including ice cream shops, chip shops and bars and souvenir stalls. Brighton beach is also surrounded by children’s activity areas with trampolines and arcades. You can even see a bird’s eye view of the whole city by taking a ride on the Brighton Eye before heading to the famous Palace Pier to spend some change on the slot machines.

Take a trip to the zoo

Image Drusillas Park

Venture outside of Brighton into Drusillas Park. Located in Alfriston, Drusillas is one of the leading small zoos in the country and is a popular attraction in Sussex and the south of the UK, with families in particular. The zoo is a great place for children to spend a day and makes for a nice change from watching the kids play with the latest gadgets at home. One of the best things about taking your kids to the zoo is that you won’t hear them saying they’re bored, because there is so much to see and so many interactive activities going on within the park. There is always a special guest or a new animal being introduced into the zoo. Easter 2013 will see the Red Panda settling into Drusillas and becoming acquainted with the rest of the park’s animals. The Red Panda is an endangered species, originally from areas surrounding the Himalayas including China and India.

Tom Clark, contributor of this article, lives and writes in Brighton in the UK and enjoys offering ideas on Kids days out in Sussex to holidaymakers looking to visit Brighton and the surrounding area with their family.

The Best of London with the Kids in Tow

Image courtesy of Martie Swart/flickr.com

If you’re seeking a family-fun holiday for both the little kids and bigger kids, London is the ideal destination. From historic landmarks and wildlife adventures to fun, leisurely cruises on the Thames, parents and kids can enjoy many popular attractions together. Just like Disney World, magic happens in London for all ages.

The London Tower

The London Tower is a historic castle comprised of several structures set within two concentric rings of defensive wall with a moat. Inside, London’s royal history is brought to life. Real-life guardsmen open the castle with a ceremony and still guard the royal crown jewels within. With live re-enactments, visitors can step into a world of costumed beautiful damsels, lords, gallant knights and peasants.

Be entertained with the medieval storytelling in the Medieval Palace. There is also a family trail that leads through the rooms of previous kings and queens. In the White Tower, there are 500 years of royal armour exhibitions. In the Royal Beasts exhibition, there are life-size sculptures of the wild beasts that the royals kept right in the castle. Kids will have fun with the interactive displays with real-life animals smells. Learn all about how the animals lived in the castle and what happened when they escaped. Without a doubt, the London Tower is a day of royal fun for all.

Sea Life London Aquarium

Nestled in the hub of London, the Sea Life London Aquarium takes you on an interactive journey along the Great Oceanic Conveyor. Experience the secrets of the underwater world through a glass tunnel walkway with live sharks, small whales and dolphin swimming in the water. Visitors can feed the sea rays, pet marine life in the touch pools and hunt for treasure in the discovery zones. There are also floating glass platforms where you can watch over five species of sharks swimming beneath your feet. If you’re up for a real thrill, you can even snorkel with the black tip and brown sharks in the dramatic Pacific Reef display.

London’s Many Museums

London is chockfull of exciting museums that will engage everyone. The London Natural History Museum has hundreds of exciting, interactive exhibits including a dinosaurs’ gallery and mammals’ gallery. Here the live roar of a Diplodocus with real-to-life movement. You can also work with the experts in the Darwin Centre’s high-tech Attenborough Studio. The London Science Museum is a day of pure science fun. Take a ride on one of the rocket simulators, see iconic objects like the Apollo command module or watch a 3-D IMAX movie. There are seven floors of galleries where there hands-on activities and workshops.

For budget-friendly free museums, you’ll find a wide array of museums in London. The Royal Air Force Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery and the Tate Britain Museum all offer free admission.

Thames River Cruises

The entire family will enjoy a picturesque cruise along the Thames River. Along the waterways, you’ll pass some of London’s most famous landmarks like the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Houses of Parliament, Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral and much more. There are even cruises that serve up some of Britain’s most delicious culinary delights like baked pear frangipan with clotted cream, terrine of salmon with beetroot and horseradish relish and Bailey’s cheesecake with crème fraiche. Great food and great scenery make for an idyllic day on the river.

The London Eye

Hop aboard the London Eye for a panoramic vista of the city’s most historic sites like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and St. Paul’s Cathedral. The London Eye is the world’s tallest observation wheel. A fully enclosed glass capsule takes you up 135 metres with a gradual flight that is unforgettable.

These are just a few of London’s many treasures that are family friendly. If you’d like to learn more about London’s other gems, take a visit to here.

French food and travel by Joanna Reymond

Cuiseaux, France

I recently travelled home to the tiny medieval village I was born in, Cuiseaux in the Burgundy region of France.  This treasure of a town is situated at the foot of the Jura Mountains and is very special for this reason.  The Jura region boasts the cleanest air in Europe.

Our garden

Our house that was built in 1578, is situated within the walls of the original medieval castle and has views to our garden with its apple, cherry and Mirabel plum trees that provide an abundance of fruit each year so that jams and fruit tarts, cakes and fresh fruit are cooked and eaten all year round.  Views also carry to the paddocks with horses, cows, flower fields and of course the stunning mountains that receive the morning sun and glow from within the deep forests.

The closest Ville, or city to Cuiseaux is Lons-le-Saunier, with a population of close to 200,000 it isn’t one of France’s biggest cities, but is a significant business hub for the locale.  One of the great employers of region is La Vache qui Rit factory.

La Vache qui rit

This fromage is exported as far as Australia and many of our children enjoy a wedge of La Vache qui Rit in their lunchboxes, even adults love to eat it!  This creamy cheese is a blend of cream, milk and fresh aged cheeses in particular compte (my favourite!).  La Vache qui Rit is pasteurised to stop the ripening process and means it can be left out of the fridge for an extended period of time, making it perfect for the lunchbox.

The French however don’t have lunchboxes, school children either return home for the lunchtime break and enjoy a 3-4 course meal with maman and often papa who comes home from work for lunch also.  Those who remain at school are served a 3-4 course meal that often consists of an egg with mayonnaise or legumes for entrée, followed by a meat or fish with a vegetable puree or green beans, then fromage, like La Vache qui Rit and dessert of seasonal fruit.

Entrance to Cuiseaux

Much better than the soggy sandwich!

Here’s a recipe suggestion perfect for lunch!

Recette:  Cherry tomato clafouti

4 eggs
300ml cream
250ml milk
3 tbs corn flour
150g goats cheese
350g cherry tomatoes
1 bunch basil
20g butter
salt and pepper to season

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a tart dish.
  • 
Whisk the eggs and add a little at a time the cornflour, then stir in the milk and cream.  Tear the basil into pieces and mix through the egg mixture, season to taste.  
Meanwhile, place the cherry tomatoes and goats cheese in the bottom of the dish and pour over the egg mixture.
  • 
Bake in the oven 30-45minutes, until the clafouti is golden and firm.
  • 
Can be eaten cold or hot.

The above post is courtesy of Joanna Reymond the founder of Mum’s Lunch, that has delicious ideas for lunch with fantastic recipes to match. Making lunch happier, healthier and more fun for you and your family – while saving you time and money!

Best Worldwide Family Ski Holiday Destinations

Bulgaria Ski Slopes

Taking the family skiing can be a great adventure and great fun for kids and adults alike. There are a lot of great kid friendly ski destinations around the world with accommodation and facilities perfect for children.

A family ski holiday though can be pricey but if you do your research there are deals to be found out there.  Some of the things that make a ski resort family and budget friendly are inexpensive accommodations, cheap food, trails of varying difficulty, and ski lessons or classes.

You can save money by not going to the well-known resorts and opting for one that is off the beaten track.  Picking a resort that is not on the mountain and booking your vacation in advance can save money as well.  Here are some places around the world that will be fun for the family and easy on the budget.

Jasna, Slovakia has snow for five months each year and is found in the Low Tatras National Park.  Food and lodging is cheap and there are areas for snowboarding.  There is a ski academy for children, five freeride zones, and two slopes where you can ski at night.

The Jezerine ski area close to Kolasin, Montenegro offers something for every level of ability.  Lodging is limited at the resort but additional accommodations can be found at Kolasin which is only 15 minutes away.

Bulgaria has a great ski resort called Borovets.  It is the largest in the country and has many modern facilities.  It is definitely budget friendly and attracts skiers, snowboarders, and cross country skiers.  Bansko, Pamporova, Chepelare are three of the other nice resorts in Bulgaria.

Another modern ski area is found in Kopaonik, Serbia.  It has 21 lifts and offers exceptional tree runs, night skiing and snowboarding.  It is one of the cheapest anywhere for food and lodging.  This is great if your family has been skiing together for a while.  Everyone can go off on their own and enjoy the great skiing and mountain opportunities.

Livigno, Italy has great accommodations for beginning, intermediate and advanced skiing.  Lessons are available and there is a theme park for snowboarders.  The food at the Italian restaurants is great and reasonably priced.  Even though you may be on a budget when traveling with the entire family, one meal out isn’t going to break the bank.

Igloo Village, Slovenia

Slovenia has two great resorts for a family ski vacation.  One is Vogel, a lovely area with a beautiful lake.  The ski area is almost devoid of trees and offers off-piste opportunities.  Krvavec offers traditional skiing plus areas where you can snow bike, skidoo, or travel by snowshoe. You might consider lodging at the Igloo Village, which is a snow hotel whose rooms are like igloos.  Slovenia offers some fun great options, that you may never knew existed!

Poiana-Brasov, Romania is great for families and beginning skiers.  There you can ski at night, explore the forests in snowshoes, or camp out. Snowshoeing and other great outdoor activities are offered, and this will be a change of pace for the young children who are just learning to ski.  Food and accommodations there are reasonably priced.

Take a look around for the best possible deals at these worldly known ski vacation spots.  Whether everyone in your family is an avid skier, or you are all first timers, any of these vacation spots are sure to give you what you are looking for, and at the right price.

Megan Gates is an active blogger who provides written work to the blogosphere pertaining to New York City Rentals, Hamptons Real Estate Listings, home improvement and the latest architecture, design, fashion and travel.  Follow her on twitter @MEGatesDesign.

Family Accommodation – Finding baby and child friendly accommodation in Europe

 

http://www.babyfriendlyboltholes.co.uk/

http://www.babyfriendlyboltholes.co.uk/

As an Australian living in London one of the highlights is the closeness to Europe, and the endless travel opportunities.

Having had 2 boys while we were living there makes the travel much harder, especially when it comes to finding family accommodation that is baby and toddler friendly.

One time we stayed in a beautiful old house in Malta down by the harbour, but split over 3 floors and with an open spiral staircase it proved a long week having to be a step behind our toddling 1 year old who was drawn to the stairs like a magnet!

Luckily we found a brilliant website that specialize in baby and child friendly accommodation, mainly in the UK and Europe.

http://www.babyfriendlyboltholes.co.uk/

There is a huge range of family accommodation, from farm stays to luxury villas in the Mediterranean and the website is constantly updated with new places they have found.

Countries they cover include the Caribbean, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mauritius, Oman, Portugal, Spain, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

The website was set up by a mum who after having her first child thought holidays and mini-breaks would never be the same again with a baby or toddler in tow! Thankfully she was wrong!

So, if you’re looking for somewhere that combines taste with toddlers and most importantly is run by the kind of people who know that it takes far more than a travel cot and a highchair to make a family-friendly  holiday, look no further than http://www.babyfriendlyboltholes.co.uk/!

This post is courtesy of my sister Angela who has spent 8 years living in London.

Please visit the Haggus and Stookles E-Store.  We sell fantastic Kids rolling luggage. Visit now and feel free to browse our products that you might find useful when travelling with kids.

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The importance of using luggage tags when travelling!