Saturday 27 January 2018

2017 In Review

I didn't necessarily start 2017 aiming to take a trip away from home every month - but when we almost 'accidentally' seemed to have a mini-holiday booked for the first couple of the months of the year I did like the idea of seeing how long I could drag it out!

To be fair, the trip we took last January was initially meant to be taken the previous month but a change of circumstances meant we had to re-schedule. In retrospect though, January is a much better time of year for a relaxing weekend away than December, where neverending to-do lists would probably prevent me from really chilling out anyway! 

Fern Cottage in Butterknowle was the perfect venue for cosying up and well located for exploring local spots like Barnard Castle and Richmond. 

In February, we had a couple of days in Iceland. I can't imagine there's anywhere else in the world that speaks to my heart and my sole like Iceland does, and this trip was all too brief - but we still managed to fill our short hours with horse riding,whale watching, and basking in the incredible beauty of this incredible country. 

That's not to short-change our own green and pleasant lands - and our March trip involved a weekend much closer to home. KC was booked in for a day's experience as a zookeeper at the South Lakes Safari Zoo, and it just made sense to make a weekend of it in the Lake District. Amongst the feeding and sweeping at the zoo, visits to Muncaster Castle and Furness Abbey were made. 

The Easter holidays opened up the option of a longer family trip, and we all headed for a sunny week in Malta in April. I managed to drag the kids away from the pool long enough to explore the intriguing city of Mdina, and the former-film set Popeye Village, but most of out time was spent swimming, eating and relaxing by the hotel.

The dual-excuses of some leftover euros and a spare bank holiday encouraged me to book a quick getaway to Dublin in May. It's a grand city, so easy to get to and with plenty to see and do. We went on a 1916 Rebellion walking tour, drank whiskey at the Jamesons Experience and explored Kilmainham Gaol in between pints of Guinness. 

We had a rather animal-based weekend in Leicestershire in June, with a day each at Twycross Zoo and Stonehurst Family Farm as part of one of Go Leicestershire's Stay Play and Explore deals.

One of my most eagerly awaited trips of 2017 was a July weekend of Medieval Glamping at Warwick Castle! From the iconic medieval tents to the activity filled Knight's Village, this might be my favourite ever stop-out! 

August was the big one - we needed to fill those school holidays with something! We all fell a bit in love with Scotland when we visited in 2016, so we were all keep to head back and explore! We never made it to Loch Ness on our first visit, and it was  top of the kids' list of things they wanted to do in 2017, so we made sure we stayed a little closer this time. As well as a day on the Loch we visited castles and palaces, spent time with Highland cows and reindeer, went on boat trips and roller coasters, and spent tonnes of lovely time on a peaceful Scottish beach.  

September marks the birthday of my little lady, so we lined up a couple of activities that we thought she'd love. Her Sunday surprise was a day of looking after an array of animals at the Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, but the early morning start necessitated a stopover and so we worked our way up the day before, stopping to climb and explore the weathered limestone of Malham Cove.

We trailed to London in October to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It was such a long wait between getting hold of the tickets and actually getting to see the show, but it was absolutely worth the wait! An accommodation-hiccup meant we were't left with a tonne of time to explore London aside from the show, but we did manage to squeeze in a touch of shopping and an excellent Afternoon Tea. I am generally a little wary of London, but it didn't actually seem too terrible! 

Beautiful Bruges was our destination for November - it's a surprisingly easy and pleasant trip from Yorkshire on the overnight ferry, leaving you with a solid eight hours to explore the medieval town - plenty of time to squeeze in chocolate shops aplenty and have a good Belgian beer or two! 

And in December? Well,.. in December we didn't go anywhere! So close though, right? I had a few great ideas in mind for the week between Christmas and New Year (my birthday, incidentally) but instead of booking in something nice and early I got caught up in the festivities of the season! I told myself repeatedly 'I'll sort something when I'm organised for Christmas' but there were a number of flaws in this plan -  most notably 1) I'm never organised for Christmas and 2) Once I worked out how much I'd spent over Christmas I couldn't begin to justify spending anything else! I did mull over the idea of booking myself into the cheapest local Travelodge I could find just to tick it off - but to be honest after all the Christmas chaos nothing sounded more appealing than a couple of quiet days at home!

I may have fallen at the last hurdle, but I can't have had a year like this and be disappointed with how things turned out! 

I do have a couple of things lined up of course for 2018,.. I'm not sure yet if that'll translate into a full year of trips but we'll have to see! 

What exciting things have you lined up for this year?


  1. Sounds like you did a lot of things last year. I hope your 2018 will be just as amazing, if not more.
    My year started great, with a trip to London (work + a bit of time off). In February I'm looking forward to see the Terracotta warriors exhibition. If you don't know about it, have a look, I think it's a must see.

    1. That's not a bad start to the year at all!

  2. It sounds (and looks) like you had some wonderful trips last year! I hope you have more great trips this year :)

    P.S. - It's been years since I've been to Twycross Zoo (I've got friends in Melton Mowbray).

    1. I was very lucky! I'm not sure I'll be able to pull that off again this year but I'll give it a good go!

  3. What an attractive child in that last picture!!!! You really did have a great year of travel! I am super impressed!

    1. Aw thank you - I think she's pretty cute! :D


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