NEWS

A new ride is opening in a few days at Cadbury World chocolate factory in Birmingham

A new ride is opening in a few days at Cadbury World chocolate factory in Birmingham

Cadbury Chocolate Quest gets ready to launch

A new ride is opening soon at Cadbury World in Birmingham.

Cadbury Chocolate Quest opens on Friday (March 29, 2024) for the Easter weekend.

And The Family Holiday Guide has some photos of the ride for fans of the chocolate experience to see.

The new indoor trackless ride has 3D themed sets and virtual screens and will be brought to life with sounds, lights, smells and heat making it an interactive and sensory experience. 

Riders will be set a mission by Freddo then travel in nine Cadbury cars to complete an immersive quest to collect all the ingredients needed to make a bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk using lasers to lap them up.

The ride features 23 cocoa pods, cheeky Buttons monkeys and most excitingly, the end of the ride features litres of liquid chocolate.

Putting the finishing touches to the new ride Chocolate Quest at Cadbury World, Birmingham

After disembarking, guests will collect a Cadbury treat made with all the ingredients they have ‘collected’.

Putting the finishing touches to the new ride Chocolate Quest at Cadbury World, Birmingham

Cadbury Chocolate Quest is part of a wider £8m investment for Cadbury World, with further ambitions for the long-standing attraction after its operation was taken over by Merlin Entertainments in January 2023.

Tim Waters, Regional Director of the Birmingham cluster at Merlin Entertainments, said: “The whole team is so excited to see all the hard work that has gone into this massive project come to life.

“From polishing the cars and testing the flowing liquid chocolate, the team have been working round the clock to prepare the ride in time to welcome guests when it launches on Friday, 29th March.

“We can’t wait to see Cadbury Chocolate Quest in action as we really feel it is a ride that will be enjoyed by everyone.” 

Read our review of Cadbury World, which is a popular family attraction based in the historic village of Bournville, just outside Birmingham city centre, where visitors can learn all about the history, magic and making of Cadbury chocolate. 

Putting the finishing touches to the new ride Chocolate Quest at Cadbury World, Birmingham

With an assortment of interactive zones, a team of in-house chocolatiers, the on-site Cadbury World Café and African Adventure play area, plus the unmissable 4D Chocolate Adventure, there’s so much for visitors of all ages to see and do at Cadbury World. 

Cambridge reaches new heights with the arrival of 93 giraffes

Cambridge reaches new heights with the arrival of 93 giraffes

All you need to know about the new sculpture trail Cambridge Standing Tall

A new sculpture trail is putting Cambridge head and shoulders above other cities thanks to 93 giraffes.

The beautifully-decorated giraffe sculptures are in the city from March 21 to June 2 (2024).

It’s for the Cambridge Standing Tall sculpture trail, which brings together communities from all over the city.

A mini giraffe peeps out of a telephone box in Cambridge

The new trail is delivered by Break, a charity which supports young people from care across Cambridge and Cambridgeshire.

Each sculpture is sponsored by a local business and has been decorated by artists, including a number of local artists.

There are 31 eight-foot-tall giraffes and 62 mini giraffes. The mini ones have been decorated by local schools.

At the end of the exhibition, the giraffes will be sold at auction, with all proceeds going to the charity.

The title Cambridge Standing Tall represents the city standing up for young people.

It is hoped that the trail will bring visitors and locals together, to raise awareness for young people in care as well as vital funds for the charity.

Visitors can download the Cambridge Standing Tall app (going live on March 18).

A giraffe in front of the church in Cambridge
A giraffe in front of the church in Cambridge

Organisers have put together ideas of places to visit while doing the trail through Cambridge, a city steeped in history, incredible architecture and academic excellence.

Along the trail visitors can:

Wander through the cherry blossoms in the Cambridge Botanic Garden.

Punt down the River Cam with Rutherfords and Scudamores.

Explore the boutique local shops including Cambridge Cheese Company and Hill St Chocolate.

Explore some wonderful artwork at Cambridge Contemporary Art or some great gift ideas at Podarok and Ark.

Pick up the latest Spring fashions at Iris & Violet (Women’s) or Dogfish (Men’s).

Visit the free-to-enter University of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum.

Join a gin cocktail class or tasting at the Cambridge Distillery .

 Then dine at one of the city’s delightful restaurants and eateries:

Stop at Fitzbillies for a Chelsea bun and warming cup of coffee.

Grab a bite to eat at AromiBread & Meat or Steak & Honour, leaving plenty of room for an ice-cream from Jack’s Gelato.

Taste authentic East Asia flavours at the newly opened  Market House Asia.

Sample seasonal produce and Spanish flavours at Mercado Central.

Enjoy Indian market food, Indian craft beers and refreshing cocktails at The Tiffin Truck.

Sip botanical cocktails on Novi’s vibrant roof terrace.

Dine riverside at Millworks, a modern brassiere, serving charcoal oven grilled steaks.

Ideas of where to stay in Cambridge include:

Gonville Hotel, Cambridge

The Graduate Hotel Cambridge

Novotel Cambridge North

Hilton City Centre

Turing Locke, Eddington

As UK airport drop-off fees soar – read our full guide and top tips including how to avoid them

As UK airport drop-off fees soar – read our full guide and top tips including how to avoid them

A new guide compares the ‘kiss and fly’ charges at airports across the UK

Finding a kind friend or family member to take you to the airport is not as cheap an option as it used to be.

Now, when weighing up the best way to get to and from the airport before setting off on a family holiday, you need to take into consideration more than just the fuel costs and time it will take your driver.

As your airport taxi service also faces increasing charges for using the designated drop-off areas at most UK airports.

Airport specialist Airport Parking and Hotels, is now helping designated drivers to plan ahead by revealing the range of so-called ‘kiss and fly’ charges at the 20 top UK airports.

It found that most airports charge a drop-off fee with the cost varying widely, for a set time, often just five or ten minutes, with extra charges for going over the limit.

The guide reveals costs and allocated times for dropping-off – as well as pick-up and parking – at UK airports including Manchester, London Gatwick, and Newcastle Airport.

Most expensive and cheapest airport drop-offs

​Of the airports investigated, London Stansted was among the most expensive, charging £7 for 15 minutes with Bristol, Leeds and London Gatwick charging drivers £6 for 10 minutes.

The cheapest airports, Norwich International and Southampton Airports, charge £5 for up to 30 minutes.

Free airport drop-offs

Only two were found to allow drivers the option of dropping-off outside the terminal for free – Cardiff International Airport and Birmingham International Airport – if drivers spend no longer than five minutes or 10 minutes respectively in the drop-off area.

Airports offering free drop-off may charge after a certain amount of time – Cardiff Airport charges £5 for every 10 minutes parked after the initial 10 minutes.

Free drop-off areas

Most airports do offer free drop-off areas however these come with a time limit and are usually located in long-stay car parks away from the airport forecourt, requiring a long walk or bus transfer to the terminal.

Our 8 airport drop-off top tips and how to avoid charges

  • 1. Research your chosen airport’s drop-off facilities before you travel so that you are aware of the charges, how to pay and stay times.
  • 2. Don’t park illegally on approach roads to drop off passengers, it can be dangerous and security cameras are likely to catch you.
  • 3. Many airports have a free area for drop-offs, you will have a walk though of up to 15 minutes or a shuttle ride to the terminal so this will not work for everyone or if you are short of time. For example, Heathrow Airport offers free parking for 30 minutes in its long-stay car parks and a free shuttle bus to terminals.
  • 4. It sounds obvious but make sure you park at the right terminal to avoid a long walk with heavy luggage – at Manchester for example, terminals 1 and 3 are only a short distance from one another, but Terminal 2 is further away – up to a 20-minute walk.
  • 5. Have any long goodbyes before you get to the airport, if you have an extended farewell when you get there, the costs could escalate – if you are at a Manchester drop-off area for over 10 minutes, you will receive a £25 fine.
  • 6. Make sure the driver has their payment ready, whatever the method including cash or card. Some airports only accept charges to be paid online, over the phone or by setting up an AutoPay account.
  • 7. If you are travelling by taxi, check whether the fare includes the drop-off fee.
  • 8. Don’t forget to consider other options before deciding how you will travel including public transport, off-site parking and shuttle services offered by nearby hotels. If you are parking at the airport it is normally much cheaper to pre-book.

Collection

When collecting loved ones, 14 airports permit collection of passengers from the terminal forecourt. Drivers at nine airports, including Bristol, must collect travellers from the short-stay car parks nearby, with the cost varying from free to £20 for up to one hour.

APH

APH conducted its research in February (2024).

Nick Caunter, APH managing director said: “Asking friends and family for a kiss and fly’ lift may seem like a good option, however once they’ve taken into account the cost of fuel, vehicle wear and tear and airport fees it may cost them a lot more than you think.

“Also, there is an environmental cost to consider from the extra return journey. 

“We advise travellers to do their research before asking friends or family as other options such as pre-booking airport parking can not only be cheaper, but also a more environmentally friendly way to travel.”

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Universal Studios theme park England, UK – all you need to know about the potential project

Universal Studios theme park England, UK – all you need to know about the potential project

The latest on plans to open a Universal theme park in Bedford, England

Theme park giant Universal has revealed ‘very early’ plans for a potential park and resort experience in Bedford, England.

There are no Universal theme parks in Europe yet, so this would be huge news for UK families.

Universal Orlando Resort was the highlight of our trip to Florida, so here at the Family Holiday Guide, we are VERY excited at the idea of some of that magic being brought so much closer to home.

So here we look at everything that is known so far.

Where might Universal be opening a theme park in the UK?

Universal are looking at a former brickworks site in Bedfordshire, England.

The 480-acre (195 hectares) plot is in Stewartby, between Bedford and Milton Keynes.

It lies between London and Birmingham. It’s around 60 miles (97km) from London and 78 miles (126km) from Birmingham.

Proposed site of a Universal theme park in Bedford, England, UK. A map showing the site in Stewartby.

Why has Universal chosen this site?

Universal say they have chosen the site:

  • Due to its ‘transportation connectivity to London and Europe’.
  • Because ‘more than half of the UK population live within two hours’.
  • Its proximity to Luton Airport.

Has Universal actually bought land?

Yes, Universal’s parent company Comcast Corporation has purchased the parcel of land.

What stage are the plans at?

Universal says the plans are in the ‘very early stages’.

It is conducting a feasibility study and it could be months before they decide whether the potential project will proceed.

What has Universal said?

“We are always looking at new locations around the world, including in Europe, and the UK is an attractive place for a potential project.

“While we do own the land, we are only at the beginning of our feasibility study as part of our evaluation of potential sites.”

Where are Universal’s other parks?

Universal Destinations & Experiences has some of the world’s best and most innovative theme parks with advanced film and television-based attractions, hotels, resorts and live entertainment.

It has five entertainment and resort complexes:

  • Universal Orlando Resort
  • Universal Studios Hollywood
  • Universal Studios Japan (Osaka)
  • Universal Beijing Resort
  • Universal Studios Singapore.

Is the project being supported locally?

The idea has been welcomed by Bedford Borough Council.

Its mayor Tom Wootton, said the theme park could be ‘transformative for the borough’.

Universal is keen to consult with the local community and has already created a website to inform people living in the area and has also written to residents.

The letter includes details of the thousands of jobs that its parks create and states that the company is committed to enhancing the natural beauty and protecting the ecology of the areas in which it operates.

It added: “While we have been encouraged by the positive nature of conversations we’ve had so far with various national and local stakeholders — including Bedford Borough Council and the Mayor of Bedford Borough — we plan to work closely with our local communities should we progress. “

What about the Government?

The plans have also been discussed by the Government and appear to have the backing of Bedford Labour MP Mohammad Yasin.

He said a park would bring ‘enormous prosperity and jobs’ to the area.

The MP spoke in the Commons to ask the government to support road improvements to help deliver the proposed theme park.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have also been briefed on the bid.

What do you think?

We will keep you updated with the plans. What do you think of the idea? Let us know in the comments.

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New Cheshire family attraction BeWILDerwood has opened

New Cheshire family attraction BeWILDerwood has opened

A 70-acre adventure park has opened in South Cheshire a year later than planned

Tickets are now on sale for a new family day out, which opened its doors for the first time on April 12 (2021).

BeWILDerwood Cheshire – the Curious Treehouse Adventure – was meant to open last May (2020) but this was delayed due to the Covid pandemic.

The park encourages children and their families to enjoy traditional, imaginative, and healthy outdoor play.

We’ve already been and our children loved it, read our full review, guide and top tips here.

The multimillon-pound woodland adventure park is based on the BeWILDerwood book series by Tom Blofeld and follows the success of a first site in Norfolk.

BeWILDerwood author and creator Tom Blofeld at BeWILDerwood Cheshire

BeWILDerwood author and creator Tom Blofeld

Tom said: “We can’t wait to finally open the gates to the people of Cheshire and beyond.

“When thinking about opening a second park and after looking at a few options, I just knew Cheshire was the right choice.

“The woodland is the perfect setting for the Boggles and Twiggles and all the other curious characters from the books.

“I hope our visitors love the wonky world of BeWILDerwood just as much as the Norfolk folk. The key is to use your imagination and simply have fun together as a family”.

The woodland adventure park is located next to Cholmondeley Castle, in South Cheshire.

Tree trails at BeWILDerwood Cheshire

Tree trails

It is in a forest setting where children can ‘run wild’ and promises ‘no noisy rides, no technology and no junk food’.

It includes big wonky wooden play structures and treehouses in the trees, a massive maze to get lost in, wobbly zip wires and giant slippery slides.

Slides at Tree trails at BeWILDerwood Cheshire

Park manager Hannah Monteverde said: “We’d originally planned on opening last year, but due to the pandemic, we’ve had to push it back.

“It’s given us even more time for our team to ensure everything is extra WILD before our visitors enter through our wonky gates.”

Swings at Tree trails at Swings at BeWILDerwood Cheshire

Face painting and activities like interactive storytelling shows and crafting sessions are included in the ticket price and parking is free.

It is aimed at children aged two to 12 but teenagers and adults can enjoy the equipment too as the focus is on family fun.

Grandparents having fun at BeWILDerwood Cheshire

Fun for all the family

Toddlers and children who are too small to go on the bigger bits have their own areas, Toddlewood on the Hill and Tiptoe Valley.

A todder at BeWILDerwood Cheshire

Food can be bought at the Cosy Cabin and Munch Bar and picnics are welcome.

Tickets are based on height rather than ages and can be bought online.

Grandparents having fun at Tree houses at BeWILDerwood Cheshire

Books from the BeWILDerwood series including A Boggle at BeWILDerwood, The BeWILDerbats and A BeWILDermuddle are also available to buy online.

Gate admission prices for 2021 are:

Born to BeWILD (Under 92cm): Free

Almost WILD (92-105cm): £17.50

BeWILD Now (over 105cm): £19.50

Still WILD (65 years+): £12.50

Address: BeWILDerwood Cheshire, Whitchurch Road, Bickley, Malpas, Cheshire, SY13 4JF.

We’ll be visiting to review soon and will report back!

Big, family, all-inclusive hotel with water park opens in Dubai

Big, family, all-inclusive hotel with water park opens in Dubai

A first for Dubai with four-star beachfront hotel from Riu

The first four-star, all-inclusive, beachfront hotel has opened in Dubai.

Hotel Riu Dubai is a large family hotel with children’s pools and a water park.

Splash Water Park at Hotel Riu Dubai

Splash Water Park at Riu Dubai

It is Riu’s 100th hotel in the world and the chain’s first in the Middle East.

The modern hotel has 800 rooms, two children’s pools (one with slides), three large pools for adults, a children’s park and club and a broad terrace with direct access to a large beach.

The hotel has a ‘Splash’ water park, with slides and other attractions for adults and children over 1.2 metres tall.

A restaurant at Hotel Riu Dubai

A restaurant at Hotel Riu Dubai

There are four restaurants and six bars including swim-up bars at the hotel which is located 11km from the airport on the Deira Islands beachfront.

Riu is a Spanish chain with 100 in 20 countries around the world.

Its 24-hour all-inclusive concept includes all meals, snacks and drinks at all the hotel’s bars and restaurants, without limits or schedules.

A Riu Dubai suite

A Riu Dubai suite

It also includes enjoyment of all the facilities and services such as the water parks, day and nighttime entertainment and access to the gym and spa, where only the beauty and wellbeing treatments carry a charge.

Luis Riu, chief executive officer of RIU Hotels & Resorts, said: “The opening of the hotel Riu Dubai is a major milestone in our hotel chain’s international expansion, because this is our first hotel in the Middle East.

“This is a unique opportunity to offer all our experience with the 24-hour all-inclusive product, which is so popular among our European and American customers, but this time in a completely new destination.”

The lobby at Hotel Riu Dubai

The lobby

Riu partnered with developer Nakheel to build the hotel, creator of world-famous developments including The Palm Jumeirah and Dubai’s new coastal city, Deira Island.

*For more information on Riu hotels, read some of our reviews from our family stays in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.
And link to those stories by clicking on Fuerteventura and Lanzarote individually, but the button just doesn’t work any more.
Children can meet Santa live from Lapland over video call this Christmas

Children can meet Santa live from Lapland over video call this Christmas

It’s a Digital Christmas 2020 with the new Santa’s Lapland video call experience

Taking your children to meet Santa may not be possible this year due to lockdown restrictions.

So holiday company Santa’s Lapland is bringing Father Christmas into children’s homes using the magic of video calls.

It will give families a taste of the festive excitement that comes from meeting Santa.

The new scheme follows the announcement that the company has had to suspend their December 2020 trips to Lapland.

The 10-minute video call will prove its Lapland credentials, as an Elf leads the family through the snow and gets up-close with a reindeer, before going live to Santa’s cabin for a personalised meeting with Santa himself.

Paul Carter, CEO of Santa’s Lapland, said: “With restrictions increasing throughout the UK, many of us have been wondering how we will keep the magic of Christmas 2020 alive.

“We intend to help make it one to remember, by offering families the chance to meet Santa from the comfort and safety of their own home.

“While no Christmas can compare to the sheer excitement of travelling to Lapland to visit Santa in his snowy cabin, where the reindeer are real and the Northern Lights dance across the night sky, families will now still be able to enjoy a taste of the real Lapland magic this Christmas.”

Santa Live video calls from Lapland

Santa Live video calls from Lapland

A personalised ‘Santa, Live from Lapland’ video call experience for up to four children costs from £85 per family from Santa Live.

The company cancelled its December 2020 trips to visit Santa in Lapland following concerns that increasing COVID-19 safety measures and travel restrictions would take too much away from the magic of the experience.

Many customers have postponed their trip to next year and others have taken refunds.

Santa’s Lapland three and four-night trips for 2021 are available to reserve now with departures from November 26 to December 24 from 13 regional airports.

The breaks include snow fun, husky sledding and reindeer sleigh rides, a search for Santa and other activities.

For more information, visit www.santaslapland.com

Opening date revealed for one of the world’s biggest LEGOLAND parks

Opening date revealed for one of the world’s biggest LEGOLAND parks

Work starts next year on one of the biggest LEGOLAND resorts in the world

Work to build LEGOLAND Shanghai is set to start in 2021, Merlin Entertainments has announced.

The huge new park is expected to open in China in 2024 and will incude a 250-room themed hotel.

LEGOLAND Shanghai will be opened after LEGOLAND New York – scheduled for 2021 – and LEGOLAND Korea – scheduled for 2022.

The theme park will be located in the Jinshan District and will draw inspiration from the area.

Other businesses are expected to launch in the vicinity as a result, including hotels, retail, sports facilities, offices and high-end housing.

Merlin is investing a lot in China – it has opened the world’s first Peppa Pig World of Play (Shanghai) and Little BIG City (Beijing).

Merlin Entertainments chief Executive Nick Varney said: “I am delighted to work with our partners to bring one of the world’s largest LEGOLAND Resorts to Shanghai, which builds on the other attractions we have developed in this exciting part of the country.

“The Shanghai LEGOLAND Resort will be a must-visit destination for playful learning experiences for the millions of people who live in the vicinity and beyond.

“The Merlin team looks forward to working with our partners to develop the creative concept design for the resort and making it a reality, marking a significant milestone for Merlin’s presence in the Chinese market.”

Merlin Entertainments announced this week that it has entered into a formal co-operation agreement with the Shanghai Jinshan District Government, CMC Inc. and KIRKBI to develop the resort.

This follows the signing of a framework agreement in November 2019.

A joint venture company is being formed to contribute funding to the construction and development of LEGOLAND Shanghai.

The total project investment is expected to be approximately $550 million.

Tickets go on sale for Santa holidays to Lapland for Christmas 2021

Tickets go on sale for Santa holidays to Lapland for Christmas 2021

Families can look forward to a festive treat for 2021 with a visit to Santa in Lapland

This Christmas may end up being low key but families can already get ready for a fantastic festive 2021 with a Santa holiday to Lapland.

Santa’s Lapland and Inghams Santa Breaks have launched their Christmas dates for next year.

A family reindeer ride

The snowy breaks include husky sledding and reindeer sleigh rides, enchanted activities and a visit to the ‘real’ Santa at his home.

Huskies in Lapland

Families can choose from two breaks – Santa’s Magic with a selection of hotels or Santa’s Aurora where you stay at the Star Arctic hotel, great for those who want to spot the Northern Lights.

Star Arctic Hotel in Lapland

Star Arctic Hotel

Both are available as three or four night holidays with flights from 14 regional airports.

At the time of writing, 2020 holidays to Lapland could still be booked as well.

A spokesperson said: “Santa’s Lapland and Inghams Santa Breaks are paying constant attention to the guidance from the UK’s FCDO, ABTA, Public Health England and local health authorities in Finland.

“Following recent updates, they’re working closely with their partners in Lapland to see what these decisions mean for their Lapland holidays. The Lapland holidays are currently expected to go ahead as planned.”

For more information or to book a break visit Santa’s Lapland.

READ MORE: Children can meet Santa live from Lapland over video call this Christmas

A child meets reindeers in Lapland

Illuminated trails light up famous sites around the UK for families this Christmas 2020

Illuminated trails light up famous sites around the UK for families this Christmas 2020

Christmas fun for all the family at seven light installations around the country

Tickets are on sale for fantastic festive trails at seven famous sites across the country.

World-renowned artists and designers have got together to create the illuminated events at historic and iconic venues including Kew Gardens, Blenheim Palace and Dunham Massey.

The outdoor experiences are designed for all ages to enjoy and celebrate the festive season.

Additional facilities and significantly increased hygiene procedures will be made available for trail visitors.

The events have been organised by promoter Raymond Gubbay Limited, Culture Creative and the individual venues.

Christmas at Kew

When: November 18, 2020 to January 3, 2021

What: Now in its eighth year, Christmas at Kew returns with a new trail to illuminate the fabulous gardens with more than one million lights.

Address: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, TW9 3AE.

More details: kew.org/christmas #christmasatkew

Christmas at Bedgebury

Christmas at Bedgebury

Christmas at Bedgebury

When: November 20 to December 31, 2020.

What: This family-friendly one-mile magical festive trail is in the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty countryside.

Address: Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, Kent.

More details: christmasatbedgebury.co.uk   #christmasatbedgebury

Christmas at Blenheim Palace

Christmas at Blenheim Palace

Christmas at Blenheim Palace

When: November 20, 2020 to January 3, 2021.

What: The Illuminated trail returns to Blenheim Palace transforming it with a bright and magical winter walk inspired by the landscape itself, featuring lasers and light projections.

Address: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PP.

More details: blenheimpalace.com/christmas  #christmasatblenheimpalace

Christmas at Dunham Massey

Christmas at Dunham Massey

Christmas at Dunham Massey

When: November 20 to December 30, 2020.

What: The sell-out trail returns for a fourth year to this historic National Trust property in Cheshire.

See our review and guide from last year’s exravaganza Dunham Massey Christmas Lights 2019 plus exclusive video.

Address: Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire. WA14 4SJ.

More details: nationaltrust.org.uk/dunham-massey #christmasatdunhammassey

Christmas at The Botanics

When: November 26, 2020 to January 3, 2021.

What: The new trail at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh will feature bouncing lines of light in the laser garden and giant luminescent sculptures rising high into the night sky.

Inverleith House will be it by a new festive projection across its historic façade.

Address: Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, EH3 5NZ.

More details: rbge.org.uk/christmas  #christmasatthebotanics

Christmas at Belton

When: November 27, 2020 to January 3, 2021.

What: Christmas at Belton will once again light up the historic tree canopies of this magnificent country-house estate.

There will be giant luminescent candles, glowing flowers and snowflakes, plus children can look out for Father Christmas.

Address: Belton House, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG32 2LS.

More details: nationaltrust.org.uk/belton-house #christmasatbelton

Christmas at Stourhead

Christmas at Stourhead

Christmas at Stourhead

When: November 27, 2020 to January 3, 2021

What: The after-dark trail lights up the beautiful National Trust gardens at Stourhead, Wiltshire for a second year.

Address: Stourhead, Mere, Wiltshire, BA12 6QD.

More details: nationaltrust.org.uk/Stourhead  #christmasatstourhead

For more details on the trails or to book tickets, go to mychristmastrails.co.uk

Lightopia 2020: Spectacular lantern and light festival returns to Manchester

Lightopia 2020: Spectacular lantern and light festival returns to Manchester

Family fun awaits at award-winning Christmas light festival

While many Christmas events are being cancelled, an award-winning and socially-distanced light festival in Manchester is set to go ahead.

Lightopia returns to the city with this year’s Christmas at Heaton Park event.

The festive family festival runs from November 20, 2020 to January 3, 2021.

There will be new themes and creations but changes have also been made in light of Covid restrictions, to keep visitors safe including wider footpaths and three entry points to reduce queueing.

There will be a magical illuminated trail, designed so that people can maintain a social distance from each other and two car parks.

Lightopia 2020 will also pay tribute to Coronavirus frontline workers with a Local Heroes Area, featuring the words ‘thank you’ and a colourful rainbow display.

Lightopia creative director Ian Xiang said organisers are “excited” to bring Lightopia back to Manchester.

“We have once again created a world in which light, sculpture and art combine with traditional, Chinese lantern-making techniques to create an immersive experience, full of light and stories,” he said.

“We want our guests to become part of the Lightopia story, helping to create new forms of art as they interact and engage with the luminescent sculptures that trail through Heaton Park.”

Lightopia 2020 Christmas at Heaton Park, Manchester

Lightopia

Among the new additions will be a Christmas showcase using the Grade I-listed Heaton Hall as its sparkling backdrop.

There will also be Santa’s sleigh, a giant interactive walking piano, an astronomy display and interactive Zodiac sign installation.

Children will love robotic controlled pads on the floor, which create light shows when stepped on.

Another area is dedicated to the Manchester skyline and an immersive Musical City area, will encourage visitors to dance their way through the lights.

Returning attractions include the Woodland Fairytale area, the Animals attraction and the Discovery space.

Lightopia 2020 Christmas at Heaton Park, Manchester

A Lakeside water show includes a state-of-the-art projection while dragon sculptures will lead the way to Lightopia’s food stalls and licensed bars.

The event from November 20 to January 3 runs between 5pm and 10pm and last entry is 8.30pm daily.

The event is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, except during school holidays and closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Tickets are £20 online for adults (or £22 on the day), £13 for children (or £15 on the day) and £60 for families of two adults and two children (£68 on the day). Children under three can go free.

Essential carers of disabled visitors can attend for free, the disabled visitor pays the normal admission fee.

To book tickets, visit www.lightopiafestival.com

Follow on Instagram and Facebook @lightopiafestival #Lightopia

Liverpool family attraction popular with young children, closes for good

Liverpool family attraction popular with young children, closes for good

Mattel Play! will not be reopening following coronavirus closure

It was popular with youngsters who loved children’s favourites Thomas & Friends, Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder.

But now Mattel Play! on the Royal Albert Dock has closed for good.

The adventure play centre at the Albert Dock launched in 2016 and was the first of its kind in Europe.

It was split into three themed areas dedicated to the iconic characters.

The Heritage Great Britain attraction closed in March to prevent the spread of coronavirus but has now revealed that it will not reopen.

Harold the Helicopter's sits in the middle of a ball pool at Mattel Play

Harold the Helicopter’s ball pool

A spokesperson said: “Following five wonderful years at the Albert Dock, we have taken the difficult decision to close Mattel Play! Liverpool.

“As the focus of the Albert Dock continued to be more bars and restaurants, we have therefore, following a discussion with the landlord, agreed to exit our lease earlier than planned.

“We would have very much liked to have remained at the Albert Dock throughout the summer months but the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and the consequences which are likely to be felt for many months, made this ambition untenable.”

This website reviewed Mattel Play! and thought it was great for younger children who were fans of Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder and Thomas.

Fans of Thomas & Friends would also love Drayton Manor Park, reviewed here: Thomas the Tank Engine proves just the ticket for a boy’s birthday break at Drayton Manor hotel and theme park

Harry Potter Studio Tour London to reopen with new safety measures in place

Harry Potter Studio Tour London to reopen with new safety measures in place

Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter gets ready to reopen to wizarding fans following Coronavirus closure

Harry Potter fans will not be waiting much longer for the reopening of the hugely successful Warner Bros Studio Tour in London.

The Making of Harry Potter – a look behind the scenes of the wizarding films – will reopen on Thursday, August 20.

It was forced to close earlier in 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

The attraction is at the actual Warner Bros studios near London where a lot of the filming for the eight Harry Potter films took place.

It includes sets like the Gryffindor Common Room, Hogwarts Great Hall, Diagon Alley and Gringotts Bank alongside thousands of props and costumes.

The Great Hall in Harry Potter

The Great Hall (Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter)

And from the opening date, the Slytherin Common Room can be seen for the first time along with iconic costumes and props belonging to some of the house’s cunning characters.

The Slytherin common room in the Harry Potter movies

The Slytherin common room in the Harry Potter movies

So what will be different when Harry Potter Studio Tour London reopens?

There will be a number of Covid 19 safety measures in place.

The attraction has made some changes to manage social distancing and keep everything extra clean.

Do you have to wear face masks?

Visitors aged 11 and over must wear a face mask unless medically exempt. They can be taken off when the wearer is sitting down in a cafe.

How will social distancing be managed?

There will be less visitor numbers and there will be a one-way system around the studios.

The shops and cafés will only accept cashless or contactless payment options .

Cars will be parked with spaces in between.

What will not be open?

Hogwarts Express on plaform 9 and three quarters at the Harry Potter Studio Tour London

Hogwarts Express (Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter)

The Hogwarts Express train carriage

Inside Privet Drive

The cloakroom and left luggage facilities

The Studio Tour shuttle bus service to and from Watford Junction Station will not be available

Will the toilets be open?

Toilets will be open with extra hygiene measures in place.

Will the studios be cleaned more regularly?

Yes, there will be extra cleaning throughout the day, especially of touch-points such as door handles and barriers.

And hand sanitiser stations will be positioned throughout.

Gringotts Wizarding Bank

Gringotts (Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter)

Will the cafes be open?

The Hub cafes, Food Hall and Backlot Cafe will be open but there will be less menu choices.

Seating in the cafe will be spaced and visitors must not pay with cash.

We have loads of useful Harry Potter Studio tour information and tips for you

READ NOW: Harry Potter Studio Tour London – our full guide, review and must-read tips

READ NOW: Harry Potter Studio Tour London – EVERYTHING you need to know

The studio tour is still pre-book only, tickets are available now from the website.

Merlin Entertainment attractions opening date and new safety measures announced

Merlin Entertainment attractions opening date and new safety measures announced

What will change at Merlin’s theme parks and other attractions when they reopen as Coronavirus restrictions are lifted

All Merlin Entertainment theme parks, attractions and accommodation are to reopen on July 4 for day visits and short breaks – with safety measures in place.

Alton Towers and Warwick Castle have been welcoming visitors since June 6 but they will be joined by Thorpe Park, LEGOLAND Windsor, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, the Blackpool Tower, SEA LIFE Centres and Madame Tussaud’s.

The attractions will be limiting visitor numbers to allow for social distancing.

All visitors must pre-book tickets online.

There will be safety measures in place including new routes around the attractions and new queuing formats.

Staff will wear PPE and carry out enhanced cleaning, in alignment with Government guidelines.

Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments’ CEO, said: “We are delighted to be reopening following UK Government guidance.

“There has been a huge effort from our world class health and safety team, and all our teams across our attractions, to ensure we are ready to safely welcome guests back through our doors.

He said Merlin operates in 25 countries across four continents and the UK is the final country where attractions are still waiting to reopen fully.

“We look forward to welcoming guests from across the UK back to our sites, just as we have done successfully across Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America,” he said.

“In each location, we have seen our guests embrace the ‘new normal’ and actively adhere to the new safety measures we have put in place.

“After the extended lockdown, we recognise that people need leisure and escapism and to make new happy memories with those they love. We look forward to helping them do just that.”

 

Home schooling: How to draw Mickey Mouse and over 20 other ideas from Orlando

Home schooling: How to draw Mickey Mouse and over 20 other ideas from Orlando

Visit Orlando unveils ideas to keep children entertained and educated during Coronavirus school closures

Orlando is bringing one of the most magical places on earth for children into their own homes in a bid to help millions struggling with home schooling.

Visit Orlando  has compiled a list of more than 20 free online learning activities to keep all ages entertained, engaged, and educated.

Lessons in science, art, biology and more take a fun twist as students can learn about space from astronauts, engineering from theme park designers and PE tips from a golf pro.

They can be found at the Visit Orlando blog.

Millions of families are not only learning how to school at home, but have also missed out on a fun vacation, so we hope this helps ease the pain on both fronts,” said George Aguel of Visit Orlando.

As the theme park capital of the world, Orlando is home to some of the most creative minds and entertainers out there, and our tourism industry has teamed together, using their skills to help kids and parents who are adapting to this current reality.

Creative activities

*Learn how to design theme parks, engineethrill rides and develop characters straight from Disney Imagineers in a free online program.

*Draw Mickey Mouse with Disney tutorials on the Disney Parks YouTube channel. Cast member Stephen Ketchum provides expert tips on how to draw the famous mouse from vintage 1920’s Mickey to the more contemporary version. 

Stephen Ketchum shows how to draw Mickey Mouse with Disney tutorials on the Disney Parks YouTube channel

Disney tutorials on the Disney Parks YouTube channel

*Characters from Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic and Disney Parks help with lessons on the new Disney Magic Moments website, from story times with celebrities to cooking recipes to educational activities.

Drawing a lion in Orlando

*Interact with droids in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, test your Disney trivia, download official Disney playlists and more with Play Disney Parks, a mobile app that offers unique experiences and activities that bring the theme park environments to life.

*Go behind-the-scenes to learn how your favorite roller coasters run through the Science of Universal Orlando Resort program.

*Find live singalongs with celebrity musicians, techniques for sidewalk masterpiecesart tutorials, and a fun new craft each day on Crayola Experience‘s Facebook channel.

*Explore life’s oddities – such as how to make a shrunken head from an apple  on Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditoriums at home. Visit the website for a schedule of live Facebook content, at-home activities tailored for all ages, and unusual facts about famous people throughout history.

*Practice building flowers, dinosaurs and flying cars with the new LEGO challenges, tips and activities on the LEGOLAND Florida Facebook page.

*Young squires and princesses can revert back to medieval times by creating their own coat of chivalry or coloring a princess crown via the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament – Orlando’s Facebook page.

Science

*Storytime from Space is a series of audiobooks read by real astronauts. Children can also learn about living in space, Mars and rocketry or tour Space Shuttle Atlantis during an ongoing series of Facebook lives from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Parents can find additional downloadable activities here.

*Budding scientists can find videos on do-it-yourself projects like making rock and slime on the Orlando Science Center’s website. Other tutorials include making your own superhero training camp and creating dinosaur fossils.

A dinosaur at Orlando Science Center

Orlando Science Center

Biology Class Gone Wild

At 3pm daily, their YouTube channel shares live-action encounters with animals including Burmese pythons, crocodiles, alligators and lizards.

Baby alligators in Orlando

*Explore animals all over the world, including their habitats, dietsbehaviors and scientific classification, through SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s distance learning resources. The site includes hands-on classroom activities, teacher’s guides, videoand info books.

*Read with sea creatures duringUnder the Sea Story Times’ every Sunday and watch interactive and educational animal encounters on SEA LIFE Aquarium‘s Facebook page.

Sea Life in Orlando

Sea Life

*Pretend you’re exploring the jungle by listening to noises from nature, from sunrise in the swamp to giraffes munching their dinner. Wild Wednesday Nature Sounds is a new listening experience on Wild Florida‘s social channels.

Brain Games

*Put your problem-solving skills to the test through The Escape Game’s TEG Field Trips, with free online games that take students on virtual field trips through museums and historic landmarks by uncovering clues and solving puzzles.

Virtual PE

*PE goes online as students can practice their virtual swing at home with Topgolf‘s WGT Golf online or on mobile devices. Find additional resources like tips, drills and printable puzzles through their downloadable guide.

The Arts

*Learn how to juggle, face paint or dance like a Cirque du Soleil performer via CirqueConnect, a new digital content hub featuring a section devoted to kids’ content.

*#MUSEUMFROMHOME is with Orlando Museum of Art’s free online archives and social media channels, with options ranging from live video streams to critically acclaimed children’s book readings, to art-inspired colouring books.

*Comedy and magic come together to teach lessons about bullying, during two full-length productions filmed live onstage of ‘Pip-Squeak, An Anti-Bullying Magic Show,’ presented by The Orlando Repertory Theater, in partnership with Tony Brent.

History

*In times of crisis, it is important to be a helper. The Holocaust Memorial & Resource Center of Florida is encouraging children to share their stories of how they have helped others through YouTube video submissions.

*Learn about native Americans, pioneers and famous people in history on the Orange County Regional History Center’s website, with activities ranging from historic coloring pages to lesson plans to virtual tours of recent exhibitions.

National Trust now CLOSES its park and gardens to help stop coronavirus spread

National Trust now CLOSES its park and gardens to help stop coronavirus spread

National Trust closes its parklands from March 21

The National Trust has now CLOSED its parks and gardens to help restrict the spread of coronavirus.

The trust had been offering people free entry to its open spaces despite indoor areas being closed.

But there were crowds of visitors taking up the opportunity which made social distancing tricky.

Director General Hilary McGrady said: “Despite our desire to keep our outdoor spaces open, the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and visitors has to be our top priority.

“We have now sadly taken the decision to close all of our parks and gardens, in addition to our houses, shops and cafes, to avoid crowding that puts social distancing at risk.

“We know that people are likely to need space and fresh air in the coming weeks and months and we will do all we can to provide access wherever possible.

“Our countryside and coastal locations remain open with parking charges waived, but we encourage people to stay local and observe social distancing measures.

“Over the coming weeks our digital platforms – our website, social media feeds, podcasts and video – will become even more important, ensuring the places of nature, beauty and history that we care for on behalf of the nation can remain open for business virtually while we are temporarily closed.

“We will also be ramping up our efforts to help people connect with nature wherever they are and to find moments of joy in the world around them. We will be providing rich content and staying in touch with our members and followers throughout this time.”

For more information go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

Coronavirus school closures: Visit National Trust parks and gardens for free to keep children active

Coronavirus school closures: Visit National Trust parks and gardens for free to keep children active

Explore National Trust sites safely during the Coronavirus crisis

The National Trust has announced it is giving free access to its open spaces during the coronavirus outbreak.

It is closing indoor sites like houses, cafes and shops to restrict the spread of coronavirus.

But the trust is allowing families to enjoy its parklands and gardens, after the governent closed schools and asked people to social distance.

The trust is planning which gardens and parks will be open to the public based on factors such as whether they allow enough space for adequate social distancing.

Director General Hilary McGrady said: “The National Trust was founded 125 years ago for the benefit of the entire nation. We want to honour our mission – to enable people and nature to thrive.

“Over the coming weeks we will do all that we can to keep on providing public benefit through caring for places and giving people access wherever possible.

“While we will close our indoor areas to help fight the spread of coronavirus, we recognise that people are likely to need access to open space and to nature, beauty and history.

Outdoor space and fresh air is important for children and for everyone’s mental health.

Mr Grady added: “We’ll try to keep as many open spaces available as possible but this is a changing situation and we’re strictly following Government advice so please keep checking our website for updated information and always check the site before you visit any of our places.”

The trust has said that the wellbeing of its staff, volunteers and visitors is its top concern.

And many volunteers fall into the over-70s age bracket.

UK airline Flybe collapses into administration – all flights have been cancelled

UK airline Flybe collapses into administration – all flights have been cancelled

Coronavirus crisis is the final blow for struggling airline Flybe

UK airline Flybe has collapsed – all flights have been cancelled and passengers have been told not to go to airports.

Flybe told customers today its business had ‘ceased trading with immediate effect’.

“If you are due to fly with Flybe, please DO NOT TRAVEL TO THE AIRPORT unless you have arranged an alternative flight with another airline,” the company has told customers.

“Please note that Flybe is unfortunately not able to arrange alternative flights for passengers.

“If you have a booking sold by another airline that includes travel on a Flybe flight, please contact the relevant airline or travel agent to confirm if there is any impact to your travel plans.”

The budget carrier, founded in 1979, was once Europe’s largest independent regional airline.

The Exeter-based company operated nearly 40 per cent of UK domestic flights – more than 200 routes and around eight million people a year used its services.

The company

Chief executive, Mark Anderson, said the company had made ‘every possible attempt’ to avoid collapse but had been ‘unable to overcome significant funding challenges’.

“The UK has lost one of its greatest regional assets,” he said.

“Flybe has been a key part of the UK aviation industry for four decades, connecting regional communities, people and businesses across the entire nation.”

Coronavirus

The coronavirus has seen demand for flights plummet in recent weeks, putting added pressure on the company which was already struggling with rising fuel costs and competition from other airlines.

The government announced in January that it was in communication with the company about it finances and had announced a rescue deal.

The whole global airline industry is in crisis because of the coronavirus outbreak, which began in China.

Flight schedules have been cut and planes grounded.

Jobs

The collapse puts more than 2,000 jobs at risk.

The government has said it will help Flybe’s workers find new jobs and will work with other airlines to minimise disruption and replace services.

Help

Flybe passengers and staff are being offered free travel by all First Rail train operators, which consist of Great Western Railway, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast.

EasyJet has offered rescue fares for passengers and free flights to Flybe staff to get home.

Passenger rights

Flybe customers who bought tickets directly from the company will not be protected by the Atol scheme.

But if you went through a travel agent or another third party you might be covered.

Some people may be able to get their money back if they paid by credit card or with some debit cards.

For all your rights go to the Martin Lewis MoneySavingExpert website,

Customers are also advised to monitor the Civil Aviation Authority website for further information .

You can contact the administrators by email at flybeadministration@uk.ey.com.

Thorpe Park will reopen in March 2020 with the world’s first Black Mirror experience

Thorpe Park will reopen in March 2020 with the world’s first Black Mirror experience

Surrey theme park to open in time for the Easter Holidays

Surrey theme park Thorpe Park is reopening on March 27, 2020 in time for the school Easter holidays.

The family attraction in Chertsey, built on an island, has more than 30 rides, attractions and events.

It is adding to these with the world’s first experience based on the Netflix show Black Mirror.

Black Mirror Labyrinth, designed around the world of programme creator Charlie Brooker, is a digital maze which uses cutting-edge visual technology.

It is said to use ‘sensory-defying environments to reveal an uneasy truth that manipulates and displaces your very existence’.

Black Mirror Labyrinth ride experience at Thorpe Park theme park

The park already has the UK’s fastest roller coaster Stealth and the country’s only winged coaster.

It also home to the world’s first horror-themed roller coaster Saw – The Ride, featuring a beyond-vertical 100ft drop.

The park is running various events this year.

HYPERSpring is between April 4 and May 31, 2020 and Supercharged Summer is from July 18 to September 6 .

And its Halloween event Fright Nights is returning from October 3 to November 1, 2020 giving visitors the chance to ride coasters in the dead of night and take on award-winning live action scare mazes and experiences.

Thorpe Park Resort is in Chertsey, England, 20 miles from Central London.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis reveals clever Ryanair booking tip to save money for families

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis reveals clever Ryanair booking tip to save money for families

Martin Lewis trick could save up to 60 per cent for families flying with Ryanair

Financial guru Martin Lewis has unveiled a money-saving trick passengers can use when booking Ryanair flghts. The advice particularly benefits families with children under 12.

The budget airline may offer regular cheap flights but the price can rise when adding on extras like cabin bags, seat reservations and priority boarding per person per flight.

It offers different levels of fare including regular, value and plus and generally pushes the ‘regular’ price through advertising, where customers can pay around £20.85 for the extras.

But Martin Lewis has revealed on ITV show This Morning and his website that if you choose the ‘value’ fare first and then add on the extras, you could save money.

And while this is a process we at The Family Holiday Guide always try, Martin says many don’t and instead ‘buy the ticket the airline wants you to buy’.

Martin Lewis told viewers: “In tests we’ve done, 16 out of 20 times you would be better off to get its ‘value’ fare – its cheapest fare – and then add on these extras yourself. In one case it was over 60 per cent cheaper.”

“So when booking with Ryanair, start with the value fare then add on – that’s usually the best way.”

Why this works best when travelling with children

The trick works best when travelling with children.

This is because children under 12 automatically get ‘free’ reserved seating with Ryanair, thanks to its family seating policy, which is designed to ensure children sit with their parents.

With this, at least one adult must reserve a seat (at a cost of around £4 to £6) if travelling with under-12s, and up to four children can be seated next to him or her for free.

Martin Lewis says: “As a result, there’s usually little point selecting a ‘regular’ fare, which has to be applied to everyone in your group, if you’re travelling with children this age.

“On the 10 bookings we checked where kids were part of the group, adding seats, cabin bags and priority boarding separately won every time – even when we selected only the priciest seats in rows 18-33.”

The Money Saving Expert website features 20 other Ryanair cost-cutting tips.

Children’s television favourite Peppa Pig inspires families with her top 25 adventures to have around England

Children’s television favourite Peppa Pig inspires families with her top 25 adventures to have around England

VisitEngland and Peppa Pig team up to launch a top 25 for under-fives

Peppa Pig is inspiring young children and their families to plan adventures around England.

The TV favourite is sharing 25 top experiences, based on her own travels in the popular programme.

It is part of a new Peppa Pig hub which has been launched on the VisitEngland website.

There is a downloadable activity sheet and tick list to help families follow in Peppa’s footsteps. plus young fans can also watch clips from the show.

The ideas, from becoming a King or Queen for the day at one of England’s castles to spotting creepy crawlies at a nature reserve, showcase the huge potential for family breaks across the country, whatever the weather.

A family at Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

There are also some ideas picked by Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, Granny and Grandpa Pig plus Peppa’s younger brother George, to inspire the whole family to make memories.

According to recent VisitEngland research, spending quality time with family and friends is the main reason for families taking a UK break.

Among favourite activities highlighted by the survey are with visiting attractions, getting outdoors and going to the beach.

Peppa Pig is currently shown on Channel 5 Milkshake and Nick Jr.

Peppa Pig and Visit England map

Visit the new Peppa hub or view the interactive map.

Peppa Pig’s top 25 experiences to have on an England break

  1. Have a play day at a museum

    The Natural History Museum, London

    The Natural History Museum, London

  2. Be King or Queen of the castle
  3. Have a picnic at a stately home
  4. Drift along canals on a boating holiday
  5. Go on a steam train journey
  6. Go paddling in the sea
  7. Enjoy an icecream on a pier
  8. Go rock pooling
  9. Build a sandcastle bigger than you
  10. Get competitive at crazy golf
  11. Jump in muddy puddles in a forest
  12. Spot Creepy Crawlies at a nature reserve
  13. Smell flowers at a garden
  14. Go camping in the countryside
  15. Be a strawberry farmer for the day
  16. Get crafty at an art gallery
  17. Hunt for dinosaurs at a museum
  18. Sing along at a theatre show
  19. Listen to your voice echo in a cave
  20. Eat cakes at afternoon tea
  21. Sing and dance at a family festival
  22. Splash about at a water park
  23. Ride on the top deck of a tour bus
  24. See how high you can fly a kite
  25. Visit a petting farm
Top 20 family-friendly European holiday destinations revealed – and a UK hotspot is second

Top 20 family-friendly European holiday destinations revealed – and a UK hotspot is second

A holiday favourite in England is one of the best in Europe for family trips with children

Portugal’s Algarve region has been named the top family-friendly destination in Europe in a new survey.

The Algarve won top spot in the Columbus Direct analysis.

In second place was Cornwall, with its beautiful beaches and fantastic attractions.

St Ives, Cornwall

St Ives, Cornwall

Majorca, Corsica and Tenerife complete the top five.

Popular Spain and Greece were named the most family-friendly countries.

The analysis measured each area’s family-friendly hotels, child-friendly restaurants, flight times from the UK and number of children’s activities available.

The Algarve was rated highly for its hotels, restaurants and activities. The area is popular with families because of its beaches, attracting around four million visitors a year.

The Algarve

The Algarve

Stuart Lloyd, Travel Insurance Expert at Columbus Direct said: “It is great to see so many destinations provided by our European neighbours that cater to families on holiday and help make parents’ choice far easier and stress-free.

“It is also great to see Cornwall appear as one of the top places to go to as a family, with the rise of the staycation and also for outside of the UK wanting to holiday here.”

Here is the full top 20 destinations. Which is your favourite?

1. Algarve, Portugal

2. Cornwall, UK

3. Majorca, Spain

4. Corsica, France

5. Tenerife, Spain

6. Costa Brava, Spain

7. Rhodes, Greece

8. Corfu, Greece

9. Gran Canaria, Spain

10. Amalfi Coast, Italy

11. Malta

12.Ibiza, Spain

13. Menorca, Spain

14. Zante, Greece

15. Lanzarote, Spain

16. Malaga, Spain

17. Madeira, Portugal

18. Halkidiki, Greece

19. Mykonos, Greece

20. Fuerteventura, Spain

Don’t miss our reviews of Corsica, Majorca, Malaga, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.

Ryanair launches three new routes from Manchester for summer 2020

Ryanair launches three new routes from Manchester for summer 2020

Ryanair extends its summer schedule with three new routes for 2020 on sale now

Ryanair has announced three new Manchester routes to Denmark, France and Ireland, starting in March 2020.

The airline will be flying to Copenhagen (daily), Kerry (twice weekly) and Paris Beauvais (four times a week), as part of its extended UK Summer 2020 schedule.

It is also increasing flights throughout the summer to Shannon in Ireland, from five to six times a week.

Ryanair’s Eimear Ryan said: “Manchester consumers and visitors can now book their summer holidays on 66 routes as far out as October 2020, flying on the lowest fares and with the greenest/cleanest major airline in Europe, with the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger/kilometre.”

To celebrate the new Manchester routes, Ryanair has launched a seat sale on its European network with fares from £14.99 for travel from now until the end of March 2020, which must be booked by Thursday, January 23, only on the Ryanair.com website.

Competition – win family tickets to the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2020

Competition – win family tickets to the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2020

We have tickets up for grabs for the February show at the NEC in Birmingham

It’s competition time! We have teamed up with the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2020 to give you the chance to win tickets to this great family day out.

The winner will be able to choose a date to visit the show, which runs for six days, from February 18 to 23 at the NEC in Birmingham.

We have two sets of two tickets to give away which will allow two families free entry as children 15 and under don’t pay.

How to enter on Facebook

To enter, go to our Family Holiday Guide Facebook page and comment on the competition post, telling us why you want to win. Don’t forget to like our page and tag friends and family who would love to win!

How to enter on Twitter

To enter you need to make sure that you have liked the Family Holiday Guide Twitter page and then RT the competition post.

Our emails

Sign up to our emails here. When you sign up, we’ll also automatically enter you into our current prize draw!

All you need to know about the show

The UK’s biggest display of leisure vehicles, static holiday homes, lodges, tents and more will be spread over five halls.

There will be lots going on for families with activities like climbing and crazy golf for children to enjoy.

Plus there is a new area where children and adults can try out some of the most cutting-edge electric ride-ons, from bikes to scooters, skateboards and even unicycles on a special indoor course.

There is a theatre area with special guests like Shane Richie, Matt Allwright, adventurer Darren Hardy and chef, author, and Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain.

Dog lovers can watch canine agility demonstrations and see the famous Springer Spaniel trio Max, Paddy and Harry, who have thousands of followers on social media.

Guests can try their hand at towing during free one-to-one sessions with experts from The Camping and Caravanning Club.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club will also be offering visitors the chance to get behind the wheel with campervan test drives and motorhome maneuvering sessions.

Plus the Holiday Park Experience and Glamping Village will be giving ideas and help for planning your 2020 trips.

A family at the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2020

Tickets

If you don’t win our prize then tickets for the show are available now and priced at £8 for adults and £7 for seniors.

Tickets on the door cost £10 for adults and £9 seniors – children 15 and under go free.

Competition terms and Conditions

We have two sets of two tickets for any day of the show.

Entries close at 11.59pm on February 10 and the winner will be announced on February 11.

No prize or part of the prize is exchangeable for cash or other services.

Entrants must be aged 16 or over and UK resident only.

The first correct entry selected at random after the closing date will receive the tickets.

More information

For further information about The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show, the latest news or to buy tickets visit the website.