Our family day out at Hever Castle for the Castle Triathlon

Last Saturday we camped in the grounds of Hever Castle, Kent, all ready for the Castle Triathlon taking place there the very next day. The mister had entered The Gauntlet (half iron man distance) and we were there to cheer him on and enjoy a day exploring the castle and its grounds.

An early start to see daddy begin the first leg of his triathlon, the swim. I can tell you I was rather glad to not be joining in. It looked freezing!

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After watching the start we embraced the day and began exploring. The mister wasn’t expecting to finish until after 3pm so we had loads of time to wander round and find fun things to do.

Hever Castle itself is beautiful and my eldest enjoyed learning about it’s history. Her favourite facts include..

It was Anne Boleyn’s family home. When Anne Boleyn’s father died (some time after Henry the Eighth beheaded his daughter) the King took the castle and gave it to his then wife Anne of Cleves.

We spent about just under an hour exploring the inside of the Castle, it isn’t huge and when you have two eager children that keep wanting to move to the next room and then the next it doesn’t take long to look around. 

 

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We actually spent most of the day exploring the gardens and the grounds of the Castle which are beautiful.

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Thankfully there was a lovely coffee shop that we just had to try out, the cakes where crying out to be eaten and they were yummy! I was thankful for the take away coffee I picked up soon after seeing the race start and it helped with being up so early on a Sunday morning with two vert excited girls who were eager to run around and explore!

We spent the later part of the day in the Events field going on fair ground rides, listening to the bands and eating street food. This was all part of the Castle Triathlon event.

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Waiting for Daddy at the finish is pretty tiring…!!

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This pretty much sums up how we all felt at the end of the day. Tired out!

For those that are interested the mister completed The Gauntlet in under eight hours, it took him longer than he hoped, but as this was his first one I think he’s pleased really. We were obviously very proud and relieved to see him finish in one piece!!

 

morganaOur family day out at Hever Castle for the Castle Triathlon
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DAY TRIPPING – Legoland Discovery Centre and Sealife Manchester

 

Now that the girls are five and eight gone are the days of having to bring everything but the kitchen sink out with us. I remember going out anywhere when they were babies and toddlers and having to have a checklist before going anywhere. A bag full of nappies, clothes, snacks, drinks, toys – everything! Now I can grab my handbag and head out the door with the girls, I forget what a luxury that is! It certainly makes day trips a lot easier I must say. I don’t envy those who still have pushchairs and overflowing bags to cart around. I think we go out on day trips a lot more now that the girls are bigger to be honest.

We had a fantastic day out last weekend in Manchester, at the Legoland Discovery Centre and Sealife Manchester. They are both located next to each other at the Trafford Centre and are great fun for all the family.

Sealife Manchester

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Considering it’s really not a very big space I’m always so impressed with the way the centre has been designed and laid out. You follow a path around the attraction and there is so much to see and learn about. The giant turtle Ernie is always our favourite sea creature to spot.

There’s a touch pool where you can learn about crabs and starfish. My eldest always loves to share one of the facts she learnt there, that crabs actually drink through their bottoms!

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Even though there’s lots to look at (and there’s even a little soft play section) it doesn’t take more than an hour or two to get round and have a good look at everything. This is why we recommend considering a double ticket deal for the Leogland Discovery Centre, which is situated less than a minutes walk away.

Legoland Discovery Centre

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We love Lego and have lots of different kits so a trip to the Legoland Discovery Centre always goes down well with my girls. Like Sealife the centre itself isn’t huge but they have really made the most of the space and there’s lots to see and do.

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At first there’s a fun talk about how they make Lego, this is informative and really interactive and my girls love it. Once you’ve done that section there’s a fun ride and a mini land to walk through to get to the main section where there’s lots of rides, a soft play, 4D cinema, cafe and of course plenty of areas for building Lego. At 5 and 8 my girls are the perfect age for this and can go on all the rides.

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TOP TIPS

  • Make sure you book in advance as the queues are eye watering, even for those that have pre-booked, especially at weekends and school holidays. So be prepared to queue either way. If you don’t book in advance you will have to queue to purchase your tickets and be given a time slot to come back to the attraction at. This is to ease congestion as the centres are only small.
  • Make good use of the Sealife log books that the children get. My girls enjoyed collecting the stamps on the way round and learning new facts.
  • If there are queues for the first ride in Legoland then skip it and come back, unlike Sealife you can move around most of it without following a route.
  • The main part of Legoland can get crazy busy so keep a close eye on your kids. We found a toddler wandering round on their own after presumably coming out of the soft play section in the middle.
  • Take your own snacks – the queues for the cafe in Legoland are long and its not particularly cheap either.

We loved our trip to Legoland Discovery Centre and Sealife Manchester and will no doubt be back again sometime this year!

Thanks to 365 Tickets for making this trip possible – check them out for fantastic attraction tickets, deals and offers

morganaDAY TRIPPING – Legoland Discovery Centre and Sealife Manchester
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Our trip to London town

Over the holidays we stayed over with some lovely friends that live just outside of London and took advantage of being so close to the big city and took the girls there for the day. Now that the girls are back at school this trip already seems a lifetime ago even though only a matter a weeks have passed!

We decided the easiest way to get to central London was by train and the walk down to the train station involved lots of questions from a very curious E. She doesn’t remember going on a train and was full of nervousness and excitement. After being on a rollercoaster the other week she was worried that the train would be the same!

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We arrived in a beautifully sunny London, something that I had not planned for, cue annoyed looks from my long sleeve clad children! We got the tube over to The Natural History Musuem and noticing the time decided to look for for food before heading in.

As short walk away we found LEON. I’d been to a LEON last time I was in London for Blogtacular and had immediately fallen in love with the standard of food and the price. It was just as much of a hit with my girls and husband!

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We looked around the Natural History Museum and it was clear that it was a massive winner with our fact hungry seven year old. I took lots of photos while we were looking around but I think I must have accidentally deleted them as they are nowhere to be found! Massive blogger fail, right there.

After taking in as much of the Natural History Museum that we could we made the short walk over the road to the Victoria and Albert museum.

 

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The girls and I pored over the Fashion collection, it was stunning to see how much fashion has changed over the years. After a little wander it was clear that the littlest was beginning to get a little bored. You know that eyes glazing over kind of look? So I took her hand in mine and we made our way to the cafe, leaving daddy and N to look around in peace.

We grabbed a drink and headed outside to this,

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E was in paradise! At first she just paddled, then the skirt was tucked in her knickers and then her skirt came off completely! Of course we had no towel or change of clothes with us, but that didn’t phase her one bit. It was honestly such a joy to watch her running around in the water, jumping in the fountains and even sitting on them at times! I felt her sense of freedom and it was beautiful. As I sat watching her I reflected on what I might have been like if we’d have come here with N at four years old and I hate to say it but I think I’d have been much more worried about her getting her clothes wet. I think I’d have made sure she only paddled and stopped her from getting too wet. I don’t know why but I am so much more relaxed in the way I parent E. I think it’s because she herself is so laidback. If N had got as wet as E had there is NO WAY she would have been happy to walk around for the rest of the day dripping wet!!

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I’m sorry I can’t offer more about the exhibitions inside the V&A but know that the water feature is a must see!

Now a daytrip with my girls to a big city just wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Wagamama!

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We had such a beautiful day out and after catching the train and getting back in our car to drive back to the New Forest we had two very content sleeping children.

 

morganaOur trip to London town
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