I am hanging for a break and we were thinking about driving to France using Eurostar and getting a gite somewhere in the Loire. We picked that area as somewhere we've not been to and that isn't as bleak in late Oct as perhaps Normandy/Britanny/Ardennes.
She's will be 1 year when we go but still too light at around 8 kg to go in a forward facing seat.
We don't drive often but she was sleeping in the carseat on a recent trip to Whitstable.
If we stop often enough for lunches/coffees with the provision that if it all goes shitshaped we stay somewhere overnight to break the journey, is it doable?
Otherwise we have an option of a break with friends in Madrid.
It's both our birthdays on the same day and want to make an occasion of it in Europe (we've been living in Asia)
we drove from Durham to southern brittany with 9mo twins and survived (and even did it again, although they were a year older by then!) let her sleep, it won't interfere as much as you think with bedtime
You could always get the Portsmouth-Caen ferry which would mean much less driving in France. It would also give you a big break in the middle while you're on the ferry when she would be out of her carseat. We've booked cabins before now so that we could sleep.
We did this with our 16month old DD and my SIL and BIL did it with 9month old and it was fine, only needed one stop.
Try the catamaran to Boulogne, shaves some time off journey as is closer to Loire Valley. What we did was get an 8am ferry, milk at home, pain au chocs and coffee on ferry and lots of running around, off ferry and DD slept for about 2 and a half hours and then we stopped for a break of about 40mins and had lunch. Back in the car, played for a bit, she listened to a CD and we did some singing, she had a few treats (chocolate ) and some berries. Two hours flew by and we arrived in time for tea!
The only thing I'd counsel against is the catamaran. We used it when dd was a toddler. It's the only time in her life she's been travel sick. She puked all over her dad just as we were getting into Dover, there was no time to unpack the boot to find a clean shirt before we disembarked and we had to drive for what felt like miles before dh could change his reeking shirt.
Oh thanks Littlefish. I did think about it, and perhaps I'm being a bit silly but I think it might get me all upset and introspective. Maybe in a few years.
Oh, and if she's 7.5kg at 9.5 months she's not likely to be 9kg by 12 months is she, so still too light to go in a forward facer? They say 9kg or 1 year but if she doesn't make both criteria I shouldn't move her from the rear facer, should I?
We drove from London to Spain (and back)last year with a 14 month old. It was fine although she did cry as soon as she saw a car by the time we got home . My main problem was curbing DH's adventurous driving plans (eg scenic hilly mountain passes) and also making him realise that we weren't going to cover as many miles in a day as we normally would. We did Kent to Loire the first day- no problems, just lots of stops. Don't think the seat should be an issue.
we did london-amsterdam-cologne with a 9mth old and have done london-loire with an 18 mth old (did the Centre Parcs there)
ITs fine if you factor in regular additional stops every 2 hrs or so, which probably doubles your drive time. we stayed in Calais overnight on the way to the loire and on the way back, but we drove back to London from the border of Amsterdam and Germany in one go.
We always take eurotunnel - i puke at the sight of a ferry. Its great when they're younger cos they mostly just sleep.