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Live webchat with travel writer Will Gray on Friday 12 June, 1-2pm

(68 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Jun-09 15:47:01

In July 2008, Will Gray came and talked travel with children.

Now he's got a new book coming out, Britain with Kids, so if you want to quiz him about the ins and outs of family-friendly holidays in the UK, please join us this Friday.

As usual, if you can't make the chat on the day but have a question you're burning to ask, then please post here.

rubyslippers Mon 08-Jun-09 17:58:41

what are the alternatives to places like Centrparcs?

I have just read and heard so many mixed things but like the idea of self catering/activities/outdoorsy stuff etc

thank you

flier Mon 08-Jun-09 20:15:18

Is there such a thing as pocket friendly family friendly holidays? There seem to be a lack of hotels in this country which cater for families but don't cost the earth. I mean in terms of all staying in one comfortable room without being too expensive.

Unicornvomit Tue 09-Jun-09 14:11:03

can you help me convince my DH that camping in the UK would be lots of fun?? where are your recommendations for family friendly campsites, where the DCs can run about, and stay safe? thanks smile

fruitshootsandheaves Tue 09-Jun-09 15:23:16

would he like to borrow my children to test more family-friendly holidays? they are all completely wild adorable.

NappyValley Tue 09-Jun-09 22:31:53

If you have an only child finding places where they can interact with others is important. Does he have any tips on that?

popmum Wed 10-Jun-09 10:23:38

where do you think you could go for a family adventure holiday but that was not too much of an adventure!? ie not in a brochure but planned in some way - and i mean with young children, aged 4+7 - we like new places but need the safety/security a planned holiday gives you.

TotalChaos Wed 10-Jun-09 17:40:52

what would you recommend for families on a tight budget other than camping?

iMissEdith Wed 10-Jun-09 17:42:52

Will - you came back - good God man.

yellowbrickroad Wed 10-Jun-09 20:54:04

The only place in the UK we tend to visit is Cornwall. We do like beaches, but also things to do (with 2 boys) and interesting places to see. Can you offer up some inspiration outside of the South?

popmum Wed 10-Jun-09 23:02:06

sorry i was thinking of worldwide travel (must read intro), but travel in the UK - any tips on making long road journeys more interesting?

carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 11-Jun-09 11:39:19

We have two weeks booked off work but haven't made a plan yet - and it doesn't help that those two weeks are the first two weeks of August shock and everything's probably already booked.

We have three children 10, 8 and 3 and a half, want to be near a beach and other children to play with but not in a noisy hotel. We like swimming (will need a warmish pool esp for 3 year old - and me grin) and cycling and tennis. Quite fancy bed and breakfast but maybe accommodation with a kitchenette so we can do basic meals, but open to suggestions.

You'd think after 10 years on Mumsnet I'd have all the answers but in a way there's almost too much choice and we can't seem to make a plan. What would be your top 5 recommendations.

Thanks in advance!

WillGray Thu 11-Jun-09 16:15:34


belgo Thu 11-Jun-09 19:06:30

Welcome to mumsnet Will Gray.

Would we be mad to consider camping for the first time in the south of England or Wales, with three children under the age of five?

If not, where would you recommend? It would have to be somewhere with good facilities and plenty of things for the children to do.

belgo Fri 12-Jun-09 07:54:24

I have a second question, for belgian friends who want to go to England with their two primary school aged children for a short trip. They want to take the tunnel to Folkestone but they don't want to travel much further in England. Where is a nice area for them to stay, and places to visit?

Starbear Fri 12-Jun-09 08:43:20

Where would you go for an English beach holiday that doesn't have that shabby not fixed up since the 1950's look. We go to Croyde in North Devon which I like. But I need something like that but, somewhere else. DH has been going there since he was six! I've been there 4 times in 8 years!

WillGray Fri 12-Jun-09 10:01:11


yellowbrickroad Fri 12-Jun-09 10:11:55

Another one from me. We'll only be able to afford one week away this summer. How about any top tips for family friendly days out that won't cost us £50 a time!

CMOTdibbler Fri 12-Jun-09 12:25:01

I fancy taking my just 3 year old DS away for a long weekend on my own.

Any suggestions for somewhere to go - a festival of some kind would be nice but not necessary - like folk, childrens book or storytelling. But not where camping would be with lots of noisy people or they would be annoyed by 6am recitals of The Gruffalo

scrappydappydoo Fri 12-Jun-09 12:34:52

Question similar to popmum really - but long car journeys with kids - where are motorway services/breaks where kids can run free playgrounds or just space (I'm thinking mostly A303 but other ideas would me good)...

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 12-Jun-09 12:52:19

Will is online at 1pm and he's been looking through your questions. Any other questions about UK family holidays, please join us

WillGray Fri 12-Jun-09 13:01:29

Hi everyone. Thanks for inviting me back! And thanks too for all the questions you’ve already posted. I’d better cracking on….

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 12-Jun-09 13:01:29

Welcome to Will, thanks for coming on. Nice to have you back.

WillGray Fri 12-Jun-09 13:02:28

Hi rubyslippers. Thanks for your message. I know what you mean. Center Parcs is a bit like Marmite (you either love it or hate it). We took our eight-year-old twins to the Sherwood Forest one recently and they had a fantastic time. Center Parcs now have a growing number of snazzy lodges, some with their own games room and sauna, so the standard of self-catering accommodation is excellent. Then there’s the Aqua Sana Spa, Subtropical Swimming Paradise, tree trekking, falconry, quad biking, archery, canoeing, sailing, …. Still not sold on the idea?

OK, for a lower-key self-catering option in the woods, how about Forest Holidays ( It offers cabin holidays in Cornwall, Yorkshire and Scotland. Each cabin is carefully sited so that you feel like you’re deep in the woods. Double-storey windows flood open-plan living areas with dappled sunlight. Kitchens come with all the mod cons, most cabins have barbeques, flatscreen TVs and DVD players, while some have hot tubs and an en-suite treehouse attached by a rope bridge. You even get a Wii in Golden Oak cabins, but don’t worry – kids get ample opportunity to live in the real world thanks to ranger-led activities that include night-vision wildlife watching and forest survival skills.

Kelling Heath in North Norfolk is another good option worth checking out.

You can find out more about all this in my new book, Britain with Kids, on pages 16-19 and 187.

WillGray Fri 12-Jun-09 13:02:54

Hello flier – I think you’re right, a lot of ‘family hotels’ tend to be quite upmarket and expensive, but there are more modest options if you hunt around. We came across a corker a little while back – The Sun Bay Hotel in Devon’s South Hams, a friendly old-fashioned place just a short stroll from Hope Cove and not bad value at just £40-50/adult B&B and £20/child sharing parents’ room.

I think some of the more modern (or refurbished) youth hostels are beginning to fill a budget gap for families (see TotalChaos below). Some of the bigger resorts also have good value options. In the Cairngorms, for example, the MacDonald Aviemore Highland Resort caters for most budgets and is a superb base for exploring the mountains and lochs in the area.

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