Iceland from plane
Destination Europe

Our Travel Highlights of 2019

Posted on
January 1, 2020

Last year I wrote a post all about our travel our year of travel in 2018 and remarked that we had nothing booked for 2019.

I feel like it is history repeating itself as we have yet to book anything for 2020, but 2019 was a really memorable year of travel for us and I managed to tick off several of my 50 before 50 list.

Where we travelled to in 2019

Northern Ireland

We started the year travelling to Northern Ireland for February Half Term, spending a day in Manchester and Liverpool either side of the trip.

Giants Causeway Ireland

We were so lucky with the weather during our visit and managed to explore the Giants Causeway and the many Game of Thrones filming locations that are on the The Causeway Coastal Route.

Dark Hedges - Kings Road

We stayed in an Air BnB for the first time and whilst booking was a bit of a learning curve, it was the perfect location to explore Belfast and all the attractions it has to offer, with favourites being the Titanic Museum, Crumlin Road Gaol and W5 Interactive Discovery Centre.

Titanic Sign

We travelled by car and ferry with Stena Line which meant we also got to travel down to Dublin where we explored the city and visited the Guinness Storehouse.

Guinness Storehouse

On the way back, we stopped over in Liverpool and got to visit the museum and the infamous Cavern Club.

Cavern Club

North Wales

In April we were lucky enough to be chosen to go to North Wales for a week with Adventure Map, to help promote all the adrenalin sports they have to offer. It was strange being followed around by a film crew at first, but they were so lovely and we all had the most amazing time.

Talfan Cottage Kitchen

We stayed in the beautiful Talfan Cottage in Angelsey for the first part of the week before moving on to the grand Elizabethan Manor House, Talhenbont Hall.

Talhenbont Hall

We started our week by climbing Mount Snowdon, which is no easy task with kids, although impressively, they all made it to the summit.

Snowdon

During the week we rode the fastest zip line in the world, tried our hand at mountain biking, rode Ribe Ride Velocity over the Menai Straights, went climbing and canoeing at the National Outdoor Centre, tried white water rafting at Bala, climbed at the Beacon Climbing Centre, tried our hand at riding segways at Dragon Raiders and flew through the trees at Zip World Fforest.

Zip World Velocity 2 and Statue

It truly was the most amazing experience and we have all come away much more confident in our own abilities. It is also lovely to see our adventures popping up on facebook every now and again and you can check out the official videos on the Adventure Map YouTube page.

Kent

At the beginning of May we travelled to Kent for the weekend to stay in a lovely seaside cottage with Kent and Sussex Cottages.

3-Summer-Mews

Whilst we were there we took advantage of our English Heritage passes and visited Dover Castle and Battle Abbey, where the Battle of Hastings took place.

Battle-Abbey

North West France

In May half term we flew to Nantes to visit Puy du Fou, one of France’s top theme parks.

La Citadelle

The kids were so excited by the fact that we were staying in what looked like a real castle, La Citadelle, albeit one with all the mod cons that we expect from a hotel these days.

Puy du Fou

Visiting Puy du Fou with kids makes it entirely different experience and I loved seeing their mouths open wide with amazement at what they were witnessing unfold in front of them.

Puy du Fou

We spent three days at Puy Du Fou before heading to Futuroscope. Where Puy du Fou is based on the history of France, Futuroscope is the polar opposite and is based upon multimedia, cinematographic and audio-visual techniques, with several 3D and 4D cinemas along with other attractions, shows and buildings, not seen anywhere else in the world.

Futuroscope

The kids loved all the rides and experiences and the queues were almost non-existent, especially on the Sunday of our visit.

Futuroscope

If you are visiting Puy du Fou then I strongly recommend you add on Futuroscope to your trip as it is less than two hours away!

Camp Bestival

At the beginning of the summer holidays we made our annual visit to Dorset’s Camp Bestival which is held at Lulworth Castle.

Camp Bestival

This year we stayed in camping plus and found ourselves next to some blogging friends which made it even better as the kids could play with each other.

Big-Wheel

Camp Bestival had taken a bit of a hit with the weather the last couple of years, but this year the weather was kind and the festival was back to its best, plus we got to see the amazing Lewis Capaldi!

Lewis Capaldi

The Isle of Wight

Living in Dorset, the Isle of Wight is a stones throw away from us and this summer we headed across the Solent for a weekend.

Black Gang Chine

Our first port of call was Blackgang Chine for their Big Night Out celebrations where we got to see shows, meet the characters and take part in a massive foam party!

Foam Party

Our second day was spent at Robin Hill Country Park where we got to join in with their Jungle Fever event.

Robin Hill

The kids adored the new trampoline nets and all the activities they had on offer.

Robin Hill

Victorious Festival

The other festival that is always in our calendar is Victorious, which is set on Southsea Common on August bank holiday weekend.

Victorious-Festival

Victorious is a family friendly festival with a huge Kids Arena which features an abundance of family-friendly activities including face painting, karaoke, mini fairground rides and even a gaming zone, all of which are completely free to mini festival-goers! 

Swings Victorious

Iceland

Our final holiday of 2019 saw us go out with a bang as Iceland is top of my travel bucket list.

Blue-Lagoon

We literally got off the plane and headed straight to the Blue Lagoon, where we spent a few hours enjoying the magical heated water.

Blue Lagoon

From there we headed to our apartment which was perfectly situated in the heart of Reykjavik and a short walk away from the harbour, main High Street and the stunning Rainbow Road.

Rainbow Road

We opted to take organised tours rather than hire a car and drive. Our first was the South Coast Classic Tour with Reykjavik Sightseeing which took us to the infamous Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach.

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

We also got to visit Sólheimajökull glacier and two stunning waterfalls: Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss.

Skogafoss-Waterfall

Our next tour was the Golden Circle which visits Thingvellir, Gullfoss and the majestic Geysers.

Thingvellir

Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National park sits in a rift valley caused by the separation of 2 tectonic plates, the North American and Eurasian, with rocky cliffs and fissures like the huge Almannagjá fault.

Thingvellir

From there it was onto Gullfoss, the most spectacular waterfall I have ever seen.

Gullfoss

The final location of the Golden Circle Tour is to the Geysir Hot Spring Area with boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the lively Strokkur which spouts water 30 metres (100 ft) into the air every few minutes.

Strokkur

The kids loved watching the geysirs, particularly Strokkur which didn’t disappoint with its magnificent display.

Geysir

Later in the day we took part in a Northern Lights Cruise, but sadly the clouds refused to part. We did get to see the Imagine Peace Tower shining into the night though.

Imagine-Peace-Tower

On our final full day in Iceland, we got to tick another activity off my bucket list with a whale watching cruise. We had been warned that they hadn’t spotted any whales for a few days, but we managed to spot both dolphins and minke whales during our cruise – capturing them on camera was not so easy!!

Minke Whale

Although we managed to cram in a lot on our visit to Iceland, we feel like we missed more than we saw and we plan to go back very soon as we fell in love with the beautiful country.

Reyjavik-Harbour

What were your travel highlights of 2019?

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24 Comments
  1. Reply

    Gemma Southgate

    January 1, 2020

    Oh wow, you’ve been to some really varied destinations. I’ve always had Northern Ireland on my ‘to visit’ list. My highlight of 2019 was my visit to Switzerland and riding on the train up to the Jungfraujoch.

    • Reply

      Kara

      January 2, 2020

      I saw this on a TV program last month. Would love to do that

  2. Reply

    Charli

    January 1, 2020

    It looks like you’ve had some amazing travels in 2019 with so many memories to cherish. That zip line looks amazing and I’d love to travel around Iceland. I hope 2020 brings as many adventures for you.
    C x

  3. Reply

    Claire Roach

    January 1, 2020

    Loads of awesome memories made in 2019 for you and yours. I like the look of a few of these places, so will be checking them out with my lot.

  4. Reply

    Fiona Maclean

    January 1, 2020

    What a lovely year you’ve had. I’m really impressed at all the places you’ve taken your kids – and love that you’ve seen so much of the UK.

  5. Reply

    Rebecca Smith

    January 1, 2020

    Wow, you managed to travel so much in 2019! I really enjoyed our trip to Weston-super-Mare and visiting the Cheddar Gorge, it was such a wonderful experience.

  6. Reply

    Bella and Dawn at Dear Mummy Blog

    January 1, 2020

    You guys have had great adventures and we love visiting family in Northern Ireland, so know how great a destination it is! Camp Bestival was rather awesome in 2019 🙂

  7. Reply

    Devesh

    January 2, 2020

    Thanks for sharing a great post!

  8. Reply

    Sabina Green

    January 2, 2020

    You have certainly had some great adventures, Iceland looks amazing! I also love your Northern Ireland and Wales adventures, that zip line looks fab!

  9. Reply

    Samantha Donnelly

    January 2, 2020

    You have had a great year of travelling, I would love to do a city break in Liverpool have been once before but we did not really see much. Iceland is another place we really want to visit

  10. Reply

    Jon

    January 2, 2020

    Looks like you had an amazing time. I’ve not been to Northern Ireland in years, we really should go back!

  11. Reply

    Kira

    January 2, 2020

    Wow you really have had an amazing year travelling. I really want to travel more this year but definitely on a budget 🙂

  12. Reply

    Marie Blake

    January 2, 2020

    Wow, wales looks stunning. I’ve also always fancied going to Iceland, so good that the kids enjoyed it too!

  13. Reply

    Jenni

    January 2, 2020

    Oh my goodness, what an incredible year of travel! I would love to go to Iceland, it is on the very top of my travel list and it always looks like the most incredible place!

  14. Reply

    What Mum Loves

    January 2, 2020

    Wow, you did quite a lot of travelling in 2019 🙂 I still remember reading your article about Iceland and enjoying watching those beautiful photographs 🙂 Happy New Year to you and your family, may you make even more memories this year x

  15. Reply

    MissPond

    January 2, 2020

    Oh wow! What adventures you have been on! We went to Poland for the first time last year, I really enjoyed it 🙂

  16. Reply

    Karen Legge

    January 2, 2020

    What amazing adventures considering you had nothing booked at the start of the year. I have only had good experiences so far with Airbnb but it does make me nervous. I look forward to hearing about new adventures for this year!

  17. Reply

    Tracey Kifford

    January 3, 2020

    Happy New Year! I LOVE that photo with the zipwirers flying over the statue!!

  18. Reply

    Rachel - The Parenting Edit

    January 3, 2020

    Wow what a travel list. You have been to some incredible places. There are some on there that I would like to visit. Iceland, for example. Camp Bestival is also on my family bucket list. Thanks for sharing

  19. Reply

    michelle twin mum

    January 3, 2020

    I’ve really loved watching yoru adventures over the year, and one day we’ll follow you to Iceland. Mich x

  20. Reply

    Lyndsey O'Halloran

    January 3, 2020

    Puy Du Fou looks amazing. It’s somewhere I’d like to go one day.

  21. Reply

    Beth

    January 4, 2020

    Wow, what a year!!! It looks like you really did make the most of it. 🙂

  22. Reply

    Anosa

    January 4, 2020

    2019 sounds like it has been such an adventurous year for you guys.

  23. Reply

    Jennifer Gladwin

    January 4, 2020

    What a great year you’ve had! We visited Northern Ireland in May and absolutely loved it!

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KARA GUPPY
Bournemouth

Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog chelseamamma.co.uk