Looking back over 2017 has made me realise just how far we have travelled and the fun we have had along the way.
As a blogger I always find it fascinating to see what posts are the most popular with my readers and I have to say there are a few surprises in there for me.
Here are my most popular posts of 2017:
1. 10 Reasons to Buy a Merlin Annual Pass this January
Written back in January this was very popular then and has surged up the charts again in December as people make a decision whether to buy one or not.
There is no denying that taking the kids out and about costs money, however, one of the way we save on our travels is to buy a Merlin Annual Pass which gets us into 32 attractions across the UK, including all the Sea Life Centres, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Legoland, Shrek’s Adventure, The London Eye, The Dungeons, Warwick Castle and more!
The Merlin Annual Pass sale starts on the 1st January and I will update with the price as soon as I have it.
2. Climbing Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh
We visited Scotland back in February half term and fell in love with the country. During our visit we visited Edinburgh and ended up going back twice as it had so much to offer the family.
During our visit to the National Museum of Scotland, we climbed to the roof terrace and got a lovely view of Arthur’s Seat which gave us the mad idea to climb it! I have to admit that we didn’t quite make it to the top as 3-year-old Sebby wouldn’t have made it, but we gave it a good go and got some magnificent views over the city.
3. Ten of the Best Places to Visit in Poole this Half Term
I love championing backyard travel and where we live, so I am proud as punch that people have found my guide to kids activities in Poole, Dorset helpful as we have so many things on offer for even the fussiest of small people.
4. Exploring the Lake District with HF Holidays
Our third holiday this year was another trek from the South Coast, a walking holiday in the Lake District.
I have to admit that a walking holiday is not something I had considered before, but it was a great way of seeing the countryside in all its glory, with planned activities and shorter walks to keep the kids happy and entertained. We would definitely do it again!
5. A visit to Reekie Linn Falls in Perthshire
Another of our Scottish holiday posts, Reekie Linn is a waterfall on the River Isla in Perthshire in Scotland and the most impressive one locally to where we were staying.
I have to admit it was a bit of a hairy walk, especially in the winter when it is wet and muddy, but the views were well worth it!
6. Top Tips for Surviving Bournemouth Air Festival with the Kids
I have to admit that we only went down to Bournemouth Air Festival once this year as we were disappointed with the line up, but my post from 2015 was a hit with the readers who wanted to know how to beat the crowds and see the planes safely with the kids.
7. 10 Things to do in Dorset in Winter with Kids
Finding things to entertain the kids in winter can be a real challenge with many local attractions shutting down for the coldest months, but there are still lots of fun things to do with the kids as my tips for entertaining the kids in Dorset prove.
8. A Trip to see the Ducklings at Arundel Wetland Centre
I grew up in West Sussex, close to Arundel and its wonderful, nature filled activities.
The kids loved feeding the ducks, enjoyed a spot of pond dipping and generally just exploring the wetland centre and all it had to offer.
9. A Springtime Visit to Bluestone Wales
In June we headed to Bluestone Wales to celebrate Abbey’s birthday.
We last visited Bluestone for Kingdom of the Elves back in November 2015, but seeing Bluestone in the spring was so much better as we got to experience more of the activities on offer.
10. Visiting the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu
Located in the New Forest, Hampshire, there is so much to see and do for families, including, Palace House and Gardens, the historic site of Beaulieu Abbey along with a museum, and of course the National Motor Museum which houses a number of motoring themed exhibitions including the fantastic World of Top Gear.
11. A Dalek Invasion of Winchester Science Centre
My kids are Doctor Who mad, so when I heard that some of their favourite Doctor Who characters were heading to Winchester Science Centre, we had to pay a visit.
Dressed in our best Dr Who inspired finery, all three kids were in their element as we spotted characters including the 4th, 5th, 7th, 11th Doctors, K9, Missy, Strax Sontaran, War Doctor, Captain Jack Harkness, a Silurian, the scary Foretold Mummy and UNIT soldiers who were roaming the venue.
12. Our Top Ten Tips for a Carnival Cruise
We fell in love with cruising in 2016 when we embarked on a Mediterranean Cruise aboard the Carnival Vista.
My top 10 tips and things not to miss have remained a very popular post ever since our return.
13. Our Journey to Lapland with Santa’s Lapland
The first post on travelling to our short break in Santa’s Lapland takes in the journey over to Finland aboard Small Planet Airlines and the fun we had onboard.
With colouring competitions, carol singing and general merriment I think the kids will be disappointed that the next time we fly will be a normal journey!
14. What to pack for a holiday to Lapland
The thing about a holiday to Lapland is that is not just the cost of the holidays itself that you need to take into consideration, but all the ‘extra’s’ you need too.
In this post, I make a run down of everything that we needed to pack for a holiday to Lapland.
15. A Visit to Merida’s Home – Dunnottar Castle, Scotland
Dunnottar Castle is a ruined medieval fortress located upon a rocky headland near Stonehaven, about an hour from where we were staying and is the inspiration behind Merida’s DunBroch family castle from the film Brave and our visit was one of the highlights of our visit to Scotland.
The castle is hidden from the road and is a short walk along an uneven path from the car park but as soon as it comes into view you know you are visiting somewhere special and the kids loved exploring all the nooks and crannies.
16. A visit to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum – Portsmouth
The Royal Navy Submarine Museum is part of Portsmouth Historic dockyard and gives a fascinating insight into what life about HMS Alliance, Britain’s only remaining World War II submarine, would have been like.
17. Searching for Santa at Santa’s Lapland
The highlight of any visit to Lapland is the Search for Santa Day, where you get to take part in some exciting activities such as husky dog sledding, a reindeer sleigh ride and of course searching for the big man himself.
It truly was a holiday of a lifetime for us and something that we will remember and treasure for ever.
18. A Stay Play Explore Short Break in Leicestershire
In April we enjoyed a Stay, Play, Explore break in Leicester which allows a family of 2 adults and 2 children to visit any 3 out of 10 exciting attractions and enjoy overnight accommodation including breakfast at a choice of 4 star family friendly hotels for just £149.
19. A Private Tour of Glamis Castle
During our visit to Scotland, our hosts, Newton Farm Holidays, arranged for us to do a private tour of Glamis Castle as they have very close ties with the family.
Glamis castle is the ancestral home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and birth place of Princess Margaret and we got so see their own private rooms, complete with personal photos and some fun ghost stories.
20. A Visit to Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight
Black Gang Chine is Britain’s oldest theme park which turned 174 years old in 2017 and we were visiting to see its newest attraction, the Underwater Kingdom.
I loved Blackgang Chine as a child and have fond memories of walking around the dinosaurs and in 2006 we visited with a young Abbey, Callan and Kian and it was lovely to see that much of it has been brought right up to date with animatronic dinosaurs and new rides, although there were some old favourites there too.
So, there you have it, my top 20 posts of 2017!
Are there any places here that you would like to visit?