Our Dorset Holiday 2016

Well we are home from our holiday, are up to date on laundry and life is getting back to normal. It is nice to be back in our own bed and to have more space for the kids. The cottage we were staying in is gorgeous and quaint and we are so grateful to our friend letting us stay while he is out of the country… But it is also very cosy to contain 2 children and not that child safe for our crazy climbing LM.PhotoGrid_1470663241686

We were lucky with the weather though and got out and about loads, as you may have seen on my previous posts, and we really did have a wonderful time as a family.PhotoGrid_1470662790957

Of course it wasn’t without its challenges and ups and downs though. Hubs was reading an article about something business related and in it contained this great quote.

“Becoming a parent is a wonderful thing, but it robs you of a certain freedom. That is: the freedom to do nothing. To sit around, to lounge, to waste time, with no responsibilities or duties tugging at your sleeve, no endless mental to-do list to tick off.
Last week, my wife and I took our two-year-old son on holiday. We had a lovely time. But, as every parent knows, a holiday with a toddler isn’t a holiday. It’s a job.
That job, beginning at dawn each day or earlier, is to entertain, or at least contain, an insatiably restless two-foot whirlwind of wants and demands. It’s fun. But there isn’t a moment of silence or solitude.
You spend six months looking forward to your holiday, so that you can take a break from work; then you spend your holiday looking forward to your return to work, so that you can take a break from childcare.”

It’s so true as holidays before kids are so different to holidays after kids. I imagine they continue to change and as they grow that you can have relaxing times. But when they are little it is a full time job keeping them entertained, regardless of where you are!

For hubs this was a working holiday and we are hugely lucky that he can basically work from anywhere with an Internet connection and can do some work out of business hours, which meant he was able to spend a few hours each day with us exploring Dorset and having fun with us. This made my life much easier than it is at home as obviously I am normally on my own with the kids all day when he is at the office.

There were challenges though as there always are with kids, especially with kids at different ages with different ability levels. Sometimes I really struggle to do something that makes both of them happy at the same time. One afternoon I got out the paddling pool thinking they would love it. Monkey refused to get in and LM lasted about 30s with constant attention then got bored. Sometimes I wonder why I bother as they are happier plonked in front of peppa pig or paw patrol!

They did enjoy our days out though and the beach was a real winner this year. On our holiday last September LM hated the sand so the beach was a stressful trip. It is lovely now as she adores the sand! Monkey is still very nervous of the water but he did go in the sea,  and LM hates the waves in the sea.. But they both love the sand and we were lucky with some lovely warm pools created by the tide going out which LM really loved. Its not a relaxing day as they do like us to be involved at all times but they were so happy so at least it wasn’t too stressful!PhotoGrid_1470663903480

By completely random coincidence some very good friends of our happened to be on holiday in Dorset at the same as we were. Jo and I met travelling in Argentina of all places about 9 years ago and we have stayed good friends but with living 2 1/2 hours away we don’t see each other more than a couple of times a year. Especially now there are kids to think about. Its pretty amazing though as our eldest 2 are 6 mths apart in age and our youngest about 5 mths apart and they all get on so so well.

We saw them more in the last 2 weeks than in the previous few years and it was so so wonderful. We had a couple of beach days together which were fantastic and made it a bit more relaxing as at least we could take it in turns a bit to be with the kids and the kids entertained each other a lot more which was wonderful.PhotoGrid_1470679856631

They also came for a play at our cottage one day, and brilliantly, when their relatives joined them for the second week and we’re able to babysit they came over one evening for a glass of wine and a natter without children interrupting us. It was so so lovely.PhotoGrid_1470680086351

Some of our other very good friends from home were also down in Dorset for a weekend at the end of their family holiday to Devon so the kids adored meeting up with them too for a day out at Monkey World. Again it helped having other kids for our kids to play with, and other adults for us to natter with. It also helped having a bit of solidarity when our little madam threw an almighty tantrum at lunchtime… And vice versa when their son didn’t want to eat his dinner. Much less embarrassing when you can talk about it with your friends rather than just have everyone in the place staring at you while you try and deal with it. They still stare of course but it definitely helped having company.PhotoGrid_1470680660728

Because our little lady really has tested us while we were away. If anything her behaviour has improved towards the end and now we are home but she was a nightmare at times and when she goes oh my goodness she is so loud. As one of the friends we met up with put it “she certainly has a voice!” and she most definitely does. She really struggled to settle for the first couple of days at the cottage and the tiredness from bad nights sleep and lack of naps really affected her so we were hugely relieved when she got used to her surroundings and started sleeping better.

Most of the other tantrums we had with her were around food… We had an absolutely disastrous meal at Prezzo one evening which was just a stressfest of her screaming and us scoffing as quickly as we could while paying £45 for the privilege. We had a couple of other lunches out which were better… mainly because they were places that served baked beans, and because I had a dairylea dunker ready as back up as I knew she’d at least eat some cheese if she decided they weren’t the right baked beans. (I never do this at home but sometimes avoiding the stress in a restaurant is so worth it). Hubs is adamant that we are having no more meals out until she is a bit older though as it just isn’t enjoyable!

On the whole Monkey was a really good boy while we’re away but he did get tired as the time went on “I’m so tired from all the days and days” which made him tired and fractious at times.PhotoGrid_1470681657311

I’m not trying to paint a negative picture of our holiday, just a realistic one. Its easy with all the smiles and golden sunny images for it to appear perfect, which of course it wasn’t. We had so much fun on the beach, with friends and on days out. There was lovely times at the cottage and on the play area. But when you have 2 children under 5 nothing is without its challenges, and even holidays can be hard work. So much as I loved it and in many ways I am sad that it is over… I am glad to be home. The kids were so excited when they came back to all of their toys and everything that is familiar. I am not terrified every second that LM is climbing on something or reaching something that she shouldn’t. She can go outside without tripping on a step and scraping her legs (almost a daily occurance while we were away).. Oh and at home we have a dishwasher (yippee)  and the ceilings are high enough for hubs to stand up straight without banging his head haha. So it is good to be home.

Do you find holidays with kids hard work or is it just us?

And then the fun began...
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Mummy’s Crazy Countryside Adventures

You may have seen that we have been having a rather lovely holiday in Dorset. I wrote a post about some of the many fun things you can do with little ones while you are here, but I also wanted to share a few of our other adventures while we’ve been away. You see I love the countryside and I like to get away from the beaten track sometimes. I like the peace and am always on the hunt for stunning views. This can take us to some slightly crazy places, and well, because we are a little bit loony, we’ve come up with a song about these adventures.

(to the tune of Andy’s prehistoric adventures)
“Mummy’s crazy countryside adventures, come join the crew!
Come into the countryside but watch out for that poo!
Yeah mind the poo!
Mummy’s crazy countryside adventures, Mummy’s crazy countryside adventures! ”

Cheesy but it amused us! Anyway sometimes these adventures are wonderful.. Other times a little less so.

Our first adventure on this holiday was to see the NT site of Eggardon Hill, the site of an Iron Age Hill Fort. Parking was a layby on a “roman road” opposite a footpath. We headed down the extremely overgrown, bumpy and long footpath and I know at times like these my hubs seriously doubts my sanity.PhotoGrid_1470458127743

But it was worth it when we arrived. It was so windy but oh the views! We were up and down the terraces of the Fort like mountain goats (or something like that) and well the kids loved the adventure of it all.PhotoGrid_1470458369570

I love seeing the kids run around and have fun amongst the long grass and wild flowers. We didn’t stay too long but we got some fresh air in our lungs to blast away the cobwebs and had a good run around.PhotoGrid_1470458710162

Our next adventure was another NT site, to see the chalk giant of Cerne Abbas. Monkey was hugely excited at the prospect of seeing a giant and when we got to the viewpoint he loved pointing out his legs, his willy and his nipples haha as you can imagine any 4yr old would!PhotoGrid_1470458965611

I wasn’t sure if you could actually get to the giant and I’m afraid we didn’t manage it. We did set off but on this occasion had the buggy with us. We got part way up the hillside tracks until the path considerably narrowed and became heavily overgrown and you had to start crossing stiles. Much to Monkey disappointment we gave up, then turned into the village itself for a lovely wander past a stream and found a play park! Always a good find with little ones so all was not lost . PhotoGrid_1470459085476

Another adventure on our holiday, and by far the least successful one, was our trip to Maiden Castle, the largest Iron Age Fort in Europe apparently and an English heritage site. (All of these places are free to visit though). It was at the end of 2 horribly wet days, and we were all a bit stir crazy from being indoors. (The cottage we were housesitting in is lovely but very small to contain an adventurous LM who won’t sit still for 5 mins). The weather had dried and sun come out so we headed off. Unfortunately though as we arrived the clouds and misty rolled back in.

Unperturbed we put on our waterproofs and headed up the hill. To say it was windy was an understatement and LM hated it. She screamed her little head off and seemed terrified she was going to lose one of us as she kept going between the two of us and wasn’t happy in either of our arms for more than a few seconds at a time.PhotoGrid_1470459401963

We reached the top and in a small bit of shelter had a drink and she did cheer up a little so we went for an explore.PhotoGrid_1470459676810

Unfortunately though she just became more and more upset so we really didn’t stay long at all, which was a shame as Monkey was enjoying himself, and so were we, even though there was no chance of views. The screaming was awful though so we headed back down the hill, trying to avoid the sheep poo which was everywhere! This adventure definitely goes down as a fail as I have rarely heard LM quite so unhappy!

We got back and the kids had a great run around in the puddle by the cottage so at least the outing had a happy ending (until Monkey face planted the puddle and cut his hand, ouch!)PhotoGrid_1470459864795

Mummy’s crazy countryside adventures may have there ups and downs but on the whole I love them just as much as I love the more traditional touristy days out, and look forward to many more adventures with my little ones as they grow. (At least for as long as they put up with them haha).

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Monkey and Mouse
MyWildOnes

Where to go on holiday in Dorset with toddlers

Thanks to our lovely friend who lets us housesit for a couple of weeks in the summer while they are out of the country, we are getting to know Dorset pretty well and have had some wonderful days out with the kiddies. So I thought rather than loads of posts about each place, I would compile a list of where to go on holiday in Dorset with toddlers, based on our experience. Now of course this list isn’t exhaustive and there are probably lots of other wonderful places to visit too.. But these are our favourites so far.

Places to see Animals

Weymouth Sealife Centre

We do love a good aquarium or sea life centre, and the one in Weymouth is a particularly good one as there is so much to see and do. Animals wise, there are so many fish, sharks, rays, jelly fish and all sorts of different habitats to have a look at. There are rock pools where you can stroke starfish and try not to get nipped by some lovely big crabs. There are also some other wonderful animals there too, with seals, penguins, frogs, turtles and otters in addition to the more traditional aquarium animals. The kids adored looking at them all.PhotoGrid_1470042544783

It’s not just about the animals though as there also some great fun rides to go on, including a log flume, and they have a fantastic splash zone. I recommend taking swimwear for the kiddies as the paddling pool with slide and water fountains are really great fun. There is also a normal play area which the kids loved too.PhotoGrid_1470045821973

Before you go: It is definitely worth booking tickets online before you go as they are much cheaper than on the day. Everywhere is very accessible for pushchairs for little ones and there are loads of places to sit and enjoy a picnic. We ate from the cafe there and the kids enjoyed it but it was  bit pricey and there wasn’t a huge amount of choice so if we went again i would definitely take food with us.

Monkey World, Wareham

Monkey world near Wareham is a really lovely place housing primates which have been rescued from less savoury zoos or from the pet trade. It is a lovely site, with nice big enclosures for the monkeys and lots of viewing points s you can see them swinging around happily or having a rest. There are all sorts there, with Lemurs, Orangutans, Chimps, Capuchin Monkeys and Spider Monkeys to name but a few and the kids loved looking around.PhotoGrid_1470037514165

There are also some really great playparks for your little Monkeys to clamber about on, with some dotted around the park and a particularly brilliant big one at the end which the kids adored.PhotoGrid_1470037283481

Before you go: Monkey World is really accessible with paths suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs, they even have swings which can be used with wheelchairs. We ate there and while there wasn’t a huge amount of choice in the cafe we chose, the food was simple sandwiches and was all we really wanted anyway. There are a few cafes throughout the park, as well as snack stops and lots of places to sit if you would prefer to take a picnic. Toilets are also dotted about and easy to find and on the whole we were impressed, places were clean and food wasn’t too expensive.

Abbotsbury swannery

Abbotsury is a small village to the west of Weymouth which houses a few great tourist attractions. A childs farm, tropical gardens and a swannery. You can buy access to all 3 for £17  for an adult which makes it very reasonable, however we have only seen the swannery so far. The swannery is such a beautiful place, very peaceful and we found it really lovely to go somewhere a bit different. The swans are all so well cared for and the kids adored seeing the signets. Monkey was also thrilled to be able to take part in the feeding of the hundreds of swans. They are well practiced at this to make sure that everyone who wants a go can have a go and it was great fun.PhotoGrid_1470038174374

The kids loved exploring across the site and they particularly loved the giant maze in the shape of a swan. Monkey loves a maze and the great thing about this one was all the percussion instruments dotted about. There is also a quiz you can complete if you find all of the points throughout the maze which Monkey really enjoyed. I was glad to have the map they gave us at the entrance as it helped us get out quickly when LM got tired and hungry for her lunch!PhotoGrid_1470039078612

Before you go: Everywhere is accessible for pushchairs or wheelchairs, and I would recommend taking a pushchair for little legs as it is quite a walk from the entrance to the swans. There is a playpark by the entrance and a lovely cafe  with a great menu, but this is also by the entrance so we decided to take a picnic to avoid having to walk back at lunchtime. There are plenty of lovely spots for a picnic including a nice shady area for sunny days, or benches to sit and watch the swans. Feeding the swans is at 12:00 everyday and well worth joining in with.PhotoGrid_1470037864804

Beaches

Many of the beaches around the South and West of Dorset are shale, or stony, beaches, which can be lovely but lets face it, the best beach days out with toddlers are sandy ones where lots of sandcastles can be built. To that end, here are favourite sandy beaches in Dorset.

Weymouth beach

The area to the east of Weymouth, near the sea life centre, has a long and stony beach, however the beach at the centre of Weymouth itself is a very lovely sandy beach, perfect for taking the kids to.PhotoGrid_1470040425793

Before you go: The beach was clean and the sea wasn’t too cold, even though we were there on an overcast day. There are public toilets, lots of places to buy ice creams and buckets and spades, and to hire deck chairs from. There are a couple of options for parking within easy walking distance, you could park near the pavilion and Jurassic Skyline, which is quite close to the beach, or as we did, park at the Swannery car park, which is very easy to get to and also only a short walk to the sea front.

Middle Beach, Studland

In East Dorset, in an area known as the Isle of Purbeck, we found a truly lovely, lovely beach at Studland bay. It’s just one of those lovely lovely places you don’t want to leave and can’t wait to get back to! The bay is huge so there is plenty of space and we opted for Middle Beach, so I’m not sure what the other areas are like. There is supposedly a naturist area on the beach but this is apparently well signposted and we didn’t come across it.

We loved this beach because the sand was clean and perfect for  digging and building castles. We arrived when the tide was fairly high and it went out throughout the day. This is the perfect beach for paddling as the water is very shallow and you can walk out really far without it ever going over your knees. This also means the water is a lovely temperature and gets steadily warmer throughout the day, it is also incredibly clear so no nasty surprises. Our littlest lady isn’t a fan of the noise of waves but she loves exploring the pools created by the receding tide, and we even found som nature to explore in them.PhotoGrid_1470037069712

There are gorgeous views from the beach, you can see over to Poole and Bournemouth to the north, or looking straight ahead you can even make out the Isle of Wight! To the south of the bay are Old Harry’s Rocks.PhotoGrid_1470036928156

Before you go: Maintained by the National Trust, parking is free for NT members. Access from the car park to the beach isn’t too far but it is down a fairly steep and uneven path through and behind a lot of beach huts, so I wouldn’t recommend taking a pushchair down, though I did see someone manage it. There are toilet facilities and a cafe which were very nice though we took a picnic with us. The beach is dog friendly so be aware of that, dogs are supposed to be kept on the lead however many owners flouted this rule, though we only had one instance of dogs running through our things, as most were well behaved and looked after.

The Durdle Door

The Durdle Door tops many a “must see” list for places to visit while in Dorset, but it is not the most accessible place, especially if you have small children. You can read more information about how not to do it from my post last year, which includes a map of the route to get to the beach itself.

The Durdle Door is a stunning rock formation of an archway in a simply stunning spot on the south Dorset coastline, honestly you would think you were in the mediterranean or something with the clear blue waters and it is definitely worth a visit, though it is not without it’s challenges. It is the one beach I am mentioning here which is a stony beach, because the views are worth it but no sandcastles are being built here.PhotoGrid_1470061898589

Before you go: The access from the car park to the Durdle Door and beach is incredibly long, steep and includes a lot of incredibly steep steps. I would definitely not recommend taking a pushchair and advise you to travel light. It is stoney beach so no point taking buckets and spades, and when we were there the waves were pretty rough so the kids would not go near the sea. There are no toilets and the only facilities are an ice cream van about halfway down so take plenty of drink and some snacks if not a picnic. For more information, read this post.

The beach at Swanage is also said to be very lovely and sandy however we are yet to visit so I can’t say more than that really!

Portland

South of Weymouth is the island of Portland which has places to visit too. We found out too late about a pirate graveyard which Monkey would have enjoyed, but we did manage to visit a couple of places on the island.

Portland Bill Lighthouse.

At the southern tip of the island there is a lovely lighthouse called portland bill. It is a stunning place to visit with the ocean all around and the remains of a quarry of Portland stone perfect for scrambling over. There is a visitors centre you can pay to look around and older children and adults can pay to go up the lighthouse however as we wouldn’t all have been able to go, we were content just exploring the outside.

Before you go: there is a great big car park there and a lovely little restaurant nearby, which was child friendly although the child meals were quite pricey in my opinion.PhotoGrid_1470484998639

For the lighthouse itself it is approx. £3 to go in the visitor centre or £7 to also climb the lighthouse. But, be aware that babies and small children cannot be carried up. Children must be over I think 1.1m tall and able to get up under their own steam.

Portland CastlePhotoGrid_1470485386491

Portland Castle is run by English heritage and we found it to be a great little Fort, actually about the perfect size for a short trip with our little ones. Under 5s are free and it is just under £6 per adult to get in. The kids loved exploring the ramparts and seeing the cannons. They also really really enjoyed the dressing up area, as you can see below!

Before you go: we did take the buggy but had to abandon it a couple of times as it isn’t really accessible as tou would expect from such an old Castle. There is facilities and a nice cafe on site though sadly they didn’t seem to serve ice creams when we were there.

Other places to visit

Swanage railway and Corfe castle

One of our highlights from our holiday last year was our trip on the Swanage Steam Railway to visit Corfe Castle. The railway runs between Swanage and Norden, just to the north of Corfe Castle. You don’t have to visit the castle on your trip, and you can visit the castle without riding the railway but it does make for a nice day out to combine the two. We chose to drive to Swanage and take the train to the castle where we loved having a good explore (we do love a good castle) then return to Swanage to drive home. You could however park at the castle and take the train to swanage too.

Kids love trains so our two definitely enjoyed a ride on the train and the staff were great with stamping tickets etc. The Castle itself is simply stunning with the ruins perched atop a hill with amazing views of the surrounding countryside.PhotoGrid_1470061213131

Before you go:  There is no car park at the station in Swanage, just a co-op with a short stay, however there is a large car park just 5-10 minutes walk away. The journey between Swanage and the castle is about 20 minutes so we had a picnic on the train, however there are some cafes at Corfe Castle which are lovely too.

On arrival at the castle we were advised not to take our pushchair up as the ground was very uneven, however we did see others pushing buggies around so I think that is up to you really. the National Trust do have some baby carriers you can borrow. It is very hilly and steep so may be tricky to navigate for some little legs. LM wasn’t walking when we went last year so she was carried around by us.

Dorchester Dinosaur Museum

There are a few museums in Dorchester but we have only visited the Dinosaur Museum so far. We went on a particular wet and rainy day on our holiday last year. It is a lovely little museum with lots of Dinosaur information and some great model Dinosaurs.PhotoGrid_1470060203184

It isn’t very big however so on a wet day it can get incredibly busy and quite warm as a result. There are stairs inside so we were asked to park our buggy near the entrance.

Before you go: Don’t plan to stay too long and be aware that you may not be able to take a pushchair with you and if you do it will make getting around quite tricky.

Munchkins Cafe Dorchester

A really great find for a rainy day is this stay and play cafe, possibly the best of its kind I have seen. With over half of the cafe, and much of the garden, dedicated to toys and play areas, the kids absolutely adored it. there is a slide which goes down the set of stairs in the cafe and just so much for the kids to play with. Outside is a sand pit and some water toys for hot days too.PhotoGrid_1470070097120

Add to that the food we had was delicious and there is free wifi, perfect for blogging or surfing while the kids play.

Before you go: There is a charge for playing at the cafe, however this is discounted for siblings and one charge lasts for 7 days which makes it incredibly good value. They have fantastic facilities for baby changing, even providing nappy bags and hand sanitiser free of charge. There is a breastfeeding room should you wish for some privacy and just about anything you can think of that your little ones would like. Because  it is great, weekends and rainy days can get busy, however on a dreary week day when the kids needed a quiet day we found it to be perfect and it wasn’t too busy. The nearest parking is on Trinity Street and is £1 for a couple of hours.

So there we have it. Some of our favourite places in this neck of the woods. No doubt there are lots of other wonderful places but hopefully I will have given you some ideas for where to go on holiday in Dorset with toddlers.

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Monkey and Mouse

Swanage Steam Railway & Corfe Castle

Monkey loves trains so when we heard about the Swanage Steam Railway down in Dorset we thought it would be a nice thing to do on our holiday. Add to the fact that you can ride the train to an amazing ruined castle and we were sold! (We love a good castle.) It isn’t the cheapest day out to combine the railway and a trip to the castle but being National Trust members thankfully we only had to think about the cost of the train tickets.

The steam railway runs between Swanage and Norden in Dorset, with a couple of stops along the way, one of which being Corfe Castle. We chose to park in Swanage, and take the train from there to Corfe Castle and back. There is a park and ride at Corfe Castle so you could, in theory take the bus to Swanage and the train back to the castle or something, but there is also quite a nice big car park 5-10 minutes walk from the station in Swanage. (There is no car park right at the station in Swanage, just a co-op with a short stay car park)

We took a little picnic to eat on the train journey and Monkey was just so so happy to be on the train. The staff were great with him and so friendly, and he loved getting his ticket stamped. It’s not a very long journey, about 20 minutes, which is probably about right with little ones and the scenery on the way is very pretty.

swanage 1

Corfe Castle in the village of Corfe, is seriously impressive, perched on top of a hill so you can see it for miles around.

It’s not very suitable for buggies but the National Trust to have some baby carriers available for hire and you can leave your buggy at the gate. We also saw a few people who had taken their buggy up the hill and tried to get it round the site.

As LM is too much of a fidget pants to be happy in a carrier we just carried her about in our arms. As I mentioned, we love a good castle so we very much enjoyed having a good explore of the ruins.

corfe castle

The views from the top of the hill are amazing and I loved seeing the steam train chugging by.

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Afterwards we stopped at a little tea room and decided to have some cream tea in the gardens…. unfortunately we got completely swarmed by wasps which wasn’t fun and sacrificed our jam, moving it onto another table hoping the wasps would surround it instead of us. It worked very well thankfully but I have never seen so many wasps all crammed into a small pot of jam!

We tried to get a nice family selfie with corfe castle in the background and, well, it’s not great but not too terrible either. Not easy getting all 4 of us looking n the right direction!

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Then it was time to have another fun little journey on the train back to Swanage. A lovely little day trip.

swanage 2

Do your kids love trains, and castles?

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays CornwallMy Travel MonkeyWe're going on an adventure#ToddlerApprovedTuesdayLife Unexpected

Durdle Door, Dorset

On our recent holiday to Dorset one of the absolute highlights had to be the gorgeous day we spent visiting Durdle Door, a stunning rock formation on the Jurassic Coast…. but the day wasn’t without it’s challenges! I really didn’t do much research into before we went, and didn’t really take in what I did read, so I will be honest, I was completely unprepared for how tricky it was to get there.

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The car journey was fine and uneventful. Access is via the Durdle Door holiday park, where there is a pay and display car park. Some people were parking on the road outside the holiday park but it is worth paying for the car park. It is not too expensive really and it is hard enough getting to the beach and Durdle door itself from the car park let alone adding on another huge journey up/down a hill!

Why so hard? Well access is only via a very long, very steep, sandy/stony/dusty (so slippy) path down the cliffside. This gets you to an amazing viewing point, then there are around 150 steps down to the actual stoney beach. Don’t let this put you off as it is stunningly beautiful and well worth going, but please learn from my mistakes and be more prepared!

durdle door

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The steps down to the beach

 

First of all, we took way too much stuff. I had no idea what the route down involved and hadn’t really thought about the fact that the beach was stoney. So we went down very heavily laden with all manner of beach toys which we did not remotely need or use.

Our second mistake was taking the buggy – I had no idea there was so many steps at the end of the journey, it was hard enough getting the buggy up and down the slope and there is NO way you would want to carry a buggy down the steps as it is very busy and there are no safety rails whatsoever.

So anyway we struggled our way down the very steep dusty slope with the buggy and all our bags clutching on tightly to Monkey and keeping him well clear of the edge, wondering how far away we were going to have to go! Then we got to the viewing level, and like I say, stunning… then we saw all the steps and wondered what to do next…. so decided to have our picnic there while we pondered what to do.

durdle door 2

Eventually we decided we did want to go down the steps, having come all of that way. The buggy we had with us is a very cheap one we bought a couple of years ago to take abroad, thinking it may not last that holiday. It has still been going strong but we have had good use out of it so we decided to leave it at the top. We tucked it under a trailer being used as a bin and hoped it would still be there on our return, though we accepted the risk. (Thankfully it was there though hooray)

The steps were steep and there are no handrails but Monkey did so well and we managed down the steps with all our bits and bobs. We made a bit of a game counting the way with Monkey as he does so love to count! The Durdle door itself was very impressive but it was a very steep slope to the the sea and difficult to get to on the stones. Was nice to have a paddle, although neither Monkey or LM were impressed with the noise of the crashing surf.

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We had a lovely time enjoying the sun before it was time to start the difficult journey back up hill. Let’s just say it was definitely a slog! We stopped halfway up for some ice cream as it was so hot, but it really was incredibly hard work. It was well worth a visit though we were exhausted by the end of it and I wish I had done some research before we went, so here is my advice if you are planning a visit.

  • Be prepared for a long walk and wear good shoes – my flip flops weren’t the best choice of footwear for the journey!
  • Don’t take everything but the kitchen sink – there isn’t sand, there won’t be sandcastles.
  • Go without a buggy if you can, there are stairs at the bottom that you won’t want to carry a buggy down… it’s not much fun pushing the buggy back up the hill either!
  • Be prepared to carry a little one if their little legs can’t manage it (see why you shouldn’t take too much down with you!)
  • Take plenty of drink, and food.
  • Go to the toilet before you head down – unless you fancy a wee in the sea  as there no facilities down there.
  • Pay for the parking, it is a long enough walk anyway let alone walking even further to avoid paying.
  • Use reins or keep a hand free for your kiddies – there are no safety rails whatsoever!
  • Enjoy the view as it is stunning!
My Travel MonkeyAnd then the fun began...We're going on an adventureBest of WorstTwinkly Tuesday
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Our Dorset Holiday

You may have seen that we have just had a very lovely holiday in Dorset. We have been house sitting for just over a week for some friends of ours who live in a very cute, quaint little country cottage. It is picture postcard pretty but also a little run down with cracks in walls and damp ceilings and TONNES of spiders!

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It is also in the most gorgeous setting, on a farm in the middle of the countryside. The farmer’s (massive) house is nearby along with a few holiday cottages they rent out but otherwise it is just surrounded by fields, trees and rolling hills.

countryside

Being on a farm there are lots of animals around too, cows, horses, sheep, dogs, a”barn cat” who is a mouser that lives in the barn. She’s also about 1010 yrs old, very gentle and so good with the kiddies! The little ones have loved stroking her and even when LM has gotten a little over excited and pulled her fur (eek) she has barely flinched! Lovely pussy cat.

animals

We had the real extremes of weather, from blazing sun to torrential rain and we obviously had some highs and lows. Some highs of the trip include gorgeously sunny days out to the coast and on steam railways to castles (posts about those to follow) and actually a wonderful day at Stonehenge which was in parts disastrous but also lucky and just good fun, despite being a very wet day! More of that to come in another post.

We did have some lows too, including the most disastrous trip to the beach ever. I was on my own with the kids while hubs got his head down to do some work and as the forecast was for sun headed to the beach. It rained a little on the way but hoped we were headed to blue sky. I had researched and found what I thought was a sandy beach not too far away. Then we arrived and saw this mountain of stones at the edge of a completely stony beach.

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Walked around a little and could find no sandy beach so at the lowest point I could find proceeded to make a few trips up and down the hill of stones to get me, 3 bags, buggy, both kids and a wind shield onto the beach. Only to be faced with an evem steeper decline on the other side of the hill towards the sea.

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LM decided she didn’t like the noise of the sea so I didn’t want to get any closer, though it was blimmin windy at the top of the hill! I started to set up the wind shield,and the heavens (which had been darkening but I had been ignoring in my task of just getting up the hill) opened. So we ended up huddled behind the windshield, both LM and Monkey crying because they were cold and wet,trying to eat a picnic. Then the rain stopped, a few more trips back down the hill later, more screaming from the kiddies,and I packed them back in the car. Disaster!! Talk about best laid plans!! My feet hurt so much after all the running up and down the stones barefoot (my flip flops made it even worse so had to go with bare feet) and that was by far the low point of the week.

Some of the best bits though were seeing my kiddies having a whale of a time on the playpark on the farm (which had an awesome boat swing that I want to get for our swing at home) and just in running around the cottage garden.

 

playpark

Oh and watching Monkey jumping in muddy puddles on the very wet days!

puddles

Lots of happy times and though hubs was working a lot of the time we also got a lot of time together as a family which has been very lovely. By the end I both didn’t want to leave and get back to normality, but was also looking forward to getting home and our creature comforts, family and friends.

And then the fun began...

Best of Worst

Picturesque

My word of the week this week, is picturesque, as we have been in a very picturesque part of the country. We have been housesitting for a friend in Dorset in a very picturesque little cottage.

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It has been such a lovely week, and we have seen some beautiful places and had lots of fun. It’s a semi-holiday as Hubs has been working from here but we have been able to spend a lot of lovely time together as a family. Plus there is something about being right out in the countryside that can’t help but make you feel at peace…. although the cockerel crowing at 5am every day is slightly less peaceful!

I have never been to this part of the country before and have very much enjoyed exploring it. Back to normal for next week so will write more about what we have been up to on another day. But for now, the internet connection is not great for uploading pictures so here are just 1 or 2 of the gorgeous places we have been.

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The Reading ResidenceCountry Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwalltheordinarymomentsbadge