The amazing rock village + castle of Monsanto, Portugal

I can now add another location to my list of most amazing places I’ve seen.  My favourite beach so far is Hemmick Beach in Cornwall and now my favourite village has to be Monsanto rock village in Castelo Branco, Portugal.

Whilst visiting my brother-in-law who is now resident in Portugal, we took a half day trip to Monsanto mountain after visiting the amazing nearby fossil mountains of Penha Garcia in the morning.

What a day!  Two really incredible places that can be visited in central Portugal in the same day.  A feast for the eyes!

In this blog post I’ll share what we discovered at Monsanto in Portugal and lots of our incredible travel photos of the rock village, boulder houses and castle!

Continue reading “The amazing rock village + castle of Monsanto, Portugal”

Visiting Penha Garcia fossil mountains in Portugal with kids

Last week we stayed in Portugal for one week in the district of Castelo Branco.  We were visiting my brother-in-law who has moved to an offgrid farm in Vale de Prazeres.  Not too far from the centre of Castelo Branco is an absolute gem of a place called Penha Garcia.

If you want a holiday with a difference then I’d recommend looking at villas in Portugal and getting off the beaten track to explore some of the incredible inland landscapes.  We discovered rugged mountains, stunning wild swimming spots and old worldly Portuguese villages.

The best part about visiting parts of Portugal beyond the well-known beaches and tourist hotspots was just how quiet it was.  We had many of these places to ourselves and rarely saw another person.

Read on to learn of the historic mountain houses, rocky fossil mountains and castle of Penha Garcia with lots of our travel photos! Continue reading “Visiting Penha Garcia fossil mountains in Portugal with kids”

Things to do with kids in Castelo Branco Portugal for one day

We have just returned from one week in Portugal to visit my brother-in-law.  He’s been living in Portugal for one year and it was the first chance we had to visit him.  Originally he bought a plot of land and lived in a caravan with a dream to set up permaculture land to live off.  It was around 10 minutes from the town of Castelo Branco. This was where we were originally going to visit when I booked the trip, but he has since moved to a much larger plot of land a little further from the centre of Castelo Branco in a village called Vale De Prazeres.

It’s still in the Castelo Branco district, but more rural.  His plot of land looks over vast amounts of countryside, goes up a mountain and he’s living offgrid with no electricity or water to the house!  Water comes from the springs on the mountain and wells and he currently has two solar panels with plans to increase the number so he can run some more appliances.  It’s an amazing place and he is just starting to develop the offgrid house into a self-sufficient abode and two other outbuildings will be turned into Airbnb residences. Continue reading “Things to do with kids in Castelo Branco Portugal for one day”

Bluestone National Park Resort twixmas holiday review + Kingdom of the Elves

For the second year running we stayed at Bluestone National Park Resort for a ‘twixmas’ break.  That’s the days after Christmas and before New Year if you didn’t know.  I didn’t!

In this blog post is my Bluestone 2019 Christmas review and photos.

I wrote a pretty thorough and honest review of Bluestone last year too. We did do things a little differently this year as we stayed in a wooden lodge instead of a cottage in the village.  We also decided not to book any activities.

Last year we had two activities each day (for the two full days we were here) and we didn’t fit much else in.  With kids we were restricted with eating times, especially as Reuben was only three last year.  So our days were pretty much: breakfast, paid activity, lunch, paid activity, dinner, bed.

We didn’t get to explore the whole site and grounds or the woods or trails that are accessible straight from the resort.

For our trip at twixmas 2019 there was also a new feature to the resort – the ‘Serendome’.  We heard all about it last year from the staff as it was to open in summer 2019.  It’s a huge outdoors dome.  A see-through roof in the forest to bring the outdoors in.  New activities and play areas for the kids to explore!

Read on to discover everything we got up to on our 2019 Bluestone twixmas holiday.

Continue reading “Bluestone National Park Resort twixmas holiday review + Kingdom of the Elves”

Spending diary for our budget family holiday to London. 3 days, 4 people, only £350!

London on a budget is totally possible, even if you’re travelling with kids, so long as you’re willing to make some sacrifices and take advantage of the free things you can do in London.

In this blog post I reveal our spending diary as a family of four in London for three days. Continue reading “Spending diary for our budget family holiday to London. 3 days, 4 people, only £350!”

Our 3 day London family itinerary + travel diary

Just before Christmas we went on a two night budget stay to London with the kids.

Bella, age 7, has been asking for about three years to go to London since she learned about it at school.

She was dying to see a red double decker bus!

It was one of her wishes on our family travel bucket list for 2019 and we managed to squeeze a budget trip to London in just before the year was out.

We went on a tight budget so decided to stay within walking distance of the free museums to keep our spending costs as low as possible.

We found a cheap place to stay, took a coach from our home city of Gloucester and ate as cheaply as possible with total spending money whilst there of £150 for four of us. I share the total costs of our trip in my London spending diary.

So what did we get up to?

We managed to squeeze in Buckingham Palace, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, Hyde Park and some sightseeing.

Here’s a look at our family London itinerary for three days and our photos and videos. Continue reading “Our 3 day London family itinerary + travel diary”

Sudeley Castle Spectacle of Light review + photos 2019

For the second year running we attended the Sudeley Castle Spectacle of Light show.

We went last year for the Alice in Wonderland light show. This year the theme was Peter Pan.

Sudeley Castle is in Winchcombe, Cheltenham. It’s in our home county of Gloucestershire so not far for us to travel at all.

Below is my review of Sudeley Castle Spectacle of Light and loads of photos of the magnificent 2019 light show! Continue reading “Sudeley Castle Spectacle of Light review + photos 2019”

A quick review of Chedworth Roman Villa

Having purchased our annual National Trust membership back in the summer when visiting Stonehenge, we’ve yet to explore all the locations within and surrounding our home county of Gloucestershire.

We did visit Skenfrith Castle ruins in Wales and Polperro in Cornwall thanks to inspiration from the National Trust app, but these are free to visit locations for all. To get the most out of our NT membership we also need to visit the locations that charge entry!

Two weeks ago we did just this and gained free entry at Chedworth Roman Villa; a National Trust site in the Cotswolds. Continue reading “A quick review of Chedworth Roman Villa”