Glamping along the Garden Route with Africamps

I’d road tripped along the Garden Route several years ago and fell in love with its rugged natural beauty back then, so I couldn’t resist seeing it again on our recent visit. This stretch of wilderness along the South African coastline east of Cape Town is full of wildlife, lush green national parks and pristine beaches. Here, you can get away from the noisy city, towering buildings and the plush hotels of Cape Town. We would be getting out into nature so it only seemed fitting that we should stay in a more rural style of accommodation to match our surroundings.

Africamps offer glamping in several working farms in South Africa, providing guests with a completely natural setting but with the benefits of a boutique style of camping.  As we were road tripping along the Garden Route over several days, we stayed at two of Africamps locations during our trip – Plettenberg Bay and Wilderness – both wonderfully peaceful retreats that gave us a true feel of wild Africa. The accommodations are down winding gravel tracks, far away from the road and civilisation with no chance of traffic noise – or noise of any sort for that matter except the tweeting of birds and the chirping of crickets.

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Child friendly hotel Cape Town

Family Friendly Luxury at The President Hotel Cape Town

We may have stayed here on our very last night in Cape Town but I’m writing about it first because it is such a fantastic hotel that I couldn’t keep it quiet any longer.

When planning our trip which would involve lots of moving around, sightseeing and road tripping, staying in Airbnbs, guest houses, and all different types of accommodations, I wanted to find somewhere to stay on our last night that was a bit more luxurious and also somewhere that I knew would be a child friendly hotel in Cape Town. Somewhere with plush comfy beds, good food and cocktails, a pool; somewhere we could relax and rejuvenate for the last couple of days on what would have been an extremely adventurous trip.

Located in Bantry Bay, a beautiful beachy area between Sea Point and Camps Bay within a short driving distance to some of Cape Town’s main attractions, The President Hotel provided just that.

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Cape Winelands with kids

Child Friendly Wine Estates in the Cape Winelands

Yes, you read that title right!  There are a huge amount of wine estates in Cape Town and the surrounding Winelands, and clearly they know that parents want need the occasional glass of wine as the majority of them cater so well to children and families.  So of course we had to include several in our itinerary and our road trip through the Winelands became one of the best parts of our trip.

South Africa’s Winelands are just beautiful, all with spectacular mountain backdrops and lush green vineyards that fade off into the distance.  Even if you’re not a wine drinker I would still highly recommend visiting at least a couple – for the picture perfect views as well as the variety of other attractions that can often be found on the estates aside from the wine tasting.  I didn’t used to be much of a wine drinker but then I had a baby who turned into a toddler so now I am very fond of a glass (or two)!  Travelling with an almost two year old I did wonder how well she would fare while us girls were all enjoying our wine but everywhere was so completely child friendly that actually the wine was just one of many reasons to visit.  Each wine estate we stopped at had so much more to offer providing copious amounts of fun and activities for children, from playgrounds to animal parks and even non-alcoholic tastings for the little ones and those who don’t drink

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Exploring Island Life in Boa Vista, Cape Verde

Our trip to Cape Verde was a year ago now so I thought it was about time I finally wrote about it seeing as it’s one of the places I get asked about most often.  A lot of people have either never heard of this small collection of islands dotted just off the coast of West Africa or they don’t know much about the destination.  In all honesty I didn’t know much about the islands either and was under the impression that it was just a relaxing holiday destination with large all inclusive resort hotels and not much else to do.

Me being me, I obviously looked into what there is to do on the island because there’s only so long I can sit on the beach or around the pool before getting bored and I always like to get out and explore somewhere new.  Boa Vista literally translates as “good view” in Portuguese so it only seemed fitting that we venture outside the resort in search of these good views.

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Travel with baby

A New Year of Adventures

2018 was a bit of a mix for me. On the one hand it was a really tough year learning how to be a single mama, raising an extremely demanding (but also incredibly cute) toddler mostly alone, and being the most exhausted I have ever been in my entire life.  I also learnt that mums can in fact function on only a few hours’ sleep every night and that coffee is a very loyal friend.

But despite the low moments it was also an amazing year full of travel explorations and exciting adventures. We travelled 8 times during 2018 visiting Cape Verde, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Ibiza, Sardinia, a road trip in Kent, and the Edinburgh Christmas markets.  That’s 4 new countries for me and 6 new countries for Evie – making Evie’s total number of countries visited 13 before she’s even 2 years old.

But it’s not the country count that matters, it’s what we actually did and the memories we created that made the year so special. There are so many highlights but here are a few of my main ones:

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What to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

The Magic of Christmas All Year Round in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Christmas is my very favourite time of the year and, yes, I am one of those people who gets extremely excited for the festivities before December has even arrived.  Maybe a little too excited.  Because who can really resist singing joyful Christmas tunes at the top of their voice or having a merry smile on their face in the run up to Christmas Day?  I certainly can’t so why wait until 1st December!

However, I wasn’t quite expecting to be feeling all Christmassy during Springtime.  That’s a little early even for me.  But when we visited Germany’s most picturesque fairytale town, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, back in May there really was nothing I could do to stop the festive cheer when one of the town’s main tourist attractions is the Christmas Museum.

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Hilton Munich Airport Hotel

A Peaceful Retreat at the Hilton Munich Airport

Having experienced several airport hotels in London, I already knew how easy and stress-free they make overseas travels.  Being in a different country, having to navigate public transport from the city centre for an early morning flight was even more daunting than an early wake up alarm at home, especially when you factor in a toddler plus all the baggage I had to handle alone.  So when I came across the Hilton Munich Airport Hotel I immediately knew how convenient a stay it would be, making our last night in Germany a much more relaxed one before we headed back home.

With plenty of public transport options from the city centre – or even an easy train ride from Salzburg, Austria, which is where we came from! – we had no problem finding our way through the airport terminal to the hotel in just a short walk.  In fact I wondered at first if I had got us lost as the Hilton’s lobby is so tall and expansive with glass walls in every direction and palm trees towering over a cocktail bar in the centre.

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Salzburg with kids

24 Hours in Magical Salzburg with Kids

Just a thirty minute taxi ride from Bavaria and we had arrived in Salzburg.  But I hadn’t prepared myself for quite how quickly this city would capture my heart, make me feel like we were in a land straight out of the pages of a fairytale, and have me dreaming up another visit before we’d even left.

We only had one night and a far to brief 24 hours here but even so it very quickly became one of my favourite European cities – for its beautiful architecture, the prettiest of gardens, the exceedingly delicious cake, and the huge amounts of enjoyment for the whole family.

The Visit Salzburg tourist office had kindly left a map and guide book waiting for us at our hotel, along with a Leo the Lion colouring and sightseeing book that Evie delved straight into, and a Salzburg card for me which gave us free use of public transport around the city as well as free admission to all tourist attractions and museums.  Not wanting to waste any time we headed straight out to start exploring. Continue reading

Yotel Gatwick airport

A Flying Visit to London Gatwick’s Coolest Hotel: YOTELAIR

I may have stayed at a few airport hotels in my travels but when you get to stay at one as seriously cool and quirky as YOTELAIR, it really makes the actual travelling part of a trip so much more fun.  I’ve stayed at YOTELAIR once before, the night before an early morning flight, but this time we only had a few hours layover at Gatwick airport in between travels.  Not quite long enough to get a room for the whole night, but also too long for me to sit around in Costa with an excitable and/or tired one year old.  The amount of coffees I would need to buy to keep myself sane would almost make it worthwhile getting a room!

This is where YOTELAIR wins the best airport hotel competition as rooms can be booked by the hour making it absolutely perfect for a quick nap or to freshen up in between flights.

Evie and I had five hours to kill but instead of stressing about how on earth I was going to keep her entertained for five whole hours, all I felt was relief when we hopped off our flight, made our way through customs, headed straight to the hotel that’s located right inside Gatwick’s South terminal, where we had a comfy bed to collapse into waiting for our arrival.

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Family friendly Munich

Hotel Laimer Hof: The Most Family Friendly Stay in Munich

If you read my guide to Munich last week (and you should because it’s such a lovely city to visit) then you will have seen we stayed at the most fantastic family friendly hotel in the beautiful Nymphenburg district. But it wasn’t enough to just mention the hotel briefly in that post – it was such a wonderful place to stay that it gets a whole post of its own!

Hotel Laimer Hof ticked all the boxes in what I look for in accommodation when travelling. Located in a quiet and pretty residential area of the city but still only a 10 minute tram ride out of the centre, it’s a traditional looking building with turrets making it look a bit like a small castle. Always important to be wowed by a place as well as feeling like a princess! With the atmosphere of a small intimate guest house rather than a big impersonal hotel and a heap of authentic Bavarian charm, they cater extremely well for families here making it one of the most family friendly accommodations in Munich.

Family friendly Munich

The majority of the rooms here are double rooms or family rooms which are nice and spacey with a romantic cosy feel plus all the basic amenities you could need in a hotel room. But we were lucky enough to be given THE most amazing apartment to stay in which couldn’t have been any more perfectly suited to Evie and me. The apartment was huge – so big it could easily have been someone’s home – which meant that my little explorer had plenty of room to practice her new walking skills as she had just started walking on her own the day before our trip began.

Family friendly Munich

We had a lovely modern kitchen surrounded by the most beautiful stained glass windows, with everything we could possibly have needed, a large wooden dining table, and the staff were kind enough to bring a highchair up to our room for Evie.

Family friendly Munich

This was absolutely brilliant for us as it meant I could make dinner in the apartment (or get a take away from the pizza shop around the corner when I couldn’t be bothered to cook), rather than eating out every night – a lot more budget friendly and convenient when travelling alone with a toddler.

Family friendly Munich

The bathroom had a shower as well as a separate bath which also suited us really well as most modern hotel rooms only have showers so Evie was ecstatic to be able to splash about in the big bath for the first time during our trip.

Family friendly Munich

The bedroom had a large comfy double bed with some sweet treats left on our pillows which of course Evie promptly sought out. Although I was perfectly happy to share my bed with her she didn’t seem quite as keen to share her sweets with me.

Family friendly Munich

The great thing about having a separate lounge area is that once Evie was in bed at night I could then relax and enjoy the rest of my evening. Getting comfy in one of the cosy armchairs, it was easy to switch off and watch TV or read a book (or more likely scroll through Instagram) without worrying about having the lights on, being noisy and waking her up which is what often happens when we’re in most standard hotel rooms.

Family friendly Munich

The location of Hotel Laimer Hof was one of the biggest draws for me and the area ended up being my favourite part of Munich. I loved it so much here with its adorably cute houses with colourful front doors, bicycles leaning against lampposts, and people with friendly welcoming smiles as Evie and I walked by. If I was to live in Munich this neighbourhood would definitely be the place I’d go!

 

 

A brief stroll around the corner is the beautiful Nymphenburg Palace which we visited a couple of times. My favourite time of day was early in the morning before we’d had breakfast and before the hordes of tourists descended. Usually I’d never be up and about by 7am but when your one year old wakes you up at ridiculous o clock what else are we to do but go exploring!

Family friendly Munich

With only the swans and ducks for company and the occasional cyclist or jogger out for a morning run, it was so peaceful and tranquil – apart from Evie’s excited shrieks at seeing the baby ducks waddling about which she then waddled after with her newly walking feet!

Family friendly Munich

A few minutes in the opposite direction is Hirschtgarten, a brilliantly family friendly park and beer garden with a children’s playground, deer to feed, live bands playing music, stalls selling traditional German fare and, of course, lots of beer in the biggest ever glasses.

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After our morning wanderings around the palace or the park, we headed back to the hotel for breakfast in the intimate dining room which had lots of choice for both Evie and I from cereal, fruit and yoghurt to breads, pastries, eggs and meats.

Family friendly Munich

They even had smoked salmon which isn’t often found at European breakfast buffets so I thoroughly enjoyed piling my plate high with scrambled eggs and salmon and I’m pretty sure I was the one who gobbled up all the salmon every day! This is also where Evie got her love for Babybel cheeses and now whenever she hears me opening the fridge at home she’s running straight up behind me trying to pinch a Babybel out!

Family friendly Munich

Spy her little hand reaching for the Babybel!

Family friendly Munich

No mum I didn’t touch it!

This is the sort of accommodation that I love coming across when I travel. Not only was the location perfect giving me more of a local feel to Munich but the staff were super friendly and helpful, giving me a hand with everything from bringing a highchair up to our room, giving me directions and tips to the city and helping me carry my luggage and the pram outside when we left. There was even a large antique cabinet in the lobby full of little toy bears and rubber ducks dressed in German attire that kept Evie very entertained while I sat on the couches with a drink.

Family friendly Munich

This would be a fantastic place to stay whether you have children with you or not but for me, travelling alone with Evie, which was occasionally just a little bit stressful, I really felt at ease here and we both especially felt at home. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Family friendly Munich

Thank you to Sebastian and his family who hosted our stay at Hotel Laimer Hof. We had a fabulous time with you and if we ever return to Munich (and I really hope we do!) we would love to stay with you again.

Where is the most family friendly accommodation you’ve stayed? Where have you felt most at home? Let me know in the comments below or at:

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