This year has been a very tough one all round so when Harry’s birthday was approaching we decided that going away for a weekend would be a perfect way to celebrate his 3rd Birthday.
Bournemouth is somewhere I have spent a lot of time when I worked as a Nanny as the family had a holiday home there and we stayed nearly every half term and school holiday. I’ve not taken Emmy or Harry before so it was a perfect opportunity when Travelodge offered us 2 nights accommodation for the weekend.
The journey started off well but ended badly due to road works and accidents so a 2 and a bit hour journey actually took just over 3. Thankfully the kids were so well behaved and didn’t seem to mind and thanks to their Kindles and Netflix we all arrived unscathed (all hail a portable mobile hotspot unit).
Check in was super quick and the staff we all wonderful throughout the weekend, even with Harry insisting on telling every staff member around 100 times it was his birthday and asking if they had his birthday cake (this became a theme for everywhere we went and everyone we spoke to).
After a long drive Paul was keen to rest for a while and the kids were more than happy with that, they soon picked a bed each, ran laps of the room, explored every inch as you HAVE to do in any hotel room, unpacked their belongings and tucked their bedtime teddies into bed on their own pillowcases (this is something I always do when staying away – I pack the children’s pillowcases to help make them feel more at home and comfortable at bedtimes). They then discovered you can crawl under their beds to hide and Mummy can’t reach you and play a great game of hide and seek by crawling under ours too and by hiding on the bottom shelving unit – kids are so easily amused. They then had a bath as hotel rooms are so exciting you have to try every single thing out as soon as you arrive – it’s an unwritten child’s law after all!
Our room was a lovely big family room with a king sized bed and two camp beds pushed together for the kids. With room to walk around both sides of the double and a nice size left at the end of the beds for the kids to play and even scoot around. A perfect base for our weekend adventures.
After a rest we wrapped up well and headed out, the kids asked to go to a park but we had other ideas. They took their scooters and happily followed our directions on a mile long scoot off to the pier – well it should have been a mile only we came across the cable car and just had to have a ride and a play on the beach.
After this we scooted up and down the pier before heading into Aruba for dinner, the banner advertising it as Bournemouth’s No1 family restaurant pulled us in and we are glad it did. A party atmosphere throughout without being too loud for the children, there was a great menu choice and loads of kids options too. The food was wonderful – Emmy had Mac & Cheese which was a HUGE child’s portion, Harry a Margarita pizza, Paul a meat pizza and I had Fish pie. All of the portions were very large and incredibly tasty. Emmy wanted my peas with hers and Harry took a liking to my fish pie so we all shared, it is very refreshing to actually see the children eat their meals when out – often they get distracted and barely eat.
The waiter was great with the kids and even added candles to Harry’s brownie and sang Happy birthday to him. We were also super organised for a change and had packed his birthday cards in our luggage and had some birthday cards ordered and send directly to him at the hotel for a special surprise.
On leaving the kids were shattered and managed to scoot just over half way home before we admitted defeat and jumped in a taxi. They quickly changed into their pj’s and were both asleep by 8.30pm – this is rather unheard of when sleeping away from home as the excitement overcomes them and they become hyper and they stayed in their beds until 7am the next morning…also unheard of.
On Sunday we enjoyed a lovely hotel breakfast with a choice from a cooked breakfast, cereals, fruit, yogurt and croissants – this was a self-serve style breakfast which we all enjoyed, the children love having a choice and being able to have more if they wanted and Paul and I took this opportunity to fill up which meant we didn’t need to get ourselves any lunch so saved money later on.
We then headed off for another adventure which was a surprise for the kids, they had seen the Oceanarium while out the day before and asked to see the fish, as we all have Merlin passes we had already decided that we would drive to Weymouth which is around 50 minutes from Bournemouth to visit the Weymouth Sealife Adventure Park.
The kids had a great day choosing what they wanted to see and do and leading us around – Harry of course wanted to play in the water sprinkler area so we had to lead him away quickly as in October it’s just far too cold. There are all the usual fish and animals you would except to see, many are in separate indoor areas. The favourites were the otters and penguins.
There was a section with rides for smaller children which the children loved, we actually spend a long time going from ride to ride as there were no queues.
We spent a good few hours in the Sealife Centre before heading outside and jumping on the miniature railway in Lodmoor Country Park and then spent some time in Leisure Ranch where the kids enjoyed driving cars around the track, if they weren’t so tired by this point we would have let them on the large slide (however we didn’t want to have to carry them up the steps) or tried Crazy Golf.
Again the kids were shattered by bedtime and slept well, although Emmy did sleep in bed with me as she had an earache. Breakfast was lovely again and the children were sad to be packing up to go home….only as it was Harry’s 3rd birthday that day we had other plans on the way home, a complete surprise for the children. We told them we could go to the beach before heading home which they were happy with – actually we spent an hour on the beach building sandcastles and then went for an adventure.
We used our Merlin passes once again and headed for LEGOLAND on the way home to break up the journey – Harry was so excited when he learnt where we were. We spent a few hours going on the rides he wanted to, many a few times as it was relatively quiet.
It’s safe to say we all had a wonderful weekend and Harry really did have a very happy 3rd birthday .
If you are planning a family trip to Bournemouth then do check out these posts on things to see and do from Chelsea Mamma (Kara) who lives locally: