Cool things to do with kids, South Island, New Zealand…

New Zealand is the ultimate outdoor adventure playground for kids and big kids too! The winter season is my favourite time of year in New Zealand. There’s nothing like cool mountain air and endless snow capped peaks. From skiing near Queenstown, helicopter trips over the West Coast mountains, snow tubing at Lake Tekapo and road tripping with awesome mountain views.  Looking for cool things to do with kids in the South Island in New Zealand? Then read on…

Skiing and snowboarding in Cardrona:

Skiing and snowboarding are great activities for all ages and New Zealand has some awesome slopes. Cardrona is a 45 minute drive from Queenstown and is a must visit for mountain lovers. There’s ski and snowboard lessons available for all ages. For skiing, lessons are available from ages 5 and upwards and snowboarding from 7 years old. Group and private lessons are available. Ski lessons are also available for under 5s at Cardrona’s Ski Kindy children’s daycare.

Keeping safe on the slopes is such an important thing to teach young ones. The Piste X Code is a fantastic campaign aimed at creating awareness around staying safe on the slopes. The list covers 8 ways to keep safe. Centred around awareness of others, respecting piste signs, skiing and snowboarding within your ability and planning where you stop to prevent accidents on the piste. The quiz is a useful reminder for everyone and a great way to get kids engaged in keeping safe in the mountains.

If you’re not skiing but fancy seeing the mountains, buy a sightseeing pass and jump in a gondola to the top to explore the snowy peaks. Kids under 6 can go for free.




Helicopter ride over mountains and glaciers:

You can’t miss a trip to the glaciers. This is one of the very cool things to do with kids on New Zealand’s South Island. Fox and Franz Josef Glacier are both on the west coast with the towns a short drive apart. If you have small kids and don’t want to go on a hike to the glaciers, then you can catch mesmerising views of fox glacier from the roadside. If you have older kids it’s a short hike to the base of Franz Josef glacier.

Another fantastic option if you have older kids a helicopter ride; it is an incredible experience. Flying right over the top of both glaciers and landing on a nearby mountainside is unforgettable and well worth the cost. Seeing Mount Cook from the air and all the incredible mountain views is awe inspiring. I booked a trip with Glacier Helicopters, it’s an experience I’ll never forget.


Snow tubing at Lake Tekapo:

Lake Tekapo is a brilliant spot for kids. The scenery is breath-taking and the lake is perfect for stone skimming! Tekapo Springs has something for all the family with hot pools, a children’s aqua play area, an ice rink and snow tube park. The snow tubing is so much fun and is open from July to September. The ice rink opens from April to August. Tekapo Springs has a cafe and bar with awesome views of the lake.


Milford Sound boat trip:

To see the mountains from another angle, jump in a boat from Milford Sound. The road trip itself is a majestic one. The drive takes you past towering snowy mountains and through mountain tunnels. From the water you feel tiny in comparison to the huge mountains with waterfalls cascading down.


Te Anau Glowworm Caves:

This is not strictly a winter activity but seeing glow worms is such a magical thing to do, I couldn’t not include it. The journey begins with a boat trip to the caves where a guide takes you deep underground to explore a magical grotto. The best part is the boat ride in the darkness, don’t be scared, look up and the luminous light of the glow worms will light the way. It’s an incredible sight like no other, surrounded by silence and nature it’s another unforgettable moment!


There are so many cool things to do with kids on the South Island, New Zealand. Whatever you choose to do there are plenty of adventures to be had in the mountains!

I’ve written this post as part of the Ski Safe Blogger Campaign by AliKats Mountain Holidays and Piste X Code. By posting this blog and creating awareness of the Piste X Code I am entering into a competition to win a stay in a self-catered chalet in Morzine, France. If you are a blogger and would like to do the same head here for more information: Ski Safe Blogger Campaign.

Glamping in Somerset…

Cuppa with a view. Glamping in Somerset

The best glamping spot in Somerset: A shepherd’s hut with a hot tub

For our first child free adventure I booked a little surprise staycation for Matt’s birthday. I love a spot of glamping, so this was at the top of my list when researching our UK staycation. It had to be quirky and it needed to have a hot tub. Glamping in Somerset did not disappoint! Lady’s Well Shepherd’s Hut ticked all the boxes. Nestled amongst farmland in the tiny village of Hutton, just 2 miles from the Somerset coast, it had everything we wanted. The only neighbours were cows and sheep and the uninterrupted views of the meadow and woodland behind were gorgeous. We had such a peaceful stay. If glamping with all the mod-cons is something you fancy giving a go than this shepherd’s hut is for you!


The Shepherd’s Hut:

I’ve got to say this lovely little dwelling did not disappoint. If you are a regular reader, you’ll know I love glamping and have stayed in a few shepherd’s huts, but this one was my favourite. Let’s start with the interior, a cosy double bed, a small but fully equipped kitchen, a bathroom with a great shower, a log burner and underfloor heating. I loved the underfloor heating; it took the chill off first thing in the morning. The bathroom was a real bonus. I’ve stayed in shepherd’s huts which have a separate bathroom and an eco-toilet, which is fine, but it’s not always that fun to have to get up out of bed in the middle of the night and go outside to use the toilet. So, it was quite a luxury to have a proper flushing toilet. Glamping at its finest! Outside the shepherd’s hut you’ll find a private pond complete with ducks and koi carp, sun loungers, a table and chairs, BBQ, fire pit and to top it all off a hot tub. When I was searching for somewhere a little bit different to stay this little beauty ticked all the boxes.


Things I loved about Lady’s Well Shepherd’s Hut:

I’ve already mentioned many things I loved about this cosy shepherd’s hut, there were so many lovely little touches. The trolley to pull our luggage from the car across the fields was a life saver as I’d definitely over packed for our two-night break! The blackboard inside full of the best local beauty spots, pubs, fish and chips, coffee stops and walks was a nice touch and an easy go to for finding the best stops in the local area.

The resident rhea and our furry neighbours, horses, sheep and cows, the gorgeous setting, acres of green fields, old woodland and silence.  Just the rustle of the trees and a peacock singing every now and then made this break a peaceful one. I know I’ve mentioned it already, but the underfloor heating was a lovely little luxury along with the log burner and obviously the hot tub.

An early evening stroll across the fields and up to the loveliest viewpoint is also something we loved. Having lovely walks right near the shepherd’s hut was a bonus. Glamping in Somerset was everything I wanted it to be and more!


Things to do on your glamping trip in North Somerset:

The shepherd’s hut is well placed to discover some of Somerset’s best beauty spots. The beaches are beautiful. Nearby, Weston- super-Mare is a traditional British seaside town complete with a pier and aquarium. Further along the coast there are plenty of natural beauty spots to explore. Brean is one of them. Miles of golden sand and if you like a good walk Brean Down is a must. Owned by the National Trust this natural pier juts 1.5 miles out over the coastline into the Bristol Channel. Climb the steep steps to the top and take in the panoramic views. It’s a gorgeous walk and right down at the point is Brean Fort. I loved wondering around the old buildings and reading short snippets of history about the fort. We then followed the lower path back round to where we started. I’d recommend a couple of hours to do the walk, there is parking and a cafe at the bottom of the pier.

Cheddar Gorge is about a 30-minute drive from Hutton and is another fantastic place for walks. The gorge itself is 3 miles long and 400 feet deep. Just driving through it is fantastic for taking in the scenery. There’s a great hike up the gorge, it’s worth noting it can be quite muddy during the winter. It’s also very rocky in places so good footwear is a must. Bridgewater Way, Glastonbury Tor, Cheddar and the Somerset Levels can all be seen from the top. Cheddar itself is a gorgeously quaint little place full of tea rooms, chocolate pot houses and souvenir shops. The caves at Cheddar Gorge are a must visit, explore the underground caverns at leisurely pace or go adventure caving for a more exhilarating experience!


A staycation with a difference:

Glamping allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life but is still full of little luxuries. If you are planning a staycation in the UK, then glamping at Lady Well’s Shepherd’s Hut is it. Somerset is a beautiful part of the UK for a spot of glamping, with so much to explore.

If you are new to glamping I have a checklist of things to pack: What to pack for a glamping trip in the UK.

I’d love to hear your recommendations on glamping spots in the UK. Let me know your favourites in the comments below.

On top of the world at Brean Down, Somerset.


Campsites in the New Forest that allow campfires…

Campfire, Hurst View Campsite, Lymington

Camping in the New Forest:

Now that lockdown in the UK is starting to lift it’s nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel and to start planning summer adventures. If, like me you are looking forward to a break away but don’t want to go too far from home then a camping trip could be just the thing. Campsites in the New Forest that allow campfires are always at the top of my list for a mini adventure away. Having a fire pit in the evening and stargazing really adds something to life under canvas.

I am lucky to live in the beautiful New Forest and love a bit of camping. Last year we upgraded our tent and made the most of the local area. For more on my summer lockdown adventures head here: My 2020 highlights: I had a baby and bought a big tent! Camping in the New Forest is a wonderful experience, ponies and cattle roam free and there are an abundance of picturesque spots for outdoor adventures. From pitching a tent amongst ancient woodland to enjoying a campfire near the ocean, there are some fantastic campsites to choose from.

One of the things I look for when planning a camping trip is a campsite that allows campfires. For me a campfire is an absolute necessity. There’s nothing quite like huddling around a fire pit as the sun goes down and the stars come out, toasting marshmallows and planning adventures for the next day. Most campsites will let you take your own fire pit and many have them to hire for a small fee. Not all campsites allow campfires in the New Forest so it’s good to know the ones that do. I’ve hand-picked some that I’ve already stayed at and some that I’m planning to book in the future…

Campsites in the New Forest that allow campfires:

Harry’s Field

Located in Frogham near Fordingbridge in the New Forest, there’s a pub next door and donkeys mingle outside the campsite. Harry’s Field is flat with spacious pitches, the toilet and shower blocks are clean and tidy and the washing up area has freezers and a small seating area nearby. Created by campers for campers it’s a lovely spot on the edge of the forest. Take your own fire pit or hire one, you can also purchase wood. I love this campsite; it is small and friendly with lovely owners. Pitches are very well spaced to allow for social distancing. Open form the beginning of July to the beginning of September this site is a popular one so be sure to book well in advance of your stay. The site allows campervans, motor homes and tents, there are also bell tents to hire.


Lepe Beach Campsite

This campsite is in a gorgeous location right by the beach at Lepe, it has views of the Solent and Isle of Wight. Stargaze whilst listening to the crackle of the campfire and the waves rolling in on the shore. Hire fire pits or take your own. It’s worth noting that there is a charge for taking your own fire pit. If you don’t like the idea of putting a tent up, then book a pre-pitched tent that comes with plenty of amenities. I think it’s such a great idea if you want to try out camping without all the effort of putting up a tent and taking it down again! Be prepared to pack wellies if it’s raining as the site was fairly muddy near the toilet and shower block when we stayed. It is a tent only site and you can choose your own pitch.


Hurst View

Hurst View Campsite has four large fields to pitch up in, choose your own spot and listen to the waves of the Solent in the distance. There is a play park onsite and a small cafe. Nestled behind the sea wall in between Lymington and Keyhaven there are some great walks nearby. Tents and camper vans are allowed and electric hook up is available. Campfires are of course allowed; marshmallows and logs can be purchased from reception.


New Forest Water Park

New Forest Water Park is a really cool camping spot if you enjoy watersports. Nestled in woodland by a lake in Fordingbridge, wakeboarding, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding are all available. Shared campfires in a woodland spot allow for a very chilled out stay. Tents and campervans are allowed and firewood can be bought on site. The facilities are rustic, but well worth it if you enjoy getting on the water.


Embers at Pylewell Park

Embers can be found on the beautiful coastline of the Pylewell Estate, just outside of Lymington. There are sea views from the campsite and pebbly beaches within walking distance. This is a tent only campsite, fire baskets are provided for each pitch and logs can be purchased onsite. Pre-order a homemade wood fired pizza before arrival, if you are camping on a Friday or Saturday night burgers are available for pre-order too. Embers is a tent only site, there are also bell tents to hire.


Harry’s Meadow

A meadow surround by ancient oak trees in the heart of the forest, wild camping at its finest. There are no allocated pitches, just 50 acres of grass to choose from. This perfectly flat meadow has picturesque sunsets and a pop-up cocktail truck! With two new shower blocks and eco toilets there’s everything you could need for camping in the forest. Harry’s Meadow is at the top of my list for camping this summer!

What to pack for a camping trip:

  • Warm clothes: even in the middle of the summer it can get chilly around the campfire in the evenings.
  • A hammock: If you are looking to relax amongst the trees whilst on your camping trip then a hammock is the perfect piece of equipment. Read my review on a travel hammock. I tested it out in the New Forest and loved reading a book while listening to the gentle rustle of the leaves.
  • A portable phone charger. Most campsites have somewhere to charge phones, but it’s good to have your own.
  • Fairy lights/torch: Fairy lights aren’t necessary but a nice extra to make your tent look pretty. A torch is useful for finding your way to the toilet block a night.
  • Wellies…the typical British weather can be very changeable even in the height of the summer. So, I’d really recommend packing wellies, a camping field can very quickly turn muddy if the rain pours down!
  • Resealable bags: I always recommend food bags. They are an easy way to store perishable food and handy for keeping the all-important tea bags dry!
  • Anti-bac hand gel and wipes: Handy for the current times and useful for a quick clean-up of utensils etc.
  • A foldable washing up bowl: Important for washing up and a folding one is handy to save on space.

More on campsites in the New Forest: 

There are some lovely campsites in the New Forest, some with basic facilites others with bell tents to hire to make it more of a glamping experience. Camping in the Forest is a good place to start looking for your ideal pitch. They have 10 campsites spread out across the forest with varying facilities. All are perfect for getting back to nature and exploring this gorgeous area. Going slightly against my post these campsites don’t allow the use of campfires but, some are in the heart of the New Forest so are well worth heading to for a weekend escape. Pitchup is great site for researching and booking campsites, they have an option for searching for sites that allow campfires, which is very useful.

What are your favourite campsites in the New Forest? I’m always on the lookout for recommendations for campsites in the New Forest that allow campfires, let me know in the comments below.


5 unique views of Bangkok…

Exploring the Chao Phraya River by longtail boat in Bangkok

Where to find unique views of Bangkok

We might not be able to travel right now but we can certainly look back on fond memories of travelling and also plan for future travels. Finding unique views of Bangkok are amongst my top adventures that I hold close to my heart. I don’t know about you but one of my favourite parts of travelling is the planning part. I love nothing more than ordering a guidebook, reading travel blogs and buying a new notebook to jot down all my travel plans for my upcoming destination. I miss that pre-adventure excitement and cannot wait to be back putting pen to paper for my next trip abroad. If you are dreaming of foreign lands read on for some future travel inspiration and some ideas of how to discover Bangkok from unique viewpoints.

Bangkok is one of my favourite cities in the Far East. I’ve visited this crazy place a handful of times and have to admit when I first arrived, I didn’t like it. My husband and I were on our honeymoon and had just come from five relaxing days on Koh Lipe. We’d stayed in a beach hut with dreamy views of the Andaman Sea. So, to arrive in a hectic city was a bit of a shock to the system. But after 24 hours we slowly got used to the hustle and bustle of our new surroundings and grew to love it.

One of my favourite things about Bangkok is that there are plenty of places to hide away from the hustle and bustle if that’s what you want. There are also some spots to see the city from a completely different perspective. Having been to Bangkok a few times I have found some unique viewpoints I’d love to share and give you a whole new perspective on this Thai city.


View Bangkok from the top of Wat Arun

This beautiful temple is known as the Temple of Dawn. Find it on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. Climb the main tower, known as a prang for awesome views. Be warned, the steps are very steep, there are rails to help you climb up, but it got me puffed out. It is definitely more of a climb than a walk up and equally as hard going back down! While you get your breath back take in the unique views of Bangkok from the top. Overlooking the city from high up gives a whole new perspective and totally worth the climb. Boats chugging by and the Grand Palace opposite all add to the magic of seeing the city from one of its famous landmarks. Take some time to admire the intricate detail and colourful porcelain on the towers as well as the sculptures, it really is a beautiful spot.

Like all temples in South East Asia dress modestly by covering shoulders and ankles. You can rent clothing from the entrance if needed. There is a small entrance fee and a ferry that shuttles between the two sides of the river.



A bar on Soi Rambuttri 

Although a bar is not necessarily unique, sitting at a bar by the side of the street in southeast Asia is a completely different experience to one you might experience to sitting outside a pub in the UK. Some of my best memories of Bangkok come from sipping an ice-cold Chang beer in the heat of the afternoon whilst watching the world go by. I recommend finding a bar on Soi Rambuttri. Located in the older part of Bangkok it has a slower pace than the well-known Khao San Road. This makes it perfect to escape the crowds. Lower yourself onto a simple Thai cushion on the floor, sit back and immerse yourself in the moment. Beer in hand, phone in pocket, lounge music humming in the distance and the world strolling by. Become still in the moment and maybe a little hazy in the head from your beer!



See Bangkok from a tuk tuk

The classic transport in South East Asia is the tuk tuk and I love nothing more than zipping around the streets in one. Ok, so you might not be zipping around due to all the traffic but it’s a fantastic way to become totally immersed in the city. Take in the ever changing sights, sounds and smells from the back of one of these tiny three wheeled vehicles. I love that the drivers often pimp them up or have massively over the top sound systems! It all adds to the feel of it. What’s more as tuk tuks are so small you’ll often get to take shortcuts, miss traffic jams and buzz down tiny streets. This means you’ll get to experience a whole other side to the city and see some unique views of Bangkok.



Unique views of Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River

One of my favourite trips in Bangkok has to be exploring the backwaters of the Chao Phraya River. Hire a longtail boat all to yourself and escape the crowds. The backwaters and canals feel like another world. Cruising majestically along the narrow waterways, I have a really vivid memory of two ladies dressed in their Sunday best paddling past in a small boat. This is an experience like no other. Houses on stilts, small floating markets, and quiet temples are all hidden away here. It’s hard to believe you are in the centre of a busy city. If you are looking for unique views of Bangkok then this tops it all! For more on this unusual trip head to my post: Exploring the backwaters of Bangkok.

I booked the longtail boat through a lady on one of the small piers along the river, she was offering a few different trips. It was nice to book through a little local company rather than online.



Looking for unique views of Bangkok on foot

Although not unique, walking is one of the best ways to take in Bangkok’s unique views. To help navigate, Nancy Chandler’s Map of Bangkok is a lovely hand illustrated map that gives a great insight into the best areas to visit. Print versions are no longer being published but you might find a second hand one on Amazon, failing that PDF versions are available direct from Nancy Chandler’s website. For me being on foot meant I could take in all the smells and sights of the many food stalls dotted along the streets. Being able to buy hand pressed pommegranite juice or coconut water from street sellers was a refreshing way to cool down in the humidity. I also enjoyed seeing all the weird and wonderdul food stalls on Koh San Road. Perhaps a little touristy but unique all the same were the stalls selling insects to eat. In true ‘I’m a Celebrity style’ you can’t visit Khao San without trying a fried cricket or scorpion! Strolling around the city in the evening is a great way to decide where to eat, something you’d miss if you got a taxi. I’ve had some of the best seafood from food sellers on the street, huge prawns and the best Pad Thai. Although we can’t travel to Thailand at the moment if you are looking for some tasty Thai food, Rosa’s Thai Café have delicious meal kits to order to your door for an authentic taste of Thailand.



Escaping the crowds can sometimes be hard in Bangkok so I hope you find this guide useful for finding unique views and to gain a new perspective on this buzzing city. When the world returns to some sort of normal and we can travel again, Bangkok is one of the first places I’d love to visit. To be immersed back in the culture of another country is something I can’t wait to experience one day soon. For more on exploring Thailand head to Fan Club Thailand and start planning for your future trips.


Update: From July 2021, Thailand is re-opening to travellers who have been fully vaccinated. Starting with Phuket, travellers will be able to stay quarantine free. From October five more Thai destinations will re-open. For more detailed information on upcoming travel to Thailand head here: Thailand Travel Advice.


This post was produced in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) as part of the #ThrowbackThailand and #AmazingThailand campaign. 


My 2020 highlights: I had a baby & bought a big tent!

Paddleboarding at Mudeford

My 2020 roundup

At the end of each year, I always write up a round up of my year and where in the world I’ve been. It’s safe to say that year has been a very different one for all of us! I had a baby at the beginning of a world pandemic and took voluntary redundancy from a job I love. With the world shut down, this year has been more about staycationing when we’ve been able to instead of gallivanting around the world, concentrating on family and putting some finishing touched to our house. It’s certainly had its highs and lows and like everyone else I’m looking forward to starting afresh in 2021 and desperate to get back on a plane sometime soon! So, here’s a short round up of what this crazy year looked like for me…

January and February

With baby number two due in early April we booked a break to Fuerteventura for some winter sun and our last holiday as a three. Our week in the sun was just what we wanted, apart from having a few rainy days we got to spend some time on the beach which was so nice considering it was so cold back at home. On the rainy days we hired a car and explored the island. Adventuring away from Corralejo up into the mountains and past towering dormant volcanoes. Running around the sand dunes of Corralejo Natural Park was a favourite activity of my daughter Emily, who loved rolling down the huge dunes.



My lovely friend Sam organised a baby shower for me, we had lunch at the Southampton Harbour Hotel. Little did I know it would be the last time in a long while I would get to spend time with my friends. After that weekend the first lockdown was implemented on 23rd March and the magnitude of COVID-19 became a very real thing. Everyone was told to stay at home and only essential shops were to remain open. There was a limit on leaving your home, only once a day for exercise and a maximum distance set. Emily’s nursery closed along with all educational establishments in the UK so like the rest of the nation with kids we had to find daily activities to keep Emily entertained. I put together a post all about things to do with kids during lockdown. Being the summer was a bonus as we could spend time out in the garden. We also tried to get out daily for a walk.  Some days were good, and some days were really tough. Having a four year old to keep busy everyday was pretty exhausting. Although it was tough at times, we also had a lot of fun and I enjoyed coming up with ideas to entertain Emily. I’m not gonna lie by about week 3 the novelty of it all was wearing thin.



On 14th April I woke up with a few cramps and being a week overdue had an appointment at lunchtime with the midwife for a sweep. Needless to say, that wasn’t necessary! At the appointment the midwife checked me over and let me know I was 4cm dilated. She suggested I could go home if I felt ok to but on leaving and getting back in the car my contractions had gone from manageable to something much more. Matt and I made the decision to head straight to the hospital in Southampton as it was a 40-minute drive from where we were in Lymington. I’m glad we made this decision as it got so bad, we thought we might not make it in time! Within 20 minutes of getting to the Princess Anne hospital Jack Evan Dunkinson arrived into the world at 3.05pm, weighing 7Ib 5oz.  We went home that night, it felt very surreal as with Emily there were a few complications, so I stayed in hospital for 4 days. It was so sad to not be able to have family meet and hold Jack when he was so tiny, but a blessing that we had so much time together to adjust as a family of four.


As restrictions lifted slightly, we were able to go to the beach, something that had been so normal for us now seemed like a novelty. Matt’s work dried up due to the virus, which all got a bit stressful, but after help from the government we could relax a little. Taking a positive from it was so good to be able to spend so much time together especially with a newborn. We explored more of our local area; a sunny afternoon spent by the lakes at Longham was one of my favourites. Driving past Bournemouth airport that day, it was strange to see all the grounded British Airways aircraft. Seeing the Airbuses, 777s and 747s all lined up along the runway made me feel really emotional. Little did I know what was to come with my job as cabin crew at this point too.



The highlight in June was getting back on my paddleboard, the last time was in Bermuda in November. I wrote a post all about it: A babymoon in Bermuda. We went to Mudeford in Dorset as we knew it would be fairly easy to find a spot away from others and there’s a great bit of water just behind the quay. We needed somewhere easily accessible, as we were still getting used to having a new baby plus a four year old to get out of the house. The grassy bit by the main carpark was the perfect spot to put up our beach tent and from there I could carry my board straight down to the water’s edge. The tide was low so Emily and I could walk for miles in the shallow water. It was so nice to be back out on the ocean and Emily loved it too.



I visited Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset on a press trip in July. I was allowed to take a plus one, so chose my Dad. It was so nice to be able to spend some time with him.

As the world was closed for travel, we bought a tent! Our first camping trip was an interesting one with Jack being only 3 months old. But we muddled through and had the best time in the end. Staying local I found Harry’s Field in Fordingbridge. It was in a lovely little spot in the middle of the forest with donkeys outside the camping field and a pub next door. It had all the rural, rustic feels and wasn’t too big.



The next camping trip was to Lepe Beach, camping in a field overlooking the Solent and Isle of Wight was lovely. We got to paddle in the sea and stargaze by the campfire.

Later on in August we went a little further afield to camp in one of our favourite counties, Dorset. We also upgraded to a larger tent, a bargain that we found on Facebook Marketplace. Benville Manor campsite was unlike any other campsite we’d stayed at before. It was wild camping at its finest and surrounded by woodland. Emily made friends with some other children and was off exploring for hours. Compost toilets and outdoor showers added to the rustic feel of this site and locally grown veg and produce could be purchased from the camp hosts. We loved it here.

I officially ended my career with British Airways on 31st August while we were camping. It was nice to be away to take my mind off of it. I chose to take voluntary redundancy after nearly 15 years working as cabin crew in a job I loved. Leaving was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I still have days where I feel down about it and I miss it dearly. I was on maternity leave when it all happened so it’s strange to think I’ll never go back and sad that I didn’t like so many others get to say goodbye to all of my lovely friends and colleagues.



Squeezing in one more camping trip at the end of the summer was a nice way to spend time together before Emily started school. We kept it very local and drove 10 minutes down the road to Lymington. We camped with friends and being outdoors the whole time made it very easy to social distance. Everywhere was fully booked apart from Hurst View Campsite, it was perfect. A short stroll from the seawall and plenty of open space for Emily to run around.



October was a really fun month. I went down to Newquay on a surf trip but unfortunately due to storm Alex I didn’t get to surf! It was still a great weekend though with lots of yoga, a surf theory session, a workout session on the beach and a bit of bodyboarding.

We had a trip to Center Parcs in Longleat booked from June but moved it due to lockdown. It was so nice to get away, we spent the week exploring the forest, swimming, walking around the lake, relaxing. Emily got to do loads of fun activities including driving a mini Land Rover, having her hair braided and make a teddy bear.

I attended Waypoint, my first online conference. I watched live talks and chatted to representatives from travel brands. It was nice to immerse myself back in the travel world, even if it was through my laptop.



I’d been wanting to update my website for a while and in November Joe from JHIT re-designed it. I’m so pleased with how it looks; he’s done a fantastic job. If you need a website built or a re-design, he’s your man.

I collaborated with skateboard brand Elos. I’d never been on a skateboard before so when Elos contacted me I thought it would be a great opportunity to give it a go. I was a little apprehensive that I’d come straight off, but I actually ended up surprising myself and found it really fun!



Christmas has been a wonderful distraction this year from all the craziness going on in the world. Our plans changed quite a bit just like everyone else due to government imposed restrictions which were certainly necessary, but I know hard on a lot of people. We had a lovely day; it was particularly special this year as it was Jack’s first Christmas.

A trip to the Isle of Wight for a few nights was on the cards over the new year but due to government guidelines changing and Hampshire entering a higher tier we have been unable to go. Finger crossed we get to go in February, we’ll see!


Goodbye 2020

This year has been less about travel, much less about travel than usual. Although I’ve lost my job and it’s been pretty hard at times, the year has taught me to be thankful for everything that I have, family, friends, health, a home and to never take the little everyday things for granted.

I hope you are all surviving and as the year comes to a close, fingers crossed we can all start to pick up where we left off in 2021. Here’s hoping for lots of new adventures and to be able to get back up in the skies and explore new places once again. I know when I get back on a plane, I’ll see it in a whole new light and appreciate every single moment.

A day out in Dorset: Sculpture by the Lakes…

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A Day out in Dorset: Sculpture by the Lakes

Hidden in the Dorset countryside this is an outdoor art venue with a difference. Sculptures and art installations are dotted amongst the lakes and woodland with nothing but birdsong and the relaxing sounds of the River Frome for company. Set in 26 acres Sculpture by the Lakes is such a peaceful place to escape to for a couple of hours. 

With current lockdown rules now lifting everything is well thought out for easy social distancing. It's the perfect escape from the great indoors! Tickets must be purchased online before arriving and there are anti-bacterial gels by the ticket office. The cafe offers a takeaway service and currently card only to maintain guidelines.

What to expect:

Owned by contemporary sculptor Simon Gudgeon, many of his beautiful pieces can be discovered along with other artists' work. On arrival give your surname to the staff at the ticket office and collect a guide map. This lists the sculptures and outlines a route around the four lakes. Feel free to wander and follow your own path, it's a lovely place to get lost! Allow plenty of time to take it all in, I loved stumbling across the secluded seating areas placed in picturesque spots throughout the walk. Choose to take a pew either facing the river or by one of the lakes. Pack your own picnic and find a secret spot, it was so nice to sit and take it all in.

As well as the lakes there is a kitchen garden with resident chickens and landscaped gardens all found via a tree tunnel walkway.

An image of the sculpture Oberon under trees

Planning for your day out:

Sculpture by the Lakes is currently open Wednesday to Sunday 10am - 5pm, book tickets online before you go. No children under 14 or dogs are allowed due to the deep water of the lakes.

This is a lovely walk with a difference and there is plenty of space to socially distance from others. The sculptures are beautiful and thought provoking. Discovering them in tranquil, natural surroundings rather than in a gallery gives a completely different interpretation of the artwork. Plan to spend at least an hour and a half there. We walked 2.5 miles on our visit and spent around 4 hours admiring the sculptures and lakes. 

Before leaving stop at The Gallery Cafe for a well-earned drink. The cafe is currently operating a takeaway service to allow for social distancing and contactless only payment. There is an outdoor seating area overlooking the lakes, a perfect spot to relax before going home. The cafe is fully licensed, I enjoyed a local cider while taking in the beautiful surroundings. Produce from the garden kitchen are used in the menu and the bread and cakes are all handmade.

Cider, Sculpture by the Lakes, Dorset
by the Lakes, Dorset. Nicola Dunkinson

Where to stay:

If you want to make more of a trip of it now that lockdown guidelines have lifted, book a stay at one the shepherd's huts at Warmwell House. Not too far from Sculpture by the Lakes they can be found in a lovely, tranquil setting. Read all about my stay here: Glamping in Dorset. This might be useful when planning your stay: What to pack for a glamping trip in the UK

Thank you to Bournemouth Bloggers and Darren Northeast PR for inviting me, I had a great day out!

An image of the River Frome

Things to do with kids during lockdown…

Emily writing her name during lockdown 2020

Things to do with kids during lockdown

It’s strange and scary times we are living in right now, if you’ve got young kids, you’ll know how hard it is to keep them entertained all day while we’re all in lockdown during the Coronavirus outbreak. 

I am loving being able to spend so much time with Emily especially before baby number 2 arrives, but I’m not gonna lie some days are hard work. Some days I feel guilty for letting her watch too much tv because I’m feeling knackered or mentally, I’m just not having a good day. These are exceptional circumstances that none of us have been through before so it’s ok not to be ok all the time. It’s also ok if your little ones have watched Frozen twice in one day followed by a ton of crap on YouTube…that’s what I’m telling myself anyway!  At the end of the day they are safe, well and happy and that’s all that matters right now!

There are without a doubt good and bad days and of course every day in isolation isn’t going to be fun but I’ve found that having a bit of structure helps.

Finding things to do with kids during lockdown can be exhausting, you might be running out of ideas for daily activities so hopefully there’s a few things I’ve listed here that you’ve not tried yet..


Things to watch:

Although we all try our best not to let kids watch TV or their tablets for too long, it’s inevitable that there’s always going to be some screen time; especially during lockdown! For your own sanity and five minutes downtime with a cuppa it is necessary! There are lots of people out there doing some fun and creative things online, here are our favourites:

  • If you’ve not heard about him already, every day at 9am Joe Wicks, The Body Coach is doing live workout sessions aimed at families. We’ve done P.E with Joe a few times now and I’ve got to say my muscles have been aching for a few days afterwards. Emily loves joining in too although we never quite finish the full 30-minute session.
  • If your little ones attend Baby Ballet classes our local franchise have moved their classes online, so you can do ballet every day of the week if you like and join in with all the different classes. It’s so nice for Emily to still be able to see her teacher Miss Claire and maintain a little bit of normal in all this madness!
  • For five minutes of entertainment head to Google, search for an animal and click on ‘view in 3D’. It brings your camera up and thirty seconds later you have an animal in your room!
  • Over on their YouTube channel Jiggy Wrigglers have moved their fun classes online so your kids can dance and get active at home.



Fun things to do outside during lockdown:

If lockdown rules allow it there are so many fun things to do outside as a family, most of the time these are really simple too and don’t need many resources.

Scavenger hunt

This one is really simple and can be done in the garden or out on your daily walk from home. I found a gift bag and then came up with a list of things to find, a feather, a stick, a petal and a leaf. It kept Emily entertained for at least 15 minutes or so anyway!

Garden potions

My clever friend Sam, who is a teacher, came up with this lovely idea for the garden. All you need is some bottles or something to put your potion in, food colouring and things from the garden to chop up and add to your mix, grass, petals sticks etc. If you don’t have food colouring to add, then plain old water works fine and is just as fun.

Volcano experiment

This has to be purchased but is a lot of fun: Violent Volcano. Since writing this Galt aren’t currently taking on any online orders but I’m sure you can find something similar on Amazon.

It is recommended for ages 8 and above. Emily is three so I added most of the ingredients to the volcano while she watched and wore the safety goggles that were included, which she loved! Following the instructions once everything has been added in stand back and watch as it explodes into the air!



Online resources:

There are some great free downloadable resources out there, these are some of Emily’s favourite lockdown activities:

  • Orchard Toys have some nice activity sheets aimed at younger children.
  • If like me you are missing the sea The Wave Project have some great ocean themed activity books to download with a new one every week.
  • Twinkl is a huge educational resource, create an account for free during school closures and download worksheets. Everyone is catered for from pre-school to secondary.
  • The Sussex Wildlife Trust have a some lovely indoor activity sheets which I’ve just discovered.


Five Minute Mum book: Everybody going through lockdown with kids needs this book in their lives! It has an amazing collection of activities to do indoors and out. Our favourites are the restaurant game and the toy tombola game. Follow her Instagram handle too for more genius activities to do at home. There are tons of fun things to do with kids during lockdown in this book, I don’t know where I’d be without it!



Indoor fun:

There are so many fun things to do as a family inside while on lockdown. It can be hard to keep the momentum going, especially if it’s a rainy day and you can’t get outside. Hopefully this list will give you some inspiration to get through those potentially dull days!

Make a rainbow

Make a rainbow for your window: Orchard Toys who I mentioned above have a downloadable rainbow colouring sheet. You can of course just go free hand with your own design. We jazzed ours up by adding cotton wool clouds and stuck it in our lounge window.

Use household recycling to make something crafty

Save up toilet rolls, cardboard and egg boxes to make something fun, for example a crocodile. Paper plates are also an easy thing to get creative with, even if you just stick a load of glitter, beads and sequins on. We’ve also got a new addition to our cardboard family in the form of a rocket! It has captured Emily’s imagination about space and she now wants to be an astronaut…

Mask making

Emily’s favourite superhero character is Owlette from PJ Masks, so we designed and made her own mask. She loved running around the house in her superhero costume with it on!

Zip line

This is very entertaining and a bit educational too. All you need is some string, hangers with clips on and soft toys. Find a spot to fasten the string and turn it into a zip line. Attach the toys to the hangers and send them down the zip wire. I asked Emily which of the cuddly toys travelled faster and explained it was because that some of them were lighter than others.

Ice painting

Add food colouring to water in ice cube trays, pop some lolly sticks in and put in the freezer. When frozen you’ve got a new fun way to paint. 

Scavenger hunt

This is the indoor version and an opportunity to get creative with hunting for things around the house. It might even give you five minutes to grab a cuppa. I focused on things all over the house to give Emily a bit of variety and get her up and active. This one didn’t last for as long as I had hoped, Emily did it twice and then I was left with a huge pile of crap to tidy away! She had fun though!


Hope you found this list useful and I’ll update it with more activities as we do them. I would love some more suggestions if you have any? Let me know in the comments below….





Cruising the Baltic Sea…

A flat lay image of my travel must haves: Baltic Sea Ports Marco Polo Travel Guide, sunglasses and camera

Cruising the Baltic Sea:

Marco Polo travel guides have recently published a range of cruise guides offering insights into ports around the world which are very useful for deciding on what to do at each destination. The guides come with handy pull out maps, perfect for planning your adventures at sea. The range includes ports in the Baltic Sea, Canary Islands, Caribbean and Mediterranean. The lovely people at Marco Polo sent me a guide to help with my future cruise planning. I chose Baltic Sea cruise ports, as I’d love to explore this incredible area of Europe.

Ad: This post has been produced in collaboration with Marco Polo Travel Guides.

Here’s my dream itinerary:

  • Firstly I’d choose Southampton to depart and arrive back into as it’s near to where I live so would eliminate having to get flights anywhere. This would make cruising the Baltic Sea very relaxing from the word go!
  • Helsinki – Finland: The scenery is something that draws me to this part of the world and I’ve heard it’s a scenic journey into the port, past small islands and craggy coastline. I’d make sure I’d be up on deck to take it all in. I would jump on a vintage tram ride to see the city’s top sites and visit the Old Market Hall to buy some Finnish cakes.
  • Stockholm – Sweden: I love an old town and Stockholm’s Gamla Stan sounds like it ticks all the boxes for me; cobbled streets, quirky buildings and cool coffee shops to sit and watch the world go by in.
  • Gdansk – Poland: I’d love to stop in Gdansk to try out traditional Polish food and to take some photos of the picture perfect streets. I’d also like to climb to the top of St. Catherine’s Church Tower to take in the city views.
  • St. Petersburg – Russia: I have never been to Russia so a stop in St. Petersburg would be firmly on my itinerary. I’d love to see the historical buildings and beautiful architecture. The colourful domes of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ are something I’d like to see in person.
  • Tallinn – Estonia: The capital of Estonia, this lovely looking city has plenty of charm with Gothic landmarks and an old town full of cafes and cobbled streets. If I had time on my day there I’d head slightly out of the city to the Teletorn TV Tower. There is an outdoor viewing platform right at the top and on clear days you can see across to Finland.

Why you need to go on a cruise:

These days cruising isn’t just for the older generation it has become popular with younger people in a big way. Cruise companies have modernised their ships, upped their marketing and onboard itineraries to appeal to not only younger couples and singles but families too.

A cruise is certainly something on my travel wish list; Matt and I got a taste for the cruising lifestyle after we went on a mini-cruise to France last year. I can definitely see us enjoying a longer cruise at some point in the future.


In case you need some persuasion here are my reasons as to why you need to go on a cruise…

  • It’s such a fantastic way to see the world; you get to wake up in a new destination everyday.
  • Enjoy complete relaxation on sea days. While there’s nothing but blue horizons all around it’s the perfect opportunity to kick back and relax with a book, enjoy the entertainment onboard, go to a fitness class or enjoy all the food if you are on an all inclusive package.
  • A lot of cruise companies have removed formal dining in favour of a more relaxed experience, so while formal dining may still exist there are now other options such as buffets and fast food restaurants onboard. This means you won’t have to pack your bow tie and tux if you don’t want to.
  • This also applies to dress codes; whilst there are still opportunities to don your bow tie many cruise ships have a less formal dress code making cruises much more relaxed.
  • There is so much going on onboard that you’ll never want to get off! From cinemas to shows, casinos to coffee shops, spas, climbing walls and waterslides, not to mention kids clubs if you have children with you. It’s like a floating city!


I spent a day on MSC Preziosa as part of a press event, head over to my post: My Day on a Cruise Ship with MSC Cruises to read all about it. For more on planning a cruise, Cruise Critic is a great website to discover cruise itineraries, they have a section just for Baltic Sea Cruises. Cruise blogger, Emma writes all about life at sea over at Cruising Isn’t Just For Old People; check it out for all you need to know on cruising.


Planning a road trip on the East Coast of Australia…

Travelling the east coast of Australia in a campervan is the perfect way to get to know this vast and varied part of the country and an experience that I can’t recommend enough. The freedom to go where you want to go, when you want to go, to stop somewhere on a whim, change your plans and sleep where you want is a wonderful feeling! This is my guide to planning a road trip on the east coast of Australia…

Campervan hire:

Our three-week adventure started in Sydney and ended in Cairns, covering a total distance of 2629 kilometres. We landed in Sydney, jumped in a taxi to Jucy rentals and picked up what was to be our home for the next three weeks, a green and purple campervan. This little beauty looked like it had been well-loved which made me like it even more!  We got given a quick briefing and then handed the keys. Our Jucy Van was compact but had everything we needed for our three-week journey. Bedding, pillows and towels were provided with the van along with pots and pans, crockery, cutlery and a map. The van had a small kitchen area at the back, which consisted of a camping gas stove, a cool box (powered by a leisure battery) and a sink. It also had a DVD player, but with so much exploring to do we didn’t get round to using it. Awesome campervan and an awesome company!



Things I took with me on the trip:

  • When planning for a road trip on the east coast of Australia, my first tip would be to pack fairly lightly as living in a van means you have limited space.
  • Guide books: Lonely Planet East Coast Australia and Cool Camping Australia – East Coast – I don’t know what we would have done without these two books. We found places we may not otherwise have visited and they really helped us out especially at the beginning of our trip when everything felt a little bit daunting.
  • Driving licence: Don’t forget this! Check out the Australian Government website for more information on driving in Australia with an overseas licence.
  • LED lights and torch: These were much needed as we stayed in some very remote campsites which were pitch black at night.
  • Keypod: We use one when we surf in the UK and I thought it would be perfect for Australia. It’s a small box, big enough to fit your car key in with a combination lock and padlock on top. It can be attached to the underneath of your vehicle and is perfect if you want to go for a swim or surf and don’t want to leave valuables and car keys on the beach.
  • Washing tablets: Although we could have bought these out in Oz I decided it was one less thing to spend our pennies on once we were there.
  • Resealable bags: Handy to store food in and to stop any beasties or bugs finding it!
  • Tea bags and sugar: Again something we could have bought in Australia but I just thought I would be prepared, and there’s nothing like a decent cuppa in the morning!
  • Anti – bacterial wipes: To clean down food prep areas in the van once we picked it up. You don’t know whose grubby paws have been on it before you! (Although the rental company did a very thorough clean it was just something that made me feel better!) They are also perfect for cleaning up after cooking.
  • Mobile phone and Wi-Fi Dongle: We were very lucky as our lovely friends Olivia and Jamie who we stayed with in Sydney lent us these – great for calling campsites in advance and Google mapping if you don’t have data to use abroad included in your phone contract.
  • We bought a USB charger to go into the cigarette lighter when we got to Australia. This proved priceless for charging our phones and camera batteries on the road.
  • I’m a big flip-flops wearer but I was so pleased I packed a pair of converse ‘just in case’ I needed them.  They came in very handy for bush camping. When it gets dark you never know what creepy crawlies are wondering around!  So I would definitely recommend packing some closed-toe footwear.
  • We took fairy lights and bought candles when we were out there, it added extra light to our camp and also made it look nice.




National Park campsites:

National park campsites are the way forward for cheaper camping and for going back to basics. My advice is don’t be scared of long drop toilets and having no showers! I overcame this and experiencing these beautiful places, which can be off the beaten track and often with hardly anyone else around is awesome. It felt to us like ‘real’ camping. One tip my friend Liv gave me was to check under long drop toilet seats for spiders before you sit down! This was a great bit of advice, especially when you consider that most of the wildlife we came across were discovered in the long drop area! Liv did well at practicing her own advice….One night as we sat around the campfire in the Blue Mountains we heard screams coming from the dunny – she had found a nasty looking spider under the lid!  

You need to take your own water for most national park campsites and also need to pre book, although Black Rocks campground (one of our favourite spots) in Bundjalung National Park had signposts with a phone number to book upon arrival. Lots of these campgrounds can be found along very bumpy and long unsealed roads, but this adds to the fun! 

One night we parked up and slept on the side of a road, funnily enough opposite a campsite! It was quite a nice spot on the harbour front at Hervey Bay; we chose it as the car park just in front of our parking spot had a half decent public toilet that wasn’t locked at night. We had been on a whale watching trip which meant we didn’t get back until early evening and we had a lot of driving planned for the next day and got up at around 5am. Due to this we decided there was no point in paying for a pitch. Lots of car parks have no camping signs clearly displayed so they are of course a no go. I am not entirely sure as to whether we were allowed to camp on the roadside, but hey sometimes you’ve got to be a rebel and just live on the edge!

Head here for campsites in New South Wales: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Private campsites:

More expensive campsites were fantastic after a few days of staying in a national park or roadside camping where showers are non-existent.  So to pay for a campsite with showers, flushing toilets and even a laundry room was a small slice of luxury!  Most private campsites we stayed at had camp kitchens that were really well equipped with gas barbeques, fridges, ovens, sometimes microwaves, washing up facilities and plug sockets for charging electronics. Some even had free Wi-Fi, which was a big bonus.

For more information I’ve written a guide with all my favourite campsites to help with planning a road trip on the East coast of Australia: Cool Campsites on the East Coast of Australia.




The drive:

Driving the east coast is such a great way to see experience all the countryside and its differences as you head further up or down the country. The climate changed quite a lot from Sydney where there was a bit of a chill in the air to Cairns with its humid and very hot rainforest feel. I got bitten by mosquitoes further up the coast too. The temperature of the water also felt warmer as we moved further up the country.

On the drive we passed over hundreds and hundreds of creeks, we also passed sugar cane fields, plantations, rainforest, and ocean. It was interesting to drive through so many different towns like Rockhampton, with its quaint Victorian buildings making it look like it had stood still in time. Within the sugar cane fields were train lines, I loved watching the cane trains pass, transporting sugar cane to the plantations. There were also lots of banana farms up near Cairns and we also witnessed a few wild fires in this area; they were pretty scary looking.

There are plenty of opportunities to deviate from the main highway as sometimes the long straight road can get boring. All the way along there were brown tourist signs indicating an alternative route through places of interest and how many kilometers it covered before bringing you back onto the highway. We did this a few times; my favourite was the drive through the Glass House Mountains. The scenery was just incredible with bright red soil and the mountains looming high above the otherwise flat landscape. We stopped off at a great viewpoint for lunch and took photos; it was a lovely scenic diversion.

One thing to know about when driving in Australia is toll roads. These can be avoided but we ended up going through some in Sydney and then in Brisbane. They don’t cost very much but you need to make sure you go online or phone up to pay the charges. For NSW I used this website: myrta and for QLD: govia.  Phone numbers and websites are signposted as you go on the toll roads and you pay the charges by giving your car registration number along with the date and times you would have been on the toll roads. It is then automatically deducted from your credit or debit card, easy!

Although it is quite an obvious thing to say I would definitely recommend keeping an eye on your fuel as sometimes fuel stations were very few and far between. We often drove for an hour or two without seeing one. We tried to make sure that our fuel gauge didn’t drop below a quarter, that way we felt safe. Something else I should mention is that the Aussies are pretty strict on speed limits, so make sure you stick to them.




Rest stops:

We experienced a mixture of good and bad rest stops while on the road. Many with the words ‘Stop, Revive, Survive’ were brilliant, with toilets, gas barbeques and picnic benches sheltered from the sun. Some even provided free tea and coffee. Although, nice service stops turned into sparse truck stops with awful long drops on the Bruce Highway, north of Brisbane. So be prepared for some horrendous dunnys; hold your nose and don’t look down!

Two refreshment stops that stood out for me were Frosty Mango, serving, you guessed it all things mango. This was recommended in the Lonely Planet Guide I mentioned earlier. We bought a mango smoothie for the road, it was so good! Tooloombah Creek Roadhhouse an hour north of Rockhampton was also a great little stop off. We were greeted by a lovely lady who fueled up the van and told us a joke at the same time… “What happened to the beans that were travelling in Australia?… They ended up in Cairns!”… It made me laugh anyway! After a chat with this lovely lady we purchased coffee, two slices of her delicious homemade cake and continued on our journey. I really loved chatting to locals, who more often than not were very welcoming. Some also passed on useful information to us such as a fuel attendant in Byron Bay. I told him we were heading to Mission Beach at some point in our journey, he told us how nice it was and recommended a great campsite. A bit of local knowledge sometimes goes a long way.


I hope this has given you a bit of an insight into planning a road trip on the east coast of Australia. If you have any of your own tips please feel free to add them in the comments below; I’d love to hear them. Writing this post has made me want to go back to the land of down under right now! With 1633 miles of the east cast of Australia explored I can’t wait to share the rest of my adventures with you all…


For more on Australia take a look at my other posts:

Five Things to do in Sydney

Whale Watching in Australia

Three weeks in three and a half minutes



Fuerteventura: A winter sun holiday destination…

If you are looking to get away from the cold weather, Fuerteventura is a great winter sun holiday destination. Fly there in just under four hours from London. Near the coast of North Africa this Spanish island is the second largest of the Canary Islands.

During the winter months temperatures remain in the high teens and low 20s; making it much warmer than most places in Europe. Day temperatures should feel warm enough to sunbathe, although the sea may feel a little refreshing. I recommend packing a light jacket or warmer top for the evenings as it can get a bit chilly once the sun goes in. There are often less tourists than the summer months so the beaches and beauty spots are quieter too. If you like to escape the crowds it’s a good time of year to go.

I hadn’t realised how diverse Fuerteventura’s landscape is, not only are there beautiful beaches, but mountains, volcanoes and the incredible ever shifting sand dunes of Corralejo’s Natural Park. It is easy to see why it was named a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 2009.

Here are a few ideas on what to do on your winter sun holiday…


Spend time on the beach:

For Europeans this is a novelty in itself as temperatures dip across most of Europe during the winter and daylight hours decrease. The beaches are stunning with crystal clear waters and golden sand; it’s hard not to be impressed. As long as the sun hasn’t dipped behind a cloud the temperatures are perfect for sunbathing. Fuerteventura is known for being windy, for this reason you’ll spot ‘Corralitos’ on many of the beaches on the island. These semi-circular stonewalls were created to keep the wind off when sunbathing and also give a bit of privacy. Fuerteventura’s beaches are popular with naturists; so don’t be surprised to see a naked body or two! Here’s the rundown on my favourite beach spots…


La Concha Beach, El Cotillo:

Much of the west coast is pretty rough and not suitable for swimming but La Concha Beach in the quiet town of El Cotillo is a great spot. Protected by reef and rocks this horseshoe shaped bay is perfect for a dip in the ocean and a popular spot with families. Found north of the town towards the lighthouse it has parking, toilets, showers and a bar/cafe right on the sand.


Playa Hoplaco, Corralejo:

I love this little beach, in the centre of Corralejo it has turquoise waters, white sand and is great for rock pooling when the tide is out. Views of Los Lobos and Lanzarote make a picture perfect backdrop and the promenade lined with cafes and restaurants is right next-door.


Playa Alzada, Corralejo:

Out by the dunes this is my absolute favourite beach. Heading south out of Corralejo take the road to the sand dunes past Grand Playas beaches and the Rui hotels. There are a few beaches on this stretch, Alzada is pretty much one of the last crescent shaped bays. There’s parking on the side of the road and lifeguards on patrol. The sand dunes behind make an incredible backdrop. The beach is just below the road, although I really didn’t find traffic noise a problem, the gentle waves and soapy blue water make this a dreamy spot.


Glass Beach, Corralejo:

Also known as El Burro Beach and located next door to Playa Alzada, it’s a popular location. There’s a small headland to the left with the Corralito stone circles, they make a great little shelter on windier days. Lifeguards are on duty here.

There are no facilities at Glass or Alzada Beach so bring your own picnic and supplies. If you’ve got children they will love exploring the rock pools when the tide is low.



Hire a car:

The best way to explore the island is to hire a car, especially if there is a grey day. We hired a car with Drive Emotion. To really admire Fuerteventura’s diverse landscape drive south from Corralejo to Betancuria, the old capital. This scenic route will take you past Volcanoes in La Oliva and up into the mountains where jaw dropping panoramic views of the island await. Stop at the view points to take in the sweeping terrain below and follow the winding mountain road down into a lush green valley. There are a few quaint towns to drive through; Betancuria is definitely worth a stop off. A beautiful church and the ruins of an old convent give a good insight into Fuerteventura’s past and are completely different to the tourist spots along the coast.


Explore the sand dunes at Corralejo Natural Park:

The sand dunes at Corralejo Natural Park are incredible. Ever changing due to the winds and a dramatic volcanic backdrop give a lunar feel. In front of the vast dunes is the turquoise ocean, making this protected area one like no other. Park up alongside the coastal road and cross over to explore the vast dunes. It’s a fantastic way to spend a few hours, a unique spot that you just have to see for yourself.

If you like hiking the volcanic Montana Roja is a popular trek in the dunes. It stands at 314 meters high and is around a 5 hour hike. This is a walk for the more experienced and it’s worth checking routes before you go.



Enjoy dinner and drinks with sea views:

There are plenty of lovely locations to enjoy drinks or food by the ocean in Fuerteventura, my favourites are:

Sunset Lounge: Head here for laid back beach vibes and sand between your toes. Right on the beach this is a cool bar to watch surfers and windsurfers from. Serving up cocktails, mocktails and whatever else takes your fancy. The Sunset Lounge is famous for its Sunday night beach parties. A barbecue and DJ sets keep the party going into the night.

Savannah Beach: Step right off the beach into this cool venue for food with ocean views, . A glass front keeps the wind off, making it a nice suntrap. Food is reasonably priced and it’s nice to sit and watch surfers go by to nearby beach breaks.

Waikiki: This is a bit of an institution in Corralejo, right on the beach and in the centre of town. The Hawaiian vibes fit in perfectly with the dreamy sea views. If it’s too windy sit indoors, if not secure a table on the sand. There’s a playhouse for kids and the cocktails and mocktails are a tasty and refreshing treat.

La Marina: On the beach promenade in Corralejo town centre. My favourite spot for food and views, the best steak and kebab skewers I have ever had, good wine, cocktails and gorgeous ocean views.



Go on a day trip:

Lanzarote and the small island of Los Lobos can both be seen from Corralejo. Lanzarote can be reached by boat in around 25 minutes. Los Lobos can be incorporated into a boat trip or catch a ferry across from the harbour in Corralejo in around 15 minutes. Part of the Corralejo Dunes Natural Park exploring is limited to marked paths and there is only one restaurant on the deserted island. This makes it the perfect place to visit to escape the buzz of Corralejo. Stroll to the lighthouse, watch for endangered birds and relax on the beach at Playa de la Concha.

Dune buggy trips are popular adventures with tons of companies providing daily excursions. Buzz around off road exploring volcanic areas and the sand dunes in a unique mode of transport. If I hadn’t been pregnant at the time of my trip I would definitely have done this as it looks like so much fun!

Surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing are all popular sports. If you want to learn to surf there are plenty of surf schools in and around Corralejo and ideal beginner waves. Rocky Point is a good beginner spot with easy right hand waves, wetsuits boots are recommended to clamber over the rocky reef.


Fuerteventura: A winter sun holiday destination

As a winter sun destination, Fuerteventura has so much to offer. The winter months excluding December are often a quieter time of year to visit with fewer tourists. It’s warm enough to sunbathe on the beach and there’s plenty of exploring to be done if the sun isn’t shining. Hire a car and explore the islands diverse landscapes. Head to the mountains for jaw dropping views and stroll around the quaint town of Betancuria. Walk in the sand dunes, have a cocktail at a beach bar and get that much need vitamin d from the winter sun! To help plan your trip Marco Polo have a Fuerteventura guide with a useful pull out map.

For another winter sun destination check out my blog post on Mallorca: Finding Winter Sunshine in Mallorca. Although it may not reach the same temperatures as Fuerteventura it’s a nice option for a winter break.


This is a sponsored post with Marco Polo Guides. As always all views and opinions are my own.