Welcome to the second annual Family Travel Times Travel Awards! Once again, we have been lucky enough to visit some brilliant places, but which ones were our favourites? Welcome to the 2014 award ceremony and our top places to visit…
Best Day Out
Jess says: I definitely think that the “Art of the Brick” LEGO exhibition was our best day out this year. The exhibition, which is travelling worldwide, is composed of over 85 LEGO sculptures and all of them are fantastic. These sculptures ranged from 3D paintings such as The Kiss and The Scream to a giant dinosaur, and from the solar system to the Venus de Milo! We had a brilliant time looking at the sculptures, watching videos and even had a chance to create our own sculptures at the end!
Alternatively, Burghley house in Lincolnshire is a brilliant place to visit – we visited it over the summer and had a wonderful time. The house, which was built by William Cecil (Lord Burghley) is extremely impressive both inside and outside, as we found out when following the Beastly Boring Burghley tour. This tour was probably the best tour aimed at kids I’ve been to, and it was full of interesting facts. Afterwards, we loads of fun exploring the gardens, which consisted of a maze, Poseidon’s Grotto, sculptures and lots of fountains to run into.
Robert says: The alligator tours in Florida was my favourite day out in 2014. It’s not every day you get to see real life alligators and hold one too! It was a brilliant experience and I learnt many things like how to tell a crocodile from an alligator or how to spot if it is a male or female. I absolutely loved it and could do it again and again.
Sarah says: For me, Austria was a perfect holiday. We all tried something different – cycling – and enjoyed the food, the scenery and the many things to do. I was genuinely overwhelmed by how beautiful it was and don’t think it gets better than riding alongside Lake Wolfgang with the wind in my hair. It was magnificent.
Best in London
Robert says: We have been to some truly amazing things in London this year and my favourite has got to be ClueQuest. We had one hour to find a way to get out of a locked room. Everything was a clue from books to bottles, playing cards to tables. It was so fun and exciting but a bit stressful when we only had a few minutes left. It was an amazing day out that really pushed our minds to the limit.
Sarah says: Obviously I loved the views in Austria, but I could also have watched the waves crashing onto the shore near our apartment in San Miguel, Tenerife, for hours. There were hardly any people around and we just sat and enjoyed the spectacle. They were just so dramatic, such an illustration of nature, that they were incredibly special. We have just come back from Tenerife – posts to come…
Best Place to Stay
Jess says: The House of Correction in Folkingham, Lincolnshire was probably my favourite place to have ever stayed, and I would love to go back. The house belongs to the Landmark Trust and is built on the site of a big medieval castle. The house was a small prison for minor offenders and was initially built in 1611, but replaced in 1808 and enlarged in 1825. It was then closed in 1878. It is absolutely magnificent and only one family can stay at a time, making the experience even more special.
Robert says: I have been to two amazing parks this year which have both been full to the top with amazing attractions, so it was very hard to pick the winner for best ride. Instead I decided to pick three! The first is from Universal Studios in Florida and is the fast paced, scary indoor roller coaster Return of the Mummy. Most of the ride is in pitch black so it added extra suspense as you didn’t know when there was going to be a drop. The first time I went on it I was scared out of my skin when we plummeted down into the red steaming smoke.
The next two winners of this category are from Siam Park, the Water Kingdom in Tenerife (post coming soon). Everything there was wonderful but I decided my first pick would be the Mekong Rapids that dad and I went on four times throughout the day. After a long tiring walk up hundreds of stairs we got to a small pool of water where inside we climbed into a yellow dinghy and then zoomed off down the tunnel. It was so fast and very wet. Dad was screaming like a baby the first time as there were so many drops. I loved the next ride, the Kinnaree the scariest ride we went on, but dad definitely didn’t. However, it was still loads of fun. Of all the rides we went on this had the biggest drops and at some points we felt like we were going to go upside down. The ride was so cleverly made and I loved it but I don’t think the guy next to me who was swearing the whole time did though.
Jess says: We travelled to Tenerife over Christmas, and the weather was lovely and the beaches superb. Although we had a lovely time at Los Cristianos, my favourite was the Playa del Bobo in Adeje. Not only was the sand lovely and soft, but the waves were brilliant and it was perfect for swimming and paddling. It wasn’t too busy and was the perfect spot for a walk. There was also a delicious ice cream store nearby!
Best Educational Day Out
Robert says: As we have been learning about World War II at school as a class we went to the Churchill War Cabinets and Churchill Museum. The audio tours were very detailed and informative. I learnt a lot about where the prime Minister of England stayed during WWII. I preferred the Churchill museum to the war cabinets as it was much more interactive. There was a table that told you what event happened on your birthday during the war, I got to hold Winston Churchill’s teddy bears from when he was younger (they were so cute) and I even got to use a typewriter. It was a very interesting and fun day out.
Jess says: We also thought that the Drake Fun Day atop the Golden Hinde II (a replica of the ship which Sir Francis Drake used to sail all round the world) was fantastic. We played games and learned facts from the Captain and his strange assistant, Fart – this was lots of fun and very interesting! The event was two hours long and consisted of firing guns, learning a code and exploring the ship. I would recommend it to children aged 6+.
Best Hidden Gem
Sarah says: Groombridge was gorgeous – and a surprise! We had gone to Kent for the weekend to visit Hever Castle where Anne Bolyen had lived, and as a Tudor aficionado, that was intended to be the main event. However, we decided we should visit another “attraction” too and that turned out to be Groombridge. We were so pleased we went as it was perfect for families, with gorgeous grounds and in particular many hidden treasures inside the woods. We’d highly recommend it.