Tag Archives: Days Out

The Eden Project

During a four day break in Cornwall with my husband, son, daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren, we decided that a visit to the Eden Project was a must. We looked at the weather forecast and the day that was scheduled for rain, was the day we booked to go.

Prices:

The tickets are priced seasonally, so the prices range:

Adults: Standard – £32.50 Peak – £37.50
Child (aged 5-16): Standard – £11 Peak – £12
Child (aged 0-4): Free all year round.

Parking was included in the admission price.

Length of time spent here:

We arrived at 10:30 AM and left at about 2:30 PM.

My Review

We have been here before but that was approximately 15 years ago, so a lot has changed since then!

The Eden Project was originally a china clay pit and was used by the BBC as the planet surface of Magrathea in the TV series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

This lovely driftwood sculpture of a horse was at the entrance – stunning!

It was drizzling with rain when we arrived, so we headed straight for the biomes, entering the Rainforest Biome first.

The Rainforest biome was amazing, it was like stepping into a different world. The amount of different flowers, plants and trees was mind boggling, from wild bananas to oil palm to all kinds of spices.

It didn’t feel as hot as I thought it was going to be, but this was in April, I suspect that in August it is a different story!

There was a treetop walk which included a rope wobbly bridge, where at the top, there was commanding views of the whole biome from the viewing platform.

After spending a couple of hours in this biome, it was time for lunch. We ate in the main dining area between the Rainforest and Mediterranean biomes, it was a little pricey so maybe bring your own packed lunch is the way to go, but we all had a snack and a drink….

…then it was onto the Mediterranean biome.

Stepping into the Mediterranean biome, I was struck by how much lighter and more colourful it was than the Rainforest biome. In here we found grape vines, olive trees, cotton and citrus fruit. The array of flowers was spectacular:

There were some intriguing statues in this biome which were called The Rites of Dionysus. These depict Dionysus, Greek god of the vines and his followers who dance and writhe through the vines beating drums and sounding trumpets.

After thoroughly exploring this biome, we made our way back out into the gardens, where it was raining pretty steadily now and headed towards the Invisible Worlds exhibition.

This was an exhibition which explored our sense and how life is shaped by and also shapes, invisible systems.

Invisible Worlds exhibition (Picture taken from Eden Project website).

One sculpture which immediately drew our attention was the Blue (Infinity Blue) ceramic sculpture which weighs in at 20 tonnes and is almost nine metres high. It pays homage to one of the worlds smallest but most important organisms: cyanobacteria. No, I didn’t know what that was either, it says on their website:

The sculpture is a monument to these vital microscopic beings, who, along with the descendants found in the photosynthesising cells of all green plants, continue to provide the oxygen in every break we take.

The Eden Project
One of its vapour rings!

It was time to head back to the caravan and even though the rain hadn’t let up all day it didn’t matter to us, we were in the biomes most of the time. We all had a great time, the grandkids enjoyed walking around and exploring the different areas, in fact, I think we all learned something today!

Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland

Price:

Free

Amount of time spent there:

We were there for about an hour and a half.

Suggested Christmas Tree Trail

My Review:

We try and do something each year to celebrate the holiday season. For a few years we went to the London Palladium to watch the pantomime and then walk around London to see the Christmas lights, another year we went to Longleat Festival of Lights, but due to Covid, obviously last year we didn’t do anything. So this year, we decided to go to Bournemouth, which is about a 45 minute drive from us and we took our daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren to the Christmas Tree Wonderland.

We arrived at Bournemouth at about 6:15 PM, after inexplicably getting lost, even though we’ve driven to Bournemouth numerous times! The first stop was to get some fish and chips and where better to go than Harry Ramsden’s. We had a lovely meal there, the batter really is very light and tasty!

So then it was time to wander through the Christmas Tree Wonderland…

There were an array of different lighted up Christmas trees, with a few other displays as well including a reindeer, polar bear and, of course, the main man himself, Father Christmas.

We walked around the park, it was lovely to see Harry’s face as he saw each Christmas tree, he’s nearly three, so just beginning to understand what happens this time of year. He loved the bright lights and excitedly ran from one display to the next.

At the end of the park, we came across an ice rink and we stopped to watch the would-be Torvill and Deans, skating around a fairly huge ice rink. There was the usual people hanging onto the sides, gingerly making their way around the rink, and I have to say, that would be me, skating is definitely not my thing!

View of the ice rink

You need to pre-book the ice rink, there are sessions of an hour each, from 10:30 AM until 20:30 PM throughout the day and prices are:

ADULT -£12.50 CHILD – £10.50 SENIOR CITIZEN – £11.50 and FAMILY – £41.00

A quick look around the stands in the city centre, which were mainly food outlets and we headed back into the park to walk along the back path where there were even more displays to see.

Gingerbread men, one of Harry’s favourite biscuits!

One last stop at the Carousel, it cost £3 per person, but it seemed to go round forever. Harry chose his horse and held on tight!

Gee up Neddy or Coleen!

We were very impressed with Bournemouth’s light display, it must have cost the council a lot of money to stage this and for it all to be free as well is wonderful.

Marwell Zoo

With the current Government procedures in place, tickets are released four days ahead of your visit and these must be booked online via their website.

Prices:

Adult Entry – £19.78
Child Entry – £16.19
Family Entry – £68.35
Under 3 Entry – £0.00
Carer Entry – £0.00

Length of time spent here:

Approximately six hours.

My Review

I went with my husband Phil, daughter Amy and grandson Harry. After a long time of not having gone out except for walks, we felt it was time to go and visit an attraction nearby to us and so we decided on Marwell Zoo.

Phil and I had taken Harry here before, when he was a lot smaller, so now he was walking and talking and taking an interest in everything around him, I was looking forward to seeing how he reacted to the animals.

I was surprised by how much the car park was already filling up, so we joined the queue to get in, abiding by the two metre distance and as everyone had already obtained their tickets online, the queue was quite quick.

We obtained a map of the park and after a quick toilet stop, not the cafe as it was only open for takeaways, we made our way to the penguines.

 

marwell-map

Even though we told Harry they were penguins, he insisted they were ducks, so as he wasn’t too wrong, we let it go.

There was a one-way system round the park, which people seemed to follow on the whole and when there was an inside exhibit, there were always keepers to make sure that there was a certain number of people inside at any one time.

giraffe
Amy and Harry

We headed to the giraffes, where Harry got very excited at seeing them and even said, “Giraffe,” the first time he has said that.  We went inside the giraffe shed, where we could get up close and personal and Harry was transfixed by them. So much so, that we bought him a toy giraffe at the gift shop and he kept hold of it all the time.

We followed the one way system around the zoo and saw some rhinos, zebras, a cheetah, leopard and a tiger. When Harry saw the tiger he shouted out, “Roar,” which was so cute.

We stopped for a picnic lunch and then decided to go to the Tropical House to see the frogs, birds, tortoises, mice and goliath beetles and the sloth, which all were excited to see.  There was a long queue for the Tropical House, which when you have a 19 month old boy it is difficult to keep him amused, but after bribes of chocolate buttons and juice, he was very well behaved and we were soon in there.

sloth

We did see the sloth, but he was hidden in the branches of a tree, so I have used the image from the Marwell Zoo website, as you can’t see him in our photographs!

Harry loved the fish swimming in the pools and he pointed at the birds, shouting “Birds,” as he did so.

We walked around the edge of the zoo, passing a snow leopard, emus and some hippos and we ended up at the gift shop where we just had to buy Harry a giraffe.

It was a lovely day, people kept their social distance, there were members of staff manning the toilets, the cafes were open for takeaways, all in all, it was very well organised.

tired

As we left Marwell, Harry was asleep, tired out after doing a lot of walking and no doubt dreaming all about the animals and especially the giraffes!

 

 

 

 

 

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

moor-lake
Beautiful picture of the lake at Moors Valley – I can’t take the credit for it as my husband took it!

Prices:

There is no price for entry but you do pay for parking:

Length of time spent here:

Just over four hours. (We had to pay the £12 for parking).

My Review

I went with my husband, Phil, (who has now gotten over the Tottenham game) and my daughter, Amy, and our grandson Harry, who was enjoying his first proper day out with us.

First stop was the cafe, (you’ll come to realise that this is how we start our days out, cafe and then the toilets). We bought three coffees, lattes, and three custard slices, this cost us £17.50 which I thought was a bit steep, but when you saw the size of those custard slices and how lovely they tasted, it didn’t seem so bad.

We planned out our day, while Harry, who has just discovered he has a voice, made squawking noises, much to the amusement of an elderly couple who were sat on the next table. It was almost as though he was saying to us, “Hurry up, I want to go and explore outdoors.” So we followed Harry’s advice and tried to find the start of the red route, which was the longest one at 5 miles (well, I had to walk off that custard slice!).

Screenshot 2019-06-15 at 15.23.39

This is the map we had picked up from reception, but try as we might, we just couldn’t find where the red route started, ended or anything in the middle. We rather hopefully followed a trail, but knew deep down it wasn’t the right one. We decided to cut our losses and followed some signs which led us back to the main area.

We decided that as it was still a bit early and the custard slice was still laying a bit heavy on our stomachs that we would go for a train ride. This was an extra cost, but Harry went free.  The costs were:

Screenshot 2019-06-15 at 15.28.48

We decided on the Adult return tickets and boarded the train. You start from Lakeside station and travel to Kingsmere station.  It was one where you sat on a bench and a miniature sized steam engine pulled the carriages. We went to Kingsmere Station which didn’t seem to take that long and disembarked to cross the bridge where you can take a train back to Lakeside station.

There was a train souvenir shop, a model train set and a tea shop. We had a quick look round and then got back on the train. The journey back was longer and we went through a couple of tunnels, which everyone seemed excited about as we all cheered as we went through!

After the excitement of the train, it was time for lunch. Again, we brought our own lunch and ate it in the picnic field by the train station. There was a Steam Train Fair going on, with lots of locomotives on display and steam engines, with a few classic cars. IMG_0425

But Harry and Phil decided they quite like the remote controlled tanks with the Action Man figures inside. I’m not sure who was having the most fun, the kids running away from the tanks or the men with the remote controls chasing the kids!

The tanks were from the Southern Armour Group, I have linked their Facebook page.

So we sat and watched the tanks while we ate our lunch.

After lunch we decided that the red route was not going to defeat us! So we walked again, with renewed enthusiasm and full stomachs and found the start straight away. It wasn’t really that hard to find as it is marked by a huge totem pole!

This time we were a lot more successful with reading the map, which considering both my husband and daughter are ex-scout leaders, is how it should be, (we’ll overlook the earlier walk!)

We followed the 5 mile route, which did prove a little tricky sometimes, pushchairs and roots poking up from the ground don’t go together well, but it was a lovely walk which ended up at the lake.

The sun had started to shine, it had been a little drizzly earlier on and we came upon a steam engine parade, when Harry nearly jumped out of his skin when one of the engine drivers tooted a whistle at him.

We rounded off the day with an ice cream, which I can say was one of the best ice creams I’ve had in a long time, but we did feel guilty as Harry isn’t old enough to have them yet, so he had to sit in his pushchair and watch us!

harry
Harry denying us every lick of ice cream!

After that it was time to go home. This was a great day out, even though we only did the walks, there is a whole lot of other activities at Moors Valley, including Go Ape. We walked under the course of high wires and Amy and Phil decided that we are going to come back, when Amy’s husband comes back from sea, (he’s a sailor) and they are going to complete the Go Ape course. My reply was, “Good luck with that, I’ll look after Harry.” So, expect a review about that, but not my experience, theirs.