Months of being stuck inside are drawing to a close and we’ve been making use of our National Trust membership to rediscover nature with some fabulous days out.
Many families have been away on holiday and returned home, yet there’s still a few weeks of summer holidays still to fill. Fortunately there’s no shortage of places to visit if you know where to look. Here are dozens of ideas across South Buckinghamshire and South West Hertfordshire that are particularly suitable for families with younger children…
A new addition to Old Amersham’s line up of eateries, Cote Brasserie has taken over the former Chimichanga site, so it’s farewell Tex-Mex and hello modern european dining. We decided to pay a weekend morning visit to see how the newcomer compares with the other brunch options in Amersham and to check out its family friendly credentials.
We’ve finally started seeing some hot, summery weather and with family visiting have been looking for somewhere to go for fun that’s out of the heat. Woodland is excellent for keeping cool on warm days so I opted to take the family to Penn Wood, one of the largest woods near to us and somewhere I’ve enjoyed returning to over the past few years. The woods were an instant hit with Tilly, who set about running around the trees, throwing leaves around and generally having a ball.
On our doorstep is something of a legendary destination, albeit in miniature. Bekonscot, taking its name in part from its home town of Beaconsfield, is regarded as the grandfather of miniature villages, having opened in the 1920s. It regularly features on television and we keeping spotting it on the CBeebies series ‘Show me show me’. Pretty much anyone who grew up in this part of the world will have visited as a child. Having moved to the area, however, it was to be a new experience both for me and toddler Tilly.
Our half-term kicked off with a visit to a reenactment event at the Chiltern Open Air Museum. Throughout the season the museums hosts a range of events and reenactments and the Romans are always a favourite with us, although this was the first time we’d seen the gladiators, performed by Britannia.
Most of our trips are as a family unit but there are times when my teacher wife’s marking pile is so tremendous she just needs to crack on and have us out of the house. Such occasions allow me to indulge in a touch of dad geekery. I’m talking about those destinations that wouldn’t much interest my wife but which Tilly and I can enjoy. As she’s a fan of Thomas I reckoned a trip to a local steam railway would go down well.
For Tilly’s 2nd birthday I set out a list of experiences for her to do and see over the coming year. One of these is to share one of my favourite pastimes of taking in a panorama atop a hill. As we live in the Chiltern hills, this is happily an easily achievable task and one that would allow me to take Tilly to what I rate as one of the finest viewpoints in the area. All that was needed was the right day and weather.
We first ventured into the deep dark wood in August to track down the Gruffalo who was rumoured to be residing in Wendover Woods. Tilly was not yet walking but we enjoyed the trail and the reward at the end of it. We thought the Gruffalo had departed at the end of September but it seems he remains in the wood while the Gruffalo’s Child now has a winter-themed trail to explore. Tilly’s interest in the Gruffalo reached new heights over Christmas with the screening of both Gruffalo adaptations on TV, so it was time to put on out wellies and brave the wintry woods.
Another day of the holidays with no activities planned made for the perfect excuse to try out one more of the play cafes in the area. Little Beans & Co is located in the village of Chorleywood, handy for both SW Herts and South Bucks and just a few minutes off the M25. Chorleywood has a reasonable selection of shops for its size although it’s main attraction is the sizeable and unfeasibly picturesque common situated between the main road and the village. Access to the village is a little narrow but there’s free parking bays near the cafe with a car park for shoppers at the other end of the main street.