Tag Archives: Family days out

Behind the scenes at The Lost Carnival, Dunham Massey

Throughout August The Lost Carnival has pitched up just south of Manchester, in the gardens of National Trust property, Dunham Massey in Cheshire. We went along to find out more about the carnival and to explore the beautiful gardens at Dunham Massey.

This is the third year The Lost Carnival has been in town, having previously been located in Bury and Crewe. The carnival is the brainchild of Wild Rumpus, the arts company specialising in unique outdoor productions which both children and adults can enjoy, such as the famous Just So Festival.

Behind the scenes at The Lost Carnival at Dunham Massey

This interactive circus carnival almost seamlessly ties in with the current exhibition in the house, Dunham’s Lost Years – A Victorian Tale of Love and Abandonment. The exhibition uncovers the controversial marriage of daring circus performer and beauty Catharine Cox to Dunham’s young heir, George Harry. The link is that the performers from The Lost Carnival will be rehearsing across the summer at Dunham “under the invitation” of Catharine Cox.

We arrived at Dunham Massey and parked in the vast car park (£6, free to National Trust members) and made our way to the visitors reception and picked up our tickets to the garden (adults £8.60, children £4.30, free to National Trust members). The Lost Carnival itself is free, but you need to buy a ticket to enter the garden area).

Behind the scenes at The Lost Carnival at Dunham Massey

When you enter the garden (if you’re lucky like we were, you might spy some of the deer roaming the park) you are handed a Lost Carnival map which helpfully gives you some background to what’s going on and highlights the carnival areas for you to locate. Naturally we put our six year old in charge of the map and he guided us through the gardens expertly.

The Lost Carnival attractions are nicely spaced out around the gardens. I recommend you first head to the “Chant” area, where a carnival performer will teach you the chant, the actions and give you some clues about what you need to do while you’re there. From there we moved on to explore Popou’s Caravan. This is a gorgeous caravan filled with trinkets, maps and clues for kids to explore. It was very busy so we only managed a quick look inside. When my son emerged he only had one word – “wow”!

Part of the fun is spying carnival attractions through the trees and discovering secrets and clues in the gardens. I was enchanted by the zoetrope, one of those devices where you turn the handle and watch through the slats to see a horse galloping and an acrobat performing stunts on its back. 

Wandering through the gardens to the “Dressing Room” we met a glamorous carnival seamstress who whispered secrets about the missing star-crossed lovers Sergei Bird and Popou Ingenue. She asked us to help her out finishing a beautiful costume. We sewed a bright button onto a wedding dress (I wonder who that is for) and had the chance to try on some of the carnival costumes.

Behind the scenes at The Lost Carnival at Dunham Massey

Further down the gardens in The Orangery we stopped to write a letter to the heads of the rival carnivals (and those star-crossed lovers) Sergei Bird and Popou Ingenue, imploring them to return to the carnival. After we’d had a little sit down while he wrote his letter, we wandered through the gardens to find hula hoopers hooping, so the boys had a little go.

Behind the scenes at The Lost Carnival at Dunham Massey

There was enough carnival activity to make things interesting for my son; but not too much that it overwhelmed the tranquility and beauty of the gardens. Apart from the carnival itself, we had a great time exploring the extensive gardens which have formal and informal areas. We were lucky that the weather was so sunny and kind to us. The gardens are equally fine on rainy days. There are plenty of sheltered spots under the trees if it’s really pouring.

Immerse yourself in the world of the two of the greatest carnival families, the Birds and the Ingenues and see if you can help them bring the heads of the rival carnivals Sergei Bird and Popou Ingenue back to their families again.

Behind the scenes at The Lost Carnival at Dunham Massey

The Lost Carnival is on until 30 August, from 10.30am – 4.30pm daily at Dunham Massey. Parking and entrance to the garden is free to National Trust members. For non-members a charge applies – visit the website for more information.

We were invited guests of The National Trust. We were given complimentary tickets and parking in exchange for this write up. All images and opinions are our own.

Days Out: Foodies Festival 2017, Tatton Park

As a keen eater of food, I can think of few things more exciting than going to a food festival, particularly a food festival on a glorious July weekend in the grounds of one of the great Cheshire estates – Tatton Park. We had VIP tickets for the day, so on Sunday we made the short trip from Didsbury to Knutsford to enjoy the Foodies Festival 2017.

Days Out: Foodies Festival 2017 at Tatton Park, Cheshire

If you’ve never been to the Foodies Festival before, it’s a bit like a giant farmers market, with lots of street food stalls and beer tents as well as little stalls selling kitchenalia and other foodie items. They also have some marquees where you can book to see various demonstrations, kids cookery, wine tasting and yoga if you’re so inclined.

The Foodies Festival does an annual summer tour around the UK, but sets up camp in Cheshire each July. It’s a real celebration of global food with stands and stalls from all over the world, plus local UK producers keenly selling their wares.

Days Out: Foodies Festival 2017 at Tatton Park, Cheshire

It is and it isn’t a family event. Both times we have been we have taken the boy and he’s quite liked it, mainly because he gets ice cream and a good hour in the excellent adventure playground afterwards. I guess being dragged around a busy festival while your parents swig samples of gin and nibble excellent cheese doesn’t really do it for most six year olds. Which is why booking tickets for one of the kids cookery demos would have been sensible idea had we thought of it earlier.

Days Out: Foodies Festival 2017 at Tatton Park, Cheshire

I’m reliably informed that Friday is the day to go to avoid the crowds, Sunday was busy but we picked our queues carefully and tried our best not to be too greedy. Between us we ate some delicious dishes; nibbling Spanish cheeses and meats, Paella, Calamari and er, chips and garlic mayo. We found homemade cakes and bags of fudge for pudding. Along the way sipped prosecco, mateus rose (it’s still a no from me), gin samples, raspberry juice and a lovely gin cocktail.

If you enjoy good food and discovering new and interesting things then the Foodie Festival is for you. It is busy, especially on the weekend days and the tickets are not so cheap that you’d just pop in for a quick bite for your lunch (VIP tickets are £35 each). With an additional £6 to park your car at Tatton Park, the costs of the day soon mount up.

Next time I think I will find a foodie friend to go with, rather than take the boys. That way I can explore things at my own pace. It’s certainly the place to go with a picnic blanket to sit on in the sunshine; listening to the live music and getting pink-cheeked merry on pimms or prosecco from the Bus Bar. 

Days Out: Foodies Festival 2017 at Tatton Park, Cheshire

Click here for more information about the Foodies Festival 2017.

Note: I was given a pair of tickets to the Foodies Festival 2017 in return for this blog post. All images and opinions are my own.

Days Out: Manchester Airport Viewing Park

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a family holiday from Jet2. We were beyond excited about this news as we’ve not been abroad since before the small boy was born. Keen to build holiday excitement levels further we hot footed it down to the Manchester Airport Viewing Park to spend a few hours watching the planes.

The Runway Visitors Park is free to visit but you will have to pay to park there. It’s only £5 for two hours which is I admit a lot for parking, but if you think of it as two hours of watching the planes and exploring the visitors park for a whole family, then it’s a bit of a bargain.

The Manchester Airport Viewing Park has some open air viewing platforms which you can go and stand and watch the planes as they take off and land. Manchester is quite a busy airport, so you don’t have to stand there for long before seeing some airplane action.

There are quite a few different retired airplanes in the park, most famous of all is the Concorde G-BOAC which is housed in a special hangar and you need to be part of a tour to go and see, so we didn’t. But we did have a look inside the Trident, the AVRO RJX and the DC-10.

The interior of the planes fascinated the boy who has never been in one before. He especially loved looking at the cockpits and wondering what all the buttons did.

Manchester Airport Viewing Park

We stopped for coffee at the “Concorde Restaurant and Coffee House” which was decent but very busy. There are lots of picnic tables outside, so on a nice day you could happily sit with your own flask of tea and sandwiches if you wanted. There is also a children’s play area which is free to use, though there is a small charge if you want to use the bouncy castle etc.

We think that the Manchester Airport Viewing Park is a good place to visit on a sunny day, it’s certainly interesting and the planes are good to explore, with information and staff on hand to ask any questions. The small boy enjoyed it and he’s now got a better idea of what the inside of a plane looks like. Visiting the park is a great way to prepare children for their first flight, or a place to explore the world of aviation. 

For more information about the Manchester Airport Viewing Park visit the website.

Half Term on the High Seas at IWM North

To my shame I’ve never visited the Imperial War Museum North. I remember it being built and everyone who has been has always had really good things to say about it but I’ve never made the trip. Now the Metrolink is nearby I have absolutely no excuse not to visit. We were invited to a preview of the War at Sea family activity week which will be running over the February half term. Between 14th and 22nd February family visitors can take part in a week of free activities to discover what life was like on the high seas. From submarines to sea mines, families can explore the past 100 years at sea through storytelling, craft activities and objects on display. Sounds good, so we thought we’d check it out.

We are lucky enough to have our very own salty sea-dog in our family, a Submariner from the Australian Navy and we thought he’d enjoy a trip out too. We arrived at Salford Quays and were mightily impressed with the tank outside, this was only a small taster of what we would see inside.

IWM North

We were taken to the main exhibition space and in a cosy corner we talked about the adventures of Able Seaman Wally Tobin in A Sailor’s Story interactive storytelling session. This was a lovely moment with all the children sat listening to the story and joining in when they could. It was a nice introduction to life on the ocean wave for the children and the small boy was gripped, though loathe to join in. After the storytelling we went back downstairs to the learning studio to make our very own message in a bottle.

The learning studio is a great place for kids, with things to look at and read, as well as comfy sofas, toys and a brilliant dressing up box. We played in here for a little while before moving back to the main exhibition space to have a proper look around.

IWM North was apparently designed to make you feel a bit disorientated and confused, much the way war would make you feel. The floor in the main exhibition space slopes by two metres, it’s dark and there are films and images projected against the large white walls. It is disorientating and I felt a bit wonky for a few hours after we left.

IWM North

The exhibition space is full of interesting artefacts and stories, from modern day conflicts right back to WW1. On the whole the collection is interesting, varied, fascinating, with lots of activities for children to get involved in along the way. I think we viewed it on two levels, for me I was incredibly moved by the steel from the World Trade Center and small trinkets of everyday life people had on the during the wars, items of clothing, precious things they made themselves in prisoner of war camps, that kind of thing. My son who is four loved the vehicles, the Harrier Jump Jet (how did they get it in there?), the small fire engine, the tanks and cars. He like the activities, smelling the less than lovely odours from the WW1 trenches. But I was very moved by the whole experience.

As we were getting to the end of the main exhibition, a warning came on that they were about to show a film and the lights would go out, we stuck around and we were really glad we did. A fantastic film flickered around us, projected on all those tall white walls. The film told the story of the Home Front in WW2 and it was fascinating. We felt utterly involved in the experience and were quite moved by it, even the small boy watched it, I think more for the whiz bangs than anything. It was an incredible, immersive experience.

We’d worked up an appetite for lunch so we went to the Watershard Cafe for a spot of lunch. The food was well priced and excellent quality. The boys had a rather excellent beef stew, mash and green beans, I had soup and the small boy had the “ration pack” lunch, which was five items of yumminess. We all really enjoyed lunch.

IWM North

After lunch we decided to take a trip up the Airshard which is a lift which takes you up 29 metres so you can view the city. Submariners are not known for their love of heights and none of the menfolk I was with fully appreciated the views from the (incredibly safe) Airshard. I took a few pictures but it was a cloudy day and Salford Quays, though always beautiful, was not looking her very best.

The IWM North is a brilliant free day out. There’s so much to see and do there and although we spent a good three hours looking around, we’re looking forward to going again and exploring some more.

If you’re local it’s well worth a visit to IWM North this February half term, there are lots of events and special activities planned during that week, you can find more information on the IWM North website.

Blowing the cobwebs away at Dunham Massey

It’s fast becoming a family tradition to spend a post-Christmas frosty afternoon at our nearest National Trust property, Dunham Massey. We like Dunham because it’s great for “family” walks, meaning it’s flat and well paved, perfect for bikes, scooters and the wobbly legs of small children. They also make an excellent cup of tea. Add to that we’re National Trust members so it’s free entry, what’s not to like?

We went on 30th December, it was largely a dry, windy, very cold day, but that didn’t put us off and Dunham Massey seemed quite busy with families out for a walk, or testing out new bikes and scooters. We went obstensively to see the deer, but they were hiding somewhere in the woods, so we walked the paths instead. We found a little den someone had built, a “stick house” which we explored, much to his delight.

Dunham Massey

There were also some small patches of snow left over, enough for a few little snowballs and a well ordered snowball fight (I lost). Although we couldn’t find the deer, we did spot lots of deer poo which the boy found quite interesting.

The small boy was beginning to tire, so we headed back to the big house via the duck pond, the low winter sun was shining on the pond and the light was incredible. I wish I’d taken my proper camera with me. Winter skies are so special, the clouds all fluffy and a little bit moody. I love this picture.

Dunham Massey

It was a short but lovely jaunt to Dunham Massey, he’s not great at walking distances and I do miss going on a long winter walk, all wrapped up against the elements. But a winter walk with a small child is full of different types of joy. Small details; clouds that look like dragons, stick houses, deer poo, tiny snowballs, conversations with the ducks, splishy sploshy muddy puddles. I love it.

Dunham blew some of our Christmas cobwebs away. I adore a winter walk, all that bracing fresh air and country views makes the tea and cake afterwards all the more enjoyable. You know me, there’s always tea and cake.

Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, Widnes

During half term week it’s hard to find interesting, entertaining things to do for all the family. Something that isn’t all about sitting in front of a screen for hours, perhaps something secretly educational would be good too. The Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes is both interesting and entertaining as well as being educational. It’s also good value with a family ticket (2 adults, 3 children) costing just £19.95 for the day.

During half term (and all school holidays), the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre have a programme of events designed to attract families. This half term there are two workshops, the first “Energy from Waste” which is a fascinating look at what happens with our waste, for example all Manchester’s waste goes to a processing plant in Runcorn and the fun workshop will look at how waste is turned into energy.

The second workshop is “Ludicrous liquids” and you can discover amazing liquids that act like solids, liquids that change colour on their own, liquids which act like magnets and you can even have a go at creating your own lava lamp.

Catalyst Science Discovery Centre

During school holidays the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre is open 10am-5pm (last entrance 4pm). Car parking is free and you can grab lunch or a snack at the Elements Cafe’. It’s a lovely day out and a great way to introduce children to the exciting world of science and give them the opportunity to explore and discover new things.

If you’d like to visit The Catalyst Science Discovery Centre this half term please do visit their website for more information.

Days Out: CBeebies Land & Alton Towers (part 2)

We were recently invited by CBeebies magazine to attend an event to learn about their #CBeebiesMagKidsGoFree promotion. I wrote about the fun we had that morning and how the dreams of a small boy came true when he got to meet Postman Pat. I faithfully promised to blog about our afternoon exploring CBeebies Land at Alton Towers, so here goes…

CBeebies Land is near the main entrance of Alton Towers, we found it really easily. It is perfectly designed for small children. The boy walked in and all he could say was “wow”!

Cbeebies land

There were lots of things to do, but first things first, we were hungry, so our first stop was the Little Explorers Lunch Box. There were various meal deals available, but the three of us had a sandwich, crisps and a drink for around £16 which wasn’t hellishly extortionate. If you’re watching the pennies then you can always take a picnic, but the food was of good quality and there were healthy options available.

After lunch we explored Charlie & Lola’s Moonsquirters & Greendrops, which was Charlie & Lola’s house, you could dress Charlie & Lola up, there was an interactive kitchen area (every time I opened the fridge the small boy fell about in fits of giggles). The house has a soft play type area at the back, but it was heaving as it was a rainy day, so we gave that a miss.

We moved on to the Numtums number-go-round, which was quite a sweet little merry-go-round which he enjoyed, and we got to have a sit down for a few minutes.

We were initially put off by the advertised 25 minute wait to enjoy the Postman Pat Parcel Post ride (my back means I can’t stand for long, so queuing is a nightmare), but having watched the queue for a little while we were sure it was moving quicker than advertised; it was, we queued for just 15 minutes. Queuing isn’t as bad as you might think be either, there are little games and things to look at for little ones in CBeebies Land, which helps a lot.

He enjoyed the Postman Pat Parcel Post ride and afterwards we toddled off to the Big Fun Showtime Arena to see the Mike the Knight show. The arena is a nice place to stop and have a picnic, the toilets are there and there’s a small shop selling ice creams and drinks etc. He was engrossed by the Mike the Knight show and it really was one of his highlights.

Next on our CBeebies Land agenda was the Get Set Go Treetop Adventure; really we should have gone on this first as it travels around and over the top of CBeebies Land, which would’ve made it useful for getting our bearings at first, plus it’s actually a really fun ride. We did have to queue, but it wasn’t for long and I do regret not queuing up again and having a second go.

Cbeebies land

Time was marching on, the small boy was beginning to tire, so we queued for one last ride, the In The Night Garden Magical Boat Ride. This was quite lovely and restful really, a gentle boat ride around the night garden. You see all of your favourite characters, they’re animated too, so Iggle Piggle and Daisy wave at you. It’s really very sweet.

There was so much to do in CBeebies Land, plenty to fill a day out. Other attractions in CBeebies Land include the Justin’s House pie-o-matic factory, Nina’s Science Lab, Mr Bloom’s Allotment, the Something Special Sensory Garden and the Tree Fu Tom Training Camp.

Would we go again? Absolutely. This was our first family day out to a theme park and I think we were both dreading it for various reasons, our worries were mainly about massive queues and losing the small boy in crowds, but everything was fine.

Every issue of CBeebies Magazine until the 7th October, will come with two vouchers for kids to go free to a different attraction every issue, with some of the most popular kids’ attractions in the country including Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures and Sealife Centres.

• Issue 411 (13th Aug) – Alton Towers Resort inc. CBeebies Land – Save £86.40 (£43.20 per ticket)
• Issue 412 (27th Aug) – Warwick Castle – Save £39.60 (£19.80 per ticket)
• Issue 413 (10th Sept) – Legoland and Legoland Discovery Centre – Save £82.80 (£41.40 per ticket)
• Issue 414 (24th Sept) – Sealife Centres and Seal sanctuaries – Save £39 (£19.50 per ticket)

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Note: We were invited to explore Alton Towers, CBeebies Land and enjoy an activity morning by CBeebies magazine to help promote their #CBeebiesMagKidsGoFree campaign. We have not been paid and all opinions expressed are my own.

42 Days of Summer – frugal summer fun

It’s been a busy old summer for us, it’s our last before the small boy slips on a school uniform and goes to the nursery at big school, so we’ve been busy making the most of our time together. We don’t have a lot of money to lavish on grand days out, so our fun is usually fairly frugal, with the odd treat thrown in for good measure.

When it’s hot, there is nothing more enjoyable than an afternoon playing in the paddling pool with some friends, it’s important for Mums to keep cool with a jug of Pimms too. Playdates are a great opportunity for the kids to burn off some energy while the parents have a catch up and a sit down.

42 days of summer

Picnics in the park are a brilliant thing to do, we live close to lots of great parks as well as National Trust properties. We often just throw together a pile of sandwiches, pick up a ball and his scooter and go and spend an hour picnicking and relaxing in the park.

Dunham Massey

One thing we like to do on rainy or dull days, is a spot of baking or creating in the kitchen.  The small boy loves baking cakes and helping Mummy make lunch. His latest fun thing to do is making milkshakes in the blender. He likes helping to tip the ingredients in and whizz them up. But I think he enjoys sampling his creations as much as he does making them.

Malteaser milkshake

When the clouds gather and it’s wet and miserable we like to curl up with a good book. As a family we’re quite big on reading, a book can transport you anywhere in the world, or beyond. His favourite book at the moment is Dear Zoo.

summer

There’s lots to do locally if we want a day out somewhere. Again to cut down costs we’ll take a picnic, but so far this summer we’ve been to Blackpool to see a show and go on the beach, CBeebies Land at Alton Towers, Brookside Miniature Railway as well as to the Foodies Festival and to various National Trust properties. We’ve used vouchers and membership cards where we could to help cut down on costs.

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Having fun can be hard work, so a quick juice and a biscuit break is essential. We like McVitie’s BN biscuits, they’ve got a cheeky smiley face which appeals to kids, the biscuits themselves are not too sweet, but they come in raspberry jam, chocolate and vanilla flavours. The boys loved the jammy raspberry ones and I like the chocolate. They’re a nice treat if you’re out and about, or if you’re just having a fun day at home.

summer

Hopefully we’ll be able to squeeze a few more days of sunshine and frugal fun out of this summer. We’ve got lots more adventures on the agenda before we have to pack his book bag ready for school in September and enter a new phase of childhood.

This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. Learn more by visiting their website

CBeebies Land at Alton Towers (part one)

It’s not often you get to make dreams come true, but taking the small boy to visit the faraway kingdom of Alton Towers would’ve been special enough, but going to CBeebies Land while we were there made us in his eyes at least, the best parents in the world.

We were invited by CBeebies magazine to spend the morning with the team playing games and having fun, then the afternoon was ours to enjoy Alton Towers and Cbeebies Land. We were there to find out more about their CBeebies magazine kids go free promotion, as they’ve teamed up with Merlin Entertainments to launch a Summer long campaign, giving parents the chance to save up to £355 on top kids’ attractions in the UK.

CBeebies

Every issue of CBeebies Magazine until the 7th October, will come with two vouchers for kids to go free to a different attraction every issue, with some of the most popular kids’ attractions in the country including Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures and Sealife Centres.

It was a rubbish, rainy day, but we arrived at the Alton Towers Hotel and met the team. We were divided into groups and we were guided round some fun, CBeebies themed games and activities, some of which we’ll be recreating at home. Our first stop was the Swashbuckle table where we put on our pirate hats and made pirate medals, then we sang the song and did the pirate salute.

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The next activity was throwing a soft toy into a hula hoop. If it landed in the hoop you had to make the noise of the animal in the hoop, so if you threw it into the Jess the cat hoop, you had to miaow. This game took a bit of getting the hang of, due to hand-eye co-ordination issues, but once he got the idea he loved it and we could barely tear him away.

We soon moved on and did some drawing, he drew a Postman Pat, he’s really starting to get the hang of drawing now and his masterpiece was magnificent. Lastly we were read a story about Peter Rabbit and friends, and then we tried some fruit and vegetables that the rabbits might eat, his favourite was the strawberries, but he nibbled at the radish and didn’t hate it. Result.

We drank some juice and sang some songs, we were told we were about to meet a special guest, who would it be? He drives a van, he has a cat, it was no other than Postman Pat. It was a big moment for the small boy, he waited patiently to meet his postal hero and was rewarded with a cuddle.

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The morning done, we mooched off to CBeebies Land, which quite frankly deserves a post of it’s very own. Coming soon, watch this space etc, suffice to say it was a grand day out.

CBeebies magazine are offering a kids go free deal until October, below are when the vouchers for each attraction are published. We’ll certainly be taking advantage of this brilliant deal.

• Issue 410 (30th July) – Chessington World of Adventures – Save £68 (£34 per ticket)
• Issue 411 (13th Aug) – Alton Towers Resort inc. CBeebies Land – Save £86.40 (£43.20 per ticket)
• Issue 412 (27th Aug) – Warwick Castle – Save £39.60 (£19.80 per ticket)
• Issue 413 (10th Sept) – Legoland and Legoland Discovery Centre – Save £82.80 (£41.40 per ticket)
• Issue 414 (24th Sept) – Sealife Centres and Seal sanctuaries – Save £39 (£19.50 per ticket)

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Note: We were invited to explore Alton Towers, CBeebies Land and enjoy an activity morning by CBeebies magazine to help promote their #CBeebiesMagKidsGoFree campaign. We have not been paid and all opinions expressed are my own.

Tatton Foodies Festival 2014

On what was possibly the worst weekend of the summer in terms of weather, the boys and I packed up and set off for the Tatton Foodies Festival. We were expecting Glastonbury like muddy scenes, but we were pleasantly surprised and the sun even came out for us.

If I were to describe the Foodies Festival, I’d say it was like a giant farmers market, with lots of street food stalls and beer tents as well as little stalls selling kitchenalia and other foodie items.

Foodies festival

When we got there it was lunchtime and we were ravenous, so we quickly decided what we’d have for lunch. I had a veggie pad thai and hubs went for jerk chicken with rice and peas.

Me being me, I couldn’t resist a drinkie and I headed for the Martin Miller’s gin tent for a refreshing beverage. At just £5 for a double it would be rude not to, and they mixed me up a delicious little number with grapefruit and basil.

Foodies festival

There were a great many treats to be had. I sampled a few gins, I especially liked the Warner-Edwards gin which is pretty new, quite special and something to look out for if you’re a bit of a gin bunny.

There was lots going on, masterclasses and demonstrations, massive queues for the goucho barbecue, good natured jostling to get the last portion of free ravioli (I never did get to try it, but it looked delicious) and hot, lava hot churros, I mean who can resist? Not this blogger!

If I’m honest I’m not sure I’m really keen on paying £12 per ticket, plus £5 parking to go to what is essentially a very big farmers market. Don’t get me wrong, we had a lovely time, but it wasn’t worth nearly £30 just to get there and get through the door.

Would we go back next year? Yes, absolutely. But only if I can get my paws on free tickets or if they drop the price considerably. It’s a lot of money for a family day out, especially when belts are being tightened.

Note: I paid for our tickets myself, this is just an account of a nice day out we had.