A few weeks ago we went on our first family holiday. Being on maternity leave and trying to save for a house, we couldn’t afford to go abroad this year (as much as I neeeeed a beach holiday, I’m sure it won’t be as relaxing as it used to be pre-baby anway!). So we decided to have a UK mini-break instead. I’ve always wanted to go to Bath, and as Longleat is nearby, we thought we would stay away for a few days and turn it into a little holiday. As with everything I do, the holiday couldn’t start without a list (or 5!) I couldn’t believe the amount of stuff we had to take away for 4 days!
We booked a Premier Inn for 3 nights in Frome. Originally I wanted to stay in Bath, but we missed out on the cheap deal whilst waiting for Craig’s holiday to be approved! But I found the Frome hotel and it was only 15 minutes from Bath and Longleat, so perfect for us.
We left on the Sunday and drove the 3 hours to Bath. We used the Park and Ride to get into the main city, as we thought this would be easier than driving. Alfie loved being on the bus! We got off and had a wander round. I wanted to find a nice little hidden café or something for lunch, but after walking round for a bit and not finding anything, Alfie (and Craig!) were getting grouchy because they were hungry, so we just grabbed a Subway and sat in the park to eat it! We then had a wander round the shops and tried to find something to do. Bath was lovely, but I feel like we would have enjoyed it more had we gone as a couple, rather than a family. I’ll be honest, I didn’t do that much research before we came, which is unusual for me! So we just had a walk around. We looked at going into the Roman Baths, but I couldn’t believe how expensive they were! So we gave it a miss, and decided to make our way to the hotel. We planned to go back on our way home from holiday, but the weather was rubbish so we didn’t bother, but I’ll definitely plan another mini-break as a couple to visit Bath properly!
We arrived at the hotel, and because we had already checked in online, it was quite simple to just pick up our room key. We booked a table in the adjoining restaurant, the Frome Flyer, for dinner and breakfast the next morning, then went to our room to settle in. We had a family room on the ground floor, and it was lovely. We had a HUGE kingsize bed, and then a single bed in the corner – obviously Alfie was too young for this, but there was still space to put up his travel cot. I love Premier Inn hotels because they may be basic, but they’re comfy and clean. We unpacked and then made our way down for dinner. The dinner was lovely, but we felt quite expensive for what we had, and also it took ages to come out, so Alfie was getting very impatient! We had asked for his meal to come out as soon as possible, but it came out with our meals. But the food was tasty, just a little pricey.
Alfie took a little longer than usual to settle that first night – I think being in a strange place unnerved him a bit, but he eventually fell asleep and I could go to bed! Craig fell asleep almost straight away because we’d had a long drive and he was tired (poor baby 🙁 ) We wanted to be up early the next morning as we were going to Longleat and wanted to make the most of the day.
We had breakfast at the hotel, which was the standard Premier Inn cooked breakfast with continental buffet, but was delicious! We all had a cooked breakfast with a few extras 🙂 then made our way out to Longleat.
It didn’t take long for us to get there, so we arrived about half an hour after opening, so it was pretty quiet. We decided to go round the safari first before it got busy. It was such a great experience seeing the animals up close. We had rhinos walking right next to our car, and tigers wandering in the road next to us. Unfortunately some of the animals were in their enclosures because there were works being done in that section, so we didn’t get to see them, but overall it was great. Alfie was looking out the window, but I’m not sure how much he actually understood! We did decide to go through the monkey enclosure, and whilst funny, they did eat our aerial. We honestly thought the signs were just to warn of what might happen, but nope, the monkeys are ruthless!! But to be honest, we were glad it was just the aerial they ate and not the windscreen wipers (which reminds me, I must order a new one).
Because we didn’t read the information properly, we left the Safari and then realised we should have got out and done the African village first! So we drove back round, parked up and went for a walk through the village. We saw the giraffes, the lemars and the wallabys! Alfie stopped for a little feed, and Daddy took him on the rope bridge! We then realised we couldn’t get out without going through the safari again (well, we might have been able to, but we didn’t know how!!) So we went round again, which actually was nice because there were a few more animals out at this point (we avoided the pesky monkeys!!) and then ended up at Longleat house.
We parked up and went in to the nearest café for something eat. The food was actually lovely, and the portions were huge for the price we paid! We were all stuffed, including Alfie who had a full kids meals, but it was big enough that it would have filled me up. We changed Alfie using the very lovely and clean changing facilities, and then went for a wander round to see what we could do. We came aross the train, so went and had a ride on that. It took us past a few different animals, and past the lake where you could see the Gorilla Colony. Alfie loved being on the train and kept trying to stick his head out the window!!
I then really wanted to go and do the river cruise as it went quite close to the gorillas (my favourite!) so we queued up for that. It was such a great experience, the lady who was taking the tour was very funny but also informative as she told us about the hippos, the gorillas and the sea lions. Then it was feeding time for the sea lions – it was so fun to watch the jumping up at the boat trying to be fed! We pulled up back at the shore, and we went for a walk through the secret garden which was very pretty.
Then we went for a walk round the rest of the zoo bit and saw the penguins, sting rays, parrot and various creepy crawlies! Finally, we went and looked round Longleat house which was beautiful. We wanted to go in the maze, but unfortunately it was shut for the day.
We loved visiting Longleat, but it was a super long day – we left at 5pm just as it was closing. We had been so lucky with the weather, it had been warm and sunny all day! We couldn’t be bothered to try and find somewhere close by to eat, so we just went back to the hotel, had dinner and then had another early night.
The third day of our holiday we decided to go to Cheddar Gorge. I really loved this part of the holiday. The Gorge was beautiful! We started off by taking the tour bus from the bottom of the Gorge back up to the top, and the guide explained about the history of the place. Then we were dropped off at Gough’s caves and we walked round and had a look through them. I was so pleased for the Connecta at this point, as it meant Alfie could easily be carried round without us having to worry about how we were going to get a pram around the caves! They were so amazing, the tour was a little hand held audio device, which meant you could listen to bits and bobs as you pleased as you were walking round. We stopped off at Costa for some refreshments afterwards, and suddenly it started pouring down! It was such a shame as the weather had been gorgeous the day before! Luckily, being a mum now I was prepared and we all had raincoats in the rucksack to put on. We walked down to Cox’s caves, which again had an amazing projector show running called Dreamhunters. It was very informative and great fun to learn about the history. Alfie actually fell asleep at this point, so he wasn’t very interested!! When we got out, luckily it had stopped raining, so we decided to walk up the 274 steps to the lookout tower! I was so pleased at this point that Craig was carrying Alfie, as I’m not sure I would have made it otherwise. After a long walk and with our legs burning, we walked up the lookout tower and were in awe of the view around us. It was just beautiful. Unfortunatley it started raining again, so instead of doing the cliff top walk, we decided to go back to the car to eat the picnic we had bought.
After we had lunch, we went for another walk around the little village and got ourselves an ice cream. The weather continued to be a bit iffy, and Alfie was tired so we decided to head home. We had had a really lovely day – the only downside being that I had no phone at all, Craig’s phone ran out of battery and I forgot to charge the camera, so we didn’t get any photos at all! I was very disappointed, we even asked around the shops for disposable cameras, but obviously no-one uses them anymore. But it just means we’ll have to go back there one day.
On our final night we went to a gorgeous little Italian place called Castello. It was a fab restaurant, the staff were all very friendly, especially with Alfie and the food was delicious (and very reasonably priced!). Sadly no photos as Craig was in charge of photography, and as he’s a man, he didn’t take any!!
Our last night in the hotel was a bit eventful as the fire alarm went off!! I didn’t even realise what it was, Alfie didn’t wake up even though I had to pick him up out of the travel cot, and we spent about 10 minutes trying to decide what to wear as we were in our pjs!! Not very organised so we were very thankful it was a false alarm. It did make me realise though that when we go away, we should make sure we know where stuff is in the event of a fire and needing to get out quickly. Alfie woke up just as we got back to the room, but fortunately he went back to sleep quickly.
We had a final breakfast the next morning, which was lovely and tried to decide what to do. We thought about visiting Bristol Zoo, however, we figured out once we had left, got there, and driven home, we’d be home late evening so it was going to be a very long day! And the weather wasn’t great, so we decided to just drive home. On our way home we took an unexpected detour via Stonehenge though! I was in charge of the sat nav, and for some unknown reason it took us completely the wrong way, so we did a drive by of the famous site – so at least we can say we saw Stonehenge and didn’t have to pay a fortune to do it.
So, all in all, our first family holiday was a huge success! We were lucky to have lovely weather, and it was fab to get away from home with my little family. It wasn’t stressful at all, just lots of fun. Now we can’t wait to start planning our next holiday, hopefully over New Year to celebrate a very special occasion 🙂