If you ask me to recommend a must do activity in London, I would say it is an afternoon tea at one of the grand hotels. I have been to a few afternoon teas, and some of the places are not very suitable for kids. […]
What are summers good for in Britain? I say camping! Let’s take it up a notch: a proper bed in a tent, dinner cooked by a chef and served at a table and good old camping becomes a glamorous camping, aka glamping. One night in July, we were invited to dinner and also to see the glamping camp at the Home Farm Glamping.
The farm is located at Elstree and is easily reachable from the train station. We drove and there are plenty of parking spaces for all the guests at the farm. The campground is one big field with strategically cleared walkways, with tents dotted in a kind of a big circle. Tents are located at quite a distance from each other , so you would not feel like someone is cramping your style!
Each tent has got a double bed inside and there is also a space for 2 extra beds on each side. A family like ours, 2 adults and 2 kids would fit in there perfectly. Jess, the lovely owner, also told us that a whole tent is sometimes taken by 4 girls for their hen do parties. The more the merrier!
By the side of the tent, there is a little deck area, table and chairs and a wood burner, if you want to roast marshmallows or do story time. Jess told us, that they are not allowed to build any permanent bathroom facilities next to tents, so the showers and toilets are located in a small building, which is just a short walk from tents.
The farm is perfect for families, as you let the kids try camping, but in much better conditions. You will wake up to the sound of birds or a cockerel, get out of your tent and start exploring nature straight away.
Every Thursday the farm is hosting the supper club “Under the Oak Tree”. We sat at one big communal table, set under the oak tree (as per title!), and had some nibbles before the supper of Thai curry was served. There were two options: chicken and vegetable curry, and if you have any special dietary requirements, they will be happy to accommodate. You can bring your own drinks and start meeting your neighbours at the table.
As there were other families at the table that night, our kids started playing and within minutes they were running about in the field, but because there are no cars and it is too far from anywhere, you can just enjoy your glass of whatever you are drinking. The fairy lights come on, the blankets are provided, in case you are feeling the chill, and conversation is flowing.
The dessert was a very chocolatey brownie and fresh fruit, followed by more chatting and watching the fire.
I can thoroughly recommend Home Farm Glamping to all families, as it is an easy way to get closer to nature and enjoy walking , running or just discovering a slower way of life. If you are interested, have a look at the Home Farm Glamping website, which has got lots of ideas on activities and booking details.
Home Farm Glamping hosted us for dinner as part of their supper club, but all opinions are my own.
Seaside and fantastic countryside in one trip in the UK? You need to go to Kent! Only 1.5 hours from London, the county is full to the brim with seaside towns and beaches, quirky villages, beautiful landscapes and child-friendly activities. We have already been to […]
Plovdiv has been selected European Capital of Culture in 2019 and once you visit it, it is easy to see why. I absolutely loved the place: there were not many tourists around and it is full of historical sites and ancient monuments, which are within walking distance of one another. Plovdiv has a mix of cultures and a hipster area for all your Instagram/coffee breaks/craft beer needs.
As the city centre is quite compact, I decided to explore it on foot with my daughter Letitia and with the help of Audio Guide Bulgaria, which you can collect in the Tourism Office before you start your walk.
Together with an audio guide you will get a fantastic map with illustrations. The map certainly makes the walk more entertaining, compared to following your google map on your phone. Hey, when was the last time you explored the city with the paper map?
Once you reach a building you can press the relevant number and listen to the story or additional material, if you want to discover a bit more. The audio guide is very user friendly and you can even return it the next day before a certain time, just in case you want to explore the city in the evening.
We found that we could just about manage to see majority of the buildings on the walk, but we only went inside two houses, so if you are planning to see more museums, I recommend reserving the audio guide for 2 days, so you can have more time discovering the Old and New towns in Plovdiv.
The Audio Guide is not only available in Plovdiv, but in other cities like Sofia and Nessebar or Bansko. It is also available in English, Russian, Spaish, Italian, French, Turkish and Greek.
I want to show you couple of places that we loved most of all on our walk.
I could not believe my eyes that right in the city centre a part of the ancient Roman stadium is readily available for your exploration. And it is free. Majority of the stadium lies under the main street, but there is a post half way up the high street to show where the stadium ends. It is an absolutely massive structure and it is refreshing to see it being in free access. You can literally touch history by sitting on ancient stairs, like Romans did, so many years ago.
The House of Hindliyan
The colour of this house is like the sky and it is like a jewellery box inside. The house used to be a residence for a very wealthy merchant family. Some of the rooms are so full of atmosphere, I just wanted to sit there and imagine, what these rooms might have seen. It is a very human house, so there is no grandeur and majority of the rooms are not roped, so you can walk around and see the views from the windows or admire the paintings in the alcoves.
In order to preserve the anciet art of crafts , some houses have been turned into artists/craftsmen residences, where you can see them working or admire examples of their work. Again, this was such a great introduction to the world of the Bulgarian craft: you can have a chat with artists as they all spoke English, no problem, and they would show you what they are working on, if you ask nicely.
Unless you have an audio guide with you, it is likely you are going to walk past this place and never look inside. The restaurant used to be a hall for Dancing Dervishes and there are still signs for it everywhere: wall paintings and the way the hall is built. That was really a gem and if you like to stay for some time, you can, as they have lovely open courtyard with comfortable seats. The restaurant is open all day, so you should be able to visit it as part of your tour even outside of food-serving times.
These places are just part of the 25 places which form part of Plovdiv walking tour, so I urge you, while Plovdiv is still not discovered, to go and see its beauty with your own eyes.
The use of audio guides was complimentary, but all opinions are my own.
USSR is now left in memories, old maps and nostalgia style cafes one can find in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. If you want to experience what it was like to be a kid in USSR, then you should visit “15 Kopeek”, museum of Soviet arcade machines and old-fashioned fun.
We visited on a gloomy day in the middle of winter, but the space inside was inviting and cosy. Letitia said that it was the best museum we visited in a space of a week and, believe me, there were a lot of museums, I dragged the whole family to.
I can vouch for authenticity of this place, as I grew up at the tail end of USSR collapse. Just across the street there was “Igroteka”, a building filled with arcade machines. My parents would give me some change and I would go and play there until the money is finished. Unlike other arcade machines that I see now,you did not win any money or prizes in these arcade machines, but you were able to perfect your table football skills, shooting a target or driving the cars. Maximum you could win was an extra game!
The museum is full to the brim with different types of playing devices and there are helpful explanation notes next to each machine on its history and background and how to play it. The museum also has free tour, where you would be able to learn about all there is to know about Soviet ways to have fun.
One of my personal highlights was the lemonade dispenser. When I was a child, for a mere 1 pence (1 kopejka in Russian money) you could buy a glass of carbonated water , but if you were feeling particularly rich that day, for another 2 pence you could put syrup there. Oh my god, they had exactly the same machines with exactly the same tasting syrup as in my childhood! I would go to this museum for this taste alone!
The variety of arcade machines is astonishing and I could not believe how bad the design was. When you are a kid, you don’t really care about things like design and whether it looks pretty, but when I saw them with my Instagram spoiled eye, I realised that design was not high on the priority list. However , now it looks like proper stuff and one can be appreciate its vintage features.
You can easily spend here a couple of hours, if not more. The name of the museum refers to the coin denomination of 15 pence (kopeek). We used to put this coin into the slot to make machines run. When you buy museum ticket you are given a matchstick box full of coins, so you can easily try playing all the machines in the museum.
Apart from the machines, there is also table tennis, chess and a big screen showing old cartoons, or you can have a drink/meal in the cafe. If you like Soviet souvenirs, there is a great shop with nostalgia items and old Nokia phones. I think I used to possess the one for 4,500 rubles pictured below.
For the smallest members of the family there are also couple of stationary planes, which they will absolutely love!
Good news is that there is a similar museum in Moscow, so if you are there, I am pretty sure you can get a similar experience. I recommend the museum especially if you are with kids, as all family can play together in such a special environment. if you grew up in USSR, it is even better, nostalgia is all around you.
Our visit to the museum was kindly hosted, but all opinions are my own.
Istanbul is many things: mosques, Islamic art, sprawling bazaars, East and West in the same city- you name it. For me, Istanbul was definitely about food. This was largely due to the food tour I went on with Culinary Backstreets, which showed me a different […]