Last-minute getaway to the coast

Saturday, 23 August 2014

This week we managed to go away for a night. My partner had arranged a meeting in Moors Valley Country Park so we took the opportunity to go down to the coast.

I found a last-minute deal on for the Carrington House Hotel in Bournemouth. It offered a soft play area and indoor swimming pool. I thought it was a good price until I went online to get the phone number on the morning of our booking and saw that it was £10 cheaper. Luckily it was free cancellation until midday, so I ended up re-booking the hotel at the lower price! So lesson learnt is to always check the website prices right up until the day of the booking.

We set off on Thursday morning and luckily had a good drive down with no stops. We parked our car at the hotel (free parking) and then took a stroll down to Boscombe Beach with our picnic stuff and of course our bucket & spade. The walk took us through the Boscombe Chine Gardens which are really lovely.

Little Miss A was so excited when she saw the beach. One big sand pit to her! Shoes were off and she was running around! It wasn't long before she was brave enough to have a paddle in the sea with Daddy. It was so lovely to see her taking his hand and them having so much fun. I love watching them together.

Boscombe Beach is really nice. Very clean and safe. It wasn't as busy as I thought it was going to be given that it's the school holidays. I think further down towards Bournemouth Pier it was probably busier.

We enjoyed our picnic lunch with added crunch from the sand! Have no idea how much sand Little Miss A ate as it was impossible to stop her putting her hands back down in the sand! Oh well! Never done us any harm!

It was a really fantastic couple of hours on the beach. She even persuaded me to get my feet wet with her! Brrrrrrrr! It was cold!

On the way back from the beach we enjoyed an obligatory ice-cream before heading back up through the Gardens. There was a little children's playground with a water play feature so of course we had to stop off to let Little Miss A get wet again!

We headed back to the hotel and thought by this stage that Little Miss A would have a nap. We felt like we needed one, but she had other ideas. We were going to go for a swim but the heating wasn't working in the pool so we just let Little Miss A loose in the soft play area for a while instead.

Back to our room for her tea and then we headed out to the local shops to find ourselves something to eat. Little Miss A chose this time to have a little sleep waking up just as our delicious Thai food arrived! Typical! Luckily a glass of water and a straw kept her distracted long enough for us to eat. Then it was early nights all round back at the hotel. Always difficult now to sleep with her in the same room.

Up early and after breakfast we checked out of the hotel and headed to Moors Valley Country Park. When we got there at just before 10am, it was already getting busy. I can see why. It's a fantastic Park and has so much to do for families. There was definitely plenty to keep Little Miss A and I entertained whilst Mr MoaB had his meeting.

First stop was the Castle and Sandworks play area. More sand to play in. We've definitely had our money's worth out of the bucket & spade set from Poundland! I'm a sucker for things like little trains so we then took a return journey on the Moors Valley Railway. Great fun chugging along on this steam railway and Little Miss A was waving away at everyone we passed.

The Park has a Gruffalo sculpture so of course we had to pay him a visit. Little Miss A is really into the book now that she's met him (here's the blog about Little Miss A's meeting with the Gruffalo).

Mr MoaB joined us for lunch in the cafe and whilst he went back to his meeting, we walked round some of the Play Trail. The trail is made up of lots of different wooden play equipment. Little Miss A is too young for these at the moment but they look amazing and the kids looked like they were having loads of fun. We made it as far round as the Tree Top Trail which is a 200m wooden walkway that's 5m high so it feels like you're walking amongst the trees. As soon as Little Miss A was out of the pushchair, she was confidently walking up the pathway. No fear. She's definitely not scared of heights!

She fell asleep as we walked back to meet up with Mr MoaB but it was time to set off back home anyway.

Would highly recommend Moors Valley Country Park if you're ever in the area. I'd love to take Little Miss A back when she's bigger and can do the Play Trail. Probably, when she's old enough to do the Go Ape Tree Top Junior Course too!

So there was sand, sea, playground, more water, soft play, playground, more sand, a little train, Gruffalo encounter and a treetop trail! What a brilliant couple of days.

Done very much on a budget. Mr MoaB's work will pay for our petrol. The biggest expense was obviously the hotel but this was just £59 though we did add breakfast on top of that. The other expense was for food. We'd taken our picnic lunch to have on the beach, but we splashed out a bit on the Thai dinner we had (it was worth it, a very very good curry and we so rarely eat out or have a takeaway). We also had lunch at the cafe at the Country Park but got a discount here due to Mr MoaB's work and our car parking charges were covered too. So all-in, it cost us less than £100 for our mini-break away. And given how much fun we had, it was well worth it!

Having only decided we were going to go away at the beginning of the week, we packed a lot in and had a brilliant time!

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