3 Great places to visit in Costa Blanca, things to do in Spain

3 Great places to visit in Costa Blanca – Ideas to add to your itinerary

We have had many family holidays to Costa Blanca over the years and have found some great places to visit.  There are so many places other than the well known tourist areas.  We stay at my in laws house in a small village in the mountains called Orcheta.  It is located between Benidorm and Alicante but we love to drive and explore other areas.  Here are 3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca during your next holiday.

Places to visit in Costa Blanca

Tabarca Island

Located close to the town of Santa Pola, in the Province of Alicante, Tabarca Island is a great place to go for a day trip.  It can be reached by boat from Santa Pola, Benidorm and Alicante.  We decided to go from Santa Pola as the boats run more frequently.  Parking the car in Santa Pola in the summer months can be a nightmare so my tip is to head straight for Parking del Castillo (Carrer Almirante Antequera) which had lots of spaces when we went and isn’t far from the port.

There are lots of ticket booths at the port so its easy to turn up, choose a boat and buy a ticket.  We took a speed boat across which took about 15 minutes and was 10 euros per person for a return ticket.  The journey across was pleasant with nice views of the coastline.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Tabarca Island

The island was very busy with tourists and the first couple of restaurants we tried were full.  We found a table at Restaurante Mar Azul and enjoyed a really nice paella and some seafood.  It was very busy and hectic but they had a good set menu and we were able to try a few different dishes.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Tabarca Island

After lunch we went for a swim in the clear water close to the port which was lovely.  This side seemed quieter than the beach on the opposite side of the island.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Tabarca Island

After our swim we headed into the village which has a few shops, cafes and restaurants. The restaurants here were not as busy so its a good option if you want to get away from the crowds.

There are a few options to stay overnight on the Island which I would like to do next time as I would love to experience the island when it is quiet and not full of day trippers.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Tabarca Island

Guadalest

I love visiting the small picturesque village of Guadalest.  It survives mainly on tourism and is located inland in a mountainous area of the province of Alicante.  It takes about 30 minutes to drive from Benidorm.  The village sits on top of a mountain and gives amazing views of the green valley below.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Guadalest

In the village you will find some shops and restaurants and Guadalest Castle which can be reached by walking through a tunnel carved out of the rock.  You can also visit the restored house of the Orduna family to get an idea of what it used to be like living in ancient times in Guadalest.

If you look to the right of Guadalest you will see beautiful views of the valley which has a dam and reservoir.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Guadalest

When visiting Guadalest we always stop on the way back for lunch at El Trestellador.  This restaurant has lovely views and serves great Arroz al horno, which is a rice dish similar to paella but it is cooked in the oven.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Guadalest

Canelobre Caves

The small town of Buscot is home to the spectacular Canelobre Caves.  They are a 35 minute drive from Alicante and are well worth a visit.  The stunning interior has been compared to a Gothic Cathedral.  The acoustics inside are so good that concerts are held in the caves from time to time.

There were lots of strange and wonderful shapes to look at.  A tour guide provides interesting facts about the caves as you walk through.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Canelobre Caves

As we were coming from the north we passed a village called Aigues which was a great place to stop for some lunch before the caves.  This village has a lovely square surrounded by a few places to eat and drink and a nice children’s park.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Aigues village

We ate in Nou Llima which served really tasty grilled meat and salad and had a nice outside seating area.  Its definitely worth a visit if passing through this way.

3 great places to visit in Costa Blanca, travel ideas for Spain, Aigues village

There is so much more to Costa Blanca than the beaches and these are just 3 places to visit in Costa Blanca that we enjoy during our time in Spain.

Thank you for reading and hope this has inspired you to think outside the box when next travelling to Costa Blanca.

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3 Great Places to visit in Costa Blanca, ideas of things to do in Spain, Tabarca Island, Guadelest and Canelobre Caves

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Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

Our family trip camping in the Cotswolds – What we got up to

We have recently come home from our very first ever camping trip!  Our friends convinced us to take the plunge and join them for a couple of nights away camping in the Cotswolds so we bought a tent and off we went.  We were lucky to be going with seasoned campers that had all the equipment and knew what they were doing.  The kids were really excited at the prospect of sleeping in their sleeping bags in our new tent.  We booked two nights at the Cotswold View Caravan & Camping Park which is set in the beautiful Cotswolds about 30 minutes from Oxford.  The park is located on a wooded farmland with forest trails and farm animals on site.

Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

Camping in the Cotswolds

Arriving

We arrived at lunch time armed with some sandwiches so the kids didn’t get hungry while we set up camp.  We checked in and found our pitch and set up our brand new tent which when we opened the bag and were greeted with very simply instructions I did fear the worst!  It was actually not that hard to put together and we were soon set up with our home for the next two nights.

Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

The kids were happy running around in the space outside and after a quick tennis match we explored the rest of the site.  It is really well maintained and has a couple of kids parks, a small zip wire, a football goal and a games room with a table tennis table, football table, air hockey and a pool table.  There are trails to follow through the woodland and a number of farm animals to visit.

Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

The fresh air and exercise had made everyone hungry so we lit the BBQ and cooked sausages for the kids and the adults had a chilli that I had made at home and bought with us.  Marshmallows were toasted on the BBQ which the kids loved!

Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

Rise and Shine

We were up early the next morning as the kids were woken up by the light.  Bacon and egg rolls set us up for the day ahead.

Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

We decided to visit Bibury Trout Farm which was a 35 minute drive away from where we were staying.  The drive is nice and picturesque and you pass lots of pretty quint villages.  Just before the trout farm you pass Arlington Row a very pretty row of cottages and is one of the most photographed scenes in the Cotswolds.  You cant miss it as coach loads of people are there armed with their cameras.  Of course we had to stop and get a picture for ourselves.

Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

Catching our supper

Bibury Trout Farm is a lovely day out for children.  We bought some fish food on our way in and the children loved watching the masses of trout go mad when they threw it in.  There is a small children’s play area and a gift shop and café.

Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

We wandered around the farm feeding the trout and then hired the fishing equipment which is free to use to try our luck at catching a trout.  You just have to pay for any fish that you catch.  There are BBQ’s on site and they sell coals if you wish to cook your fish there and then.  We decided to take ours home in a cool bag to BBQ that evening.

Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

The kids absolutely loved this activity and its great for them to experience catching the trout, watching it being killed and then gutted, which the staff can do for you.  There are lots of picnic benches so it would be nice to take a picnic to eat alongside your catch and make a real day of it.

We decided to stop at the pretty village of Burford on our way back to camp.  This lovely village has a nice High Street with lots of places to eat and some boutique shops.  We visited The Cotswold Cheese Company and bought a selection of cheeses and cooked meats for later that evening and went to The Burford House Hotel for a pit stop.  This lovely hotel and restaurant has a courtyard garden which was the perfect place to sit for a scone and glass of prosecco.

Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

A walk to the village

Our campsite was a 30 minute walk into the village of Charlbury.  The walk starts off through the woodland and then takes a path along the edge of a field.  It was a lovely walk with great scenery and the children didn’t moan once!

Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

The village has three pubs, a few shops and a post office.  We went to The Bell Inn for a drink in their huge garden which was great as it gave the kids lots of freedom to run around.  Next stop was The Bull Inn for an early dinner.  The food and service here was great and their cocktail menu was impressive too!  All with full tummy’s we headed on the walk back to camp.

The kids enjoyed their freedom running around the space outside the tent.  They also spent time enjoying table tennis and air hockey in the games room.  It was then time to light the BBQ and cook our catch of the day!  The Trout was absolutely delicious and went down a treat.  More marshmallows were toasted as to not waste the BBQ.

Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

Heading home

We had been so lucky with the weather during our stay with beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures but that all changed on the morning we were leaving and had to pack up in the rain!  Wasn’t much fun but we got everything packed away and in the car and headed home.

We had a really lovely time camping in the Cotswolds.  The campsite was great and the location was stunning.  We have definitely been converted and would love to take the children camping again.  Its a great way to spend time out in the fresh air and explore the amazing countryside which the UK has to offer.

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Camping in the Cotswolds, our first camping holiday, Cotswold View Caravan and Camping Park, great few days camping

Portmeirion, North Wales, a great place to visit

A little bit of Italy in North Wales – Visiting Portmeirion

During our recent family holiday to North Wales we visited Portmeirion, a village created by an architect from 1925 to 1976.  The architect, Clough Williams-Ellis wanted to demonstrate how a naturally beautiful site could be developed and remain unspoilt.  I had read about this village in my guide book and was very intrigue and didn’t really know what to expect.

Portmeirion

Portmeirion, North Wales, great place to visit

Today Portmeirion is one of Wales’ main tourist attractions and is open everyday of the year from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm.  It attracts many day visitors but there is a hotel and self catering cottages if you wanted to extend your visit.  There is a choice of places to eat within the village and also a spa for a bit of pampering!

I would highly recommend joining one of the free walking tours that they offer (1st April – 31st October) as it helps to give you some back ground information about the village and some interesting facts about the buildings.  Not sure I would have spotted that half of the windows on the building below are painted on!

Portmeirion, North Wales, great place to visit

I was really taken back by all of the colourful buildings.  There is so much to look at and take in.  If you enjoy photography you will love it here.  I really felt like I had been transported to Italy.

Portmeirion, North Wales, great place to visit

Portmeirion, North Wales, great place to visit

A walk in the woods

There are a couple of walking routes you can following which takes you along the coast and through the woodland.  The children enjoyed this as there were things to see and lots of trees to climb.  Pick up a leaflet at the entrance for a map of the routes.

Portmeirion, North Wales, great place to visit

Portmeirion, North Wales, great place to visit

Portmeirion, North Wales, great place to visit

You can also catch a ride on the land train which takes you on a trip through part of the woodland however the queue was too long when we were there so we didn’t get the chance to try this. It seemed to be less busy in the morning so this would be the best time to catch the train.

Lunch time

As mentioned there are a few different places to eat within Portmeirion but we decided to try the restaurant in the hotel.  The hotel is located down by the coastline which gave us a nice view from our table next to the window.

Portmeirion, North Wales, great place to visit

The hotel felt very grand with some lovely lounge areas to sit in and a nice terrace outside on sunny days (which doesn’t happen very often in Wales!).  We ordered soup and sandwiches which were all very tasty and washed down with a nice glass of wine.  They were very accommodating in making a ham sandwich for the children.

Portmeirion, North Wales, great place to visit

If you are visiting North Wales then I would definitely add a trip to Portmeirion to your itinerary.  Its very different from anywhere else in Wales or the rest of the UK for that matter.  For more information click here to visit their website.

For more ideas on places to visit in North Wales please take a look at my other post – 3 Picturesque towns and villages in North Wales you need to visit.

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Portmeirion, North Wales, a great place to visit, a little bit of Italy in North Wales

Weekend Glamping with the family, Meadow Keeper's Cottage , near Rye in Sussex, great weekend glamping with the family

Family weekend glamping – Meadow Keeper’s Cottage, Sussex

As a family we haven’t spent time camping in a tent so a weekend glamping suited us perfectly.  It was great to spend time as a family in the outdoors going back to basics with no electricity or internet.  You don’t realise how much time is spent on electrical devices until they are taken away.  We had such a great weekend staying at Meadow Keeper’s Cottage in Sussex.

Meadow Keeper’s Cottage

The adventure starts as soon as you park up at the farm.  You unload your luggage onto a golf like buggy and get driven down to the cottage by the owner.  This one of a kind, tiny cottage on wheels was our home for three nights.  It can sleep 4 people, 2 in a double bed and 2 on single beds that convert back to seats for the dining room table.  It is tiny with a small kitchenette next to the double bed but has everything you need.

Meadow Keeper's Cottage near Rye in Sussex, great weekend glamping with the family

Meadow Keeper's Cottage near Rye in Sussex, great weekend glamping with the family

Meadow Keeper's Cottage, near Rye in Sussex, great weekend glamping with the family

The cottage is really quint and feels like you are staying in a cottage from a fairytale story. It is fully equipped with everything you need to be able to prepare and cook all meals.  There is a gas hob, running water, kettle and lots of plates and cutlery.  It is also supplied with a large cooler box which is kept outside for all your food.  They provide ice packs which can be changed when needed.   For cooler nights there is a small log burner in the middle of the cottage.  We were lucky enough not to need this.

The Great Outdoors

The cottage is located on Swallowtail Hill farm, it sits between two wildflower meadows and next to its own pond.  It is completely invisible from anywhere else on the farm.  This really made it feel like we were on our own little adventure in the wilderness. It was so peaceful and quiet and the kids could run around and make as much noise as they wanted.

Meadow Keeper's Cottage, near Rye in Sussex, great weekend glamping with the family

Meadow Keeper's Cottage, near Rye in Sussex, great weekend glamping with the family

Meadow Keeper’s Cottage is next to it’s own pond which is great for bird watching and has a small boat which you can row around the pond if you are feeling adventurous!  I managed it without any hiccups but poor hubby ended up in the pond while trying to get in the boat!  It did give us all a laugh! 🙂

Meadow Keeper's Cottage, near Rye in Sussex, great weekend glamping with the family

There is a great outside dining area and fire pit for some bonfire cooking.  We cooked some great dinners and full English breakfasts over the bonfire.  It was definitely a highlight for my hubby and son who thought they were hunter gatherer men cooking over an open fire.  Its also great for cooking marshmallows!

Meadow Keeper's Cottage, near Rye in Sussex, great weekend glamping with the family

Meadow Keeper's Cottage, near Rye in Sussex, great weekend glamping with the family

Meadow Keeper's Cottage, near Rye in Sussex, great weekend glamping with the family

Meadow Keeper's Cottage, near Rye in Sussex, great weekend glamping with the family

Facilities

The cottage really does have everything you need on site but as its so tiny most of the facilities are located outside (which the children thought was great).  Right next door to the cottage is a log fired shower which the owner explains exactly how to use when you arrive, so don’t worry if you are a complete novice like we were!  Next to the shower is an outside tap for drinking water.

Meadow Keeper's Cottage, near Rye in Sussex, a great weekend glamping with the family

Meadow Keeper's Cottage, near Rye in Sussex, a great weekend glamping with the family

Meadow Keeper's Cottage, near Rye in Sussex, a great weekend glamping with the family

Hidden a little way from the cottage is your own private compostable toilet (another first for the kids!).  Once you get the hang of the rules on what you can and can’t do its great stepping out of the loo surrounded by meadows and if you’re lucky enough you may spot a deer or two!

Meadow Keeper's Cottage near Rye in Sussex, a great weekend glamping with the family

Meadow Keeper's Cottage near Rye in Sussex, a great weekend glamping with the family

Meadow Keeper's Cottage near Rye in Sussex, a great weekend glamping with the family

Things to do

The owners of the farm are really keen to share their love of the farm and often give guests the chance to join in feeding the animals.  It is weather dependent but if it is available it is a great activity to do with the kids.  Wellies are essential so don’t forget to pack them!  The children could get up close to the animals and learn lots about running the farm.  They also learnt the farmers way to wash your hands!

Meadow Keeper's Cottage near Rye in Sussex, a great weekend glamping with the family

Meadow Keeper's Cottage near Rye in Sussex, a great weekend glamping with the family

Places to visit

Camber sands is a beach at the village of Camber and is a short 10 minute drive away from Meadow Keeper’s Cottage.  The village of Camber itself is a bit run down but the beach is very wide and sandy.  Be warned it can be very windy though so you may need to hire a windbreak!

Meadow Keeper's Cottage near Rye in Sussex, a great weekend glamping with the family

The small historical town of Rye is also worth a visit.  Its lined with cobbled streets and small passages. There are some nice shops and places to eat.  We stopped for lunch at the Ypres Castle Inn, this 17th century old English pub offers a lunch and dinner menu.  They often have local fish and seafood on the menu from the Rye Bay fishing fleet which moors close to the pub.  Its great in sunny weather as they have a lovely beer garden with views of the Ypres Castle which the kids enjoyed exploring.

Meadow Keeper's Cottage, near Rye in Sussex, a great weekend glamping with the family

We had such a wonderful weekend together.  It was really great to be outside with no distractions from electrical devices or the internet!  Not saying I could live like that though, a weekend without my hair straighteners was enough 🙂  Check out the website for Swollowtail Hill for more information on staying at Meadow Keeper’s Cottage.

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Meadow Keeper's Cottage near Rye in Sussex, great weekend glamping with the family

3 Picturesque towns and villages in North Wales you need to visit

We recently had a weeks family holiday to North Wales and I fell in love with this part of the UK.  Its scenery is just stunning and there are so many pretty villages and towns to visit.  We based ourselves in a cottage in the small village of Llandrillo just outside Snowdonia National Park and travelled by car to make our way round North Wales.  There was enough to fill a week and we didn’t see everything on my list.  A second trip is definitely on the cards!  This is a post about my favourite 3 towns and villages in North Wales that we visited during our holiday.

Towns and villages in North Wales

Betws-y-Coed

This stunning village in the Conwy valley has plenty to do and some great places to eat.  There are plenty of walks including a path along the river to Swallow Falls.

Betws-y-Coed, North Wales, the best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for visiting North Wales

For children there is a miniature railway at the train station as well as a gift shop and a café on an old train carriage.

Betws-y-Coed, North Wales, the best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for visiting North Wales

Betws-y-Coed, North Wales, the best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for visiting North Wales

If visiting with kids bring some old milk lids to fill up the metal Rhino that sits at the train station.

Betws-y-Coed, North Wales, The best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for visiting North Wales

Pont-y-Pair bridge is a lovely place to stop and admire the views of the falls.  The children enjoyed climbing the rocks and getting closer to the water.  There were lots of people doing the same, enjoying the views and taking in the amazing surroundings.  For some nice pub grub The Pont-y-Pair Inn is just across the road from the bridge.

Betws-y-Coed, North Wales, the best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for visiting North Wales

Betws-y-Coed, North Wales, the best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for visiting North Wales

Beddgelert

We were unlucky that it rained nearly the whole time we were in Beddgelert (it is Wales so we came prepared with our macs).  I still found this village very picturesque with its pretty river and quaint cafes, ice cream parlour and homemade fudge.  We took a nice short walk south of the village to the grave stone of Gelert, a faithful hound of the medieval Welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great.

Beddgelert, North Wales, The best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for travelling to North Wales

Beddgelert, North Wales, The best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for travelling to North Wales

There are some lovely places to stop and refuel.  We went to Caffi Colwyn for a mid morning snack and it was my first try of Bara Brith (traditional Welsh fruit loaf).  The Welsh Rarebit was also really good!

Bara Brith, North Wales, the best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for travelling to North Wales

Beddgelert, North Wales, the best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for travelling to North Wales

We had promised the children an ice cream so made a stop at Glaslyn Ices a lovely traditional ice cream parlour that serves a selection of homemade ice creams and sorbets.

Beddgelert, North Wales, the best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for travelling to North Wales

Llangollen

This was my favourite place that we visited during our holiday.  I’m not sure if that was helped by lovely weather and sunshine!  Located in the centre of the town is the Llangollen Railway which takes a 10 mile journey through the Dee Valley (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) to the town of Corwen.

Llangollen, North Wales, the best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for travelling to North Wales

We spent a lot of time next to the river walking over the rocks.  The kids loved exploring this area and dipping their toes in the water.  Its a great place to come and relax and enjoy a picnic.  You can get some great sausage rolls and cakes from the local bakeries.  There were also a lot of children with nets trying to catch the small fish.  We bought some duck food from the nearby shop and fed the ducks.

Llangollen, North Wales, the best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for travelling to North Wales

There are lots of places to eat and drink.  I had a lovely Welsh afternoon tea at Cottage Tearooms & Bistro and The Corn Mill is great to go in nice weather and enjoy some food and drink on their outside terrace overlooking the river.

There is a small museum in the town detailing the history of Llangollen.  Its worth a visit with small children as they have a dressing up box and a small area with toys and colouring.  If you’re lucky you may get to see some white water rafters travelling down the river.

Llangollen, North Wales, the best villages in North Wales to visit, ideas for travelling to North Wales

I absolutely fell in love with North Wales and Snowdonia National Park.  There is so much for me to write about that I think I need to leave it there until my next blog post.  Would love to hear from you if you have any comments.

Thanks for visiting and taking the time to read my post.

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Picturesque villages in North Wales, the best towns and villages in North Wales, ideas for travelling in North Wales

This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase something through a link on this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.