We’re already picturing ourselves in the fluffy bathrobes and getting stuck into the REN toiletries at The Lodges; nestled in the picturesque Rother Valley, East Sussex.
The buildings were restored and furnished to an exceptional standard by DJ Jon Carter (whom we interviewed for the magazine last year) and his wonderful wife Nina – all with two baby twin daughters in tow (we’re guessing sleep-deprived Mummy and Daddy must have tested out the king-sized beds a few times!)
The properties boast roll top baths, woodburning stoves and wifi – plus there’s a heated pool and a hot tub outside.
As well as providing gorgeous, romantic (yet also child-friendly) rural escapes, The Lodges also offer retreats such as yoga or cooking courses. You could even take a foraging excursion, then have your own private chef knock up something delicious from your findings.
Oh gosh – what a genius idea – well, for anyone who has been on the wrong side of tutting and ‘sssh-ing’ whilst on a train with their kids anyhow!
The dedicated family-friendly carriage – complete with classic family games, arts and crafts, music, and on-board entertainers performing magic tricks – is being trialled this week as part of Chiltern’s summer holiday campaign which aims to make a family visit to London special from the minute they board the train.
Peter Williams, Interim Commercial Director at Chiltern Railways, said:
“We wanted to provide a space where kids can be kids and families can enjoy spending time together. If you travel by car, kids can spend so much time staring at the back of their parent’s heads, but a train journey, especially the kid’s coach, provides a great opportunity to bond, play and make memories together.”
“It’s summer, a time for fun, and we want to hear the sounds of children laughing and having fun on our services. We created the Kid’s Coach to help make their summer holiday one they will talk about for years to come.
Chiltern Railways’ ‘Kid’s Coach’ is available on a first-come, first-served basis on the 10.55 Silver Train from Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone on Wednesday 9th, Thursday 10th and Friday 11th August only. The service will also pick up passengers at Solihull, Warwick Parkway, Leamington Spa, Banbury and High Wycombe before arriving in London at 12.42. If successful, the carriage may continue to be a feature on board selected Chiltern Railways trains this summer.
Families travelling from other stations on the Chiltern line, needn’t fear missing out. Station staff will also be giving out Kid’s Activity Packs with a word search, colouring in and plenty more to keep them entertained.
The Chiltern Family Travelcard* covers family return trips to London, plus unlimited journeys on London’s tube and buses. Prices between Birmingham/Oxford and Haddenham and Thame Parkway are as follows: 1 adult + 1 child = £25, 2 adults + 1 child = £49 and every additional child (up to 4) = £1. To book, visit www.chilternbigdeal.co.uk.
Regal Rentals offer some useful advice ifyou’re planning on driving abroad over the coming months.
If you are hiring a vehicle, choose one you feel comfortable with. Consider driving an automatic car – rather than a manual – which will give you one less thing to think about or a smaller car which can be easier to manoeuvre and park. Pack an up-to-date map in the car and consider using a GPS to help prevent you getting lost. Get the right insurance cover. If you’re driving in another country, you need to let your insurance company know and check if your policy covers you. Check to see if you have European breakdown cover with you policy and upgrade it if you don’t. Remember to take your driving licence. You can use your UK driving licence to drive within the EU/EEA but you will need an International Driving Permit if you want to drive outside of these countries. Ask your local Post Office for details. Check what sort of fuel the vehicle requires.
Be aware that compulsory items to be carried in the vehicle and speed limits may vary by country and drivers should check in advance. Such things as Warning Triangles, Hi Visibility Vests for each passenger, First Aid Kits and replacement bulbs are the responsibility of the driver/hirer of the vehicle.
Before you set off, it can be helpful to check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website for safety advice www.fco.gov.co.uk Consider taking out an Excess Reduction Policy. This is optional and the cost varies depending on the length of hire but it can give added peace of mind. Give yourself plenty of time to get used to driving a different car. When you’re sitting on the opposite side to what you’re used to it can feel strange. Check where all the controls are so you can familiarise yourself with the layout. Do some research before you travel. For example, it’s useful to be aware of the different speed limits in the country you are visiting. Relax. Don’t feel that you have to leave the airport car park and drive straight on to the fast lane of the motorway or dual carriageway. Take your time to get used to the car, the roads and driving on the opposite side. Don’t overdo the driving. Build in regular stops so you can get out of the car, stretch and refuel. Try not to drive when you are tired or children are fractious.
About Regal Rentals
Independent vehicle rental company, Regal Rentals works with private, business and corporate customers across the UK from its network of 12 branches and head office in Mollington, Chester.
We were super-excited to hear about the launch of the mifold car booster seat – which you’ll be able to buy in John Lewis stores from December – which is set to change the way we view 4-12 year old car travel.
The seat – which folds down to handbag size (or indeed, your child’s rucksack) – means never having to illegally perch your child on your knee in a cab, never worrying about having to lug a carseat on a long haul flight and having the flexibility to pick up extra friends after school without having to rearrange your back seat.
mifold’s team of top designers, engineers and industry experts have together changed the way that a traditional booster seat works. Regular booster seats lift a child to be in the position of an adult, whereas mifold does the exact opposite by holding the seatbelt down. It’s that simple! With 3 belt guides, mifold adjusts the lap belt and shoulder strap to fit the child and accurately holds the seat belt on the hip bones and shoulder, offering the correct amount of restraint in case of impact. Taking less than 30 seconds to fit per child, mifold is safe, foldable and portable enabling parents and caregivers to use it in situations that current car seats on the market today are unable to accommodate.
With approval according to the European regulation R44.4, mifold meets the highest legal standards for child restraint systems, so parents can rest assured that their child will never have to travel without a car restraint again.
mifold will be available in the UK from John Lewis for £49.95 from the beginning of December 2016.
If you missed the online Q&A hosted by Britax and @GoodEggSafety‘s Louise Nicoll last night (our excuse: vintage AbFab on Netflix) then you’ll have missed their insight into car seat safety as part of Child Safety Week.
If your own safety know-how extends to strapping ’em in and ignoring any pleas from the back seat to drive like Lightning McQueen, then a quick skim through @BritaxUK twitter feed might shed light on a few subjects… Such as the rules about car seats on the front seat, whether you should take your own on a coach journey – and there are a few tips thrown in about passing the time on long car journeys.
We’re actually especially impressed with the Britax range for older children – including the Kidfix models which come in a whole host of bright colours and really don’t look like ‘baby seats’ at all. Possibly a solution if (like many) you moved your child into a booster seat before the law changed and now need to cajole them back into a full car seat again…
Starting to think about Summer holidays? Booking for a family is obviously fraught with its own issues (will there be a travel cot, will we struggle with the buggy up a billion stairs? etc) but being stung for un-necessary costs need not be one of them.
The nice people at momondo have put together a few tips based on their extensive research of travel stats. According to them, “The price of a hotel room always goes up and down. Seasons, popular events in a destination and the time of booking are all essential factors to bear in mind, which influence price. Costs of hotels can vary dramatically and there is potentially a lot of cash to save by paying attention to a few aspects that are essential to hoteliers, when they set their rates.”
And they’ve also put together a handy chart showing peak times in key cities.
And momondo have a few tips on getting the best flight deals too:
Book your trip 53 days in advance to get the cheapest tickets – and you can achieve average savings of 26%
Tickets are generally most expensive on the day of departure
Evening departures between the hours of 6pm and 12am typically offer the cheapest fares
It is usually more expensive to fly in the morning and midday, before 3pm
A Tuesday is generally the cheapest day to fly
Saturday is routinely the most expensive day of the week to fly
Show the kids a playtime of a bygone era at Victorian town Blists Hill this holiday.
Partake in Victorian Track Events including skipping, sack races and egg & spoon and on certain days enjoy a game of football on the Green. Join in children’s activities, try your hand at Croquet and see the Prince Albert Players performing ‘Victorian Classics; Edward Lear’.
Or you can chat to the Townsfolk in their shops and cottages, find out about curious remedies in the Pharmacy, see traditional skills in action at the printers, candle makers and decorative plasterers and join in the sing-a-long in the New Inn Pub.