I was starting to think that this post was never going to get written. It’s been a lazy Christmas on the blog and a lot of quality time has been spent with my family. Plus the past few days have been filled with booking our February holiday to Florida. I had been told that booking Disney takes a lot of planning. Turns out it does indeed take a lot and we still aren’t finished. There’s Disney fast passes to finalise, tickets to buy for Universal, meals to book, car hire and airport parking to research and book. The list just goes on and on and work is getting put on the back burner.
Our main thing to celebrate, when we jet off to Florida, is my blog’s 1st year anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year now for Our Bucket List Lives and how fast that year has gone. When I wrote my first post I remember thinking that it would be nice to have 3,000 followers by the end of the year. I have surpassed that by a long way and I now have close to 10,000 social media followers. My big goal for next year is to increase my website traffic. December was an amazing month and I saw my traffic reach epic new statistics. It would be nice to maintain this. So please stick around my lovely readers.
Please note that I can’t even begin to link up our numerous days out in this post. It is reserved just for holidays (mostly mini breaks).
Looking back at 2017 – Our Family Travel Highlights
January and February
I admit I am not a fan of New Year’s Eve. To me, a new year is nothing special and the start of 2017 was not something I felt like celebrating. I did, however, know that I wanted 2017 to be a special year and a year full of adventures after our horrific 2016.
We have always been inspired to travel but with a blog to record all of our memories it inspired us even more. Our first and main holiday was back in January and I already knew when we went that I wanted to record our holiday on my own website.
We spent 10 days on the beautiful island of Gran Canaria which is part of the Canary Islands. The weather was perfect for us and the sun came out every day. We managed a visit to the Islands #1 family tourist attractions Palmitos park. We went for a ride on a camel, had a ride on a pirate ship, a glass bottom ferry and more. I wrote a series of posts and you can read more over at – Top 12 things to do with kids in Gran Canaria and my round-up post with links to all my review posts – Escaping to the winter sun, our bucket list holiday to Gran Canaria.
I had made our family travel bucket list back in 2016 and we managed to successfully tick a decent proportion of these goals off our list. One of our fun adventures was having a ride on a camel.
In March my Mum treated us to a two-night break in York. York is one of my favourite Cities and it was lovely to be able to take Jamie for his first ever visit. We crammed in so much in the 30 hours that we were there. We visited York Minster, took a walk down the Shambles, had afternoon tea at Betty’s. Plus we visited York castle museum (one of my all-time favourite museums) and the National railway museum which was incredibly impressive, especially as it’s free! You can read my round-up post which links to my reviews here – 30 hours in York – Just how much can you do with kids.
Our touring caravan also had its first outing of 2017 in March. We didn’t venture all that far and headed off to Southview holiday park in Skegness. Jamie was a big fan of the evening entertainment and although it was cold we still enjoyed plenty of their facilities. We also had a really fun day out at the local theme park Fantasy Island. My review of the holiday park can be found over here – Southview holiday park, Skegness – A review.
In early April myself, my Mum and Jamie had a 4-night break to Bournemouth to see some of our family. The weather was incredibly kind to us and we had a really lovely Easter weekend there. After our holiday there I wrote one of my most popular posts of 2017 – My top 10 list of family-friendly things to do in Bournemouth. We were really impressed with the beachfront at Bournemouth. There’s plenty to do with a pier, two land trains, an aquarium, some beautiful gardens, a funfair including a big wheel, beach huts and a day trip to Adventure Wonderland. We will be returning to Bournemouth in 2018.
In late April we found ourselves overseas again, this time in Italy. Mark had never been to Venice before so we celebrated his birthday there in style. We even found a last minute apartment right next to Saint Mark’s square. We managed to fit in the main attractions and plenty of boat rides including a ride on a gondola. There weren’t many other children around and I have to say that Jamie loved it and I’d urge anyone to take their kids if they can. I wrote a few posts about our stay, my main two being – Venice 15 must do’s with kids, top tips and Venice with kids, a family holiday or not?.
We took the caravan out again, this time to Bridlington in East Yorkshire. There is so much for families to do in Bridlington and we managed to pack plenty in. We stayed at South Cliff holiday park and I wrote a review with a list of things to do which can be found here – South Cliff Holiday park, Bridlington – Review and what to do.
One of our favourite things to do is to take the land train up to Sewerby Hall, where we managed a stop off at the miniature village. The train is good value for money and so is a quick ride on the pirate ship from the harbour. We also took a boat trip on the Yorkshire Belle which was worth doing to see all the nesting birds near Flamborough Head. The fair kept Jamie amused for a long time and didn’t cost the earth.
Butlins, Skegness!!!! There is so much to do at Butlins and yet again we were blessed with lovely weather. It was so hot that we ended up spending a lot of time around the splash park. The entertainment was, as always, really good. Jamie especially loved the Mr Men and Wittington rocks shows. The swimming pool at Butlins is more than worth a visit and there is barely a minute of the day where there isn’t something on. The fairground rides were a really big hit with Jamie and it’s so refreshing to go somewhere and find that everything like that is included. Read more over at – 8 great reasons to book a holiday to Butlins, Skegness.
Also in June, we took our caravan away for the third time, this time to Haven Reighton sands near Filey. The touring site was a little small however there was plenty to do onsite with 2 playgrounds, day and night time entertainment, a swimming pool with a lazy river, train down to the sea and more. We especially enjoyed exploring the local area and visited Filey, Scarborough and the stunningly beautiful Flamborough head. I even won family bingo which provided us with a big haul of prizes.
My review can be found over at – Haven Reighton sands review – Caravan holiday to North Yorkshire coast.
In July had a weekend break to Scarborough and stayed at The Sands. This is a block of 5* apartments on the north beach’s seafront. We spent lots of time exploring the area including the nearby steam train, open-top bus and had a fun game of crazy golf opposite the apartments. You can find out more about the apartment that we stayed in here – 6 great reasons to stay at the Sands in Scarborough.
Jamie turned 4 in late July and we had a family 3 night holiday, including my Mum, to Windsor. We had a day trip to LEGOLAND the day before his birthday. On his big day, we had a chill out day at the local park which included a ride on a paddle steamer. I wrote about our day out here –Runnymede pleasure grounds – Day trip near Windsor – 5 great things.
In August we took the caravan out again. This time to Bosworth Water Park in Leicestershire. I am in the process of publishing a review about the site. You can read about our day out to the fabulously entertaining Bosworth Medieval festival. – Bosworth Medieval Festival and my review of the Bosworth Water Park.
In late August we visited some very dear friends in Monmouthshire. There we went on a boat ride through some beautiful scenery, visited Tintern Abbey and Jamie went to his very first rock concert at just 4 years old (in a castle of all places!).
Another series of posts I published this month is for our caravan holiday to Searle’s Leisure in Hunstanton, Norfolk. It’s a really good site with plenty to keep families occupied. There’s a land train, sports, playground, soft play, day and night time entertainment, swimming pools with indoor and outdoor splash areas plus much more not only on site but in the surrounding area. Why not check out my post about everything to do in Hunstanton and around.
September also saw our very first ever glamping holiday. I wouldn’t say we are now converted however we would go glamping again. Next time in warmer weather or where there is a stove within the tent to keep us warm. We were there for two nights and both nights were pretty cold and damp. We stayed in glamping tents at Warwick Castle’s Knights village. The first night we were there it was really quiet and Jamie was just one of two children around for the evening’s entertainment. Which meant a one on one session training to be a knight which he loved.
In late September we visited my in-laws for a few nights who live in Fleetwood, near Blackpool. We were there during the illuminations and firework finals. Both were worth seeing but incredibly busy. One of the highlights was taking a ride on a vintage tram up and down the promenade.
October saw us back in Scarborough again for a short break. We didn’t get up to a huge amount as it was more of a chill out holiday pre busy season for my husband. It has to be said that we were very blessed with good weather in 2017. After a year of rain drenched breaks in 2016 it was lovely to have the sun shining on just about every holiday we took. I hope we will be lucky again in 2018. That saying we did nearly get blown away at Scarborough castle but that just added to the fun.
We were invited down to Blenheim Palace near Oxford to experience their Christmas lights. We stayed in a nearby Travelodge and the whole experience was certainly a highlight of the year. My Vlog of our visit is my most viewed video on Youtube, currently at 2.3k views.
Looking towards 2018 – Our travel hopes for the year ahead
I appreciate the fact that we took an awful lot of holidays in 2017. Nearly all of them were for 2-3 nights and I hope we can take many more similar holidays in 2018. Weekend breaks are the way forward. We will be starting our year off with a weekend in Scarborough, for my birthday. Then in February, we will be going on our ultimate bucket list holiday for 3 weeks to Florida, USA. We have 5 nights booked at Disney, followed by 7 nights in a villa near Disney (with the intention to visit Disney world nearly every day). After this, we will spend 4 nights in Saint Augustine, near the sea. Followed by 5 nights staying onsite at Universal. To say I am excited would be an understatement.
We don’t have much set in stone for the rest of the year, aside from Bournemouth, but we do have ideas of where we’d like to go. Great Yarmouth is somewhere we’ve been meaning to go for the last 2 years so hopefully, we will fit in a small holiday there. We will be visiting Stratford in Warwickshire for a long weekend. Plus Gullivers, Alton Towers (CBeebies hotel has been promised). Plus more breaks up on the Yorkshire coast and we are hoping to take a mini break to Sicily in the summer. We will be taking some Llamas for a walk and hopefully crossing off plenty more fun and different things to do from our family bucket list.
I hope to hear from you all in 2018.
Thank you to everyone who followed our adventures in 2017. I hope you will join us in 2018.
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