Hello from the other side of the Easter holidays! It’s been very quiet around here lately, as I’ve been spending time with my two energetic boys on their long school holidays. I hadn’t meant to have such a long break from the blog, so this is a bit of a rambling post.
The Easter weekend was right at the beginning of the holidays. The boys enjoyed two egg hunts – one here and one at their grandparents’ house. They were both treasure hunts with clues and the boys had such fun. And got a lot of chocolate (I totally failed to follow my own advice here). It was wet in the end, but the hunts were just as successful indoors – and actually the potential for clever clues is much better!
After all the chocolate we needed a good walk by the river…
Followed by our first ice cream of the year!
After the Easter weekend we headed off for a few days in the Leicestershire countryside. We stayed in a beautiful little country cottage in the Vale of Belvoir, which is just over an hour away from us. James grew up in the this area and couldn’t wait to take the boys to some of his favourite places.
On our first day we visited Beacon Hill, overlooking Loughborough. It’s an extinct volcano and has the most amazing rocks to scramble about on. The boys love a bit of climbing and had a great time.
The hill is part of a larger country park which also has a Labyrinth made our of Rhododendron roots. The boys were fresh from watching Labyrinth the film for the first time, so were deeply excited by the thought of this. In reality, it wasn’t quite as exciting as the Goblin City, but it was still pretty fun and completely deserted.
For our next adventure we drove over to Nottingham Castle. The castle is sadly nothing like it would have looked to Robin Hood and his merry men (it was demolished after the Civil War), but underneath its unassuming exterior it still has its famous ancient tunnels.
The castle was built upon Castle Rock, and within this huge lump of sandstone (and underneath the rest of Nottingham) are a whole network of tunnels. We had a tour of Mortimer’s Hole which leads right up to the top of the rock. The history is really palpable down there and we all had a fascinating time – it’s not at all claustrophobic, more a big open tunnel which is quite steep in places.
On our last day at the cottage we went to Belton House, which is near Grantham. Belton has the most amazing adventure playground with a miniature railway.
It’s also a beautiful house and garden, where the book and TV series Moondial was filmed in the late eighties. Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have noticed that I recently read the book and re-watched the TV series. So, I lured the boys with the adventure playground, and in return I got to spend a while wandering around pretending to be Minty from the book and generally being a bit sad.
I must apologise to the National Trust for standing on the Moondial (well, sundial really), but I couldn’t resist recreating this photo from my childhood…
All in all, It was great to get away and we all fell in love with the wood burner in the holiday cottage.
Over the last weekend of the holidays we found ourselves at another castle. This time it was Castle Rising, an old favourite of ours in Norfolk.
We usually just go to the castle, but this time we also did a three mile circular walk through the pretty countryside around it. We had a lovely picnic in the sunshine and even saw a beautiful hare close up. We rounded things off with an ice cream and a run around the castle. It was the perfect end to the holidays.
I hope you all had a great Easter too. I’m looking forward to catching up with all my favourite blogs over the coming week!