Discovering Bournemouth’s Hidden Gems

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This is a collaborative post; our spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own. Last weekend we decided to make the most of the sunshine we've been having and head down to Bournemouth to enjoy the beach. It's a bit of a drive for us, so we've not explored the area much before, but it's a great place to visit, with lots of beautiful spots to visit and there are plenty of hotels in Bournemouth if you decided to stay over and make a weekend of it. We were asked to check out some of Bournemouth's hidden gems, so I did a bit of research to take us away from the tried and tested places and came up ...

Calke Abbey: The Beauty of Decay

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I've wanted to visit Calke Abbey for so long, but being near Derby and us living down South, has meant that a trip just hasn't been possible. But when I knew we were heading up to Alton Towers for a trip, I was really hoping that we could fit in a visit on our way home. Calke Abbey is a study in faded grandeur. At every turn there is peeling paint, crumbling brickwork, and overgrown courtyards, telling the story of an eccentric and introverted family who never threw anything away and who craved isolation. The National Trust have taken a 'repair not restore' approach to its work at Calke, and this has created an estate filled with beautiful textures and a ...

The Barbara Hepworth Museum: A Hidden Gem In St Ives

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On our most recent trip to St Ives, I was finally able to find some time to myself to head off to a spot I've wanted to visit for ages: The Barbara Hepworth Museum and sculpture garden. It was Barbara's studio for many years and she described it as "a sort of magic", and it really does have that feel to it. It's a tiny museum, tucked away in the back streets of St Ives, and the garden feels like an oasis, filled with her distinctive sculptures. As soon as you step up the museum's stairway and into the garden, you are met with a sense of calm. It was definitely one to make alone, without the kids in tow! Just ...

A National Trust for every month

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If you're a regular reader of Hot Pink Wellingtons, you'll know just how much I love a National Trust property. Their gardens are always absolutely beautiful, and they are guardians of some of the most famous gardens in the world, such as Sissinghurst and Stourhead. They are also wonderful places for families to explore and to teach children about nature and history. I have a huge list of favourites, but it's definitely true that each property has a particular season when the garden is looking it's best, so I've chosen a National Trust for every month of the year, so that you can visit at the perfect time. January - Devil's Punchbowl For me, January is all about a brisk walk, with ...

Where To Find The Best Snowdrops In Surrey

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Snowdrops are one of my favourite signs that winter is ending and spring is on its way. After a long winter, I love when February arrives and a visit to see the snowdrops has become one of our annual traditions. Although the best snowdrops I've come across have been at Welford Park in Berkshire, Surrey also has some wonderful spots to see them if you know where to look. Gatton Park Gatton Park in Reigate has to top my list for the best snowdrops in Surrey. The Capability Brown designed parkland is open on selected days in February for visitors to see the snowdrops. Runneymede and Ankerwycke The Ankerwycke yew is said to be where Henry VIII proposed to Anne Boleyn and each spring ...

Riding The Rails on The Watercress Line

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There's nothing I love better than revisiting the places that hold such fond memories for me of my own childhood. I very clearly remember our trip on the steam train on The Watercress Line, and we first took our boys last year (we'd been meant to go the previous Christmas too, but sadly Max got chickenpox, so we had to abandon that plan). When I tasked my husband with choosing an activity for us to do over the post-Christmas break, I thought his suggestion of a trip on The Watercress Line was a brilliant one. At 4, Max is very into trains, and I knew that Ben (18 months now) would love it too. We arrived at Alton, ready to catch ...

Discovering the Magic of Christmas at Lapland UK

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Two years ago we were invited to visit LaplandUK, and it was hands down one of the most magical days of my life. I've always been a huge Christmas fan - my whole family are - and it just brought the whole thing to life for me, and seeing my son utterly entranced by it all was just amazing. I've been asked by a lot of people since that trip, "Is Lapland UK worth the money?". With prices starting at around £70, it's definitely an expensive day out for a family. But I think it speaks for itself that less than two years later, I booked and paid for our return visit. I sorted the tickets when the booking window for ...

A Visit to Waddesdon Manor’s Christmas Carnival

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If you're a regular reader of Hot Pink Wellingtons, you'll know I love a good National Trust property. Waddesdon Manor has been on my wishlist for a visit for ages, but is a fair drive for us, so apart from one Tuesday a few years ago where we turned up to find it closed (top tip - visit Wed-Sun!), it's not made it to the top of our list. But when Waddesdon got in touch to tell me all about their Christmas Carnival, I knew it would be a wonderful time of year to finally make that visit. Waddesdon's Christmas Carnival is open until 2nd January, and it's absolutely crammed with festive activities. The house is all decorated for Christmas, there ...

A Visit To Wrest Park

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Wrest Park has been on my wish list for a visit for ages, but it's that little bit too far from us to make it an easy trip. Plus it's English Heritage and we don't have membership, which makes it a somewhat pricey day out. But we've recently got a new car and we're no longer limited by mileage like we were in our previous lease car, so last weekend we headed off to Wrest Park to see what it had to offer.     Wrest Park is a Grade I listed House located in Silsoe, Bedfordshire, surrounded by acres of beautiful grounds. Most of the house was closed to the public during our visit, as there was a wedding fair on, but ...

A Visit to Carters Steam Fair

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For a long time now I've noticed the signs for Carter's Steam Fair when it's near us and been meaning to go, but we've always had something else on that weekend. So when we were invited to visit them last weekend at Englefield Green I jumped at the chance! Carter's Steam Fair isn't your usual funfair. The Carter family have spent the last 40 years collecting and restoring vintage fairground rides and they tour the South East of England. It's a real throwback to a bygone era, with every ride painted in beautiful colours and with pretty lightbulbs everywhere. Carter's have been featured in lots of TV and films too, including Call the Midwife, The Theory of Everything, and, most importantly ...