When I was growing up, my summers were made up of days at the park, caravan stays and trips to the local British seaside. I still vividly remember our very first ‘big’ family holiday to a Butlins resort in Minehead, Somerset when I was around eight years old.
We had an awesome week of family fun and made memories that will be cherished forever. Despite not having a lavish childhood made up of trips to tropical climates, palm trees and white sands, I genuinely never felt like I was missing out on much.
In fact, the first time I ever flew on an aeroplane was when I was 20 years old and went to Disneyland, Paris. Since then, it’s fair to say that I’ve been busy clocking up the air miles, however, we’ve also we’ve found ourselves spending more and more time nearer to home as a family of four, enjoying the local seaside towns such as Blackpool and Morecambe.
You really can’t beat eating traditional fish, chips and a ’99’ ice cream by the sea (just watch out for those massive seagulls pinching your food), getting hooked on the 2p machines in the arcades and spending an hour or so walking on the pier. As kids, my sister and I used to have the best time chilling on the beach with a picnic and frisbee, convincing ourselves we could see sharks in the water (unlikely) as our folks enjoyed a flask of tea.
For our very first anniversary together, Adam and I decided to book a weekend glamping in the stunning Cumbrian countryside instead of a jaunt to Europe and had the most peaceful little adventure. We’ve also just booked an apartment for a weekend break in York soon to celebrate a whole year as Mr & Mrs Valentine.
It’s unlikely that we’ll be able to travel far in 2018 due to various other commitments so I’m already looking at places to rent for a week by the coast in good old Blighty (research has shown that a typical seven-day break in the UK would set you back £754, compared to £1,571 if you went abroad from Manchester and we’re currently trying to save the pennies).
The more we travel, the more we’ve decided to opt for apartment stays rather than hotels; we personally find that it gives us far more freedom (I like to cook) and is often much cheaper than a costly hotel room. With a growing family, it also means we all get a little more personal space too!
In fact, I remember making this very decision not long after the kids and I stayed in a luxury hotel in Italy. I was enjoying a lovely bubble bath, completely oblivious to the fact that Lucie was busy ordering room service on my behalf (true story – in her defence, she claims to have really needed that overpriced cheese toastie and ice cream at 10pm).
With a third of Mancunians believing there’s no place like home when it comes to holidays, I’m inclined to agree! We actually spent Valentines Day this year in Manchester, enjoying the plethora of fabulous restaurants, quirky street art and the rich heritage on offer.
The free museums up here are second to none and John Rylands library is utterly breathtaking with its Hogwarts style interior and enough books to get Belle (a la Beauty and the Beast) excited!
Manchester really is my happy place – if I could guarantee perfect weather, I’m not entirely sure I’d even bother going abroad these days (those long-haul 2am flights don’t bring out my best side!). Of course, the rain is pretty infamous up here (but not always a given) and if you come prepared with a raincoat and brolly, it’s really not that bad, I promise.
Growing up in North Manchester, I think it’s fair to say that I know my city well and with places such as the Lake District, Chester, York, and even North Wales just a couple of hours away, it’s also the ideal base for a weekend of exploration. With plenty of serviced apartments in Manchester, it’s the perfect, central location to enjoy a ‘home from home’.
Salford Quays is a short tram ride away from the city centre too and boasts Media City, the Imperial War Museum North and a pretty famous football club to boot, along with lots of history. If you’re after something a bit quirky, the Northern quarter is painfully cool and has plenty of delicious places to eat for us foodies. Don’t forget to check out Affleck’s Palace too (I spent my childhood – and most of Dad’s wages – here on a regular basis!).
What are your most memorable moments in Britain?
*In collaboration with SACO, The Serviced Apartment Company