Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Portland Bill Lighthouse

During our stay at Weymouth we decided to visit the Portland Bill lighthouse, it was a short drive from our accommodation at Waterside Holiday Park and lately I have become much more interested in places like this.  It’s probably a bit like the Sagrada Familia though, in that most visitors just take photos from the outside, lighthouses do look quite spectacular so I understand their appeal.

We have only ever got up close to lighthouses before just to take a picture but never actually ventured inside, this time I was determined we would explore a lighthouse properly.  We booked ourselves on the first tour of the day to learn more about the operation and history of this lighthouse.  Whilst we were waiting for our tour to start we had a look around the small visitor centre, the boys liked colouring in a flag each and doing a few puzzles.  There was also information to read.  

I don’t think it’s worth booking entrance just into the visitor centre for £9 far better to do the complete tour spending the extra £11 for the view and a greater understanding of how a lighthouse really works.

Some facts we learnt: the brightness of the light is the same as 635,000 candles and the light from Portland Bill lighthouse can be seen up to 25 nautical miles away.  Hubbie was a bit anxious of the winding staircase but it wasn’t too bad in the end.  

It was worth the climb to see the view from the top.  Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the last few steps as they were a bit steeper!!!  There are 153 steps in total to the top, I didn't end up counting them I read a noticeboard haha.

Our guide was very informative and I was only too happy to pay the entrance price for us to have a completely different experience.  It cost £20 for the four of us but I can now say we have ticked off being inside a lighthouse!  I do like working through a bucket list of travel experiences otherwise we would probably just end up going from one theme park to the next.  I did get a bit nervous when the boys were allowed to hold one of the bulbs from the lighthouse as they cost £60 each, fortunately they didn't drop it!!!

In our tour party was a group of seventy-year olds and they put us to shame with their fitness levels, they made it to the top without getting out of breath!  At the end of the tour you are awarded a little badge to celebrate making it to the top, it was a nice memento for the boys to remember their trip and they love keepsakes to treasure.

At the gift shop, the boys stocked up on more precious stones which they are enjoying collecting at the moment, I guess it makes a welcome change to football cards which they usually spend their money on.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Our visit to Paultons Park

We have visited Paultons Park twice before when the boys were much younger, one of our visits was for the Magma VIP launch but naturally given my boys ages at the time Peppa Pig World was the main priority for them.  Paultons Park have pulled off the Peppa Pig theme perfectly the rides are lovely (if a little busy!) and you can even meet Peppa Pig a huge highlight for the little ones!  It’s best to head there first or at the very end of the day to avoid lengthy queues. 

On this occasion, we were eager to see what the Lost Kingdom would be like, it’s a new dinosaur themed development at Paultons Park so we headed straight there.  On our arrival, it was quiet for our first circuit on all the rides there, but for our second go on Flight of the Pterosaur we queued for about 30 minutes (this seemed quite a while considering it was a school day, but there were lots of school children on trips that day and this seemed one of the most popular rides!).

Velociraptor and Flight of the Pterosaur are great rides and a bit more thrill seeking than many of the existing rides at the park.  I was surprised by how many younger children were actually riding these two rides, but if your child doesn’t quite feel ready for the big drop of Velociraptor or the feeling of flying they can still enjoy Dino Chase (an introductory rollercoaster), the Dinosaur Tour Co., Temple Heights and Boulder Dash.  These were very mild rides, but pleasant enough.

Don’t leave the Lost Kingdom without seeing the ALIVE dinosaur encounter, the T-Rex was very realistic and my two liked getting close to it.  

The presenter of that show was also walking around with a baby dinosaur earlier in the day that the boys liked meeting.  So, keep your eyes open for anything dinosaur related going on in the area as it would be a shame to miss an encounter.

The boys did appreciate cooling off at the Water Kingdom so do bring trunks and towels to make the most of that section.  In the hot weather, its ideal that children can splash around for a bit!  Given the sunshine it was understandable that this bit of the park was exceptionally busy, so I just gave my two 30 minutes as it was tricky keeping track of them. The attraction is fenced off though so feels safer watching them that way.

Another favourite ride of the boys was the Jumping Bean they must have gone on that about 6 times in a row!  They also liked dabbing on the Sky Swinger!!!  Yes my boys still dab!

The 4D cinema was worth a watch mainly so I could sit down for a few minutes in peace out of the sunshine and rest my theme park weary legs.

When we went on the Rio Grande Train we noticed further developments going on in the park, so I am excited to see what is in store next for Paultons Park, it looked like new animals will be coming soon and hopefully another ride!!!

There is a lot more to Paultons Park then Peppa Pig World so please don’t feel like you shouldn’t visit when your children get older and outgrow that section of the theme park.  At 8 and 10 my two really enjoyed our latest visit, we didn’t manage to fit in all the rides we wanted too, but it was a very hot day and I think my eldest had a touch of heat stroke so we left a couple of hours before closing time missing out on going on Edge and Cobra in the process.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Visiting Caernarfon Castle

Making the most of our newly acquired Cadw membership we decided to visit Caernarfon Castle, we have skirted around it before but never actually been inside.  The building is very impressive on such a big scale and it would also appear full of mythological meaning.

I am glad we arrived relatively early as when we were leaving the castle around 1:30pm there was a big queue to get inside.  Entrance would have been around £26 for our family of four so I am making a good dent into the cost of our annual membership already.  A couple more castles and I should break-even.

It was a big castle to explore, lots of stairs to climb to get to towers with lovely views for miles.

The boys were given a quiz sheet each to try and find certain beasts and then use the letters to finish a dot to dot puzzle.  On completion, they were given a congratulatory piece of paper from had peel able stickers on from the gift shop!  It certainly gave them something to focus on whilst we set about investigating all the corridors.

The boys liked dressing up in the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum they had a few different outfits and helmets which made our visit more interesting for them.

They enjoyed learning more about regimental goats and watching a short film about the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

I think in total we stayed three hours, we couldn’t really squeeze much more entertainment out of the castle although if they put on a special event we would probably be back again soon.  I like it when Cadw have some additional activities for the children like archery so they really feel like they are going back in time!