Summer Holiday Activities

Aaaah…It’s been four months since my last post and has always I say to myself I’ll keep up with but like always I forget and it just gets left.

It’s the summer holidays and that leaves weeks and weeks of entertainment for the kids but the bonus being no teaching and going to school for the next six weeks, yiiiipppeeeee!!!

So I’ve complied a list for all those parents looking for fun day outs, some of course being free whilst others require a small fee or even worst …expensive…hehehe!

These are the places I have visited and would recommend,except for the treehouse stay and the trampoline park but definitly would do those soon enough… there’s plenty more out there so feel free to explore the world!

*If there’s no link provided simply google the name in the search engine and surely something will come up.

Free:

Diana’s Memorial playground: a man-made beach with a pirate ship right in the middle of Queensway.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic park

Thames Barrier park

Regents Park

Hyde Park

Victoria park

Epping Forest

Beaches: Southend-on-sea, Camber Sands, Canvey Island, Hastings, Dover,Clacton-on Sea, Blackpool. (Free unless you count petrol money!)

Museums: Natural History Museum, Science museum, British Museum, Transport Museum. Toy Museum, Geoffrey museum, Victoria and Albert museum, Museum of London, Royal Observatory Greenwich, Maritime Museum, imperial war museums (these are all free to enter!)

*There are many more but these are the ones I’ve visited and would recommend but don’t despair the list will expand soon enough!

Low to mid cost:

Museums: (A small fee, not sure how much) ragged school museum. http://www.raggedschoolmuseum.org.uk

Emirates Air Line: low priced, cheaper if you have an oyster and are a resident of Newham. http://www.emiratesairline.co.uk/tickets-information/

Arcelor Mittal Orbit: a 178m tunnel slide in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.http://arcelormittalorbit.com

Lakeside Go-Kart: Buy tickets from Groupon worked out really cheap for a family of four. http://www.lakeside-karting.co.uk

Hollow Ponds Boating: inexpensive boat trip, take a picnic.  http://hollowponds.co.uk

Boat Cruise down the thames: tickets can be purchased from Groupon. http://www.citycruises.com/london-sightseeing/thames-circular?gclid=CKfCy87rqM4CFUJmGwodCiECzw

Kidspace: indoor play area, as wall-climbing and a small go-kart area. Located within a shopping mall so easy access to food court and supermarkets.  https://kidspaceadventures.com/romford/

Cookie Island: under 5’s indoor play area http://cookiesisland.com

Better Extreme: a trampoline park http://extreme.better.org.uk

Chislehurst Caves: travel back in time to experience the caves during the second world war. http://www.chislehurst-caves.co.uk

Ice Skating https://www.visitleevalley.org.uk/go/iceskating/ 

Bowling https://www.allstarlanes.co.uk/locations/stratford

Golf: check out Top Golf http://topgolf.com/uk/chigwell/

Go ape: a tree climbing, zip-wire experience https://goape.co.uk/days-out/trent-park

Spa Valley Railway http://www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk

Expensive:

Theme parks:Thorpe Park, Chessington, Legoland, Drayton Manor, Alton Towers, Blackpool tower, world of adventure, Diggerland.

Ripleys, Believe it or not London: a place of artefacts, it was ever so slightly boring, for me anyway. tickets can be available on Groupon. http://www.ripleyslondon.com/willard-wigan-amazing-microsculptures/

Cadbury World: Good offers on Groupon https://www.cadburyworld.co.uk

Centre Parcs: luxury lodges situated amongst the woodlands http://www.centerparcs.co.uk

Caravan Parks: Haven http://www.haven.com

Forest Holidays: a treehouse holiday https://www.forestholidays.co.uk/types-of-holiday/tree-house-holidays#.V6PBrGVJW_U

Obviously flying out to any destination that takes your fancy !

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spa Valley Railway

Summer is upon us and that means trips to organise and kids to keep busy… Spa Valley Railway is probably the closest steam engine experience you can get, unless of course your willing to fork out hundreds and experience the Orient Express, maybe one day but for now this will do.

Spa Valley Railway is in Kent, not to far from London and you can purchase tickets on offer from Groupon. We booked for 4.20pm on a Sunday afternoon, I think that was the last train for the day so the carriages were slightly dirty and tables sticky. Having said, that customer service was excellent, staff were friendly, helpful and went the extra mile to smile.

Parking wasn’t an issue, there’s a Sainsbury’s and Homebase right outside the station which offers two-hour free parking, parking restrictions are not applicable after 5 so we didn’t have to rush back. The station is old and beautiful and quite easy to locate. There is however, no area to have a picnic but the staff were nice enough to let us sit in the outdoor waiting area to have our picnic.

I would definetly recommend it, so go for it!

 

Beach party @ Camber Sands

Once again it’s  the time of year where it’s parrrty time and time to get back on the planning scene. The idea was to do something out the ordinary and wanted to do something totally different and combine several achievements that needed to be celebrated, so teasers SAT’s results and the little one started Quran and obviously the Eid party was celebrated at the beach.

We packed a whole lot of food and we’re talking about rice and chicken 😉, lots of chocolates, crisps, drinks and drove 77 miles to Camber Sands. Parking was available at a small cost right next to the beach and it’s  the only dune beach in the whole of Sussex, was very private becaus of the dunes generally a clean beach, a small cafe and a few shops to buy the usual beach stuff.

It was very windy and sand was blowing every where (be sure you take sunglasses either way) so it did make it very difficult to eat and enjoy yourself, but had an amazing time sliding down the dunes and playing hide and seek.

It was a nice party, minus party decorations and the gift I left at home and gave it once we got home. It’s a beach I would definitely recommend and visit again and again and to point out quite a few hijabis and beardis frequent this beach so you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. 👍

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Long drive
The foooood!
The fooood and wind!
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A place to slide….
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A sandy beach!
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A pretty drive!
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The dunes!
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A view from above!
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A clean beach!
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Sandy dunes

 

 

Ripley’s day out

Ripley’s Believe it or not

Ripley’s is basically an assortment of artifacts, some amazing art, remarkable people, something to do with nature and history.

My favorite was the mirror maze, black hole- an illusion of losing control and spinning although your walking straight ahead and very short just as you get into it stops so slightly disappointing. The Graffiti wall- an interactive whiteboard style of doing graffiti for 60 secs. And lastly, the laser race which I didn’t do because the camera screen is shown to everyone waiting outside in the queue and obviously I’d have to lift my abaya and be twisting and turning so I gave it a miss. And that was about it. We got the tickets on the discount online sales voucher  for half price and BOGOF so it worked out quite cheap but I wouldn’t pay full price for it. It was good and quite enjoyable but not full price tickets.

Outside Ripley's
Outside Ripley’s
Man being electrocuted.
Man being electrocuted.
Lol, can't remember!
Lol, can’t remember!
Mirror maze
Mirror maze

Holiday and back to reality…

10 days over and back to school drop-off and pick-ups and revising and basically the daily grind….Having said that I had the most amazing and absolutely fantastic holiday ever, it so true when people say the more the merrier coz between the 10 of us it was alhamdulillah very merry indeed.

Oh and the kids surprise, totally worth the secret for all those months….Everybody travelling with us checked-in first then the other half went over to the desk and told the lady about the surprise and to go along with it, which I gotta say she was super fantastic and went along with it.  We then walked over and she tells the kids that there’s no spare seats for four people but she can check with the airline for availability and unfortunately no space again and at this point the poor kids are so distraught and so am I for some reason prehaps their emotions and sad faces looool, so she says ‘shall we try again for the last time’ and this time she’s like ‘aah I’ve got you all a seat’ and the kids are blank faces and silent and no response whatsoever. Until she asks for the passport and it kicks in that they’re going and all of a sudden their running round screaming ‘we’re going Dubai!!!’  Never in my life did I hear thank you mum and dad over and over again…it is was sooo memorable and definitely will try this again in the future ia.

To begin with the Auris Hotel Apartments in Deira is located in Al Rigga which was a perfect location, near the main road, a short walk to Al Rigga station and plenty of food and juice places nearby. However, we booked through a popular internet site and what we booked through them wasn’t what was reserved for us at the hotel so we arrived to find small rooms booked for us all as opposed to family deluxe suites (I think that’s what they were called). But basically they thought they could squeeze four people in a room with just a double bed and eventually after a heated argument the manager finally says ‘let’s go to my office’ and this is when I use her computer and show her the page that appeared when we booked and then she admitted that they got it wrong and gave us rooms to accommodate each family….Having sorted out this we still had to wait for another half hour for the rooms to be cleaned. Being an apartment you get everything you would have in an apartment… living room, kitchen,diner and there were 2 toilets which was fantastic so the kids had their own but only 1 bath. Housekeeping was ok, kitchen wasn’t sparkling clean and few dried bits of food left on the worktops but the rest of the apartment was ok. Overall I think the apartments needed a lick of paint, new furniture, tiling needs to redone and  definitely new towels which were grey and fraying.

 

The best, very clean and spacious with a balcony
The best, very clean and spacious, with a balcony

 

OK too
Okayish…
Spot the difference…Grey and frayed looking towel

 

Looks ok
Looks ok but you can’t see the rest
Comes with a washing machine with it’s own room

 

Anyways…..so what did we get up….shopping, sightseeing and little bit of chillaxing. I won’t go into great detail but I will share with you ‘the must do’ activities……so here it is

1. Shopping: clearly you can not go to Dubai and not go shopping…while I found the malls to very expensive and identical to London, you could pick up a few pieces which you won’t find here obviously because their clothes are tailored for a more modest market…and there sales were definitely cheaper than here.

1. Dubai Mall had the most amazing water fountain display, so visit this place in the evening and catch an amazing display. The display happens every hour but little displays happen every 15 minutes, best to arrive here 10 mins before otherwise you find yourself and the rest of the mall pushing and shoving to make ways and then tip-toeing at the back to get a good view.

2. Souks, souks and more souks – souks are basically markets, these are the ones we visited and made rich.

Naif market: Abundance of abayas, jilbaabs, hijaabs a few niqaabs. It gets so confusing here  so it helps if you know what you’re looking for, which I didn’t so I wasted a lot of time looking and not buying much.

Spice souk: Lots of spices, ornamental and gift shops and a few really nice rugs stalls but they were to weighty to bring back.

Gold Souk: a souk dripping with gold, didn’t find it any cheaper than here but if you have the skill to bargain you can get a few quid knocked off (it is in this place where you can buy first class replicas of designer bags, purses, sunglasses and watches, they vary in quality of 1 and 2. 1 being the absolute copy with all its detail inside and out whilst 2 having the details on the outside but would lack detail on the inside)

3. Dragon Mart: buy everything inc replicas cheaper here and its indoors so we visited here while the rest of Dubai was having a siesta.

Food Glorious Food: we ate everything from McDonald to the local shawarmas but unfortunately didn’t try local arab food. And desserts… well you have Baskin Robbins at every corner but my new favourite is Cinnabon and their Nutella minibon with Nutella Milkshake is to die for.

Activitesssssss

1. Dessert Safar: A wicked ride, had a camel ride and quad biking but wasn’t so sure about the belly dancing but overall a nice couple of hours in the desert.

2. Burj Khalifa: Go to the 160th floor (I think) and have a panoramic view of Dubai best to go just before sunset time so you get the best of both (day and night)  but this is soooo popular that you have to book well in advance and we didn’t know this until we were going to book so we missed out. But we did see what it looked like at night and that was wow, an experience worth paying for.

• Don’t book these activities through high-priced companies and if your staying at an expensive hotel you most probably get ripped off… We went to Al Raffi hotel in Baniyas Square to book the Safari (dad’s contacts) so got it really cheap and the Burj Khalifa we booked it online using…..not so sure but will find out and put the details here ia…

Must try the  1AED boat ride across the creek, 500 metre ride on a small motor boat with no more than 20 people very uniquely and traditional Dubai I would say. We walked to Bur Dubai and  crossed the creek back to Deira (or vice versa).

 

Desert Safari
Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa
The Twin Towers
The Twin Towers
The Fountain Display
The Fountain Display- Dubai Mall
The Creek
The Creek

Places

1. Palm Jumeirah Island: We visited this  on the last day thinking there wasn’t much but boy we wished it was one of the first places we’d visited. It took quite long getting there you gotta get a train, then a tram and then a monorail (I think that’s what it’s was called) this monorail only circulates the palm area. We got off at Atlantis,a lavish-marine themed resort with Aquaventure water park and other attractions, a very spectacular place literally the last point and then endless Arabian sea. Definitely make time explore this area.

2. Abu Dhabi: Hire a driver to take you on a tour to see local landmarks, we mainly wanted to see the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and we did and it was jaw droppingly stunning, all visitors had to wear an abaya (which you can borrow from there) and we stayed till Dhohr and then left. Mmmm what else did we do….lol can’t remember some more shopping, eating and sitting in traffic.

3. Sharjah: We did this on a local bus and believe me it was and is a bad idea the traffic in this part of the world is worse than  London. We had no itinerary so we just walked and walked and walked and realised hey it’s sleep time here and everything shut, so we ate lunch and waited for everything to reopen and then shopped and walked and visited a masssssive friut and veg market, no good to us but hey….that was Sharjah done.

 

The monorail
The monorail
Palm Jumeirah
Palm Jumeirah
Aquaventure
Aquaventure
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Mosque

 

Thats it for now. I will post a full itinerary that I made but didn’t quite manage to complete but hey there only so much you can do in 10 days.

In the meantime…

…Enjoy the pics!