Tag: family travel

An exclusive preview of the new Adventure Parc Snowdonia attraction

The new Indoor Adrenaline experience at Adventure Parc Snowdonia opens tomorrow.

But we were there a couple of weeks ago [pictured above] for an exclusive preview of the new adrenaline attraction, researching an article for The Guardian in the family travel section.

Here’s a preview of what we found:

Now rebranded as Adventure Parc Snowdonia, this converted aluminium factory in the Conwy Valley started life in 2015 as Surf Snowdonia with its inland artificial surf lagoon.

But it has expanded for the summer holidays with the opening of its Adrenaline Indoors adventure experience.

Think the TV series Ninja Warrior on steroids.

It’s an action-packed adjunct in a new building opposite the surf lagoon with activities including an artificial caving course, a parkour trail and freefall jumps, plus a soft-play area for younger siblings.

A 106-bedroom Hilton Garden Inn Hotel is due to open late 2020 with a restaurant and spa.

Adventure Parc Snowdonia

Read the full Guardian Travel story here.

Viewpoint: why do single dads face casual sexism when they travel?

* This article first appeared in Telegraph Travel in time for Father’s Day. More on this theme from my book [pictured above], Inside Fatherhood.

We went to stay with Spanish friends during the last school holiday.

It worked well for a family trip with two other kids for my two girls to play with, the freedom of an unstructured routine and an insider sense of the local culture.

But, most of all, as a man who has travelled alone with his kids since they were young, there was another man there who both understood the challenges of modern fatherhood and shared my passion for showing his children the world.

I often struggle to find this kind of camaraderie on a family holiday.

The sense of isolation I have felt at times as a divorced father, who shares custody jointly with the girls’ mother, has made for some uncomfortable travel experiences.

Suspicious minds

It’s not the just practical aspects, such as who keeps an eye on the children while I go to the bathroom.

More frustratingly, a man alone with two little girls can be viewed with curiosity, sometimes suspicion.

Immigration officials at a major European airport once stopped us, asking to see birth certificates to prove the girls were actually my children.

More commonly, I’m subjected to other holidaymakers quizzing me about why I’m alone.

“Can I ask,” one relative stranger once enquired as I was nonchalantly loading my plate at the evening buffet, “is your wife dead?”

Last resort

But I really spat the dummy when a restaurant manager rather publicly warned me not to take my youngest daughter, and then aged just five, into the gents.

“If she needs to go, then I’ll just have to take her to the ladies,” she bristled.

I politely suggested through gritted teeth that she should go and get a copy of her DBS certificate first.

So, as thoughts turn to celebrating our devoted dads for Father’s Day this weekend, isn’t time we gave single dads a break?

Read the full article here.

An exclusive preview of Chester’s new heritage attraction

Today was the opening day at Chester: A Life Story [pictured above], the new heritage attraction in Chester.

I was there early this morning for an exclusive preview of the exhibition, researching an article for The Guardian in the family travel section.

Here’s the recent news item I wrote for the Cheshire Ultimate Guide by way of a preview of the story to come.

A new family visitor attraction has opened in Chester to celebrate the city’s rich social history in time for this year’s Chester Heritage Festival.

Chester: A Life Story puts the emphasis on the often-overlooked stories of ordinary people, using multi-sensory interpretation to highlight the folk who have shaped Cheshire over the past 2,000 years.

Including sections on crime and punishment, and health and medicine, it traces human stories from Roman Chester to the present day via the Middle Ages, aiming to put the story of Chester into a global context.

The heritage attraction is based at St Michael’s Church on Bridge Street, Chester, and managed by Big Heritage, the company that also runs Western Approaches, the wartime secret bunker in Liverpool.

The Chester Heritage Festival runs June 21-29 this year with events around the city.

Chester: A Life Story

Read the full Guardian Travel story here.

How to make the most of a day out at Chester Zoo

An autumn afternoon spent wandering around Chester Zoo didn’t feel like work.

But it was: a guest blog post for the Marketing Cheshire blog with a half-term theme and timed for the return of the popular TV series, The Secret Life of the Zoo.

Here’s a sample:

I’ve come to Chester Zoo on an autumnal afternoon to meet some of the new arrivals from the zoo’s recent baby boom — some 733 mammals have been born in 2018, beating the previous highest total of 566 in the same time period.

But what lies behind the baby boom? Science, explains zoo ranger Amy Pilsbury. “We’re constantly monitoring the animals’ poo to check their hormone levels.”

Read the full story, Cute babies and half-term fun: how to make the most of a day at Chester Zoo.