Tag: family travel

How To Spend A Family Day Out At Tatton Park Cheshire

Stuck for a family day out this summer holiday?

Here’s a suggestion based on my latest article for The Guardian and centred around my home patch of Cheshire — well, East Cheshire but it’s near enough.

It centred on a new attraction for the summer holidays at Tatton Park. The Farm [pictured above] is designed to introduce kids to the idea of provenance.

Here’s a preview:

The dramatic highlight is a visit to The Slaughterhouse where the opening salvo is a projected image of a pig hanging upside down from a winch.

It’s a Horrible Histories-style audio explanation of slaughter process, explaining how parts of the animals are used for different products and the importance of good animal husbandry.

Morrissey fans look away now.

Read the whole article: The Farm at Tatton Park, Cheshire, review

My story for Guardian travel will make you save the bees

May half term, then.

Here’s an idea for a family day out based around my story for Guardian Travel.

The story is based around a visit to the National Beekeeping Centre Wales, near Conwy, combined with a preview of the new trail at Bodnant Gardens.

It was also a family day out for half term with Maya and Olivia [pictured above].

Here’s a preview:

This friendly visitor centre acts as a champion for Welsh honeybees, which are increasingly under threat from climate change and loss of wildflower meadows.

The visit raises awareness of environmental issues and highlights the art of apiarist over 4,000 years of honey-making history from the ancient Egyptians via the Romans.

Combine a visit with a trip to Bodnant Garden, taking the new Lost Words Trail, based on the book by Robert MacFarlane, for May half term (normal entrance fees apply).

The trail follows clues around the gardens to discover words from nature.

Read the whole story, Connect the kids with ecology – because the bees need us.

 

Hanging out with the ‘latte papas’ in Gothenburg, West Sweden

My feature about a family-travel trip to West Sweden is in the new issue of Family Traveller magazine — just out [see image at foot of post].

It proved to be the girls’ favourite trip so far but, for me, it also proved to be a thought- provoking one.

We spent some time in Gothenburg with Henric and his son, Marcel [pictured above].

We were talking about the enlightened attitude Sweden takes to parental leave and the rights of fathers to bond with their children.

This was a sidebar to the main feature but worth highlighting, I feel, here on my personal blog.

Swedish buzzword

First Abba, then IKEA. Now there’s a new buzzword in Sweden: latte papas — fathers on leave with pre-school children.

The term refers to the way that Sweden is taking an increasingly enlightened attitude to the role of dads in bringing up children.

It lead the world in 1974 with plans to introduce equal paternity leave, giving both parents the chance of time at home with their children.

Sweden extended its ‘daddy quota’ on January 1, 2016, so that all new fathers are now automatically allocated 90 days’ paid leave on a use-it-or-lose-it basis.

Fathers can also take up to 280 days at 80 per cent of their regular salary with up to 12 years to use up the allowance.

The abundance of fathers with buggies on the streets of cities like Gothenburg has given rise to latte-papa cafes, galleries and play centres, particularly in the hip Linne and Haga districts.

Male bonding

Henric Stahl is taking nine months leave on a part-time basis from his job at a Swedish TV channel to spend time with his first son, 19-month-old Marcel.

“It may seem like I’m doing my partner, Jemina, a social worker, a favour by taking leave but, really, it’s my right to be with him,” explains Henric over lunch in downtown Gothenburg.

“Sweden’s strong feminist movement from the Seventies has been very positive in driving men’s rights, too.”

Henric and Marcel meet up with other dads twice a week at a play centre run by a local church.

“By taking leave,” he adds, “I empathise better in my relationship, I have a stronger relationship with my son than I ever had with his father.

“And I’m even more productive at work for having this time and space.”

“The one thing I’m not sure about,” he smiles, “is the term ‘latte papa’.

“Far from drinking coffee all day, we’re very much a bunch of working, stay-at-home dads.”

Gender equality

The UK came 12th out of 22 countries in the Fatherhood Institute’s Fairness in Families Index (FIFI) 2016, which brings together a basket of measures to compare countries’ progress towards the goal of gender equality.

The top five countries in the 2016 index were all Scandinavian with Sweden taking the top spot.

Parental leave cost the Swedish state £2.2bn in 2015, largely funded by high payroll taxes levied on Swedish companies, according to BBC News.

West Sweden story in Family Traveller magazine

 

Half term travel articles around Cheshire and Wales

Another half-term holiday then.

This year, swamped by a sudden upsurge in freelance work, we stayed close to home with commissions for articles around Cheshire and Wales.

First up was a trip to the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Cheshire [pictured], for a story in The Guardian.

Read the whole story, Take the Kids to … Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre.

Second was an overnight stay in Aberystwyth and a ride on the Vale of Rheidol steam railway for Best Loved Hotels’ customer magazine.

The final version is out in the new year but here’s a sneak preview:

The craggy, stone-cut tunnel appeared to close in around us as we approached the final stop at Devil’s Bridge, a foreboding darkness briefly engulfing the carriage.

This is Hinterland country, the backdrop to the S4C Welsh-noir detective series, and home to generation-spanning folk legends.

I’m now back on the hunt for new family-travel ideas. Got a story? Please get in touch.