Entering another year, it’s time to look back and reminisce on my travel round up of 2017. If I had my way I’d be glued to a plane and constantly feeding my wanderlusting ways. However, life does tend to get in the way of this master plan. Over the years it’s led me to become shrewd with my annual leave for optimal holidaying.
Racking up globetrotting miles for the Curious Pixie has of course been very high on the agenda. The year was a mixture of bucket list dreams being ticked off, family adventures and girly trips.
I love that my blog captures all my adventures and keeps them alive. This post will take you on a whistle-stop tour of my 2017 destinations. In the words of the Moroccan scholar Ibn Battuta ‘ Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.’
We started 2017 in North Cornwall and enjoyed a fabulous New Years three night stay at the stylish Bedruthan Steps Hotel and Spa.
The family friendly hotel is perched on top of a cliff with spectacular views of the Atlantic ocean and Mawgan Porth beach. The early morning walks along the beach in the cold weather was eerie, yet oh so magical.
It’s a place where parents can actually have a break with holidaying with the kids and actually be able to switch off for a couple of hours – Bliss! During the day they offer complimentary two hours of Ofsted registered childcare in their kids clubs and also evening clubs for over 5’s at a cost. With an indoor jungle soft play, outdoor play area and cinema there is enough to keep your mini-mes entertained.
In the meantime the adults can relish in the indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, gym, spa with steam rooms and an outdoor sensory spa garden. Parents reading this are like – sign me up now! Read my review and I guarantee your next move will be Google.
Since my early teens I’ve daydreamed about standing on the tip of the African continent and staring out to the open sea, knowing the next land mass is Antarctica. It’s taken nearly half my life to realise the bucket list dream, but it was all the more special to share it with my family. Even if it meant we were nearly blown over by the fierce South Easter winds.
A double whammy on the bucket life front, I also experienced my first safari and boy did it deliver. Of the big five, we managed to see four (the lion, elephant, cape buffalo and rhino). The leopard which remained elusive, though even the locals are hard pressed to see one.
We shared some incredibly magical family moments on our three days on safari at the Addo National Elephant Park, some of which you can here.
Then there was wine tasting with the kids in the Cape Winelands. What? Have you never taken your kids wine tasting? You will, once you read this post.
For anyone who knows the Pixie you’ll know I love a good road trip and South Africa is home to one of the most beautiful and scenic drives. We hired a car and drove from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and witnessed the best of South Africa on the 120 mile route. Read about it here.
And Cape Town just blew my mind. The foodie scene is explosive and we managed to enjoy an amazing meal with the kids at Luke Dale-Roberts’ Pot Luck Club. Such a shame we didn’t have longer in the fascinating city. Although that only means one thing – There will be a next time!
Mr S and I celebrated our 11th anniversary in one of England’s most perfect and picturesque medieval villages. Lavenham is bursting with ancient buildings and a collection of colourful timber-framed cottages. Heaven for this insta crazy, architecture geek.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan it definitely needs to be on your list, some of the buildings are used to create the fictional village of Godric’s Hollow in the films. If you need further convincing my 5 reasons to you need to visit Lavenham should do the trick.
On our weekend break we stayed at the charming Swan Hotel and Spa. A perfect romantic getaway with good food and a lovely spa.
My third visit to Spain’s vibrant city Barcelona came in the form of a friends 40th birthday celebration. Late party nights didn’t deter my sightseeing ways. I don’t know about you, but I can’t board a plane to a different country and not delve into the country and culture.
This city has it all – history, amazing architecture, picturesque streets, exquisite cuisine and beautiful beaches. Read my 5 must-sees for a first timer.
With our big trip taken earlier in the year the summer holidays were all about the short-haul destinations. Stockholm topped the list as it was a trip which was originally planned for 2016, but like I said earlier life and its curveballs mean we all need to master the art of re-jigging.
It’s a stunning city to visit in the summer, especially as you get to experience the midnight sun. Made up of 14 islands spread across the Baltic sea and connected by 57 bridges, it’s gifted with a unique landscape.
I learnt to fika, indulged my fetish for instaworthy architecture, island-hopped around the archipelago, stunned the girls with the number of child-friendly activities you can enjoy in one place and totally fell in love with the city of cool! It’s all in my how to spend a city break in Stockholm.
I’ve always dismissed this little Balearic island, put off by the bad press certain areas receive due to the beer swilling party animals who frequent certain haunts. Do not make the same mistake as me. There is so much more to Mallorca.
On our week’s stay we covered all four corners of the island and found some incredible places filled with utterly gorgeous beaches, picturesque towns and fabulous restaurants where we ate like king and queens! It really is the perfect family holiday island. Read all about it in my post Discover the gems of Mallorca.
Now I’ve been to Amsterdam many a time in my youth, as you can well imagine it’s all a bit of blur. On my girly trip in September we fully immersed ourselves into the Dam lifestyle. From staying on a houseboat, discovering tasty Dutch delicacies, cycling through the countryside in the cold rain and relaxing on a wine and cheese canal cruise. You could say we covered in all in our quick weekend getaway, which you can read about here.
By the time I reached my birthday month a well needed spa break was on the cards. Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa was just the tonic.
There is no price on spending quality time with good friends, we laughed, ate a truckload of food, relaxed and lived it up in the spa. Handpicked hotels do a fantastic deal which includes two spa treatments, lunch, dinner and breakfast. Read all about the gorgeous hotel here.
We enjoyed our New Year celebrations in Cornwall so much, Mr S and I decided we’d book ourselves into a hotel again this year. We love a road trip and the Cotswolds is our go-to countryside jaunt. One place really has it all when in need of a family hotel – Calcot Manor.
This is my second time at this 14th century farmhouse, full of child-geared facilities and a parents pampering spa it does it all with style. With babysitting or baby listening services to hand parents can indulge in the fine-dining restaurant or enjoy a tipple or two from their great cocktail menu. Read all about it here.
What’s next for 2018?
The year ahead is shaping up to be an exciting one for the Curious Pixie. There is a family press trip early in the year. I can’t say much now, but all will be revealed soon! Europe is always on the cards, so far I have Paris and Rome booked in and I’m sure a couple more will make the cut by the end of the year. There is also a dream sun, sea and sand adventure for the summer holidays, so watch this space…
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If you have any questions about my trips or enjoyed reading my travel round up of 2017, please let me know in the comment box below.