Sunshine finishes preschool in two weeks and we start on summer break—the perfect time to be thinking of summer holidays. We'll be driving back to Alberta to visit family and friends, but if we had the budget (and time) to go further, I'd love a trip to England.
If I were to venture away with the family on a cheap UK break, we could go to Butlins Resorts. They have three different locations and offer some great family-friendly activities. Now that I have kids, finding places to travel with them where they'll have fun and be welcomed is really important. The Butlins website says, "We know how important family time together is so we have lots of different activity sessions that everyone can enjoy." Sounds great to me!
Other places I'd visit in the UK include some of my favourite authors' hangouts. I'd love to explore the Lakes District (where Lizzie goes with her aunt and uncle in Pride & Prejudice and visits Darcy's house) and Bath (where Anne goes with her family in Persuasion and finally reunites with her old lover). And of course there's the Jane Austen House Museum, where they are celebrating the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice (shucks—now I really want to go visit this year! Maybe I'll have to talk my husband into watching the Colin Firth version of the movie with me instead...).
There's also the Charles Dickens Museum. Speaking of anniversaries, last year was the 200th anniversary of his birth. The museum was only his home for two years, but he wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby there and two of his daughters were born there. It would be cool to see some of his manuscripts, especially since most of us modern writers now write on computer and will never leave behind manuscripts like that.
Hadrian's Wall would be fun to visit, especially if I get a chance to read The Eagle of the Ninth when my husband finishes it (it's the book that the recent movie The Eagle was based on). Michael Phillips also has two books set in modern/ancient England and Scotland that I really enjoyed—can you tell I'm a tourist based on the books I've read? Although probably if I looked at a map, I'd discover that all these places I want to visit are too far apart to conveniently explore in a week or two. England is a small island, right?
If we did go to England, perhaps we could also visit some places where my relatives lived. My great-grandmother sailed from England to Canada just after the Titanic sank. My mom's grandma and my husband's grandma also had English heritage, so it could be fun to attempt some family research before going there or while we were touring around.
Are you planning a chilled out summer break this year? Where would you like to go—if you could go anywhere you wanted? And what do you look for in a "great" vacation place?