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Emberton Country Park (July 2020 Review)

I have been taking my children to Emberton since they were very little, it is such a lovely day out, and is only just outside of Milton Keynes (on the way to Olney). Set in 200 acres of unspoilt parkland, with five lakes – two large lakes (for fishing and sailing), 2 play parks, a sandpit, outdoor gym, bird hides, a cafe and a campsite – so much to do you can spend all day here.

Emberton has been reducing its restrictions based on Government guidelines, and our visit last week, felt just like old times.

If you visit in the next few months what you need to know is:

  • The cafe is only open for take-away service.
  • The campsite is open but is subject to social distancing restrictions.
  • When they reach capacity in the car park they will close the gate to new entrants (so bear that in mind if you plan to go late in the day on a sunny Saturday, for example).
  • Toilets are open
  • All play parks are open and free to use (including the outdoor gym)
  • Fishing is allowed (with permits)
  • Parking costs are £4.50 for the day (you cannot leave and come back though).
  • Opening times are 9:15-4:45pm each day currently (but best to check their Facebook page in case this changes).

We had a lovely morning, we walked round to the park in the middle, the one with the pirate ship, as that is our favourite. As soon as we put our bags down the kids ran off to play together, it was so sweet watching my son (aged 8) carefully hold the hand of my daughter (aged 3) as she climbed the steep steps up to the slides – he took great care of her all day.

Hubby and I were actually able to sit and watch them play, and also read a few chapters of our books – this is unheard of in previous years when Savannah was younger, and before Savannah when Nate didn’t have anyone to play with.

After about 80-90 minutes in that park the kids biked and we walked back towarsds the cafe for an icecream and a cup of tea, to fortify us for the outdoor gym, the sandpit and the stone pit. I forgot our bucket and spade (darn) but they had fun burying each other and digging around the dinosaur bones (pretend).

We decided to go home for lunch, though if we had chosen to stay all day, there are plenty of lovely big fields perfect for picnics, and even the socially distanced kind, and we didn’t make it over to the park that is further along – this one would have been good for Nate, as it had some large and tall climbing nets and things for older children mostly. There is also a beautiful lake in the middle and stunning walks to make a full day of it.

More information:

  • Emberton Country Park – Postcode: MK46 5FJ
  • There are two sets of toilets, including disabled facilities.
  • The summer camping season where the park is open every day runs from 1st April to 31st October (outside of this they are only open for a few hours on the weekend).
  • 5km of walks and trails
  • 5 lakes
  • 1 minute drive from the market town of Olney (where they have the best afternoon tea at “Teapots of Olney” highly recommend).
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Film review: Just Mercy

There are some spoilers in this review.

What a movie, wow! I’m glad that they have re-released this because it passed me by somehow back in February.

I would say that this movie could be truly transformational for those people out there (and I hope there are not many) who don’t believe that #Blacklivesmatter – if there are those who mistakenly think that white and black people are treated equally, or worse still that black people do not deserve to be treated equally – they need to watch this movie because the evidence there is irrefutable.

This movie (which is based on a true story) shows just how far prejuduce is baked into a small community in Alabama, and how every level of the legal system is corrupt against blacks – right down to the friggin’ Judge – the actual judges of these towns are not even unbiased, and don’t allow a fair trial for people on Death Row no less. It is shocking that they are quite happy to sentence a man to death when they know that he didn’t commit the crime (because they coerced a false witness). Even worse, those that knew the truth and tried to do something about it were silenced.

Even the poor lawyer (who is representing inmates on death row), was treated almost inhumanely when “they” realised he was trying to save Johnny D (the man accused of murdering a white girl, played by Jamie Foxx). When he visits his client in prison, they treat him like a prisoner, again I won’t spoil it but wow it is shocking. Michael B. Jordan is amazing as this lawyer from Harvard, trying to do good, representing those who were mis-represented, those on Death Row who do not belong there. He is quiet, sensitive and his emotions are so revealing. Jamie Foxx was great too, I haven’t seen him in such a quiet, subtle role before.

Gosh this movie made me so mad, so mad, I was sitting there muttering to myself – the pure injustice is just sick. It made me cry several times. It makes me so mad at the people who could do this, not only did they ensure that he went down for a crime he didn’t commit, but they didn’t let up when the case was reopened, they were not willing to accept that anyone else did it and after it all, there was no apology (not that you can apologise for framing someone for murder and sending them to Death Row).

I’m sorry to say this because I have American friends and I loved our honeymoon over there, but America is a poor country, those in power need to take better care of their people. Healthcare is expensive, welfare is almost nonexistent, and unless you are White and Rich, no-one cares. Their quality of life is poor, they work longer hours, have the least amount of paid vacations, and maternity leave is a joke (one of the lowest in the developed countries), they are near the bottom of the happiness index, and rank 35th in the world for life expectancy and most importantly, they have Trump and they have Guns – not sure which is worse!

Finally, they have the death penalty (still), and about 10-15% of those who are executed are later found to be innocent, after it is too late…unbelievable. Not only that but they have an execution database – and you can join their mailing list – how sick is that! 22 people were executed in USA (mostly the southern states) in 2019. The good news is that the numbers are declining every year (it was 73 in 2014 and 223 in 2000), so maybe there is hope for Americans afterall.

Sorry about that rant over…

I won’t ruin the ending for you, but go and see this movie (support your local cinema and watch it there if you can), it is shocking but needs to be watched.

If you’ve seen it, what did you think?

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Going to the cinema (during lockdown)

Corona virus lockdown restrictions were eased on 4th July to allow restaurants, cafes, parks, pubs and one of my favourite things to do: the cinema, to open. On 4th July Odeon opened up again for the first time since March. Cineworld has announced that they will not be opening until 27th July.

I could not wait to go, so on Sunday I took myself down to our local Odeon at the Stadium MK (Milton Keynes) to see the movie “Dark Water”.

Tickets

Odeon recommends that you purchase your tickets online (the ticket will be sent to your email for printing or (easier) show them the barcode on your phone, which they will scan. You can purchase tickets in the cinema but they do not take cash, card only.

On arrival I noticed a one-way system and hand-sanitiser, plus they had screens around the tills AND the server wore a face-mask. All very reassuring. However, it was difficult to hear the guy under the mask, plus I kept moving my face toward the edge of the plastic screen – what is that? Must be a psychological barrier in my mind or something.

I did wonder how they would manage social distancing in the cinema, how would they assign seating, how could you go to the toilet and brush past someone in your row? This article on the BBC news site explains how.

The usher showed everyone to their seats (I remember when they used to do that all the time). There were only six other people in the screen, but strangly two of them were in my row, which considering how empty it was, I was surprised. I actually had to stand up and move into the aisle so that they could sit down, luckily they didn’t use the toilets lots of times (or any actually), because that would have been annoying. Aside from that the seating was fine.

Food

The food is limited but not eliminated – phew. I do love a snack in the cinema. The menu compared to usual is massively reduced (like restaurants too I guess). Odeon had the biggest range of snacks I had ever seen (vastly more than Cineworld); everything from fried chicken to waffle fries. However, they have slimmed it down to the essentials such as nachos, popcorn, drinks, bags of chocolates and sweets (though no pick n mix) and no icecream counter (though some packets like Magnums an Cornetto’s in a freezer). You are allowed to bring in your own food (not sure if that is a Covid only change to the rules?), but not hot or smelly food. Wow, I remember when I was a kid, smuggling in food at the bottom of my bag or under my coat (ooops sorry Odeon/Cineworld)…ahhhh a simpler time.

Films

I saw “Dark Water” – which I would describe Mark Ruffalo (leading man) as the male Erin Brockovich. The movie was fascinating actually, about how the company who makes Teflon (DuPont) has been poisoning everyone in the world (though mostly Americans) with its products because if the chemical (PFOA) that makes up Teflon gets in your body, it can never be removed; and in large doses can lead to all sorts of cancers. Very sad, capitalism at its worst! I will not say what happens to the people in the small town, or the company, as I have decided no spoilers in this article. It was worth seeing – if only to see Anne Hathaway’s 80s hair (love her) and if you enjoy legal battles.

As well as the upcoming blockbusters, most of which I have never heard of such as Tenet (shrugs) but I have heard of: A Quiet Place II (cannot wait for that one!), Odeon are also showing some classic movies such as The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Interstellar ooh and I just noticed that Bohemian Rhapsody is back next week – whooop!

I was worried by how empty is was, so I guess if you feel happy with the measures they are taking to try to protect us, best you support your local cinema, otherwise… (sad face).

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ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (during lockdown)

About a month ago the Zoos were told that they were allowed to open – yipee, something we can do, no more staring at these four walls!

Savannah hasn’t been to the zoo since she was a baby and therefore technically this is her first zoo visit. Nate has been many times and enjoys Whipsnade.

Tickets

We tried to book tickets the day that they were released but the site crashed – of course. Then they introduced an online queuing system…there were 6,000 people in front of me in the queue – gulp! That is long even by British standards.

We got a ticket for a morning slot; you must buy a ticket if you wish to visit Whipsnade (currently), you cannot purchase tickets on the door. It also states on their Facebook page that they are not accepting vouchers from third-party vendors such as Tesco Clubcard vouchers (currently). Additionally, if you want to visit all day you must choose a morning slot; you can arrive at 10am and stay all day. An afternoon slot will limit you to 2pm-6pm (though you can see a lot of the zoo in that time). Parking is easy, it is a 1 minute walk, right next to the zoo, and I have never found it full.

We went at the end of June and was worried that it would be packed with people; but because they limit the numbers who can buy tickets, I need not have worried, it was fine. It was not even as busy as it normally is on a weekend and we were there on a Sunday.

Safety Measures

If you arrive early or exactly on time you will have to queue, but they had socially distance space markers on the ground. They have a one-way system through the entrance and around the shop, and toilets are one in one out (but at least they are open). They had hand sanitisers at the entrance and water.

Animals

We let our little one choose her favourite animal and set off to find it – the Giraffes. The Giraffes are in the middle, so on the way we saw Monkeys (she found them funny, and I loved the look of awe on her face – her first time to see wild animals in real life – she looked like “wow are those real”.

The giraffe platform was closed at the time, but re-opened on 4th July, we were able to see the baby giraffes outside – the parents were hiding though, I guess they didn’t like the rain!

We also saw hippos (my favourite), flamingos, tigers, elephants and lions (you have to join a socially distanced queue to get into the lion viewing area. I like the signage though as it kept the kids entertaind whilst we were queuing (for all of 5 minutes). A lot of animals were hiding.

Whipsnade is huge (for those who have never been), so if you have tiny people with little legs I recommend a buggy, scooter, micro trikes etc. You are also able to pay extra to take your car into the site. Whipsnade is actually the UK’s largest zoo, set in 600 acres of land – no wonder we have never managed it even over a full day.

Food

There were no food outlets open, except one icecream van and there were limited snacks in the gift shop (bottle of drinks and chocolate bars mostly). The restaurants were not open, so it says on their website to bring your own lunch to eat in their picnic areas; which we dutifully did. However, since it was raining all day, we could not sit down at the picnic benches to eat, so we left early to eat in our car. We did however find a small covered area to sit and have a snack, the only time I sat down in 4 hours (ouch).

Closed

During our visit in June the following areas were closed or not running for our safety:

  • Aquarium (now open)
  • Butterfly house (now open)
  • Sealion show (such a shame as it is our favourite!)
  • Bird show and other talks
  • Farm
  • Outdoor play area
  • Indoor play area (Hullabazoo)
  • Indoor food areas
  • Train ride

It was a shame that so much of it was closed, it is no longer a whole day out, but this is a zoo, and the animals are the main attraction, so on a non-rainy day it is probably much more fun and we look forward to taking Savannah back there when she can enjoy the sealion show, and play in the park and soft play, go on the train and we can all stop for a lunch to rest our feet about half way round, as we used to do. However, the most important thing is that zoos are still open, and we need to support them so that our kids and grandkids will have zoos in the future to enjoy.

In terms of expectations, take your own food, be prepared for a lack of seating if it rains all day, and not everything will be open right now, but if you check out their facebook page, they update that regularly. However, it is a big open space, so definitely a perfect place for social distancing.

I’ll leave with this funny pic…

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Eating out at Harvester (during lockdown)

Are you thinking about going out for a meal, but not sure what to expect? Then read on my dear friends.

On Saturday night, the family and my parents were excited to enjoy a bit of normalcy – we had our first meal out in 102 days! Harvester is a family favourite so that was our choice and we were excited.

But what should you expect now that lockdown is being eased – what has changed, will it be safe? Those were our initial thoughts, so below was our experience…

Booking

I booked a table online – but actually no, stop there.

I wanted a meal out with my kids but also with my mum and dad who are not within our social bubble (because neither one of them is single). So how do you eat out with someone not within your bubble? Well you have to keep 2 metres distance (or 1m plus a facemask or other measures), that appears to be the same answer to all Covid questions – always maintain social distancing.

However, when booking on the Harvester website, there is no way to request that. It asks how many people are at your table, but it does not have a facility to book more than one table in one booking, so I had to make two separate bookings and put a note in the system imploring that we are sat on tables next to each other – but not at the same table – my what a headache just to book.

Not a Harvester problem as such, but more about the complexities of “the rules”.

Next we looked forward to our meal, and even arranged to meet early in the bar for a drink, to prolong and really enjoy our first eating-out experience in many months. But alas, a few days later I received an email confirming our booking and letting us know the rules, one of which was that you are not allowed to arrive more than 5 minutes early, due to the lack of a waiting area.

Arrival

On arrival there were clearly marked entrances and exits, and Harvester were firm about you using the correct ones. There were markings on the floor denoting where you had to queue (though there was no waiting for us at 5pm) and then you were greeted by the host.

I was surprised that they did not have a screen (to protect us and them) at the hosts station and neither did they have any screens around the bar (though they are probably not required as you are not allowed to approach the bar to order). The staff were not wearing any facemasks or visors, also a surprise.

The great thing though was that they completely understood my notes in my booking and we had our own alcove within the restaurant, so it was easy for us to sit together but 2 metres apart – I really appreciated that.

Food and Drink

The waitress took our drinks orders at the table (you cannot go up to the bar); and refillable drinks were refilled by the waitress.

My dad requested his favourite ale of choice, but they had very very little choice in that area – I think only Guiness, Fosters etc. the usual bar detritus. He was not pleased, but of course they did warn us when we booked that some drinks and food may be out of stock due to supply issues – to be expected.

Salad bar – the unlimited salad bar is still there, though your waitress has to choose the items for you and place them in your bowl – yes that was strange – but what can you do? Harvester are doing their best to limit contact.

Dinner – I ordered exactly the same item I ordered the last time we were here (in January I believe), which was the Beef Rib with chips. The January visit I was surprised and delighted by how delicious the food was – it actually tasted elevated, like they had a new chef or menu, it was absolutely delicious, the chips were impeccable, I remember commenting as such.

Beef brisket back in January

However, this time, it was not as good. Neither the rib of beef or the chips were up to their usual standard; and I have to put that down to either:

  1. It was the first day they had been open in 4 months
  2. New staff/chef
  3. Lack of their usual supply of food

I hope our experience is not how the food will be in the long-term; I hope that a loss in income will not result in lower quality food, because one of the main reasons one goes to a restaurant is to enjoy superior food; not something as good as one can cook at home (though not me, my food has all of the taste of and nutritional value of a hostel mattress).

That being said the service was very good, as I always find it there; and I really love Harvester so I truly hope it survives the economic crisis.

Overall, it was lovely to get out of the the house; to feel less inprisoned and to get a taste of normal life pre-lockdown. Let’s hope that we can all continue with these little delights and get back to a little of what we had before; and dare I say it – no more lockdown. One day… soon?

I would say be prepared that it might feel a bit strange, and it might not be the same as it was before, just like everything else in this almost post-apocolyptic world that is the year 2020.

A little about Harvester…they opened their first restaurant back in 1983 and have over 220 locations around the UK (we have 2 in Milton Keynes). They are owned by the Mitchell and Butlers group.

Today Rishi Sunak announced that people will be given £10 off their food and soft drinks bill (per person) if they eat out in August (only Mondays to Wednesdays). I don’t know if Harvester will sign up for this scheme, but I hope if they do it will help them and other restaurants and cafes stay in business.

*I was not paid to review Harvester and all of the above our my own honest thoughts and feelings.

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Corona Diaries (Rewind – March 2020)

I haven’t blogged in a long time, but since lockdown I have had a hankering for getting my thoughts out there. Probably because I no longer have many people to talk to. In February I had a whole office of people to unload on as well as friends and family, and now I have all of these thoughts bouncing around my brain, hitting the walls and bouncing back with no place for them to go – except my poor husband who has to listen to all my worries, depressive episodes, ideas, thoughts, feelings, ranting – everything!

I’ve actually been keeping a diary since lockdown started – in fact I have been writing in my diary since I was 11, but I have stepped it up and written much more than usual, so below is how I was feeling back in March.

Thursday 19th March 2020

It is difficult to put into words, to convey how much our lives have changed this week and how bad they are going to get over the coming months. The Coronavirus is up to c2,000 cases and just under 100 deaths in the UK – but wordwide it is 220,000 cases and 30,000 deaths. Since it is spreading so quickly Boris Johnson has made some pretty epic and life-changing decisions in a matter of days.

On Monday night he told us all to work from home if we can. Therefore I went into the office on Tuesday (I work at a University) knowing it was going to be my last day here for a long time. I was able to take my screen and my chair home. I felt very sad.

Wednesday was my first day of working from home all day. My hubby is too, he is using the study and I am down in the kitchen. I cannot tell you how long the day felt. I was able to go for a walk with hub so that was nice, but I had three Skype meetings, video chats are quite good and it almost feels like the person is right there, but boy are they tiring. In the evening we heard the big news – schools and nurseries are closing for the foreseeable future this week!! Absolutely unbelievable! They even hinted that schools may not reopen again before the Summer – WTF!

Saturday 21st March

Our calendar is empty, for the first time since having children we have no plans… no birthday parties, no play dates, no swimming lessons, no Cub Scouts, no Dad’s club, no tennis, no dinner with mum and dad, no visiting friends, no parks, no play centres – NOTHING!

Sunday 22nd March

The worst Mothers’ Day I have ever experienced 😦

I do not know how this is going to work? How will we work from home with two children in the house (Nate is aged 8 and Savannah is 3), not to mention home-schooling them – simply not possible.

Another fear of mine is cabin fever – 4 people under one roof with nowhere to go, I’m not sure about this, and no more cinema, no restaurants, no pubs, no taking the kids to the park, the only thing we can do is go for a socially distanced walk. It is entirely plausible I may lose my mind.

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard (review)

Hilariously funny, slick and action packed but a really tricky movie to categorise. Perhaps it’s black comedy, very black. But black comedy is usually a bit more light-hearted. This movie is funny but it is NOT light hearted! There are torture scenes, a lot of violence and swearing. It is a high action thriller that just happens to be hilarious. Thrillers are not normally funny – I like it!

Samuel L Jackson hasn’t been this cool since his Jackie Brown/Pulp Fiction days! Okay maybe he has, he is always cool! Ryan Reynolds was equally superb and as a duo it was delicious, so good I had to watch it again! 

So, quick synopsis without spoilers is that an Executive AAA rated protection agent – Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is reluctantly called in by his ex-girlfriend to help protect an inprisoned hitman called Darius Kincaid (Jackson) and get him to The Hague in The Netherlands (from Coventry) in 27 hours so that he can testify against an evil dictator. Without Kincaids testimony the ruler will be set free. 

Now with spoilers…

There were so many clever and funny lines I loved:

“Are you cleaning the car with old a**holes?!”

Yes there is a lot of swearing!

“I’m trying to keep you out of harms way” 

“I am harms way!”

“That motherf***er is unkillable!”

One of the best bits is on the car journey when Kincaid makes up a song about life and continues to sing “nobody gets out alive” it goes on so long and becomes so annoying (reminiscent of Donkey from Shrek “Can I hum it?!”) that Bryce starts singing “I saw the sign” in a high-pitched voice to stop him. So funny!

Another very clever thing they do is juxtapose violence and romance. When Kincaid meets his wife for the first time the song “Hello” (Lionel Ritchie) is playing over a violent scene of her killing about 10 dudes in a bar it’s so incongruous – pure genius! It happens a few times. 

Overall this a very clever movie with a superb acting duo, Mrs Kincaid is played by Selma Hayek, she plays the angry wife role excellently. The only minor annoyance is the strange accent of Bryce’s ex girlfriend, it is so weird I can’t even place it. I think she was going for British but it’s odd to say the least. It does not detract from the movies’ pure brilliance though. 

Go see it! It’s on Netflix now.

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We saw Usain Bolt’s last (good) race!

The title pretty much sums it up! I felt so lucky to have tickets to the Saturday morning session when I would get to see Usain Bolt run in the heats of the 4x100m relay in the IAAF World Athletic Championships. It was great too that Great Britain ran in a different heat so I didn’t have to split my feelings, I could cheer for team GB and the Bolt! I have to admit that Usain Bolt is my sporting hero. I’m sure I’m not the only one!

I could not believe it when I saw our seats. We were sat right near to his starting line – what are the odds?! I was able to get some great shots even on our mediocre camera!

It was amazing and he crossed the finish line. I didn’t know at the time that it would be the last race he would finish. Bless him I felt so bad for him to finish his career that way, but he shouldn’t feel bad, he is amazing and we may not even see his world record beaten in our lifetime!

That shot is the last time he will ever cross the finish line. 

Obviously I was thrilled that team GB won! That was shocking, I even cried, how amazing, but it was bitter sweet. 

But I will always be grateful to the powers that be that allowed me the tickets to see my sporting hero. It really was a once in a lifetime moment. A major check off my bucket list!!

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Swanning Around Dorset (Abbotsbury Swannery)

It was a gorgeous day when we headed over to Abbotsbury, I typed the post-code in and was re-assured to see ‘Abbotsbury Swannery’ on the map, so off we went, but here is the bit to take note of: even though it says so on the iphone map, it is not there! And I know this has happened a lot because there was a building with a sign on that said Abbotsbury Swannery that way, which, incidentally was the first sign down some very windy and extremely narrow (single-track) country roads. When we finally arrived, we drove right past it because the signage was facing the other way. Abbotsbury – you could really do with a sign on the other side of the road. We had to drive all the way into the village to turn around because the roads were so narrow.

A slightly bumpy start but it was so worth the journey. The swannery is a natural habitat for the mute swans, where they are made comfortable but are not enclosed. Chesil Beach is the backdrop to this gorgeous scene:

It was the most beautiful and peaceful walk through the woods I have ever encountered, as you walk down the path you have either a stream, a rook or a pond on either side. We also came upon the occasional old building, which dated back to the 11th Century, without little man I may have explored the history a little more.

As we arrived quite late it was almost their feeding time which is the big event and takes place twice a day – 12 noon and 4pm so we headed over for a little treat. My son went in and fed the swans, even though he was too nervous at first, once he saw all the other children feeding then he felt more courageous, and I was a proud mama. I love to see him grow in confidence. I thought the feeding was just for children as they ask you to have all the children line up but then they said, all children aged from 0-80 can feed the swans! I felt sorry for the 81 year old lady almost jumping out of her seat ready to feed them!

One tiny note is that there are no toilets in the swannery, only at the entrance, so bear that in mind if you have a little one with a tiny bladder. There are also two lots of baby change facilities.

The swans and their beautiful cygnets really were the star of the show, they made me feel so peaceful. I am not amazingly into birds, but I do like walking and this sanctuary was a delight. I was also very surprised by the lack of aggression and hissing that I usually see in swans. In fact when we feed ducks back home we always avoid swans because they are so aggressive, but these swans are so docile.  In addition to the swans the swannery has two mazes, one for children and on for adults, pedal bikes, a park, gift shop and a cafe. The pedal bike track could do with a refurbishment, my husband enjoyed it but it was too difficult for my 3 year old to even pedal, and I didn’t see a single other person go near the track the whole time we were there.

The cafe was a slight disappointment having gotten my order wrong and had to wait an extra 20 minutes, and when my hot-dog arrived it was in a bland/hard roll which was flavourless, it could have done with some onions at a minimum. The cake was pretty nice and they had a children’s park next to it, so you could eat your lunch whilst watching your little one play.

In the late afternoon we decided to venture over to the children’s farm, were given directions from the gift shop and headed off. 15 minutes of walking in very hot weather later, and it did not appear to be close enough so we headed off. I think they should put up signs saying how long a walk it is, because we were not prepared. The little legs were not going to make that trip so we decided to leave the children’s farm for another day and instead jumped in the car, and drove 5 minutes to the beach, not just any beach –  Chesil Beach. A note about Chesil Beach – it is very painful if you are wearing sandals, or worse, bare-foot. It is literally a mountain of stones, like nothing I have ever seen, there is not a speck of sand.

So the next time you take your child to the beach to throw stones in the water (aka skimming stones), have a thought for the poor souls on Chesil Beach, because I believe that every single stone that has ever been thrown into water anywhere in the world ends up at Chesil Beach!

Useful Information:

  • Postcode: DT3 4JG (the correct one)
  • It would be very difficult to travel here by any other means than by car as it is in the middle of the countryside.
  • The swannery itself is very big, requires a fair amount of walking and once you are in you are far from the toilets. If you decide to combine the children’s farm and sub-tropical gardens in on the same day (not recommended) you would have to limit your time at the swannery and you will need to drive to the gardens and walk for at least 20 minutes over to the farm. If you do buy a combined ticket, you can use the tickets on another day as they do not have an expiration date, so my advice is to spread out the trips to 2 days at least.
  • Opening times: March to November, 10-5pm.

All in all there were high highs and some minor lows but I have nothing but happy memories, and my husband loved the swannery above all the activities we did in Weymouth, so high praise indeed. Our son loved it too as he loves animals and was very excited pointing out all the swans and cygnets and exploring so it was perfect for him.