Travel to a quiet pocket of woods and wildlife for a range of family activities – whatever the weather
After the summer holidays last year, the big subjects were
So what's the answer? Pay the price for sun or pack your wellies?
Which brings us to the New Forest in Hampshire. It's a beautiful place - quiet country, deep woods, ponies wandering wild - and offers all sorts of activites (both energetic and relaxing) which don't all rely on warm weather.
It sounded perfect for our dream of a holiday offering some luxury rest for the adults and adrenalin fun for our three children - Amber 8 and Tom & Judd 6.
We stayed in two hotels: the first was the Balmer Lawn Hotel, a 4 star hotel in Brockenhurst. We arrived late on the first evening but the staff couldn't have been friendlier, immediately conjuring up some great burgers and homemade fries for the children and some delicious food for us. No matter that the children were over-excited and just wanted to dart around the restaurant - the staff knew exactly how to win them over, with some of the stickiest ice-cream we've seen.
The weather at the beginning of the break was pretty good, but it was great to have a lovely child-friendly indoor pool as back-up for when the inevitable rain came.
Further into our stay, when we'd reached the second hotel, the heavens opened. Luckily the Bartley Lodge Hotel in Cadnam also had a lovely indoor pool, with a gentle walk-in slope which was perfect for mums and little water babies. There were cots available in family rooms and the bunks had bed guards to stop any unfortunate bumps in the night - crucial for our 'thrash-around-in-bed' children.
Despite us seeing this as a cheaper holiday, it was all too easy to spend lots of money on all the activities, which included archery, canoeing and cycling amongst others. Set a budget before you go, and do a mix of free stuff (walking, bringing your own bikes if there's room and making full use of the hotel facilities), as well as the more expensive ones.
Plus if you're on a tight budget, there are some fantastic campsites in the New Forest.
Visit The New Forest Tourism Association for full details of activities and places to stay, plus an interactive map.
© Immediate Media Company Ltd 2012. This website is owned and published by Immediate Media Company Limited. www.immediatemedia.co.uk