Last weekend we were invited* to visit the ‘Enchanted Christmas’ event at Westonbirt Arboretum and it sounded like just the thing to get us all in the festive spirit. We booked a 6-7pm slot and headed off on Saturday night wrapped up in our scarves and bobble hats. It made a nice change to do something out of the ordinary and the kids were excited to be going out instead of getting ready for bed. Just getting cosy in our winter gear felt festive!

The drive to the arboretum was lovely, Tetbury in particular was stunning. We couldn’t miss the arboretum entrance as the trees were illuminated in beautiful, bright colours. The clear skies that evening made it even more spectacular. The kids were fascinated and Florence loved the ‘sparkly’ tree in the car park. At this point I was thankful for my wellies as we were parked on a field and I should imagine, come the final weekend, it will be rather muddy so consider yourself warned!

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It soon became apparent that the event was extremely popular which made me even more excited to get inside and see what all the fuss was about. As the event is ticketed and time slots are booked for each evening the ticket processing was quick and we were soon on our way through a large marquee which housed a hog roast (the smell was amazing), hot chocolate, mulled wine, burgers and sweeties! It was lovely and the steam from the food billowed through the air whilst Christmas carols could be heard in the distance.

The kids spied a carousel and we promised them a go once we’d walked through the illuminated trail. I guess we bribed them! Initially the trail was very busy and it was a job to see the kids amongst all the people. I was probably annoying everyone as I stopped at almost every single tree to take a photo. Each one was stunning in its own way. Some were lit from the ground, some were lit from various other angles, some had disco balls hung inside them and some had lanterns or projections cast across them. The kids favourite tree was ‘disco tree’ which had a huge disco ball and bubbles falling from it.

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By the half way point we were ready for a short break. Elsie also needed a feed so we were pleased to see a few benches and we perched, under lanterns, enjoying the scenery.

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There were a few areas which are interactive such as a bike which, when pedalled, illuminated a large display of lights across the floor and also a pad which you jump on to clear the leaves on the screen in front of you. All of these sorts of things were a hit with the kids – you’ll just need to be prepared to wait your turn.

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All in all the trail took about an hour for us to walk around (including a 15 minute break) and the kids must have enjoyed it as we didn’t have a single complaint of ‘tired legs’! The trail was suitable for our pram and I think Elsie enjoyed looking at all the colours as it was well past her bedtime and she was wide awake!

At the end of the trail the sound of Christmas carols comes back into ear shot and there are chestnuts roasting and arts and crafts for the children to take part in.

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We spent about two hours at the arboretum and we left feeling rather festive. I think if I were to go again I would buy some food there (we ate before leaving home) and use the opportunity to soak up more of the atmosphere.

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Enchanted Christmas runs from 25th November to 18th December and tickets can be booked via the website.

 

 

*We were invited to attend this event in exchange for a review.  All opinions of this event are my own.

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I’ve been badgering Matt to go to the forest throughout summer and for one reason or another we never made it. Last weekend we finally had the perfect storm; no plans, sunny weather and all the kids so we decided to head out the Forest of Dean which is only about 45 minutes from us.  As long as you don’t get lost like we did. So, it actually took us an hour and 15 mins! The kids were starving en route and ate some of the snacks we had packed to bribe them with half way around when their legs were getting tired.

We parked in the Sculpture Trail car park near Speech House. There’s a lovely cafe on site and toilets along with a play park and plenty of picnicking areas.

It was chilly and overcast and, as it was mid afternoon, the day was closing in. We managed to walk for around 45mins before the kids had had enough. It was pretty tough going pushing the pram around too. We didn’t realise but they do advise the paths aren’t suitable for prams! Whoops!

I think the forestry commission must be in the midst of replacing some of the sculptures as there were empty spaces where we had previously seen sculptures but there were also a few new ones we had never seen.  I’m not sure what all the stick huts were about as I didn’t see any signs to explain them. Nevertheless we had a lovely walk, lots of fresh air and exercise, saw some beautiful leaves and collected conkers.  A perfect Autumn afternoon.

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Sunday was such a beautiful day we decided to head out and go for a long walk. Logan’s favourite place to go is ‘up the mountain’ which means up Cleeve Hill in Gloucestershire.  I wanted to share a few of the photos with you as we had such a fab time-it was the sort of day you didn’t want to end.

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There’s a golf course on top of the hill so Logan was over the moon to find some ‘treasure’.  He’s very imaginative, the whole walk we were being chased by ‘baddies’!

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We even squeezed in a bit of a selfie but if you’ve ever tried to take a selfie with a five year old and two year old then you’ll know that this was probably the best we were going to get!

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Where do you take your family when you have a free afternoon and the sun is shining?

 

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