If you had the funds where would you go? What would your grand adventure be?
A while ago I saw a competition with Moneysupermarket : “all you need to do is tell us where you would go, what you would do and how you would make the most of your money if you had £1,000 to spend on an epic adventure.”
It had got me thinking, as I really do love adventures and have had our fair share. (Camping in Patagonia with snow falling and us sleeping in a festival tent, spending Christmas day taking an elephant ride across the juggle in Northern Thailand, hot air ballooning in Rajastan, India… I am grateful for these and more!) Now our situation has changed we have 3 children- including a baby ho is now 7 months old – what adventure would we go on? Initally, I was thinking the US or New Zealand, both easy traveling with children and epic outdoors. Then I thought Chile, where I can show the children everything from desert to glaciers while traveling with fantastic public transport.
… but it kept on coming back to budget: even if we don’t count flights, transport costs for the 5 of us still adds up and £1,000 is quickly used up on things like a rental car.
Another Money Supermarket competition- Britains best days out- got me thinking: if we can have our adventure here in the UK, we at least save rental car fees and can make our £1,000 go further, by taking more of our essentials with us (our tent, bikes, cooking gear and so on). So I set myself the task of planning a holiday here in the UK which would give us as a family an epic adventure tailored to the needs of a 4 and 6 year old, considering a one year old, taking up as much of the 5 weeks of school holidays as possible.
Oxford to the South Coast, exploring the New Forest, then onto the Dorset’s Jurassic Coast fossil hunting.
Lulworth cove and Durdle door are great walks and stunningly beautiful, I’ve been told.
We’d also have a chance to visit and stay with friends for a couple of nights while here, then drive to Brecon Beacons National park in Wales staying a night in Weston-super-mare with friends en-route.
In the Brecon Beacons we would take walk along the stunning gorge of the Rivers Mellte, Hepste and Pyrddin jumping over puddles, admiring waterfall after waterfall and walking behind Sgwd-yr-Eira. Next stop the Pembrokeshire coast, the Gower peninsular. Include a trip to the Worm’s head along the tidal causeway to do a bit of bird watching. Drive up the welsh coast from St David to Anglesey, admiring Snowdon and picking an adventure or two in Llandudno.
Head across the Peak District to York, where we’d spend a couple of days with friends exploring the city and the surroundings.
From here we would dip into the Lake district retracing some steps of one of our favourite writers- Beatrix Potter; followed by immersing ourselves into Roman times by exploring Hadrians wall.
Heading up to the Scottish highlands we would try to spot the Loch Ness monster and meander along the shores of Loch Linnhe. Possibly making our way as far north as Ullapool or out to one of the islands, though this would depend on accommodation.
Check out what awesomeness awaits from my Pinterest board.
How would we manage to do ALL of this for £1000?
Firstly, I have budgeted £300 on fuel, which for our very economical diesel is 2,000 miles- the £300 covers the trip, giving us some spare for day trips here and there. Key is driving carefully and as we are in no hurry this should be easy.
The next chunk of the budget is food. At home our weekly food cost is between £50 to £90. I have allowed for £80 per week. While this does not really afford us eating out and hence we have to choose accommodation that is self-catering, it should still easily cover our food. I like cooking and perhaps we can have some special things by shopping at local markets and foraging.
Accommodation was a tricky one to figure out. I put aside £200 for it.
I can hear you shout: £200 for 5 weeks, that’s impossible!
Here’s the plan:
- I have charted our route by popping by and visiting friends. 7 nights would be spent staying with friends up and down the country.
- I would sign up to a home exchange site (costs £50 for an annual subscription) and would look to find two one week exchanges. One in the Lake district and another in the Highlands.
- Finally, the remaining 14 days I plan for us to camp. 7 nights in budget campsites at £20 a night and 7 nights wild camping. (Wild camping is not allowed in England and Wales, but allowed in Scotland. However, I’m sure that I would be able to find places we could pitch a tent legitimately even in England and Wales; a friendly farmer’s corner of a field, a friend of a friend’s back garden… this would all be part of the adventure!)
Sights and attractions: Partly what makes this an epic adventure both for us adults and especially the children is spending a lot of time in the great outdoors, taking in the natural beauty of the United Kingdom- beaches, forests, waterfalls, gorges and so on. That really doesn’t cost much!
We would take our bicycles and cycle some routes; taking plenty of waterproofs, so the wet weather does not deter us.
I would also plan to speckle our trip with castles, museums and stately homes to which entry is free thanks to our National Trust annual membership. And we would have a further £100 to spend on non National Trust property entry fees, which is about 3 attractions. I think Chatsworth house would be one of them and would set us back by £26.
This holiday would be about spending time together as a family, living simply, enjoying the great outdoors (whatever the weather) and taking in some awesome sights. Through the National Trust properties we would be transported to different eras, giving the children their first real immersion into history. Just think of all the castles and stately homes to explore!
For our children the prospect of camping is already a fantastic adventure, then to combine that with all the different things we can see and do, meeting old friends and new people along the way. A couple of board games and playing cards to add to the simplicity of entertaining ourselves.
Can we leave for this adventure tomorrow?
What do you think? Do you think I’m nuts for even thinking along these lines?
Wouldn’t our 1 year old, 4 year old and 6 year old have an amazing summer holiday though, one they would remember for many years to come? Would they learn and develop a lot?
I am totally over the moon! This post was such a joy to research and write and to actually win the competition with it is the absolute icing on the cake… a big delicious one at that!
Here’s what the judges said:
“We had a wealth of great entries, so the judges have had a hard time choosing the winner! They felt that everyone had put a great deal of effort into their entries and there were some really amazing trips that really tempted them.
Nathan and Sofia chose the post by Monika at Mumonthebrink.com. You can see her winning post here.
They felt that the itinerary was brilliant and loved the fact that Monika had worked out all of the costs and was confident she would be able to take a family of 5 away for a 5 week holiday exploring all areas of the UK – truly a great experience for her family and a great achievement with such a big family on a tight budget! Well done Mumonthebrink!”
… so with my winnings I’m seriously considering embarking on this Grand Adventure…. look out friends far and wide we might be camping in your garden this summer!