A Day Out in London With Kids: Guest Post by Emma – Wanderlust & Wet Wipes

I love London. I loved living there when I lived there (even though I was always ready to leave for our next adventure). Now that we live away, I especially love going back there to visit. It really is a city with something for everyone with millions of outdoor and indoor options for every eventuality.

There are museums and parks, soft plays and cafes, buzzing restaurants and historic sights, shopping galore and sniff new buildings…. Not to mention the ever popular riding public transport (true story – we actually did this one afternoon)! You could spend a couple of crazy busy weeks there and still not do everything! If you’ve only got the one day, here’s what I would do for a day out in London with kids…

A Day Out in London With Kids - a guest post by Wanderlust and Wet Wipes title with faded image of London background

Early morning
We’re usually pretty jet lagged when we arrive so the kids wake up crazy early. A cup of tea on the sofa while they watch CBeebies makes me feel right at home! Since we stay in Putney, I usually try to go for a walk or a run along the river. The views are stunning across the water and you can usually watch rowers skimming along as you run.

Breakfast
Back home and we are ready to go pretty early having been up with the birds. Living the Middle East, we always go for big breakfasts with lots of pork products! My current favourite places are Muriel’s Kitchen and Carluccio’s.

Morning
There’s so much to do in London with kids, it’s ridiculous. I’m a huge fan of the museums partly because they are free but mostly because they are such amazing resources for parents. Our favourites are the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum which are conveniently right next to each other and down the road from Muriel’s Kitchen! I really want to try out the Transport Museum next time we are home as I think the kids will be the right ages for it by now.

Lunch
If the weather is nice, I say you can’t beat a pub lunch in a place with a really nice beer garden. Sitting in the sun with a proper pub grub type of meal is one of my ideas of heaven!

Afternoon
In the afternoon heading to the Tower of London is always a winner. You can download their app and complete a digital mission or you can do one of their activity trails. Alternatively head over to the London Eye for spectacular views of the capital. If the weather is nice and you want to make the most of being outside, take advantage of one of the many hundreds of parks (1700 apparently!) and let the kids run off some energy.

Dinner
There are literally so many options if you’re just coming off the Eye. The South Bank is packed with family friendly restaurants like Wagamama, Giraffe and Ping Pong. My kids can be quite fussy eaters so it’s great to have a place where I know there’s somewhere that we can all eat something!

Head home via public transport (to keep the kids happy) for a well earned, good night’s sleep.

Aerial image of London river Thames

About Emma
Emma’s a pushing 40, travel-mad mum to 2 young kids (aged 6 and 4) and a crazy dog. Originally from the UK she’s lived in 10 cities across 5 continents all over the world. She currently lives in Doha, Qatar. Emma started blogging about her family travels in 2017 when she had an epiphany about how to have successful adventurous family holidays.

You can follow Emma at:

Blog: wanderlustandwetwipes.com
Twitter: @wanderwetwipes
Facebook: facebook.com/wanderlustandwetwipes
Instagram: instagram.com/wanderlustandwetwipes
Pinterest: pinterest.co.uk/wanderlustandwetwipes

Essential Trips For All Music Lovers

Everyone says that they like music, but then there are people who LOVE music. For those people, music is life; their existence would be a little emptier without it. But music doesn’t just have to be something that you listen to and from work; you can make it part of your travels! From the history of music to today’s biggest players, there are destinations across the world that have music running through their veins. We take a look at some of these destinations below, which might just inspire your next trip…

Essential Trips For All Music Lovers title record image above

The Home of The Beatles

Where would music be with The Beatles? It’s not worth thinking about. The Fab Four from Liverpool changed the course of music forever. Listen to their records today, and you can still hear their influence in modern culture. To see where it all began, take a trip to Liverpool. There, you’ll be able to see the homes where they were raised, the areas that influenced some of their most popular tracks (specifically, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields), explore the Beatles Museum, and visit the famous Cavern Club, which is where they perfected their sound.

Modern Music Makers

People have the idea that music was better in the past, but is this true? It doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Today, you can hear music from any and all backgrounds; music hasn’t gotten worse, there’s just more of it, and it’s more diverse. To hear the latest and best sounds, take a trip to the cities where all the best new music is developed. In places like London, New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin, you’ll be able to see the artists paving the future of music. And trust us, it sounds pretty good.

Through History

If you love music, then you’ll be aware of all the big movers and shakers throughout history. Virtually every big player has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and did you know that there’s a museum dedicated entirely to these musicians in Ohio? Book yourself into the nearby Fairfield Inn & Suites Akron Stow, and pay a visit. There, you’ll find a grand museum divided into seven sections outlining various aspects of music, from one-hit wonders, songs that shaped rock and roll, and special exhibitions devoted to inductees, among others. For music lovers, this museum will function as something of a pilgrimage.

Other Languages

We tend to focus on music that’s in the English language, but if there’s one thing that music has taught us, it’s that music is global. For your next trip, why not think about visiting a place with a rich musical heritage, even if it’s in a different language? Cuba’s music scene is a knock-out, as is the Spanish cities where the Spanish guitar still reigns. Desert Sahara bands and artists, such as Tinariwen, have also been increasingly popular with western audiences in recent years, too. Travel the whole world, and dig deep to hear the sounds they’ve been creating – it’s sure to be good.

Do you have a favourite place to go for the musical connections? Let me know in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

Tips on Getting Some Sleep if your Flight is Delayed Overnight

If you are waiting for a delayed flight and it is night time, then you may want to get some sleep. However, sleeping in an airport is not at all easy due to the noise, light and discomfort. However, if you do need some sleep in these less than desirable conditions while you are waiting for your flight, there are things that you can do to help. Below are some suggestions which might be of some use…

Tips on Getting Some Sleep if your Flight is Delayed Overnight. Image of inside airport at night

Book into a hotel

The obvious solution would be to book into a hotel. Obviously this would only work if you knew that the flight was definitely not coming in for a certain amount of time. You would also need there to be a free hotel room nearby and one that you could afford. Sometimes an airline may pay for accommodation if the delay is their fault and for a long time, so it is worth asking before you book up a room as they may have specific terms with regards to reimbursing you. However, most of the time people will try to get some sleep in the airport.

Use earplugs or noise cancelling headphones

Airports are really noisy and this could stop you from getting to sleep. The best way to block the noise is to use good earplugs, or you may prefer to use noise cancelling headphones. If you do have some headphones, you can use them to listen to music, or something on your mobile device, and this will enable you to relax and hopefully sleep. It should help to block out any noise distractions.

Use an eyemask or hat

The light can be a problem as well. Even with your eyes shut it can still feel bright through your eyelids and make it hard to nap. It can therefore be good to cover your eyes with an eye mask or, if you do not have one, pull a hood down over them or just cover over with a scarf or something like that.

Make a pillow from jumper, coat or bag

Most of us will sleep with a pillow and therefore having one could make a big difference to whether we are able to fall asleep. Some people travel with them, but if you do not then you can roll up some clothing or see if you can use your bag instead.

Find a comfortable chair or place on the floor

Getting comfy can be tricky and you will need to think about whether you can get comfortable on the chair or whether you want to try lying on the floor. This will very much depend on you and what you find comfortable. It may be possible to lie across several chairs depending on how busy it is and how the chairs are designed.

Man sleeping on chair with earphones in

Make sure your bags are secure

It is worth making sure that your bags are secure. Not only is this a sensible practice, but it could help you to feel more relaxed knowing that they are safe. If you are worried that they might be stolen or interfered with, then it might stop you from being able to relax enough to fall asleep. Some people padlock their luggage, but securing it with your body can be a sensible thing to do as well. This will stop anyone taking it and mean they cannot put anything inside it.

Ask someone to wake you

You may also be worried that you might not wake up in time for your flight. If this is the case, then ask a staff member or someone waiting for the same flight if they could wake you up when you need to get ready for the flight. Of course you could set the alarm on your mobile, which is the easiest option, but with all the other noises – and the ear plugs or headphones on to drown that out – you may not hear it. This way you will be able to go into a deep sleep, knowing that you will wake up at the necessary time rather than having a restless sleep as you keep checking to see whether it is time for the flight or not.

Girl sleeping with headphones on

We all have different sleep routines, but it is difficult to imagine that any of us sleep in conditions like this normally. Therefore it will be hard to apply our sleep routines to this. However, do try to make it as like your normal sleep as you possibly can. Perhaps cover yourself over with something, make a pillow and things like that. If you use meditation to listen to certain music, see whether you can find that on your mobile device to use. It is important to try to relax before you sleep, so think of things that you can do which will help and therefore go to sleep.

*This is a collaborative post.

Green City Breaks: Guest Post by Sally – Life Loving

Hello all! I’m Sally and I blog over at Life Loving. My blog is my way to inspire others to get out and about and enjoy life more. I live by the motto ‘ketchup tomorrow, relish today’.

Sally at Life Loving outdoors

The lovely Katie has kindly let me put together a guest post about one of my favourite topics – travel. But today, I’ve given it a twist. I’m going to give you some inspiration for a green city break, so you can be a bit more environmentally-friendly, when planning your great escape.

Paris

One of the greenest options for travel is the train. We are lucky down here in Kent to have the Eurostar right on our doorstep. The travel time into Gare du Nord station in Paris is just over two hours, so it’s perfect for a day or two away. Eurostar trains also run regularly from London St Pancras. Paris is a wonderful choice for a city break. I love going up the Eiffel Tower, visiting the Arc de Triomphe and the Notre Dame. Paris is a city which you can easily take in most of the sites on foot. If you are visiting, I’d high recommend the lesser known Montparnasse Tower, as an option to see a different high-up view of Paris.

Paris arc de triomph

Venice

Keeping on the rail theme. Did you know you can travel all the way to Venice on a train? What’s even better is that you can travel overnight and wake up in your destination. You board a sleeper train at Paris’s Gare du Lyon. Your ticket will give you a bed in a cabin of either three or five other travellers. There’s also a restaurant and bar on-board. This will make the start of your city break really special, travelling in through France and Italy. Once in Venice, there’s a plethora of famous sites to take in including St Mark’s Basilica or heading up Venice’s tallest building, the Campanile, to take in the view. Whilst you are there, you must take a gondola ride – it’s iconic and if you go and don’t, you’ll regret it!

Manchester

Taking a coach to reach your city of choice is really good way of travelling greenly and cheaply. Coach operators like National Express have fares to cities like Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff starting at just £5 one way. Manchester is a great city break in particular. There’s endless shopping opportunities, including the huge Trafford Centre. Manchester is also known for its restaurants and nightlife, so it’s quite a grown up city break. You can add to your green credential by travelling around the city via its famous tram network too.

Copenhagen

This is a city which is famous for its investment into cycling. There’s plenty who would agree that the best way to see the city is by bike. Hire a city bike and you’ll get an electric bike, with built-in GPS and tourist information, so it’s really easy to get around and see what you want. It works out about £3.50 an hour to hire a city bike, but they are perfect to take in Tivoli Gardens or the Little Mermaid statue. If you are visiting in the summer months, make sure you head to the old port of Nyhavn. The surrounding houses are iconic as they have been painted in different colours. But it’s the restaurants you are after here. You can dine whilst enjoying great jazz music.

Scenic view of Copenhagen

Nice

For my final recommendation for a green city break, I will draw your attention to the French Riviera. You again can travel down on train. There’s a high speed service from Paris which takes just under six hours. You can be walking down the famous Promenade des Anglais before dinner time. The old town of Nice is great for exploring on foot or if you fancy a more leisurely option, the open-top bus tour will take you round the sites of the city. If it’s sunny, and it often is in Nice, you’ll be admiring the views from the top deck.

I’d also recommend hopping over to Monaco. The train ride takes about a quarter of an hour and you can take in some of the famous sites that you see televised on the Grand Prix – the harbour, the casino and the Palace. If you time it right, as we did, you can be there just in time for the changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place just before midday.

A picturesque view of Monaco

I hope this has inspired you to look at some different ways to explore some of Europe’s most interesting cities. If you can, I’d highly recommend looking for alternative ways to travel, rather than simply just flying or taking taxis. You really see more of a place when you use the public transport, whether that’s a train, bus, boat or bike. You end up using your eyes more and really understanding how a city works. Plus you’ll know how to get around!

For more tips and advice you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

 4 Ways Camping Can Rejuvenate Your Soul

As modern people, we often do not get out into nature half as much as we should, and certainly nowhere near as often as even some of our more recent ancestors did. Instead, we remain indoors for the vast majority of our lives, whether at home, at the office, at the local cinema, or restaurant, or club.

There’s nothing wrong with the indoors, of course. Nature can often be savage and unforgiving, and electric underfloor heating is a tremendous boon in the midst of winter, when would be left fighting for our lives against the elements if we were still hunter-gatherers. Nonetheless, connecting to nature is essential, for mind, body, and soul. So here are some ways that a good camping trip – in as wild a place as possible – can rejuvenate your soul…

Title image with faded camping picture in background

It can wash away the preoccupations of daily life

Over the course of our normal 9-5 workdays and the lives that surround them, we are caught up between a near-endless number of obligations and concerns and preoccupations of various types. These obligations aren’t just all in our heads, either, although many of them are. There are real obligations placed on us by society to fill in the right form at the right times, complete our projects by particular deadlines, top up our cars, and attend parent-teacher meetings. All these preoccupations – each small in their own right – can mount and become the kind of chronic stress that leads to breakdowns and unhappiness with life in general.

Camping can wash all of that away for a time. Suddenly you are no longer “plugged into the Matrix”, but are out in nature, with your days and nights stretching before you. What do you need to do out here? Eat and sleep. Everything else is optional.

Leave your phone off and only switch it on for emergencies. Leave all your fancy gadgets at home. Go camping and let nature remind you of a more simple mode of living, and wash your soul clean of its usual preoccupations.

It can get you back in touch with the cycles of nature

Chronic insomnia is one of the major issues plaguing modern man in the developed world. The reasons aren’t too hard to fathom, either. Instead of our days following a natural rhythm, we find ourselves in an “always-on”, world. We can wake up before dawn, watch YouTube videos, organise our days on our planners, have a strong coffee, and leave for work. After working for an entire day, we return home, switch on the blinding artificial lights, and watch Netflix until the early hours.

Camping gets us back in touch with the natural cycles of nature. We rise with the sun, are active while it shines, and then get sleepy – and sleep – moments after it sets. Things seem to fit into their proper categories and positions, and our mood and health begin to improve rapidly.

A tent pitched up on a large open field overlooking the beach and ocean below

It can remind you of your connectedness to the great web of life

We buy our food from the local grocery store wrapped in plastic. We hear about environmental crises, but it doesn’t really register. It can be easy to forget, when living in the city, that we are not just detached individuals floating through the world, but are in fact connected to the great web of life all around us.

Camping reminds us of our place in the order of things. It can make us feel more whole, less alone, and more in touch with the planet we occupy. It can remind us that we are part of a greater whole and have an important role to play in the world.

It can give you space to dream

One of the most damaging consequences of being caught up in the constant flow of information and distraction that makes up modern life, is that we are so drawn into the everyday complexities of things, that we completely lose our perspective and forget, or can no longer manage, to dream the big dreams that make life truly worth living.

Getting out camping in a wild location can truly give us a different perspective on life. Now, we see our normal lives as if from a great height. We’re in a different place, somewhat outside of space and time, and we can see more clearly than we did before. From this perspective – this place outside of our normal routines – we may once again find the space to dream, to wonder, and to plan our lives from a transcendent place of hope and excitement.

A tent in the forest

*This is a collaborative post.

Days Out in Newcastle Upon Tyne

Are you planning a trip to Newcastle? If it is your first time visiting (or even if it’s not!) here are my ideas for a fun packed, family- friendly day out in Newcastle…

Days Out in Newcastle title with image of Tyne below

(Please note I have not yet been to all of these places myself, some are still on my travel bucket list for next time we visit Newcastle!)

Life Science Centre

This science museum is situated in Times Square right next to the train stations and is also close to a large carpark, so it makes a good starting or finishing point for your day if you are based outside of town (Toon!) It looks like an absolute must if you have kids; it is full of hands-on activities. Be warned though, I hear it gets busy!

Quayside Walk/ Open Top Bus Tour of Gateshead Quays

From the Life Science Centre, take a walk along the Quayside to enjoy the scenic views. Once you arrive at Guildhall and Merchants Court, jump on an open top bus to cross the Swing Bridge then continue your sightseeing along Gateshead Quays.

Quayside walk with views across the Tyne river.

Baltic Centre For Contemporary Art

Jump off the bus tour at Baltic Art Centre to take in the sights of River Tyne from new heights via their viewing platform. You can also grab a bite to eat for lunch while you are here. If you have time, check out their current exhibits too of course!

Open Top Bus Tour (Continued)

After lunch, hop back onto the open top bus tour to travel past the impressive Sage building and across the famous Tyne Bridge. I am not a fan of heights myself, but despite that I still recommend it! End the tour at Market Street.

Sage Gateshead

Sightseeing or Shopping?

Depending on how late in the day it is, you could fit in a quick visit to Laing Art Gallery. It also has a recently refurbished play space for younger children, so good if you have little ones. You could also see Greys Monument or check out Blue Carpet Square. Another option would be to take in a theatre show at Theatre Royal.

If shopping is more your thing, there are plenty of shops around to choose from and a large shopping centre or three. Whilst the huge intu Metrocentre is further away, you could grab a bus or cab there. Or just head to nearby Eldon Square intu instead. If you prefer boutiques and specialist shops, then definitely pop to Eldon Garden Shopping Centre. Alternatively, visit Grainger Market for something abit different.

Eating Out

After all that, finish off the day enjoying a delicious dinner at one of Newcastle’s many restaurants. There are loads to choose from! If you are looking for discounts on food, as well as activities and attractions, then check out Groupon to see what deals they currently have on things to do in Newcastle. Enjoy!

A photo of Newcastle at night. Colourful lights illuminate the river Tyne

Have you been to Newcastle? Where would you recommend? Tell me in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Are You Wasting Money In The Worst Areas?

Do you have trouble with money? It’s possible that you struggle to save because your money is actually draining away in wasteful areas. There are lots of areas in life where you might be spending a lot more than you actually need to. Cut the cost, and you will find you have a lot more money to play with at the end of each month. Let’s start by thinking about purchases that you should never have made in the first place…

Are You Wasting Money In The Worst Areas? title with image of piles of coins

Straight Out The Box

Financial experts will tell you that you should never purchase a car brand new on the market. The reason for this is simply the depreciation. When you buy a car, it will immediately start to drop in value. There is literally no way that you can make money off a car that is purchased brand new when it comes time to sell. Unless of course, you decide to purchase a classic. However, even then, you will need to be careful how much you drive the vehicle and what you use it for. You see? Even purchasing a classic vehicle, something that should always balloon in value, isn’t guaranteed to lead to an ROI. The obvious answer then is to purchase a car second hand. While this can be risky, it does mean that you won’t be losing as much money when it does inevitably start to drop in price Instead of losing half the value of the car, that value will already be gone when you make the purchase. There are other benefits too. You’ll be able to afford a nicer car, and that car will be cheaper to insure. Gocompare.com can show you how expensive it is to insure a Merc and one that is second hand will always be a lot cheaper.

An image of an expensive new car

The Package Deal

Are you booking a holiday this year? You might have heard that booking a package holiday is cheaper. Unfortunately, it isn’t. If you use a package holiday, you’ll be buying your holiday from an agent. They will search through the indexes and systems to find the right holiday for you including hotels, flights, add-ons and anything else that you might have asked them about. They’ll then bunch all these items together. But on top of that, you’ll need to pay for their services. Agents will typically add money to the cost of your flight to cover their service. As such, instead, it’s far better to use sites like Lastminute.com to find your own. Right now, it’s possible that your holidays are costing you a fortune, but they really don’t have to.

A group of people on the beach on holiday

Throwing It Away

How much do you spend on shopping every week? Fifty, a hundred or more? If you’re spending a lot on food, you at least want to make sure that you’re getting the greatest use out of it possible. But most people don’t because leftovers get binned. Instead, you should be saving these, freezing what you can. With the right planning, you can have whole meals frozen ready to feed your family another day of the week. You’ll be amazed how much money this will save you overall.

Spaghetti bolognaise. Dinners can be prepared from frozen leftovers

We hope you find this advice useful when you’re looking for ways to cut back the waste in your life. Do you have other suggestions? Leave a comment!

*This is a collaborative post.

Exotic Foods From Faraway Places: Favourite Dishes From Around The World

I have social media connections from all over the world. As I scroll down my instagram feed or browse through facebook photos, I see yummy meals from pretty much every country you can think of! It got me thinking about some of my personal favourite exotic dishes from around the world…

Exotic Foods From Faraway Places: Favourite Dishes From Around The World text with a row of plates of food along the bottom of image

Favourites from France

I remember going on a school trip to France in my teenage years. We were encouraged to try classic French cuisine, such as escargot; which I admit, I definitely was not a fan of! However, I adored the patisserie; authentic French pastries are delicious!

I also love French crepes, which is something that fellow blogger Falcondale Life most certainly agrees with. She had a crepe making lesson in the home of a Breton farmer a couple of years ago. She preferred the sweet crepes, but says they were fiendishly difficult to make in the traditional style!

French crepes

Barbados Delights

We visited Barbados back in our early 20s. I don’t remember a huge amount of that holiday anymore, but I do remember going for a tasty beach banquet one night. The coconut rice was particularly good! What I can remember is their dishes generally didn’t look amazing but flavours were incredible.

A Taste of Thailand

I have never visited Thailand but Thai food is one of my favourites! I am especially food of vegetable noodle dishes. If I ever go to Thailand, it would be interesting to see how the real thing compares to the English versions I have sampled! You can travel to Thailand with Destination2 and they also have more yummy recommendations on their site too! Pad thai, anyone?

A well presented selection of Thai food on a table

Other Recommendations

I asked a couple of other bloggers what exotic dishes they recommend, especially vegetarian ones if possible…

Reduced Grub said they absolutely love Turkish Kisir, because it’s super healthy, full of colour and kind on your pocket.

Adventure Travel Family said they loved lentil dhal in Sri Lanka: “As vegans it’s a great high protein source and you can have it spicy for us adults and mild for the kids. It’s also super cheap, perfect for budget travel!”

Delicious noodle dish in a wooden bowl with chopsticks

All this talk of food has made my belly rumble! I wonder if our local Thai is still open right now…

What is your favourite exotic dish? Where in the world is the best food you have ever eaten? Tell me in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

My Favourite Holiday Memories

I love thinking back to old holidays, reminising about my favourite moments and the funny times. An old photo, comment from a friend or even just a random memory popping into my head brings a smile to my face; holidays are often so full of moments to be treasured!

My Favourite Holiday Memories title with beach background

My first ever holiday (I think!) was a trip abroad to Majorca with my parents. I don’t remember a single thing about it to be honest, except that my mum was heavily pregnant with my brother at the time and I am pretty sure lied to be allowed on the plane! I remember seeing photos of her lounging on a sun bed and one of me wearing sunglasses on the beach. I looked so happy in the photos; so even though I was too young to actually remember any of it, I clearly had a good time!

My first proper holiday without my parents, aside from residential school trips in the UK and France, was to Tenerife with a friend when I was 16. I fell in love with it and it instantly felt like ‘home’. I was so drawn to it that I returned a couple of years later to live for a short time, working as a bar rep. There were loads of amazing, fun memories from those days, as I am sure you can imagine! I would love to return one day; perhaps to the otherside of the island though, as it is more family- friendly. www.holidaygems.co.uk have some fab deals if you are tempted by this idea too!

#TBT Tenerife days

A post shared by Katie (@living_life.our_way) on

Some of my funniest, and fondest, memories are actually of holidays closer to home though. There were girly weekends away with one of my favourite people in the whole world, which we still often giggle about now – years later. Or the Scotland trip we went on with my mum. And not to forget of course, the wonderful family holidays I have taken Squiggle to as well.

A photo of Squiggle and her mum on the beach playing in the sea

I can’t pick a single favourite holiday; I loved each one in different ways and for very different reasons. Each one holds lovely memories of precious moments with people I love, randomness and laughter! That’s why I love holidays so much!!!

What are your favourite holiday moments? Tell me in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Beautiful Accessible Reservoir Walks in Yorkshire – #RediscoverReservoirs

Yorkshire is a beautiful county filled with many stunning scenic sights and lovely walks. As the second largest landowner in Yorkshire, Yorkshire Water is currently striving to
enhance access across it’s reservoirs. These are some of the most gorgeous walking spots in the entire UK, and their aim is to ensure more wheelchair and mobility aid users are able to enjoy them too. They are therefore developing routes that are accessible to those with mobility needs by improving the paths around reservoirs, by making them flatter and addressing surfacing issues, allowing all visitors to fully experience these amazing, tranquil countryside spots.

Swinsty Reservoir.Image credit: Busy Mum Lifestyle

These routes may be of particular interest to disability rambler groups, inclusive outdoor groups who wish to ensure all members can participate, and those individuals and families with mobility needs who enjoy seeking out the countryside. Here is a map of the accessible reservoir routes for reference…

A map of accessible reservoir routes

This project is close to my heart because, although the nature of Squiggle’s disabilities are largely invisible, she does also have some mobility issues. But mainly it is important to me personally because, as an SEND parent, I am very aware of the various barriers that can prevent even a simple activity from being accessible. Whether it is because it is physically inaccessible for a wheelchair user, or for one of the many other less obvious reasons, it can be difficult for those with SEND to participate in things that others may well take for granted. Inclusion matters.

I also think the benefits of being able to access these routes should not underestimated. After all, there is far more to being outdoors than just getting some fresh air and exercise. It is just as essential to our mental health to be able to enjoy spending time outside in pretty, natural surroundings. And water in particular is very therapeutic. As Dr Nichols, who coined the term Blue Mind explains, there is science behind how being near water helps people to be “happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do”. I firmly agree that being around water, such as these lovely reservoir walks, is very relaxing and supports our health and wellbeing in far more ways than we might realise. So of course it is crucial that everyone can benefit from this!

Map of Swinsty Reservoir route and facilities

One example of these accessible reservoirs is Swinsty. It offers stunning views and has picnic areas, a disabled carpark and facilities. It is a fabulous way to spend the day, as Rosemary at Busy Mum Lifestyle agrees: “I stayed just outside Harrogate on a girls’ weekend last year. We spent one day walking around Swinsty Resevoir and it was absolutely beautiful. It was a gorgeous May Day and the bluebells had just come up.”

A photo of the bluebells in the woodland at Swinsty reservoir

Swinsty Reservoir (above and below)

Image credits: Busy Mum Lifestyle

A photo of the reservoir - Swinsty

I think it is fantastic that Yorkshire Water are ensuring that these lovely surroundings are accessible to all. A wonderful, relaxing day out that can be enjoyed by everyone!

Have you visited any of these Yorkshire reservoirs? Join in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #RediscoverReservoirs and/ or let me know in comments!

*Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Yorkshire Water.