We've bought our new Merlin passes and so we're all set for a year of days out. I missed out last year, being either pregnant or with a baby, so I'm looking forward to joining in again with some of our places to visit, albeit with the added challenges of a new addition and Harry going through the stage where he can walk for a bit, but not enough for a full day out.
Ram has actually already taken Harry on the London Eye and to the London Aquarium with his, but this was the first time that we've used them for a family day out.
As we are spending a few days visiting family in Warwick, we started with Warwick Castle. We arrived as the castle opened as we expected it to be a busy day. It was - the car park was already half full. We buy our Merlin passes with Tesco Clubcard deals. This means that visiting the attractions, which individually are very expensive, works out to be very reasonable. Most of the attractions do also now charge for parking though, which can be rather pricey. Warwick Castle charges £6! So we have paid a bit extra to upgrade Ram's pass to a Premium one, which includes the parking. He is the one most likely to take a child on a solo visit, and we expect to make enough trips to places to make it worth it.
We started off with Mia in the carrier and tackled the climb up to the top of the tower. Harry did do very well, but his little legs couldn't manage the whole trip so I had fun carrying him up and down inside spiral staircases. Then we went round some of the other attractions inside the castle. The rooms inside aren't just decorated, they are themed with very realistic waxwork figures and are very well put together to tell a story as you walk through. We've visited several times now so we didn't spend too long here, but there's easily enough to entertain a family for a full day.
Then we walked up to the gardens to see the peacocks. I suspect that it may be peacock mating season, as we saw lots of beautiful tail displays, and they were very noisy. Harry was fascinated by them.
He was also fascinated by the camera, so we let him have a go with it and he actually took some very nice photos! Possibly in most cases more by luck than judgement, but it's very rare to have both Ram and me in a photo at once!
We finished in the playground. It was only lunchtime so it hadn't had chance to get too busy so it was perfect. Then we braved a restaurant for lunch, before heading back with a very tired little family!