22 July 2017

A day out at our new favourite beach

We went to the beach. 

It has taken us quite a while to go to the beach as a family... I've been speaking of wanting to visit one of these beaches near to London ever since our daughter was born, probably even longer than that. The same summer our daughter was born, we were just about to go to one of these beaches, I think the plan was to go to South-end-on-sea, but as the aircon in our car failed and we were not happy to risk being stuck in a hot car in traffic with a new baby, we just dropped it. And every year we were meant to go, but it was always too far, we were too busy, too this, too that. 

But quite recently a friend tipped us off a nice beach near(ish) to London. A non-commercial, lacking in any of the traditionally tacky seaside attractions, not even an overpriced ice cream cone in sight, just sand and the sea (and of course the locals). 

So off we packed our car to go to Frinton-on-sea, clammed right between Clacton-on-sea and Walton-on-sea.

toddler girl at beach with Trunki swim bag

building sandcastles at frinton-on-sea

girl on a beach and a bee

frinton-on-sea seaside

toddler girl running into the sea

dad and daughter splashing in the sea

dad and daughter in the sea with giraffe float

toddler girl by the seaside

Frinton-on-sea - one of best sandy beaches near to London. Taking a family selfie by the seaside and sharing lots of pictures of Frinton beach.

toddler girl in pink flower towel poncho from boots

man throwing a rugby ball

fit flops on sandy beach

A beautiful family friendly beach near London - Frinton-on-Sea. This is our new favourite beach near London - a sandy beach and lack of commercialisation. Have a look at the pictures of Frinton-on-sea beach front and get some tips on what to expect at Frinton seaside.

So off we packed our car full of all the necessary items for the beach and set on our journey. Alongside the normal items like a picnic, plenty of water , towels and sunscreen, I also always pack plastic flipflops and talcum powder. The flipflops because I can't stand sand in my shoes, with the flipflops you can walk towards the waves and let the sea wash the sand off for you. And talcum powder is perfect to get the sand off rest of your limbs - especially handy with kids. 

It was lovely this beach, Frinton-on-sea. The sea was clear, well, as clear as you can get on the English canal, and the air was fresh. It was just a pure traditional beach, with nothing commercial in sight, just beach huts, sand and sea. There were toilets a short walk away, a tap to get water from, and the town where you could go and get some snacks if you needed to. And the best thing of it all... Free parking. All you really need of a beach. 

So we went swimming, and we went splashing and we went wading. At some point our daughter was trying to egg us on to swim to France. She was planning on floating on her giraffe all the way there and daddy could apparently swim next to her. I said I wouldn't mind as long as they brought back a redblochon for me.

frinton on sea bach huts

dad and daughter at beach

frinton on sea beach huts

dad and daughter on beach

mum and daughter on beach

mum and daughter smiling on beach

seashells in hand

seagull flying

mum collecting seashells with daughter

mum showing seashells to daughter

As the day was nearing it's end and after collecting all those seashells, we were salivating at the thought of fish and chips. Well, OK, it was mostly me salivating. If I am at the beach I must have something seasidey to eat.

For some reason we could not find a fish and chips shop open anywhere in Frinton-on-sea in the evening, so we drove up to Walton-on-sea to Yate's Fish and Chips, another tip-off from the friend. And it was oh so good. I had skate, which is quite meaty and chunky in it's texture (would definitely recommend it!) and hubby had his usual favourite, cod. And of course we had mushy peas, and he had a pickled egg, which is pretty much as weird as you could imagine it to be. I tasted it once and it's alright I suppose with fish and chips, but I'm definitely more of a mushy peas type of a girl. 

dad and daughter by the seaside

fish and chips bag

After a long long long day at the beach it felt so good to come back home... Feeling all seasidey and salty, and fresh, and dreaming of another trip to the seaside...

Where is your favourite beach?

18 July 2017

Arsenal Stadium Tour - what is it really like?

Visiting Arsenal Stadium was one of those experiences my husband had longed for, probably since his childhood. Last year, as a late birthday treat I took him and our three year old to visit the stadium on a self-guided audio-tour. Our family visit to the Arsenal Stadium went well, and who knows, maybe we will visit again! That might happen when you are married to a die hard Arsenal fan... Until then, here are loads of pictures, a video and some top tips on visiting Arsenal Stadium with kids.

What the Arsenal Stadium Tour is like? At the Arsenal entrance

Arsenal Stadium box office

Arsenal Stadium audience tunnel

Arsenal Stadium Ken Friar bridge

Arsenal Stadium statue outside

Family picture outside Arsenal Stadium

mum and daughter sitting on Arsenal Stadium steps

Arsenal Stadium Emirates stadium outside

girl running outside Arsenal Stadium

Reviewing the Arsenal Stadium tour in London, UK - lots of pictures and top tips on how to get there and what to do. The post also explains what the tour is like with kids, and how Arsenal Stadium Tour is suitable for families. This is a great place for a Gunners fan to visit, and would be great for any football lovers.

I have been to Arsenal Stadium events a few times before (as a first aider) - twice a match and once a concert. While nothing can beat the feeling you get from thousands and thousands of Arsenal fans chanting when their team is playing against Manchester United in the semi-finals, or the amazing atmosphere at a Bruce Springsteen concert, seeing the absolutely massive stadium and getting an inside look into many of the private areas was incredible.

We spent a while just chilling in the spectator seats, watching the pitch. At the time (summer 2016) they were doing the pitch work, meaning grass had been stripped out and new was being planted. While seeing the lush green grass first had would have been pretty amazing, one the other hand, we did get to see something that is only done ever five to ten years due to it being so expensive and time-consuming (it takes several months!). Watching the grass planting machines, which look a bit like ice resurfaces your see in ice skating rings, was mesmerising.

Arsenal Stadium pitch work

mum and daughter at Arsenal Stadium pitch side

dad and daughter looking at Arsenal Stadium  pitch

pitch works at Arsenal Stadium

dad and daughter looking at the pitch at Arsenal Stadium

Arsenal Stadium clock

dad and daughter at Arsenal Stadium audience seats

I was surprised at how many places we could visit. Alongside the spectator seats, we got to see the players dressing rooms, managers room, the fancy restaurants, the trophies, press rooms and so on. Sadly due to the pitch work we couldn't go into the players tunnel or the pitch side, but usually you would get to do that too. We didn't have a chance to the Arsenal Museum at the time either, and might make another visit there just for my husband's benefit.

Is this a fun attraction to take your kids to? I think yes, although it is of course much more suitable to older kids, school age upwards. Our three year old naturally could not have cared less of Arsenal, but enjoyed running around the spectator seats and the players dressing room. Because this attraction is primarily for adults, kids under five get free access.

trophy room at Arsenal Stadium

directors box at Arsenal Stadium

directors box bar at Arsenal Stadium

mum and daughter at Arsenal Stadium Tour players changing room

sitting in Arsenal Stadium changing room

managers room at Arsenal Stadium  Tour

sitting at press briefing room at Arsenal Stadium Tour

Gunners cannon outside Arsenal Stadium

Arsenal Stadium Tour certificate for Wave to Mummy

For families the only feasible tour is the self-guided tour (on non-match days) which we had, or a guided match day tour. If you are seeing the stadium with just adults, you could also book a Legends tour in which a former Arsenal player will show you around, which to be honest, sounds amazing. Maybe for another birthday...

We had the self-guided audio tour but due to minding our little madam couldn't really concentrate too much on the guide. Thankfully if you have a super-fan like my husband with you, they pretty much already know what is what and can tell you. So all in all, we enjoyed visiting Arsenal Stadium, and I would love to know if you are planning to visit or have visited it already!

Top tips on visiting Arsenal Stadium with kids:

  • You can get tickets from the stadium doors or buy them online - they are £22 per adult when bought from Arsenal, or you can also buy them from buyagift.com, where two adult tickets are £40, a bit cheaper. Match day tours are more expensive.  
  • Under fives go free! So that saves a pretty penny if you have younger kids. That said, small children won't find it particularly interesting so you will have to factor that in and probably have a quick whizz-around tour and plenty of snacks. 
  • Walk up to the stadium from Arsenal tube station. You get awesome views of the stadium as you circle it round from the back like you would when you come for a match. You'll get the giddy mood that comes with it all. The closest tube station is actually Holloway Road station (non-match days only!), so if you are running short of time do consider that. 
  • The gift shop has some great kids sports clothing, branded Arsenal of course. The football shirts cost a pretty penny though - a cheaper alternative is one of those cotton t-shirts. We paid about £10 for a basic grey Arsenal T-shirt.  
  • Pose for a shot with the cannons outside!
  • There is a nice, albeit basic, traditional English greasy spoon (cafe) right outside the exit on the other side of the road. I found them to be very child-friendly. 

Have you ever visited Arsenal Stadium? How was it?

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