Tag Archives: vindolanda

Springtime Traditions

What are your family’s Easter or Springtime traditions?

Ours has always usually been some form of travel, because we love to travel.

My husband and I have traditionally always gone away at some point in the spring. In the early days, before we were married, this was usually some sort of exotic location like Morocco or the Dominican Republic. Despite being married in the autumn, we took our honeymoon in springtime and were in Guatemala and Belize for the entire month of April in 2012. When our daughter was born, we started venturing a little closer to home and spent a few days in Lyon, which was easy to get to on the Eurostar (where children under 4 travel for free) and where we had an immaculate city centre apartment, complete with ancient stone walls. It was very comfortable and the only downside was that the host hadn’t checked the apartment between us and the previous guests (it was cleaned, just not checked!) and tried to charge us for a cup or a bowl or something that was missing after we’d left. Thankfully Airbnb just asked us if we’d broken anything and didn’t charge us, but it did leave us with a slightly sour taste for the place after that.

Finally when the toddler stage really hit, we decided to stick to UK based locations. And honestly, those have been some of my favourite family holidays ever. We like staying at rental properties when we travel because it allows us to do our own laundry, cook our own food, and keep our daughter to a somewhat normal meal and bedtime routine. From an ecological and economical perspective, I like this way of travelling too. Check out my article on eco travel tips.

A couple years ago we went to Northumberland for Easter and hiked with our then 2 year old through the beautiful and impressive woodland and lakeside parks – Kielder Forest Park and Northumberland National Park. There are Roman sites galore in the area and we did spend most of an afternoon at a fascinating bit of Harian’s Wall ruins at Vindolanda. It’s run by an independent charitable trust (rather than by any of the big heritage organisations) and I thought it was a really excellent site and museum (well, there are 2 museums they run actually and both are included in your ticket). We rented a beautiful Airbnb stone cottage near Hexham with an amazing view to the rugged hills behind the fields of grazing sheep. We were able to light cozy fires in the evening, put our daughter to bed in her own little bedroom (complete with travel cot provided!) and make our own Easter meal. That area of the country has the Northumberland International Dark Skies Park and the view of the stars at night is spectacular – even by my own Canadian standards!

Last year we ventured slightly closer to home and stayed in Norfolk. It didn’t wow me as much as the rugged beauty of Northumberland did, but it also was a lot shorter drive and the tiny stone cottage – April Cottage in Winterton-on-Sea – which we rented from Airbnb “superhosts” Ian and Shirley was absolutely immaculate. They even left us a lovely goodie basket with wine and treats. There was a small courtyard garden, just perfect for our little one to do her Easter egg hunt on Easter morning. (If you’d like to save £25 or $35 off your first Airbnb booking at this or any other of their properties around the world, use this link and we both save money on our next bookings!)

This year, due to the financial uncertainty around Brexit and the fact that our ancient car is not really that trustworthy anymore, we’re going to skip going away for Easter and stay at home in London. To be honest, I’m really going to miss getting away into the countryside to see a new part of the UK and enjoy the hiking and historical sites. My daughter has even been asking when we’re “moving to our other house with the chocolate eggs in the garden”. But we’ll make the most of things this year. My husband enjoys making a big Easter meal (I’m not bothered about Easter-related food really) and my daughter will enjoy hunting for chocolate eggs no matter where she is.

One thing I am going to do to get the inspiration flowing is order a copy of this wonderful book on seasonal activities and celebrations…well, I should say my second copy of this wonderful book on seasonal activities and celebrations, because my mother loved it so much when I took it home at Christmastime that she kept it! It has all kinds of lovely family traditions which include family members of all ages and I can’t wait to read what fun Easter activities they have in mind.

But I’d love for you to inspire me with your ideas. What are your Easter and/or Springtime family traditions?