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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

Posts in ‘Family, Kids & Senior Travelers’

Win A Family Ticket to The Dungeon!

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This October, half-term in the UK will end with the Halloween weekend (Halloween being the 31st of Oct which falls on a Monday this year, we’re expecting most celebrations to happen the weekend before.)

jack-at-the-london-dungeonTop of the scary things to do in London must be the London Dungeon. The attraction shows you 1000 years of the capital’s most gory history and presents you with three thrilling rides, one of which opened this year: the Vengeance 5D laser ride! Educational and fun, the Dungeon will entertain the whole family.

Celebrate Halloween in London at the London Dungeon with the amazing show of Stingy Jack

Jack was a clever but lazy and gambling man. When it was time for Jack to die, the Devil tried to collect his soul but Jack managed to trick him twice. The third time the Devil didn’t even bother to show up and Jack was sent to Heaven.

At the pearly gates, St Peter refused to let Jack in because he had never done a selfless act in his life.  So Jack knocked on the gates of Hell but the Devil was still annoyed with him and so refused to let him in. The Devil threw a coal in a hollow pumpkin (or turnip, depending on which version you read.) for Jack to use as a lantern and send him on his way.

Thus Jack (O’Lantern) roams the dark on Halloween as he has nowhere to go.

So all Halloween period (15-31st Oct 2011) be aware while you make your way around the Dungeon as Jack can pop up anytime…

We have been given a family ticket* that admit two adults and two children to the attraction – all you have to do is answer this question:

Q: Halloween is officially celebrated on which date?

Send us the answer in an email to competition@isango.com with HALLOWEEN in the subject line. Competition closes 9pm Sunday 23rd of October – Winner will be chosen at random.

* tickets will be send out by supplier – ticket valid until the 31st of Mar 2012 for the Dungeon in all six locations.
Picture credit: www.the-dungeons.co.uk

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Ideas for half term

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If you are a parent wondering whether the children hadn’t just started school: it is indeed not long until October half term starts again. Luckily, there is no need to panic – here are a few half term ideas to keep the kids and you entertained.

forestExplore Nature
Weather permitting, take the kids out to the woods. The Woodland Trust has a handy site where you can find the nearest woods to you. The site is full of ideas like den-building and forest foraging. The Woodland Trust also supplies a variety idea packs with activity sheets, puzzles and games that they can email to you for free.

Capital time
If you decide to visit London during half term, you can skip the line at the London Zoo when you pre-book the tickets. This half-term London Zoo has a Halloween theme. For “Boo in the Zoo” London Zoo will open a brand new bat cave, tells spooky stories in teepees and the kids get creative in the Zoo’s Animal Adventure exhibit.

matilda_the_musical-1-200-200-85-cropNo visit to London would be complete without a visit to the West End: treat the children to tickets for Matilda the Musical. The Royal Shakespeare Company production opened last year in Stratford upon Avon to raving reviews. The classic Roald Dahl story about the clever Matilda who discovers she has magical powers, is filled with cheeky songs by comedian Tim Minchin and is a spectacular show for children of all ages.

For those who are looking for to spend the half term week in Europe:

nemo-adam-rebekahAmsterdam
Amsterdam can indeed be appropriate for children: the Anne Frank house has special child friendly displays to explain the historical significance of the place. Little scientists will love the NEMO museum in Amsterdam, where they are forbidden NOT to touch anything: all is there for them to explore. Visit the famous Vondelpark and perch in the cafe Groot Melk huis that organises special kids craft sessions for €5 per child on Wednesday and Saturdays.

Berlin
jewishmemorialberlin_6462_5Germany’s capital of Berlin is full of history, once containing the Berlin Wall, symbol of the Cold War. See what remained of the Wall, the so-called Eastside Gallery covered with paintings and graffiti, visiting the Reichstag will give you a beautiful view of the city but you can also explore the Berlin on segway.

Paris
You can visit the Eiffel tower and even go ‘backstage’ and get tickets for the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, and children will love the Paris Story: a multi-media presentation about Paris’ history.
disneyland_paris_2846For a real treat take the kids to Disneyland Paris for a day. You get picked up from your Paris hotel for a day full of fun and rides among your favourite Disney friends.

Theme parks in Florida
If you are looking for some sun and entertainment further away: we have tickets for Disney World Orlando in Florida. You also have the option visit one of the other theme parks like Universal Studios or Sea World.

Photocredits: Flickr NEMO Amsterdam – Rebekah gmela; Forest – Felixion

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The Thames Festival

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tower-of-london_london_4107_5If you are around in London this weekend, make sure to visit the Mayor Thames Festival. This free (!) festival is London largest outdoor arts festival with all kinds of activities dotted around the river Thames. Every year the Thames Festival attracts 800.000 visitors.

The festival is accessible for all ages, the festival committee has commissioned new work: a mixture of music, dance and various forms of street arts.

Performances
Look out for performances by Dionne Bromfield (goddaughter of the late Amy Winehouse),  a variety of DJs on the Lady Luck Jive Stage, the BFI’s vintage mobile cinema and displays of Korean Taekwondo and Argentinean tango.
The Thames area is divided in four different zones spreading from Westminster Bridge (Zone 1) to Tower Bridge and beyond (Zone 4) Each Zone has its own colour and performances will be easier to find with the map that will be handed out during the weekend or which you can find on the official website.

St Katherine Docks will have its annual displays of vintage boats and retro fashion. Southwark Bridge will be closed to traffic and transformed into the Feast on the Bridge; it will home to the many foodstalls cooking up a treat. There will also be craft stalls whose helpful owners will encourage you and the kids to get stuck in yourselves. Last year, there was a home made flower-hat contest and children of all ages made their own corn-dolls.

Sunday evening the Illuminated Night Carnival will take place and brings together over 2000 dancers, drummers and masqueraders.  The Thames Festival will close with the traditional Fireworks Finale.

Tips:

  • Bring an umbrella on Sunday as rain is forecasted.
  • Check if there are any planned Tube closures on the Transport for London website.
  • Can’t make it to London this weekend: plan a Thames tour to discover the capital in your own time.

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Paris Vacation Apartment Rentals – Advantages for Family Vacations

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Nowadays, a wide selection of vacation accommodation options for family holidays are available. No longer are families obligated to pile into small hotel rooms, or pay astronomic prices for suites. Paris, especially, offers an enormous selection of vacation rental apartments ranging from comfortable studios to large luxurious lofts that are perfect for family vacations. Whatever size or price range, you will find a vacation apartment that suits your family’s needs. If you are thinking about renting a vacation apartment in Paris for your next family holiday here are some advantages:

Cost effective Renting a vacation apartment is one of the most cost-effective options for family holiday accommodations. In Paris, where hotel prices are extremely high, prices for vacation apartments are generally less expensive than booking multiple hotel rooms. In addition, the amount of additional space that you get with an apartment compared to the price paid makes this type of stay much more economical. Plus, all vacation apartments have fully equipped kitchens, so savings from cooking some meals at home can also be factored into overall cost savings.

Comfort Vacation apartments are more comfortable for families than other accommodation options. Even if you rent a studio, the size of the space is generally larger than an average hotel room in Paris, or any other big city. In some apartments, children often have their own bed, or even room. There is always a dining area and, as mentioned above,fully equipped kitchens where you can make homemade meals. Vacation apartments include all the comforts of home.

Practical Families with small children must consider their special needs when looking at holiday accommodations. Vacation apartments offer practical solutions to meet these needs such as a calm place to have naps without the worry of housekeeping knocking on the door or to prepare special meals that only mom can make! In addition, a kitchen offers the freedom for midnight feedings and an apartment provides space for playing.

As you can see, vacation apartment rentals are one of the most practical and cost-effective accommodation options for families traveling to Paris.

About the author

Donna has lived in Paris for over ten years and has traveled extensively throughout the world with her family. She recommends booking a vacation apartment for your next trip to Paris.

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Book it like Beckham

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David and Victoria Beckham have welcomed daughter Harper Seven to their family! Beckham’s baby-name nicely complements their sons’ who have already being christened Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz.

Now his daughter has arrived, David might want to give his wife some mother-daughter quality time and take his boys out for a break.

What better city to entertain the children than our capital London. There are plenty of things to do in London that will keep the kids busy and smiling. For all the fathers (and mothers!) who are looking for some ideas in the capital this summer, we have compiled a list of things to do:

Many free museums in London offer special activities for children and families. National History Museum has plenty of impressive interactive displays from dinosaurs to an earthquake room that children will love. Same goes for the Science Museum next door where they have opened a special Space Exhibition for the summer. The Tate Modern on the Southbank offers Summer Holiday sessions with games and map-making on Thursdays and Fridays for children and an accompanying adult.

If the summer weather holds there are outdoor activities plenty in London. The Diana Memorial Playground in Hyde Park has a Peter Pan theme with a pirate boat to climb, teepees to explore and a sensorial trail. Kew Gardens have complemented their Climbers and Creepers an interactive botanical playground with a brand new outdoor Treehouse Towers playground.

No visit to London is complete without a visit to the West End and there are a variety of theatre shows suitable for children. Take your kids on a London theatre break for memories that will last a lifetime:

Energetic children will be mesmerised by the by this show’s power and creativity of STOMP. Performers have used everything from bin-lids and pipes to even kitchen sinks to create rhythms to dance, move and grove on.

War Horse is an epic theatre production with astonishing puppetry and a story that will appeal to everyone in the family. When the First World War starts and horse Joey is sold to the cavalry, his young boss Albert goes on a journey to find him.

Superhero fans will love Batman Live at the O2 Arena. Gotham City will come alive with stunts, aerial acrobatics and theatrical illusions. Batman and Robin will have to take on his enemies Catwoman, Two-Face and of course his nemesis The Joker.

Contrary to popular believe, London is a family-friendly city. The capital has a lot of entertainment to offer to children of all ages so you can make the most of your summer holiday.

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London Theatre land for Children

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It is July and the weather is horrible. Most parents will already be despairing at the thought of the nearing summer holidays. Pouring rain outside, bored children inside and you have got the ingredients for a six-week nightmare!

There is a simple way to keep the children entertained: take them on a break to the capital. London has a plethora of activities just for children. A fun-filled London theatre break with packages starting from just £48pp, doesn’t have to break the bank. A matinee or evening experiencing the thrill of live-theatre will guaranteed give the whole family something to smile about and remember for a long time.

We have made things even easier with some suggestions for children in London theatre land:

Have tea with a Tiger

See the classic story of The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr come to life against a backdrop of beautifully drawn sets. When Sophie and her mummy sit down to have tea at the table, the doorbell rings. Who could it possibly be? Imagine their surprise when a real stripy tiger joins them for tea! Your little ones will love this sweet show filled with songs and theatrical magic. The show is suitable for children 3 years and up.

Sweet Treats

Closeby the small shop of Hope and Greenwood on Russell street looks like a quirky version of the old- fashioned sweetshop. These self-proclaimed purveyors or splendid confectionary will have something the whole family! Glass jars and bowls filled with boiled sweets, gummies, bonbons and the like will bring out the child in everyone. You can buy prettily pre-packed and gift wrapped sweet treats or pick and mix yourself at the counter.

Swing with Shrek

Everyone favourite ogre now has his own musical! Shrek and his talkative sidekick Donkey set off to rescue Princess Fiona played by Amanda Holden. This musical has true theatrical magic as all the fairytale characters, including a 25ft dragon, will be making an appearance on stage. Even the evil but very short Lord Farquaad will have you laugh out loud.

Lion King

Based on the Disney film, Lion King the musical will be a live-experience you’ll never forget. When lion prince Simba’s father dies in an accident, his mean uncle Scar makes Simba take the blame and the young cub flees from his pride. Years later the pride is starving and they all look for a miracle return of the prince. The mix of music, songs, dance and the spectacular puppetry is breath-taking and will transport you straight to the African savannah.

Good Ol’ Fashioned Fun

In the heart of theatreland, on the first floor of Covent Garden Market, you can find Benjamin Pollocks Toyshop. It is a small shop but it specialises in theatre models and traditional ‘old-fashioned’ toys. Marvel at the detail with which the theatre models are made from simple ones to techinal ones. You can even buy matchbox theatres to recreate your favourite musicals or make up your own stories at home! From pretty little tea-sets and miniature toolkits to toys for pocket money prices: everyone will love this shop.

Don’t despair, get booking and give the children a summer to remember!

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A Royal Tour of London

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As William and Kate tour Canada, London celebrates Canada Day on Trafalgar Square! This 1st of July 2011 also marks what would have been the 50th birthday of William’s mother: the late Princess Diana.  When you tour London this summer or just go sightseeing in London, you will come across plenty of sights that still bear the popular princess’ mark.

Take a Royal Tour

Follow the route taken by the wedding procession of William and his new bride Kate last April. This London sightseeing tour will lead you past landmarks like the Royal Albert Hall and Westminster Abbey all the way up Kensington palace. Make pictures of the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace and view the impressive features of the Houses of Parliament and Downing Street.

Kensington Palace.

Visit Kensington place up close, where Princess Diana lived in Apartment 8. This palace has housed several members of the Royal family: Princess Victoria lived there until she woke up Queen on 20 June 1837. Due to refurbishment only the State Apartments are currently open and have been turned into the exhibition The Enchanted Palace.

Play ground in Kensington Gardens.

Next to the palace lie the Kensington Gardens, the perfect place to go for a walk during a sunny day. Keep the children entertained on the Princess Diana Memorial Playground, designed especially for little adventurers! Inspired by Peter Pan, the playground has a huge pirate ship to climb, teepees to explore and a sensorial trail to experience. Accompanying adults can relax in the seating spaces among the trees and plants.

The Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park:

Beat the heat in the Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park this summer. Its design represents Lady Di’s life with water flowing from the highest point into two directions until meeting in a calm pool at the bottom. See Londoners and tourists mingle, refreshing their feet while sitting on the fountain edge or crossing the water using one of the three bridges that lead you straight to the heart of the fountain; again symbolizing the openness and quality of Diana herself.

Harrods

Shop or window-shop in Harrods, London’s high-end department store that specializes in luxury goods. The biggest shop in the UK lives up to its motto, Omnia Omnibus Ubique: All Things For All People Everywhere. It was founded 1834 and stayed on the same Kensington site since 1849. In its time the shop had five different owners: one of them was Mohammed Al-Fayed. He built the magnificent Egyptian escalators that will lead you past a memorial for his son and Princess Diana.

Even if you are not a prince or princess touring Canada this summer, you can still enjoy a right royal time London!


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Customer review: Paris Opentour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

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I cannot reccommend the hop on hop off tour bus enough! It was so convenient educational and took away all the stress of trying to find my own way. I had 4 teenagers with me, but many had small children. Make the most off your holiday and enjoy the time instead of stressing out of how to get where.
I am going to Rome next year and will certainly be booking the bus tour there. Value for money & stress free!!
Great shopping at Sacre Coeur!, Kids didnt want to go originally, ended up having to return the next day because the views were amazing!

Sajdah, United Kingdom

Sajdah booked: Paris Opentour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

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The best theme parks in the Gold Coast (Australia)

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Gold Coast (Australia) Theme Parks

Gold Coast (Australia) Theme Parks

 The Australian Gold Coast region is located south of Brisbane. The Gold Coast is home to the best theme parks in Australia and is a well known surfers paradise. Here is an overview of the best Gold Coast theme parks, with links to online purchase for Gold Coast theme park tickets.

  • Gold Coast: Warner Movie World theme park Pass
    Warner Bros. Movie World brings the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to the Gold Coast. From heart-thumping thrills like Batwing Spaceshot to the colorful but gentle Looney Tunes River Ride to the fun-filled shows, this fantastic park has something for everyone.
  • Gold Coast: Wet’n’Wild Water World theme park Pass
    Little ones can set sail for their very own aquatic adventure at Buccaneer Bay. This attraction has an elaborate pirate theme taking children into an imaginative and exciting world and offering hours of entertainment. Older thrill seekers can get their kicks on the heart-thumping Surf Rider. Feel what it’s like to ride some of the world’s largest waves when you plummet 30 metres on a giant surfboard.
  • Gold Coast: Dreamworld theme park Pass
    Looking for an adrenalin rush? Then brave six of the most spine-tingling, heart pumping scream rides in the country. Plunge 120 meters on the Giant Drop, the world’s tallest free-falling ride. Or watch your knuckles whiten as you experience the amazing power of G-force on The Tower of Terror.
  • Gold Coast: Sea World theme park Pass
    Discover the deepest secrets of the oceans and meet some of the most magnificent marine animals on the planet at this entrancing venue. You can learn the truth about sharks, enjoy close-encounters with incredible rays, see polar bears swimming under water, meet friendly seals, dolphins and the cutest penguins on the planet.
  • Gold Coast: Three Theme Parks super pass
    Unlimited entry for 14 days to each of the 3 parks – Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World and Wet ‘n’ Wild Water World. Admission to Dive ’n Movies screenings when available at Wet ‘n’ Wild Water World.

Here are a few other blogs discussing travel and things to do in the Australian Gold Coast.

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Experiencing the Medieval Banquet in London

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Freshly arrived to the U.K., one of the first opportunities of a night out in London for me was to go to the Medieval Banquet.

I went there with 5 colleagues, and we had the surprise of spending a very nice evening. Indeed, none of us already experimented such a thing to do in London

As we were arriving to this medieval show, two knights and the Queen herself welcomed us and lead us to our table. And that’s only the beginning… continue reading

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