Last weekend we headed off to Poole in Dorset for a family adventure. We had planned for it to be Justin, myself and Rose but as Justin was really unwell, Holly stepped in at the last minute, just us girls. Armed with school books and folders (Holly is mid exams) we packed up the car, I set my sat nav and off we went.
I should mention now that I am not used to driving long distances, Justin always drives and I usually take in the scenery and nap (how very selfish!) I was a little bit nervous about driving the 2 plus hour journey down to Dorset but the traffic Gods were kind to me and the sat nav took us on an unusually scenic route through Bath which was beautiful and kept us occupied. There was hardly any motorway at all which is incredible considering how far it is. We didn't even get lost once, instead, Holly and I chatted in the front while Rose snoozed in the back. It was actually really rather lovely.
When we arrived at Poole in Dorset we headed straight for the Travelodge hotel, our base for the weekend. It was ideally situated in the town centre close to all the amenities, restaurants and shops but within really easy commuting distance of the places we wanted to visit. Those of you that followed our weekend on Instagram stories will know that as soon as we arrived I dashed straight out to the Asda a few minutes walk away because we had forgotten to pack toiletries #MumFail
I didn't even bring a hairbrush but luckily Rose had packed the dog's brush a revelation on Instagram that gave lots of you a laugh. Organised I am not...
We didn't want to waste the warm and sunny evening so we searched for the nearest beach on the sat nav and saw Sandbanks was only a 15-minute drive from the hotel. The name 'Sandbanks' was familiar to me and it wasn't until we got there and I saw the huge mansion houses along the shoreline that I remembered it's the most expensive strip of real estate in the country, in fact, it has the fourth highest land value in the whole entire world! It's not hard to see why: the marina was absolutely stunning and when we crossed the road to find the beach we were met with what has to be one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever experienced in my life. I honestly had to pinch myself at how wonderful it was and felt so lucky to be there with my girls on Mother's Day weekend.
We grabbed fish and chips which we ate sitting perched on a wall, watching the sky turn from the pinkest of pink to fiery red. Back at the hotel, we took turns in the bath, with no boys around to complain about how long we soaked. Rose went to bed in one of the singles and Holly and I snuggled up in the huge king sized bed and found a film to watch. As the clocks were going forward that night we set an alarm for 8am, not that we needed it thanks to Rose being awake bright and early giddy with excitement for the day ahead.
No morning at a Travelodge is complete without heading straight for the breakfast room to take advantage of the full English - and continental if you so wish - there was everything you'd expect on offer and it was a lovely start to the day. In my opinion, you can always tell the quality of a breakfast by the standard of sausages, and they were very nice indeed! My girls always really enjoy a cooked breakfast when we're away and we all agreed that we would most likely skip lunch because we were all so full.
The first place to visit on our agenda was Corfe Castle. I explained to Holly and Rose that when I was a girl one of my favourite authors was Enid Blyton I absolutely adored getting lost in the Famous Five books and can remember how exciting and full of adventure the stories were: a pure and unadulterated fun that you don't see much of these days. Dorset is 'Enid Blyton country' and she was very fond of Corfe Castle which is the inspiration behind Kirrin Castle from The Famous Five.
We had a lovely time exploring the castle ruins and were lucky to catch two performers telling the secret tales of treachery and treason and that of Longshanks, and how the castle would have been during medieval times. They were excellent storytellers; really funny and great at getting the audience to participate.
Corfe Castle is much more than the castle itself, once you pass the castle walls you get to the prettiest little village which looks like it's been frozen in time complete with the old-fashioned Swanage Railway where you can ride the steam train all the way down to the coast of Swanage.
The train was probably Rose's highlight from the entire weekend. All the guards were dressed authentically and there was much excitement when we spotted the thick white plumes from the steam engine passing the window as the train gently chugged along the track.
The heavens opened as we reached Swanage so we ran quickly to the beach and ate a cream cake and then found a sweet little cafe for a pot of tea before heading back on the final leg of our journey.
If you fancy following in the footsteps of Enid Blyton then the Travelodge in Poole is the perfect base for exploring your own Literacy Legacy adventure!
*Thank you to Travelodge for collaborating on this post. For more info on how I work with brands check out my 'work with me' page.