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Our best family travel experiences of 2018

Our best family travel experiences of 2018

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2018 is nearly wrap! What adventures did you get up to this year? Back in January we had few things in the diary – I wasn’t in the mood to plan much as Mr Tin Box was due to be working away lots.

As it turned out we got to see him a lot more than I’d expected, which was wonderful. The girls are growing up so quickly, so every shared family travel experience counts.

The kids and I also slipped off for a few adventures of our own with friends and the grandparents. These were brilliant, tough and tested my (loose) parenting skills to the max, but they were all incredibly worthwhile.

So, before we crack on with 2019 I thought I’d share some of our highlights from this year. Maybe there’s some travel inspiration nestling here for your future adventures?

Top 9 Instagram - best family travel experiences of 2018

Family travel highlights: Cornwall in winter

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A post shared by Claire – Tin Box Traveller (@tinboxtraveller) on

Cornwall is our most visited UK destination in the winter months. It’s just down the road and while it’s more of a summer holiday spot there’s still plenty going on between October and March.

In February we stayed at Sands Resort Hotel & Spa which is a family-friendly hotel near Newquay. The hotel is a great choice for families with young children as it has a creche and early dinner sittings. The coastline is also wonderful to explore whatever the time of year.

The Instagram snap above was captured by my Dad while we were exploring Portcurno during our Easter holiday. It’s a bit foggy because there was sea spray on the camera lens but it’s one of my favourite pictures of us from the year, if not ever.

This moment happened soon after we’d visited The Telegraph Museum and Minack Theatre on the Lizard Peninsular in Cornwall.

Both are excellent family attractions that you must see if you are in the area. The Telegraph Museum is one of my top things to do in Cornwall when it’s raining too. It’s perfect for keeping kids entertained during the winter months.

Here’s some highlights from our Easter in Cornwall:

Later in the year we stayed at the Waterside Cornwall lodge resort near Bodmin. We were there during a very wet November weekend but still found plenty to do at the resort which has a clubhouse, pool, cycle hire and segways among other activities.

Then our final winter trip into Cornwall was to one of our favourite places to visit, the China Fleet Country Club at Saltash, where we had a Christmas dinner and met Santa in his grotto.

Cornwall has so much to offer out of the main holiday season, so don’t discount it from your 2019 winter travel plans.

Read more about places to stay in Cornwall and things to do in Cornwall at Christmas.

Looking for more holiday inspiration? Read our guide to family holidays in Cornwall.

Family travel highlights: solo cruising with kids

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This trip was an exciting addition to our 2018 travel diary.

As you may know, I’m an editor on the Cruising With Kids blog and thanks to my fab co-editor Lisa, who also writes Travel Loving Family, the girls and I were invited on a cruise in May.

It was an 80s themed cruise onboard Royal Carbbean’s Navigator of the Seas with 32 acts performing onboard over seven days. We saw Tony Hadley, Kim Wilde, ABC and Berlinda Carlisle strutting their stuff, as well as calling at three ports in Spain and Portugal. It was an awesome experience.

However, cruising solo with two children aged three and five was a challenge.

It wasn’t that we were lost for things to do. What made it hard was their tiredness from all the fun, having one in the midst of potty training, and burning the candle at both ends on my part as I didn’t want to miss out during the evenings.

Oh, and some meal times were a nightmare. Try filling plates for two young kids while simultaneously negotiating your way around a busy buffet with them in tow and then trying to find a table – not fun. We worked out that sitting down to eat in the formal dining rooms was so much easier!

Otherwise, the cruise was a huge highlight for me and the girls. We got to tick off Lisbon, Vigo and Bilbao, spend quality time with Lisa and her son, and get in plenty of pool time, which is what cruises are all about for my girls.

Why not read our daily diary from onboard Navigator of the Seas or watch our highlights on video:

Other solo trips I’ve done this year (albeit with help from family and friends) include a weekend in West Yorkshire and a short break in Wiltshire.

I’ve also been for a couple of luxurious mummy only trips: first to Tuscany where I stayed in an amazing villa, toured the beautiful Florence and experienced its rival city of Siena for the first time; next I headed to Spain for a press trip in the countryside and on the coast surrounding Barcelona.

I do revel in the opportunity to venture off alone but it always leaves me a little sad that I couldn’t share the experience with my family.

Family travel highlights: Devon days

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A post shared by Claire – Tin Box Traveller (@tinboxtraveller) on

We love our home county in the UK and have had some great holidays and days out in Devon during 2018. Excitingly, Mr Tin Box was around to experience a lot of it with us too.

Our main summer holiday was spent exploring Hartland in North Devon and Seaton in East Devon.

Here’s some highlights:

If you’re planning a family holiday in Devon in 2019 I’ve been busy putting together lots of travel inspiration and destination guides for you.

Check out my tips for: visiting Dartmoor with toddlersplaces to visit in East Devon; things to do in North Devon; places to go in Torquay; what’s on at Halloween in Devon; and festive events for families in Devon.

Family travel highlights: nurturing adventure

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Baby turned three this year and it opened up so many more opportunities for us to try out adventurous activities.

Out with pushchair and child carrier and in with the high ropes harness! Go Ape is something that Baby has been itching to have a go at for ages but she’s not been tall enough.

However, she’s always been fearless. Watching her older sister, Tot, climbing through trees while she’s been stuck on the ground has been agonising for her.

But in 2018 Baby took to the trees with style.

Who knows what she’ll be doing in 2019? I’d love to see her on skis and bet she’d do a better job than me!

Family travel highlights: a multi-generational holiday in Lake Garda

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The picture at the very top of this post is my top nine most liked Instagram pictures of 2018.

It’s no coincidence that four of them are from our multi-generational trip to Lake Garda in the summer. This was an awesome trip with my parents that included a cruise around the lake, wandering pretty Italian streets and a day trip to Venice.

Lake Garda is stunning and we found so many things to do for families.

We also stayed at a brilliant campsite on Lake Garda with Al Fresco Holidays. I’m really pleased to be working with them again to help showcase their European mobile home holidays in 2019.

Watch this space to find out where we’ll be heading. This time we might even invite Mr Tin Box too!

Here’s our highlights from this summer in Lake Garda:

What’s next?

We’ve got a few things in the pipeline including that trip I mentioned with Al Fresco Holidays – sorry, no clues yet!

Our first family trip of 2019 is taking us back to our winter favourite, Cornwall, where we’ll be staying at the 5 star resort The Valley near Truro. Then we’re off to Birmingham for the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show.

Later in the year we’ve got a bit of a crazy plan brewing to get over to the US. Nothing has been booked yet and it’s likely to be last minute. The prospect is pretty exciting though!

Here’s a round up of the past year that I shared at the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show in February 2019:

Catch up with the end of 2018 in my post about November or skip ahead to January 2019.

Disclosure: we were invited guests during some of the trips I have featured in this post. However, I have decided to share them here again because we genuinely enjoyed them and they were highlights of our travels in 2018.

What were your highlights from 2018? I’m always looking for inspiration so I’d love to hear about your favourite family travel experiences. Comment below or why not pin this post for later?

Highlights from a year of family travel including trips in the UK and Europe, camping, cruising, luxury and budget trips. Grab some 2019 travel inspiration #travel #inspiration #ideas #UK #Europe #holidays #destinations #trips #familytravel #travelblog

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Lisa (Travel Loving Family & Cruising with Kids)

Wednesday 9th of January 2019

What a year for you all Claire! Lake Garda looks amazing. Very similar scenery to Lake Maggiore. So pleased I got to experience two of these trips with you:) We need to get making some plans for 2019!

Claire Hall - Tin Box Traveller

Wednesday 9th of January 2019

Yes! Those lovely trips seem far too long ago!


Wednesday 26th of December 2018

I'm actually more of a local travel gal, so I'm happy to say that my highlight of 2018 was moving to Washington State in the magical Pacific Northwest. If your US trip next year is near Seattle, stop by Bellingham, WA and say hi! I guess my specific trip highlight was going to San Juan Island and staying on a friend of a friend's farm where we hung out in a yurt and around the fire outside.

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