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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Out in the park

Pete, Nicola, Lola, 9, and Nell, 6, spent three happy months during summer of 2007 traveling around Britain. Now we’re home, but the travel bug is still there. Join us for the occasional sightseeing plus tips on how to shrink your carbon footprint. This post is from Nicola

I Love Parks Too event is coming up soon (14 June, noon-4pm), designed to tempt people on to those big green scary spaces that many wrongly think are littered with dog poo, insects, fag ends and forgotten baby socks. At Highbury Fields, near me, on the Saturday of Love Parks week (14-22 June) there will be music, loads of free activities (eg, face and leg painting so you really can turn your tot into a wild tiger or a hairy monkey) and stalls run by community groups. More info from the ranger on 07825 098451.

My family mock me for prefering the parks when it's raining and they aren't so full, but fiesta style days are a great way of seeing just how many people value our fantastic urban breathing spaces and how much children enjoy the chance to be outside, playing. Best of all Londoners have got lots of choice about which park to stroll around - pity New York with just the one, Central Park (as seen in the latest Sex & The City movie).

The UK has all those other type of parks too; posh people's playgrounds surrounding a stately home. The pic of bracket fungus on a splendid old oak tree is from Houghton Hall (you say How-ton) built by Britain's first PM, Sir Robert Walpole in Norfolk. Walpole had to shift the villagers to keep his park public free (a bit worse than paying #10k for a new kitchen in your second home I feel).

Nowadays the Marquess of Cholmondeley (you say Chum-ley) positively touts for visitors over the summer to help pay for this Palladian mansion's upkeep. The house and gorgeous walled gardens are open on wednesdays, thursdays, sundays and Bank Holiday mondays.

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