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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 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.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

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.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Locating Shangri-La

Pete, Nicola, Lola, 9, and Nell, 6, spent three happy months during summer of 2007 travelling 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

The Lake District is many things to our family. We’ve played there pretending we are in Chile wild camping by Ullswater and even used it to scene set for a conquering journey up Everest (aka Skiddaw). We’ve followed Wainwright until we’ve got lost, cooed over Beatrix Potter’s manor and desperately wanted to be Hunter Davis. Back in London we keep our easy to recharge torch bright by reading Arthur Ransome’s books. Current favourite is Swallowdale when the children – John, Susan, Titty and Roger – are forced to stop talking about jibes and booms (things none of us can relate to) and go camping in the perfect valley.

There’s as much speculation among Swallows & Amazon’s fans about whether Ransome was a spy as the whereabouts of Swallowdale and the knickerbockerbreaker waterfall slide.

Back in 1984 Christina Hardyment managed to locate many of the sites around Coniston and Windermere in her fascinating book Arthur Ransome and Captain Flint’s Trunk (Jonathan Cape). She didn’t find it, but later in the all-things Ransome journal, Mixed Moss, Hardyment had another go – claiming that the ultimate, child-safe utopia is probably in Miterdale, on the route to Scafell near the end of the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway.

Wherever Ransome really used for his Shangri-La it is a long, long way from the hilltops of despair William Golding found for the child gang in the Lord of the Flies.

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