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A-Z countries

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.

Friday, 27 June 2014

The oldest stones in the world take you where?

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. This post takes a trip around the oldest stone circle in the world - in the heart of Wiltshire - and triggers some ideas about other ancient stone creations from Africa to South America. Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs).

Avebury wasn't as crowded as this photo implies - this group of all ages, ranging from mid 80s to 2 and a half, are all friends of mine. Having a walk before lunch made a family celebration even more enjoyable.
Stones are all pretty old - but the complex sarsens at Avebury are hands-down winners. Whatever it was at Avebury - and it's certainly the largest stone circle in the world - was built 200 generations ago (it's roughly four people to 100 years).

So you can go there - and I took a train to Swindon and then a half hour bus ride direct to Avebury - and imagine yourself in any of the other stone wonders of the world, such as:

  • the Parthenon in Greece, (447BC)
  • the Mayan pyramids of Mexico (AD300)
  • the end of the Incas in Peru 
  • Great Zimbabwe (AD1350)
  • Easter Island, Chile (AD1000-1600)

I expect Alexander Keiller found excavating Avebury as tricky as I found beating Nell at Connect 4 - one of the outdoor games provided by the National Trust.
Or you can enjoy the child-friendly facilities provided by the National Trust (they are very big on kids doing stuff - ideally 50 things to do before you are 11 and three-quarters) which for us involved a spot of Connect 4, an inter-active museum and a hunt for rare great crested newts along the edge of the pond.

There were also giant draughts boards and mini trampolines - as if we were at a wonderful street party.

Don't forget to have a good walk around the stones - it can be a short stroll or a long yomp over to manmade Silbury hill or even the long barrows that surround the main site.

More information and opening times at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury/ A nice surprise: it's free entry for English Heritage members.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Brazil hints thanks to street art

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. This post takes a look at just one football image to get into the World Cup 2014 Brazilian mood. Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs).

Street art by Bambi in Islington, London. But who's the boy - he looks kind of familiar.
Sassy urban street artist Bambi reminds us that World Cup football isn't that important, and that it's kicking off big time in Brazil. I like football but 11pm starts for us UK viewers are hopeless - I doubt I'm going to watch any games this time.  For an interesting look at how to get a taste of football in as small as your own locale have a look at my other blog, here. You should be able to find a taste of every country, without  leaving your postcode!

For any non UK readers, do let me know if you also play this low-carbon, low-cost travel game.  

Good luck to your World Cup favourites.