I’m all about travelling with kids, you guys know that. I don’t think parents should put their lives on hold for 10 years while their children grow up. We shouldn’t stop travelling and taking holidays because 10 years is a long time to stop doing all the fun stuff we love! Some people say that’s selfish but I’m a firm believer that you can’t be a good parent if you aren’t happy, and if I didn’t go on holiday for 10 years then I definitely wouldn’t be happy!
But at the same time, some holidays just aren’t worth the effort. SOME. Note the word ‘some’ there!
A few weeks ago I travelled to the beautiful city of Warsaw (see more from our weekend in Warsaw here). I was there with Sam and our two boys, George (2) and Joseph (1) and we had a lovely time but jeeze, it was tough!
Sam and George admiring the Christmas markets in Warsaw
Warsaw is a lovely city – well the Old Town is anyway – and we enjoyed strolling around the cobbled streets, seeing the Christmas lights and the festive markets, sipping steaming cups of boozy mulled wine (that’s me and Sam) and munching endless bags of sweet treats picked up from market stalls. It was fun and I don’t regret going, but I wouldn’t go again with a baby and a toddler.
For us, city breaks are all about the evenings. A city break is for wining and dining, eating out, finding those tiny and authentic little bars and strolling around busy streets with no aim or purpose. It’s for taking pictures, wandering through galleries and museums, peeking inside churches and getting lost around narrow little side streets.
And at Christmas time, city breaks are even better because they’re about Christmas markets, busy streets, shopping in tiny boutiques and evening adventures fuelled by hot wine.
But, unfortunately, these are all things that don’t sit well with a toddler and a baby. They want to be toddling and crawling around, exploring, touching and chasing everything they see – all things that are difficult in a cold city.
The boys got cold and tired quickly – despite me being super prepared and wrapping them up like they were sitting in a freezer for the day. We took an extra pushchair for George so he wouldn’t need to walk far but then both of the boys got fed up of being strapped in a seat. The cobbles, the steps and the public transport was also a bit of a nuisance with two pushchairs! The crowds meant we couldn’t let George wander freely and the tiny restaurants – which we’d usually find romantic – are too cramped when you have two little kids.
Our boys were (mostly!) very well behaved but this wasn’t exactly an idyllic weekend away for them. I was expecting them to be mesmerised by the markets and the lights – and they were….for about 3 minutes and then they wanted to go somewhere warm for indoor soft play. We had a low moment on Friday afternoon where we even considered taking them to McDonald’s soft play!
So I’m going to hold my hands up and admit defeat on this one – weekend city breaks with a baby and a toddler are not worth the effort. Particularly winter city breaks!
Maybe if you’re going away for a week it might be better as you don’t feel rushed to see everything but a weekend was not long enough. We were back at our apartment by 7.30pm each evening and nothing seemed to open until midday so we really didn’t have a lot of time to explore.
This realisation also comes after our holiday to Tenerife the previous week, so the contrast between the two holidays was even more obvious.
Tenerife was SO easy. So, so easy. And so much fun.
We stayed in a fabulous hotel that was set up for children in ways we hadn’t even thought of. An amazing kids club, children’s pools, child-friendly areas and kid’s menus everywhere we went made it so easy. And everything is so much easier when it’s hot and sunny! We had our own car too so didn’t need to rely on public transport and felt freer to go whenever we wanted.
I’m not saying the only type of holiday you can take with children is an all-inclusive beach holiday – and I’m going to be doing my very best to explore as many options as possible over the next few years – but winter city breaks with kids definitely won’t be happening for us again!
What are your thoughts on winter city breaks with kids?