I have noticed that whereas our children (and many people say the same about their offspring) love to be taken to amusement parks and other places, they end up being very tired, and sometimes not so excited after several hours of driving, queuing and sometimes not-so-great food options – not to mention how us, the parents, feel after a day like that.
However, when we do local adventures, the impact is the opposite – laugher and fun moment that are being referred to many times in discussions. Instead of sitting in the car, local adventures often involve walking, running or biking, natural exploring and learning – followed by a happy BBQ at home together.
After observing the same pattern so many times we vowed to change our weekend activities, and really get to know our neighbourhood, and it’s been a great experience. Of course not everyone have amazing parks or biking trails from one castle to another, but most urban environments have a lot to offer too (we used to live in London and thoroughly enjoyed exploring our neighbourhoods…).
Our little town Sevenoaks, in Kent, South-East England is very green, yet quite close to London and we’ve lucky to have an amazing deer park called Knole Park within walking distance from our house. The access is free and the park has several entry points all around it so one can create different routes every times.
Sometimes we go walking and deer spotting, other times running or cycling – or just for the children to build dens, fly kites and climb on fallen tree trunks. The park provides endless entertainment and also a nice cafe at the main house. The pro of these trips are that we all get plenty of fresh air, a fair amount of exercise, sometimes learning experiences (love those books we bought where one spots 50 kinds of trees, plants, birds or bugs) and they don’t take your whole day or leave you completely exhausted, or stressed about weekend traffic jams. Oh, and one big pro is the cost too – local activities free vs hefty entrance fees to all big sights!
As the daily life is quite stressed nowadays for most people and children and parents have long school and working days, weekends should be more about relaxing with friends and family than ticking those endless bucket lists. As the saying goes about shoemaker’s children of not having any shoes, the same holds true to many people not knowing their own area very well – despite sometimes having been few times around the world.
Now I’d love to hear your experiences of similar discoveries and what have you found out around your neighbourhood, and whether you feel it’s improved your life. And you if live near us here in Kent or neighbouring counties such as Sussex and Surrey, please let me know the kind of local places you’d recommend us!
p.s. I went for a little walk after dropping off the children to school this morning to a little old quarry site close to our house that I’d never been to – it was beautiful and relaxing and was just the kind of boost I needed to kick-start this weekend. Here are some autumn-coloured photos of the lovely Dryhill Park to enjoy: A walk in the Dryhill Park