My Best Ever Family Day Out

Think about it for a little while. Can you name your best ever day out with your family? So many days to choose from, seaside trips, days out at theme parks, woodland walks, playgrounds, the zoo.... thankfully I have lots of days that would make my shortlist of amazing days.

my seven children - pic taken in 2013

The title of this blog post came from the lovely people at Gulliver's Fun Theme Park who are holding a competition for bloggers. But apart from the fact I would really like to win a family ticket so I can take my younger children to the Milton Keynes park, the challenge of writing about our best ever family day out intrigued me.

It was fun remembering all the days I could write about. The day we went to the donkey sanctuary the first time we visited Grandma at her new home in Cyprus.  We had already sponsored donkeys at the sanctuary online back at home and we decided to go and visit "our" donkeys.That was great fun - but incredibly hot!

There was the day we celebrated DS#2's birthday at a famous French theme park with a day of rides followed by a Character meal in one of their best restaurants. Cost an arm and a leg only for birthday boy to stare pointedly at his plate, refusing to interact with any of the familiar cartoon characters. Funny in retrospect!

And then there was the day on the seafront  in Portsmouth when all of the children actually caught crabs on the end of their £2.50 crab catching lines! We had a bucket full and celebrated with fish and chips - after returning the unfortunate crustaceans to their watery home first of course!

I musn't forget to mention the day we took the younger children to London Zoo just after a hospital appointment where we learned my husband's heart surgery had been a complete success - definitely a great day in my memory!

But the best? The best ever family day out? 

Aphrodite's Rock, Cyprus
I think it has to be back in Cyprus. My sister in law lived on the island decades ago when her husband was in the RAF and DH often reminisced about visiting her when he was a child.

So when we went to visit my mum who lives near Paphos in Cyprus we decided to try and find one of the beaches he remembered. We pored over a map and realised it involved a longish drive along the coast which in itself was amazing as it took him through Episkopi,  the military base he remembered from his childhood.

Waiting for lunch at Lady's Mile Beach 
And we found the beach! Lady's Mile is actually a 7km stretch of sand joining Limassol (Lemesos) to the Akrotiri peninsula. It's so long you can choose a deserted spot or set up camp near one of the cafes and sunbed touts.

We drove across salt flats to get to the cafe nearest Akrotiri base and hired a couple of beds and brollies. The water was flat calm, bathwater-warm and shallow for what seemed like miles making it perfect for children!

Tiny fish swam round our ankles and the older children tried out snorkelling in waist deep crystal-clear water where more fish darted about.

After a morning of sandcastle and hole digging and swimming and snorkelling we retired to the cafe/restaurant. Most of the children predictably went for the burger  and chips option but I will never forget DS#3, only 9 at the time, dwarfed by the large mock-leather bound menu which he carefully perused from cover to cover before announcing to the waiter:"I think I will have the octopus!"

I chose the prawns!
 After lunch there was more fun with sand and water (and more sunbathing for Mummy!) before it was time to leave. And much to the delight of my eldest boys their Dad announced that they could have their first driving lesson right there and then!
So while I cowered behind my hands the boys took it in turns to have a go at driving across the seemingly endless salt flats, much to the envy of their younger siblings!

We have visited Lady's Mile beach many times since that first visit- we even took our friends and their family there last year - but I don't think we will ever match the magic of that first ever visit with our children and their Grandparents.

 It's one of my favourite places on earth and the place where many of our best ever family days out have been. If you ever get to go - take DS#3's recommendation, be brave and ask for the octopus!

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