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2023 Family Travel Round Up

The Own the Trail family has been lucky enough to enjoy some great adventures and travel to some new destinations in 2023. The Black Forest was the highlight 2023 family travel during the summer and Serre Chevalier was a great discovery for family skiing trips.

We kicked off 2023 with some fun in the snow. I was lucky enough to head to Mayrhofen for a long weekend of snowboarding with the girls. This was our first time in Mayrhofen and we really enjoyed it. We were staying a little way out of the centre but the buses were good – as were the taxi’s later in the evening. Just an hour from Innsbruck, with an extensive and modern lift system, makes Mayrhofen perfect for a short ski or snowboard break.

The Mayrhofen ski area is impressive, covering 142 kilometres of perfectly groomed slopes and 60 state of the art cable car and lift systems. In fact the most modern lift system in a resort I have ever seen. We never saw a lift queue!

We had 3 days of fresh snowfall. Which was amazing to play in on the pistes but meant near white out conditions. We stayed low, amongst the trees where the visibility was best, but this did mean we didn’t explore half of what the area has to offer. We are heading back this winter to hopefully better visibility!

Snowboarding in Mayrhofen, Austria
There was a lot of fresh snow in Mayrhofen!

Serre Chevalier, in the Southern French Alps was the destination for this years family skiing holiday. This laid back and friendly resort really delivers something for everyone, making it a fantastic family skiing holiday destination. It offers better value for money than the Northern alps and with a vast ski area there is truly something for everyone.

We visited in the busy French holidays so there were some lift queues to contend with. Waiting up to half an hour for the Aravet gondola in the mornings (peak ski school times) and some bottlenecks at other lifts. The pistes were reasonably busy, especially the lower blues and there were moguls by the end of the day.

There are plenty of refuges to choose from on the mountain, from large self-service restaurants to smaller, cosy family run businesses. We particularly enjoyed stopping for a coffee at Peyra Juana above Le Monêtier. From the village bases it is also easy for pedestrians to access the mountain restaurants.

Serre Chevalier is a great resort for family skiing. The ski area is diverse and can be as challenging (or not) as you like. There is a friendly, laid back vibe and it is very welcoming. Villeneuve makes for a perfect base with everything you need on your doorstep. There is nothing worse then dragging tired children and all their gear around!

We all had a great time and I would definitely recommend Serre Chevalier.

Family skiing in Serre Chevalier
We all enjoyed the varied pistes on offer in Serre Chevalier

The summer was all about camping. Kicking the camping season off in May half-term with a trip to the Forest of Dean, and rounding the year off in the magnificent Black Forest region in Germany.

The Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley are beautiful areas of countryside. On the English/Welsh border and very accessible. We enjoyed a fantastic weekend camping in the Forest of Dean and loved exploring the woodlands.

Overlooking the Wye valley – the views are AMAZING! Beeches Farm Campsite is a beautiful place to stay. Surrounded by the woodland of the Forest of Dean make this a peaceful setting. The campsite offers direct access to Offa’s Dyke National Trail and walks to Tintern Abby.

Would recommend staying at Beeches Farm Campsite for camping in the Forest of Dean because of it’s location and great vibes! We plan on a return visit.

Beeches Farm Campsite, Camping in the Forest of Dean
Stunning views from Beeches Farm Campsite

The start of the school summer holidays and we made the long drive to East Anglia to spend three nights camping in Norfolk at Manor Farm Campsite.

Manor Farm Caravan and Campsite is on the North Norfolk coastline, just outside the traditional seaside town of Cromer. It’s a family-run site with seaside and woodland views. It’s a large campsite with three fields to choose from, including one which doesn’t allow dogs. Despite the size of campsite, it doesn’t feel big. The fields are nicely divided into smaller sections using hedgerows. The fields are gently sloping but spacious enough to be able to find a relatively flat pitch.

The kids loved this campsite as there was plenty of space to run free! Each field has it’s own play area, with well constructed equipment. Plus there are small pockets of woodland for exploring, tree-climbing and den making! There is also a large field for ball games and kite flying.

I absolutely loved this campsite, it had a really lovely vibe and the facilities were excellent. The only negative was no fire-pits, but this did mean that people tended to go to bed earlier and so there was little night-time noise. We paid £78 for two adults and two children for three nights, which is excellent value for money for high season camping in a good location with great facilities.

Another campsite on the must return to list!

Camping in North Norfolk, two boys enjoying the seaside
Enjoying the beaches of North Norfolk

The Black Forest (or Schwarzwald) is an enchanting region of Germany, nestled against the borders of Switzerland and France. We chose to explore the Southern Black Forest Highlands for our summer family holiday and it did not disappoint!

After much research we booked a pitch at Camping Kirchzarten just outside the city of Freiburg. This convenient location meant that there was plenty to do and see on our doorstep. Our highlights included a trip down the Schauinsland Museum Mine, the Blackforest Line suspension bridge and the stunning Wutach Gorge.

Black Forest Family Holiday
The Black Forest was AMAZING!

Aston Court estate in Bristol and mountain biking on the Nova Trail.

Enjoying the beautiful woodland at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum and watching the seasons change.

Wake the Tiger – an amazing, immersive experience in Bristol.

Finding a new hobby in wakeboarding and taking a splash at the Aqua Park at the New Forest Water Park.

Climbing at the Frome Boulder Rooms and Bloc, in Bristol.

The Big Bang Show at the Tamworth Snowdome and watching the kids starting to shred on their snowboards thanks to Mint Snowboarding.

Free day at the out thanks to the National Trust.

We have some exciting trips in planning for 2024. Another trip to Mayrhofen in January and then a shorter family ski holiday to Italy during the February half-term when we are going to hit some small resorts near Venice.

Summer plans are still very much in the early planning stages but thinking about a return to France.

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