Our journey started at sunrise on a cold chilly morning, and as we travelled through different counties the weather shifted masterfully from grey clouds to heavy rains and snow till finally we reached a small village known as Alton. Such was the force of nature that our plans for the day were literally blown away with the gales. Instead we had to be content with driving through spell-binding countryside lanes and down steep hills until it was time to check-in at the family run Malthouse Bed & Breakfast. Upon being greeted we knew we had made the right choice for resting our weary souls. However, before sleep was to welcome us we took an early evening stroll and ended up at The Blacksmiths Arms – a beautiful traditional pub. Our children enjoyed making their own pizza whilst my wife and I had a lovely Beef and Ale pie with chips and homemade bread.
The next day we ventured to the famous Alton Towers theme park and enjoyed a thrilling day of rides and giggles. We had lunch under the Rita and climbed the ancient steps of the Alton Mansion once owned by Earl of Shrewsbury, and as the signals sounded for the closing of the park, our content thrill-seeking hearts drove into the Peak District and scaled the Shining Tor to gaze upon the endless breathtaking landscape. And with the sun setting on one side of us and the moon rising on the other we sat the children down on top of the high rock to tell them that they would soon be welcoming a little brother or sister.
The excitement of a new chapter in our family life was perfectly matched with the scenery – and as we slowly descended from the Peak District our warm hearts and eyes glowed upon the full moon until they could stay open no more.
With another English breakfast behind us and historical conversations with the Malthouse owners, we took to the road and visited Churnet Valley and then Foxfield Railway Station where we satisfied all our desires at once by boarding a steam train in true old England fashion. We watched on as the steam engulfed us and the countryside flickered by our window. The moment was complete with a healthy supermarket packed lunch. But alas, no adventure is complete without a bit of animal magic, and so we took a stroll through the Monkey Forest and sat side-by-side with Barbary Macaques.
And as we made our way south back to London our little angels melted into their seats and slept the journey home for it was a true family adventure for us all.