Our top 12 things to do to ensure February Half term is a roaring success
Call me an old romantic but I still love the simple pleasures in life. Vowing each time I relax not to get caught up in the hurly burly of life, here I am again, nearing nervous exhaustion just before Christmas and planning my next escape - February half term.
Life in a cottage affords you the freedom to do what you please when you please; from eating breakfast at noon in your pyjamas because you’ve just had too much fun dancing to your favourite tunes, to stepping out in your wellies to feel the wind in your hair.
First choose a cottage that has great a fireplace to cosy up to, with big tables to sit around and play games at. Here are a few suggestions to get you in the mood but there are plenty of them to choose from.
Here are our favourite things to do both inside and outside the cottage.
Inside the cottage
No, not Monopoly!!! Read on!
Board games have evolved and with them a new wave of enthusiasm for playing. Add some craft beer or gin, a good bottle of red and a hot chocolate topped with cream and marshmallows for the children and it becomes even more enjoyable!
In case it’s been awhile since you played, here are a few of our favourites to spare you the pain of Monopoly: Dobble, Uno, Articulate, Linkee, Cranium, Catan, Exploding Kittens, Risk, Othello, Backgammon and, of course, good old chess!
Music and dancing
With the wonders of wifi and transportable wireless speakers, bringing your music collection with you on holiday has never been easier. Getting everyone on their feet dancing has to be a favourite activity to share together - not to mention the added benefit of burning those excess Christmas calories that might still be lingering around!
Enjoy the sticky fingers and spillages - you’ve time to mop it up and lick it off. My father was a great one for cooking on holiday and my partner finds it a great way to wind down. From hearty soups, mocktails and cocktails, cakes and baking, put the music on and cook up a storm in the kitchen!
Whittling and boat building Bring a sharp pen knife, some paper, a few corks and a glue gun and a few happy hours will be filled making totems and wooden ducks, and watching to see your pirate ship sink or swim. If you need some inspiration read The Little Book of Whittling and Make it Wild.
Make a fairy or an elf house
This is a great way to give a purpose to a walk and then extend the activity indoors. You’ll need a few bits to bring with you, including a bag for collecting, some string or fishing line, a glue gun or superglue, and lots of imagination. Unconvinced? Read this beautiful book - Fairy Houses Everywhere.
Losing oneself in the pages of a book is one of life's great escapes, and children can enjoy it too whilst you’ve got more time on your hands. Reading a story aloud by the fire all snuggled up together cements a wonderful memory for children.
Life outside the cottage in February is as varied and interesting as the world that lies within it.
North Wales has some great independent shops to browse, so why not get your supplies for the house locally and have fun getting to know the area? North Wales is developing a great reputation for its food produce, so take the opportunity to sample local cheese, award-winning lamb, beef and pork and freshly made bread in Beaumaris and Menai Bridge, Pwllheli and Abersoch. Don’t forget to pick up some fresh crab and shellfish in Benllech and Pwllheli too!
There is just such a wonderful feeling arriving back at the cottage having been “blustered” Winnie the Pooh style…Cheeks red and windblown, hair tousled and lungs filled with North Wales’ freshest, cleanest air. If you are bringing your four-legged friend you’ll enjoy the walk doubly as much. See all of our dog-friendly cottages here.
Of course, we, can't mention the “R” word but wetness brings its own treasures; our favourite being waterfall hunting. The walk from the Ugly House to Swallow Falls, the waterfalls in Llanberis and Aber Falls and the route up to Llyn Idwal are some of our favourite places to see gushing water. If you’d like a walk with the lure of a tipple at the end, or would like to find a walk for different skills levels, take a look at our fabulous Explore section dedicated to walks right here.
Wetsuits have really come on and do really keep you toasty, allowing you to venture into the water even in February. Some of our favourite activities to enjoy are stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, surfing, gorge walking and coasteering. If you are new to some of these activities, gorge walking entails climbing up and down rocky ravines jumping into lakes and crossing waterfalls. Exhilarating. Coasteering takes you around rocky coastlines and crags and jumping off (safely!) into the blue water below.
If the water doesn't entice you, then climbing is a fantastic sport to enjoy here and we have some great indoor climbing walls at Beacon and Indy. Beacon has a really fun section in it called Crazy Climb which will have the kids sleeping soundly in their beds that night!
The wonderful thing about North Wales is that even the attractions are blended and built out of the fabric of the landscape. The area is getting quite a reputation for being an adventure hub with alpine toboggans through the treetops in Betws Y Coed, and the huge trampoline nets in caves - not to mention the range of fantastic castles to explore.
This is a favourite pastime of ours at Menai Holidays. If having a break from cooking is exactly what makes the holiday a holiday, then we have three solutions. Eat out in some great locations - The Cwellyn Arms near the spectacular Llyn Cwellyn and in the heart of Snowdonia, or you can overlook the Menai Straits whilst enjoying some great food at Dylan's. If Tapas is your thing then the Freckled Angel and the Midland won’t disappoint.