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Family holiday ideas - probably not climbing (Read 33533 times)

andy popp

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We went to Marseille over New Year and loved it. It does have a reputation, overwhelmingly undeserved, but some might find it a little rough and ready in places.

Of course I would say this, but Denmark actually hits everything you want, except a) it's a very long way round if you don't want to fly/ferry b) not exactly cheap.

Will Hunt

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I'd never really thought about going abroad by train before so just wanted to give a heads up to those who might be interested.
We've booked interrail tickets down to Marseille. Kids get their ticket for free. We leave from our local station in the morning and will be by the Med for dinner time. The interrail ticket covers our rail travel down to London and then there's a surcharge for the Eurostar. All in it's costing us the same as flying and I'm anticipating a nicer experience than being shafted by Ryanair. We can stop in Paris for lunch. Kids are psyched off their heads to go on a double-decker train. We can do a day trip to Avignon or somewhere else on the pass. There's a lot to love.

Learning how to use the interrail ticket and reserving seats took some figuring out and the Seat 61 website was very very helpful in this regard.

ali k

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Good to hear Will. I can see us doing a lot of this in the future too. Likewise Iíd not really considered it as a viable option getting to south of France or beyond until last year.

Our first flying experience post-Covid to Croatia in October was utterly miserable and reminded me how unpleasant it can be. Trains are generally a much nicer way to travel. Yorkshire to the med in a day is amazing!

Duncan campbell

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I'd never really thought about going abroad by train before so just wanted to give a heads up to those who might be interested.
We've booked interrail tickets down to Marseille. Kids get their ticket for free. We leave from our local station in the morning and will be by the Med for dinner time. The interrail ticket covers our rail travel down to London and then there's a surcharge for the Eurostar. All in it's costing us the same as flying and I'm anticipating a nicer experience than being shafted by Ryanair. We can stop in Paris for lunch. Kids are psyched off their heads to go on a double-decker train. We can do a day trip to Avignon or somewhere else on the pass. There's a lot to love.

Learning how to use the interrail ticket and reserving seats took some figuring out and the Seat 61 website was very very helpful in this regard.

Nice one Will!! My partner and I went to Font + skiing by train in February and I can confirm going on a double decker train is the shizzle! Also itís soo much nicer going by train. I havenít flown for a few years now and remember hating it the last time I did. Taking the train was so much nicer. Enjoy

teestub

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Nice one Will!! My partner and I went to Font + skiing by train in February and I can confirm going on a double decker train is the shizzle! Also itís soo much nicer going by train. I havenít flown for a few years now and remember hating it the last time I did. Taking the train was so much nicer. Enjoy

How was it taking all your kit on the train? Pads plus skis etc sounds like a lot of work! This is one of my major hesitances with the train, we usually fill the van when we go on holiday!

Duncan campbell

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Nice one Will!! My partner and I went to Font + skiing by train in February and I can confirm going on a double decker train is the shizzle! Also itís soo much nicer going by train. I havenít flown for a few years now and remember hating it the last time I did. Taking the train was so much nicer. Enjoy

How was it taking all your kit on the train? Pads plus skis etc sounds like a lot of work! This is one of my major hesitances with the train, we usually fill the van when we go on holiday!

We hired both. Well actually some friends had driven out to font for the first week so we had our pads for that week, but then we hired for the second week. Donít think you can take pads/bikes on the Eurostar which is a bit of a shitter.

I know what you mean - itís so easy to fill a vehicle with stuff! In some ways itís a nice way to simplify your holiday

Will Hunt

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https://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes/london-to-paris-by-eurostar.htm#luggage-on-eurostar

The bloke here reckons you'll be fine but I suppose pads are conspicuously bulky so might attract a clipboard's attention. A lot of pads (Organic Full) are only just over 85cm...

Duncan campbell

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Interesting!! Tbh I can imagine it being such a ballache that Iíd rather just hire pads out thereÖ obvs adds to cost though.

SA Chris

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My partner and I went to ..... skiing by train in February

Was that the snow train to Moutiers? How was it, heard it can be a bit rowdy?

Duncan campbell

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It was to Moutiers but wasnít rowdy at all tbh, was busy on the way down but was fine.

Tom de Gay

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https://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes/london-to-paris-by-eurostar.htm#luggage-on-eurostar

The bloke here reckons you'll be fine but I suppose pads are conspicuously bulky so might attract a clipboard's attention. A lot of pads (Organic Full) are only just over 85cm...

Took a DMM pad (99cm) on the Eurostar and it was fineÖ this was a few years ago though.

SA Chris

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It was to Moutiers but wasnít rowdy at all tbh, was busy on the way down but was fine.
Good to know. Was it the Saturday direct one?

Will Hunt

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Just popping in to give a trip report from a week in Marseille for others who might be browsing for recommendations in the future.

We travelled on Interrail tickets (kids under 12 get theirs free when travelling with an adult) from our local train station in the north of England to Marseille. Door to door it was 12 hours each way, so it's longer than flying but not by masses once you've considered transfers at either end and a more protracted security process. Probably a little bit more expensive after you've paid for seat reservations on French trains and a bit extra for the Eurostar, but only by a little once you've accounted for taking a hold bag on a plane (which we do when travelling with kids) and the seat reservations you have to make when flying with young kids. Train travel in the UK is included on the Interrail ticket provided your outbound trip is one continuous journey (connections are fine, but no cheeky overnight stop in London).
French trains make our own look like a joke. Fast, reliable, very comfortable, no worrying about baggage weight limits or faffing with taking only certain volumes of liquids etc etc etc. If we were doing it again we'd plan a couple of days in Paris, which of course wouldn't cost any extra in travel expenses if going by train on an Interrail ticket).

Getting around Marseille is cheap and easy. Unlimited travel for 7 days on all the buses, trams, metro, ferries, and local trains for £13.
Beautiful weather, beautiful food, some fabulous beaches in the Calanques (and you could do some lovely walks there if you were minded to). 10/10 would recommend.

NSFW  specific beta and holiday snaps that you probably don't want to see:

Oo la la le tren.





Calanque Morgiou. About an hour's pleasant walk from Luminy University campus which has a regular bus service. There is no access via car from June to the end of summer. Popular but not excessively busy.


Plage Calanque St EstŤve on the Frioul islands. The Chateau d'If in the back right (obvs you must read The Count of Monte Cristo before you go).


Palais Longchamp. Art Museum within is not quite the Uffizi but the Natural History Museum there is fun.




Calanque Sugiton. This was my favourite though a little too crowded for my wife who preferred Morgiou. Again, no access via car in the season - it's about an hour's walk from the University. Jumping in off the rock in the middle of the Calanque into deep deep water is brilliant. I gave myself an accidental sinus enema which was still leaking seawater when I lay down in bed that night.


Chateau d'If. You cannot whack a good castle.



Kids love getting around by boat.






Johnny Brown

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How much is an interrail ticket?

Durbs

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We've just belatedly booked a late August ferry; Newhaven <--> Dieppe, as left booking too late and the Portsmouth - St. Malo ferry was £987, which is quite frankly mental, even if you do save 2 nights accommodation.

When we first looked it was around £350. Lesson learned there.

Doing a driving mix of car-camping and Airbnb's with 3 sprogs; 2,6 & 9.

ChatGPT gave us a rough route, which with some refining looks pretty decent. Mont St Michel, Ile de Rť, Loire Valley with various stops and sights along the way.

Are the French still a bit weird about "stuff you have to have in your car in case of Zombie Apocalypse - which is nothing to do with my brother being in charge of Zombie Apocalypse supplies?"

Will Hunt

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How much is an interrail ticket?

Various options and you might need to do some tinkering to figure out which is the right option for the type of trip you want. Something that's worth bearing in mind is that you buy the pass and then have 11 months to activate it and start using it, so if Interrail have a sale in winter then you could buy a pass even if you have no travel plans yet.

We used 4-days-in-1-month passes (283 Euros; cheaper for under 28s) which gives you 4 days of travel, including 1 inbound and 1 outbound day, so you can use the ticket to cover your travel when exiting and returning to the UK and would allow you to stop for a couple of nights in different places. There are other options which allow more travel days and over a longer period (think of your typical student Interrailing trip of spending the summer going to many different cities).

There are also cheaper One Country Passes, but these do not cover your outbound/inbound UK travel so may or may not work out more expensive. If you had a single destination in mind and didn't need to cover UK travel as well I expect it would always be cheaper to just buy your train tickets within your destination country normally (though you'd have to buy kids tickets for 4-12 years olds who would go free on Interrail).

You don't pay for seat reservations on the LNER. For high-speed and intercity trains in western Europe you generally need to pay to book seats even when using Interrail. Expect to pay about 15 euros per person per train in France. Expect to pay an additional 25 euros per person to book your seats on the Eurostar. Despite the Interrail ticket being free for under-12s, you do still need to pay for their seat reservations.


This was all definitely a bit of a learning curve but the Seat61 website was very helpful in figuring it out.
https://www.seat61.com/how-to-use-an-interrail-pass.htm

Aussiegav

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Hi Will.

Glad you enjoyed Marseille.

Johnny Brown

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Thanks Will. Unfortunately the boy turns 12 before our next planned trip, but will do some reading on seat61.

galpinos

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Just popping in to give a trip report from a week in Marseille for others who might be browsing for recommendations in the future.

We travelled on Interrail tickets (kids under 12 get theirs free when travelling with an adult) from our local train station in the north of England to Marseille. Door to door it was 12 hours each way, so it's longer than flying but not by masses once you've considered transfers at either end and a more protracted security process. Probably a little bit more expensive after you've paid for seat reservations on French trains and a bit extra for the Eurostar, but only by a little once you've accounted for taking a hold bag on a plane (which we do when travelling with kids) and the seat reservations you have to make when flying with young kids. Train travel in the UK is included on the Interrail ticket provided your outbound trip is one continuous journey (connections are fine, but no cheeky overnight stop in London).
French trains make our own look like a joke. Fast, reliable, very comfortable, no worrying about baggage weight limits or faffing with taking only certain volumes of liquids etc etc etc. If we were doing it again we'd plan a couple of days in Paris, which of course wouldn't cost any extra in travel expenses if going by train on an Interrail ticket).

Getting around Marseille is cheap and easy. Unlimited travel for 7 days on all the buses, trams, metro, ferries, and local trains for £13.
Beautiful weather, beautiful food, some fabulous beaches in the Calanques (and you could do some lovely walks there if you were minded to). 10/10 would recommend.

NSFW  specific beta and holiday snaps that you probably don't want to see:

Oo la la le tren.





Calanque Morgiou. About an hour's pleasant walk from Luminy University campus which has a regular bus service. There is no access via car from June to the end of summer. Popular but not excessively busy.


Plage Calanque St EstŤve on the Frioul islands. The Chateau d'If in the back right (obvs you must read The Count of Monte Cristo before you go).


Palais Longchamp. Art Museum within is not quite the Uffizi but the Natural History Museum there is fun.




Calanque Sugiton. This was my favourite though a little too crowded for my wife who preferred Morgiou. Again, no access via car in the season - it's about an hour's walk from the University. Jumping in off the rock in the middle of the Calanque into deep deep water is brilliant. I gave myself an accidental sinus enema which was still leaking seawater when I lay down in bed that night.


Chateau d'If. You cannot whack a good castle.



Kids love getting around by boat.






This looks fab Will. In the middle of planning a Austrian Alps trip in the summer by train but the girls are whinging about a lack of beaches/sea. This might be just the ticket!

Will Hunt

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In the middle of planning a Austrian Alps trip in the summer by train but the girls are whinging about a lack of beaches/sea.

This is exactly my problem! I used to consider myself to be not a beach person but I've figured out that it's actually sand and dull beaches with no diving or snorkelling that I hate, but kids love the beach so much that we can't reasonably plan a holiday without access to them. Depending on the length of your trip, I suppose if you were to Interrail then there is no reason you couldn't split the journey by going to Austria for a couple of days then transfer down to the French Riviera/Ligurian/Adriatic. I'm already trying to figure out where we might go next time. Barcelona is an obvious choice - I'm prepared to suffer sandy beaches as I've wanted to visit the city for ages.

If you do head to Marseille I forgot to mention that for the beach at Calanque Sugiton you do need to book if you go during French holidays. Reservations can be made at 9am 3 days prior I think.

SA Chris

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This looks fab Will. In the middle of planning a Austrian Alps trip in the summer by train
Interested to hear about that. The mountain biking and walking around Serfaus where we were skiing looked great. I was thinking  / hoping it might be quieter and cheaper than French Alps, but that might just be blind optimism.

Your trip looks great Will, the multi day sea kayaking round there is still on to do list. 

galpinos

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Well, after the girls got wind of the Calanques my Austria plan is dead in the water......

So, the accommodation/travel/beach/walk/via feratta?/etc research starts now....

 

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