How does a trip to the UK with 4 teenagers sound?
Absolutely. And also a great way to make memories as my family grows up and my children start leaving the nest at an alarming rate. (Ok, my oldest daughter is not technically a teenager, she just turned 20)
On the other hand, traveling with six people—all with different interests—isn’t easy. For me, the history of a place is most appealing (I can’t help it), my oldest daughter wants to absorb the culture, the boys require open spaces and plenty of food, and my youngest likes it all, just in small doses. As for my husband, he’s happy to do almost anything, as long as there’s no bickering. As we settled into a travel routine, we found that a good mix of history, exploring, nature, and plenty of food made for the best itinerary and a happy family.
The sheer amount of history in most European cities is overwhelming. It seems that you can’t turn a corner without stumbling upon a famous birthplace, monument, cathedral, or castle.
Our first day in London, we took the river bus down the Thames and stepped into a city teeming with traffic and people of all nationalities. London Bridge, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben came one after another as we began exploring.
The rest of our UK trip found us contemplating ever more amazing historical sites. From the British Museum with it’s ancient mummies and the Rosetta Stone, to the historic Highgate cemetery, burial place for Karl Marx as well as thousands of others whose stories will be forever unknown. A day spent wandering through Soho and a night at a production of Billy Elliot satisfied my oldest child.
Our trip continued into Scotland, where we exchanged museums and city streets for castles, open spaces, and plenty of hiking.
My kids love the outdoors, especially anything they can climb. The ruined castle and cathedral at St. Andrews was a perfect combination of history and a test of their climbing skills. The rocky coastlines at St. Andrews and Eileen Donan castle were welcome changes from the busy streets of London as were the cows and sheep who were more plentiful in Scotland that people.
We concluded the outdoorsy side of our trip with two days of hiking on the Isle of Skye. Skye turned out to be everyone’s favorite part of the trip.
We kept everyone happy trying plenty of new foods.
Restaurants, street food, markets and bakeries were plentiful. Groceries stores were one of the most important stops along the route to pick up traveling supplies you can’t live without: water, apples, and chocolate.
And traveling with teenagers isn’t complete without taking lots of selfies . . . the sillier, the better.
With our UK trip behind his, we’re back to work, back to writing, and looking ahead (but not in any hurry) at back to school. Let me know how you are making memories with your friends and family this summer. What is your favorite kind of vacation activity?