Julia Bradbury: Time spent with family is the most precious thing

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What was your most memorable holiday as a child?
Scotland with mum and dad. I remember beachcombing every morning with my dad. We once rescued a catfish on the shoreline when the tide went out. I also remember sliding on the shiny wooden floorboards of the lodge we stayed in at Crieff Hydro hotel in Perthshire, still run by the Leckie family. And I loved the drive up there too as Dad would always point out interesting features along the way.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?
Sitting with my ‘framily’ (friends who I met over 30 years ago) in South Africa. It’s one of my favourite countries in the world and in 2015 I was fortunate enough to film in some of my most loved places there including the Drakensberg Mountains, the Garden Route in the western tip of SA and a walking safari in the Kruger National Park. I love the bush and the big pink skies.

Where do you travel with your own children?
My kids are lucky enough to be world travellers! My son Zeph, seven, started coming with me when he was just 12-weeks-old because I was breastfeeding and had started filming a new geology series with Hugh Dennis, all over the UK, so by the time he was four-months-old he’d been all over the country from the Isle of Skye in Scotland to the South Downs. When he was six months I was filming wild brown bears in Minnesota and he came there too. The girls (Zena and Xanthe, four) have made it all the way to Mexico.

What’s the recipe for a successful family holiday?
The time you have with your family when you’re on holiday is the most precious thing. It’s all about doing whatever the kids want to do with you, so for us that’s loads of swimming, jigsaws and adventures. Also, screen time should be limited. The kids don’t have their own gadgets but they are useful when you’re travelling. On holiday I manage my screen time too, trying to stay off the phone as much as possible when I’m away. Finally, I make sure they always have enough food. My kids (or chicks as I call them) graze all day and are always hungry, so I take a fabric bag on holiday to load up at the breakfast buffet on loose fruit, muffins and anything that’s easy to pack away so there are plenty of daytime snacks. In my experience full-up children are happy children.

Julia with Zeph (7) and 4-year-olds Zena and Xanthe

What do you never travel without?
Flip-flops/sliders. I use them as slippers inside and for the beach or pool – I love walking barefoot on holiday so they’re easy to kick off and tuck away in a bag. I also take luggage weighing scales, so we can get the weight distribution right across all the bags we have to take.

What’s the best souvenir you’ve brought home?
A ‘real genuine antique’ fish-shaped wooden ashtray from the Maldives. I still have it, in the original wrapping, and if it wasn’t a genuine antique then, but it might be by now!

Any family-friendly hotel tips?
New Park Manor in the New Forest is great. The kids love it there because there is so much to do, they enjoy exploring the woodland, cycling and, of course, playing in the pools.

And where’s your favourite place to holiday in the UK?
I grew up in Rutland and went to school in Sheffield so going ‘home’ to Rutland Water or the Peak District is always good. Great places to stay in Rutland are Barnsdale Lodge and their Rutland Retreats, Barnsdale Hall or glamping with In The Stix. We also love staying at the Losehill Hotel in the Peak District or camping near Bakewell.

Inspiring families to get outdoors, Julia is partnered with outdoor clothing and equipment retailers Cotswold Outdoor, and walking website The Outdoor Guide.

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