Bonkers on a Bus {Holiday in the New Forest}

On Sunday we were supposed to be going on a bike ride. This is something that kept getting put off all week and we never ended up going which was a little disappointing. But the kids and I were probably the only ones showing enthusiasm for it, so instead of a bike ride we booked a bus tour instead. I know it sounds completely boring, so I hope I don’t lose you, because it was far from dull. Nothing is dull with our littles.

The bus arrived at our holiday park, which was lucky that we didn’t had to drive anywhere that day, it was almost luxury. We sat upstairs to take in the gorgeous views of the New Forest and coastline. Part of me was anxious about sitting upstairs because I know how attracted to danger my littlest is, mix it together with an open top bus and it could have been disaster. So I made sure she was nothing less than grasped at all times.

This first part of the journey was spent gawping at homes in the forest we could only dream of owning, watching the horses graze on the open land, seeing the wonderful sea views and passing the children from one lap to another.

About an hour into our journey our boy started to get itchy feet and needed to get off the bus. He wailed and whined and there was only so many times we could say ‘in a minute’. Thankfully it’s a bus tour that you can get off at any point and hop on to another if you please. So we got off at a random stop, it wasn’t one we had hoped to get off at and we weren’t sure at all what there was to see.

As we bundled everyone off the bus, the sun beat down on us and I thought, whatever there is to see here, at least it’s sunny. We walked along a little path with sweet little cottages opposite and ended up in a marina. It wasn’t to my parents taste as there wasn’t much there to do. In fact there was nothing to do, even the pub was closed. But the harbour was beautiful. It was something Mr F and I truly appreciated and our kiddies enjoy things like this too. They love a new place to explore and plenty of boats to see. It was also a little bonus that a couple of people were crabbing there and my son in particular was amazed by the creepy little things.

The place we stopped was called Keyhaven and if you’re ever holidaying in the New Forest then I’d really suggest spending a little time here. They do have a castle to visit too, which we didn’t, we were too busy staring at the glittering sea with the sun beating down on us.

When the kids had stretched their legs enough we had a wander back to the little patch of green where the bus stop was. We didn’t check the bus timetable at all from what I can remember. We could have been waiting there for another hour, but it didn’t even cross our minds to check because we were all having so much fun. We were chasing the kids around the green, enjoying the faces as they showed smiles from ear to ear.

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When the bus arrived we grabbed the kids and headed upstairs again. Our next stop was a little town called Lymington. It was lined with bunting all long the high street, as most of these villages were, and was a town with a Tesco. The only town we visited that had a Tesco, which was perfect because we nipped in there quickly to get pizzas. Our little trip into Tesco did turn into a slight disagreement between Mr F and me over coleslaw. Don’t ask, just know I didn’t get any and we did make up.

When we left Tesco it was lunchtime all of us were getting desperate to have our first traditional afternoon tea, with sandwiches, cakes and  cream tea in those dainty cups. Today was not that day. In fact we didn’t have one all week, but we did come very close on many occasions (cake and cream tea nearly every day).

We found a small tea room down a tiny street and it was in the perfect setting. Beautiful flowers outside, a huge tree and lots more bunting. With the sun as bright as it was, it made sense to sit outside, also to give the kids the opportunity to run freely. We ordered tea, but no food, eventhough we were hungry. The sandwiches were nearly seven pounds each, I just couldn’t spend that much on a ham banger, especially when there was a Greggs over the road practically giving their food away in comparison. The tea was delicious though. I’ve never sipped so much tea as I did throughout our holiday. It’s something we all enjoy though and it does make us feel quite posh with our fine china cups.

While we were sat outside this posh tea room our kids did enjoy the free reign they had. There was an empty planter, in the form of a barrel just behind us. Our kids assumed this was a bin. They then cleared our table and any table nearby of any empty sugar sachets, napkins and wooden stirrers and placed it all into the ‘bin’. I’m quite pleased we didn’t stay for a sandwich.

When we left the tiny tea room and wandered back along the cobbled side street onto the high street, we crossed over just to walk past Greggs and inhale deeply. Then we crossed back over and decided to pop in to a few shops while we waited for the next bus. We needed to stay on the move so the kids didn’t get itchy feet and start causing chaos. My mum noticed a charity shop with a variety of toy diggers and tractors. Such a genius spot because this would mean our tiny people could be distracted with new toys if they got bored at all throughout our bus tour. This was the shop that started our charity shop addiction. I’ve never been one to go into charity shops, for no particular reason other than it’s always been a little too much effort to visit any in our town. The parking to get there tends to put me off but I really think I will make the effort to visit more often. Some of the things they sell is complete rubbish, but probably somebody elses treasure. There are a few things that will turn up and are brilliant, whether it’s toys or home decor, some are fab.

We sat just outside the charity shop on steps leading up to a bright blue door. The kiddies played with their new tractors which made waiting the last few minutes for the bus a complete dream.

When the bus arrived we decided to sit downstairs this time. It keeps the kids contained. Then our next stop was Lyndhurst. Another sweet little town which we actually visited twice more during our holiday.

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We were a little confused about the bus times at this point, did we want to continue exploring the New Forest on the bus tour, or would we rather get back to the caravan in time for dinner. We decided we’d throw caution to the wind and explore a little more so we headed into Lyndhurst high street and found ourselves another tea shop. Not a traditional tea room, but they sold tea, so that did us.

To get the next bus we had to head back to the bus stop straight after we had finished our tea. But when the bus arrived the driver looked confused. He asked where we were going and I said we’d be heading to Bashley as our final stop. He looked baffled and said his bus only goes to the car park in Lyndhurst, the stop we were at wasn’t an ‘official’ stop. All I was screaming in my head was “well why does the bus stop here then”, very loudly. We stayed on the bus and got off in the carpark, the driver was such a lovely man and explained to us the times we’d need to be back to catch the bus to the next stop, to get off and catch another bus back to Bashley. I know I was as confused as it sounds.

So while we waited for the next bus we had another wander into Lyndhurst, this time to a free museum. We didn’t actually go into the museum because we were distracted by the gift shop. They had the best cookbooks in there which my mum and I flicked through for such a long time. No idea what everyone else was doing.

We hop back on the bus and I couldn’t tell you what happened for this part of the journey. It was either peaceful and boring, or so awful that I’ve erased it from my mind. I do know that the kiddies were hungry and tired, which turns them into children that look the complete opposite of hungry and tired. You’ll know what I mean if you have small children. It always makes me laugh when my kids are going bonkers and someone says “they don’t look tired” and I’m left thinking “no, they’re like this because they’re tired“.

We got off the tour bus to switch to a different tour bus. There are three different routes, so to get to a certain place it often means getting off a bus to get on another. This time we needed the blue bus to take us back to the comfort of our caravan to eat that pizza we bought 9 hours ago.

We sat upstairs this time just to take in those views again and watch the forest as it approaches sunset. What happens next is the perfect example of tired children pretending they’re not tired. They actually did the perfect impression of animals, my daughter being an octopus because she was just legs and arms everywhere.

They were grunting, screaming, shouting, dancing, bouncing but they were so so happy. Mr Firstooth, my parents and I ached from laughing so much. The kids went absolutely batsh*it crazy. Their wide eyed expressions also made them look a little psychotic. Part of the way through the journey we started to fear for their safety because their craziness was getting dangerous with the amount they were throwing themselves around, they were so over excited they could have thrown themselves overboard for fun. So we grabbed the octopus and the goat and brought them to the enclosed safety of downstairs.

We sat at the very back of the bus and right behind an unfortunate couple. At first the kids sat directly behind them, my littlest poked her head through the gap between the seats and whispered “dere’s a man dere” . Then screamed the exact same a second later.. Then once I assessed it all I decided to move them to the other side of the bus. Which didn’t make too much difference as they could still be heard.

For the full length of the journey back to our holiday park the bus was filled with laughing, screaming and very loud noises coming from my two tiny toddlers. The couple were good sports about it all though. I couldn’t wait to get them off the bus and get them fed then to bed.

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After our bus tour had finished and we’d eaten our pizza in my parents caravan, with a glass of wine to calm my nerves, we decided to head back to our ropey old caravan and get the kids to bed. Just as we left my dad said the words I never want to hear. “They’ll sleep well tonight”. ‘FML’ I thought.

You know what happens now. One of our children didn’t sleep at all, all night. Mr F and I took shift work throughout the night as she bounced between being happily awake and upset that she’s not asleep.

Our next day was spent at Peppa Pig World so keep an eye out for that post. I promise it won’t be as long as this one, this is probably the longest post I’ve ever written, but we did a lot on this day. I’m so pleased we went on the bus tour and it was only by chance my mum discovered it. It’s called the New Forest Bus Tour and it’s such a fab way to see and experience the forest and coast with the freedom to come and go as you please. If you do go on the tour next year, just make sure you check the timetables thoroughly as the buses don’t always run regularly throughout the day. Sit upstairs too, you’ll see things you wouldn’t want to miss, and I don’t mean my wild children. There’s so much wildlife and scenery to admire and throughout the journey there’s a guide explaining where you are, what’s about and a little history.

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