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Travelling To Boulogne-sur-Mer, France & Visiting Nausicaa Aquarium & The Beach | Eurotunnel Road Trip With Kids - Day 1

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I often say how much of a fan I have become of travelling and seeing different places in the world since becoming a Mum. I've gone from being this total homely sort of person with no interest in holidays or travelling, to now having this flare for exploration and for adventure. My boys, both being outdoor-loving sort of children, who are most happiest when they're off running free and discovering different places, have been a big influence in my change of heart when it comes to going away from home. Through the eyes of a child, adventure is as exciting as it gets and their excitement and passion for exploration has definitely rubbed off on me in a big way. Combined of course, with the fact that I now see how important time away from routine and everyday life is, when you have a family and a busy work life. 

A little while ago now, whilst we were in Devon visiting my good friend and also fellow blogger, Hayley from Sparkles and Stretchmarks, I was sent a really exciting email from Eurotunnel inviting me and my family to go on a road trip via the Eurotunnel to France, Belgium and The Netherlands! We were so flattered to have been asked and so grateful too and we jumped at the chance. I'd never been on the Eurotunnel before, in fact, I'd never even visited France and I was so excited to get to go and discover some new places that I'd never been before and take my family along with me.

Before our road trip we did the usual thing of ensuring that we had everything we needed to travel. I made sure that the boys had lots of entertainment for the car journeys and for when we were eating in restaurants or just chilling out at our accommodation. I picked up a few new things they hadn't seen before from places like the pound shop and other discount stores and I also put together a few little activities for them and packed lots of snacks to keep them going. If you'd like to see what I took, then you can watch my kids road trip entertainment ideas video over on my youtube channel.  

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When driving in France there are some compulsory and some recommended bits of equipment that you need to carry in your vehicle, so we also made sure that we had all that before hand. Although there was an AA travelshop inside the Eurotunnel passenger terminal which had everything we needed there for sale and is actually where we picked up our last minute EU car sticker, which we'd nearly forgotten about. 

Getting to the Eurotunnel was really easy, everything was signposted really well and we found it so simple to get through the check in process. I'd submitted our passport and passenger details online the night before so it was all really straight forward and quick. Inside the passenger terminal we were also able to get some lunch and there were a few nice play areas for the kids too, which was brilliant as it meant they could have a little run around between the journeys, whilst we sat and ate a bit of lunch and had a hot drink. 

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Family road trip, road trip with toddlers, eurotunnel road trip, eurotunnel, taking kids to france, things to do in france with toddlers, nausicaa, boulogne see mer,

As we'd not been on the Eurotunnel before we didn't really know what to expect so we were all rather excited about being able to take our car below the sea over to France. Ethan had been so excited for a couple of weeks before our trip and had kept asking me how many sleeps until we got to go on the Eurotunnel. The journey was really smooth and so quick too, taking only about half an hour or so to get to Calais. The boys loved it and loved coming to sit in the front of the car with us whilst we travelled. 

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When we got to Calais, we were straight off and on our way to our first destination - Boulogne-sur-Mer a city in Northern France on the coast of the English Channel. It was just a 30 minute drive which was perfect, as it meant that the journey was relatively easy for the kids and it meant that we had the rest of the day to go and explore what Boulogne-sur-Mer had to offer. It quite honestly amazed me just how quickly and easily we had got to France. I think it's pretty incredible that we were able to drive our car on to the Eurotunnel and bring it with us to be able to just go about exploring new countries and places with ease and in the comfort of our own car.

When we arrived we headed straight for Nausicaa, one of the largest public aquariums in Europe. We found a small road to park on just outside of the aquarium and then went in and got our tickets. The boys love aquariums, especially Ethan who has his own little sea life toy collection and is always asking me for tubs so that he can fill them with water to make his own aquariums at home.

Nausicaa had so, so much to offer, it was truly incredible. From all of the different tanks, to a sea lion reserve,  a penguin beach, a submerged tropical forest, a shark aquarium, a touch pool, a soft play area for the kids and an amazing, unique research vessel experience. Plus a rather lovely cafe with brilliant food options for vegetarians. It really did have it all and I have to say that Nausicaa was without a doubt the best aquarium we've ever visited. We spent ages there just taking everything in and having a lot of fun. I would absolutely recommend a visit if you are ever near. It was the perfect place to go as a family. I'll leave some of the photos that we took whilst there below..

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Family road trip, road trip with toddlers, eurotunnel road trip, eurotunnel, taking kids to france, things to do in france with toddlers, nausicaa, boulogne see mer,

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Family road trip, road trip with toddlers, eurotunnel road trip, eurotunnel, taking kids to france, things to do in france with toddlers, nausicaa, boulogne see mer,
 The crocodiles scared me slightly - they didn't move a muscle the entire time. I actually thought that they were models at first! ;) 

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 I really love this photo of me with the boys that Adam took whilst we were in the sea lion reserve.

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 And this one too - I love that we managed to capture the excitement in the boy's faces. 

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Family road trip, road trip with toddlers, eurotunnel road trip, eurotunnel, taking kids to france, things to do in france with toddlers, nausicaa, boulogne see mer,
Family road trip, road trip with toddlers, eurotunnel road trip, eurotunnel, taking kids to france, things to do in france with toddlers, nausicaa, boulogne see mer,

After we finished exploring Nausicaa and after we'd hit up the gift shop to get yet more sea life models for Ethan's collection (of course). We headed over to the beach, which was just outside. The sandy beach stretched for miles and was clean and not overcrowded at all. You wouldn't have thought from our photos below that we were stood quite literally next to a large sandy play park for the kids. It was such a lovely beach, if it wasn't so close to dinner time for us, we could easily have spent a lot longer there.
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We stayed a short while at the beach before heading to find our accommodation for the night - Hotel Metropole located again in Boulogne-sur-Mer. As soon as we walked through the doors, we were greeted by friendly staff, who helped us to check-in and find somewhere to leave our pushchair for the night as it didn't quit fit in the lift. They also recommended a few places that we could grab a takeaway pizza from and were just generally really lovely and super helpful, as in fact were all of the other hotel guests that we bumped in to.

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We had two rooms joined together, one with twin beds in for the boys and then one with a double bed in for us with an ensuite and an extra toilet. They also provided us with a travel cot for Logan and left a bunch of really beautiful flowers in our room, which was very kind of them. Sadly I had to leave them behind as we were travelling, but I was very grateful.

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Because we'd had a busy, fun-packed day, we just wanted to chill out for the rest of the evening so Adam went and bought us some takeaway pizzas from one of the places that the reception staff had recommended and we sat and ate them in our room together, before settling the boys down and then ourselves for the night.

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In the morning we headed downstairs for breakfast in a lovely bright room on the ground floor of the hotel. The lady who was working was so friendly and kindly showed us how to use the different machines to get orange juice, tea and coffee and she even showed us around the garden, pointing out the fish in the pond for the boys, before kindly giving them a balloon each.

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After breakfast, we excitedly packed up our cases and got them back into our car. We were heading over to Lille, also in Northern France on the border of Belgium, ready to start another fun day of adventure.

Day 2 of our road trip and the first part of our video will follow soon.
Alex xo

*Thank you to Eurotunnel for partnering with our family for this trip. 


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7 comments

  1. Ah it sounds so fab and what a lovely road trip. We have never done Euro Tunnel either, we always do the ferry. But just loved France when we went on our little road trip last year xx

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    1. Ah thanks Sarah. We had such a wonderful time! I couldn't believe how fast it was on the Eurotunnel to get to France!xx

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  2. Such lovely photos, sounds like you had an amazing time. I can't wait to take the boys on their first holiday abroad hopefully next year. P.S. That aquarium looked amazing!!

    Liza Prideaux | YouTube

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Liza! We really did have such a great time! Ah I bet you're so excited, family holidays are the best! xx

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  3. Loved reading this Alex. I wish we would live a little bit closer to France. It's so much handier to take your own car. My friend is actually from France and she travels over for two weeks during the summer every year. Though it takes her 17 hours from Ireland on the ferry. Not exactly something you'd do with small kids. Hopefully one day we will visit too. The aquarium looks amazing.

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  4. Ah it sounds brilliant! I love that you just drive your car on, how clever is that!! xx

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  5. I'm like this too, never wanted to travel before but now I do and its harder with kids haha! It sounds amazing, what fun memories! Xx

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