Since I’ve had my daughter, things have changed*. I’m not the kind of person who fancies hopping on a plane with a small child who may or may not scream for the whole flight, or swapping a swanky hotel for an apartment with a microwave. So instead, I’m loving holidays in Britain. There’s no flight. We can take everything we might need to make our lives easy whilst we’re away (I’m not just talking Peppa Pig dvds, but bottles of Prosecco; not just a potty but a case full of makeup).
Last spring, after a solid few months of online searching, we discovered an amazing log cabin in the Peak District. It had a hot tub, a play area and a bbq: everyone was happy. We all came home refreshed and giddy. So despite the lack of pool, beach and duty free, it appeared that we’d had a proper holiday in (deep breath) Britain.
Another place we’ve visited when taking part in this strange new breed of holiday is Dumfries in Scotland. The short car journey from home is broken up by a choice of places in the Lake District which offer soft play areas, good coffee and gorgeous little shops. Once we’ve arrived at the farmhouse we always rent, we are a few hours’ drive from Edinburgh and about forty minutes from Wigtown.
Wigtown, Scotland’s national booktown, is filled with secondhand bookshops. Drive through too quickly and you could miss it: it’s small but full of treasures. The first time I went, the town was hosting a book festival and I picked up a signed copy of The Distance Between Us by Maggie O’Farrell (one of my favourite authors) and some handmade chocolates to eat that night in front of our real log fire.
I was smitten.
There are apparently over 20 book-related businesses in Wigtown. Most of them make you feel like you’re in another world. Step into The Bookshop and you will never want to leave. It’s Scotland’s largest second hand bookshop with over a mile of shelves.
Down the street, there’s a park. Across the road, there’s a cafe which serves coffee and cake. Again, everyone’s happy.
Realising that lying on a lounger for a week is a thing of the past is hard. But breaks in Scotland and visits to Wigtown make holidays of the past easier to leave behind. I know how quickly life flies by. I know that faster than I can say ‘TripAdvisor’, I won’t have a child who might cry on a flight, but a teenage girl who wants to lie on a lounger reading magazines for a week. I probably won’t want to lie on a lounger by then though; I’ll want to browse in second hand bookshops and go to soft play areas and drink good coffee.
But that will all be a thing of the past. And I won’t even have been able to pack Prosecco (or Peppa – she’ll be a distant memory) to soften the blow.
*but don’t tell those people who told me when I was pregnant that my life would change. I’d hate for them to know they were right.
- Wigtown: a place saved by books (telegraph.co.uk)