Family Life With Tweens | Days Out | Holiday Ideas

How to plan a trip to Puy du Fou with kids from the UK who don't speak French

*This is a collaboration with Puy du Foy

I am so excited to share with you our trip to Puy du Fou theme park in France. We spent *the best* two days here and I really would recommend this trip for all ages. Entrance fees are really very reasonable when compared to other top theme parks around the world (see here for details) and I'd recommend a short-break and staying on-site for 1/2 nights to get the most out of your experience (see here for details). Grab a coffee, because this is a LONG post - it's been a tricky task trying to capture the magic and scale of Puy du Fou and just how incredible it is but I hope this post will give you a flavour of what to expect. 

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - Gladiator Stadium



Puy du Fou is where the North East's Kynren gained its inspiration and the team behind Puy du Fou have helped to bring Kynren to life. One day, Kynren hopes to become a theme park too and grow into something like Puy du Fou - as we walked around Puy du Fou I kept thinking to myself how there is NOTHING like this in the UK and if Kynren could pull something like this off, it would be incredible for the North East. If you've watched and loved Kynren or perhaps you're a volunteer in the show, walking around Puy du Fou will give you goosebumps and I'd urge you to plan a trip and see it for yourself.

What exactly is Puy du Fou?

Puy du Fou is a multi-award winning historical theme park in France, in fact, while we were there they were awarded Tripadvisor's BEST theme park in Europe and the third best in the entire world. That's some going!

Credit - Puy du Fou Facebook page
We spent three nights and two days at Puy du Fou this July (I'd recommend spending 2 full days here) and it's clear to see why it has won so many awards. We've honestly never been anywhere like it! We are huge history lovers and spend a lot of time visiting historical sites and castles in the UK but nowhere has come close to bringing history to life like Puy du Fou does. There are no rides (well there is one carousel) and instead the action focusses on over 20 grand-scale performances, productions and walk-through experiences that will leave you wondering just how they managed to do that. With each show we watched we were more and more impressed and as Heidi would say, Puy du Fou truly blew our minds! All of the shows and productions are based around a part of European history and everything from a Viking invasion to a Gladiator tournament and WWI is covered. 


I have not spent any time in France or even spoken any French since the year 2000 and Harry (11), Heidi (9) and Jack (7) only know the very basics. All of the shows at Puy du Fou are in French but you can listen to English translation using the free app and the park's free WiFi. The shows are so spectacular though that often, the action really speaks for itself. There were lots of other English visitors on-site during our trip and all of the staff we encountered spoke perfect English/understood us without any problems - there was no language barrier at all so please don't let that put you off.

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - birds of prey show

I'd recommend Puy du Fou to all ages - little ones seemed to love the grand scale effects and animals, older kids and teens were impressed with the productions and what I especially love about here is that parents and grandparents can really enjoy themselves too rather than being designated bag holders which often happens at theme parks. I know the kids' grandparents would love it here - far more than any other theme park we'd suggest and I think a trip to Puy du Fou really is perfect for a multi-generational break.

The days are long and we walked a fair bit (17-20k steps per day) but there are plenty of spaces and opportunities to sit down and rest. Pushchairs are fine too - there are buggy parks outside of the main shows. There's also reserved seating for those in wheelchairs/with disabilities. There's lots of info regarding accessibility here. I found our days in Puy du Fou to be pretty relaxed compared with other theme park experiences - everything is well-planned, the grounds are beautiful and as the shows are spaced out throughout the day, you don't suffer with sensory overload.

How to get to Puy du Fou

We flew to Nantes airport from Manchester with Flybe (other airports and airlines are available) and hired a car from the airport. The drive to Puy du Fou from the airport is around one hour long and it's very straightforward. Our SatNav took us through one toll road which was self-explanatory to use (even for first-timers like us) and cost around £5 each way (payable on our card). Puy du Fou is very well signposted from the main roads. If you'd like to drive from the UK without flying, Puy du Fou is around a 6 hour drive from Calais. I'd highly recommend planning a trip as part of a two-centre holiday and combining a visit with something like a Eurocamp holiday as we did.



Where to stay at Puy du Fou

There are lots of places to stay in the area, but I'd highly recommend staying on-site. There are 5-bed options available as standard (hurrah) and accommodation is very affordable from 59 euro per person per night including breakfast and park entry. The accommodation options offer free parking and are just a short walk away from all the action. Everything is themed and in-keeping with the historical nature of the site. We stayed in La Citadelle which is Puy du Fou's newest accommodation. We loved pretending to be Knights in our very own medieval castle. The staff speak English in this hotel, the rooms are air-conditioned, there's free WiFi, a themed tavern and medieval restaurant on-site and the power shower in the mornings and evening was fantastic. Check out our Facebook room tour here. The theming in this hotel didn't feel tacky at all and really added to our stay - we loved it. 

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - La Citadelle hotel entrance

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - La Citadelle Hotel Courtyard

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - La Citadelle Family Room Bed

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - La Citadelle Bedroom

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - La Citadelle Bedroom View

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - La Citadelle Hotel Medieval Restaurant

As well as the on-site hotels, there's a medieval glamping village on-site too. This was next door to our hotel and we dined in their restaurant one evening (it was a BBQ themed restaurant and definitely one of our favourites). I'd definitely consider staying in the glamping village if we were to return - it looked great. You can also take your campervan from 9 euro per night! Bargain. 

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - - Glamping village tents

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - - steak from the glamping site BBQ

Planning your days at Puy du Fou

You need two full days to explore Puy du Fou, it's impossible to see everything in one day. Please don't just book one day as I can guarantee you'll leave feeling disappointed that you didn't see it all. A trip to Puy du Fou does require a certain amount of planning - it's not the kind of place you can just turn up to and wander around. Most of the shows are repeated at various intervals throughout the day at set times and other experiences are available on a drop-in basis. You can pick up a leaflet from 5:30pm the previous day (in your hotel or the park) with the following day's show times or use the app to plan your time. I'm an old-fashioned pen and paper girl and liked to tick shows off as we'd watched them.  Once you've paid for your tickets, all of the shows are included and you can come and go to as many shows as you please

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - - park map

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - - park signposts

Our plan was to book our meals in first, then plan to see 3 of the main shows each day around our meal times. Once we'd picked our main show times, we would then slot in some of the smaller shows and leave some free time for when we were tired and needed a rest too. Between shows, we'd try a walk-through experience, visit the playpark, gardens or one of the villages. Our two days on-site were non-stop but we did manage to experience everything and never felt overly-rushed. You can watch our video highlights from our trip below:



Puy du Fou is open fairly late and some of the shows are repeated or only shown in the evening. We spent the first day in the park from opening until 6pm and then the second day from 12noon until 10:30pm - I'd definitely recommend this plan as the days are full on and tiring and if you see Cinescenie, you'll have a very late night too (we didn't get back to our hotel until 00:45am after this show). 

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - - show queues

Gates open to most of the shows 30 minutes before they begin and the queues are LONG. We never saw anyone turned away but it was busy. If you're not a fan of queuing, I'd recommend investing in an Emotion Pass. These cost 14 euro per person per day and allow you to skip the queues and sit in a reserved seating area. Basically - instead of queuing for 30/40 minutes before each show, you can maximise your time and head to the show 10 minutes before it starts without worrying about queues or if you'll have a seat (available for the main 7 shows only). 

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - - emotion fast track pass

As we were spending long days in the park, we packed a rucksack with bottles of water, our coats, sunscreen, a blanket for the evening show, our mobile power pack, phones and headphones. The advice is to pack light but I do think you need to take these essentials. Definitely make sure you download the Puy du Fou app - it's free and you can connect to park WiFi free of charge. There's an interactive map, route planner, showtimes and more available via the app and there's also real-time English translation to most of the shows. I'd highly recommend packing your headphones and making use of this. You can follow the shows without the translation as the action speaks for itself but I feel the commentary really does add to the experience and deepens your understanding of what's going on. 

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - - puy du fou mobile app

The main shows at Puy du Fou

There are six main daytime shows at Puy du Fou - they last around 30-40 minutes each. Each show is repeated between 2-6 times throughout the day so with careful planning, there is more than enough opportunity to catch everything. For example during our stay, 'Le Secret de le Lance' was performed at 10:45, 12:15, 15:15 and 16:45. Times vary each day - remember to use the free Puy du Fou app or the map you're given on arrival to plan your day. I watched most of these shows without translation as I was too busy taking photos etc... but Steve and the kids liked to listen to the English translation using the free Puy du Fou app and their headphones - translation really helped with the story but I managed to follow along ok without.

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - - vikings show

Le Signe Du Triomphe (Roman Gladiator Show) - 42-minute outdoor show

This was my favourite show. Taking place in a grand Roman theatre, it's one that really gets the adrenaline going. There are actors placed amongst the crowd and they really help to build the atmosphere starting chants, cheers and boos. People were standing up, cheering, waving....the atmosphere was honestly incredible. Expect chariot racing, duels and battles (with dramatic effects), parades and lots of animals including a few surprises.....Check out my short video capturing pieces of the show below:


Les Vikings (Viking Show) - 26-minute outdoor show 

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - - viking longboat

The Viking Show is packed with special effects and dramatic battles as a village falls under attack. It's a fast-paced show featuring wolves, fire, a love-story, Viking invasions and a little magic.  We have a soft-spot for Vikings and all thoroughly enjoyed this show.

Le Bal Des Oiseaux Fantomes (Birds of Prey Show) - 33-minute outdoor show 


Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - - owl in the birds of prey show

This was the show I'd heard most about and it really did not disappoint. Over 200 Birds of Prey flew above our heads in a Birds of Prey show like I've never experienced before. There were Vultures, Falcons, Owls and more and we were able to get so close to the action too. Watching this show really was one of those moments where your breath is taken away and you don't know where to look as there is just so much going on.

Le Secret de la Lance (Medival Knights) - 29-minute outdoor show


Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - Medieval Knights show with horses

This show featured the most elaborate set. Stages moved, popped up, were set on fire and disappeared before our eyes. Expect duals, fantastic riding skills and battles galore in this full-scale production. 

Mousquetaire de Richelieu - 32-minute indoor show

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France -Three Musketeers Show
Credit - Puy du Fou

This show focussed on the three musketeers and involved wonderful horsemanship and choreographed stunts. It had a strong Spanish vibe and the stage filled with water and involved the most incredible flamenco dancing. I absolutely loved this show and thought it was beautiful. Steve and the kids weren't so keen and all of the dancing wasn't for them (they wanted more action) but I left feeling uplifted and like I wanted to book a Spanish dance class asap.

Le Dernier Panache (French Naval Officer) - 34-minute indoor show

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - - French Naval Officer Show
Credit - Puy du Fou

I honestly had no idea what to expect from this show but it was such a grand spectacle! As we took our seats, we noticed a large cinema screen wrapping around the whole room. When the show started, our seats actually moved around the room to show different parts of the screen as the story unfolded and then parts of the screen would open around the room with live action behind it. I've honestly never watched anything like it and it's said to be the only production of its kind in the world. The story is true and follows the tale of a French Naval Officer and a local revolution. We watched this show in the evening after dinner and it really had the vibe of a fancy West-end show but on a much grander scale.

The smaller shows at Puy du Fou

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - Knights of the round table


There are lots of smaller shows at Puy du Fou - whilst not on the same grand-scale as the bigger shows, they're definitely still worth a watch. Most last 10-15 minutes and are great to watch if you're walking by or in the area. Our favourites were The Knights of the Round Table which involved incredible staging and effects plus The Grand Carillion which is a musical show with a difference - funny, clever and interesting. Read more about the smaller shows here.

The walk-through experiences at Puy du Fou

Most of the walk-through shows are open from 12noon until late and you simply drop-in at any time. There were never any queues during our visit in peak season. I really enjoyed these shows but I think it's a real shame that audio-translation is not available for these like it is for the timed shows. We loved the theatrics but often we were spoken to in French and had no clue what was going on. As somebody who speaks very little French, I'd still recommend taking part in these experiences as they really are not to be missed but I'd recommend reading up on the stories behind the experiences a little before you visit to really get the most out of them and to gain a better understanding about what is going on.

Le Renaissance du Chateau (Castle walk-through) - 30-minute walk-through

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - castle walk through
Credit - Puy du Fou

During this show, you get to walk through a real castle and meet the residents who live there. Expect dancing ghosts, Kings and Queens and rooms which are filled with magic. There was a lot of French speaking in this experience and I think it was probably the Puy du Fou experience which impressed us the least. Once you've committed, you have to stick with it as groups of people are ushered into different rooms where you'll meet a new person and hear their story. Worth a walk-through if you like castles though.

L'Odyssee du Puy du Fou (Walk-through various time periods) - 18-minute walk-through

Credit - Puy du Fou


Again, there was a lot of French in this experience but as it was only 18 minutes long, it didn't feel like too much. As you walk through the building you are transported through the ages. Knights will spring to life, rooms will move around you and the finale is simply beautiful. I really enjoyed the theatrics of this experience and would still recommend to non-French speakers.

Le Mystere de la Perouse (Climb aboard a ship) - 20-minute walk-through

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - shio walk through
Credit - Puy du Fou

You definitely do not need to understand a word of French to enjoy this experience. I'd read about the new walk-through ship prior to our visit but just didn't expect it to be on such a grand scale. The experience really does last 20 minutes as you walk through the various rooms aboard. This experience is a real feast for the senses - you'll be able to smell different aspects, feel the temperature change as you pass an iceberg and really feel as if the ship is rocking from side to side through a storm. The whole experience was lots of fun and very realistic. We really enjoyed it but we did notice one lady was really upset as she walked through the storm - it is super realistic so worth keeping in mind if you have any fears around this subject or have sensitive/younger children.

Les Amoureux de Verdun (WWI trench)  - 15-minute walk-through

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - WWI trenches
Credit - Puy fu Fou

This was the most incredible experience and something you don't need to be able to speak French to get something out of it. Steve and the kids just thought this was ok - they complained that it was too sad and sombre for them and not really what they expected from a theme park but for me, it was such a moving experience and I actually ended up shedding a tear as I left. During this experience, you walk through WWI trenches and experience some of the realities yourself - you'll hear bombs drop above your head, watch soldiers fire rifles, see an underground hospital and injuries first-hand, learn how soldiers cooked in the trenches, walk-through smoke-filled tunnels and pass the general making commands. I have never walked through an attraction that has brought history to life as much as this one has. There are actors dressed as soldiers rushing past you as you walk through and you really feel as if you are part of it. My three weren't scared but Heidi did worry that a rat would run past her as it is quite dark and damp. There's also lots of war-noises and it's an underground tunnel so fairly claustrophobic which is something to consider.


Villages, gardens and play areas at Puy du Fou

There are three main villages you can walk through and visit at any time. These are perfect for visiting between shows or if you need something a little less full-on. The villages are home to independent sellers and craftsmen and you can watch as they work, chat with them and buy from them too. There's no big-sell at Puy du Fou and there's only one main shopping area in the whole of the park - the rest is dedicated to local independents which I love! It really adds to the feel of the place and the villages are perfect for a potter. We liked 'Le Village XCIIIème the best as there was a magical clock here, plenty of seating, a farm with animals and lovely shops. Some of the village areas have additional entertainment and mini-shows throughout the day too.

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - farm animals and geese

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - artisan crafts


Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - - village farm pig












Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - medieval streets



There are lots of beautiful gardens, fountains and lakes to walk around or have a seat for quiet contemplation. The grounds are beautiful and very well-kept. There's also a castle play area which has a bar next to it and was our go-to place when we needed a refreshment break.

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - play park


The evening experiences at Puy du Fou

As mentioned earlier, Puy du Fou is open fairly late. On our first evening, we watched Cinescenie which is Puy du Fou's flagship show and super impressive. The show shares a brief history of Europe across a couple of hours. It's what our very own Kynren is based on and is basically a much larger version of Kynren on a grander scale and in French. There are 14,000 people in the audience and it was packed.

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - cinescenie seats

Everyone told me I'd be blown away by Cinescenie and in a way, I was. There is no other production like it on earth and it really is such a grand spectacle. The special effects and staging are phenominal - there are drones, stunts, fireworks.... you won't know where to look next.

Credit - Puy du Fou

But the thing is, Cinescenie is the one part of Puy du Fou that didn't live up to expectations for me. I think a combination of us having spent the day at a waterpark, driving to Puy du Fou and then spending 3 hours in our seat to watch a show that was all in French was just too much for us (they ask you to be in your seat one hour before the show starts). I'd read advice before that said you don't need the show to be translated but I very much think you do - there is a lot of French dialogue to get your head around. We did get the gist of what was going on but it was also fairly sombre and we left feeling depressed rather than uplifted (but I get that the history of Europe will do this to you). I also have SO much love for Kynren and think because it's based in North East England, Kynren will always have my heart and I actually preferred Kynren to Cinescenie. It was also super late night for us - we didn't get back to our hotel until 00:45. You need to pay extra to watch Cinescenie but I would hand on heart only recommend doing this if you remember to take your headphones and translator app and if you have children aged 12+. Otherwise, I'd give it a miss. You will still get so much from your Puy du Fou experience without it. I realise I am in the minority saying this as Cinescenie has won countless awards and praise but it is what it is.

On our last evening, we dined at Le Bistrot inside of the park at around 6:30pm. All children dining here receive a free ride on the carousel outside which was cool. We then watched The Last Panache which is a wonderful indoor theatrical show (see more in the 'main shows' section above) at 8:15pm before heading to the park for a beer for us and a play for the kids before the Fire Organs show at 10pm. This evening show takes part on the Puy du Fou lake and unlike Cinescenie, is included with regular admission. We had our Emotion Passes so managed to get a seat without a problem but it was super busy for those who didn't have a pass and many ended up standing - I'd recommend buying some takeout food and heading down by the lake at least an hour before the show starts for this one (if you don't have a pass).

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - French carousel


I will be honest, I was tired and I *almost* considered not watching this show and heading back to the hotel for an earlier night. I am so, so pleased I didn't though as it was just beautiful. I secretly like it when there's an announcement to say that no photography is allowed (this tended to be the case for the indoor and evening shows only) as it meant I could just relax without worrying about getting a perfect shot. As the sun set, classical music filled the air and we were treated to the most spectacular fountain and lights show. Illuminated people would pop up and dance around the lake when we least expected and it was a show that was enjoyed by all ages. Harry, Heidi and Jack danced along in their seats to the full show. The Swan Lake section was my favourite and the song from Phantom of the Opera received high praise from Steve and the kids. If you visit Puy du Fou, make sure you stay late and watch this show! This show only lasts for 30 minutes so does not feel overly-long and it's not too much of a late night.

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - fountain show

Credit - Puy du Fou

Dining at Puy du Fou 

After visiting Florida last year and now Puy du Fou, I can't help but think how much of a bad deal we get in the UK when it comes to theme park food! They *really* get it at Puy du Fou and dining here really adds to the overall experience. Prices were very reasonable too. As well as a medieval banquet at our hotel and BBQ at the neighbouring glamping village, we dined at a couple of restaurants on-site too. There are loads to choose from or you can make a picnic too. I'd either recommend taking a picnic and eat as you're queuing for a show, picking up some fast food as you're walking around and eating on the go or booking into a restaurant. Booking into a restaurant worked really well for us as it provided us with some shade, a bit of a rest and service was always super quick so we never felt like we were wasting time. There are over 20 restaurants in total - I am only going to share the handful that we visited but it will hopefully give you an idea of what to expect. I'd recommend pre-booking and paying online before your visit to save £ and help to spread the cost.

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - Lemon merengie pie

La Mijoterie du Roy du Henry 

In a beautiful renaissance setting, I loved the concept of this restaurant. Diners are provided with a wooden board (a basket for kids) and can then head to the buffet and pick one starter, one mini casserole and one dessert. The dishes all slot into your board and it was super quick and easy without compromising on food quality. The cost for this restaurant was 15.5 euros per adult and 8.9 euros for children. The children's menu was either pasta, chicken pasta or sausage and mash plus yoghurt, a biscuit and a drink. For the grown-ups there were lots of delicious options (see a full menu here). I went with the fruit salad, duck casserole and chocolate mousse which were all spot on. I can never imagine eating something like this at Alton Towers! You can help yourself to water and fresh bread and order additional drinks at the bar.

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - Roy du Henry restaurant meal


Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - duck casserole at Roy du Henry Restaurant

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - kids meal at Roy du Henry

Le Bistrot 

Le Bistrot was probably our children's favourite restaurant. Priced at 21 Euro per adult and 10.90 Euro per child, this restaurant offered proper table service with a choice from a set menu. The service was again, really good and the children were given a free voucher for a ride on the merry-go-round outside. I ordered a lentil and pesto risotto, confit duck in shallot sauce and a triple-layored chocolate tarte and it was all delicious. The kids could choose either sausage or chicken nuggets and chips which was served with a side salad, complimentary lollipop and a cornetto for dessert. They loved it!

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - kids meal at le bistrot restaurant



Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - free carousel ride ticket


Le Café de la Madelon 

There are also a couple of themed-restaurants with entertainment available too. These would be perfect for super hot (or rainy) days when you need a longer break from the weather or you need some time to relax. Priced at 25 euros per adult and 10.90 euros per child, this was our favourite dining experience and I feel like it offered fantastic value considering we received more-or-less sliver service, were entertained throughout our meal AND this price included a decent amount of wine on our table and after dinner coffee too.

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - - le cafe de madelon wedding setting

This meal lasts for 90 minutes and the setting is absolutely beautiful. You are guests at a wedding and it really feels like you are. The only downside to this is that the kids need to eat the same as the grown-ups and it's all a set menu so it's not ideal for fussy eaters - my three managed bits and bobs and the only thing they weren't keen on was the salmon starter - they just filled up on bread and it worked out well for Steve and I as the food is served per table here so it just meant all the more for us (you can check the menu here).

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - le cafe de madelon salmon starter

The 'wedding' is all in French but it was one of the times where I felt that translation wasn't needed at all. It was very easy to follow the story along and we were entertained by slapstick comedy, singing and dancing. Our waiters surprised us by being part of the show on several occasions too. We've never had a meal like the one we experienced here and it's one of the best memories from our time in France.


Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - le cafe de madelon choux buns




If you're anything like me, you'll like to read everything and anything about the place you're thinking about visiting before committing to making a booking. To make your job easier, I've linked to a few other Puy du Fou posts below:



Well done for making it to the bottom of this post! I really hope I've given you an idea of what it's like visiting Puy du Fou with non-French speaking kids and hope I've maybe inspired you into considering a trip. Let me know if you've been or if you fancy it.


Find out more about visiting Puy du Fou here


Linking this post to @Travellynfamily and @WanderMustFam #FearlessFamilyTravel - see here for details 

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How to plan a trip to Puy du Fou with kids from the UK who don't speak French





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5 comments

  1. This really does look the most amazing place - such a fantastic spectacle.

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  2. This place sounds utterly brilliant. I’m tempted to take a detour on our trip next summer so we can pay it a visit!

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  3. We loved out trip to Puy Du Foy earlier this year. It's a unique theme park which our boys loved. The quality of the shows is quite unbelievable #fearlessfamtrav

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  4. This looks utterly magical! What a fantastic spectacle! I've heard so many amazing things about this place, I'm desperate to go!!

    Thanks for linking up to #fearlessfamtrav

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  5. I’d never heard of this place until recently and it looks amazing - my little would love #fearlessfamtrav

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I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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