The Grassholm Lodge at Bluestone – A Lodge for 8

As you’ll know, we were kindly invited to have a mid-week stay at Bluestone and we stayed in a Grassholm Lodge. This lodge sleeps eight and is very comfortable. All lodges at Bluestone have the look of a log cabin and never fail to impress me. We’ve stayed in a variety of lodges but this was our first time staying in a Grassholm lodge at Bluestone.Grassholm lodge at bluestone

What’s in a Grassholm Lodge at Bluestone?

The Grassholm Lodge has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, an open-plan living room, diner and kitchen. It has everything a large family or group of friends might need for a home-away-from-home stay at Bluestone.

Grassholm lodge at bluestone
Our buggy parked outside our Grassholm Lodge of 24 Knight’s Rest, Bluestone

As you enter the lodge, you enter into a large entrance hall which leads into a small hallway. Off this is a double or twin bedroom (whichever you need) and a large family wet room which has both a bath and shower in it. This short hallway then leads you to the open plan living room, dining room and kitchen. There were two two-seaters and one large three-seater leather sofas, a coffee table and TV unit with TV in the living room area. The dining area had a large wooden table with eight chairs, and a baby’s highchair as we had an infant with us.

Grassholm lodge at bluestone - living room
The living room of the Grassholm Lodge

The open plan kitchen aside the dining area is large, with plenty of space in it. There is everything you need for a comfortable stay in the kitchen from a kettle and toaster, to microwave, dishwasher and full cooking facilities. Included is  cutlery and crockery for eight and enough pots, pans and serving dishes to feed a large family or group of friends. There is also a fridge and freezer for those planning on bringing their own food to eat/cook.

Grassholm lodge at bluestone - kitchen and dining areas
The dining area and kitchen of the Grassholm Lodge

Upstairs there are three additional large bedrooms, one double with an ensuite bathroom and two bedrooms which can either be twin or double bedrooms. There is also a family bathroom with bath and shower upstairs.

Grassholm lodge at bluestone - bedrooms
The four bedrooms of the Grassholm Lodge
Grassholm lodge at bluestone - bathrooms
The bathrooms of the Grassholm Lodge

Outside there is a patio area with picnic benches for times you might want to enjoy the fresh, Pembrokeshire air.

Grassholm lodge at bluestone - outside space
The outside of a Grassholm Lodge at Bluestone

My thoughts on the Grassholm Lodge at Bluestone

This lodge is quite similar in layout to the St. David’s Lodge, which we’ve stayed in once before, minus the playroom. It is large and extremely comfortable. It has everything you need for a comfortable stay. To be perfectly honest, we didn’t miss the playroom as the living room is big enough for two boys to build a train track across. In the living room, the sofas are comfortable and the TV was used once to entertain the boys while us mums visited the spa.

Entertaining and eating-wise, the dining table has eight chairs and has plenty of room for eating at. The kitchen is well equipped and has everything you need for cooking and feeding a large group.

In the bedrooms, there is ample room with chest of drawers and wardrobes for clothes, and all had plenty of room for a travel cot. The beds are comfortable. Two single beds pushed together make a large double bed. I did this in the room BattleKid and I were sharing and we had loads of room to sleep on. That didn’t stop a stray arm or leg making its way across the divide though.

The bathrooms were large too and never felt cramped. My only gripe with the bathrooms is the wet room. I used the shower in it once and despite the underfloor heating being on, it was still soaked hours after I had finished my shower. This wasn’t ideal as the floor remained slippery. With two young boys, one of whom is newly toilet trained, this bathroom, located on the ground floor, is the easiest to access with two toddlers. Needless to say, it was the only shower taken in that bathroom. I contacted Bluestone about this and they have reassured me it is something they are aware of and will be addressing in such lodges before the end of the year.

Also, on our last morning we ran out of hot water. We did stagger our showers during our stay but on the last day, all four adults wanted a shower before travelling home, particularly BattleDad and I as we were travelling by car and plane.

However, after one member of our party had a very long shower, there was no hot water left for the rest of us. BattleDad had a lukewarm shower, while myself and another member of the party had to have cold showers. I mentioned this to Bluestone and they have let me know that the immersion heater holds 200 litres of hot water and if it runs out, it shouldn’t take longer than one hour to regain a hot temperature. I didn’t realise 200 litres of water could be used in 40 minutes, but you learn something new every day. So just be aware that if there are many adults wanting showers one after the other, you need to have quick showers.

One thing we spotted that wasn’t in any of the lodges previously, was a new eco-thermostat for the heating. This clever technology keeps the lodge at your desired temperature, meaning you don’t need to adjust the setting on any of the radiators. You can turn them off if you desire, but it is recommended you don’t. It also detects when there is no one in the lodge and turns the heating off in order to conserve energy. How clever is that!

The Grassholm lodge at Bluestone is the perfect place for a large family or group of friends to enjoy a stay in this brilliant resort. While it has enough beds for up to eight people, there is room in each of the rooms to hold a travel cot. So, if a large group of friends with babies wanted to share a lodge, the Grassholm has enough room for eight adults and four babies! It is large, comfortable and has everything you need. We had plenty of towels for everyone and didn’t want for anything. Well, apart from more blue skies but you can’t do anything about the weather.Grassholm lodge at bluestone

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the Grassholm Lodge and will definitely look into booking it for future breaks at Bluestone with friends or family. Unfortunately it was late when we arrived, so all my pictures are from that evening before our full party descended on the lodge. If you’d like to see inside in greater detail, hit play on the video below!

Have you stayed at Bluestone before? If so, what lodge style was your accommodation?

Cath x

*We received a complimentary mid-week stay in a Grassholm Lodge at Bluestone in return for this review. However, as always, these are my own honest opinions and thoughts about the lodge.

Grassholm lodge at bluestone

Grassholm lodge at bluestone

Christmas at Home or Abroad, What’s Your Take?

Yes, I know it’s only October but did you realise there are just 10 weeks until C-day. That is Christmas Day! It got me thinking about whether it is better to spend Christmas at home or abroad. We went away for Christmas last year but I wondered whether other families go away. Is it a regular occurrence or do they prefer to stay at home?

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Last December we flew to Tenerife for Christmas with BattleKid. We had wanted another holiday before the year was out and thought it might be nice to get away for Christmas and escape the cold, wet winter of Wales and spend it in the sun. We also thought it might be the last time we could get away with it before BattleKid started realising just who Father Christmas is and whether he could still find us if we were away from home on Christmas Eve. However, although we enjoyed ourselves and it was nice to not have to worry about cooking a big meal or cleaning up afterwards, I didn’t feel quite right about it.

We had our own Christmas on New Year’s Day when we got back, with Father Christmas making one last special delivery on New Year’s Eve to deliver BattleKid’s main presents, and I cooked Christmas dinner the next day, trimmings and all. It was lovely but it just didn’t sit right with me, if you know what I mean.

This year everything is different. We will be spending Christmas here in Portugal with my parents and my nephew who is flying over on the 21st for 10 days. It will be warmer than the UK or Ireland and between my Dad and I, we’ll figure Christmas dinner out. BattleDad’s aunt at least knows a butcher who can sort us out with a turkey. Our huge 7-foot Christmas tree is in storage so we might have to buy ourselves a slightly smaller one, but I’ve mountains of decorations I can fish out. And Father Christmas has already had BattleKid’s present list.

And while we will be sort of spending Christmas in the sun, Portugal is now home and we will be with family. But I still wondered what other families prefer so I asked the blogging community what their take is on Christmas at home or abroad. Have they gone away, do they plan to go away, would they if they could? Or do they prefer to spend it at home? Here’s what they had to say.

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Pete from Household Money Saving and his family usually spend Christmas at home. This means

We can do everything at our own pace. We once spent Christmas at our in-laws but didn’t really enjoy it. I constantly offered to help but always felt like I was in the way.

Being in his in-laws house meant their kids couldn’t get all their toys out for fear of making too much mess and Pete never felt like he could do what he wanted as it wasn’t his house. For him, he would choose Christmas at home every time.

Laura from Mumoam much prefers Christmas at home too. They have tried going to other peoples but

With a child in a wheelchair it is really stressful and awkward.

She much prefers hosting at her home as she also gets to choose what they eat.

Alina from We Made This Life never goes away for Christmas, not even to the in-laws. Her parents split when she was younger and she had to visit her Dad every Christmas Day (despite only seeing him that one day a year), and she hated having to go and leave all her new toys at home. For that reason, she will never go away for Christmas. In her words

I just need to be at home.

Alana from Baby Holiday says growing up she always had Christmas dinner at her gran’s house, having visited her other gran in the morning before dinner. So she wasn’t exactly away but still wasn’t at home for most of the day. Last year they took their boys to her gran’s house, her in-laws and her brother house and she felt it was far too much for one day. This year they will most likely stay at home

Although I’d love to go away somewhere and escape!

Kerry from Kerry Louise Norris is spending this Christmas in Australia with her family who emigrated there. She hasn’t spent Christmas away before although she is not worried about it as they’ll be  with family, so it should be special.

I know the food we will eat etc will be different to what we’re used to. We’ll just have to make it as magical as possible for the girls.

Jess from Mrs. Helicopter Writes once had Christmas in Athens aged 19 with her then boyfriend.

It was bonkers and brilliant. They get up late and stay up late…. I was still awake at 6am on Christmas morning so I opened my stocking (my mum had still packed for me) then slept until 2pm.

They then did family visits, tree presents and eventually more family arrived, everyone eating Christmas dinner at midnight! She loved every minute of it and would love to give her kids a foreign Christmas experience. She also once spent Christmas in Oz but said it was rubbish as it was cloudy and grey, so no Barbie on the beach.

Christmas at home or abroad
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Laura from The Mamma Fairy and her family rotate Christmas between her husband’s home place and their current home in her home town. Even though they have their own place at her husband’s home place, she still misses being at home.

I doubt we would ever go away for Christmas as we both love spending it with our families more since the kids came along.

Christy from Welsh Mum has a very small family so wouldn’t mind a Christmas holiday.

Not having any cooking or cleaning to do has a big appeal!

That said, she does love the familiarity and comfort of home as well, but if she is at home she spends a lot of the day cooking and cleaning up which isn’t the most relaxing. It comes down to cost most of the time. She would do Christmas away more often if it didn’t have the premium price tags associated with it. (I completely understand that.)

Michelle from The Purple Pumpkin Blog spent Christmas 2015 in Disneyland Paris and said it was so much fun, although weird to wake up on Christmas morning without all the decorations and opening of presents. That said they did get to spend Christmas Day with Mickey Mouse! Her sister and family also went and they all agreed it was a great Christmas. This year they are off to Walt Disney World as her son is older. She loves not having to worry about cooking a huge turkey and having tons of leftovers.

Alex of Better Together Home and her family are pretty much forced to split Christmas at either her mother-in-laws or her Dads. They started doing alternate venues years ago and it’s stuck. They have decided that they will be spending Christmas 2018 in Sweden, just the three of us as she is tired of always doing Christmas to suit everyone else!

Azaria from Being Mrs Lynch spent last Christmas and New Year in a cottage and she would do it every year if they could afford it. They had company in the form of her husband’s parents, brother and wife, along with their two-year-old and dogs, and says it was amazing to spend time together. They live 500 miles apart so don’t see them very often.

Jade of Mummies Waiting has spent Christmas at Walt Disney World and said it was awesome. Last year was their first Christmas in their own house and says

From now on we’ll go away before Christmas and stay at home on Christmas Day, it’s so much nicer.

Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes has had many different Christmases in various locations around the world including Australia (at 11, weird and not Christmas but fun), South Africa (at 18, fun but still not the same) as well as the Middle East and Bali. This year they are joining her mu in Jordan, where her brother and his wife will join them for New Year.

We’ve had so many different Christmases now I don’t know what is normal now. We are trying to create little traditions that we can have no matter where we are or who we are with. For me, Christmas has become more about the people than the place.

Hayley from I am River spent last Christmas in Dubai and it was amazing. This year they are off to Thailand!

Nellie from Nellie Pompoms had a Christmas in Australia with their eldest 2 and says it was bonkers seeing Father Christmas in the heat. They spent Christmas Eve in a hot tub before spending Christmas Day with family and their air con!

After lunch we went to the beach, then had drinks on the veranda, watching the kangaroos. It made a nice change to be away and the girls had a different experience.

Emma from The Money Whisperer always went away at Christmas as a child as her Dad owned his own business and it shut for Christmas. They went to Disney World twice and the Canaries a few times. As an adult she lived in Australia for 6 years so Christmas on the beach was a novelty but she missed ‘proper’ Christmas.

Now I have kids, I personally love being at home where the magic is for Christmas time. They are only young once.

Helena from The Queen of Collage has spent Christmas in America before but says

Being at home for Christmas is where my heart is.

Emma from Me and B Make Tea says they alternate between her husbands parents and her own. Christmas day they are at one, and the other on Boxing Day, alternatinf every year. It was fine when it was just the two of them but she says it’s a right pain now with their son.

It’s never relaxing, there’s so much pressure to please everyone.

She is sick of it and would much prefer to stay at home or jet off on holiday and stuff everyone else!

Christmas at home or abroad
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Ally from the SML Diet Blog usually hosts Christmas and her husband’s family go to theirs. While it is hard work, she enjoys being the hostess with lots of people around. Last year they spent Christmas with her sister-in-law and this year they are going to her husbands parents. While she is excited it won’t be the same.

For me, I have rituals around Christmas. So, 23 Dec is about cleaning the house ready for Christmas. Christmas Eve is about relaxing and not moving from the sofa (movie day) and then there’s the Christmas Day celebrations and it’s not quite the same without my rituals.

Star from Autism Kids on Tour spends every year at a log cabin at Forest Holdiays. The cabin is decked out with a real tree, natural decoration making kits and a Christmas hamper. There’s a hot tub, heated floors and full kitchen where she can cook the Christmas dinner with the ingredients and turkey she gets delivered to the cabin from a local farm.

It is so relaxing and we love our Christmas in the forest!

And solves the problem of who to visit at Christmas.

Carol from Family Makes went skiing over Christmas a few years ago and they are planning on doing it again this year. It guarantees a white Christmas and solves their issue of where to go for Christmas family-wise.

We would struggle to afford Christmas and a ski holiday, especially being tied to school holidays, so combining both is ideal for us and a huge treat for our kids too.

Donna of The Sleep Thiefs Mummy used to spend every Christmas alternating between her parents and the in-laws. Now they stay at home and have them visit them.

We’re the only ones in the family with young children – I spent the Christmases of my youth at home and want the same for my children.

Lynette of The Reclusive Fox used to visit her granddad as a child and it never felt like an upheaval. As an adult she always spent it at home, ideally with just the people that lived under the same roof, saving visits for other days.

I would love to spend Christmas in a hotel with our little family, but I do think some of the magic would be removed, there’s no place like home. But it would be nice to remove some of that Christmas stress that comes with expectation.

It’s amazing to see the different views on whether to spent Christmas at home or abroad. Some people go away to spend time with family, while others do it for less stress and hassle. But it’s also interesting to see so many people preferring to spend Christmas at home with family.

christmas at home or abroad?

Portugal is now home and for the first time in a long time we actually have family close by to spend it with. Before, we would have to go back to Ireland or invite people over to spend Christmas with family, but now it’s different. It will be strange to be in warmer temperatures than Ireland or the UK and I do hope we have sunshine. We rarely ever got a white Christmas in Wales, but I guess if we ever want one we can go abroad for Christmas when BattleKid is older. This year he will be almost four and I think it’s going to be a magical Christmas either way!

Are you spending Christmas at home or away this year?

Cath x

christmas at home or abroad? christmas at home or abroad?

 

 

Family Day in London – Our 36 Hours

I might have mentioned it before, but when we booked our USA road trip last October, we were well and truly still living in Wales. Fast forward eight months and we had moved to Portugal. This meant a hasty booking of flights back to the UK in order to meet up with our Portland flight. It did mean, however, we got to have a family day in London. We left Faro on the Thursday before our USA trip at 8pm and landed 2 hours and 20 minutes later into Heathrow.

family day in london

We could have flown to another airport much cheaper, but it would have meant an airport change on our return trip from the States two weeks later and I really didn’t fancy that with a three-year-old in tow. So, we flew with British Airways and had a relatively easy flight back to the UK. We cleared customs and had our bags within half an hour and were soon getting a taxi across the road to the Park Inn by Radisson next to Terminal 3. This was to be our home for the next two nights. Although we were in late, we were all tucked up in bed by midnight, ready for a fun family day in London.

We were up and dressed by 8.30am on the Friday and as we hadn’t added breakfast to our hotel booking, we got an Uber into Southbank to visit Le Pain Quotidien on Southbank. I had had brunch there with my sisters during my weekend away with them in June and BattleDad was up for trying it out.

We had an amazing breakfast, with BattleKid enjoying scrambled eggs and bacon, while I had a smoked chorizo frittata and BattleDad munching down baked eggs with scrambled egg. Suitably fuelled we walked through the Jubilee Gardens towards the London Eye. There was a brief stop for someone little to chase the birds!

I had booked Fast Track Anytime tickets for the London Eye so once BattleKid had chased all the birds away, we joined the short queue and on we went into one of the pods. While those tickets are expensive, they are worth it to arrive any time you like and skips the long queues which are always at the Eye! I had visited the London Eye during that aforementioned weekend but this was both BattleDad and BattleKid’s first time, so I knew I wanted us to do it on our family day in London. Both enjoyed it, although a certain someone enjoyed the information tablets within the pods more than the views.family day in london - BattleKid standing in front of the London Eye family day in london - BattleKid looking out of our london eye pod

From the London Eye, we walked the very short distance to SeaLife, the next stop on our family day in London. I had seen a few blog posts about it and with BattleKid having enjoyed the Blue Planet Aquarium in Chester and the smaller aquariums in Chester and Bristol Zoo, we knew he should enjoy SeaLife. Again, I bought Fast Track Anytime tickets so we breezed through, only going to the cashier desk to pick up BattleKid’s Ranger Pack.

Well, I have to say I was very impressed by SeaLife. I had wondered what an aquarium on the bank of the River Thames would be like but it was really good. BattleKid loved it, running from tank to tank searching for Nemo and Dory, as you do when you are 3. I especially loved the Easter Islands heads in the large tank.family day in london - the wonderful Easter Island statues in one of the aquariums in SeaLife family day in london - BattleKid searching for Nemo and Dory in SeaLife

After a brief stop on Southbank to watch some street performers, we crossed the Golden Jubilee Bridges to get a tube from Embankment to the Tower of London, the last attraction on our family day in London. Why were we headed there? To do a spot of dragon hunting of course! And this tube trip was BattleKid’s first ever ride on a London Underground. He wasn’t too sure of the noise they made coming into stations but once he was on he was fine. Watching him enjoying the short trip reminded me of our rides on the New York Subway last year.

family day in london - BattleKid covering his ears to reduce the noise of the underground trains approaching
Closing his ears as a train approaches for his first ride on a London Underground tube!

I had prebooked tickets for the Tower of London to save some time and after a short bag search we entered the ‘castle’ to start our dragon hunt. After the excitement of the morning, we were getting peckish so we had a cuppa with cake at the Raven Café before resuming our dragon hunt. We eventually found him within the White Tower.family day in london - The Tower of London family day in london - BattleKid in front of the White Tower in the Tower of London

We left the Tower of London via Tower Bridge and got a tube back to Paddington. Someone fell asleep in BattleDad’s arms along the way, tired from all his adventures during our family day in London. When we arrived at Paddington I stocked up on some last-minute essentials in Boots before buying BattleKid a Paddington Bear in the Station. It had to be done.family day in london

We got a black cab back to our hotel rather than trying to get the Heathrow Express. The driver introduced us to Gett, the new black cab app that works like Uber and he managed to get us some money off our trip, which was really nice of him. We tipped him well. After over an hour’s sleep, BattleKid woke refreshed and we had dinner in the hotel restaurant at 7pm. We had to leave feedback with the waiter for the kitchen staff as BattleKid’s dinner came out so hot it could have rivalled lava. Thankfully we stopped him trying to eat it while it was too hot.

After dinner BattleKid had a bath, which is a treat as we don’t have one in our Portuguese home, only a shower. I was knackered so I fell asleep by 10pm, while the boys were awake for a bit longer. We had an amazing family day in London and it was the perfect way to get us ready for our USA road trip!

Cath x

family day in london family day in london

Researching Our Next Road Trip in Europe

Having had an awesome two-week USA road trip, we are now thinking ahead to next year’s holidays. We have Lapland pencilled in for December but we cannot wait until then to spread our wings and fly off somewhere else. One thing we have decided is we want a destination that involves just one flight direct from Faro. Having done Faro to London to Portland and the return trip, we would like an easier ride of it next year.

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One destination that has jumped out is Germany. There are direct flights from Faro to many cities in Germany including Munich, Berlin and Stuttgart. Neither BattleDad nor I have ever visited Germany before, and since I read another bloggers post about the many castles in Germany, it has been on our radar. Imagine dragon hunting in a fairytale castle in Germany.

Because we enjoyed our road trip so much, we thought we could make Europe our destination for our next road trip. We could fly into Germany to either Munich or Stuttgart and do a round trip taking in parts of Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and most importantly, the Black Forest. That area of Germany is somewhere BattleDad has wanted to visit for a long time and I’ve heard many good things about the area.

Initial research tells me there is plenty to do with a 4-year-old in tow, the age BattleKid will be if we go next year. I’ve also read that spring or autumn are good times to visit as it is less busy. I am thinking early to mid-May might be an ideal time to do our next road trip and would break up the year in terms of holidays while we eagerly await our visit to Father Christmas next December.

I’ve even gone so far as to investigate hire car prices and they are not crazy for a two-week trip. But the one question I do have is whether we stick to AirBnB or try something new. Although we use AirBnB quite frequently, the last place we booked on our USA road trip was in the most horrendous looking area. Although the property itself was lovely, we didn’t feel safe and so ended up booking into a hotel. It’s the first time that’s ever happened to us.

So, the question remains, what do we do about accommodation? Someone recently mentioned Clickstay to me and I must admit that although I’d heard of it, I’ve never considered it more closely. Clickstay seems to be similar to AirBnB but definitely more geared towards holiday villas and apartments. Another option would be hotels, but then we like having at least one separate bedroom so that we can enjoy an evening watching some Netflix after BattleKid goes to bed. We’ve done hotel rooms with him before on holiday and it’s not much fun sitting in the dark until he’s asleep. We could stick with AirBnB and hope we don’t get a repeat performance. But our last experience has left a sour taste in my mouth.

Although the listings are not yet available for May, I have found some lovely holiday apartments for rent in both Austria and Switzerland via Clickstay, which would form part of our Europe road trip. Imagine looking out at this view from this apartment in Fischbach in the Austrian Alps.

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We had a similar view when we stayed in a holiday apartment in Slovenia and you never tire of it. Or we could be lucky and find one with a pool.

I think we have quite a bit of planning to do if our next road trip is going to take place in Europe as one of our holidays next year, but I now know I have several options available to me where accommodation is concerned.

Cath x

*Collaborative post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portland to Yellowstone and Back Again – A Two-week Itinerary

Many of you who read the blog and follow us on Instagram will know we have just returned from an epic two-week USA road trip in which we went from Portland to Yellowstone and back again. It was 11 months in the planning, from Portland to Yellowstone, and came around rather quickly after we moved to Portugal. Before we knew it, we were getting ready to go.

I have so much to write up about our trip. From amazingly beautiful Yellowstone, to smoky Montana, to hip and trendy Portland, we packed in a lot over our two weeks. I’ve had some people ask me about our itinerary so I thought I should get cracking with it. So, in the first of a few (ok, maybe many) posts about our wonderful trip, here is what our itinerary for our two-week trip looks like from Portland to Yellowstone and back again, with 36 hours in London.

portland to yellowstone

Portugal to London – Thursday, 1000 miles, 2 hours 30 minutes

When we booked our flights to Portland from Heathrow last October, we were still well and truly living in Wales. Delta Airways had just opened their new (and the only) direct route from Heathrow to Portland, in association with Virgin Atlantic. This made a huge difference to how our trip was going to work out. When we had previously looked into the trip, we would have had at least one, if not two stop-overs. With a toddler in tow, this would not have been ideal. But a direct flight most definitely was.

That said, once we moved to Portugal, we needed to book flights to and from the UK to connect with our Portland flight. The only airline flying to Heathrow from Faro around the weekend of our trip was British Airways. We flew to Heathrow on the Thursday evening (there were no other flights before our Portland one), two days before our flight to Portland. This flight was just under two and a half hours. Following this, we had 36 hours in London and we had a great day in London. More on that to come.

portland to yellowstone - kid on luggage in airport
Starting our epic trip

London to Portland – Saturday, 4897 miles, 10 hours

Our flight from Heathrow to Portland with Delta Airways left London at 12.30pm and was scheduled to be 10 hours 55 minutes, arriving at 3.15pm local time. We actually arrived ahead of schedule at 2.30pm. This is the longest flight we have done with our son to date and it was us adults who were getting bored long before he was.

Portland, Oregon to Richland, Washington – Saturday, 227 miles, 3 hours

Our first destination on our road trip was going to be Yellowstone but to drive there in one trip would have involved between 762 and 829 miles, and a minimum of 12 to 13 hours driving, without stops, depending on the route we decided to take. You can either go over the top of the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest or around the bottom of the Sawtooth National Forest. We had a look on Google Maps and saw nice roads around the Nez Perce route, so opted for that.

But with our son in tow, we decided to break up the driving by stopping at a town called Richland, in Washington state, for an overnight stay before driving the rest of the way to Island Park close to Yellowstone. So, after picking up our Hertz car for the two-weeks, hubby drove us to Richland via I-84 and the very beautiful Columbia Gorge Creek.

Richland, Washington to Island Park, Idaho – Sunday, 607 miles, 12 hours

From Richland we made our way to our AirBnB accommodation in Island Park, Idaho, located 30 minutes from the West Yellowstone entrance. We had looked into staying within Yellowstone itself but this proved to be outside our budget.

Leaving our hotel at 6am, our route took us along some stunning scenery past Coeur D’Alene, along I-90, until we turned off onto US-287. From there we met up with I-20, just south of West Yellowstone and it was a short hop to Island Park where our log cabin was located. This was a long haul and we stopped four times along the way, twice to fill up with gas (as the Americans would say), once to stretch our legs, and once in Missoula for lunch. It took us a total of 12 hours to drive the 607 miles. Our drive from Santander to Tavira, when we moved to Portugal, was good practice for this trip.

Yellowstone – Sunday evening to Friday morning

We spent 5 nights in our AirBnB wood cabin and toured Yellowstone National Park over four days. Although we didn’t get to see absolutely everything, we came away from our visit thoroughly content with what we did see. Our son did not complain once during the trip, as you have a lot of driving around the park to do. We got to see some stunning natural wonders along with quite a few of the animal inhabitants of Yellowstone. I cannot recommend Yellowstone National Park enough.

my sunday photo - gibbon falls in yellowstone national park
Gibbon Falls, Yellowstone National Park

Island Park, Idaho to Lolo, Montana – Friday, 280 miles, 4 hours 30 minutes

Leaving our AirBnB accommodation in Island Park at 9.30am, we took I-20 to US-287. We stopped once to fill up and use the toilet and, taking I-90, we arrived at Missoula, Montana, the main town beside Lolo at 2pm. Since we arrived early and before our check-in time for our next AirBnb, we stopped for lunch at a great Five Guys in Missoula.

This drive back was not as clear as the drive towards Island Park. We later discovered that a lot of Montana’s forests were on fire and the smoke we drove through was pretty awful, reducing visibility quite a bit.

Lolo and Missoula, Montana – Friday evening to Monday morning

We spent 3 nights in Lolo, the next town over from Missoula. Our plans were to visit Lolo National Forest while we were there but unfortunately those plans went by the wayside as there were wild fires across Lolo National Forest, along with many of the other forests in Montana. So, instead, we discovered some other delights close to Lolo like the National Bison Range, the Garden of 1000 Buddhas, and Missoula town itself.

portland to yellowstone - smoky skies in Montana
The incredible smoky skies in Montana

Lolo, Montana to Richland, Washington – Monday, 350 miles, 6 hours

As we made our way back towards Portland, we had another overnight stay in Richland planned. Leaving our AirBnB accommodation in Lolo by 9.30am, we travelled back along I-90, through 350 miles of smoke haze, which had various degrees of visbility, until we arrived in Richland at 4pm, local time. We had crossed a time zone when we left Montana.

We filled up just once on this trip and stopped once for lunch in a town called Spokane. I drove the first 230 miles, while hubby did the last 120 miles. We passed Coeur D’Alene again but could barely see this beautiful lake due to the smoke haze.

Richland, Washington to Portland, Oregon – Tuesday, 227 miles, 5 hours 30 minutes

We left our hotel in Richland at 9.30am but didn’t arrive at our accommodation in Portland until 3pm. The reason for this was the forest around Multnomah Falls and along the Columbia Gorge Creek had gone up in flames on the Sunday, and as a result, I-84 was closed. This meant we were diverted around Mount Hood, adding a couple of hours onto our journey.

Our intent was to visit Multnomah Falls on our way to Portland as I really wanted to photograph it, but that never happened. We filled up once on this trip and stopped for lunch off Highway 35 for lunch. Our final long leg of driving had come to an end.

Portland, Oregon – Tuesday afternoon to Saturday afternoon

We spent four nights in Portland and thoroughly enjoyed our break from driving. We visited a few places where our son could relax and enjoy himself like Oregon Zoo and the Children’s Museum. It was nice to have a chance to relax after an epic 11 days, 3000 miles and 60+ hours in the car. We did a little shopping, ate good food and got ourselves ready for our return trip to Portugal via London.

portland to yellowstone - trendy Portland building right out of Grimm
Hip and trendy Portland

Portland, Oregon to London Heathrow – Saturday, 4914 miles, 8 hours 42 minutes

As always, on the return trip from America, we had a good tailwind, so our original flight time of 9 hours 55 minutes was a lot quicker and we got to Heathrow ahead of schedule. I managed a few hours’ sleep, along with our son, but hubby never manages more than a few minutes on planes. It was a pretty uneventful flight.

London to Portugal – Sunday, 1000 miles, 2 hours 15 minutes

We had a few hours to kill in Heathrow between flights, so once we got rid of our bags we had lunch and did a little shopping before our flight to Faro was called. Unfortunately, we were delayed by almost 2 hours as they couldn’t get a passenger with a broken leg off the aircraft. Not what we wanted at the end of our holiday, all we wanted was to get home to our beds.

portland to yellowstone

So, there you have it, our full itinerary for our recent USA road trip from Portugal to London, to Portland to Yellowstone, and back again. We covered a lot of miles, both in the car and by plane, and we’d do it all again. That said, if we were to do it all again, the only thing we would change would be the time of year we go.

Due to wild fires in many of the forests in the Pacific North West, we didn’t get to visit Lolo National Park or Multnomah Falls. We also drove through 600 miles of smoke haze from Montana all the way to Portland and had it until our very last day in Portland itself. We’d perhaps choose to go earlier in the summer before it gets hot, and dry, enough for wild fires. Other than that, we wouldn’t change a thing.

Have you done an epic road trip similar to this? I’d love to hear all about it!

Cath x

portland to yellowstone portland to yellowstone