Gdansk. #review

"Poland, on holiday?

...with kids?!" 

Has been the general consensus when we told told people our plans. BARE with me though and let me tell you how and why it was so good we would totally recommend it.

So we are lucky enough to already have our big holiday in the Summer booked therefore this half term we weren’t going away. However, after Easter where we spent a fortune just staying at home doing day trips to the cinema, the Zoo, even a few hours to the park (supposedly 'free') with picnic bits and ice cream it's still £20... parents you know the craic. We fast discovered it might actually be cheaper to go away and started looking for a mini break to keep the sprogs busy. However, after looking into a cottage in the UK for a few days it wasn't actually coming out that cost effective. I mean don't even mention Centre Parc prices...why and how is it cheaper to go abroad?! Anyway it was back to the drawing board for us. 

Earlier in the year me and boyfriend went for a delightful adults weekend away to Wroclaw for his birthday. It was the first time for both of us to visit Poland and I can’t explain it but we just totally fell in love with the place. We've been on a few breaks to main cities and whilst lovely, they were crowded, touristy and very expensive. This felt like a breath of fresh air. I love the idea of doing more cultural or city holidays now the kids are older anyway. So we thought why not take them to a different part of Poland?

A little bit of investigation and for the price we would have paid for a Cottage rental and Petrol...I really mean service stations where I actually coughed the last time I bought a cuppa there, anyway it was the same for flights and our Apartment in Poland. We looked at a few places but Gdansk looked the best for kids with a Pirate ship and beach. The big sell for us though was it is SO much cheaper when there unlike the Lake District etc. I will do a few price comparisons in a bit and you wont believe your very eyes.

- We got the cheapest from Leeds Bradford - there were also flights from Newcastle but these were better for our dates. TIP - We used the meet and greet parking for the first time and couldn't fault it. Really easy and no hassle plus cheaper than the car park.

- We decided to book an apartment vs a hotel so we could have a bit of space and the adults could chill with a drink once the kids were in bed. Our choice was Dom & House and while it was good for us, the kids loved it, we personally wouldn't recommend or return. I mean a slide in the middle of the living room, it's like a space ship right? No. It also was a death trap and constant source of terror. The apartment was also much more dated on closer inspection and the worst thing for us on arrival at 10:30pm apart from having to pay £20 extra for late check in?! There wasn't a scrap of toilet paper in the place or a shop open - Luckily I had put packs of tissues in all the hand luggage or that would have been a nightmare. The other really disappointing thing and part of us booking was the pool however after tootling down 5 floors one morning (more like a marathon with 4 kids) we were told it it was only open 10-2! We could see no one in there and the kids wobbling lips didn't budge the very rude guard. We managed a few swims but not everyday like they had hoped. Rant over but we would book elsewhere in future. 

Is in the far north of Poland and once again we really loved it. It is definitely more busy than Wroclaw, but still not a tourist trap. Unlike a lot of other main cities you feel really safe too.

We were in the old town and all just enjoyed pottering around, in fact in the 5 days we were there we racked up 50 miles WITH 4 kids in tow. The buildings are pretty, there is a lovely water front with a mini "London eye", a huge Pirate Ship that sails up and down. -You can get off at the neighbouring town Westerplatte and catch it back later or just go up and down the river which takes 90 mins. There is also a lot of history, particularly on the World War's if you're interested in that era. Tonnes of walking tours to choose from too.

The weather was a bit rainy while there so we went on an explore, the three main things we did outside of Gdansk were: 

Hevelianum It's a really cool children's science museum, we thought it would kill an hour, but it really was top notch and we all enjoyed doing all the many experiments so stayed there a lot longer. I would genuinely visit this at home. 

The Gdasnk Zoo has some work to do on it's safety measures, with only little ropes between you and some of the animals but it has a great selection from Elephants, Hippos, Tigers and even a Dinosaur exhibit! I always feel a bit weird about Zoo's but can honestly say all the animals here had good facilities and seemed content. We had a great few hours walking about, and for £16 for 6 of us a total bargain. 

Beach -  A 15 min train journey (or Uber) out to the seaside town of Sopot is a must. Firstly the trains are immaculate, and for 6 people £3. The town and beach is really lovely with white white sand. There is  also a lot of amber in the sand which the kids loved to find and randomly loads of Swans just walking about. We really enjoyed it, and getting a huge ice cream of course.  

We were self catering, but had no trouble in finding tonnes of places to eat on the square, river front, and side streets. As you will see in the Wroclaw blog, the Polish food is delicious so we wasted no time in getting the kids to try Pierogis, and stew in bread bowls. A few recommendation's. 

Mojito -  This is on the main square, and being right around the corner from us, it was an ideal stop to start the day with starving kiddos. We normally like to try different places, but the breakfast was so good that we ate here four times. Who knew salad with a breakfast could be so good? Fried with fresh...it just works.

Brovarnia Gdansk - This is a stunning place on the river front. We only stubbled across it on the way back starving after miles of walking. When we sat down for an early supper it was quiet, but after an hour the place was rammed and clearly very popular. In fact this seems to be the place to go for any visiting celebrity with photos of Messi, Shakira, and many more adorning the walls. Still reasonably priced though, and perfect to try Polish food. 

Soprano Lody - If you have seen our picture's of these huge ice creams, this is a polish thing, and people are literally walking about eating them from the crack of dawn, as well as the amazing waffles called 'Gofry'. Even Oscar age 7 commented "That man is eating an ice cream... and its breakfast time!" You can get them everywhere, but after trying many....for research obviously, this is the spot. There are two on the main strip and the Vanilla/Choc mix tastes like Kinder. 

Price Comparisons:
So, as promised here are a few which are just silly compared to the UK, and especially with kids or in a party of six like us, you really notice the difference in your pocket. 

Ice Creams -  a round of "99's" the day we came home for 6 cost us £16, in Gdansk for those huge ice creams it's £4. 

Zoo - At Easter we all went to Chester Zoo and had a great day, but didn't get change out of £130. The Gdansk Zoo was £16 for all of us! It truly was on par with Chester and a similar size as well.

Uber - For a 25 minute taxi from the airport, it was £6.

Museum - For Northerners, I took the kids to 'Eureka' and for 5 it was £80. The Helvelianum was more modern and MUCH better - for a family ticket it was £9.35!

Food - Even meals out, the bill with a few wines added was like there were just 2 of us not 6. Bottled water too, as you walk about on the stands they are 20p, not £1.50. 

We really enjoyed our break away, certainly something different. The kids got lots of fresh air, tried some new food, and even learnt a bit of Polish...what more could you ask for. 

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