WET’S GO SURFING!
IN a super-fast lift visitors can travel 520ft up the Space Needle (spaceneedle.com) for a 360-degree city view from the glass platform. A recent $100million upgrade has added angled seats and a revolving floor.
Take a 90-minute tour of the streets and waterways in an amphibious landing craft (ridetheducksofseattle.com), passing possibly the most famous houseboat in the US – the Sleepless In Seattle movie home of Tom Hanks.
Pike Place Market, below, close to where Anastasia Steele had an apartment in the movie 50 Shades Of Grey, is great for fresh fish JUMP on a seaplane like I did, left, for a 30-minute ride from Lake Union, north of downtown, to San Juan Island (kenmoreair.com, from £106 return).
Step straight off the aircraft at Friday Harbour on to the island’s main street where friendly locals run independent shops, ice-cream bars, pubs and restaurants. A total diversion from modern life, there are no traffic lights or shopping malls. Jet skis are banned as and donuts. It also has the oldest branch of Starbucks.
The Underground Tour (undergroundtour.com) is a hilarious way to learn about Seattle’s original layout before the Great Fire of 1889.
Enjoy a spin on the Seattle Great Wheel (seattlegreat wheel.com) or a one-hour cruise to look back at the city skyline from a mile out on Puget Sound.
See glass masterpieces by Dale Chihuly (chihulygarden andglass.com) or get hands-on at Pacific Science Center (pacificsciencecenter. org) which has otters, luminous jellyfish and octopus in its aquarium. are Styrofoam take-out cups. Lime Kiln Point is the only whale-watching park in the country where it’s possible to see them from the shore. Between May and October, this is one of the best places to spot orcas and Free Willy 2 was filmed in these waters.
Wander the fragrant fields at Pelindaba Lavender Farm (pelindabalavender.com). Pick your own flowers and then watch them being processed for THE CityPass (citypass.com, £70 adult/£54 child) grants admission to the most popular attractions including the Seattle Aquarium, Space Needle, harbour cruise and museums.
Public transport costs £6 per day with a one-off £3.75 admin fee. You can catch the downtown monorail (£1.70 adults, 75p for kids per journey) to the Westlake shopping centre to pick up some designer bargains in Saks Fifth Avenue, JCPenney and the flagship Nordstrom department store. Or maybe pop into Daiso, a Japanese version of Poundland, to find quirky bargains. AMAZON has its HQ here, right, and employs nearly 5% of the city’s workforce. Tours of the web giant’s urban campus are available at amazonhqtours.com.
The Boeing aircraft factory, north of downtown, employs around 30,000 people. Tours of the assembly plant are offered all year round (boeing.com/companytours). But bear in mind the minimum height for visitors is 4ft. soap, perfume and oil. Maybe take a trip to a smaller neighbouring island where you might spot a celeb – perhaps Oprah, Chris Pratt, Bill Gates or Oakley sunglasses supremo Jim Jannard, who all have homes here.
Lakedale Resort (Lakedale.com, from £120) is a peaceful paradise with log cabins, canvas chalets, yurts and a big campsite. Feel free to fish, walk, swim, kayak and let the kids go wild. HONG KONG: YORKSHIRE: DUBAI: A TREE-LINED driveway leads to an oasis of fir trees, green fields and wetlands around Cedarbrook Lodge (cedarbrooklodge.com, rooms from
£112) with its lakeside patio, spa and fine-dining restaurant. Chocolate, ice-cream and snacks are available round the clock.
A pancake breakfast is included in the price.
Or stay downtown at
Kimpton Vintage (hotelvintage-seattle. com, rooms available from £150) a smart, luxurious and spacious hotel close to the city centre. OUR trip got off to a shaky start – when six of us took to the water to try a new sport, it was a case of wobbleboard rather than wakeboard.
But, with the help of coach Alice, by the end of a twohour family session we could all stay upright. Some of us even made it right across the lake.
Wakeboarding – a cross between waterskiing and surfing – is just one of the activities at Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire.
A holiday park set around 10 lakes, there is plenty of water-based fun, from jet skis to fishing, swimming and pedalos.
Aviation is the other big theme here, thanks to the site’s proximity to RAF Coningsby.
The airbase is a five-minute drive away and conversations were often interrupted by the roar of Typhoons and Spitfires flying low overhead.
We even had a flypast by the Red Arrows that was so close the markings on their wings were as clear as those on the ducks that greeted us at our lakeside home each morning.
Our Willerby Clearwater lodge was modern, roomy and well-equipped, with two bathrooms, washing machine and dishwasher. There were TVs in each bedroom plus a huge flat-screen in the openplan living area. The crowning glory was the hot tub on the decking.
Another stand-out feature of Tattershall Lakes is the aqua park. A Total Wipeouttype inflatable assault course on a lake in the shadows of the 15th century Tattershall Castle, it offers the chance to swing, slide and bounce your way across NEW YORK: and into the water, and had the kids whooping throughout their hour-long play.
Back on dry land, our gang – Will, eight, Olly, 12, Chloe,
13, and Joe, 16 – tried the new high ropes course, karting and hoverboarding.
There’s lots to love about this holiday park without having to book activities. Myself, inset, and my partner Adam and I sat in the sun with a drink from one of two bars – the Spitfire and the Propeller – as the kids had fun on the playground, at the arcade, in the splash pool or just playing games in the open spaces. Space is not in short supply at this resort. It covers 360 acres and the best way to navigate it is to ditch the car and hire bikes. This made it a breeze to get from our lodge to the entertainment hub and explore further afield. Tattershall is a quaint, historic village with a handful of shops and pubs. Small in size and population, it was home to Tom Thumb who was said to be
47cm tall and died in 1620 aged 101. His dinky house is on the roof of a larger property in the Market Place.
Nearby Lincoln is a classy city, famous for its imposing medieval cathedral plus a great range of museums, galleries and shops. Kids go free on the open-top sightseeing bus. Meanwhile, the seaside charms of Skegness are just 40 minutes away.
Back at base, we bagged a balcony table at the bar for dinner. As we tucked in, the Moonlight Cinema played a family-friendly film under the stars on the lakeside shores. Sheer bliss!
Explore the Kowloon district with five nights’ room-only at the four-star Regal Oriental Hotel for £686. Fly from Manchester on September 26. See awayholidays.co.uk.Save 30% and pay £295 per family for a three-night self-catering holiday at Primrose Valley Holiday Park in Filey. Price is based on a family of up to eight sharing Prestige accommodation. Arrive on Friday. To book visit haven.com or call 0333 202 5250.Stay five nights on half-board in a deluxe twin room at the four-star Lapita Hotel in Dubai Parks and Resorts for £3,459 for a family of four. Depart Gatwick on October 22. Book by Thursday. See emiratesholidays.com.Leave from Leeds Bradford on October 26 for four nights’ room-only at the three-star Paramount Hotel on West 46th Street for £779. See jet2holidays.co.uk. ■A LOT TO LAKE IN: Wakeboarding is a mix of waterskiing and surfing A THREE-NIGHT weekend stay at Tattershall Lakes in an Indulgent Lakeside Lodge (sleeps eight), with hot tub, costs from £569.Book at awayresorts.co.uk/tattershall-lakes. For more information on Willerby holiday homes visit willerby.com.