In England

Dunstable Downs Kite Festival

I’ve always been an excellent word searcher. This has made me very good at spotting events related to my husband’s interests while flipping through magazines. Which means we were bound to go to at least one kite festival at a National Trust property this year. (Maybe next year in northern Ireland?)

This past weekend was the kite festival at Dunstable Downs. Located near Luton, Dunstable Downs are rolling hills of chalk grasslands that cover the highest point in Bedfordshire. I completely skimmed past the part about it being a center for many air sports after reading that it’s an Area of Outstanding Beauty.

It has been a while since we ventured to a Trust site as a family. After firing up the GPS, we felt quietly optimistic that 74 miles couldn’t possibly take two hours to cover. One hour after departure, with just 18 miles to go, I admitted I would feel silly for rushing us out the door if we did arrive earlier than expected. I reminded myself it was 18 English miles. Sure enough, we arrived an hour later.

There were giant animal shaped kites floating in the wind, paragliders hanging over the valley, and an airplane pulling a glider up to altitude. It was definitely an air sport enthusiast’s happy place. The view over the downs was really beautiful…and it was windy. Thankfully the sun graced us with its presence from time to time. (The last time Walden saw it he called it “moon.”)

There were several activities for kids (including little rides and a bouncy castle for little kids like mine), a kiteskating demonstration area, (a beer tent), and plenty of walks that we never got around to taking. In all, a fun family day out.

The two hour drive could have been a bit much for just a few hours of play. Luckily the little guy was a good sport. Plus, we met up with a friend of mine from college who lives in London. Our boys had a blast running around together and it was really great to catch up.

I look forward to seeing more places like this in our last two years in England. We may not be sipping champagne in Budapest, but catching up with far off friends and seeing some unique landscapes is a pretty cool bonus for being stationed here!

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