About Me


Hello, I’m Clare, and welcome to Suitcases and Sandcastles, the #2 UK Family Travel Blog that shows you how to make travel and culture more fun by slowing down and taking the time to experience and enjoy. This slow approach to travel makes perfect sense if you’ve got children but it’s just as relevant if you’re travelling alone or as a couple. It’s not about rushing around seeing all the sights in the guidebook but taking the time to appreciate what you’re seeing.

I have always loved to travel. I backpacked around India and Thailand for six months, writing a column for my local newspaper. I slept in cockroach-infested hostels and rundown palaces, rode a camel through a Rajasthani desert and boated down the backwaters of Kerala.

At university I spent a year in Paris where I realised that you don’t need to rush around from sight to sight to get to know a place. Sometimes you can discover more about an area by acting more like a local, less like a tourist.

On the travel desk of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph I wrote a weekly hotel column and interviewed celebrities about their travels and packing dilemmas. I wrote numerous city guides and travelled constantly – diving in Zanzibar, snowboarding in Canada and walking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I used to love arriving somewhere new and spending a couple of days walking its streets and visiting its sights until it became familiar.

IMG_1432Life with two children hasn’t stopped me travelling. Nor should it. The boys love their adventures, whether it’s snorkelling over a coral reef in the Indian Ocean, watching snake charmers in Marrakesh, building a sandcastle on the beach in Crete or watching a jousting match at Hever Castle.

Family travel is not just about a summer holiday on the beach. It’s about walking along a coastal path with the dog. It’s about eating fish and chips on a rainy beach in Suffolk or dressing up as a knight at Dover Castle. It’s about seeing the Van Goghs in The National Gallery or watching a flamenco show in Seville. But most of all it’s about having fun and discovering something new.

Suitcases and Sandcastles is here to inspire and entertain you. I’ll be telling you about all the places we’ve been – the good and the bad bits – and sharing my tips for stress-free family holidays. I’ll be coming up with ideas for great trips whether you’re looking for a safari in Botswana, a beach holiday in Greece, want to know the most child-friendly museums in Paris or fancy a day out in a UK castle.

I’ll also be writing about books. Books to take on holiday for both the kids and the grown-ups. Books that take you travelling even when you’re stuck at home and books to get your children excited about reading. Stay awhile. I hope you enjoy it.

If you’d like to contact me, my email address is clare.s.thomson@btopenworld.com