This time last week we were enjoying our last day in Reykjavik. We were heading home after a delicious meal of lamb steaks and salty, crispy fries at the lovely restaurant Snaps (they do a mean brunch too), hoping in vain that we might finally bump into Bjork, and snuggling down for a last evening of reading and gin drinking at our apartment.
It was Mr B's work which took us to Iceland. He was travelling there to research the folk stories and songs, so we decided to fly out and meet him once the research was done. After our snowy start in the UK, we arrived in Reykjavik for a five night stay and had a marvellous time in this wonderfully child friendly and cool country. So just in case you're thinking of heading there in the future, here are some of our top tips for visiting with a little one in tow.
Iceland isn't a cheap getaway destination but it doesn't need to be as expensive as people make out. The main reason it can get pricey is because alcohol and eating out are both very expensive, and also the shops in Reykjavik are so blooming cool that you need a will of iron to resist blowing out the credit card on gorgeous knits, rucksacks and suede boots (we loved the shops Geysir and Hrim where we could have gone mad). To combat all of this, we rented a little apartment in the centre of Reykjavik from which we could explore and cook. The apartment had one bedroom with a sofa bed so was perfect for the three of us and worked out cheaper than two adults staying in the nearest hostel. Mr Biddle bought a bottle of gin at the airport so we avoided any drinking out. We hired a car so that we didn't need to pay expensive taxi charges to and from the airport or the huge costs for taking the sightseeing coaches (plus these would have been a nightmare with a toddler in tow). And flights from Heathrow were barely more expensive than the budget airlines (who now stingily charge for infants on laps).
Iceland was about as cold as the frosty UK whilst we were there, the biting winds being the most chilly part but we experienced lovely blue skies and crisp icy days. So we just packed our winter weather gear - big puffa jackets, walking boots, woolly hats and gloves. Plus I got B some knitted girls leggings from Primark for £2 a pop to act as long johns under his trousers (see below). If we had visited in the summer, our apartment would have cost three times as much.
Iceland keeps the same times as the UK which is another major advantage of travelling with a little one - no changing of clocks or routines. It doesn't get light until between 10am & 11am which was fine for enjoying lazy holiday mornings, and it goes dark about the same time it does here in the UK.
As well as pottering round (and drooling in) the shops and super cool coffee houses of Reykjavik, we would highly recommend the following:
Reykjavik Zoo - more of a petting farm really but we loved seeing the Icelandic Horses, the Seals and the Reindeer.
Iceland really is a beautiful place and we would highly recommend it as a destination - family in tow or not. I'll long remember the twinkling of fairy lights in the windows across the city, and the vast landscapes which start Sigur Ros playing a soundtrack in your head!