The Beautiful Britain family travel writing competition

To celebrate a new look Have a Lovely Time, we’re launching a travel writing competition with a simple theme.

With a title of Beautiful Britain, our family travel writing competition aims to celebrate all that’s great about family adventures in our stunning land. That might include breathtaking adventures in the Lakes, laughing til your sides ache at a family-friendly Edinburgh festival, savouring the splendour of the West Wales coastline, a Devon cream tea or a knees up at a holiday park…or of course plenty more.

Wherever you love to find quality family time in Britain – we want to hear about it.

We’re looking for entries about family holidays, breaks, days out or adventures.

Perhaps your stories could be inspired by firing your imagination at an English Heritage property – as we’re delighted they are backing our contest – and there are so many adventures to be had for you and your family.
Whether you’re serious about a career in writing and fancy being able to show off an ‘award-winning’ status or would just like to make us smile with your account of a family trip, we’d love to hear from you. A first entry is free and as well as prizes on offer for those selected as winners by our judges, we’ve also a Reader’s Prize up for grabs.
We won’t tell you what we mean by ‘family’ – so long as you feel the title fits, that’s fine by us. Perhaps the break you want to write about is a first one without children when they’ve flown the nest. Maybe you don’t have children but consider a beloved pet part of your family.

There’s a cash prize for the winning entry, to be chosen by our two judges, family passes courtesy of English Heritage for our winner and runners-up, plus a fabulous weekend in York for up to two adults and two children for our second prize winner.
All you have to do is follow our instructions to email your entries in our competition to be in with a chance of winning. Write about why you had a lovely time – or perhaps why you didn’t!

Your first entry is free but if you’d like to try more than once, there’s a fee of £5 per subsequent entry. If you’d like a professional critique of your submission you can pay £12.50 for feedback on your style, structure and content.

By entering more than once or requesting a critique, you’ll also be helping our chosen charity, CCPA  (formerly NACCPO) and their support for an organisation called the Torbay Holiday Helpers Network. This is a network of hotels, accommodation providers, tourist attractions and businesses committed to helping give away free action packed holidays, to families who have seriously ill life threatening/limiting, terminally ill and recently bereaved children.

1st prize
• £200
• English Heritage family day pass to visit a property of your choice
• Copy of Travelling with Children by Catherine Cooper

2nd prize
• Weekend break at the Park Inn, York
• English Heritage family day pass to visit a property of your choice
• Copy of Travelling with Children by Catherine Cooper

3rd – 10th prizes – Highly commended
• English Heritage family day pass to visit a property of your choice
• Copy of Travelling with Children by Catherine Cooper

How to enter
Email your entry to

Your entry should be in the following format:
Page One: Word document: Your name, your address, your phone number, your email address, your blog and/or professional writing site URL if you have one. The title of your submission.

If you are entering more than one submission, then please include all titles on Page One and please refer to submission charges below.

If you’d like to request a critique of your work, please state this one Page One and please refer to our submission charges below.

Page Two: Please do not include any details to identify yourselves to our judges.

Please include a title. Please submit your article in the following format: Times New Roman, 12 point, double spaced.

The article should be no longer than 800 words.

No images are required.

Closing date:

October 1 2011, 6pm

As soon as the competition closes, the judges will choose their top ten entries based on a number of factors including how compelling, evocative and entertaining the submission is. Entries will be judged anonymously. We’ll aim to announce the top two a week after the competition closes.

A shortlist of eight other entrants will also be informed that they have been highly commended.

Readers’ Prize
All of the shortlisted entries (excluding the top two) will be featured on Have a Lovely Time in a series of posts in October. Readers will be asked to vote for their favourite and the article with the most votes will be awarded the Have a Lovely Time winner’s mystery ‘readers’ prize’.

About English Heritage
Have you ever wanted to explore a haunted castle? Do you fancy walking alongside Queen Victoria or Mary Tudor? With English Heritage you can do just that and more, by joining some of the 11 million people each year who enjoy a day out to remember at its 400 plus historic properties, locations and monuments. Whether it’s Stonehenge or Hadrian’s Wall, Tintagel Castle or Osborne House that grabs your attention, there is a property for everyone to enjoy. And if this wasn’t enough, English Heritage also runs a packed programme of captivating events throughout the year, ranging from the dramatic Grand Medieval Joust at Eltham Palace and Gothic twilight tours of the spooky Whitby Abbey to the ultimate Festival of History adventure at Kelmarsh Hall. With buckets full of myths, legends and true, yet unbelievable, tales, English Heritage offers the ultimate day out for the whole family!

About the Park Inn, York
The Park Inn is a vibrant hotel in the heart of historic York. Guests enjoy 24-hour room service, air conditioning and free use of the hotel’s Innaction Health and Fitness Club, and flat-screen 26” digital TVs. Five minutes from the station, the hotel is also close to brilliant shopping and major tourist attractions. World famous attractions nearby include the Jorvik Viking Centre, York Minster and the unique National Railway Museum. Excellent dining at RBG Bar & Grill restaurant with river views and an elaborate buffet breakfast available daily

About Travelling with Children, the Essential Guide
Travelling with Children provides information on a variety family holidays, from UK ‘staycations’, short-haul package holidays, back-packing and city breaks to skiing, long-haul trips and luxury breaks. The book will address the practicalities of travelling with children of all ages, from baby travelling on their first holiday, toddler-friendly holidays to teenagers and family travel, and it also discusses how to deal with a group of mixed-aged children and the issues that might arise.
Different modes of travel are addressed, the pros and cons of kids’ clubs and how to get good deals if you are on a tight budget. There will also be vital information on what to do if anything goes wrong, how to avoid potential problems before you leave and what to do if you’re not happy with your holiday. Written by a parent and travel journalist, this book is a must-have title for families who want to make the most of holidays with their children.

About CCPA (formerly NACCPO)
Have a Lovely Time supports CCPA to help seriously ill children enjoy a holiday. We’re delighted that on this occasion our donations will be split with THHN.
The Childhood Cancer Parents Alliance is a national umbrella charity that supports families of children and young adults with cancer throughout the UK.

CCPA is there to give support, information and help to families. It also recognises the importance of families spending quality time together and are pleased to offer holidays to families through the Torbay Holiday Helpers Network (THHN).

Catherine Cooper is a freelance journalist specialising in travel with children. Her clients include The Sunday Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, The Baby Directory, Practical Parenting and several airline magazines.
Catherine has written extensively about travels she has taken with her own children since they were babies. Family trips have included mule-trekking in the Atlas Mountains, a city-break to Marrakech, donkey-trekking in France, beach holidays and skiing holidays as well as visits to Butlins, camping in the UK and abroad, self-catering cottage holidays and many others. Last year Catherine and her family relocated from London to the South of France.
Linda Jones is editor of Have a Lovely Time and Ready for Ten. She wrote her first freelance travel article in 1994 when she was working in St Petersburg, Russia and helped launch a travel and lifestyle magazine called Pulse. She has reported from France, Spain and the US for regional UK evening newspapers and as a freelance has contributed features to most women’s weekly magazines and national newspapers. These days Linda is the director of Midlands agency Passionate Media where she also runs popular workshops for established and aspiring writers.

About the competition: Terms and conditions
Copyright stays with the author.

Your entry can have been previously published on a blog but not included in a newspaper, magazine or website as a paid submission.

Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over.

You can have previously submitted guest contributions to Have a Lovely Time, Ready for Ten or any other website/publication connected with the judges – entries will be judged anonymously.

Anyone related to the team at Passionate Media, publishers of Have a Lovely Time can’t enter.
You can enter as many times as you like. The first entry is free. Subsequent entries are charged at £5 each.
Entrants can request an optional critique of their submission. This costs £12.50 and includes feedback on content and structure of the article.
£1 from each entry fee paid will go to charity. £2.50 from each critique will go to charity. CCPA and THHN will split the proceeds 50-50.
Payments for more than one entry and critiques should be made by cheque to Passionate Media or by BACs.

Please email for address or BACs details.

If you are only submitting one article, you can still donate direct to NACCPO, or you can donate without entering the competition by visiting our Just Giving page.
It’s a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
The winner may be asked to participate in publicity.
Transport to and from York is not included.
Any personal data collected when you sign in to comment is only used for the purpose of administering the competition.
Events may occur that render the prize draw itself or the awarding of the prize impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter (Passionate Media) and accordingly the Promoter may at its absolute discretion vary or amend the competition and the entrant agrees that no liability shall attach to the Promoter as a result thereof.
Picture shows the Chapel at Mwnt – a gorgeous spot for exploring with your family, with a beautiful beach just yards away.