Travelling with a baby is a whole new ball game and something I am easing myself in to slowly. Whilst overseas travels are on hold til next year, we’re enjoying taking Theo on mini adventures in Leeds and further afield in Yorkshire. When First Leeds invited me to take part in their Blogger Challenge, I thought it would be a good way to push me out of my comfort zones whilst still staying local in our home city.
The challenge involved going on a series of family days out by bus. When I lived in London I used to catch buses all the time, but since moving back to Yorkshire I use my car to get around. I especially rely on my car now that I’ve had Theo, and honestly I had never considered catching a bus with him until now. But First Leeds wanted to challenge me to find out if there are actually benefits to catching the bus with a baby, over driving. Was I skeptical? Yes. Was I up for the challenge? Absolutely. Here’s what we got up to during our Blogger Challenge with First Leeds.
Day 1 - The Royal Armouries
Day 1 began with a few anxieties. How would Theo react to being on a bus? Would he cry the whole time? Would there be space to put the pram? Travelling with a baby seems to flag so many unknowns. I asked my Mum to join us on our first day out, which was a huge help. Luckily the bus only took a few minutes to come, by which time Theo was really settled in his pram. We hopped on the bus using our digital mTickets which I had purchased the night before.
We were traveling outside of rush hour so there was plenty of space for the pram at the front of the bus. I put the brake on and Theo remained very content, watching the world go by in fascination. What was I worried about?
We got off the bus at Leeds Dock. Luckily, the bus stop is literally opposite the Royal Armouries so getting the bus took us closer than any car park I would have found. It was a scorching day and the dock looked quite idyllic with its rippling water and barge boats bobbing around on top. Leeds Dock is such a nice area of Leeds and it made me realise I need to go there more often. We stopped for a delicious lunch at Dock 29, before heading in to The Royal Armouries. Entrance to the Armouries is completely free but donations are welcome.
We took Theo around the different floors, in search of the most visual things to show him. He loved staring at the shiny armour and helmets and also took an interest in the life-size horse and elephant replicas.
Day 2 - Trinity Shopping Centre and Leeds Art Gallery
The second day of our challenge was a family trip in to town, this time for lunch and a little wander around Leeds Art Gallery (again, I chose the gallery as I thought it would be a visual place). He's at that age where everything fascinates him and he just loves to stare at colourful things. It’s so nice to see. We indulged in a 2 course lunch at Cote Brasserie in Trinity Leeds (it really reminded me of my London days as we used to have one at the bottom of our road). Lunch was followed by a bit of shopping before getting to our final destination, Leeds Art Gallery.
By this time Theo decided it was nap time so he actually slept through the majority of it, but it was still lovely to explore the galleries as a family and visit somewhere new. We rounded off with a coffee at the famous Tiled Hall Cafe, located within Leeds Art Gallery. Its one of my favourite spaces in Leeds and I love it so much I once wrote a blog post all about it. Travelling with a baby by bus on Day 2 seemed far less daunting than on Day 1. I knew exactly what to expect and was confident that Theo would enjoy the experience.
My Honest Thoughts about Catching the Bus with a Baby
- I can understand why most busy parents with a car wouldn't consider travelling with a baby by bus, as I was one of them, but this experience has surprised me
- One thing that helped me to feel more prepared was purchasing our digital mTickets via the First Bus app before hand. Our mTickets went straight into my iPhone wallet, so when we got on the bus all I needed to do was scan them. Scraping around for loose change is officially a thing of the past!
- Leaving the house with Theo usually involves loading the car up with a pram and car seat with baby inside (and my he's getting heavy now). I loved not having to do this when we caught the bus. I just popped Theo in his pram and walked straight out the door.
- I could be so much more attentive to Theo when we were travelling on the bus compared to the car. If he cries or drops his dummy in the car there's not a whole lot I can do, but on the bus he had all my attention. I was very anxious to drive around with Theo in the early months and think I would have really benefitted from getting the bus when I was too nervous to drive.
- I was very impressed to find the USB charging ports all over the bus.
- Theo enjoyed the experience far more than I expected. He was fascinated looking out of the window and at the other passengers getting on and off. I didn’t need to do anything to entertain him, so it was actually a bit of a break for me
- I would consider catching the bus again if I was spending a full day in town as it would be cheaper than car parking and there would be no time pressures
I’m so pleased that First Leeds challenged me to catch the bus with a baby as its opened up a whole new way to travel in my home city.
What was the last thing you did to push yourself out of your comfort zone? Would you ever consider travelling with a baby by bus? I'd love to know, so please leave a comment below. Jess x
This blog post has been sponsored by First Leeds. All photos and words are my own.