Luxury Family Holidays Handpicked for Parents

Kodomo Q&A

Charlotte Philby, founder of

`Charlotte Philby and children

Charlotte Philby. Photo Credit: Barney Beech.

Charlotte Philby is a London-based writer and the founder / editor of, an online magazine and digital platform for women who happen to be mums. She writes a weekly column for The Independent Magazine and i paper, and also works as a freelance travel and design writer, copywriter and consultant for a range of clients, including Winkreative and Protein. Charlotte lives in London with her partner and their two children, and was shortlisted for the 2013 Cudlipp Prize at the Press Awards for investigative Journalism.
Q: What is your first childhood memory of travel?
After retiring from their respective jobs as a banker and a nurse, my maternal grandparents decided to launch their own travel company which, by all accounts, was to be one of the most eccentric – and short-lived – tour operators in history. Though they’d both grown up in London, my grandfather was originally Swiss and my grandmother Austrian, so they decided to take bus loads of unsuspecting British tourists on guided expeditions of Western Europe. My earliest travel memory is being aboard one of their coaches, for several weeks, while my grandfather and I subjected the other passengers to the Sound of Music film on loop for the duration of the trip.

 Q: Where have you had your best holiday to date?

When our eldest was two, my husband and I took her to visit my father-in-law in Tasmania, for a month. It was Christmas and we spent a few days en route in Singapore, staying at the Goodhood Hotel, which is a brilliant, very reasonable, sort of poor man’s Raffles, before flying on to Melbourne. There we stayed at the Cullen Hotel in Prahran – part of the boutique Art Hotel Series – and explored the city before making the final leg to Tasmania. My father-in-law is into outdoor pursuits so we went wild camping, stayed in log cabins in Bicheno – unfortunately at the same time that bush fires ravaged the area, quite terrifying – spent New Year’s day on a fishing boat, and also enjoyed more gentle pursuits, like MONA and the food festival in Hobart.

Q: Where was the first place you went with a little one in tow? How did it go?  

We took our daughter to New York City for Restaurant Week when she was 3 months old. Our friends were living there at the time and their parents had rented a beautiful Brownstone apartment in Park Slope, which they had vacated early. So we felt it would be rude not to stay. Sadly, there was such a terrible blizzard that the Mayor had to call a bank holiday and we spent most of the week pulling a buggy backward through the snow, trying not to weep.

Q: How do you find the experience of travelling with children generally? 

Now that we have two kids, both under the age of four, the journey itself is challenging. It’s the getting in and out of cars, trains and planes that is tricky. But, once we arrive where we’re going, being away with the kids is my favourite thing in the world. Exploring new places together, while taking a rare moment to be with them without worrying about the work I should be doing, is a serious treat.

Q. Do you ever travel with your children for work?

I review family-frendly hotels quite regularly so, yes, but it’s not really “work”…

Q: Where was your best holiday with your child?

Probably a recent trip to Sal in Cape Verde: amazing fresh fish straight from the boat and a rum hut on the beach. And, despite the six-hour flight, it’s only a one-hour time difference from the UK, which makes all the difference with kids in tow!

Q: And your worst?

I genuinely don’t think we’re ever had a “bad” trip per se, but we did take the kids on a group holiday to the South of France on the train this summer, which was the worst journey I have ever had – or could possibly imagine. My husband decided to save us money by not booking any of the kids seats on either the Eurostar or our five-hour connection the other end. The train was packed and everyone had melt-downs, adults included. To make matters worse, when we got to Toulouse the car hire company had booked us a five-seater by mistake – for four adults and three kids. My friend Jess and I – who had necked rather a lot of wine by then – had to travel in the boot for an hour on top of a pile of suit-cases.

Q: What is your must-have travel accessory when away with children? 

Books and colouring pens. I am still resisting giving them the iPad but might have to relent on that soon!

Q: And top tips for travel with kids? 

Make sure you take an expansive selection of snacks, like cereal bars, fruit, drinks and sandwiches, and enough toys to keep them occupied on a long journey. And take something for them to suck on (with younger kids a bottle will work, or breast if you’re still nursing) to help their ears during landing and take-off.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about Motherland? What was the inspiration behind it and how is it all going? is a digital platform for women who happen to be mums. Primarily an online magazine, we run content across features, lifestyle, food, travel, culture, fashion, comment and news, as well as interviews with brilliant, inspiring women who are top of their game – ranging from musician and presenter Cerys Matthews and illustrator Marion Deuchars to chef Margot Henderson and first female partner at Pentagram, Marina Willer. We’re about to launch a series of podcasts and collaborative events, and are growing an international team of writers from publications such as Monocle, The Times, The Independent, and The New York Times. It’s all very exciting and knackering in equal measure.