Family friendly breaks: review 3

Chris Rea famously sung that the road to Hell was the M25. I raise him the A303 in the summer holidays. It took us seven and a half hours to reach Devon. We left at midday, and I’d booked Tesco to bring holiday grub to our cottage at 7pm. By 5pm, I’d phoned the owners who promised to pop our order in our cottage. I hadn’t expected to arrive and find it completely unpacked and put away, but quickly realised this placed me closer to my much craved glass of wine quicker than expected. Phew.

This summer, we booked a fortnight at Long Furlong Holiday Cottages (http://www.longfurlongcottages.co.uk) in the Hartland Peninsular, Devon. We love Devon. It’s our spiritual home. I just wish it was easier to get to. Once there, we quickly got over our terrible journey, though.

We chose Long Furlong because they had amenities for the kids and for us. Big loved the playroom, which fortunately was directly opposite our cottage. We could sit on the terrace with a glass of wine while she and Medium played. They both loved the pool (a large indoor  thats 1m in depth throughout and a wave pool outside). We loved the spa and both had several lovely treatments – my facial was one of the best I’ve ever had.

Long Furlong is ideally located for several fabulous beaches. Our favourite was Sandymouth – miles of golden sand and fabulous rock pools that were deep enough to swim in!

Days out included several trips to the Milky Way – a theme park with just about everything. From rollercoasters to archery lessons, birds of prey demonstrations to a Star Wars memorabilia exhibition, this place is diverse and vast and our girls loved it.

We loved walking around quaint Covelly and gaining inspiration at RHS Rosemoor. Our gardener looked a bit worried when we talked about our plans for a vegetable garden.

And what of our cottage itself? It was comfortable and clean but plastic flowers and an electric rather than a real log burner did make it feel less than five star. We asked for a clean half way through our fortnight and it took persistence from the owner to persuade the cleaners to do so. All said though, we wanted for nothing and enjoyed our family bubble.

Family friendly breaks: review 3

Family friendly breaks: Review 2

It’s taken us a while to get ourselves organised to head off for another family weekend. We’ve just got back from Chisel Barn’s Whites Ground in Blandfold Forum, Dorset. Blue Chip Holidays promise a ‘Baby Blue Chip’ package that should mean you can leave at least the kitchen sink at home.

We don’t know Dorset particularly well. Our hearts lie in Devon, really. But lovely though the A303 is, it’s just that bit too far for a weekend. We think we might have hit on the perfect compromise in Dorset and, in particular, at Chisel Barn. White Grounds, a converted dairy, boasts three large double bedrooms with either twin or king sized beds, a large open plan lounge/dining/kitchen area, a safe enclosed garden and two bathrooms. It has a separate utility room with washing machine and tumble dryer and the kitchen has all the mod cons. The beds are comfy and, most importantly, Big and Medium settled immediately from the first night. Bedtime was a breeze.

Decor is restful; I’ll go out on a limb and say Farrow & Ball throughout. A large, comfy corner sofa comfortably envelopes the whole family and there’s a cheerful log burner for chilly nights. Outside, the garden is fully fenced without compromising the beautiful view over Chisel Barn’s land. Baby cows, sheep, horses and a large pond are all you’ll see and the quiet is wonderful. Even the cows don’t moo at night and, weirdly, despite them being only a 40 or so metres from the front door, they don’t smell. Big, Medium and Little adored the cows and made several visits a day to say hello. They also enjoyed using the fishing nets left for them in the pond and hunting for frogspawn. Lovely Husband and I enjoyed an evening drinking champagne and eating cheese around the fire pit while the smalls slept. Lovely.

And onto the Baby Blue Chip promise. Well, we felt this was a bit ‘meh’. It didn’t induce us to write a glowing report on the ‘reduced packing’ aspect. There was a potty, loo seat, steriliser, monitor, some bath toys and the owner thoughtfully bought a Bumbo (at our recommendation) for us,  but we were disappointed by the lack of toys and DVDs. If the weather had been too bad to throw the kids outside, we would’ve been stuck. We did need that extra crate of things in the car after all, which means more packing and unpacking at both ends. That’s really what we want to avoid.

That said, we would definitely return, even with the extra crate in the car. The house is restful and incredibly easy to live in. It has a better broadband connection than we have at home, so Lovely Husband could work. It’s location is handy for several beaches (we visited the gorgeous and unspoilt Studland beach) as well attractions such as Monkey World and the Tank Museum (honestly – this place is fascinating and well worth a trip). We were all sad to leave and White Grounds could well be another contender for our regular jaunts.

Find out more about Chisel Barn here: http://www.bluechipholidays.co.uk/dorset/blandford-forum/chisel-barn-whites-ground

 

 

 

Family friendly breaks: Review 2