Sands Resort Hotel and Spa Baby and Toddler Holidays in Cornwall

Cornwall is a magical place to visit any time of year: in fact, when we were not tied to school holidays we loved visiting out of season. Each takes on its own personality, from sunny beach days and ice cream, to brisk walks, log fires and hot chocolate. So if you’re lucky enough to be able to take your little ones on a family break outside of the peak season why not try the Baby and Toddler Holidays at Sands Resort Hotel and Spa in Cornwall.

The hotel sits majestically on a cliff overlooking the sea between Newquay and Padstow. It offers a wonderful base from which to explore the Cornish villages and family-friendly attractions or even just to chill and enjoy the beach, sea views and facilities at the hotel. At off peak times during the year their special three-night baby and toddler breaks are perfect for a little family time away.

The nearest beach is just a 5/10 minute walk depending on toddler speed and Holiday Tots guests receive a complimentary bottle of wine when mentioning ‘Holiday Tots’ when booking.

The Malcolm family has been running the hotel for over 40 years and welcomes families with open arms. It’s easy to see why Sands Resort won TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice Award for the past five years as one of ‘The Top Family Hotels in the UK’.

Baby and toddler holidays at Sands Resort are available on various dates from 23rdApril through to 24thNovember (excluding school holidays) from £294 for two nights. Prices depend on dates, weekend supplements and ages and number of children.

Included in these baby and toddler breaks:

3 nights’ accommodation in a Country View Suite with balcony (cot can be added FOC)

Hot and cold breakfast buffet

£30 voucher to spend on extras

Complimentary daily morning childcare session

Complimentary 3 course dinner on one night

The hotel:

There is a soft play area, games room, kid’s clubs (Ofsted approved) and a spa for the grownups. In the hotel grounds you will find tennis, crazy golf, an outdoor pool with toddler splash area (during summer) and two play grounds plus a couple of bouncy castles!

If you want to travel light the hotel can also supply pushchairs, kiddie carriers, bottle warmers and sterilisers and a baby listening service as well as babysitting. And for a bit of offsite fun the hotel offers buckets and spades, wet suits and bodyboards to hire.

Dates & rates:
23rd April – 23rd May* from £373
31st May – 12th July* from £387
8th September – 16th October* from £333
3rd November – 24th November* from £294

Additional children 4 years and older:
4 – 7 years £25 per night
8 – 14 years £35 per night

* Last departure date. Dinner doesn’t include drinks. Children choose from the kids’ menu. This offer can’t be combined with any other offers. Can’t be booked back to back. Can’t be booked online. Room upgrades available from £20 per night.

Remember, when you book direct with the hotel, they promise you won’t find a better rate anywhere else. Book direct with every family-friendly hotel and resort on Holiday Tots view  Sands Resort Spa and Hotel here.

Out and about

There is plenty for the whole family near to Sands resort: beach just 5/10 minute walk, coastal walks on the doorstep, Newquay Zoo within a 5 minute drive. The little ones will love Dairyland Farmworld, with tractor and pony rides, indoor play area, maze and more and it’s only a 10 minute drive. Another fab day out for toddlers in Cornwall is the Blue Reef Aquarium which is also just 10 minutes away.

Our family holiday in Normandy at La Mare Chappey

Last May half term I went to La Mare Chappey in Normandy with my family, hubby and two kids. The area is beautiful and I highly recommend you think about Normandy for your next family holiday, the beaches are lovely and there is so much history to explore, there really is something for everyone. Here’s a little insight to how we got on… Mel x

 

Intro

We had a wonderful week in Normandy for May Half Term 2018. We left home Friday afternoon & drove via the Euro tunnel & arrived at La Mare Chappey late in the evening. Even though we were arriving late, Audrey was around to greet us which was lovely. We awoke to beautiful views of countryside & pretty stone barns the following morning.

La Mare Chappey is perfectly situated to give you the best of the countryside and coast. Located close to a small village in the unspoilt & tranquil Normandy countryside and only 25 minutes to some wonderful beaches.

Accommodation

There are four child-friendly holiday cottages and an apartment within the complex. We stayed in a 2-bedroom cottage (Bumpkin) which was a good size. Every cottage has Wi-Fi, sky TV, DVD player, heating & toys. The kitchen was well equipped including a dishwasher and coffee machine and included on our arrival were the breakfast essentials of bread, milk & cheese, which meant we didn’t have to dash to the supermarket 😊

The cottage is a converted barn and so the bedrooms had high vaulted ceilings. The second bedroom (twin room) was large enough to accommodate 2 cots. There were also 2 bathrooms. The downstairs was open plan with doors leading onto the patio, which had a great view of the gardens, play equipment & pool. The patio had a BBQ, table & chairs and a sun canopy.

There is a separate laundry room which can be used at anytime and is free of charge.

Bistro & bar on site – food can be chosen & ordered in advance from a menu that is emailed to guests. There is a weekly BBQ in the Bistro which is a great way to meet other families.

Grounds

The grounds are really well maintained by Geoff. The cottages sit around a central courtyard, which has a lovely water fountain with tables & chairs to sit and relax. The buildings are made from traditional stone and are very pretty. There is a large lawn area for ball games, plus another area with lots of play equipment, also a hot tub and the swimming pool.

Play

There is loads within the complex to keep the kids busy. The pool was wonderful, fenced off with plenty of chairs, sunbeds & umbrellas and really warm (heated to 28). We swam every day. There are swings, slides, a Wendy house, large trampoline, basketball net, football net and lots of space to generally run around and play outdoor games. The indoor play room was also very well equipped and my two enjoyed the table football and air hockey.

The bouncy castle was put up every afternoon/early evening. The grounds were very safe & secure, we were able to sit on our patio and watch the kids play.

Personal favs further affield

We all loved Carteret Beach, miles and miles of soft sand with lovely warm turquoise sea.

We walked & paddled for hours, there is a café & ice cream kiosk on the beach – the adults were able to have a beer while the kids had an ice cream, perfect 😊

The light house at Barneville – Carteret was good fun to climb and the view was amazing.

Out and about

Briquebec Market on a Monday – beautiful French village with cobbled streets.

Sainte -Mere-Eglise and the Airbourne Museum.

City de la Mer in Cherbourg – great museum with a deep aquarium (deepest in Europe!), La Redoutable – a huge nuclear submarine which you can explore and the baggage hall for the Titanic in the original huge art deco transatlantic liner terminal.

Food

We had fab weather & BBQ’d in our garden every day 😊

Head ‘Into the Prairie’, for a little bit of family fun in Brittany, not far from the sea…

Liz, Corentin, Dara, Molly, Una & Róisín, welcome you to their self-catering cottages set in the Brittany countryside not far from the sea… Let your family adventure in Brittany start at Into the Prairie, you won’t be disappointed.

Brittany is a beautiful place to visit in the spring and early summer, beaches are quiet, and the plants are just coming into bloom. If you’re looking for a family-friendly place to stay at to explore what Brittany has to offer for a family holiday, then check out ‘Into the Prairie’ owned by Liz Lamour. Her beautiful cottages live up to their names, each having it’s very own personality, cosy, fun, trendy, pretty, romantic, sweet, cute and vintage! There is one for everybody and all offer a perfect base from which to venture.

Liz has eight self-catering cottages on her little prairie and B&B options too. Families are welcome all year round and if it’s a little chilly in the evenings most of the cottages have log burners to snuggle up in front of. We showcase the best three of her child-friendly holiday cottages, the ones with lots of baby and toddler equipment and that are perfect for young children.

The cottages are located in the Cotes d’Armor in Brittany near the village of Plelo and sit in a stunning rural location offering guests the best experience of Brittany country life, yet only 10 minutes from child-friendly beaches and fun attractions. Kids can run and skip in the fields while parents relax and admire the beauty.

The farm restaurant and shop is family-run too and is just 3km from the Prairie, and it’s here you will also find, swings, slides, pedal boats, gams, horses pigs, chickens and lots of walks and gardens to explore.

Last year Liz planted lots of produce in her gardens and guests enjoyed picking fresh salad, vegetables and herbs for their culinary delights, it was a hit and Liz has decided to do the same this year, local produce is also used in the family restaurant.

As Liz is a keen gardener, during the spring you will find lots of bulbs blooming all over the place, all of the gardens offer a wonderful place to relax outside when the weather is good, with a glass of wine or cup of tea while the kids have fun in the play area.

All little guests staying at ‘Into the Prairie’ get a complimentary pony ride or free tip on the pedal boats at the family restaurant, The Farm-Inn.

There are child-friendly beaches within 10 minutes drive to Into The Prairie and lots of family days out ideas from wildlife parks, mini golf, swimming pools, tree climbing, family cycling, adventure parks, world heritage sites and more.

It is hard to explain the beauty of this place, the stunning gardens and scenery and friendliness of the Lamour family, you will just have to try it out for yourself.

Into the Prairie – Holiday Tots picks of cottages at Into the Prairie

Here is a glimpse at a couple of the family-friendly holiday cottages available here:

Isidore is a fabulous old barn that has been rediscovered into a trendy holiday home. Liz has maintained much of its original aspect and it wouldn’t look out of place in a glossy homes magazine. The children’s bedroom is a suspended glass house! It also has its own private garden and terrace, two bedrooms and an open plan living space.

Maison de Anne

This is a quirky, vintage little holiday home with two bedrooms and a private garden. The relaxed feeling of this cottage really will offer a home from home experience.

This is just a taster of the child-friendly holiday cottages available at Into the Prairie, for more details take a look on The Holiday Tots website. They really do offer a fun and beautiful location to spend a family holiday in Brittany.

Please note: The family restaurant is open every day except Tuesdays in July & August and  from April to September, it is open on Friday night, Saturday lunch and dinner and Sunday lunch.

The rest of the year it is open on Friday nights and for Sunday lunch. Bookings must be made in advance.

At the time of writing Liz is offering 10% discount for guests who wish to stay in May.

Standon Calling Festival – a fabulous family day out

This year we were lucky enough to be able to visit our local family-friendly festival, Standon Calling in Hertfordshire, for the second time. Two years’ ago we went for the whole weekend and had a fabulous time, this year we were given day passes so we headed there on the Saturday. We had a large group of people with us this year, ranging from 9 years through to the 50s. What a perfect day out we had, with something for every age group. I have never thought of visiting a festival for a day, as usually we do the whole camping thing but if you can’t then it’s still worth a visit for the day.

We arrived about midday, wanting to be in time for the fancy dress parade. The costumes were literally ‘out of this world’! Excuse the pun ha…

Our boys spent two weeks perfecting their cosmic astronaut outfits, and really believed they were going to win with their creations…

Alas it was not to be, unfortunately for them there were many more awesome and show stopping fabulous outfits that they didn’t get a look in!

They didn’t seem to mind as they were totally in the zone and amazed at how great everyone looked, they forgot there was even a prize to be had.

The boys, Freddie and his friend Finley, both aged 9 were absolutely buzzing from start to finish, from dodgems, to bumper balls, music and dance and much more…

I did notice a big difference in what Freddie enjoyed this year in comparison to two years ago when he was 7. At 9 he seemed much more interested in the music and live acts than the children’s area. Now this is when I wondered if it was his age, or the fact that we didn’t camp and only went for the day. Every time I suggested doing an activity his friend and he were too focused on the acts on the stages. Music is a big part of their lives and their current idol, George Ezra, definitely stole the day for them.

There really is something for all ages at Standon Calling: here is a little look at what was on offer this year…

If you are thinking of visiting next year then why not grab some early bird tickets:

Weekend tickets are now available with entry to the festival from 12pm on Thursday 25thJuly 2019. Price includes camping in the general camp site or family camp site (car parking must be purchased separately). If you are looking for a little more luxury then opt for the Lavish Lands camp tickets, slightly more expensive but with hot showers, extra toilets, free parking and nearer to the festival.

Early Bird weekend prices (including booking fees) are:

£128.84 per adult

£118.12 16/17 yrs

£107.39 13-15 yrs

£38.74  4-12 yrs

£6.56   0-3 yrs

Pre-payment tickets and boutique camping tickets will be on sale soon and day tickets on sale spring 2019.

We are so excited to see what is going to be next years theme and will definitely be attending whatever the weather and hopefully camping again if our diary allows!

Some images courtesy of Standon Calling.

Standon Calling – was our first ever family-friendly festival & we are going back this year!

The festival season is well and truly under way and family-friendly festivals are a plenty, it’s so hard to choose which one to take your kids to. We are attending a few this year and will have a round up at the end of the year, but for now we are talking about Standon Calling in Hertfordshire 27th– 29thJuly. We are so lucky to be going this year and two of our boys , both 9 years, are especially excited…

We live in Hertford and so our local kid friendly festivals are Standon Calling and new kid on the block Wilkestock. Our first ever festival with Freddie was two years ago when we spent the weekend at Standon Calling. My husband was a little dubious about attending a festival let alone with kids, he loves music and now, after a few iffy outings, actually likes camping so when he agreed to come to a festival I was so excited!

The past

Then we camped, saw Rag and Bone Man for the first time, dressed as pirates, met Kelis and more, including our dog winning happiest Festival Dog!

We have very fond memories of 2016 and so are super super excited to be attending this year.

The Future

The theme is ‘the Future’ and this weekend we plan to make our outfits, all will be revealed soon, just not sure which world to go for yet!

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The family programme looks better than ever and I am sad that we are only able to go for one day this year. There is the Panic Circus Big Top, Family Yoga, Welcome Family Disco, Campfire with Marshmallows, Trimbus Play Bus, the Hidden Wardrobe, Baby and Toddler Space, Tweens and Teens Workshops, Craft Zone Garden with interactive fun, kid friendly performances including Horrible Histories Live and Andy from Cbeebies and his smelly socks, library, Woodland Tribe and not forgetting the swimming pool and costume parade!

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As you can see it looks like a jam packed family weekend and that’s without mentioning the brilliant acts that are taking place this year! Including Paloma Faith, the Cuban Brothers, and local talent man George Ezra, who is the highlight for Freddie this year. George is his current idol, and he seems to think he will be able to give him a hug! –  love the innocence of children and famous people!

To top it all the weather looks set to be sun sun sun – we think that the boys and of course we, are going to have a blast!

Look forward to sharing our fun with you at the after blog party!

Day tickets have now sold out but there are a small amount of adult weekend tickets left – visit the website for information Standon Calling tickets

 

 

 

10 reason to have a family holiday in Cape Town, South Africa with young children. (old post from 2016)

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Travelling to South Africa for a little bit of winter sun is ideal for family with young children as there is just a 2 hour time difference meaning no jet lag! We took a night flight which meant our little boy slept most of the 12 hours flight time and although slightly tired managed to enjoy his first day without tears, went to bed at a respectable time and slept through! Always a good start to a holiday.

South Africa has a vast coastline that shares two bodies of water, the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean and Cape Town itself has its fair share of beaches either on the door step or within easy reach. Although the Cape can be quite windy there are still plenty of sheltered beaches to find offering fine white sand ideal for sand castle building

sun set Camps Bay South Africa

Sunset in Camps Bay

Camps Bay – located within a 15 minute drive of central Cape Town this wonderful area is safe and clean, this is a tourist hot spot. There are fab restaurants, villas and apartments and a wonderful sandy beach with safe enclosed swimming bay for young children.

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the kids get to cook their masterpieces at Col’Cacchio

 

 

 

The food here is amazing and it will suit even the fussiest of eaters. The main staple seemed to be fish and meat. Famously known for their Braais the South African’s know how to prepare fine meat and fish dishes and the avocado is to die for! In fact I can honestly say it is the best avocado I have ever tasted! Couple of good chain restaurants to recommend for families basic dining are: Primi – there is one in Camps Bay, wonderful selection of tantalising dishes you won’t be disappointed and in Central Cape Town Col’Cacchio, possibly the best pizza we have ever tasted. If you are looking for a variety of foodie recommendations visit our Eating in Cape Town South Africa post. (coming shortly)

This is as close as Freddie would get! Boulders Beach

This is as close as Freddie would get! Boulders Beach

Sit with penguins on the beach! Boulders Beach is a fab beach, known for its large boulders (obviously) and very friendly penguins. The water is calm and has lots of little coves to explore too. If you want some more Cape Town area family friendly beach ideas see our top 5 beaches in and around Cape Town. (coming shortly)

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The Two Oceans Aquarium

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabulous aquarium. The Two Oceans Aquarium is ideal for youngsters to learn about the marine life found in the two oceans around Cape Town. So while mum, dad, uncle, aunt or older brother or sister is roughing it out at sea with the wild sharks, whales and more the more timid and younger members of the family can enjoy the legendary predator tank, touch star fish and other marine life in the touch pool and more!

The Table Cloth on Table Mountain

The Tablecloth on Table Mountain

Table Mountain and the Lions Head are the two main large attractions and our son loved the fact you could see Table Mountain from just about anywhere in Cape Town. We took a cable car to the top where Freddie thought the view was ‘amazing!’ More info on Table Mountain here. (coming shortly)

Freddie loved it here

Aquilla Nature Reserve, Freddie loved it here

It just so happens that African animals are amongst some of the favourite animals of young children and so it goes without saying that a venture to a safari park or one of the many wildlife centres will go down a treat with young travelers. We visited Aquilla Nature Reserve about 2.5 hrs from Cape Town.
laurensfordFamily friendly wine farms. You may think that the younger members of the family might not be welcome in the wine areas, think again! Many of the wineries around the Cape Town area have great family facilities from paddling pools, and water slides to picnic areas and pony rides or just open spaces to enjoy! Try Franschhoek for some inspiration.

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Kirstenbosch Sunday family concert

Kirstenbosch – lose yourself with the kids in one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world with children’s play areas and various events throughout the year including fabulous early Sunday evening concerts ideal for all the family with the glorious Table Mountain as an amazing back drop…

We loved Cape Town it is a beautiful part of the world, with an interesting history. We highly recommend a family holiday there. for more ideas visit the Cape Town official tourist website

Family glamping in Devon, five luxury lodges, ideal for families of six or even a group getaway for 30.

We have had a lot of last minute enquiries from families looking for a glamping experience in Devon, especially here at these beautiful lodges situated in a secluded valley on the Western border of Exmoor National Park.

This stunning family-friendly glamping site books up early but they do have some availability for September and October, which is a lovely time of the year to holiday with family and friends.

If you are new to glamping and are a little worried about how comfortable you will feel look at these, you won’t be disappointed. I am trying to get a group together to hire the whole place as it looks ideal for all members of the family, all ages and for all occasions!

 

These fabulous child-friendly holiday lodges are bordered by streams and woods and there is even a private lake. There are two skiffs: Oxford and Cambridge, perfect for one adult and one child in each, so why not race around the lake island!? Life jackets are provided too. For fishermen in the family the lake is stocked with over one hundred rainbow trout and if you can catch one you are welcome to cook on the BBQ back at your lodge.

 

The woods offer fabulous family-friendly walks any time of year. There are streams and water falls and nature trails to follow. They are very well sheltered and so can even offer a fab day out for the family even when it is raining!

 

 

 

 

For the sporty members of the family there are a number of outdoor games available to play on the lakeside meadow: petanque, cricket and badminton. There is also a football goal on the football field and a cricket net, basketball and netball hoop plus giant chess.

 

Babies and toddlers are well looked after here, little ones will love the cupboard bed. The cabin bed can convert into a cot or the owners can provide a travel cot if you prefer. The twin room has black out blinds. The cabin bed is also home to a secret den, a small hideaway with an inventive mind can turn into anything! In each lodge there is a high chair, toddler plates etc, if you need more the owners can supply, just let them know.

 

The owner can also provide babysitting if the adults fancy a night out.

 

The newest addition to this family glamping site in Devon is the hot tub! Offering amazing views over the lake and valley and down to the sea, what could be more relaxing than chilling with a glass of bubbly! The hot tub can be used for up to six people, children are welcome over the age of six and the owners can arrange babysitting for babies and toddlers younger than this.

 

For a touch of luxury on Wednesday afternoons visit the Spa Barn and choose from a list of relaxing massages.

 

You can even take time out from cooking as the owners can offer fresh baked bread, croissants, chocolate twists etc, supply a perfect picnic or even prepare a scrumptious supper. The onsite farm larder shop is stocked with lots of goodies, local produce, beautiful homewares, traditional children’s toys and more.

 

The lodges here are beautiful; there are five in total all of which are fully equipped with home-from-home luxuries, including Egyptian cotton bedlinen! They have private shower cabins within the lodge and a wood burning stove if the nights get a little chilly.

 

The lodges are ideal for a family of up to six sleeping in three bedrooms and also perfect for a group get together, special occasions etc. The five lodges can be rented out to accommodate 30 people and there is also a party barn where the whole party can be seated for a special event or just to gather together. The barn is available for hire at a cost of just £15 per head, but is free if you book all five lodges. There is also a catering service with an extensive menu to choose from.

 

Located just minutes from the beaches, towns and villages surely you can’t wish for a better way to spend time with family and friends…

Click here to find out more and enquire: Nr Combe, Devon