Why not visit Inverness and Loch Ness for your next family holiday?

I have only ever visited Inverness and Loch Ness once before and it wasn’t a family holiday but a work trip but still the memories I have from this stunning part of the country are locked firmly in my head. It was spring, the day was fresh and bright and Loch Ness looked stunning. It’s no wonder that the city of Inverness and Loch Ness are two of the most popular destinations in the UK, however families in the south of the UK tend to head for the southern coast line maybe. If you are reading this and living in the south, this little overview will help change your mind and tempt you in taking a family holiday in the Scottish Highlands.

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I doubt there are many people of most ages who have not heard about the myth surrounding Loch Ness. Kids will love the adventure and mystery of searching for Nessie, a boat trip on the Loch is a must!

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There are lots of forts and castles in the area to explore. Urquhart Castle is located on the sore of Loch Ness and offers more than 1000 years of history! The Castle is open throughout the year; visit the Urquhart Castle website for details.

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The beautiful scenery and countryside is there for adventure, fun and exploration but if you are looking for something a little more structured, why not visit one of the many child-friendly attractions around Inverness and the Loch Ness area.

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Landmark Park is a Forest Adventure Park for all ages and is open all year (check the Landmark Park website for opening times). Climb aboard the Runaway Timber Train for a rollercoaster thrill ride or explore The Lost Labyrinth with its bubbling mud pools, dangerous creatures and magic waterfall. The Wee Monkey Trail offers a fab challenge for 2-5 year olds whereby The Tarzan Trail and Ropwrox will appeal to the older children and adults alike.

Getting back to nature for a while take the Funicular Railway, the UK’s highest, and grab a bite to eat at the top, or try your hand at one of the many snow sports on offer.

For sea lovers head to the coast and one of the local sand dune-backed beaches or join The Dolphin Cruises in Inverness to see the majestic dolphins in their natural habitat from land or sea.

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This is merely scratching the surface on what Inverness and Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands have to offer for a fun-filled family holiday. I know we will be planning a visit very soon!

Visiting with babies and toddlers couldn’t be easier either, staying at one of these fabulous cottages featured on the Holiday Tots website.

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This collection of child-friendly holiday cottages offers the perfect base for exploring the area of Loch Ness, Inverness and beyond. The owners are fully committed to the principles of The Children Welcome Scheme and have been approved by Visit Scotland to cater for the needs of children. They provide stairgates, cots, baby bath supports, sterilisers, the list of baby and toddler equipment really is extensive.

Within the grounds there is an enclosed play area with sunken trampoline, swing and sandpit plus an ice cream bar and café for an end of day treat after a day of sightseeing. If you do not want to cook, the owners provide a home-cooked meal service and also have a stock of frozen meals available. More details on the Holiday Tots website.

We think that this area of Scotland, Loch Ness and Inverness, is an overlooked little gem of a location for a family holiday. Full of adventure, magical mysteries, history and stunning scenery, it promises to be an amazing holiday destination for all ages.

‘What’s on’ in West Sussex – ideal for a family short break this autumn

West Sussex is located just south of London within a couple of hours drive or train and is ideal for a short family break or if you are near London why not visit for a day out?  It has something to offer every family member with beautiful scenery, amazing food and drink, festivals, beaches, and stunning quaint villages and castles to explore.

There are three child-friendly holiday properties in West Sussex on Holiday Tots close enough to enjoy all the activities below and with availability from 14th September. Prices start at £475 for a short stay Mon – Fri or £525 for a weekend, a week is from £845. The family-friendly activities below are either on the doorstep or less than half an hour drive. Owners Les and Louise also run a Bakehouse with freshly produced cakes, bread and home cooked meals workshops too!

 

So if you fancy taking the family on a little holiday or just a family day out, there are a few ideas on what to do this autumn in West Sussex.

Walk and explore the South Downs National Park.

Now this is vast and I have lots of headings below that are technically within the South Downs National Park but I felt it necessary to add this as a simple excursion too. The South Downs National Park covers 1,600km2 of landscapes, visitor attractions, beautiful villages, country pubs and much more. It is worth taking a look at their website and seeing what is on when you want to visit or just get a map and compass and explore away…

Family-friendly events in West Sussex September/October 2015:

The Ploughing Match

19th September – join the fun and watch the annual ploughing match as horse and tractor-drawn ploughs battle it out, plus a livestock show, farrier display, sheep shearing, tractor/trailer rides food and drink. Fun starts at 9.30 http://www.westgrinsteadploughing.co.uk/index.php/this-years-events

Daylands Farm walk & cream tea plus hedgerow workshop

27th September – Led by Mother Nature join in the walk and cook what you pick. “Pick It Cook it” run special events for all ages at Daylands Farm in West Sussex from 10am – 4pm. They involve a short walk to forage for ingredients and include refreshments and a homemade lunch. You also get to take home what you cook. For more details visit http://www.pickitcookit.com/

Lewes October Feast

September 18th – October 10th

Now in its sixth year the Lewes October feast runs for three weeks in the Autumn and is run by a small charity. With food markets, pop up stalls, apple pressing, beer tasting and more, it might be a lovely introduction to some culinary delights for the kids and adults alike. To see what’s on where, visit their website for more details. http://lewesoctoberfeast.com/

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Arundel Castle – Life in a Medieval Cattle

20th September

Arundel Castle is a fab place to take the family for a fun day out, the castle and gardens are great to explore. There are lots of family-friendly events throughout the year too. Life in a Medieval Castle is set in The Keep and Barbican at Arundel Castle. Characters will be portrayed by members of the Raven Tor Living History Group: with stories and tales and craft displays, there will be lots of opportunity to learn about the Castle’s history. Arundel Castle is open until 1st November 2015 with the last admission at 16.00hrs. For more details visit their website http://www.arundelcastle.org/

Chiddingly Festival

24th September – 4th October 2015

This lovely parish of just 1000 residents stages this amazing festival of the arts every year. This year is no exception with Jo Brand and many other fab artists from jazz bands to bell ringers. Music comedy, drama and workshops all in one place for all ages. Specifically for children there is The Amazing Adventures of Librarian Lil, Circus Skills with Jimmy the Juggler and a Cartoon workshop with Matt Baxter. Intrigued and want to know more? Just visit their website: http://chiddinglyfestival.co.uk/category/children/

Bentley Woodfair

18th ,19th and 20th September

In its 20th year the Bentley Woodfair is a celebration of woodlands, forestry, trees, woodcrafts and more. With exhibits and displays of amazing skills and activities,  it is a fun and different day out for the whole family. There are demonstrations of machinery, tree climbing, children’s activities, local food, beer tent and a great family atmosphere. http://www.bentley.org.uk/woodfair/4575405571

Parham Harvest Fair

26th and 27th September

The house and gardens will be open for this family-friendly fair of the celebration of the abundance of produce that autumn brings. With homemade food, deer walks and cookery demonstrations plus an outdoor arena with a variety of events such as displays from the gun dogs and heavy horses. To bring it all together there will be live jazz playing in the grounds. http://www.parhaminsussex.co.uk/event/parham-harvest-fair/

Apple Day Brighton

27th September

Brighton is located just outside West Sussex in East Sussex. It is a fun place to visit any time of year with lots of attractions and activities for all the family. Apple Day Brighton is one of many events, it is a free event and is located in Stanmer Park, Brighton from 11am to 5pm. There will be lots of children’s activities with traditional fun fair rides and storytelling in the Orchard. Music and Dance is also on offer as well as apple themed workshops and produce. https://brightonpermaculture.org.uk/index.php/courses/appleday

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Beaches galore…

Finally don’t forget there are lots of wonderful child-friendly beaches too!

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So what are you waiting for?!

26 family friendly holiday complexes with availability in June and July – all are baby/toddler friendly: UK, France, Portugal & Italy

Our holiday cottage complexes are ideal for those looking for lots of other children to play with and adults to socialise with. They are located in beautiful surroundings with enclosed swimming pools and lots of outdoor space, plus lots of toys and games to play too. All of the 26  28! complexes below have odd weeks available during June or July 2015 – as of 20th June 2015. UK, France, Portugal and Italy…

UK

1. Wales: Fabulous award winning farm-stay in the beautiful Welsh countryside. Toddlers will love helping farmer Rob with the animals. Various availability from £350 for a family of 4-6 for a last minute mid-week stay.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/485-cottage-shared-grounds-in-llandeilo/

2. Devon: Five star three bedroom/three bathroom farm house in Devon. Private hot tub, indoor heated swimming pool, toddler playground. 3rd July for one week (£1470)

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/320-cottage-shared-facilities-in-nr-combe-martin/

3. West Sussex: Wonderful family friendly cottage located in West Sussex: on site tea barn, outdoor swimming pool, 10 minute drive to beaches, 25 mins to Brighton, South Downs National Park and the River Adur on the doorstep. Available w/c 24th July (plus 7th Aug and 21st Aug).

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/211-cottage-shared-facilities-in-nr-steyning/

4. Cornwall: Toddler friendly farm-stay near Padstow in Cornwall with six cottages, enclosed swimming pool, farming experience for little ones – a few weeks still available in June and July 10% discount.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/508-cottage-shared-facilities-in-nr-padstow/

5. Cornwall: Gorgeous collection of family-friendly holiday cottages near Bodmin in Cornwall. Limited availability for 26th June – 17th July with every available week now discounted. See listings for prices

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/390-cottage-shared-facilities-in-nr-bodmin/

6. Cornwall: Luxury collection of five star Eco cottages in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall – walk to beach. Currently one cottage left for the following dates: 3-10 July at £1249 (also w/c 14, 21 & 28 August @ £1750 )

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/203-eco-cottage-in-mawgan-porth/

France

7. Brittany: 1 bedroom cottage in Brittany ideal for couple and one child/baby – beautiful award winning gardens – this property is usually full so grab it quick! WC 18th July £395

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/151-cottage-shared-facilities-in-morbihan/

8. Brittany, Cotes-d’Armor: two bedroom lodge use of large swimming pool, meal options and beaches. Available end of June to mid July 25% discount for Holiday Tots guests.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/502-lodge-in-cotes-darmor/

9. Brittany: Three bedroom farmhouse set in rolling fields in the Cotes d’Armor only 20 minutes from award-winning seaside resort. Available 27th June – 11th July 10% discount on these dates

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/99-cottage-shared-facilities-in-cotes-darmor/

10. Brittany: Choice of two three bedroom and one five bedroom cottage in Morbihan, Brittany France. Gardens, animals and enclosed swimming pool. W/c 4th July £100 discount on 3 bed cottages and £170 on five bed – W/c 11th July £100 discount on 3 bed cottage and £170 on five bed.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/41-cottage-shared-facilities-in-morbihan/

11. Limousin: Beautiful manor house with stunning views across the valleys in Correze, France. Six beds sleeps 12, large games room, shared enclosed swimming pool with guests staying in cottage. Available: up to 4th July 20% discount

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/111-private-house-shared-grounds-in-correze/

12. Midi-Pyrenees: two bedroom cottage in the Lot region France – grounds of three acres with pool shared with one other holiday cottage and full use of facilities at neighbouring cottage complex (ref LMCH)

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/296-cottage-shared-facilities-in-lot/

13. Charente: Choice of two luxurious converted barns with stunning views in the Charente countryside. Swimming pool, hammock, iPod doc and lake beach 7km

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ref LSC available from the 7th to the 17th July 10% discount

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/470-cottage-shared-grounds-in-charente/

ref LSP available from the 11th to the 18th July 10% discount

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/471-cottage-shared-grounds-in-charente/

14. Charente: Collection of holiday cottages situated around a beautiful chateau courtyard with two still available. Enclosed pool ‘Tots Zone’ play barn, animals.

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Ref DNCF W/C 27th June

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/250-cottage-shared-facilities-in-charente/

Ref DNPC W/C 27th June and 4th July 30% discount

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/248-cottage-shared-facilities-in-charente/

15. Vienne, Poitou-Charente, France: Collection of three sweet cottages, village location, swimming pool, available last 2 weeks in July. 10% discount

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/133-cottage-shared-grounds-in-vienne/

16. Charente Maritime, France, collection of cottages within this lovely former cognac distillery. Swimming pool, gardens and half an hour to sandy beaches of South West France. Following weeks available in various cottages 27th June through to end of July. 5% discount for last minute.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/70-cottage-shared-facilities-in-charente-maritime/

17. Charente Maritime: Child-friendly barn conversion four beds, swimming pool, water parks, beaches etc. Two weeks available 11th – 25th July 25% discount if booked before 29th June

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/519-private-cottage-shared-facilities-in-charente-maritime/

18. Charente: Cluster of four cottages with shared swimming pool, gardens, toys, prepared meals and more surrounded by tiny hamlets and small market towns. Lots of fab restaurants in the area and a lake beach. UK TV and private gated terraces for each cottage. Great availability for June and July 20% discount for all available weeks up to 25th July Exclusive to Holiday Tots guests.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/58-cottage-shared-facilities-in-charente/

19. Charente: Private three bedroom villa in the rural Charente sharing the enclosed swimming pool with only families staying in the Yurt. Available 4th – 25th July offer 15% discount plus free bike hire.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/162-private-villa-shared-facilities-in-charente/

20. Charente Maritime: Collection of six child-friendly holiday cottages in South West France, enclosed swimming pool, half hour to beaches. Various cottages available up to 25th July.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/497-cottage-shared-facilities-in-charente-maritime/

21. Languedoc Roussillon: Choice of a private four bedroom cottage with private garden and use of shared facilities in the Languedoc-Roussillon, France – just by the Spanish border or one of the lovely three bedroom lodges available for the following dates: lodge: 27 th June-18 th July – villa: 3 th July-17 th July.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/143-5-lodges-shared-facilities-in-pyrenees-orientales/

22. Aude: Collection of four family-friendly luxury cottages enjoying extensive grounds, enclosed swimming pool (heated May-Sept) each with its own private terrace.

The gites from the pool

Ref MK2CR 11/07 – 18/07 (normally €995) with 20% discount now €796

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/140-cottage-shared-facilities-in-aude/

Ref MK4CA 04/07 – 18/07 & 25/07 – 01/08 (€970) now €776    https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/142-cottage-shared-facilities-in-aude/

Ref MK1L  04/07 – 18/07 (€1400) now €1120 https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/134-cottage-shared-facilities-in-aude/

23. Aude: Lovely wine and olive chateau in Aude, with beautiful vineyard views and a host of family-friendly activities including swimming pool, play barn, tennis courts and more. Choice 1, 2 and 3 bedroom cottages with 30% discount on the following availability: ½ bed 22nd June to 11th July 3 bed 1st July to 11th July.

Barbeque area overlooking olive grove

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/176-cottage-shared-facilities-in-aude/

24. Languedoc Roussillon: Collection of child-friendly apartments located in Gard, Languedoc Roussillon France. Shared swimming pool, village location with various weeks available in June and July – offer May prices in June and June prices in July.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/164-apartment-in-gard/

25. Languedoc Roussillon : luxury micro resort close to beaches, four cottages, almost inclusive packages kids club, meals, wine and more. June prices and inclusions extended to the 18th July.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/388-luxury-micro-resort-in-herault/

Italy

26. Tuscany: A gorgeous five bedroom baby and toddler friendly villa in a stunning rural location with views over lakes and hills. 10% discount on all remaining weeks in June, July and August.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/524-private-villa-in-tuscany/

Portugal

27. Algarve: Lovely child-friendly cottages with amazing facilities and views over Loule in Portugal. An ideal rural escape yet only a short drive to the family friendly attractions and beaches the Algarve has to offer.

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Property ref: RML 2 adults 1 child under 2 available 20th June – 16th July 7 nights reduced from £485 to £415

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/279-cottage-shared-facilities-in-nr-loule-algarve/

Property ref RMC 2 adults and infant under 2 yrs available 20th June to 18th July 7 nights was £485 now £415

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/280-cottage-shared-facilities-in-nr-loule-algarve/

STOP PRESS… Late addition

28.


Normandy, France: We have just been notified about a last minute availability in Normandy France, walk to beach and village available 18th – 25th July.  10 % discount

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/275-cottage-shared-facilities-in-calvados/

Last minute availability for these toddler friendly private villas and holiday cottages

All of the cottages and villas below are private and offer fabulous baby and toddler facilities. There are some last minute breaks to be had for all the family. Below is a list of June and July availability as of 20th June 2015

Private Villas and Cottages

UK

Cotswolds: Charming holiday cottage in village location and Bredon Hill on the doorstep. Available Monday 22nd to Friday 26th June 4 nights mid-week available 20% discount.

child-friendly holiday cottage cotswold

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/474-private-cottage-in-cotswolds/

Cornwall: Private Villa with sea views overlooking Looe Island. Four bedrooms, enclosed garden available W/c 27th June and 18th July.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/312-private-villa-in-downderry/

Cornwall: Due to last minute cancellations rarely available this tiny cottage in the romantic town of Charlestown in Cornwall. Perfect for a couple and baby. Available July 3rd & 10th at £160 per night, £1095 – 24th & 31st at £185 per night, £1295 per week

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/200-cottage-in-cornwall-charlestown/

Cornwall: spacious five bedroom 18th century Grade ll listed holiday cottage  in the picturesque village of Kingsand only a short walk to beach. Available 24th June to 27th June £500.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/194-private-cottage-in-kingsand/

Sussex: Coastal private luxury cottage rated 4 star gold by Visit England. Walk to Camber Sands beach. Available w/c 11th and 18th July.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/523-private-cottage-in-camber/

France

Normandy: Lovely five bedroom farmhouse set in the beautiful Calvados countryside, playroom, pony rides, 3 acres of grounds swimming pool close to ports. Available week commencing 4th July – 10% discount.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/518-private-cottage-in-vire/

Lot et Garonne: stunning five bedroom house with amazing pure water swimming pool with gentle beach inlet for toddlers and babies and private pretty garden. Available 6th – 13th July

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/514-private-house-shared-grounds-in-lot-et-garonne/

Languedoc Roussillon: This three bedroom villa is located in the heart of the traditional village Argeles sur Mer. It has a private swimming pool, garden and within easy walking distance to bars, restaurants and beach. 3 weeks available in July from 4th to 25th – usually €1850 PW now €1450 per week.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/148-private-villa-in-pyrenees-orientales/

Corbieres, Languedoc-Roussillon: Amazing three bedroom child-friendly villa in Corbieres, Languedoc-Roussillon, France. The swimming pool is fully enclosed and only 1.2 deep, the garden is enclosed and has lots of toys and sandpit for toddlers, village location, wine tastings, Sky TV local Michelin Star Restaurant, castles nearest beach 28 km. Currently available up to 12th July (also a week in August from 1st)

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/309-private-villa-in-corbieres/

Correze: Private converted farmhouse with private courtyard and heated pool with security cover, games room and walking distance to village too. Amazing views in Correze, France. Last availability: 27th June to 11th July – contact owner for special offers.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/113-private-cottage-in-correze/

Spain

Costa Calida:  3 double bedroom villa located on the Roda golf and beach resort, shared swimming pools, play areas and lots of family friendly facilities plus walk to beach. Available from 26th July to 6th August.

kerry and sue villa spain

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/464-private-villa-shared-facilities-in-costa-calida/

Costa Brava: Modern private villa in the medieval town of Begur, Costa Brava Spain with sea views and shared swimming pool. Available week commencing 4th July reduced from £1350 to £950.

through trees begur villa sea

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/145-private-villa-in-costa-brava/

Cyprus

Paphos: Choice of two lovely villas in Cyprus near Paphos with private swimming pools and within walking distance to the beach. A few weeks available between 3rd July and 9th August.

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https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/destinations/17-cyprus/

For more information on any of these properties contact the owner directly by clicking on the links. Alternatively if you need help with your holiday search feel free to contact us here at Holiday Tots 🙂

Beach Cottage is possibly in one of the best locations you could ask for in Norfolk.

Beach Cottage is a child-friendly holiday cottage located in the small seaside village of Mundesley in Norfolk. Its location is very special, directly overlooking the beautiful sandy beach and we were lucky enough to be invited to stay…

FullSizeRenderWe visited Beach Cottage in March 2015. Our party consisted of four adults and three children (aged 6, 5 and 4). We headed off from Hertfordshire, straight from school at 3.15, and arrived before 6 O’clock. The kids were very well behaved on the journey and devoured fish and chips when we arrived- the timing was perfect. Bath then bed for them while the four adults sat down to a fish and chip supper with wine. How civilised! Point to note: the fish and chip shop in the village offers the largest portions imaginable!

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The cottage enjoys an idyllic spot with magnificent sea views from the fully-enclosed toddler friendly garden and fun look out.

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There is a fab play shed with lots of different toys and games for children of all ages.

Outside on our first night it was really chilly but the cottage was very cosy and warm. The front room was large enough to accommodate us four adults and the settee was really comfortable.

There is a small table in the kitchen and the main dining table is at the bottom of the stairs which then feeds through to the lounge that has French doors opening onto the garden.

Upstairs the main bedroom has brilliant views over the garden, beach and sea. This was my favourite view from the window…

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There is another double bedroom on this floor and a small bunk room. If you have a cot or blow up bed you could fit it in this room by moving the chest of drawers. The main bedroom has ample space for a cot, blow up bed or both. The family bathroom with WC, bath and over bath shower is at the end of the hall. All of the beds had lovely linen and were really comfy. Just remember your bath towels!

Outside the front door there is space for two cars behind a private gated area and across this area is a fourth bedroom (in an annex) which has a double bed and shower en-suite – we didn’t sleep here but found it handy as a spare bathroom.

8The following day we visited BeWILDerwood (review to come) and had a smashing day and it was all topped off with a fab last night at the cottage.

We enjoyed nuts and a little champagne before heading off to the Ship Inn, Mundesley for dinner. Literally a 2 minute walk! http://www.mundesley-ship.co.uk/

 

 

 

Once the kids were tucked up in bed we headed out to the lookout at the end of the garden. This is such a cool space overlooking the sea, the log burner kept us warm while we enjoyed some red wine and chocolate! (make sure you remember a baby monitor or mention to Angela that you would like one and she might be able to source)

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The next morning we woke early to lovely sunshine and headed off to the beach which is literally on the doorstep. You can see Beach Cottage in the pic here, white cottage on to the right of the pic and the lookout is the nearer building to the left of the cottage.

Mundesley is as if time has stood still, it reminded me of being a child in the 70s even with a small post office at the back of the corner shop. It is full of character and is an ideal spot for visiting the rest of Norfolk and its lovely countryside and coast.

All in all, Beach Cottage in Mundelsey offers a fab holiday home for families with babies, toddlers and children of all ages. The location is perfect and the lookout extremely cool! Mundesley beach has soft white sand, ideal for sand castle building the gentle sloping sand is perfect for toddlers to paddle.  Owner, Angela, is so helpful she is willing to take on recommendations and action them and the guest book is full of glowing feedback for the cottage and Angela herself.

Take a look at our video and visit Holiday Tots for more information on this fab child-friendly holiday cottage in Norfolk by the sea!

 

Hiring a car abroad this year for your family holiday? After 8th June you might need a special code…

Drivers are being warned that if they want to hire a car after 8th June abroad they may need to have a special code.

From 8th June the paper counterpart of the British driving license will be abolished. Convictions for offences like speeding that are usually shown on the paper part of the license will now be computerised. People wanting to hire a car abroad may now need to show a special code to the hire company so that they can see any convictions.

The code that will be issued will only be active for 72 hours and so needs to be used within that time frame. Fine for most family holidays but if you are hiring a car in more than one place you might need to reapply between cars.

You will be able to get the code by logging onto the DVLA website, if you do not have access to the internet a telephone number will be in place from 8th June.

There is a little confusion on whether you should destroy your paper counterpart after the 8th of June. I think I will be keeping mine for now as it is short notice it looks like some hire companies will still be accepting them. If in doubt its best to be safe than sorry. When we go on our family holiday to France this year with the children we will take our paper counterpart, photographic card and a code from the DVLA – just to be sure! It is also worth checking with your car hire company what information they require.

If you are looking for more information pop over the .gov website

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-licence-changes

 

Suffolk a great family holiday destination – our weekend away

I didn’t realise that Suffolk was so beautiful, it has amazing food, pubs, countryside, villages and seaside towns that you just want to keep exploring…

We stayed for two nights in a ‘posh tent’ at Sweffling Hall Farm, owned by the team at Lanterns and Larks and we visited three seaside towns, two pubs, possibly one of the best fish and chip shops I have ever been to, and played in the beautiful countryside. Here’s a little about where we visited:

On our first night we headed off for a country walk to the local pub…

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Here we stumbled across The Sweffling White Horse. A quirky traditional English pub that will take you back through time. The ales and lagers are absolutely lip smacking scrumptious. Hubby had a draft local ale, I am not keen on beer but I tried one of their bottled lagers and it was quite possibly the best tasting lager I have ever had.

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The boys tucked into home cooked sausage rolls. This pub is full of character and so are its owners Marie and Mark. Their philosophy is to showcase local fare and treat you to flavour and quality. And they certainly achieve that.

We headed back to camp and our lovely host at Sweffling Hall, Laura, introduced us to two cool apps: Skyview and Geocaching. Skyview is a great app for star gazing- I’m not sure how accurate it is but the kids absolutely love it! I had never heard of Geocaching but am looking forward to going on some real treasure hunts and will let you know how it goes.

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For now we just enjoyed the sausages, fire and stars. BTW if you are in the area and like eggs Sweffling Hall farm https://swefflinghallfarm.wordpress.com/ specialise in them and you can just nip in and purchase as many as you want. They are very very tasty, so good, in fact, they can be found in M & S, Sainsbury or at the Happy Egg Company.

The next morning, after a little play in the fields of Sweffling Hall Farm and foraging for kindle for the evening, we headed off to the Suffolk coast.

Our first stop was Southwold: what a lovely seaside town where once again we were whisked back in time- it feels like a place where time has stood still.

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We headed straight for Southwold Pier, which is small in size but definitely not small in  character! The Pier has a good selection of eateries, we stopped off for coffee and cake at The Boardwalk where food is sourced locally with plenty of menu choices even for children and toddlers. The boys enjoyed water and cake – their choice! Something made them smile, maybe it was the lemon or ice…

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We sat here, out of the wind, soaking the sun and taking in the view of the fabulous lighthouse.

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We then ventured to the weird and wacky handmade arcade also located on the Pier. The boys and I settled down into what looked like a submarine pod to watch a show. I really had no Idea what was going to happen but a lady and her two boys came out laughing a lot, so we ventured in. We were taken into a world under the sea where beach huts and for sale signs live, alongside estate agents sharks and barrels of toxic waste mate (yes mate) to make a monstrous sea creature… yes it was very weird!

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Thankfully the boys didn’t understand any of it and just laughed at the puppetry! There are some really wacky games to play here and worth a visit for a little strange fun.

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Southwold beach is also lined with lovely colourful beach huts, I can imagine it gets really busy here in the summer months but today it was perfect, the sun was shining and Southwold looked beautiful…

We then headed off to Walberswick. You can access this by small ferry directly from Southwold or by driving inland and coming back out again.

Walberswick is located on the South bank of the River Blyth surrounded by marshland, heath and a beautiful white sandy beach in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty- it’s no wonder that people want to own holiday homes here.

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The boys spent an hour crabbing and thankfully caught one each! (if you go you need bacon, crab lines and nets all available at the small corner shop and ice cream van)

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After letting them go we headed for the beach, a little too windy today to stay but beautiful none the less. We managed to find a sheltered spot while the boys played.

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and made their mark…

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We then grabbed the all-important ice cream and went for a walk along the river.

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This is when we spotted the ferry that transports people across the water to Southwold (we drove). This ferry is actually one man in a row boat, quite surreal!

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With rumbling beginning in our bellies we headed off to Aldeburgh. We actually were only visiting here for the highly regarded Fish and Chip shop (more about that in a minute) but the beautiful buildings against the pebbled beach took my breath away. Aldeburgh has been named as one of the top 50 places to live in Britain and it is easy to see why, it is full of colour from the pastel coloured sea fronted buildings to the pebbly beach and colourful fishing boats and huts.

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We found the famous Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop (reportedly one of the best fish and chip shops in the country) and devoured some of the best tasting fish and chips we have ever tasted. The boys ate every bit of theirs too!

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Heading back to camp we stopped off at The Dolphin in Thorpeness near Aldeburgh. Lovely pub with child-friendly garden and apparently good food. Thorpeness is a quiet village with a man-made lake at its heart, and it was once voted as the ‘Weirdest Village in England’ by Bizarre magazine but we were not here long enough to find out why, but we did notice a house in the clouds as we approached…

House in the cloudes

Our final evening was spent playing Hex bugs

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and making scrapbooks of our weekend using things we had found along the way from sand in the boys shoes to postcards purchased in each town.

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Some good memories had here.

In the morning we woke to a beautiful chorus of bird song and the boys made the most of their last morning using the space to play with anything and everything from

Rocket launchers and frisbee to football and the toy planes

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One got stuck on the tent. The boys went to find a stick for me to get it down, I said it had to be long, this was maybe a little too long!

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And then after playing with a wheelbarrow


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Finley turned Freddie into one…

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We were sad to leave Suffolk and will definitely be back for more…

for child-friendly Holiday cottages and glamping in Suffolk ideal for babies, toddlers, and older children why not visit our site where we have a lovely small selection 🙂