Travelling with a family means that accommodation is more vital than ever. And while hotels are one option, they can bring with them a whole host of problems including a lack of space and privacy, as well as a lack of flexibility (you can’t lie in and have a late breakfast, for example!).
So, we thought it might be useful to share three of our favourite places to self-cater with kids in the UK. All of them have different advantages and are all in places which are full of things to do for families. Plus, all three are very near supermarkets or shops which make them extremely convenient too.
This is a gorgeous place to stay, nestled within Sherwood Forest with its hundreds of trees. It’s quiet and beautiful and our lodge even had its own hot tub – which was great fun to use.
The accommodation, which is cabin style, is fabulous – with large rooms, an ensuite for the master bedroom and separate bathroom for the kids, a large living room/kitchen area and balcony.
We loved staying here because it simply felt relaxing and quiet. It has fewer activities available than the Valley (see below), although there is badminton and lots of places to run around, as well as cycle paths to enjoy. It was the kind of place where I didn’t even mind doing a bit of cooking on holiday as it still felt as if I was away enjoying myself. My kids also enjoyed the fact that there were biscuits on the pillows when we arrived (and I liked the complimentary Molton Brown products).
We all really enjoyed looking out into the woods and felt that this was a place which families would love – you can snuggle up and watch TV, play board games or read.
We also found it extremely convenient for travelling around as it’s located just outside Nottingham and nothing seemed very far away.
Disclosure: Our stay in the Sherwood Hideaway was complimentary. However, all our views and comments are made honestly and we were not given any suggestions for what to write. The Sherwood Hideaway offers self-catering luxury lodges in the heart of Sherwood Forest. There are often special offers on the site, but for example, a weekend stay in a Woodland Rustic lodge (like ours) in November, costs from £520
The Valley, Cornwall
The Valley Cornwall was excellent for families who want a home from home. It had a good sized kitchen with a balcony and living room, two bathrooms plus a spare extra toilet, a freezer and washing machine. We were very impressed by the space on offer, although if you have very small children or toddlers be aware that there are steps down to the bedrooms and quite steep steps up from the living room to the kitchen.
The second bedroom is small, but fine for two kids to share, as it has twin beds in it. The master bedroom has its own ensuite bathroom, which is always appealing!
But the Valley’s main selling point, or at least from my point of view, is all the extras it offers.
It has an indoor and outdoor swimming pool (the indoor is small, but we managed just fine by not going when everyone else was in there), plus lots of grassy areas to play on, including a football pitch and small activity area. There is a restaurant on site for those who don’t want to cook all the time, activities for kids (from art to meeting strange pets) and table tennis, squash and snooker.
We really enjoyed taking part in the activities when we stayed, and thought these really enhanced our experience. It was lovely to go out in the day and then come back and have a swim or game of table tennis!
The Valley is located around 10 minutes drive from Truro, Cornwall’s only city. It’s also conveniently located for pretty much all of the places we wanted to visit in the area…
Robert has made his own video of The Valley – please take a look:
Disclosure: A week in a Villa Gallery (which has accommodation for four) at The Valley, Cornwallcosts £1770.We were fortunate enough to be offered a discounted media rate, but that has not influenced our review in any way.
Herbert Woods, Potter Heigham, Norfolk
This was a very different experience for us as it involved a cottage right by the water in the Norfolk Broads, a network of rivers and lakes. And it was great fun, especially as we took our own boat out for a trip too.
Potter Heigham is a village which is about 20km away from Norwich and is a huge site with lots of different cottages – and boats.
Once again we were really impressed by the accommodation as it had good sized rooms, a lovely living room and kitchen.
The cottage is right on the water and it was fabulous to see swans and boats glide by. There is a lovely terrace if you want to eat outside, but be warned that there is nothing between the terrace and the water, so this probably isn’t the best place for inquisitive toddlers, or indeed those under around eight I’d say.
It was a lovely location, not far from Horsey Beach, where we saw seals lolling on the sand and swimming in the sea!
The village is also very handy, as it has a huge shop, Lathams, which seemed to stock everything, from clothes to food, plus two pubs, a post office, a fish and chip shop and a magnificent bakery (which offered huge, delicious cakes!)
Disclosure: We stayed in the Broadlands Cottage at Herbert Woods on a complimentary basis, although the company had no input into this post. A three night break in Broadlands cottage (off peak) is £328. We were also given complimentary hire of the picnic boat, which usually costs £140 for a day’s trip.