Chrissie, 29, and Paul Townend, 33, from Oxford, stayed at Hillfield Cottages
– a self-catering holiday development – with children Toby, 3, and Sophie, 5.
“Hillfield is a slice of heaven in south Devon.With a traditional village feel, the beautiful self-catering cottages and apartments come with travel cots, highchairs and stair gates. There’s an outdoor play area, tennis courts and a small shop, too. We stayed in Vantage Point, which had its own flat-screen TV, hot tub and sauna. Most people had children, so Sophie and Toby made lots of friends. We even threw a hot tub party on the last night.”
“Our two loved Woodlands, the fantastic theme park, just down the road. There’s loads of slides, play zones and a farm. Talk to Hillfield’s friendly owners Caroline and Michael about a discount on the entry fee.”
“For free days out we took picnics to the beautiful beaches a few miles down the road.”
For more info see www.hillfieldcottages.com or call 01803 839600.
Bruern, The Cotswolds
Francesca Allen, 32, from The Wirral, mum to Rocco, 2½, rented a self-catering cottage in the village of Bruern.
“The 12 cottages in this tiny village in The Cotswolds are converted from a Victorian stableyard. Each one sleeps two to 10 people.
The cottages are just as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. Gorgeously decorated (ours even had a four-poster bed for us and Rocco), but they’re not so pristine you have to worry about your children running around inside.
Once you’re there, you don’t really need to go anywhere else. We didn’t need to do much shopping, thanks to the welcome freebies, which included muffins, local jam, eggs,
bacon and sausages. And there was a complimentary bottle of champagne!”
“Best bit was gettting outdoors and into the fresh air with the fabulous cross-country walks. Bring your wellies.”
“There’s so much to do for free! The indoor pool (shared with the other cottages), indoor and outdoor play areas and the wooden Wendy house.”
For more details, see www.babyfriendlyboltholes.co.uk.
St Leonards-on-sea, Hastings, Sussex
Victoria, 39, and Brian Hardy, 53, from Kent, stayed at Combe Haven Holiday Park
with daughter Elizabeth, 2.
“This large holiday park is close to the sea and offers plenty to do for all ages. A travel cot and highchair were supplied for free, which helps cut down on your packing.
Younger children will enjoy the water facilities, craft workshops, Tumble Tots and nature trail, and there are amusements, go-karts and a disco for older kids. There’s even a ‘bonny baby’ competition to ensure every member of the family can get involved.”
“Children’s nutritionist Annabel Karmel hosted a ‘Get Cooking’ day, which included cupcake baking classes and demos on cooking healthy meals for parents.”
“All entertainment and park facilities (including the indoor and outdoor swimming pools) are free when you book a special package.”
For more details, see www.haven.com
Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire
Allie Gill, 41, from Surrey, mum to Ava-Mae, 2½, stayed at Woolley Grange hotel.
“Set in stunning countryside but a stone’s throw from tons of places to visit, the hotel
is more than 400 years old and each room is uniquely decorated. Parents will appreciate the babysitting service, crèche and tea-time seating. The dinner menu offered plenty of choice for everyone and included separate vegetarian and kids’ menus.”
“The huge trampoline, garden toys and bikes are free, and don’t forget the heated pool!”
See www.luxuryfamilyhotels.com or call 01225 864705 for more details.
Martha Harding, 37, from Swansea, mum to Milo, 6, stayed at Gwel an Mor Holiday Village.
“Gwel an Mor is Cornish for ‘view of the sea’, and the lodges have stunning views of the Atlantic. There are also lots of beaches close by, which are perfect for activities such as rock pooling and bodyboarding.
The accommodation is luxurious and well-appointed. It comes with fully equipped kitchen, and satellite TV, DVD player and WiFi are supplied as standard. Our lodge had a wood-burning stove and hot tub, too! There’s also a heated swimming pool on site, a wellbeing centre for parental pampering, and croquet, a putting green, boules and adventure play area to keep the kids entertained.
All lodges are safety-proofed with cots and highchairs. Stair gates are available on request.”
“The Terrace Restaurant offers top quality meals that use locally sourced, seasonal produce at very reasonable prices. Children are well-catered for, too.”
“The nature walks (50p for kids/ £2.50 for adults) allowed Milo to see shrews, voles
and slow-worms in their natural habitat, plus a Harris Hawk, Eagle Owl and Tawny Owl.”
Visit www.gwelanmor.com for more details.