"Few cottages are as cool as this." read The Times newspaper when including Palm Cottage in a recent round up of 'Cool cottages in Dorset' and they were right on the money! There's a whole lot more than meets the eye to pretty terraced house, tucked down a quiet cul-de-sac within walking distance from the lovely Dorset harbour town of Christchurch. Little people will squeal with delight at what they find under the stairs and who would have expected a 60ft garden for playing outside, barbecues and simply basking in the sun?
The owners have recently completed a full refurbishment to make the whole cottage super smart and modern, with luxurious furnishings and finishing touches in every room. From stepping through the front door, it’s impossible not to be struck by how bright, light and spacious a traditional terraced cottage like this can be, thanks to the fresh white decor, natural colours, bleached wood flooring and a roomy, open plan layout. Even funky mirrors and ocean artwork cleverly adds to the sense of space.
Although Palm Cottage feels brand new, it’s been the owners pride and joy for many years and they’ve lavished all their love on creating a blissful bolthole by the sea, especially for families with babies and toddlers in tow. One of their coolest ideas has got to be their very cute play snug under the stairs, which has a mini stable door with a window to peep in on youngsters as they pick and choose from all the toys, games and books in this Tardis-like space, complete with sheepskin rug and scatter cushions. On dry days, children can have just as much fun in the ‘Little Palm’ play house in the garden, which has a play kitchen, table and chairs, plus ride-ons rockers and toddler slides are provided. The garden is a real sun trap all day long, so parents can relax while children play, then stoke up the BBQ for easy tea-times of bangers and burgers.
With the whole ground floor open plan, parents can always keep an eye on babies and toddlers whether they’re pulling out the toys and board games to play on the rug by the flame-effect gas stove or snuggling into the comfy sofas to watch favourite TV programmes or DVD’s. The state of the art contemporary kitchen has been fitted with high spec integrated appliances and equipped with the latest gadgets including a Nespresso machine, Dualit toaster, digital radio and a handy hand blender for whizzing up baby meals. Everyone has a good chance of a good night’s rest in the luxurious bedrooms, with Egyptian cotton linen, plush throws and black out blinds, plus the master bedroom has an Ercol armchair to be as comfy as possible for those mid night feeds.
Palm Cottage has two bedrooms to sleep 4 people plus a baby, with a Baby Bjorn travel cot available, plus there’s room for 2 more on a sofa bed. The ground floor has a light and spacious open plan layout comprising a lounge area, dining area and a kitchen. A pair of luxurious sofas is set in front a flame effect gas stove and the wall mounted TV can be positioned for the most comfortable viewing. A cupboard beneath the TV is full of board games for all ages and the owners have built up a good collection of DVD’s. In the dining area, the chalked oak table seats 6, plus a high chair is available and this is next to the play snug under stairs, so parents can sip cappuccinos just outside the tiny stable door! The designer kitchen area, with its pale grey units and white grey veined marble worktops has been fitted with high end integrated appliances and gadgets. These include an eye-level oven/grill and built in microwave, gas hob, fridge freezer, dishwasher, Nespresso, Dualit toaster hand blender and a washer dryer.
A carpeted staircase, with a stairgate available, leads upstairs to the two bedrooms and family bathroom . The master bedroom, with a lofty white beamed ceiling overlooks the garden and has a luxurious suede king-size bed, plush throw and Egyptian cotton linen, plus an Ercol armchair in the corner and space for the travel cot. The second bedroom has zip link beds that can be made up as a king size bed or twin singles and there is space for the travel cot as well as a lovingly restored Captions chair. The family bathroom has been finished to very high standards with grey vein marble tiling, fitted units, a bath, power shower, large washbasin, soft close WC and heated towel rail.
French doors from the kitchen open onto an enclosed, 60ft garden, laid with an artificial lawn that never gets muddy and featuring a patio area, BBQ and a corner play house with outdoor toys and ride-ons. There is a right of way through garden gates at the back, but this is really only used by bin men.
Palm Cottage is just a short walk from the centre of Christchuch in Dorset, which is a historic market town with a huge natural harbour that makes it especially popular with the boating fraternity. The town has all the shops and amenities families could need and loads of family friendly cafes, pubs and restaurants to tuck into all the ‘Made in Dorset’ delicacies. Check out the quirky cafe bistro, The Boathouse, a local institution for some delicious local food. Or check out Cheese and Alfies, in a cobbled street of Christchurch’s oldest quarter for breakfast, lunch or dinner and the olde worlde New Forest Perfumery Tea Rooms for a Dorset Cream Tea, sinful cakes and lush milkshakes.
Besides being walking distance from Christchurch town, Palm Cottage is close to the beaches at Mudeford Sandbank and Hengisbury Head, plus there are a string of other beaches nearby for bucket and spade days on either scrunchy shingle or sandy shores. Avon Beach is especially good for families and crabbing is a traditional pastime at Mudeford Quay. Families can have fun at the Splashpark on Christchurch Town Quay or spend a few hours in the bizarrely named Serendipity Sam’s Play Centre featuring a huge, 4 lane Astra slide into a ball pit, a spiral tube slide, aerial runway, tunnels, obstacles and an enclosed area for under 4s.
The major south coast seaside resort of Bournemouth is only a few miles from Christchurch and there are loads of other fun attractions to fill the days nearby. Adventure Wonderland (4 miles) is an Alice in Wonderland theme park with over 30 rides and attractions for all ages, an Animal Cuddles Corner and Wild Thing Aztec Adventure play centre. At the Snowtrak Alpine Adventure Park (5 miles), older ones can have a go at ski-ing and snowboarding on the dry ski slopes but younger ones can also have fun on Ringoes and Ski-Bobs or clamber around the woodland adventure playground. Pester power could also go into overdrive to visit Peppa Pig World (30 mins) at Paultons Family Theme Park.
The New Forest National Park in only a fifteen minute drive from Palm Cottage to see the famous free ranging ponies in the lovely scenery, visit wildlife parks and petting farms or Beaulieu Motor Museum and have a spot of lunch at beautiful country inns.
Nearest medical services: Christchurch and Bournemouth.