“..And on that Farm he had a …”
Before ‘Baby Shark’ there was Old MacDonald educating the masses about life on the Farm and that was a whole lot more fun than granny shark and her toothless jaw-snapping!
The Baby-Friendly Boltholes family are big fans of a family-friendly farmstay. In the past 10 years, we’ve been lucky enough to have been invited to stay at many amazingly baby and toddler-friendly cottages on farms in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Derbyshire and West Wales and they honestly have been some of our most memorable holidays. Even my 13 year old’s ‘mean-ager’ persona drops for a precious few days when she finds herself hand-feeding goats, lambs, pigs and chickens… in fact, she has been known to go so far as to crack a beaming smile… it really is a magical kind on minibreak!
Spring is the perfect time to go stay in a farm cottage as the weather gets a little better and we get to shake off the winter cobwebs by joining in animal feeding rounds, egg-collecting expeditions, and often help out with bottle feeding baby lambs, or simply watching them finding their feet.
Here’s my pick of the UK’s best baby and toddler-friendly farmstay holidays from Tredethick in Cornwall, to Chittlehampton in Devon and Clydey and Fron Fawr in West Wales, these are brilliant for families of all ages – and mostly all-weather too thanks to the indoor pools you will find at most of them.
Any round-up of the UK’s best family-friendly farmstays HAS to include at least one proper working farm, and, for pre-school families, there can’t be any better than one run by a former nursery school teacher! The lovely Tracey Wilson and her friendly farmer husband Chris adore seeing little ones wrapped up in waterproofs splashing in muddle puddles and getting involved farm life. They converted a barn on their working farm into two cosy cottages and lead their mini guests out each morning for egg-collecting, pig-feeding and checking on the newborn lambs. After the farm rounds are done, there are often rides in their horse-drawn cart and, sometimes even a lift up to sit in the driver’s seat of a real tractor! As well as day to day farm life, there’s a heavy dose of toddler-friendly fun with ride-on toy tractors, mud kitchens, play houses and a gorgeous heated outdoor pool…. if you can convince the little ones out of their wellies! Check-out Chittlehampton Farm Cottages on Baby Friendly Boltholes to read more about the baby and toddler-friendly kit and activities and these lovely child-friendly cottages in North Devon.
Clydey Cottages, West Wales
It might be the fabulous indoor pool, sauna or hot tub with a view but I am pretty sure it is still the animals that makes my ‘mean-ager’ grin from ear to ear every time we come to Clydey. We have been coming here since she was a toddler and she seems to LOVES it more every time. Now we are accompanied by two toddlers, whether riding on toy tractors, joining the daily egg-collecting and animal feeding rounds, trashing the soft-play barn or playing catch in the pool, our little gang probably talks about our holidays here more than any other… plus there’s an honesty shop with a decent wine selection and reasonable prices (alongside nappies, wipes, pasta, gourmet ready-meals and other essentials), so Dad REALLY likes it too! Read about Clydey Cottages on Baby-Friendly Boltholes
Tredethick Farm Cottages, Cornwall
Alongside Clydey Cottages in West Wales, Tredethick Farm Cottages in Cornwall are possibly the most loved farm cottages by users of Baby-Friendly Boltholes and it is not hard to see why. Parents are fans of the thoughtful touches like the scenically set hot tub garden with its huge tub and relaxation pod, whilst babies, toddlers and older kids love the young farmer’s club with its daily feeding rounds and pony rides (watch out – my daughter got hooked on horseriding here!) plus the indoor pool, the brilliant soft ball barn and balance bike/scooter track. There’s a book box for borrowing bedtime stories, buckets and spades available for free loan, and fishing nets alongside gourmet ready meals, wine, toddler-friendly meals, baby essentials and ice creams in the honesty shop. Read more about Tredethick on Baby-Friendly Boltholes here
Tapnell Farm, Isle of Wight
Few farm cottages can boast a go-kart track, bouncing pillow, cafe bar, petting farm and huge play barn with 3-storey soft play zone, yet somehow remain scenic and tranquil, but Tapnell Farm can. Whether taking up residence in one of the fairly luxurious and pretty farm cottages, or enjoying a glamping adventure in a 3-bedroom safari tent with hot tub, log burner, fully equipped kitchen and bathroom; a stay here is crammed full of memory making for little ones and their grown ups… plus the Isle of Wight’s many lovely beaches are only 5-10minutes away. Read more about Tapnell Farm baby and toddler-friendly farm cottages on Baby-Friendly Boltholes here.
Fron Fawr Cottages, West Wales
As much as I love the ease of a guaranteed ‘happy whatever the weather’ holiday at the all-action cottage clusters above, there are also times when the gentle scenery and tranquility of Fron Fawr is just the ticket. This is a place to escape from busy lives and just wind down surrounded by beautiful countryside – perhaps soaking it all in from one of the cottage hot tubs! Since there’s only a handful of cottages, it often feels like you have the place to yourselves, but with the fantastic benefits of being able to dip into laidback farm animal-feeding rounds and egg-collecting, burn off excess energy in play field with swings and fort, or tear around the safely enclosed grounds on one of the many ride-on toys provided. Plus the cottages are pet-friendly too, so four-legged family members are not left out, in fact, they are rather spoilt with lovely dog beds, treats and bowls provided.
On our last stay here, the kids loved it so much that we literally couldn’t bear to tear them away and stayed an extra night. Despite the tranquility, there’s lots to do within a very short drive including Cardigan with its waterfront Pizza Tipi and traditional sweet shop, and family-friendly attractions like Folly Farm, Manor Farm Park and Oakwood with it’s Blue Lagoon swimming pool. Read more about the child-friendly farmstay holidays at Fron Fawr on Baby-Friendly Boltholes here.