A Bolthole Review; Woodlands Manor Farm
Leading lifestyle blogger and mum of three Kerry Villers reviews Baby-Friendly Bolthole, Woodlands Manor Farm in Cornwall. Find out more about her trip below;
At the beginning of December, we were very lucky to be invited by Baby Friendly Boltholes to stay at one of their properties in Cornwall. I was thrilled, one because who wouldn’t be, and two because I’ve wanted to visit Cornwall for forever and a day!
If you haven’t already heard of Baby Friendly Boltholes, they’re a family run business dedicated to helping families find both stylish and child friendly holiday accommodation. Their website brings together a list of the best family friendly accommodation across the globe, which can be relied on to help you plan the perfect family getaway. On their site, you’ll find detailed information about the amenities found at their properties, including whether they offer things like stair gates, cots and sterilisers. All of which I know can make the difference between a blissful or stressful family holiday, particularly when your children are very young.
During our visit to Cornwall, we stayed at Woodlands Manor Farm, in Morwenstow, which a collection of cottages set in breathtaking landscape. We arrived in darkness, so waking up to see rolling hills stretched out before us was a lovely morning treat! As well as being set in beautiful countryside, the cottages have a lot to offer in terms of facilities, there’s a communal swimming pool shared between the cottages, and games room with darts and a pool table.
We stayed in Stable Cottage, which was perfectly equipped for a family with young children. There were toys, games and books for the kids to play with, as well as things like a high chair, baby bath, plastic cutlery, and a stair gate in the children’s room. And much to Noah’s delight (he’s literally obsessed with cake), there was a delicious homemade lemon drizzle cake waiting for us when we arrived, as well as fresh bread, eggs, and butter.
The morning after our arrival, our host, Nigel, came to greet us and filled us in on the facilities and the local area. He was so helpful in terms of recommending great places to visit and eat. I find advice like this invaluable when only visiting for a short amount of time, because it helps make the very best use of time and avoids chancing it on disappointing activities or restaurants. He also invited us to spend the morning feeding the farm animals, which was music to my children’s ears.
First up, were the chickens, where we collected fresh eggs and the kids stroked their feathers. When collecting the eggs, we found some of them were surprisingly warm to touch, kind of like handling them freshly boiled.
We then had a wander through fields where we met sheep and and a rather lovely Shetland pony. Our hosts, Nigel and Adele, were great at encouraging the kids to feel confident around the animals, and were lovely to chat to as we wandered around the farm.
I enjoyed it so much, that this little walk alone made me dream of upping sticks and moving to the countryside to do something similar ourselves! Chris rolled his eyes and gave me a sideways glance at my suggestion, no doubt passing the idea off as yet another one of my many dubious master plans. I’m sure there will be a new one next week.
After feeding the animals we decided to go in search of the sea and so took a short drive to Welcombe Mouth Beach. The area is a designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of it’s distinctive rock formations and it’s really rather beautiful. We found plenty of rock pools and caves to explore here, but the icing on the cake was most definitely stumbling across an impressive waterfall amongst the cliffs.
The beach was really peaceful and largely deserted, which suited us just fine. That has to be one of the benefits of visiting tourist attractions off peak, you get to see everything at it’s quietest. After the kids had splashed around in the waterfall for a while and were thoroughly soaked (and frozen) through, we wandered back up the cliff and headed to a local pub for lunch.
Our plan for the afternoon had included a woodland walk around the cottages and an evening swim, but after spending the day climbing up and down cliffs, we ditched the walk and went for an earlier swim instead. Having the swimming pool on site felt like a great added extra, the kids thoroughly enjoyed having a swim and although it’s part of a communal area to the cottages, we were alone in the pool for the duration of our swim.
The cold weather outside meant that the windows had steamed up around the pool, to the point that you couldn’t see the view outside, but trust me when I say the view from the pool in summer would be stunning!
We spent our evening eating tasty sausages straight from the farm and relaxed in the cottage. If you’re an outdoorsy kind of family, then you will love this place. There are so many things to do to thoroughly tire yourself (and crucially, your children) out during the day, and the cottage is perfectly set up for cooking and relaxing at night.
On the recommendation of Nigel and Adele, we spent the next day walking through the cliffs around Hawker’s Hut. Again, the scenery was beautiful, maybe even more so than the beach we had visited the day before and a waterfall is hard to top!
Once again, the fact that we were visiting off peak was an unexpected bonus. The wind and clouds made the views evermore beautiful somehow. The wind was howling all around us and the sun shone, breaking through the clouds, before falling into glistening puddles on the sea. No photograph that I could take would ever do the scene justice. It was beautiful, even with a grumpy Elodie pulling at my coat hem.
All in all, we had a wonderful stay. Everything from the accommodation, to the facilities, the hosts and the location were excellent. The only negative we took away from our entire stay was that a two day visit was not long enough.
We missed out on the Woodland walk, which if the TripAdvisor reviews are anything to go by, are a must see. And there were several other places, like Tintagel, that I would really loved to have visited. There must easily be enough things to keep a family busy here for week, if not longer and we intend to go back!
Thank so much to Baby Friendly Boltholes and Woodlands Manor Farm for letting us stay with you free of charge for the purposes of this review. We honestly had the best time and would be eager to visit again soon.