My husband & I are members of the charity TAMBA as we have 1 year old twins and a 2 year old daughter. Earlier on this year, I purchased a couple of tickets online for their annual raffle & guess what? We won a holiday!. We won 3 nights at Glynn Barton Cottages in Cornwall.
As soon as I’d got off the phone with TAMBA I looked up the cottages on the internet... It looked absolutely fantastic, very child friendly & perfect for us....
I had a chat with my husband & we decided that if the owners would let us, we would pay for an extra 3 nights as it looked so good. Shirley & Steve (the owners) contacted me and we agreed 6 nights in November.
We arrived in darkness at tea time. As we drove up the long drive way, we spotted rabbits & pheasants, it felt so remote but we knew we were only minutes from a supermarket, a town centre & useful public services should we need them. We’d already done an online shop which was due to be delivered the following day so we’d only needed to bring essentials for 24 hours.
The car park’s only about 50 m from the cottages but they have little pull carts waiting in the car park that you can put your luggage, children or both in . When we got to our cottage the keys were in the door & the lights were on to welcome us. We stayed in the ‘Granary’, my first impression was how warm, welcoming and spacious it was. The 2 travel cots were up & ready for our twins and the toddler bed was all made up ready for our eldest (who was very excited about sleeping in a ‘big girls bed’ as she’s still in a cot at home). We had to take our own bedding for their travel cots but you would expect that staying anywhere. The whole cottage was absolutely spotless.
There was a built in stair gate at the top of the stairs but nothing at the bottom. As the bedrooms were downstairs and as we’ve got 3 explorers, I felt that we needed a stair gate at the bottom too (only 3 of the 8 cottages are 2 storey). Shirley came to our cottage to introduce herself and let us know that we could contact her if we needed anything so I asked if they had a stair gate, I also asked if we could have another travel cot to put the twins in upstairs for when we were cooking etc and she brought back a stair gate and a large playpen which was fantastic. All the baby equipment was clean and in excellent working order. There were covers on all the electrical sockets and there’s a bed rail, plastic plates & cutlery and a changing mat in all cottages. If you need highchairs, baby monitors, bottle sterilisers, baby baths or a toddler bed you can just request them before you arrive!. The kitchen was well equipped, there wasn’t anything extra that we needed and we cooked every night (& some mornings ) , luckily there’s a dishwasher so we didn’t waste too much precious time in the kitchen, they even had a hand blender which is especially useful if you’re holidaying with babies.
After a really good sleep (the children hadn’t slept as well as they did on holiday for atleast 8 weeks so we were all totally refreshed) we had a cooked brekkie & set off to feed the resident pet animals - Every weekday morning, everyone meets at 9.30 am outside the cottages to hand feed the donkeys, highland cattle, sheep, pigs, goats & chickens. The kiddies absolutely loved it and Shirley & Steve make sure all the children feel comfortable & get involved. Our 3 really looked forward to doing this every morning. Towards the end of our stay, our 2 year old daughter knew all the animals names, in which order they were fed and how you should feed each of the animals, I think she was after a job there so she could stay longer. After animal feeding all the children knock on the chicken coups and Shirley lifts the flap to reveal freshly laid eggs. The children get to pick one up & take one each back to the cottage... It’s lovely to see their little faces light up when they see all the eggs .
We then explored the facilities and surroundings and we were very impressed.
There’s an outdoor ‘toddler ride on area’, a TP, an outdoor wooden playhouse, an adventure playground, a maze, an enclosed trampoline, a large toy room with lots of games, books, a pool table, a playhouse and table football,. There’s also a mini football pitch, a tennis court, table tennis, a bright and cheerful heated indoor swimming pool area with showers, changing facilities, a baby change table, lots of swimming floats to use and a playpen at the side of the pool to keep the little ones safe (which we found extremely useful). There’s also a connecting outdoor patio area with sun loungers. You get a key for the pool on arrival which you can use from 9 am until 7 pm. The childrens favourite room (& ours!) was the Soft Play Barn, we could just let them all tumble around and tire themselves out in time for bed whilst we sat on the big comfy sofas watching them giggle and play.
In a building at the end of the lawn and only about 10 m from our cottage was a laundry room, an honesty shop and the bin/recycling room, all were open 24 hours. In the shop there was a selection of home cooked frozen meals, alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks, local produce and other essentials including swim nappies that you can buy individually!. In the laundry room there’s 4 washing machines and 2 tumble dryers. It’s free to use the washing machines (take your own washing powder) but there’s a small fee to use the tumble dryers but the fee gets donated to charity. In the laundry room there’s also spare wellies in all sizes, in case you need them or have forgotten your own (we made use of this as our daughter stepped into a ‘deeper than expected’ rock pool and soaked hers). There’s also buckets, spades, fishing nets and a wind break that you can use for a day at the beach etc..
The weather was mixed whilst we were there (well it was November) but this is a holiday that even the weather can’t spoil as there’s just so much to do indoors as well as out....Although I would love to visit again in the Summer months as there’s 2 BBQ areas, lawns to play on and tables and chairs to sit out, enjoy the scenery and watch the children have fun.
There were breaks in the rain so we did take the opportunity to explore a little bit of Cornwall. We took a picnic, a bucket, spade & net and visited Polzeath Beach (approx 45 mins) where we did some rock pooling, water splashing and sand eating :/ . It’s a lovely sandy beach with some good rock pools, there’s also a cafe, chip shop, a few shops and toilet facilities .
On another day we went to Padstow (approx 40 mins) and had a look around the harbour, ate fish & chips and ice cream, dreamt about going to the pub and then took the little passenger ferry over to Rock Beach. It’s only a 5 -10 min crossing and it was buggy friendly. We took the single and double stroller over without a problem. It was our childrens first time on a boat & they loved it, we even saw a surfing dog . I think if were to do it again though we would park at Rock Beach & get the water taxi to Padstow & back.
One afternoon we did a 3km walk around Cardinham Woods which is only about 1.5 miles from the cottages. It’s a really beautiful wood and a perfect walk for toddlers, it was also very buggy friendly. They had good parking facilities, a cafe, toilets and a play area.
One morning we drove to Tintagel Castle (approx 55 mins).... We bundled the 3 children in to a single and a double stroller, walked down a steep pathway towards the bottom of the cliffs (so steep a couple actually stopped to help me with the stroller which was very kind) and then realised we wouldn't be able to get to the actual Castle as the pathway was too steep and narrow to get up with the strollers.. This upset our eldest daughter as she was extremely excited about visiting a castle so we diffused the situation with a Princess Crown and a cute little Princess Bag. I felt a bit daft for not checking how buggy friendly it was before we set out but the scenery was lovely and we had a nice walk... It certainly blew away the cobwebs!.. I've just looked at the website and it says ‘Its location on top of a cliff also makes it a hazardous attraction and may be unsuitable for those with small children’ Hmmmmm, yes, maybe I should have looked beforehand! :/ .
The location of the cottages is fantastic for exploring Cornwall, there’s lots of beaches and attractions close by but there’s so much on site to keep the children (and grown ups) entertained that you wouldn't even need to get in the car or leave the grounds. In fact whilst we were there, a family arrived in a taxi having travelled by train.
This was by far the most child friendly accommodation I have ever been to, it seems that they have thought about absolutely everything. I’m not usually one for reviews and if I do one it’s usually like ‘good location, nice food’ etc but I do use them myself. I thought this place deserved a detailed review as I know how difficult it can be travelling with little ones and worrying that you've got everything you need and if there’s enough to keep everyone entertained. Shirley and Steve run this place perfectly and make a great team, nothing was too much trouble... We had a fantastic time and I can’t recommend this place enough, we even ended up extending by another night, 3 nights turned in to 7!. We will definitely be back