Puddleduck Valley is an amazing place! If you have children of any age who love animals, the great outdoors and "getting stuck in" you must go.
My husband and I stayed in the Stables with Jessica (4 yrs) and James (2 yrs). It is a converted barn and is beautifully furnished and decorated. I have never stayed in such a clean holiday let. So clean in fact that the owners, Melanie and Phil, actively encourage you to look under the beds and behind the furniture on the duck footprint treasure hunt...one of many lovely little touches that the children loved.
There is a small lounge/diner and kitchen area. The kitchen is very well equipped and the utensils, pans and knives were really high quality, making it easy to cook family meals. The children loved sleeping in the triple bunk bed (with bedding appropriate to their age and sex) and the box of toys and games in their room was great - they hardly played with their own toys.
The double bedroom was huge with ample room for a cot and the large family bathroom was very luxurious with the most amazingly powerful shower - heaven! We also had our own little garden with furniture and BBQ so that we could take advantage of the lovely weather we had whilst we were there.
The attention to detail and understanding of the needs of children (and their parents) is what makes Puddleduck Valley so special. Melanie had baked us scones for when we arrived and there was bread, butter, milk, tea, coffee etc. in the kitchen ready. You can help yourselves to as many fresh eggs as you can eat and they are delicious.
There is a communal kitchen area just across the courtyard from the Stables with a beautifully sunny conservatory where we found more children's games and toys, lots of information about the local area, pond dipping equipment, various nature trail sheets and the kids loved ticking off all of the things they had found whilst exploring.
We stayed for three nights and we only left the site to buy a few groceries. There are so many little activities for the children (and adults) to enjoy and such a large area of outdoor space to explore that we found plenty to keep us all entertained. It made such a wonderful change from the usual highly priced, gimmicky holiday entertainment places - we simply spent time amongst the natural world and really enjoyed seeing our children learn and enjoy it too.
The absolute highlight for us and the children was helping to feed the animals on the two mornings we were there. Phil took us round on the first morning and provided so much fascinating information about the goats, chickens, rabbits, guinea pig and ducks that all four of us learnt something :-) Melanie took us round on the second morning and really encouraged the children to be hands on with the animals. Both Melanie and Phil were so patient and calm with the children. It made us all feel really comfortable and I think that is why both kids enjoyed it so much. They really felt involved in caring for the animals and I have seen their confidence with and awareness of animals blossom as a result. Jessica loved walking the rabbit, stroking Marilyn the chicken and putting the hay out for the boy goats. James enjoyed pulling the duck house into the lakeside to give them their food, getting his hands sticky with the goat food and watching the girl goats run off to their pasture. So many amazing family memories that we will all treasure forever.
Melanie and Phil have created a little piece of heaven at Puddleduck Valley where adults and children can come for a break from the pace of life at home and enjoy being at one with nature complete with a comfy bed, power shower, fluffy white towels, free and educational children's entertainment and a home-baked cream tea. Now that is what I call a holiday!
I have and will continue to recommend this place to everyone I know. We hope to go back very soon.