Back in 2014 I wrote a post featuring My top 10 child-friendly UK holiday destinations. I pulled together gorgeous baby and child-friendly destinations in the UK with offerings to suit all the family. Places that parents don’t have to sacrifice their own tastes for their childrens or return home in need of another break to recover!
One of the destinations featured was Bosinver Farm Cottages in Cornwall and having spent a brilliant week on the farm last autumn, I wanted to share our fabulous experience with you.
Tucked away between St Austell and Mevagissey, Bosinver Farm Cottages are set on a 30-acre farm complete with friendly farm animals that Phoebe and Jack adored. Offering twenty luxury self-catering properties in various shapes and sizes, Bosinver recently achieved what can only be described as the highest accolade available to any self-catering holiday provider – Gold at the national Visit England Awards for Excellence, and it’s really not hard to see why. The setting is idyllic, the cottages are comfortable and stylish and there are more family-friendly activities ‘on site’ than you can shake a stick at!
The Cottages //
Bosinver’s 20 child-friendly holiday cottages vary in shape and size but have all been uniquely and lovingly decorated. From Coliza, that combines the charm of a traditional thatched cottage with all the modern comforts you’d expect, to Bosinver’s zero carbon, energy self-sufficent Lowen that is, in Bosinver’s words, ‘undeniably the jewel in our crown’ and having seen it first hand, it’s pretty spectacular!
We stayed in Veronica, a four bedroom property with a traditional cottage feel but with plenty of space for the little ones to roam around. Downstairs there is the all important cloakroom/boot room (you are guaranteed to get muddy boots if you are to make the most of the grounds), two bedrooms (one double, one single), a family bathroom and an open plan living area containing a well-equipped kitchen, dining area with patio doors that overlook the garden and a cosy lounge with a lovely woodburner. On the first floor there are two bedrooms; a twin and a single and a shower room with a brilliantly powerful walk-in shower.
The cottage is light, comfortable and like all Bosinver’s cottages is incredibly well equipped to ensure you have a relaxing, fuss-free holiday. The decor, furniture, accessories and appliances are high quality and stylish and most importantly it is incredibly child-friendly. There is child-friendly cutlery and crockery, a Delia Smith blender, night lights, plug covers, a toy box (new toys are always so much more fun to play with than familiar toys!) and a range of children’s books and DVDs; everything needed to make life easier for parents. On booking you can also order cots, stair gates, high chairs, booster seats and bed guards and on request Bosinver can also supply items such as monitors, bumbos, blackout blinds, sterilisers, McClaren strollers and both framed and soft baby carriers. This offering is invaluable if, like me, you have baby brain and regularly forget important items, or the car is packed to the rafters with other essentials.
Upon arrival at our cottage, the table was laid with a vase of pretty flowers and homemade scones, cream and jam that were very much welcomed by us all after a long drive. Impressively the fridge had been stocked with the groceries that we had pre-ordered from the village shop in Polgooth and had we wished we could have ordered one of Bosinver’s chef-made Cornish Cottage Cuisine frozen meals and a ‘veg bag‘ to be waiting for us on our arrival aswell. It’s the little touches like this that really set Bosinver apart from their competitors and enable you to enjoy your holiday from the off, instead of having to traipse to the local supermarket to buy provisions.
Outside the cottage, there is a lovely private garden for the kids to run about and an outdoor picnic bench for dining alfresco. The garden also has lovely views over an open field and is the ideal place for your little ones to spot the numerous rabbits hopping along.
As you can see from the map below, Bosinver is vast but all the cottages are situated close to the on-site facilities which is excellent for small children. Despite there being 20 cottages, they are also laid out in such a way that they feel very private and a million miles away from each other which is brilliant (I’m not anti-social, I just like my own space on holiday!).
Aside from the lovely cottages, the child-friendly facilities at Bosinver are second-to-none. Family friendly facilities include:
Indoor heated swimming pool //
We made use of the pool daily (often twice a day!) and the kids loved it. Complete with floats and noodles, it is the ideal temperature for little people, spotlessly clean and the family changing rooms are great. There’s also a sauna for the grown-ups and for the warmer months, the pool opens on to a sundeck patio area overlooking the tennis courts and beautiful countryside beyond.
Indoor play areas //
There are two indoor play areas; for older children there is a games room with table tennis, table football, pool and darts and for younger children the play barn is ideal. Based in a beautiful converted granite barn, it’s perfect for inclement weather and features bespoke soft play equipment at one end, a wide variety of toys to suit all ages and plenty of space for the little ones to roam around on the numerous ride-ons on offer. There’s also a comfy leather sofa for parents to relax on whilst the little ones tire themselves out, or if you’re feeling as equally energetic there’s currently gym equipment to use whilst keeping an eye on the kids. There are plans to move the gym equipment in the future to a self-contained gym on-site, which will be another brilliant feature for those parents that miss working out whilst on holiday.
Outdoor play areas //
There are two excellent outdoor play areas. The play area suitable for older kids is down by the lake and features a fun zip wire, tunnel slide and a huge tyre swing. The play area situated between ‘Olearia’ and ‘Coliza’ is much bigger and was a huge hit with my two. There is a sandpit (complete with little diggers and a plethora of buckets and spades), swings, slides, a ride-on tractor and combine harvester, large trampoline and a newly installed two-storey play house.
Wild Kids sessions //
Held once a week in the main season (subject to weather and staff availability), children of all ages can enjoy getting ‘back to nature’ with Forest School Leader Tatum at the Wild Kids sessions. I didn’t really know what to expect but Tatum’s enthusiasm was infectious and Jack and Phoebe loved getting their hands dirty foraging, playing nature games, mud painting and the icing on the cake was cosying up in Bosinver’s large purpose built ‘Hudel Hut’ and toasting marshmallows on the campfire that the children helped to gather sticks for.
Daily animal feeding sessions //
Animal feeding and egg collecting with Farmer Dave has become a daily ritual at Bosinver and one that we took part in every morning bar one. Phoebe and Jack helped Farmer Dave and Helen (his lovely helper) feed the friendly chickens, ducks, goats and sheep and at the end of each session they were allowed to choose an egg from the coop to take home for lunch. It was such a lovely experience for the kids and despite initial apprehension at the beginning of the week (there was a lot of dropped food as soon as the animals appeared interested in the contents of their cupped hands!), they were both a lot more relaxed around the animals by the end of our stay.
Family adventure trails //
Throughout our stay we really enjoyed participating in the adventure trails dotted around the grounds of Bosinver. Jack loves a challenge so relished in the hunt for the wellies on the ‘Wellie Hunt’ and the animals on the hidden animal trail, and was surprisingly eagled-eyed! We also loved the Gruffalo trail through the woods that brings you out at the lake which would be an amazing setting for a picnic on a summer’s day.
Pony rides //
Unfortunately we didn’t partake in the pony rides as my two are petrified of horses, but the pony rides usually take place one morning a week after the animal feeding and children can meet the horses, give them a brush and have a little ride down the lane. (Photos courtesy of Bosinver)
Other on-site activities include fishing (you can borrow rods and nets from the office), tennis on the impressive tennis court and if the weather takes a turn for the worse you can always borrow Nanny Pat’s Baking Box to rustle up some sweet treats.
It’s also worth mentioning that in addition to the cottages being equipped with a plethora of high quality baby and nursery essentials, there’s also two sheds on site that house a vast array of goodies to help you enjoy your stay. The little white shed next to the office is crammed full of beach equipment, including body boards, fishing nets, crab lines, buckets and spades and the big green shed (next to the Farmhouse) has a whole host of other essential items including several pairs of spare wellies, BBQ’s, windbreaks, umbrellas, kites, balls, splashsuits and picnic rugs. These extras that you can borrow during your stay at no additional cost, really do make your holiday so effortless.
There is also a huge DVD library onsite, laundry facilities and numerous board games available to borrow from the office. Internet access and WIFI are available in all the cottages and for the dog lovers amongst us, some of Bosinver’s cottages are dog friendly.
You can read part two of my review of Bosinver Farm Cottages that features the days out we enjoyed whilst staying at Bosinver and the restaurants that we love here.
Disclosure: We were very kindly invited by Bosinver Farm Cottages to stay for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own.