Last month, we went on our first ever family holiday. Whilst Steven took a decidedly laissez-faire approach to the whole thing, I was this close to seriously cacking my pants about the prospect of going away. And that was before we’d even booked anything. A running commentary of what went through my head went kind of like this…’Oh man the routine…the routine is going to go out of the window. What routine? Well I mean bedtime…what if he doesn’t sleep? We’ve just got him going through the night…kind of. Should we go abroad? No that won’t do, how would he cope in the heat? What about all the stuff we’d need to take away with us. Can you even sterilise with the water from abroad? Hell would we have to take the steriliser with us? Travel cots – we haven’t even got one of those and the pram is no way in hell going to fit into our  baggage allowances on the plane’. That’s two new things that we’d have to buy and that’s before a holiday burns a hole in our pockets. ‘ Insert crying emoji face here.

That was before we discovered Bedruthan Hotel and Spa.

Bedruthan Hotel & Spa

It was like a magical fairy godmother had flown down and told me that I shall go to the ball when I found out about their special ‘Don’t forget Your Teddy‘ offer. Plus the hotel was situated on the North Cornwall coast and I don’t think there’s many places that can best the north coast of Cornwall in the Summer when you’ve got the right weather. We booked it on the spot!

Rather than attempting to phrase all the glorious details I’ve taken the luxury to quote the offer verbatim from Bedruthan themselves…

‘There’s no need to squash highchairs, pushchairs and sterilizers into the car. This break gives you free use of all our hire equipment (including baby backpacks, all terrain pushchairs, microwaves and sterilisers, plus breakfast in bed one morning, one complimentary childcare session per day, one complimentary night’s babysitting, and £30 for each adult to spend on Bedruthan food each day.’

Yep. All of that in a single place at your disposal. Can you imagine? My worries just melted away. But it was all that and more. Much more. For a start there was honestly the best massage I’ve ever had in my whole life; I opted for the ila Kundalini Back Treatment which I figured I deserved after lugging round the mini man for the last eight months. And I can’t not mention the amazing staff that filled the place to the rafters including the owners themselves who took the time and effort over the course of the day to meet their guests who were staying at the hotel. Seriously though I’ve not met so many lovely people under one roof; everyone was so kind and so willing to share their top tips about how to make the best of our trip.

It was this ethos that really defined so much of our trip – the amount of thought that was put into the experience of being a guest at the hotel. For example, the swimming pool had individual family changing rooms rather than being separated into being male and female zones which meant that Ste and I could both help each other with Hector whilst getting dressed ourselves relieving bucketloads of stress and making it enjoyable for all of us. (Hector has been known to have a mini meltdown post swimming in the past but it didn’t happen this time!)

Equally there was plenty of time for Ste and I to take some time out for ourselves, something we were guilty of not accomplishing all that much in the months prior to going away and made all the easier by the pagers that were provided by Bedruthan that would alert us in the event that Hector woke up crying. Admittedly I was nervous about leaving him in the room at first but with the security at the hotel being top notch and having met the team that monitored the pagers, I was able to relax and enjoy the odd cocktail and even a game of pool. Go me!

High Tea

One of my highlights of the trip was high tea in The Wild Cafe which is aimed at kids and babies although adults can eat (or just drink wine!) along with them. I promise the highlight wasn’t the wine 😉

Served from 4pm until 6pm, kids can enjoy freshly cooked main courses such as Mac and cheese or fish pie, puddings or simply browse the cold buffet which is filled with treats such as blocks of cheese, vegetable sticks, triangles of bread and pieces of fruit.

Every age group is catered for; there are bibs and plastic cutlery and plates piled high next to the buffets, two different styles of highchairs (and plenty of them) and oodles of super lovely waitresses and waiters that don’t mind the quiet roar of kids voices or the fact that their beautiful dining room is being trashed by fistfuls of flying food.

It’s safe to say that both daddy and Hector thoroughly enjoyed High Tea with Ste finishing off Hector’s leftovers on more than one occasion. Hector might have gone without pudding on a few days too…

Whilst Hector was too young to take advantage of the complimentary sports activities laid on for kids every single day after tea was over, we did go down and watch a couple of evenings. Fun doesn’t even begin to cover it, Hector was mesmerised and I think Ste itched to have a go in a couple of the dad races himself.

The Decor

Yep there’s a whole section in this post dedicated to the decor at Bedruthan. How could I not mention it. From the Cocktail bar and the Tranquility Lounge to the Herring Restaurant (just for grownups) to the Spa and The Wild Cafe, the owners have got the interiors absolutely spot on. It’s the perfect balance of being kid-friendly – all bright colours and easy clean surfaces – without it looking like a wacky warehouse. There are stuffed clouds on the ceiling of the reception area (so awesome I tried to persuade Ste that Hector needs them in his nursery), piles upon piles of edgy prints, cool photos and original paintings lining the walls of the corridors – many of which you can buy, and the Eames Eiffel dining chairs come as standard in all the restaurants. Style has clearly not fallen by the wayside here.

Perhaps the one thing that most impressed me though – aside from the glorious vista of Bedruthan bay from the huge window of our seaview room was the consideration incorporated into the design of the bedrooms.  A canny wooden shelving unit between the double bed and the rest of the huge room quickly turned the space into two distinct areas when a blackout blind secured to the top of it was pulled down. We got to benefit from a little privacy safe in the knowledge that Hector was only two meters away from us (plus it meant we didn’t have to get ready for the evening in pitch black!). And there’s more! There are no noisy bathroom fans to wake up light sleepers and there are lots of different combinations of lighting within the space to allow little ones to sleep and for adults to read before going to bed. Ruddy genius!

And for those of you looking to replicate the look at home, Bedruthan even have their own shop filled to the rafters with the self same products that are dotted around the hotel. Honestly I was this close to purchasing a Cornish runner ducks print for the new house before the boy reminded me that we still have paint and a new boiler to buy instead. Secretly we all know what I would have preferred…

The Scarlett

We decided to take advantage of the free night’s babysitting included as part of the ‘Don’t forget your teddy’ package and popped along to Bedruthan’s sister hotel – The Scarlett– for dinner. I’m sure many of you have heard about this luxurious yet sustainable adults only hotel already, after all it has won a raft of awards. Charlotte for one is a particular fan and told me all about how she had earmarked it on her ‘hotels to visit’ wishlist.

If you’re ever down this way then I strongly recommend popping in for a visit. No actually I implore you to go; I only wish that Ste and I had visited for our babymoon as it will be a little while before we can visit and stay over since having Hector.  It’s clear that the hotel is run by the same management as the Bedruthan as the staff are possibly some of the loveliest humans you will ever meet.

I’ve been lucky enough to have visited some really fantastic restaurants in the past and I’d say that The Scarlett is well and truly up there. The food was sublime but the meal as a whole was an experience. From being met at the bar with a drink, to eating on the terrace watching the most amazing sunset and then accommodating our desire to move back inside to eat dessert when it got a bit chillier, we couldn’t have been more nurtured and cared for. Hell they even laughed at some of Ste’s shoddy jokes; that’s going some 😉

Admittedly it is a bit on the spendy side but we loved it and we’re definitely going back… if only to jump into their freshwater outdoor swimming pool which looked flipping epic.

Days Out

Weather wise, we experienced a mixed bag; blazing sunshine one minute and then torrential downpours the next. We made the most of the hot weather by popping to the beach at Bedruthan (very clean! And Ste said to mention that the cafe opposite the beach makes an amazing cup of coffee) and visiting the kid’s playground in the grounds of the hotel.  Can we just take a moment right here to talk about how fantastic the playground is. There’s a much larger assault course for the bigger kids…yes dads included but I was smitten with the area for smaller ones. From the huge ship,  (that’s me behind the wheel with a huge grin on my face), to a smaller tug boat, a lifesaving jeep, dolphins and an ice-cream van there was pretty much something for every kind of imaginative role play.

Watergate Bay and Padstow were also ticked off our list but we didn’t stay long since we’ve visited both of these gorgeous spots before and we managed to make the most of one overcast day at the Eden Project.  I have to say that the Eden Project was a particular highlight for both me (being a wannabe Monty Don) and Ste (being a landscaper); it’s actually impossible to get your head round the scale of the place but what I will say is that it is an incredible story of human achievement and it gives me hope for the future. They’re planning some awe-inspiring updates in the biodomes too such as the opportunity to be caught in a tropical rainstorm in the rainforest biodome so I’ll be revisiting once that’s in play and also having a go on the zip line too.

All in all our trip to Cornwall was a rip-roaring success made all the more possible by the fantastic team at Bedruthan. And now that we’ve got one holiday under our belts I feel that little bit more confident about going away in the future. In fact, I think we’ll be making our way back next year!

So how about the rest of you? Have you been anywhere nice on your hols this year? Did you have a newborn or not quite yet one year old in tow? Where else would you recommend visiting, here or abroad? And did any of the rest of you panic like I did before you went or am I just a drama queen?