In March 2011 when we still only had one Mini Traveller and she was only 6 months old we went on our first holiday. Being our first holiday we didn’t fancy a long flight and as Europe is still pretty cold in March we opted for a drive down the country to the Cotswolds. When you are nervous about everything you can’t beat the comfort you can get from a Baby Friendly Boltholes holiday. We were still in that frame of mind that having a baby wouldn’t change our holiday style and so we opted for Bruern Cottages. Sandown (two bedroom property) to be precise.
The reviews say it all “If you have the dosh, don’t bother looking elsewhere.” That is the verdict of Jane Knight, deputy travel editor of The Times newspaper and quoted heavily on the Baby Friendly Boltholes website. It sounded super expensive and I very nearly didn’t inquire about the price. However in March it really wasn’t that expensive, although to be fair most places in March are pretty good value as it isn’t exactly peak season.
So we booked, filled the car and set off. When I say filled the car, I mean filled. We even took the fisher price jumperoo (!). Looking back, who on earth packs a jumperoo to take on holiday, however as I said, this was our first trip away and we just didn’t know what we could manage without. We even took everything we were told the house would have, just in case it didn’t.
The house was inevitably full of everything we had taken, high chair, sterliser, baby monitor, cot etc etc etc. The BFB website calls it a Parent Piece of Mind Kit and so thankfully we didn’t even unpack most of what we had taken. If you do decide to go, honestly don’t bother taking anything, if it says it has it – it does!
We arrived and blimey the driveway was impressive it looked like a very grand country home, not a place anyone would want to rent out to us! Holiday memory wise it wasn’t great. We all got sick, very very sick. A bug picked up from a baby group no doubt, but that meant we did see a lot of the inside of our cottage and to be honest if I was going to be sick anywhere, there wasn’t anywhere nicer. The accommodation was beautiful. It looked like the inside of a very expensive Homes and Gardens magazine. Think Farrow and Ball and Osborne and Little. When we first arrived I was worried about whether we might spoil the place, however the upside to a 6 month old baby is that they don’t really move without you. My three toddlers now would be another story.
There was wifi to keep my husband busy whilst I was sleeping and lovely grounds to walk our Mini Traveller round in the pram. The outside space was beautiful and there was rafts of toys to choose from, writing this now makes me think we really need to go back and try it out with our toddlers in tow. They would absolutely adore the two storey playhouse and the retro ride on toys to drive around on. The onsite pool was beautiful and a great taster pool for our baby as it was warm (29 degrees apparently) and quiet. These days it would be a perfect size for us to sit by the pool and watch our toddlers jump in and out with their armbands on, and enjoy the relative safety of a smaller pool. Back then she just looked surprised to be in water!
As we were ill we didn’t really get to sample all the additional delights that Bruern also provides (another reason to go back) they do home cooked food and there is the option to hire a chef. Oh and there is a spa, I would really love to try that – well who wouldn’t! Maybe next year…
Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.