We recently stumbled across a great blog called Country Mummy, full of days out in the South West and asked them if we could post some of their blog posts on Mini Travellers, thankfully they said yes, so here we go. Country Mummy is a community focused website designed to champion the families, businesses and charities of Somerset and we think it does a great job. If you are thinking of holidaying in the South West or live there, make sure you give them a follow on twitter @CountryMummyUK or on Facebook.
We recently returned from a fantastic visit to Longlands in Devon, and I have to say that Bella, the owner, is definitely the hostess with the mostest!
She is charming, considerate and her attention to detail leaves guests feeling like they have just become members of a super cool, yet still extraordinarily welcoming club.
Our weekend started with an excited cheer of ‘Mummy look!!! A secret bed in a cupboard. It’s a BED in a CUPBOARD.’
Our weekend ended with ‘Mummy, I’ve had the best weekend ever. I love LongHANDS so much (!)
There’s lots to inspire and engage your little ones, but, my oh my, is this a treat for the grownups as well!
The five luxurious Safari Lodges at Longlands each sleep 6 people, and up to 2 dogs. There is a King Bedroom, a Twin Bedroom and a Double Cabin Bed.
The beds are ridiculously comfortable, and, should you feel the cold, there is bedding and blankets galore, along with hot water bottles.
Each lodge has its own en-suite shower room and separate en-suite wash room.
Bella provides a gorgeous range of natural aromatherapy bathroom products, including shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion, as well as basic essentials such as loo paper, cotton wool, hand towels, hand soap and hand cream, all of which making packing that little bit easier!
At the heart of the lodge is a wood burning stove keeping it warm in all weathers, and giving you an ideal spot to toast your marshmallows.
The kitchen is fully stocked with all utensils, there is a small cool box with ice bricks that you can replenish from their freezer at any time, and, unlike other places where you may be given a basket of logs initially, but then have to buy more, here the supply of fire lighters and logs is plentiful.
There is a three seater leather vintage Chesterfield and blanket box opposite the dining table, filled with great games for family fun, perfect to enjoy by candlelight, and there is a large decked area at the front of the lodge with a sofa, table and chairs so you can sit back and enjoy the amazing views over the lake and valley.
It is spectacularly beautiful.
I’ve plagiarised Bella’s information below from the ‘Longlands book of adventures’ to describe some of the activities that can be enjoyed on site, as this book describes it all perfectly.
‘Enjoy stream sidewalks and nature trails. Discover deer and badger tracks amongst the trees. Build a den. Row around the island. Dangle a line from the jetty and wait for a fish to bite. Weave through the ancient beech woods and discover old cart tracks and new animal trails. Catch butterflies. Fly a kite. Be mesmerised by dragonflies. Perfect your petanque technique. Build an even bigger giant jenga tower. Race up hills and admire the views over the sea. Go on a treasure hunt. Don your raincoat and take a wellie walk. Pore over star maps. Gaze at the first dark sky reserve in Europe. Admire the Milky Way. Play football. Play cricket. Play basketball.’
For the reasons listed above, we had no desire what so ever to leave the site (apart from to sneak out for a Sunday lunch) during our visit.
If you did fancy exploring there are many, many adventures that can be had nearby.
- Exmoor Zoo (5 miles away)
- The Wildlife and Dinosaur Park (2 miles away)
- Arlington Court (4 miles away)
- The Aquarium (9 miles)
- Watermouth Castle Theme Park (5.5 miles)
- Beautiful beaches including Woolacombe, Tunnels & Croyde
- Take a 4×4 safari. Learn to surf. Try Coasteering. Abseil down a rock face. Explore the stunning landscape of North Devon and the Exmoor coast.
Details, details details… if ever there was a place where you were going to spontaneously burst into Doris Days’s ‘A Woman’s Touch’ from Calamity Jane and delight in all the finishing touches, THIS is the place.
I merrily wandered about the lodge playing house, lighting candles, rearranging perfectly arranged flowers and enjoying the beautiful fizz that Bella had kindly gifted us to help us celebrate Roy’s birthday.
I began seriously questioning how somebody’s tent (albeit the fanciest tent I’ve ever seen) could have a better organisational set up and interior décor than our own house.
See below as to some of the loveliness included…
- Filter coffee, tea, sugar, hot chocolate & milk
- Tin foil, cling film, bin liners
- Herbs for cooking
- Bowl of fresh fruit
- Cotton wool and gorgeous toiletries
- Squidgy cushions and comforting blankets
- How water bottles
- Board games and cards
- Outdoor games including giant jenga & table tennis
- Magazines and local information
- Wellies to borrow
- First aid box
- Larder selling den kits, kites, hula hoops, adventure memory books, rounders kits and badminton kits.
- Birthday bunting displayed above the dining room table.
The larder shop is open 24 hours a day meaning that if you run out of vino mid-game you could pop down and pick a bottle from their glorious selection. Simplicity is the key here… you pick what you want, tick it off and pay at the end.
Ooooh…. And the larder menu! I’m not exaggerating here when I say that if you wanted to rock up to Longlands with nothing but a crate of beer, a change of clothes and some suntan lotion you would be absolutely fine.
You can order from a yummy selection of home cooked meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner should you desire, and all you have to do is pop a form with your orders in the shop by 8pm the night before.
On the Sunday night, after our friends had left and it was just the 3 of us, we played in the field, set up Bella’s new teepee in the grounds, went fishing, toasted marshmallows and chatted by candlelight.
We both agreed that we would be hard pushed to find somewhere that offers such an impressive combination of simple family fun, outstanding beauty & luxury at your fingertips.
Longlands is country styled with amenities, city slick with efficiency, and family run with integrity.
They are (unsurprisingly) fully booked for summer, but have a look online today and check out their availability for later in the year – add some magic to your autumn this year. It will be an experience that you will treasure forever.
P.S…. a little birdie told me that on the Longlands wish list there is a treehouse, cocktail bar and spa potentially en route! Wow… just wow!
P.P.S… the excellent customer service continued after we returned home as we foolishly forgot binky which was thoughtfully posted back to us first class 🙂
*We were kindly invited to stay at Longlands. We had such an incredible time we will most definitely be going back!
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.