Tag Archives: National Trust

Frugal Family Holiday – camping in Cornwall

11 Aug

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With the cost of holidays soaring through the roof, we decided to keep things cheap this year and go camping in Cornwall. Petrol costs were minimal for us as it was only an hour away. We already had our fantastic tent which was a gift from a special lady  (thank you Auntie Tina!)

The joy of Cornwall is that there is just SO much to do there, come rain or shine. As it happened, we had a mixed bag of weather. Most of the rain was over-night and the heavens really opened so we were more grateful than ever for our great tent which was fully water-tight, even in the heaviest of downpours.

One of the main things we did to try to be thrifty was to cook all our own meals rather than eat out. We did have the odd meal out of course, it is impossible to resist all the lovely cafes and the local cornish pasties and cream teas!

If you are holidaying on a budget then you can’t go wrong with a day at the beach.  Pack a picnic and you’ve got a whole day of  fun ahead of you for free.  You could try surfing, climb some sand dunes, build sand castles, explore some caves, collect some pebbles and shells, explore the rock pools. All will provide hours of fun and if you park a little further back from the beach you can also save money on car parking.

There are lots of other ways to have fun on a budget:

  • Walk the coast path. Take some snacks and drinks to keep you going and some binoculars for bird watching. Have a look at the South West Coast Path website for some inspiration.
  • Make the most of any free activities. Check out museums and libraries before you go to see what they have on offer
  • Design your own nature trail and set off to try to spot everything on your list.
  • Discover local heritage. In Cornwall this should definitely include mining. There are lots of old mine relics that you can visit for free. Wheal Coates Mine near St Agnes is in a breathtaking location and well worth a visit.
  • Explore the Camel Trail on your bike. This is a fantastic day out and you can hire trailers if your little ones are not up to the 18 mile ride. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do the whole trail, it is broken down into sections.
  • Explore endless fishing villages and seaside towns. Even if you are just window shopping you can always make a note of something you would really like and put it on your Christmas list!
  • If you can stretch to National Trust Membership this is so worthwhile for a holiday in Cornwall. There are numerous NT properties in Cornwall and Devon. With their membership you get free entry to all of these properties (both gardens and houses) and also get to park in any National Trust Car Park for free.  Their properties are family friendly and during the holidays there are nearly always special events like trails or crafting activities.

The Trevella Holiday Park website has a great section on their website called  ’50 Great Adventures’ which will give you LOADS of ideas for things to do in Cornwall, most of which are free.

Finally, here are some pictures of our camping holiday this year. We stayed at Higher Trevaskis Camping Park. We loved this site because it is very quiet and child friendly. The owners will go out of their way to make sure you have a great holiday. Whether that’s ordering you a paper for Sunday morning or supplying you with the latest surf forecast! The washing up and bathroom facilities are the cleanest I have seen and it has a lovely, relaxed atmosphere. There are no bars or clubhouses, just good old-fashioned family time. As you can see, we had loads of fun.

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Back to school blues

15 Apr

As the Easter Holidays draw to a close, mums around the country breathe a sigh of relief as that first day back at school looms ever closer.  As much as I like to get back into a normal routine, part of me dreads the end of the holidays.  Yes, there’s no doubt it is chaos in my house at the moment.  I have hardly touched the housework in two weeks and my Green Mums work has been very neglected BUT we have had so much fun!

We haven’t been out and about every day.  I’m a firm believer that children should have time to invent their own play and my daughter is definitely a child that needs time for this.  She loves to draw whilst listening to audio books and to make up games with her little brother so there has been a fair bit of that during the holidays.

Here are a few of my favourite moments from Easter. I haven’t recorded any photos of me scoffing chocolate but I guess that would come into this category too!

Cotehele House in Cornwall

We have had National Trust membership since before we had children. We think it is great value for money and they put on some lovely activities for children during the holidays.  Of all the properties that we have visited, all over the country, Cotehele has got to be our favourite.  It has a fantastic orchard which is a great space to run around looking for wildlife. The gardens are gorgeous and very varied. With a formal terraced garden, croquet lawn and a sloping garden that meanders its way downhill there is something for everyone. You can also walk through the woods to a working mill and on certain days the children can try their hand at making bread.  During the holidays they always put in a lot of effort into children’s activities.  On the day that we were there they had a family workshop making miniature gardens.  Both Lily and Thomas loved this and got so engrossed with creating their little patch of Eden.

Two very happy children with their miniature gardens!

Enjoying the spring flowers at Cotehele in Cornwall

We went to Dorset for a few days with our parents. What a beautiful place (not quite as beautiful as Cornwall but then I’m going to say that, being a cornish lass!).  One of my favourite spots would have to be Lulworth Cove. It is such a dramatic place and yet so peaceful (despite all the crowds).  It has a surreal feel about it and it’s not like anywhere else I have ever visited.

Lulworth Cove

Another of our favourite spots in Dorset was Abbotsbury. This is a beautiful little village but it’s main appeal are the three tourist attractions located just on the outskirts. We visited two of these, The Subtropical Gardens and the Children’s Farm. There is also a Swannery but we didn’t get time to visit this one.  The Subtropical Gardens are 20 acres of  hidden paradise containing many rare and exotic plants.  Just beautiful, even in spring.  I would love to go back in the summer too.  They had an Easter Egg Hunt on when we were there which was a great way to keep those little toddler legs moving around the garden!

The Abbotsbury Children’s Farm was a big hit with the children. It is advertised as being for under 11’s and I would say they have pitched this right.  It is a small compact little farm and perfect for younger children.  Lily fell in love with a baby goat and wanted to bring him home. She still talks about him a week later…. They have two lovely play areas outside and an indoor play area for those rainy days.  Thomas loved driving the toy tractors and we all had a good bounce around on the space-hoppers.  There were even adult sized ones, so no excuse not to join in! The cafe on site serves local produce and was very family friendly and tasty too! We would definitely go here again if we return to Dorset.

A special moment for Thomas. His first time on a pony!

It’s not just the days out that I will remember though.  I want to remember the little things like lying in our fantastic den that we made whilst reading ‘ The Folk of the Faraway Tree’ and spending time in the garden looking for tadpoles and frogs followed by a picnic lunch on the lawn. We’ve enjoyed the lazy lie-ins and not having to rush off for the school-run. We’ve had time to paint, bake and make lots of mess and I wish it didn’t have to end. Bring on the summer holidays!

What have been your favourite moments of the holidays?