What is it? Luxurious, architecturally designed cottages set in 13 acres of countryside, with indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools, a games room and a bar/restaurant serving tapas during the day & a 5* menu in the evening.
Where? The Valley, Carnon Downs, midway between Truro and Falmouth in Cornwall
Description: [the_villas_&_luke.jpg] A few nights’ stay in Cornwall during Valentine’s week meant that Kirsty, her husband and her son Luke had to travel a long way. But did they fall in love with the place?
In bleak February, a few days surrounded by beautiful countryside is just what the doctor ordered
Swimming pools, small gym and the games room; plus a selection of DVDs and books to borrow from reception. Bring your music too – there’s an MP3 player in every lounge
Some evening entertainment in the form of Ed the magician on Tuesday evenings in the restaurant at peak season (school holidays)
Babysitting is available and can be arranged if requested
Just the Jacuzzi pool adjacent to the indoor swimming pool, but there are several day spas and many beauty salons in Cornwall
Local activities: Being only 15 minutes from either Falmouth or Truro on the southern Cornish coast, and within 40 minutes drive of St Ives or Newquay on the northern Cornish coast, you are completely spoilt for choice, whether you’re with surfing dudes, horseriders or shoppers.
Wish we had known: The accommodation would be so spacious – we’d have brought one set of grandparents with us! Even though it was only two bedrooms, both had en-suite facilities and the living room, dining room and kitchen were of a really good size.
Our top tip: There are no hairdryers in the changing rooms for the swimming pools and gym, so take hats if children with wet hair are going to have to walk back to the cottage. Or stay in the bar/restaurant and have some delicious tapas and let any young children play with the contents of the excellent toy box whilst you wait for it to dry!
Kids say: “Look Mummy, there’s sheep outside!” (Luke aged three, after discovering there were sheep roaming in the field behind his bedroom window)
Getting There: View the properties and prices at The Valley. A three-night stay during mid February in a ‘Haven’ cottage costs L350.
About our stay: Yes, it was a very long drive with a three-year-old – just over five and a half hours! But before we left, we checked on the Days Out pages for Wacky Warehouses or Fun Factories that were around the Worcester area (which was about halfway there for us). Using the postcode search, we found Perdiswell, which was only a few miles off the motorway junction, so we decided to stay there for lunch and let Luke run off his excess energy. Then when we got back in the car he slept for most of the rest of the journey! [feeding_time_at_Newquay_Zoo.jpg] When we turned in off the Cornish lane and were faced with electric gates, we could tell immediately we were somewhere special. After checking in at reception (and checking out the DVD and book library, should we be needing it) we drove down the valley a short way to our cottage, a two-bedroom Haven. When I walked in I was amazed at the size of the kitchen with every appliance you could wish for, and better crockery than I have at home (Villeroy & Boch), and the quality of the solid oak dining room furniture. But nothing could’ve prepared me for the upstairs. The ceiling in our master bedroom had been opened up to expose the wooden roof joists and the effect of the huge cathedral window was spectacular. Once again, little design touches and extras such as complimentary toiletries made me question whether we’d walked into a holiday cottage or a showhome! And no, before you ask, we didn’t get any special treatment! I had a wander around some other cottages and they all have the same high standard. Even the artwork, specially commissioned by The Valley’s management to be originals, and all based upon Cornish tin mining, gave the property a feeling of designer luxury. So, after an early evening swim, we found a local pub restaurant (Carnon Inn) that had been recommended many times in the visitors book on the coffee table, and had a superb evening where Luke was well and truly spoilt by the staff. We spent the next couple of days driving around the local area, followed by a swim each evening. Newquay Zoo can’t be recommended highly enough. Although small, the zookeepers were very friendly and chatted away happily long after the ‘feeding time’ session had finished, and we thought it was excellent value for money. [playing_at_national_maritime_museum.jpg] The National Maritime Museum was also a surprising winner with Luke, especially as he got to play about in real lifeboats and life rafts. I was sceptical about whether there’d be enough there to interest him, but it uses audio-visual technology a great deal, and it would be a fascinating place to visit for all ages from toddlers to grandparents. A trip on a very wet day around the National Seal Sanctuary at Gweek meant we got soaked! And the visit was made a bit tougher by having to push Luke in his trolley up and down some quite steep hills to get from the reception area and car park, to the seal tanks themselves. Not a great experience when you’re drenched through! But despite the weather, it was a lovely place and plenty of cute seals, sealions and otters made up for it. Three days is nowhere near enough time to explore Cornwall. We didn’t even make it down to Lands End! And we’ll definitely visit again sometime soon. Breaking up the journey up on the way there and back (we visited Bristol Zoo on the way home) is a great idea and makes it worthwhile to go somewhere which may be quite a drive away. The Cornish tourist board has strived to promote Cornwall as a year-round destination, and with coast and countryside as beautiful as this, why wouldn’t you want to spend some time there – especially if your surroundings are as relaxing and sumptuous as at The Valley! [Kirsty, founder of entertainthekids.com is married to Gregg, has a 3 year old son, Luke & lives in Halifax, West Yorkshire]
Created: 2007-02-19 17:18:48.713