A traditional holiday cottage experience but with lots of extras thrown in sounds like a perfect family holiday. Here’s our review of an October half term break at Bosinver Farm Cottages in Cornwall.
Bosinver Farm Cottages
Finding a destination and activities to suit everyone is the holy grail of family holidays and finding it in the UK is even more of a challenge. Bosinver Farm Cottages, a collection of 20 holiday cottages set in 30 acres of meadows and woodland just outside St Austell in Cornwall, is attempting just that and over half term my husband, our two boys and I had the chance to see if it really did tick all our boxes.
If you’ve holidayed in Cornwall before you’ll know that, stunning as it is, some areas can be quite remote and hard to get to so I was a little concerned about squeezing down tiny country lanes that fox the sat-nav especially as the St Jude storm was due while we were there. Luckily, I needn’t have worried because, although Bosinver seems a million miles from anywhere once you’re there, it is actually only a few miles from St Austell, well signposted, just off an A road. Phew!
This great location meant we could enjoy the beautiful countryside but still pop down the road to the supermarket for anything we needed. We were also really close to several beaches (we loved Pentewyn) and lots of places to eat. The team at Bosinver have put together a really comprehensive list of recommendations for local restaurants, shops, day trips, in fact anything you could need during your stay which you’ll find in your cottage on arrival and they are always around to give you hints and tips.
We were really impressed with our little cottage, Rose, which was beautifully decorated (no chinzy fabrics and horse brasses here), spotlessly clean, comprehensively equipped and just really welcoming. Bosinver aims to make sure you have everything you could need during your stay so the kitchens have proper ovens, hobs, microwaves and fridge-freezers along with every utensil you might want including things like stick blenders, great for those with weaning babies. The cottages have all those family friendly essentials like stair gates, highchairs, cots etc and you can book things like blackout blinds, baby carriers, baby monitors and strollers. There’s a TV with freeview and a DVD player and even a box of toys to keep the kids amused while you’re at home.
Rose is the smallest cottage at Bosinver with a double and a single room plus space for a cot. The other cottages have room for between 4 and 12 people in various configurations so they can cater for all sizes of families or groups. They are all individually decorated and there are lots of pictures on the website to make it easy for you to pick one that suits you. We have actually already booked to go again next year with friends staying in the large farmhouse which seems a perfect way to holiday together while still having plenty of space. I also love the look of their newest addition the very modern, eco-friendly friendly ‘Lowen’ lodge, with its own hot tub that sleeps 8.
Pets are accepted in some of the cottages.
In the end we didn’t really explore much of the area as we found plenty to keep us busy on Bosinver. On site they have the playbarn, full of toys and a soft play area, a beautiful pool, a games room which is great for the older children with things like pool and table football, an outdoor playground and a zip wire, not to mention the acres of woodland you can roam around.
The team man an office on site so you can always pop in for help with anything and to check the notice board for details of any special events coming up. If you head off for a last minute beach trip just pop into the shed next to the office which is stacked full of buckets, spades and nets for you to borrow. There are spare wellies to borrow for muddy walks if you’ve forgotten yours too.
As well as the great facilities, it is the chance to get involved in some wonderful outdoor activities that really sets Bosinver apart. The regular ‘Wild Kids’ club gives families the chance to try all sorts of things. It was Halloween during our stay so got to do some pumpkin rolling and then decorated the ones that survived with foraged items, made spider webs out of twigs and then went on a spooky night time walk in the woods lit by glowing ghosts and the jam jar lanterns we’d made followed by a cup of steaming soup.
Every morning the kids get the chance to feed the animals by hand, giving out food to the ducks, chickens, sheep and goats which the boys absolutely loved and then they all get to head into the chicken coop and bring out their own egg. Once a week everyone treks over the field to collect Bosinver’s three ponies and each child get the chance for a ride. This was another first for the boys and they really enjoyed it.
The team put on a great Halloween Party in the Games Room one evening with prizes for the best costumes and hotdogs all round and one damp morning we borrowed ‘Granny Pat’s Baking Box’ from the office and whipped up a Victoria sponge in the shape of a pumpkin. In short, we really never ran out of things to do.
Of course the activities won’t be the same every week as they will vary depending on special occasions and the weather but you’ll find details of what’s on in the office. Other sessions have included pond dipping, building dens in the woods and making a bonfire for roasting marshmallows.
I’m not the most ‘outdoorsy’ type by nature but it was great to see my city reared boys enjoying themselves in the countryside and getting to try so many new things. There was so much to do on and off site that it’s no surprise a lot of guests go back year after year. We were made to feel really welcome and enjoyed the chance to chat with other parents during the activities without feeling under pressure to socialise all the time like you can in some resorts. The accommodation and the facilities, especially the pool, are really top notch.
If I were to have one small criticism it would be that the activities aren’t separated by age so it is worth checking exactly what is involved beforehand if you have very little ones who might struggle to keep up with older kids for some things. For example, because of the stiles and stepping stones on the night walk my toddler really struggled and had to be carried and lifted over lots of things so if we’d known more about the route before had we probably would have done the pumpkin rolling and decorating together but then I’d have taken him home and let my husband and 5 year old do the walk by themselves.
Overall, I really can’t recommend Bosinver enough. As I said, we’ll be going back next year and I doubt it will be the last time. The combination of quality accommodation and activities for kids of all ages make it a real winner.