Back when I was pregnant with Frog, four years ago, we didn’t have a “babymoon”. The idea of going on holiday just before we were about to face the rather large expense of a baby seemed like too much of an indulgence. Plus, we had so much to do!
This time, however, things are a little different. In the autumn our family of three will become a family of four. Although this is hugely exciting, it’s also a tiny bit scary. Our family dynamic will totally change and things are likely to be even more hectic than normal. So we considered a family babymoon this summer a necessity rather than an indulgence. Our destination? Cornwall.
We stayed for a blissful week at Trevella Holiday Park in Crantock, just outside of Newquay, in Cornwall. It’s a beautifully maintained five star camping and caravanning site. Having been there two years ago (we glamped in a safari tent back then), we were excited to go back and see if the place was as lovely as we remembered it to be.
As soon as you drive into Trevella – before you even get to the reception – you’re greeted with bright blooms that line the road. This theme is continued across the site, with perfectly maintained lawns, flower beds and trees – not to mention the fishing lake tucked away at the bottom.
If you’re looking for late-night bars, loud children’s entertainment and multiple on-site takeaways then this isn’t the place for you. Trevella is quiet, laid-back and with a focus on “free-range” fun. Children’s activities come in the form of nature trails, pond-dipping, crabbing and bat walks (to name but a few) organised by the site’s Ranger. These are low key affairs, with around 10 places in each daily session. We went pond-dipping in the middle of the week and it proved a huge hit with my four year old.
There’s an on-site shop selling all the basics, including warm French pastries, cereals, tinned food and first aid essentials. You’ll also find beach toys, newspapers and things like washing up liquid and detergent. And, while it’s not full of takeaways, there is a café that does takeaway pizzas, fish and chips and burgers. Or, like us, you can eat in (we enjoyed an al fresco meal one night on the terraced decking area overlooking the lawn and park) for a treat. The cafe’s open until 9pm which, on a site like this, is late enough.
I’ve always been a huge fan of camping. Growing up, we’d spend our family summers under canvas in France. As the daughter of two teachers I was lucky enough to have four or five week holidays. We’d ride bikes, play out late with the other kids, swim, go to the beach and just generally enjoy being children. Trevella reminds me of these holidays. It may not be in France, but when it’s hot and sunny (as it was for us) it feels just as good as a break on the continent.
Children play out in the park (there are two – one for older and one for younger kids) ride their bikes, mess around at crazy golf and kick footballs around together in the many lawned areas. It’s quiet and secure, meaning the parents can sit back and enjoy a glass of wine knowing their children are free to roam in safety.
You can camp in your own tent, take your own touring van, hire a safari or bell tent to glamp in, or hire a mobile home for a week. As much as I love camping, at nearly eight months pregnant I was relieved to stay in one of the luxury mobile homes. Having our own bathroom (complete with toilet, shower and sink) was a necessity for all those midnight loo trips.
There was also a kitchen that came with everything we needed – a gas oven with hobs, fridge with little freezer compartment, plenty of cupboard space and a microwave. There were no tea-towels, but all the cooking utensils (including plates, cutlery, cups and glasses) were provided, along with a bucket and a washing up bowl.
The bedrooms all came with ready-made beds, and there was a blanket and spare duvet in case it got cold. We stayed in a caravan that slept six people – one double bedroom, one twin and a fold-out double sofa bed in the living room. For us as a family of three, there was more than enough space, although we may have been slightly more cramped if we’d had a baby’s cot to squeeze in to our room too.
My favourite thing about the caravan was the outside space. It had a lovely large veranda, with a picnic table where we ate lots of our meals. For me, this was like a compromise to not being in a tent; we could still enjoy outdoor living but without the inconvenience of trekking across the field to do our washing up or go to the loo. I’m told there are plans to put gates on the entrance to the decking area, making it even more child-friendly for toddlers and crawling babies.
This is where I’d enjoy my morning cup of tea, while Frog pottered about playing. Older kids congregated on the lawn area at the centre of the caravan plot, doing handstands, chasing each other and doing whatever kids do when they’re on holiday and free from the constraints of busy roads and fast cars.
We decided before we came away that we would let the weather and our mood dictate what we got up to each day. Relaxation and quality time together as a family were our main priorities, rather than sight-seeing and long days at amusement parks. The sun shone all week, so we spent days at the beach, in the campsite pool and just lounging around the lakes and beautiful grounds.
Trevella has an outdoor heated pool, with a smaller paddling pool for tots at one end. It’s not huge, but it’s big enough for everyone to enjoy. Even on the hottest days it never felt overcrowded – that’s the bonus of being so near a beautiful beach I guess. It was clean and warm-ish and is fenced off from the surrounding park area, with loungers ready for sunbathing with a good book.
The nearby Crantock Beach is utterly stunning. In fact, it’s probably my favourite beach in the UK – and comes in my top 5 beaches ever visited (and that includes beaches in Thailand, the Caribbean, India and Sri Lanka!). Beautiful golden sand, an estuary for swimming and paddling, amazing surf and lifeguards make this an ideal spot for a family day at the beach. The (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine isn’t a huge fan of going to the beach, but even he loved it. My favourite thing about a holiday at Trevella in Crantock is that you can totally do your own thing. I’m not one for “organised fun”, so this type of break really appeals to me. You can live to your own schedule, eating and playing whenever you want without having to worry about sticking to hotel timings. If you get restless and want to venture out for a day away from Crantock then Newquay’s just a few miles down the road. In the height of summer, this town isn’t for the faint-hearted. It gets packed with tourists and can be a bit of a nightmare finding parking, so my advice is to get there early (no later than 10am) and bag yourself a parking spot. Towan Beach (pictured at the top) is our favourite in Newquay as it’s central and sheltered, providing the best paddling conditions for young kids. Blue Reef Aquarium overlooks this beach and is a great place to spend a couple of hours – although at £27 for the three of us it wasn’t cheap. We also spent a fun morning at Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm. The NLM is a big fan of cider so he loved the free tasting and spent ages browsing the shelves choosing a memento to bring home with him. There’s also a little farm here which Frog loved, and you can see the cider being made, as well as do a tour of the orchards in a tractor. If you’re partial to a cream tea then this could be the place to indulge – the pretty courtyard is the perfect place to munch down on a scone with a pot of tea. It was a perfect week. We returned well rested with lots of happy memories. My parents joined us in the middle of the week, so Frog got to spend a night under canvas in their tent too – nothing is more exciting for a four year old. It proved what we already knew: Trevella is a great base for a multi-generational family holiday. We’ll definitely be back, next time as a family of four.
Tips for enjoying a family holiday at Crantock:
- If you’re staying in a mobile home don’t forget to take your own tea towels.
- Planning a trip into Newquay? Go early – you’ll find it easier to get a parking space and avoid the big tourist crowds.
- Don’t bother heading into Newquay centre for fish and chips. The best fish and chip shop near Crantock is in the little village of Cubert about 2 miles away. It gets busy though, especially on a Friday and Saturday night, so expect to queue.
- If you’re looking for beautiful views and a cold glass of wine head to the Bowgie Inn at West Pentire, a short drive along the road from Crantock.
- Fancy joining in the fun of a Ranger activity at Trevella? Then don’t forget to sign up. There’s a board outside reception with a timetable for the week and you just need to put your name down the day before to be sure of a place.
- The nearest supermarket is a five minute drive away – Morrison’s on the edge of Newquay. Be prepared for big crowds if you do a shop there on a Saturday afternoon in August – you’ll be among the many people arriving for their holiday in the area with the same plan!
Want to visit?
As a present to everyone who reads this blog the team at Trevella have put together a special promotional offer so you can experience a free range holiday in Cornwall too. It gives people 20% off mobile home holidays throughout September and October, including half term week, when you use the offer code MARTRE20. Enjoy!
To see more of the site and the beautiful Crantock beach check out this video that was made while we were there…. Disclosure: With thanks to Trevella Holiday Park for inviting us for a week’s stay for the purpose of this review. All opinions and photos remain my own.