I must admit, as we sat in the car en route to Cornwall at the start of our recent holiday, I felt a little bit of apprehension. The last time we’d been to Cornwall, almost ten years ago, we’d spent a rather large amount of time hiding away from the inclement weather in a tent on the beach. And this time we had Baby Lighty in tow. And his two little cousins. All to be herded together within a caravan. Was this going to be a recipe for disaster?!
Now I may be sounding like a little bit of a holiday snob right about now, but I can promise you I’m not. I love a staycation, and feel like this country has some stunning places to offer the British holidaymaker. I also spent a large amount of my career working in travel, and as such have travelled the world and stayed in all sorts of places, both plush and less so; not to mention that I spent a lot of weekends in youth hostels and randomly rented apartments during my year abroad in Austria. But I hadn’t holidayed in a caravan since I was a toddler myself, and I just didn’t know what to expect to be honest. And – let’s face it – I’d also never looked after three children under five before, either.
So as we journeyed down towards Land’s End, the soundtrack of The Wiggles firmly embedded in my brain as we played the CD at Baby Lighty’s request yet again, I felt a little bit of trepidation. Was this actually going to feel like a holiday?
We arrived after a long journey, with a stop at the National Trust’s Dyrham Park en route. And I have to say, first impressions of the caravan had me pleasantly surprised. It was relatively modern in décor, and it also had the luxury of a hot tub! It didn’t, however, have the luxury of space, and shock horror for a blogger…it didn’t have Wifi! Still…I had three toddlers to help look after, when would I have the luxury of time for Wifi, anyway?!And indeed, the toddlers got stuck into caravan life, tucking into their first-night BBQ and jumping in the hot tub, although at first sight of the hot tub, this did elicit the question from Baby Lighty of, “Granga, what doing in puddle?” I guess to a two year old who has never seen a hot tub before, seeing their Grandad sat in a small expanse of water sunk into the ground would look like they were sat in a puddle!
Still, a fully equipped caravan wasn’t enough to allay my fears about the Great British Summertime. Would this be another week sheltering in a tent on the beach? The next day – and our last day of the holiday, too – were proof that sometimes, just sometimes, the British weather can come up trumps. We spent a lovely day on the beach at Carbis Bay, and later on in the week at Sennen Cove. The children had great fun running around, building sandcastles, splashing in the sea and flying kites.We also wanted to do a bit of sightseeing while we were down Cornwall way. It’s a long way to go from our home in Essex, and we wanted to make sure that we saw a bit of the local area. We therefore decided to make use of our National Trust membership and visit St. Michael’s Mount. We walked across the causeway as the tide was out, with the toddlers making sure to splash in the puddles left behind by the low tide, and look on in wonder at the creatures in the rockpools. Once over on the island, Nanny and Grandad Lighty took the children back to the mainland to make use of the playground and have a bite to eat while Mr Lighty and I took the childfree opportunity to visit the ancient castle. We also managed another National Trust visit on our last day to Trelissik House, and during our return journey we visited Knightshayes. On each and every visit to a beautiful property, we’ve been amazed so far by how much of it our two year old has taken in. Of course, the likes of the children’s treasure trails and play areas will always help with such visits, but it’s lovely to feel like we can do these visits still, visits which were very much a part of Mr and Mrs Lighty’s holiday repertoire pre-Baby Lighty. Somewhere that Mrs Lighty had wanted to visit for a long time were the Lost Gardens of Heligan. I’d read so much about it back in my travel days, but hadn’t managed an actual visit. And as it turned out, visiting with three toddlers in tow worked pretty well. There’s lots there for the children to see and do, including a farm, children’s play areas, beautiful meadows and woodland for them to explore and, of course, the possibility of finding the famous giant. Obviously, as well as culture and beach days, we had to make time for FUN! We therefore prebooked a day at Flambards theme park. On arrival we were slightly concerned that there wouldn’t be enough for Baby Lighty to do there. But as it turned out, Baby Lighty was just about tall enough to go on a fair amount of rides. He even managed his first log flume and rollercoaster, although Mr Lighty was given strict instructions that if he felt like he was losing the Go-Pro or the child, he was to save the child!!
The children really did have so much fun, and it was lovely to see them enjoying new experiences. Of course, this often made for slighty hyper, over tired toddlers once we were back to the caravan. I’m not ashamed to admit that a couple of times after we’d been out for dinner, we changed Baby Lighty into his pyjamas before the car journey home so that if he was asleep on arrival back at the caravan we could put him straight to bed and Mr Lighty and I could have a little bit of a breather! Three under five in a caravan is hard work; both on site at the caravan park and out and about. I take my hat off to all of you mamas of more than one!Cornwall I such a beautiful destination and I feel like we had a good mix of fun and culture. However, I’m not sure I’d do a caravan holiday with that many littles again. Or perhaps it wasn’t the fact of the caravan itself, and more the need for a caravan park with child facilities such as a park or swimming pool on site. Still, from the children’s perspective, they simply had the best time. I loved seeing the holiday experience through their eyes.
But as we drove away from the caravan and from Cornwall, I think Mr Lighty summed it up pretty well. He turned to me as we made the long journey home and said, “I don’t think we’re ready for another child yet, are we?”
No, no, definitely not. After all, where on earth would we put them should we do another caravan holiday?!
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