Beyond Escapes, Devon – Travels & babies
Not long ago we escaped London for a 3 night family getaway in Devon. We haven’t really spent much time around this area previously as we’ve always chose to drive down to Cornwall or even France. Devon turned out to be a rather delightful surprise.
On a Friday evening, after a busy week at the office, Justin packed up our car (he’s always looking for a good Tesla road trip excuse!) and we departed for a very promising time away with our 4 year old son, Lucas and our 10 months old baby, Amelie.
I should be mentioning that we used a tourism agency – Blue Chip Holidays – which organised most of our trip and we’ve been pleased with the interaction throughout. They’ve got a brilliant selection of properties on offer in the South West, mainly in places like Dorset, Devon and Cornwall which not only offer their guests astonishing views but also aim to make one’s family getaway as smooth as possible.
We were invited to review a lovely property which is part of their collection of self-catering properties designed for families with young children like ourselves (think cot, baby monitor, high chair, changing mat, steriliser etc. – it’s all in there for you – so there’s no real need to carry the unnecessary extra luggage). No more burden to carry those for mostly tired parents, just make your way there when you get a bit of free time on their hands.
We thought a 10-11pm arrival would suit us with the kids already sleeping in the car – instead we arrived there at 1am, because London traffic + poor organisational skills + juggling work and two small kids don’t always make a great mix. Add a stop to charge the Tesla to full (1.25 hours long) and another couple of convenience stops which took the journey to a whole 5 hours to get to Paignton where the property was. Worth mentioning how pleased we were seeing plenty of Tesla superchargers in Devon so there were no deviations from our route thankfully.
I’ve said it before and admit it again – I’ve been running on “baby brain mode” for the past year, so no surprise there that I completely forgot to get in touch with the property manager to arrange the collection of our keys to the house. Instead, at 12:55am, just a few minutes before we arrived at the location it occurred to me that I should’ve dealt with it at more social hours. That was also the beginning of the longest half an hour of marital argument I had with the hubby (who wasn’t too happy with the possibility of spending the night in the car – we were too tired to look for hotels in the middle of an unknown area).
Luckily, we got there and when all hope was genuinely lost, the nicest night happened: the night manager gave us the warmest welcome and showed us to the house. Right there, in the very middle of countryside where only owls and rabbits (and us) were the only souls wide awake wandering around.
From the very moment we entered the house (it was pitch black when we parked, yet the sky was full of stars, enough to see the bodies of the most imposing, tallest trees by the house) to the moment we hit the most comfy beds, we knew this was going to be a good break.
In my opinion, choosing a self-catering property for a holiday with a baby is often easier as you can follow pretty much the same home routine. We woke up to a lovely family home equipped with all the safety gear for babies, from stair gates, cribs, baby chairs to the best bathroom essentials (such as a non slip mat which I don’t even have in my own home!). Our kitchen was all equipped with high chairs, booster seats, baby cutlery, a blender and a microwave meant to make the feeding journey a breeze.
When it came to bedtime, we couldn’t have had it any easier. Our Baby Blue Chip property came with not one but two baby cots and bed linen, a Tommee Tippee baby monitor and blackout blinds to make nap time easy and a nightlight to help the little ones feel at home.
The BE Tempted Restaurant
If you don’t feel like cooking every day when you’re away (why would you, you’re on holiday!) there’s a restaurant with a stunning sea view and an equally gorgeous menu – the pixels below can speak for themselves, but I should add that the fish curry was absolutely delightful, both kids were equally well fed and still curious about flavours.
None of us eat much meat on a daily basis, we’re not vegetarian though, instead we try to go as often as we can for the veggie options. Yet as the chef was able to pinpoint exactly to the farm where the food was coming from – somewhere between the seashore and the restaurant – Justin gave the steak dish a rare chance.
What a pleasant surprise to be able to step away from the rushed rhythm of a big city and enjoy a relaxed conversation with a lovely chef and relaxed restaurant staff…
The BE You Spa
To be completely honest, I wish I had more time to fully enjoy the spa (yes, you heard it right, there is a spa, too!). I was booked in for a massage I kindly donated to my husband – for being such a good and patient driver ;). The gym looked great, although I should be honest, I did my cardio chasing the kids so I didn’t really make my way for a workout session – definitely next time! There were also a steam room, a sauna and a vitality pool.
On our first day we went for an early breakfast – we chose a tiny fishing town called Brixham. A full English and stunning views, that was definitely a great start to the day! We then checked out the Paignton Beach which was only about 4 miles away from our house. Great spot for safe swimming and building sand castles with the kids.
The following day we drove to Torquay where Lucas learnt to swim (sort of), Amelie had a taste of all of Devon’s seashells she could find on the beach, and I managed to read the last few pages of my book and work on my tan.
Back to the house! Both kids had the best afternoon nap so we were able to unwind with a glass of wine/juice by the hot tub. The baby monitor (part of the house equipment) came in really handy to keep an ear out for the kids.
On the final day we had tickets for the Pennywell Farm. Possibly what we loved the most about the countryside in Devon were the narrow roads, despite the challenges of having a wider than usual car. We spent half a day on free rides at the farm, stroking piglets and eating ice-cream, Lucas didn’t want to leave! There were hundreds of animals for the kids to see, great indoor and outdoor play areas.
On our last day…Back to the tub!
Last but not least, in the living-room there was a play-mat with toys for the baby, plus a few DVDs we didn’t get the chance to watch. However Lucas and I spent some mum and son quality time and made the most of the game in the garden by the hot tub. Cannot really describe the feeling of relaxing in a hot tub whilst hearing birds chirping in the trees above you.
We did not return home empty handed, we brought back buckets of sand in our car 😉
Meanwhile if you want to learn more info about our lodge in Devon, it starts from £311 per night and is a self-catering property, designed with families in mind. There are many other beautiful properties worth checking, so have fun browsing the Bluechip Holidays website.