Family holidays: Home or away?

Costa del Dorset: Our day trip to Lyme Regis

Costa del Dorset: Our day trip to Lyme Regis

We’ve been touring the UK’s motorway network recently, with a long weekend at my folks’ place in the Norfolk countryside, a christening on the Sussex coast and our first family holiday in deepest, darkest Somerset.

Paul and I love our holidays and have been lucky enough to travel far and wide, but – for us – the prospect of going abroad with a baby under 1 when we don’t have to sounds too much like hard work. So we Googled self-catering holidays in the UK and discovered this little gem; Swandown Lodges in Cricket St. Thomas, Somerset.

For normal people, this would be a few hours’ drive from Cardiff (we wanted somewhere that didn’t require a day of sitting in the car). But we’re not normal when it comes to road trips, and it took considerably longer than that (and a change of car half-way through, because why make things straightforward?).

The lodge itself was perfect for a family with young children; ours was a single storey and was perfectly child-proof. They are designed to be a home-from-home, so staying in each evening didn’t feel like a sacrifice given that, on previous years’ holidays, we would normally be out and about somewhere cultural with cocktails.

There’s an on-site pool and plenty of day trips within half an hour’s drive (we spend enough time in the car when we’re sitting in traffic jams, so we’d sooner be outside). We nosed around Lyme Regis, Axminster, Crewkerne, Forde Abbey and plenty of cider mills to keep Paul hydrated. We were really lucky with the weather too, but apparently that wasn’t arranged especially.

Next summer we’d love to take Bear abroad – she’ll be nearly 2 by then. Any recommendations for places and resorts that are family-friendly but still grown-up? Any tips for travelling with a little one (besides taking shed loads of snacks for the plane and a Pixar movie or 3?) I have it in my head that, when she’s walking and talking a bit more, going abroad will be a far less daunting prospect (I’m deliberately not using the word ‘easier’). Or am I totally disillusioned?

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