Easter break really crept up on me this year. I was really getting into the swing of work, marketing and building my client list and then bam! Easter was the next week! Don’t get me wrong I love the holidays, like LOVE them! I adore having quality time with Harry without the school rushes and I love having the opportunity to go exploring and on adventures with him without time constraints. I had just been so focused on work that I hadn’t got myself organised. Usually I plan a few nights away or 3 or 4 day trips, but I was way behind the 8 ball on this one. So what do you do?! Option A; throw a huff and declare it’s too late, everything is ruined (Trust me this was an option) or option B; Let my business brain take charge and get researching.
My criteria were quite broad. I wanted to go somewhere out of the way, towns and cities suck the life out of me if I am there more than a day whereas being outdoors and out in nature feeds my soul. I wanted wherever we went to be close enough to things to do to occupy an energetic 5 year old. And, it needed to be small budget friendly. That last one this late notice ruled out anything abroad and with fuel costs anything more than a 4 hour drive from home. Also to be honest more than 4 hours of doing all the driving starts to drag!
I started with the idea of visiting my Dad where he lives in Morcombelake which is on the Dorset/Somerset border. A beautiful part of the world my Dad has lived with my “evil” stepmother (not actually evil, just a name that stuck) for the past 5 years. I miss him not being nearby so any opportunity to see him I swoop on. My search for B and Bs this late in the game was not going well, then bingo! Airbnb! Why didn’t I think of it before? I’ve used the site before and been so impressed. Whilst it can be luck of the draw it really can be full of some hidden gems and the greatest opportunities to explore and see some incredible places and also meet some genuinely lovely people, as we found out. If you are still yet to take the plunge with Airbnb or not really clued up on how it works look out for my blog on Top 5 tips for Airbnb’ing it for country mice.
Around the Dorset/Devon/Somerset tri-country area there are an abundance of unusual and quirky places to stay. Here are just a few that caught my eye:
1- Bathesba Shepherds Hut in Meadow https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/4346731?checkin=2017-04-28&checkout=2017-04-30&adults=1&children=0&infants=0&location=Devon&s=15fgPa4B
4- Character Quirky House in Medieval Square https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/16944164?checkin=2017-04-28&checkout=2017-04-30&adults=1&children=0&infants=0&location=Devon&s=FvH8OC0g
I really like staying somewhere different, something outside of the box. With our budget in mind I had about £200 to cover 3 nights accommodation as a maximum. So the search began.
The first place I found I fell in love with from the introduction from the host. Phrases like “Dip your toes into the rural 1950’s with a stay in our comfy, fully refurbished, Airfloat caravan.” And “Collect eggs fresh from the chickens and don’t forget to pet the pigs!” It just sounded perfect. There were things to do within 30-40 minutes drive, but also space for us to enjoy at the caravan so we could recharge our batteries and just enjoy being us. I booked this for two nights at the start of our trip and as soon as the conformation came through I was beyond excited! Book our Airfloat caravan here with the reference 3543243.
Next I looked for a place for one night not too far from my Dads but closer to a main road or motorway to make the journey home a little easier. Several made the short list including these gems:
In the end the pull of being right in the thick of an organic farm in lambing season won me over. We booked the eco cabin for our final night away. Read all about it here reference number 9325948.
In the space of one night I had found perfect, family friendly, budget friendly accommodation and had sorted our Easter break plans. Can you say Super Mum?!
Arriving at the Airfloat after a long journey including a detour through the New Forest for a lunch stop I was relieved to get there. Our host Claire couldn’t have been more welcoming and I felt relaxed and at ease from the go. Apart from the caravan being totally eccentric and incredibly fun it was stocked with everything and anything you could ever need. Tea, coffee, milk, fresh eggs, butter, even flour, oil, pasta and mini cereal packets. Claire had even put Neal’s Yard shower goodies ready for an indulgent treat! I could have shown up with nothing and ben able to eat, freshen up and relax without needing to have got back in the car at all. As it happens we did get back in the car to check out the local village and shop to grab some supper before making plans for the next day and having a well deserved early night.
The next day we woke to the sound of bird song and the cockerel, which to me is bliss. After we fed the pigs and collected the chicken eggs (which is encouraged) we headed to Wookey Hole Caves, a place I used to go when I was Harrys age with my Grandparents. It was a trip down memory lane for me, although the attraction has changed and expanded considerably since I was little, it still had the charm and magic I remember. The caves themselves are just as fascinating and exciting and the penny slot machines were as good as I remembered. I got a few funny looks as I bounced around with more excitement than my son! I would highly recommend a visit. We were there no less than 7 hours, totally getting our moneys worth.
After all the busyness and driving I was very glad to get back to the caravan. The fire was lit and hot chocolates made within minutes and we were curled up by the stove for a bedtime story. A perfect end to a great day.
Our last morning in Churchinford was a little less rushed. We made use of the private garden and played some badminton and even tried playing football with the pigs which was partially successful. We thanked Claire for her over and above hospitality and made a short trip to Seaton on our way to my Dads. They have recently opened Seaton Jurassic an interactive museum all about the area in the Jurassic period and beyond. Another place I would highly recommend if you have kids in tow.
We pitched up at my dads and immediately I was enveloped in a hug and the kettle was already on the boil. Going to my Dads is welcoming and wonderful, I am never without some kind of drink in my hand and I have never ever left feeling hungry. This trip was no different and within a few hours of arrival the most delicious paella was served. This is family time at its best. We caught up into the small hours before hitting the sack. Harry loves it down there mostly because there are some of the best beaches around especially for beachcombing and fossil discovery (We like to happen upon them rather than smash every rock we find with a hammer!) My step mum loves beachcombing and to my Dads dismay brings back all sorts of weird and wonderful things, so the three of us headed to Charmouth for a morning of exploration.
After saying our goodbyes (I hate that part) we travelled North to the village of Pitney. The eco cabin was amazing, square footage wise it wasn’t much smaller than our cottage and had all the amenities you would need. My personal favourites was the fully stocked toy cupboard and a stove top percolator which is now very high up on my birthday list! The cabin was right next door to the lambing shed. Whilst sadly we didn’t witness any lambs being born we did get to see some day old lambs, adorable! The farm owners were so friendly and more than happy to take the time to explain how the farm runs and answer ALL of our questions.
Before our journey home to Surrey we stocked up on lunch supplies for the journey from the on site farm shop with homemade sausage rolls, pastries and fruit. We even grabbed some organic free range sausages and bacon to make a toad in the hole for supper along with some delicious veg.
The trip couldn’t have gone better and I couldn’t have been happier with our choices of accommodation. Airbnb really is my new favourite!