It doesn’t matter how much you prepare, when you travel with children there’s usually something of importance that you forget or you just can’t fit into your luggage.
I wrote a post recently over on Mamas Travel Tribe on all the things we packed with us when we went travelling for three weeks around Asia. The reason for that post is because I know other mums and dads need something to reference when it comes to holidaying. Children go beyond the usual socks, shoes and trousers. Particularly babies and toddlers.
So when Baby Friendly Boltholes offered us the chance to stay in the New Forest in one of their top 10 rated properties and promised all the bells and whistles, I honestly wondered if it would live up to expectation.
Could the tag line ‘stylish escapes- perfect for preschoolers‘ please the full age range of my family?
If I could shout about Baby Friendly Boltholes from the rooftops I would. Our stay far exceeded our expectations, and our expectations were already high.
Hyde Paddock was the property we were lucky to call home.
Nestled in the New Forest amongst wild ponies and herds of galloping deer we were all a world away from what our lives usually entail. The rural roads and beautiful surroundings made for the most picturesque adventures as we explored them.
While there are so many activities you can enjoy in the New Forest, the icing on the cake for us was being forced to live slowly. There’s a delight in not being in control and just existing where you are.
Why am I saying this? Because we had to contend with the Beast from the East colliding with Storm Emma, an unusual weather front for Britain, so all our plans went out the window.
Blizzards, strong winds, drifting snow and bitter cold weather was sent to test us. And it certainly did that.
We thought we’d be able to out smart the bad weather on our second day. The snow had started to fall but the main roads were still accessible, so we decided to head to The Pig for lunch. A place I’ve been meaning to eat at for years. The idea that their menus are created around what’s available from their gardens really appealed to me.
And knowing the bad weather was coming we thought we’d head there for a quick meal before holing up at Hyde Paddock for the rest of the week.
Only it didn’t quite go as planned.
The meal was fabulous, and I highly recommend making a reservation if you’re in the area to experience their food.
But by the time we left, the snow had started to heavily settle over the gritted main roads causing a manner of road issues.
What would have been a thirty minute drive at most, saw us stuck in our car for 5 hours. And in the end we had to call it a day and just find somewhere to sleep for the night. Being only a few miles from Hyde Paddock was a hard pill to swallow as we explored our new basic room for the night. But as we found out the morning after, we were lucky to have not been stuck out all night long like many other drivers. In the end there were news reports on the military being called to help stranded motorists.
As the sun rose we drove back to Hyde Paddock and witnessed the previous nights disaster by counting up the discarded cars on the roadside. Luckily the main roads had once more been gritted and the previous nights issues were no longer a problem so the drive back was relatively easy.
The more rural roads of course were harder to contend with and we left our car about half a mile from Hyde Paddock and walked back by foot.
It sounds horrific, but actually it was a great adventure and something that made us really appreciate not being able to go anywhere the next few days.
Instead we donned our snow clothes and we enjoyed a Great British winter.
Our hosts kept in touch with us the whole time to make sure we had everything we needed, but there really was nothing more we required.
We had firewood to make the most glorious fires in the evenings and as I curled up on the sofa watching the snow fall outside, my children would be playing with the trunk load of toys at their disposal.
We watched the supplied kids DVDs, drunk hot chocolates and made delicious coffees using the Tassimo machine provided and sunk into the huge bath tub in the evenings.
We languished in the hot tub in the garden and sipped on the bubbles the hosts had kindly left for us.
Had the weather been more typical we would have enjoyed the bikes supplied in the garage and ridden them around the country lanes with our children strapped in on the back, instead we made use of some sleds we borrowed from a lovely family that offered them out to us.
We whizzed down the most perfect slopes and we went in search of the famous wild New Forest ponies.
We would breakfast on the fresh eggs supplied by our hosts on top of the freshly made loaf they also provided us with. And of course when we needed that little bit of chocolate we indulged in one of their home-made brownies- of which we had a whole tin full!
We had also bought our own food from home, but had I been more organised we could have arranged a shopping delivery before arriving.
Our stay was just the most perfect countryside retreat. None of us would have wanted to have been snowed in anywhere else.
But what made Hyde Paddock extra special were the tiny touches that would probably go unnoticed.
From the light switch on the wall next to my sons bed, meaning he could switch the light on himself if he woke up scared at night-time. The little night lights that emitted a glow to soothe him without the need of the full light. The bed rail to keep him secure under the kid friendly character duvet he had on his bed. The multitude of baby bath seats, bath toys, toilet seats and potties for children to use if needed. The steriliser tucked away in the kitchen for bottle feeding mums, to the two cots prepared and ready to use should my daughter choose to sleep in one- either in her brothers bedroom or in ours… which of course she decided against either and slept in our bed instead.
Other then packing the obvious for our children, we really didn’t need anything else. Even the baby bouncer was taken care of at Hyde Paddock.
And that is what made the whole experience utter perfection. So was Hyde Paddock a ‘stylish escape- perfect for preschoolers?‘ Without a doubt it was. Perfect for all of us though- not just preschoolers.
And that is why it gets so many repeat bookings from families who have fallen in love with it just like we did.
Things to do in the New Forest
Lunch at The Pig
Spa day at Limewood Hotel
Price per week from £850.00 – £1350.00. Fallow Deer is nearby and can also be rented making it the perfect place to stay for two families requiring their own space.