Oh I love a summer holiday, in fact, any holiday!
The twins were 22 months in June 2017 when we planned to go on our family summer holiday. After 15 years of being a teacher and having to take adult breaks in the summer holidays, I was finally getting some satisfaction paying lower fares! I have done a lot of travelling worldwide as an adult, but I haven’t ever really explored the UK, and when we had the girls it was something my husband and I said we wanted to do. In 2016 we chose to go to the Lake District. Our main reason for this was that we could put them in backpack carriers and walk knowing that a year later, they would be too heavy for this! So our 2017 summer holiday was going to be different. It had to be much more geared up for toddlers. Cornwall was our chosen destination.
We had heard amazing things about Cornwall and after a lot of research, we were recommended Retallack Resort and Spa which is just outside Padstow. TAMBA also recommend Retallack and offer multiple families a discount with your membership so I guessed it must be geared up for twins and multiple – we were right! However, in order to receive your discount, you do need to call and tell them you are a TAMBA member.
When June arrived, the first thing we had to do was plan our route from Essex to Cornwall. 7 hours in the car with two smalls, is quite honestly my idea of hell so I wanted to make this as simple as possible. We listed attractions and stop off points throughout our journey depending on how the girls were doing, we had a choice of where to stop.
Our Journey from Essex to Cornwall
We decided that an early start was the best – 5am. In doing that we could get around the M25 before rush hour (it was a Friday). We woke early, got everything in the car, and at the very last min, woke the girls, gave them their bottles and put them in the car in their PJs and we were off. We had bought in car DVDs which were a life saver. As we approached each of our suggested break stops, we assessed the situation as to whether we needed a break, if the girls were restless or just to keep going. As things had it, we kept going, and going, and going. If the girls were happy, why stop and we were there by 11am which gave us plenty of time to go and explore the local area and find our bearings before we could get into our room at 3.
For those of you doing a similar journey, this was our Essex to Cornwall plan….
We Arrived at Retallack Resort and Spa!
As we pulled in, I instantly felt a sense of relaxation. It was calm and tranquil with great views. I just knew I was going to enjoy my week!
I always get excited when we first arrive our new ‘home’ for a holiday. I like to run in and see where everything is. I did this even before getting the girls out of the car! Retallack offered a variety of different lodges depending on the size of your family and needs. We went for a two bedroomed lodge which was perfect for us. It had everything we needed with plenty of everything and stairgates! We also met our lovely neighbours. They had twins and drank wine – well, it was a given really!!
Retallack is the UK’s first holiday home designed for twins and upon booking, you can even select a ‘twin’ option (I was so impressed by this!). This meant that the lodge was completely set up for us arriving with twins (or 2 under 2!). Two cots, two highchairs, plenty of plastic cutlery/plates/cups etc. There were stair gates at the top and bottom of the stairs and a gate on the patio so children can’t just run out. All of these little things just make the stay easier.
We didn’t stay in this lodge but Retallack have created ‘The Daymer Twin Lodge’. This lodge is a specialised twin friendly house with a large nursery room which has matching cots, an indoor and outdoor playhouse with accessories and toys. It is big enough for families with several tots to entertain, or a couple of families looking to holiday together.
Exploring Retallack with Children
The Swimming Pool
Having settled into our new home for the week, we decided to head up to the indoor pool for a dip. It is a very simple, rectangular pool with a small area for toddlers but it only ever had a few people in at the most. In fact, we were the only ones in there on many occasions that week and an added bonus was that it was warm! There were male and female changing rooms with lockers.
There are also 3 well equipped playgrounds dotted over the resort with one being just behind the pool area. Great for that early morning or late evening burst! There is also a small soft play lodge to let off some steam in too. This is also equipped with toys.
This was a little bit of a disappointment. Very small and not really worth the effort in my opinion but if you want to grab a drink whilst the little ones play for a bit, then it does have a little purpose! But if you have older children, it had a fabulous water park on the lake and a flowrider by the indoor pool area.
Right on your door step you also have tennis courts, cycle trails, woodland walks, not to mention the amazing kids’ club and crèche to keep your busy bees buzzing for hours.
Retallack offer their own Kids Club sessions during Cornwall state school holidays, and for the under 3’s we have year round fun – Jelly Tots crèche provides a fun and caring environment for children aged 3 months to 3 years. We also offer a range of baby and toddler classes, including music and dancing at Twinkle Tots and swimming and splashing at Ducklings Swimming.
For the Adults
If you need some me time to yourself or as a couple, then book one of the babysitters or a session at the Kids Club or Jelly Tots Crèche so you can escape knowing the littles are expertly cared for. We booked massages whilst the girls were in the crèche and it was perfect.
It is important to take some time for you once in a while. Slip into a warm robe, close your eyes and let your senses drift away as the expert therapists take you on a journey from feeling frazzled, to fantastic. Whether you have a quick 30 minutes away from the kids or an indulgent afternoon off, the therapists will weave their magic for you.
Need a night out?
And when you have had enough of the Children, you can book an accredited babysitter through Retallack and enjoy a little adult treat. We did this one evening and I was very impressed by the sitter.
Their supervised Movie Nights also provide parents with the perfect opportunity to enjoy dinner in The Green Room. Parents yearning for a night out can call on Retallack Resort’s helpful team of babysitters. I would pre-book the babysitting service to avoid disappointment as they are subject to availability. simply email firstname.lastname@example.org including your name, contact number, booking reference, your child’s name, age and the day and time you require a babysitter.
Eating at Retallack
There are two places to eat at Retallack. The Main restaurant – The Green Garden and the Lookout Bar. We ate in the bar a few times, ordering pizza for the girls after a late swim. This was delicious. The only down side to all of this is that everything closes down at 9.30pm so it you are wanting a babysitter and adults only treat, I would suggest going to the local town or it will be an early night for you!
Places to Visit Whilst Staying at Retallack
The weather for the duration of our stay was glorious. Beach weather every day! Although there were some facilities for Children at Retallack, we wanted to get out and about and explore Cornwall too. Here are the places we visited…
- Porthpean Beach by St Austell – A small beach but great for little people and there is a small shack selling beach essentials and ice-creams.
- Mawgan Porth Beach – The girls loved this beach because we were there during low tide and they could run and run in very shallow water. This beach had a car park nearby and only a short walk to the beach. There were a couple of shops and a bar to get some lunch in if you wished.
- Crantock Beach – This beach was beautiful but you had to walk up and over some big dunes first. This was fairly hard work with all the twin luggage we had, plus the twins. I have considered investing in a travel beach wagon since!
- Cycle the Camel Trail from Wadesbridge to Padstow. We hired our bikes from Cycle Camel Trail Cycle Hire and they come highly recommended. All the bikes were in good condition and cycling seats were provided. This was a 10 mile cycle there and back and was much further that we thought! I would have got in some practice in had I known! I would recommend cycling this way round as you can spend an hour or longer looking around Padstow and getting something to eat. As a warning, it is still quite a walk from where you have to park you bike to Padstow so be prepared and don’t forget you will have to carry cycling hats and possibly little ones too.
- Old MacDonnalds Farm – Great fun as a break from the beaches.
- Blue Reef Aquarium – Not recommended – we didn’t rate this at all. Took us 15 mins to walk round and it was fairly pricey for this.
You can also find some more ideas for days out here…