After the washout that was Ibiza in June last year, we decided to stick with somewhere guaranteed to be sunny and warm, and chose Somerset in the south-west of England. We wanted two weeks in which to relax, spend time with the children, and to recharge. Having used the Farm Stay website to browse for places, the two weeks we spent in the Tallet cottage at Clanville Manor was perhaps the best holiday I’ve had.
On a working farm, the small cottage a mile or so from Castle Cary and in the middle of nothing but open fields, was to be home from home for a fortnight. With a large lawned, walled garden, climbing frame, swing, slide and wendy-house, it was lovely to be able to see the children playing safely whenever they wanted to. Through a locked gate was a heated swimming pool that we used almost every day, and which Charlotte and Ted thought the highlight of the whole holiday.
The cottage was far enough from any kind of urban area to give beautiful displays of stars on clear nights. It was even possible to see the faint smudge of the Milky Way spanning the sky. We’d sit out in the dark until very late watching satellites go silently by, and see the occasional shooting star.
Our host Sally, and her farmer husband Rob, made us all feel so welcome, invading their home and workplace as we did. Sally made a big fuss of the children, taking them to collect the eggs from the farm’s resident chickens every evening, and engaging them in friendly chat whenever they saw her. On the final day, Rob took us on a walk around his beef farm. He took us to meet the cows, and entertained us with his enthusiastic stories and anecdotes. Charlotte and Ted loved being so close to the giant animals. Sarah and I were touched by Rob’s personal insights and the obvious care and that he takes with his cattle.
The middle of Somerset is a wonderful location for a holiday. It’s easy to get to the coast in two different directions in less than 90 minutes’ drive. It’s spoiled by the abundance of English Heritage and National Trust properties, and the number of unspoilt pubs serving fabulous local ale and cider was a specific highlight!
It wasn’t a lazy holiday. We went to:
Longleat was a highlight, although it was terribly expensive. There was so much to do there, and I grudgingly accepted that it was good value for money.
There was more to the holiday than just the places we went, or the place that we stayed. It was the first time for over a year, and the first time since Stan was born, that I have spent more than a few days in a row with the children. The holiday was most special therefore as it gave me a chance to be with my family both relaxing and having fun.
All that remains is to say once again a big thank you to Sally and Rob. You really did make our holiday – it would not have been the same without your welcome and enthusiasm, or your beautiful cottage on your wonderful farm. We will be back!