The thought of travelling on holiday with a 2yo and a heavily pregnant wife is enough to scare even the best of men. We wanted our first family holiday to be fun for everyone – something for Zane but also something for me and Rosie. I kept thinking about how much stuff we take out just to stay overnight somewhere, let alone a week away in a foreign country. Luckily, Rosie was at hand! She found a great website called Tots To Travel which caters for – you guessed it – travelling with toddlers. Perfect. Had we struck gold? Only time would tell. Their site blurb says “Our approach starts with you and your family and folds in, where, from our experience holidays go wrong.
Our aim is to safeguard your precious family holiday by handpicking the very best family friendly villas & cottages around Europe.”
OK, but talk is cheap, right?
We figured we’d take the ferry over to northern France with the car and just keep the drive short. Sure, the south of France is nice, but six-hour car drives with a 2yo are not. The fast ferry would be just over three hours, with a three-hour drive when we got off. “It will be an adventure”, Rosie said.
Tots To Travel were great! Rosie found a place called The Berry Farm that was in Brittany, France. The site is easy to navigate and selecting what country, room type and length of stay you want is easy peasy. Booking is a breeze, and you just need to pay a deposit to secure your pad and pay up the rest closer to the time. They even give you a discount to Brittany Ferries – every little helps! Once we’d paid up, clear instructions were sent to us with everything we needed to know: directions, arrival instructions, contact numbers etc. We felt in good hands.
Now, you’re thinking this is all going too well; nothing is this easy, I hear you say. Well, you’re right – although nothing to do with Tots To Travel. Arriving at Portsmouth, we were told we’d have to get a different ferry home due to Rosie’s pregnancy being over the 28-week period to travel on the fast ferry. At no point during the booking are you told this! We had to pay an extra £50 and drive further to catch a slow ferry that was an extra 2 hours long. Deep breathing ensued. This is bad form on the part of Brittany Ferries and they need to ensure this vital information is shared when people book the ferry. Had Rosie been over the 28-week period before we left, we would not have been able to go! Bad form.
So, on the ferry, all looking good. “Let’s watch the kids movie, shall we?”. “Why not, dear, why not”. Well, what happened next, we did not expect… It turns out that the fast ferry is, erm, “bumpy” to say the least. What happens on a bumpy ferry? You got it – sickness. Lots of it. Everywhere. Kids were dropping like flies, adults were next. It was pure carnage. Zane had a meltdown for an hour and screamed blue murder. For an hour. Carnage. Everywhere. I remember looking at my watch and seeing we still had an hour and half left. Whoa. Zane eventually exhausted himself and fell asleep. Our only saving grace was that neither of us were sea sick. That slow ferry back was looking like a God-send.
OK, so we’re off the ferry and driving to our new home for the next week. Boom, speeding ticket. They say these things happen in threes, right? Two hours later we finally arrived at Bramble, in a lovely little village called Lambel. As soon as we arrived, I knew Rosie had struck gold. Bramble was set up by a lovely Scottish couple, Tony and Sandra. They decided to set up a place where families could come and the kids could be entertained, and where everything the toddlers needed was there for you. Well, mission accomplished! The place was A-MAZING. You have your own private, self-catering little cottage (they do big ones, too) The one we had was a two bed, so Zane had his own room. The site is a converted farm, so tons of room, and the property was spacious. Tony greeted us on arrival and, despite being early, he was happy for us to move in to our cottage. He showed us around the site – the play areas, the swimming pool, the toddler pool, the huge play barn, the treehouse, the horses – Zane was in heaven. All secured and safe for the little ones. There’s a great beach about 30 minute drive away called Carnac, where we (OK, me) built awesome sandcastles and collected shells. OK, OK, and got ice-creams. Close by there’s a “Go-Ape” place, and a great theme park. Loads to do. For adults, the cottages all have Wi-Fi and basic TV – not that you will care with all the cheese, bread and wine you’ll be gorging on!
Overall, we had a great week. Zane loved it and can’t wait for his next holiday now. Me and Rosie ate way too many croissants. The ferry back was a hundred times better. Although longer, you’re comfortable and there’s restaurants and entertainment. Also, the seats are far more comfortable. No carnage. No sickness. Tony and Sandra were great hosts – nothing was too much trouble and we can’t wait to go back. On the slow ferry.
Thanks Tots To Travel!
Written by Adrian Moore