We went on holibobs! I successfully organised my family (alright, theres only three of us, but still…) and managed to get us on holiday, and didn’t break the baby! Yey! Ok, Andrew did his fair share, and it was only a few hours away. But STILL. It was PERFECT!
With money being tight (maternity pay, anyone?) and us still planning on heading out to Barbados with Ava at some point this year, I thought it would be lovely to get away for a relaxing break somewhere in England. Not too far, not too pricey, extremely baby friendly (nervous first time mum on holiday here, guys!), with activities to do, preferably a pool and some cultural places/cafe’s/nature walks to explore. It seemed a rather long list, but after some
extensive lazy research (Typing ‘UK baby friendly breaks’ into Google was basically all I did) I came across ‘Woolley Grange’ Hotel, in Bradford-on-avon. Run by the ‘Luxury Family Hotels’ Group (with another seven hotels around the country), ‘Woolley Grange’ offers ‘affordable, family friendly’ holidays. I am in no way affiliated with the group, nor have I been asked to write this review, but I can’t rave about this hotel enough. The staff couldn’t have done more for us, it was beautifully suited to babies and families, and there were incredible little touches throughout that made it ever-so special.
I booked a mid-week break, and chose the Autumn deal package. This made it cheap, although I’m aware that not everyone can get away mid-week. We paid £370 for two nights- including two adults and one-eating-baby for bed, breakfast and dinner. We chose a kingsize family room, but were upgraded, free of charge, to a family suite.
If you’re into modern, sleek and chic decor than Woolley Grange probably isn’t for you. It has a beautiful home-from-home, rustic charm. Soft carpets, photo’s of days-gone-by and plenty of little corners to pick up a book or toy (there are bookcases and toy boxes for children all over the place) and relax for an hour or two. Our room was called ‘Birdie’, and situated in what I assume was an old coachhouse or barn. Private, it came with our own front door, porch way, bathroom, toilet, main bedroom and large cove with comfy seating where Ava’s cot was set up, so we could be separated slightly at night. WG asks about your children before you go, and set up the room with baby change facilities, nappy bin, bottle warmer, steriliser and cot, before you arrive. I know, right?
So Tuesday we arrived, unpacked, and had some lunch. We had a swim in the indoor pool and headed back for a nap. Tuesday evening we had initially opted for family dining, whereby children and adults can choose from all menu’s and dine together. There’s also ‘high tea’ dining at 5pm for children, and adult only dining later on in the evening. For children, tables are set up with child’s cutlery, highchairs, and menu’s. You can place an order in the afternoon, and the kitchen will freshly prepare your child’s food (They’ll puree most things on the menu, too) and serve it at 5pm.
For adults who want some child free dining there’s a scrumptious a la carte menu to choose from, and candles and wine galore. WG also offer a ‘listening service’ for your room, so you could head to dinner and ask reception to inform you if your children wake. Not comfortable in leaving Ava, we decided to eat together at 7.30pm on the first night. There’s me, thinking that if Ava had a late nap (she napped from 4-7pm after the swim!) she would be good to go and eat with us a little later. WRONG, MUMMY.
We didn’t even make it through the starter (goats cheese soufle, pork and apricot terrine) before Ava kicked off. She wasn’t having any of it. She was still tired, teething and was not happy about being away from a cosy space so late in the day. But here’s the brilliant thing about WG. I knew the staff would have seen it before, and I wasn’t too embarrassed (alright, maybe a bit) to admit defeat and ask for the rest of our three course meal and wine to be brought to our room. We headed off, tail between our legs, to put Ava to bed. Only now she was WIDE awake. Oh no, she wasn’t going to go to bed after a three hour late nap. So we ended up having a floor picnic, in our room, with Ava playing. And it was beautiful. It’s those kind of memories you cherish.
On Wednesday we had thought that we might explore Bath, Bradford-on-avon or visit some museums, but the weather was Glorious, and WG was so lovely we ended up staying at the hotel for the day. After breakfast we wandered around the grounds. There’s the walled garden, chickens and ducks to see, games,trampoline, tennis, football, nature garden, rabbits. The list goes on. There’s plenty to do in the grounds and the children can even help with egg collection in the morning!
After a lengthly stroll (Walking off the sausages, bacon and maple waffles I had for breakfast…) we headed back for a rest and nap for Ava. We swam again, in the outdoor pool this time, and completely relaxed. Ava had dinner at 5pm and the table set up is just-so-thoughtful. After her dinner, bath and bed we relaxed in the room, and put a room service order in. Three courses and a bottle of proscecco were quietly brought into our room and we had yet another lovely evening of relaxation and food.
I was so sad to leave Thursday. After a brief stint in Bradford-on-Avon, full of a river walk, boutique shops and a stop for drinks, we headed home. Our little trip away couldn’t have been more perfect, and I’m already planning a trip back with the rest of the family for my 30th birthday. Thanks, Woolley Grange!
Until next time,