I know some kids have already been back nearly two weeks, but mine went back on Monday, so the memories are still strong. It was two weeks with lots of playing in nature, which was the perfect thing for all of us. I needed to switch off from screens, 6yo G is currently uncontainable indoors, and 8 yo L is always at her happiest when in nature. Climbing trees, having picnics, damning streams, poking in ponds, hiding in bracken and lots of picnicking. At the last minute we booked Forge Cottage, via Snaptrip…
For the last three months Mr A has been working away a lot. It’s really taken its toll on us all. We all miss each other so much and the family dynamic has been wonky whichever way you look at it. His last long stint away fell over the Easter holidays. So when Snaptrip offered us a discount on a last minute holiday cottage booking, we snapped their hand off to be ‘together’. Basically the discount was the difference between all staying in Mr A’s little hotel, or upgrading to a stunning cottage where we could pretend we lived in the country for a few days. More on booking with Snaptrip at the bottom of this post.
When we arrived I immediately fell in love with the cottage. The owners had left muffins, wine, dog biscuits and flowers and it was so well equipped and organised, it was also beautifully furnished.
We’d booked to be near Mr A, with no real idea what we could do locally, so you can imagine my solo-parenting-without-car absolute delight when I took Max the dog for a walk the next morning and discovered we had landed a cottage right next to Hothfield Heathlands, with miles of beautiful heathland. We rounded the corner from here, to be greeted by heath, and a noticeboard that promised all kinds of exciting wildlife.
When I took the kids back later, we walked further, and the misty view I had seen unfolded under bright blue skies – yellow gorse, purple heather and lots of old and fascinating trees.
It was such a good feeling to just walk across the path from Forge Cottage and into woodland. Daffodils, primrose, celandines. Woodpeckers flying past, and blue tits tweeting, the sound of cuckoos calling.
The trees that fall are left as homes for wildlife and insects, so there are so many old trees to make dens in, fir cones, twigs, sticks and logs lying about, it’s such an inspiring place to play.
I had to keep reminding them not to disturb precious habitats too much, but they found some sawn off logs and started building a picnic spot.
They left signs to remind them where the spot was…
When Mr A got back from work they had already made up a picnic tea back at the cottage, so he was whisked out the door and brought to their spot.
Our three days were spent roaming with Max, and a picnic, made up in a Highland Cattle shortbread tin we found in the cottage. We’d been looking for the horned cattle that roam free on the heath, so the tin was quite apt. Kate Takes 5 was frantically messaging me at this point, trying to plan her next getaway to the Peak District and wondering if I was around – see I really was in the middle of nowhere – it was fab to chat though!
On Day Two we finally found the long horned cattle of Hothfield Heath, you can just see them munching behind this pair. G is wearing Max’s coat/blanket as a superhero cloak, in case you were wondering. We also made it all the way to the other side of the heath and Hothfield village, where we had lollies from the post office and a play in the playground. Our Snap trip was perfect.
After a full day with these three (I’m counting Max the dog), and all that fresh air, I really loved coming home to this.
And a long soak in this, while Mr A took over the
tv supervision parenting for the witching hour.
It’s a little trip I won’t forget, I even bottled a bit in this little video. My two seem to have hit a sibling rocky patch, is that a 6 and 8 yo thing I wonder? But, when they are outdoors they are absolutely the best of friends. I even caught them holding hands.
The cottage has two double beds, a large living room/diner and a kitchen and bathroom and small, but beautiful garden. It is situated right next to the A20, so the only downside is traffic noise, but living on an A road I’m used to that, and it was a very small price to pay for such an excellent base. The lane was lovely and the neighbours stopped to chat to the kids. Next door on both sides had small children, so we never felt too worried about making noise.
Booking on Snaptrip
Snaptrip on average save holidaymakers £100 on last minute holiday bookings, after introducing a last minute booking system to the holiday self-catering market. Booking on Snaptrip is really easy, its really intuitive to navigate and search. The map function really helped me to see which cottages would be nearest to where Mr A was working – I’ve wasted so much time on self catering rental sites, trying to work out where the cottage actually is – this was really seamless, perfect for finding a last minute cottage in Kent. All the info you need, and live pricing in one place.
After deciding on our cottage, I entered a few simple details – party number, name, address and email. Within 10 minutes I got a call to take the booking further, much less than the promised 30 minutes, and the caller actually apologised for not calling immediately. Snaptrip do this to smooth over any potential issues with making a late booking, it also provides reassurance against fraud and phishing risks. I was then emailed a final link to make payment.