Before we had The Boy we used to regularly enjoy mini-breaks in European cities several times a year. Barcelona and Prague were our favourites as they were such centres for culture, full of beautiful buildings, good food and wonderful weather. We went to both three times and I can't wait to go back there again.
The only problem is that our passports expired 18 months ago and we have no plans to renew them.
This is a conscious decision based entirely on the fact that we have a child. I've done long haul flights to Dubai and the States, I've sat behind the child who was uncontrollably sobbing and unhappy, the parents who were willing the miles to pass more quickly, and I've felt sorry for them. Not annoyed, never annoyed. Other passengers were, and the stress that added to the parents's already anxious mood didn't help.
I vowed that I wouldn't take a child on a plane until they were older than five years, and we never have. However, now The Boy has reached that golden age I still have no desire to go abroad, because what we've discovered in the last half a decade is that actually we live in a pretty beautiful and extraordinary country anyway, and we don't need to jet away to discover paradise.
As a child I holidayed in Dorset and Devon a lot, but we never really ventured further down the coastline. Ten years ago we had a family holiday near Newquay with my in-laws, and I was impressed with the landscape and beaches, but it took us another few years to realise how much we could have down there.
Over the past two years we have discovered the wonders of Cornwall as an ideal holiday destination for families, having explored the area on four separate holidays. One day I'll be brave enough to camp in one of the many well-maintained sites, but until then we are very happy to stay in holiday cottages.
So what are the advantages (for us) to holidaying in the UK:
- Journey time – It would take us 1.5 hours to reach Bristol Airport, with a 2 hour check-in, then a 2.5 hour flight to Barcelona, followed by baggage collection, and transfer to the hotel. So around seven or eight hours. Or it takes us 3.5 hours to reach the heart of Cornwall from Cardiff. Bit of a no-brainer really?
- Cost - for us to renew our passports (and buy one for The Boy) would cost us £220.00. Airfare would be £450.00 and a hotel would cost £1000. Add to that food, transport, day trips, spending money etc. and a one week holiday has suddenly grown to well over £2000. Or holiday cottages in Cornwall in peak season can be hired for around £1200.
- Food - I am vegetarian and suffer from IBS. The Boy has food intolerances and an allergy to tomatoes. That doesn't make for happy meal times, especially when finding food suitable for children in Mediterranean countries can be hard enough without complications. You don't get that problem with self-catering accommodation.
While the idea of sangria and tapas on Las Ramblas is incredibly appealling, it's certainly not enough to change our holiday plans for the next few years. There are plenty of family friendly farms and camping sites which have accommodation, but there are also places like holidaycottages.co.uk, you can find their cottages in Cornwall here.
Golden sands and warm blue seas, stately homes, family adventure centres; why would anyone want to put themselves through long journeys when everything you could need for a family holiday is right here on your doorstep?
Where is your favourite UK location to holiday?
In association with holidaycottages.co.uk