By Laura Mason
“Can I get a chair for you?” I glance across and see a waitress running off and coming back with a chair of sorts – but a baby rocker of all the chairs!
I smile to myself, why can’t family dining be so easy everywhere? I am in a restaurant in one of the most family friendly hotels in the UK (ask any of hard-nosed hotel critics if you don’t believe me!) I have walked in with all three of my children, including Marley who at two years of age has perfectly mastered the ‘tantrum!’ The menu looks amazing, views are stunning and as I look round at the families all tucking into their meals and chatting loudly I immediately feel at ease knowing it won’t be a rushed or shushed affair and I’ll have to make absolutely no excuses for my children!
The restaurant in question is the Wild Cafe. The restaurant is one of two fabulous eateries located at Bedruthan Hotel & Spa in between Padstow and Newquay in Cornwall.
Bedruthan Hotel & Spa, Cornwall
With a dramatic coastline, the hotel boasts enviable views out to the stunning bay of Mawgan Porth and the rolling Cornish countryside in the distance. The hotel faces out to sea with over half the bedrooms featuring floor to ceiling windows so they really are unbeatable views. There’s something so enlivening about waking up to this spectacular view that puts a huge smile on my face.
The hotel is made up of just over 100 spacious rooms and suites. The majority of rooms can accommodate families, with layouts featuring bunk beds, adjoining rooms and full suites to best suit the needs of your family. Rooms are brightly decorated with an infusion of colour – groovy pops of pink and lime green coupled with vibrant patchworks commonly can be found throughout the stylish hotel. Comfy beds are surrounded by plenty of storage, tea and coffee facilities and locally made toiletries. Cots, bottle warmers and fridges can all be provided to make life simpler with the little ones in tow.
And so back to the Wild Cafe. Split almost into two halves, the ‘family side’ celebrates children of all ages – bibs and kids cutlery piled high, fresh baby food made to order, children’s afternoon tea and the most welcoming of staff (just ask my children about Tina!) The other side is casual yet a little quieter in case you don’t want to join in with ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ during your dinner! The menu is filled with family favourites, predominantly homegrown or locally produced from the region and I thoroughly enjoyed the Fish and Chips.
Adult-only dining at The Herring
The Herring is the adults-only dining option that features a nightly menu with beautifully presented seasonal dishes with a little more flair and finesses such as the Tregothanan Estate venison, potato dauphinoise, cauliflower puree and spiced date sauce. All of the desserts are delectable; the Dessert Chef clearly has gained his accolade in perfecting the finest melt in the mouth puddings.
Entertainment at Bedruthan Hotel
The hotel is roomy with so much indoor and outdoor open space for children to have controlled freedom to be themselves which is just great. We spent a lot of time at the on-site soft play. It is a really good size with chutes, slides and ball pits making it a fab rainy day activity, or for us, a good stop off for some pre-dinner madness where our little tikes ran wild!
Included in our stay was two hours of free childcare per day, so our children visited the Ofsted registered Kids Club for a couple of hours so we could enjoy a little time together as a couple. The facilities were as good as the private nursery we use, the staff asked us all the right questions, and despite some resistance from Marley, when I checked back seconds later the crocodile tears had disappeared and she was attentively listening to a story being read to her!
Making full use of our time and the beautiful weather, we headed to the Sensory Garden, a zen-like outdoor haven. Taking you on a journey through the senses with smells, scrubs and heat, the hubby and I relaxed and spent one hour just catching up and letting our bodies rejuvenate. It’s amazing sometimes what an hour of nothingness can achieve for overtired, stressed bodies.
Elsewhere for adults, the hotel has tennis courts, an indoor spa, craft workshops and an onsite shop selling local artwork and lots of Orla Kiely trinkets.
And so like that, our hour was up and grabbing the happy kids from Kids Club, we all excitedly headed to the pool. The hotel has three pools – one indoor and two outdoor pools. It is summer after all so we decided to head outside for an afternoon of giggles and play!
Beach on your doorstep
If you’re more beach people, then you truly are spoilt. A 10-minute walk through the hotel grounds will see you on the beach with toes in the sea. It’s golden sands and warm shallow waters make it fun for exploration and adventure. Deeper into the sea the waves are powerful and it’s popular with surfers so even if you don’t want to grab a board it’s fun to watch. The infamous Bedruthan Steps coastal trail is also accessible through the hotel, just be prepared that it can take some endurance to complete.
Evenings are a blast at Bedruthan and we quickly found ourselves becoming familiar with our new evening routine – quick soft play, dinner with Tina and co, evening entertainment for the children, leisurely walk up to our room then snuggling up in our cosy beds! The lie-ins in the morning said it all – we’d quickly immersed ourselves into holiday mode and were relaxing together as a family. It’s a rarity we have quality time together – work keeps my husband and I geographically apart from each other and/or the children, a big house brings plenty of DIY needs and a hectic social life for us all means we are darting in all directions….so for this weekend, we left all of the above behind, and we pressed the much-needed reset button.
Maybe it was the sea air, maybe it was the inclusive nature of the hotel that allowed us to enjoy all it had to offer together, or maybe it was just sharing special moments of our break with Tina at the end of each day, but something got to us all during this stay, and for this reason I have to agree with my husband when he declared it one of his favourite UK family boltholes.
Need to Know
(Low season): Prices at Bedruthan Hotel & Spa start from £262.00 per night based on a family of four sharing a Sea View Family Room on a Dinner, Bed & Breakfast basis; 2 hours of free childcare per day of stay is also included in the price, subject to availability. An Elemental Spa Day Package (including Sensory Spa Garden) is priced at £55 per person. For more information, please visit: www.bedruthan.com or call 01637 861 200.