I had been wanting to visit Coombe Mill Farm in Cornwall since hearing about it from my friend Jo at Mummy Needs Wine. We decided that it would be ideal for our Easter holidays. As soon as I told Mini we were going and showed her the website, she couldn’t stop asking when we were going. She was desperate to meet the animals and get to help out during the farm feed runs.
Coombe Mill is around a 3.5 hour drive for us, without any stops. I was not looking forward to the journey, on a bank holiday weekend. However, we had a great journey down. We had left early at 7am, having packed the car the night before. Luckily Baby Mack snoozed most of the way. We stopped half way at the services for some breakfast (well second breakfast) and arrived in Cornwall late morning. As we knew that we couldn’t get into Coombe Mill until 3pm we headed to Lanhydrock National Trust which was only a short drive away from the farm.
When we arrived at the farm, we had a warm welcome from Fiona who showed us around our lodge. As soon as we got there, the sense of calm and tranquillity hit us. As we set about unpacking, Mini had already checked out her bedroom, the playroom upstairs and had introduced herself to the boy next door!
Easter At Coombe Mill
During our visit the farm was full to capacity however it didn’t feel busy at all. It was lovely that the children from the lodges really got to know each other and played happily together. Our lodge was in a group of 5 together, all whom had children staying. It felt totally safe to let the children play outside together in front of the lodges or at the play area nearby. There was always an adult on the balcony or outside keeping an eye on them. Living on a busy road, this isn’t something we’ve ever been able to allow Mini to do, I think she really thrived on the independence to go out and enjoy herself. The adults also really got on with each other, it honestly felt that during our week there we developed a sense of our own little community.
As our visit fell on Easter Sunday, the children had a special visit from the Easter Bunny. Fiona and her helpers had been busy hiding chocolate eggs all around the farm for the children to find after Sunday’s feed run. Although, I bet she didn’t plan for the fact that it was so hot that some of them were starting to melt! The children had a wonderful time, and the older ones made sure that they shared with the younger ones. I liked that they went on the hunt as a team and helped each other rather than just running off and doing their own thing.
All of the accommodation at Coombe Mill is slightly different so it is worth having a good read through of the descriptions on the website to see which is best for your visit. We opted to stay in Polzeath, which is one of the Scandinavian style lodges on-site. It features an open plan kitchen, living and dining room. Downstairs there are two bedrooms; a twin and the master bedroom with a super king size bed. The master bedroom has a spacious en-suite and there is also a family bathroom.
It is upstairs that really holds the wow factor for children. The entire upstairs of our lodge was a giant play area. We had told Mini about this before we had arrived and she literally ran upstairs to check it out as soon as we got into the lodge. There is a huge play room jam packed full of toys, a train play table, play castles, dolls and so much more. Around one corner there is a small soft play area perfect for little ones, it also has a sneaky viewing window down to the living room. In the other corner there is a reading snug, with plenty of books and chairs to cosy up in.
The play area was fantastic, it meant that we didn’t have to pack any toys for either of the children as we knew they would be there. Mini also had great fun exploring new toys and had fun inviting some of the friends she made to play with her too.
Polzeath Lodge had everything that we could need as a family during our stay. The kitchen is well stocked with enough equipment to make a full roast feast if you wanted to. We had ordered a Tesco delivery to be delivered to our lodge so we didn’t have to fit the food in the car, which worked really well. There is a small selection of basics available to buy on site, otherwise the nearest village shop is around a 5-10 minute drive away. The only extras we needed to take with us were towels.
If you are visiting in the Winter, the lodge has a log burner to keep you warm and cosy. Also, to note the lodge runs off an electricity meter which you need to put £1 coins in. During our week stay we only needed to use around £5 but make sure you’ve got coins with you.
Activities for Children at Coombe Mill
Everything at Coombe Mill is designed around children and letting them experience farm life hands on. Every day Farmer Nick leads the feed run at 9am. All of the children meet him in the car park where he arrives with his tractor. Mini was very happy to have been chosen as the first child of the week to help his drive the tractor across to the animals.
The children then have the opportunity to feed and help look after the animals at Coombe Mill. Starting with feeding the pigs with any leftovers the families had, before heading to check if the chickens had laid any eggs. Any eggs collected could be taken back to enjoy back at the lodge. The children then continue on to visit the goats, ponies, deer and sheep. During our stay it was lambing season and there had been some brand new arrivals overnight. The children helped Farmer Nick check the baby lambs over and mark their fleece to know they belonged to Coombe Mill.
It was wonderful to see the children so enthusiastic about the feed run every day. I know for Mini this would have been her first time of getting so close and so involved with animals and she absolutely loved it. I would say this is definitely the highlight of many of the children’s holidays.
As well as the daily animal feed, there is also a daily train ride around Coombe Mill at 6pm. The small train takes the children round laps of the gardens and play area and again is a great way of bringing the children together.
On the farm there are multiple play areas dotted about, as well as a trampoline and a mini golf. I love that there aren’t any extra charges for activities once you are there, everything is included which makes a refreshing change.
There is also a games room packed full of games, toys, books and DVDs to use either in the room or taken back to the lodge. There is also a really useful boot room that has a huge selection of wellies and puddle suits. There are also wetsuits and surf boards. They are all available to borrow free of charge during your stay, which is again another really simple touch but one that really enhances the stay.
Once a week, on a Friday, Fiona arranges a craft hour activity for the children. During our stay the activity was den building and a campfire. They all got stuck in working together to carry the sticks for their den. Under supervision, they helped to build the campfire. Fiona then sent the children to pick some wild garlic, which they added to dough that she had made earlier. They then cooked their garlic dough balls and marshmallows over the fire. A perfect way to end a very special holiday, enjoying the very best of the nature at Coombe Mill.
Family Days Out Near Coombe Mill
There is plenty to do at Coombe Mill if you prefer to stay put and enjoy the beautiful Cornish surroundings. However, I’ve done a little summary of some of our excursions that can be reached from Coombe Mill in case you fancy a day trip out.
There are lots of beaches within easy reach of Coombe Mill. We opted for Polzeath, which was around a 20 minute drive away. There was ample parking very close to the beach and a row of shops too. The weather was so hot we had to buy a sunhat for Baby Mack as we hadn’t packed one. We also treated ourselves to an ice cream to enjoy on the beach too. Polzeath beach is definitely family friendly, its flat and easily accessible. We were able to push the pushchair onto the sand with ease.
There was a little stream running down the beach and down to the sea. Mini loved splashing about, she’d taken a net that she had borrowed from Coombe Mill and was hoping to find some creatures in the stream. Our visit was on Easter Sunday and the weather was amazing, it was lovely to be able to play on the beach and paddle in April! We walked down to the sea to dip Baby Mack’s feet in for the first time. Once he got over the initial shock from the cold water he quite enjoyed it.
Mr Mack and Mini were playing jumping over the waves. Unfortunately we didn’t notice a big wave creep up behind us as we were taking a family selfie and we all ended up a little soggy.
The Eden Project
I had wanted to visit The Eden Project for a long time, so it seemed our perfect opportunity. I had heard that there was an offer in BBC Gardener’s World Magazine for 241 entry, so we took a detour to pick up a copy. The Eden Project was around a 35 minute journey from Coombe Mill.
I was a little worried that there may not be enough there to keep Mini occupied. However, I didn’t need to worry, we found The Eden Project very family friendly. They had special Easter activities on during our stay, which were great fun, including a welly wanging contest!
The two biomes were just so stunning inside, each with a different atmosphere, rainforest and Mediterranean. I loved the view from the top of the Rainforest biome, walking along the rooftop bridges down onto the landscape below was breath-taking. Make sure to read my full write up of our day at The Eden Project for more hints and tips for a great day out.
Cycling The Camel Trail
The Camel Trail is a disused railway that is now a popular cycling route. Due to it being mostly flat and smooth its perfect for Family cycling adventures. We opted to ride the 5 mile section between Wadebridge and Padstow. The plan was to have lunch in Padstow before heading back again. We hired bikes in Wadebridge, Mini had a bike that was attached to the back of Mr Mack’s bike and I had Baby Mack in a trailer attached to my bike. His car seat clipped into the trailer so he was safe and snug, and he was fast asleep in no time at all.
Wadebridge is around a 15 minute drive from Coombe Mill and there are plenty of cycle hire shops in the town. It felt like a real achievement that as a family we’d cycled 10 miles together, something to be proud of. I’d highly recommend a ride along The Camel Trail whilst you are at Coombe Mill, or just a walk if you didn’t fancy the cycle as the scenery is beautiful. I’ve written a separate post all about our cycle adventure with plenty more information.
Lanhydrock National Trust
On our first day of the holiday we visited Lanhydrock as we had arrived in Cornwall too early to check in at the farm. We have a family National Trust Membership so didn’t have to pay anything extra. As it was Easter there was a Cadbury’s Easter trail to do around the grounds. The trail took us up through the gardens and gave us a stunning view down over the house below.
We enjoyed a picnic on the grass and soaked up the sunshine before having a look around the house. There was also a fantastic children’s play area to explore as well as huge fields and woodland to run around. We were lucky that during our visit it was Bluebell season. There was whole sections of woodland covered in them, which was a really special sight to see.
Swimming at Hengar Manor
Although we were very lucky with the weather during our stay, we did have a few rainy showers. We decided to go for a swim at Hengar Manor, which is only 5 minutes from Coombe Mill. Free swimming is available to guests at Coombe Mill at the local leisure centre. However as it was Baby Mack’s first proper swimming experience I was concerned it may be too cold for him and hoped a private pool would be warmer. The prices were reasonable, £4 for an adult and £3 for children, with Baby Mack being free. There was one slide in the pool and a bubble jucuzzi area too. There was also a shallow toddler pool which was perfect to get Baby Mack used to the water.
Final Thoughts About Coombe Mill
I honestly can’t recommend a holiday at Coombe Mill highly enough. When we came to leave, Mini burst into floods of tears for a good 20 minutes as she was so sad to leave. If that isn’t a resounding endorsement for an amazing holiday, I really don’t know what is. We relaxed, had fun and spent great family time together in beautiful surroundings. Normally, I have a rule that we don’t go back on holiday to the same place twice, I feel there are so many places to explore rather than repeating a visit. However, I was so impressed with everything about our time at Coombe Mill I could be very easily persuaded to break my own rule. Perhaps next time we visit Baby Mack will be big enough to join in more with farm life too.
For further information and booking visit the official Coombe Mill website here.