This week, I’m super excited to have Fiona from Coombe Mill joining in with Snapshots. As readers will know, we stayed at Coombe Mill recently, and the family are truly dedicated to the farm. So it’s interesting to discover what they like to get up to when they finally take some time off in the year! And as ever, it’s all about the adventure as Fiona’s wonderful photos illustrate when the eight of them went to France for their holiday.
What do you look for in a holiday?
With eight of us and living on a holiday farm having a holiday ourselves is both tricky time wise, expensive and difficult to accommodate everyone’s needs. I’d say we look for a balance on everything. Nick and I want a bit of culture and sightseeing, the younger ones are more interested in a pool and freedom and the teens want adventure.
Where did you go?
For our holiday this year and last we drove to France to stay with Nick’s Cousin and family.
We returned this year after having a wonderful time last year. With 10 children between us all of a similar age and all enjoying each other’s company it is a perfect choice.
All 8 of us in our family bus!
Where did you stay?
Provence is where they live and it offers a mix of everything we are looking for. There is the summer fete’s, running the bulls and French go Ape for the adventurous teens, a pool and endless sunny days for the little ones and a beautiful medieval town in walking distance with French markets and lovely restaurants for the adults. Nick’s cousin was insistent we stayed in their family house. They were kind enough to shuffle everyone around giving our kids a “dormitory” style room leading out to the garden and pool with Nick and I in what was their office next door. Their family shared the 2 floors above. As they often rent their house out in summer they had the beds and flexibility to accommodate us all.
Nothing official as we were in a family house, however as our cousins live there they were kind enough to take us to all their favorite attractions like kayaking in the river for memorable days out.
Your most memorable moment/s of the trip?
Enjoying al fresco meals together. All 14 of us on the veranda as the sun went down chatting over the day’s events and planning the next.
Running the bulls isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but as it is not something we see in England the children enjoyed it. Kayaking the river and tomb stoning off rocks and bridges along with fun in the trees on assault causes were our best family days out. I guess this puts us in the adventure holiday category on reflection!
Was it good value for money?
Amazing, as we drove the whole way in one day taking a picnic lunch from the UK and our accommodation was free. Food eating in or out is expensive in France and the activities are expensive too, but as travel and accommodation were so cheap for us we felt we could splash out and make it a real holiday to remember.
•Take a trip on a Kayak down the Pont du Gard it really is a lovely relaxing way to take in the beauty of the river.
•Take a bike with you and experience the off the beat little lanes and villages. I often went off with the teens in the afternoon leaving Farmer Nick in a book and the triplets playing in the pool.
Which photo is your favourite and why?
Ice creams in town on the last night. the kids are all best of friends by this stage and not wanting to be parted for another year.
Would you recommend to a friend?
The area is beautiful, it is an hour from the coast but the country side and town of Uzés where we stayed full of French character and the roads are not too busy. I would recommend it but probably with older children not tiny tots. We are indeed returning next year!
What are the five holiday essentials you couldn’t live without?
I think these are in order of importance to me:
•Everyone staying healthy
•Everyone getting along and no one in a strop – it’s a big family thing!
•Plenty to do for everyone
Right here at Coombe Mill, well how could I not say that? To be honest it has everything we want as a home and a holiday and while I love to go away to France and leave the business for a break, I also appreciate the beauty, safety and freedom of Coombe Mill whenever I return.
If you would like to be featured on Holiday Snapshots, please email me at [email protected] and I look forward to including your travel stories.