Firstly thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post, and those who reached out to us separately. It’s a cliché but you definitely learn who is in your corner at times like this.
This is a very delayed post but it’s nice to reminisce about our trip. Xav is always insanely busy in Q4, culminating in a frantic week 52 as everything has to be signed off by 31/12 (it’s why we can’t travel at Christmas). There’s then a lull before all the queries come in mid January, so it was a good time to take a week off for Xav. Added bonus was that Xav could take that week as parental leave, the last opportunity to do so before Hugo turned six months (Guernsey has different rules).
In order to get sunshine in January, you have to fly quite far and spend a lot of money. We decided we wanted low key and easy, so decided to get the ferry to Poole, have a overnight stay there then head to Center Parcs Longleat for a week. Not too much driving, and easy to do. Ha! Firstly, the ferries were cancelled due to bad weather, so thanks to our travel insurance who offered a zero excess adverse weather policy for £32, we booked flights to Bristol, extra luggage and a car. I then had a fun day of trying to pack all our stuff into three bags- babies don’t travel light and because Hugo is on special formula one suitcase was simply full of tins of Neocate. The journey was straightforward, Hugo is great on the plane and it was a treat for me to have an extra pair of hands compared to my normal flying solo with Hugo. We were upgraded to a swanky SUV which I loved driving, and it felt great to drive faster than 35mph.
Being a seasoned CP visitor, and someone who spent many a night feed googling ‘CP with a baby’; we headed to Frome to shop in Asda. Bearing in mind in Guernsey we only have Waitrose as a big supermarket, Asda and its cheapness was a huge luxury. We then headed off to CP and joined the massive queue, we had planned to be early and had even booked early arrival bit with one flight a day to Bristol our hands were tied.
After a trip or two around the one way system, we found our lodge in the Pine area. We had a two bed lodge which was perfect for us, one double and a twin where we put Hugo, and whoever was on night duty could sleep in a bed next to him.
One of the main attractions of CP for me was the pool. It was Hugo’s first time swimming and he loved it! Our first trip was aborted as someone had pooed in the pool, resulting in the entire pool being closed for cleaning and a massive queue to go back in; but after that we had no hiccups and would take Hugo mid morning. CP offer two sessions a week purely for the under 3s, but it clashed with Hugo’s nap time, and honestly during the week it was mainly preschoolers anyway. Hugo absolutely adored the pool, and alternated between his rubber ring (world’s most expensive ring bought in the CP shop) and swimming in our arms. We became adept at a changing routine, and since Hugo would often conk out after swimming, Xav and I would get a Starbucks or lunch after.
We’re lucky in Guernsey that babies are welcomed everywhere, but one lovely thing about CP is how family friendly it is. We took him to restaurants, Starbucks, the sports bar and there was always a highchair, baby food and changing facilities nearby. It made us feel relaxed which is what a holiday is all about. A few people told me how they hate CP and it was their idea of hell. I appreciate that it’s not exotic and it’s definitely a bubble of middle class, chain restaurant Britain; but with a baby sometimes you want easy and familiar!
We didn’t do many activities, but I did yoga and Pilates (both good) and went to the gym (very basic) and Xav took. Hugo to Baby Sensory. Hugo also did a session in the crèche, Xav and I had intended to do the high wire zipline but by that point it was clear that something was wrong with my hands, so we went to the medical centre so I could be prescribed painkillers by a local GP then grabbed lunch. We then had to go back to ASDA to get my drugs, and I was supremely grateful for the safeness of CP and it’s onsite medical centre.
Our week passed really quickly and we all enjoyed it. There were a few quirks- notably we pre-ordered fire logs but they didn’t supply matches! But one call customer services and matches were duly delivered to our lodge. On our final night we had an Indian takeaway which was yummy, and made up for our thwarted attempt to eat at the curry house, apparently the half empty restaurant was fully booked! I think that’s my biggest criticism of CP, many things have to be pre-booked which removes the spontaneity of a holiday. Equally, it’s nice to have a bit of structure.
Our journey back was straightforward, and it was a relatively stress free first family holiday. I’d definitely go back to CP again as I think the older Hugo is the more he’ll get from it, and a term time break starts from £379 which is very reasonable for what you get. School holidays on the other hand….!