There can be few greater sights than turning that final corner to reveal the Atlantic rolling in. Especially after eight hours of stop-start on the M5, multiple toilet breaks, and awe-inspiring meltdowns over who gets the only iPad with any battery left.
All of that is instantly forgotten as we pull into the car park at a place that means a lot to us. We’ve visited Watergate Bay every year as our family has grown from two of us into a full squad of five: Ava 5, Ella 4, and Jude 1. When we travel, you'll usually hear us before you see us. And when you see us, chances are Jude is already pulling your dog’s tail. Add to that Ella’s severe food allergies and holidays aren’t always the most straightforward of things.
Yet, the moment we step inside the hotel, everything changes. The toil of the journey is washed away by the crackling fire and a playlist that treads the right side of nostalgia. It sets the tone for the rest of our stay. A weekend with great friends and lavish sunsets where the kids can run wild(ish) and the only clock watching is the countdown to breakfast waffles.
But this shout-out goes to you, Kids’ Zone. That most joyous of places where dreams can come true. By ‘dreams’ I mean two kid-free hours every morning for mum and dad. At first, we were slightly miffed that our children would choose to spend two hours of their precious holiday time away from us (they’ve got their teens for that), but then we remembered the hot tub...the feeling of reading a newspaper without a child sitting on your head...the restorative power of a coffee with uninterrupted sea views, and...ok...we got over it.
The infallible Kids’ Zone team are an ocean of calm amid the storm of little people breakfasted up to the eyeballs. Over the weekend the girls got to make pom-pom spiders, mermaid spoon things, and approximately 7,000 paintings that we DEFINITELY had to take home. But most importantly for us, the team always ensured Ella was included in any activity that involved food –– double-checking ingredients with us to make sure everything was nut/dairy-free and safe for her. It might seem a little thing, but all too often we’ve seen Ella have to miss out, so it genuinely means a lot. As did the smile on her face.
It’s an approach that extends beyond Kids’ Zone too, with everyone doing everything they can to try and accommodate an ‘allergy’ family that can be some people’s worst nightmares. Ava even gave the chef one of her 7,000 paintings as a thank you for looking after her little sister. So whilst we can never truly relax around mealtimes when we’re away, we’re certainly made to feel like we’re somewhere that genuinely understands and will do its best to help.
So thank you Kids’ Zone. Thank you Watergate Bay. And thank you Cornwall. We’re yet to find anywhere else that makes us feel quite like you do.