Last week we went on a mini farm holiday to North Cornwall. Nestled inland, a few miles from the famous fishing village of Port Issac and the beautiful beachy Polzeath, you’ll find ‘The Olde House’.
‘The Olde House‘ is a working farm. Run by the same family for 100 years, the farm was extended in 1970 to offer self catering farm holidays for people of all ages. Now the farm boasts 27 self-catering cottages! It offers year round holidays that are so perfect for families, couples and anyone wanting a special, rural retreat.
With peaceful rolling hills and farm land as far as the eye can see, you can see why this ‘award winning‘ family holiday destination is so appealing.
We stayed at the farm for two nights in a little two bedroom cottage. When we arrived in the early evening, there were already a few families sat outside on the communal picnic benches by our front door.
They were sipping on glasses of wine with their children running about them, as the last rays of the warm September sun was making way to a beautiful evening. Our neighbours greeted us and Evie ran over to say hi to their children. Instantly we knew this holiday would be a little bit special.
We let ourself into our allocated cottage and were met with an open plan living, dining and kitchen area. Although our particular property was a little bit dated in decor and furnishings, it was the perfect size for the three of us and downstairs had all the amenities we’d need for a few days stay.
More modern cottages are available on the the farm though and there are some truly breathtaking properties to stay in. The cottages come in a whole variety of sizes, that cater for anything from couples to large families of up to 10 people.
On the dining room table we found a green welcome booklet explaining everything about the property, the farm and the surrounding area. Beside it was a complimentary’ Cornish Cream Tea’ for two. It was such a lovely little added touch.
Even though she’s as Cornish as they come, this was Evie’s first ever cream tea! I had to try and convince her to not lick all the cream off the top. But, it still went down an absolute treat. Here’s her very ‘serious cream tea eating’ face…
While Evie finished off her cream tea, Aitan and I had a peek around the rest of the house.
Upstairs the bedrooms were bright, light and welcoming. The master bedroom was a really generous size, as was the neighbouring twin bedroom. The huge sky lights let in so much light and were perfect for weather watching.
Both bedrooms came with their own sinks, plenty of storage space and complimentary towels were laid out on each bed.
The bathroom was the perfect size for a little family. We also loved that it came with a bath and that we’d remembered to bring our bath bombs along just in case!
Each cottage on the farm also has facilities for babies. Each property has a cot and high chair available. This is great if you’re coming with a smaller baby. Or like us, if you just have a toddler who has an obsession with dolls. As soon as our luggage was unpacked and our cream tea was eaten, we headed out to explore the farm.
Outdoor Play Areas At The Olde House
Just a two minute stroll from our house, we discovered a great outdoor climbing frame with slides. Cue squealing and a toddler who couldn’t run fast enough to reach it! It was the perfect opportunity for her to burn off all that energy she had to suppress in the car.
The outdoor play park is great for kids of all ages. There are two slides to go down, with seven different types of climbing obstacles. From nets, to a mini rock climbing wall, to ropes and traditional steps.
Evie loved the challenge of each one and made it her mission to try them all out to reach the slides.
Benches are dotted around the play area so adults can just sit back and enjoy the views while the little ones play.
If you can drag them away from the playground, in the opposite field you’ll find a large football pitch and also some tennis courts. Balls and rackets can be borrowed from the onsite store.
After a quick play in the park we went exploring some more. I think Evie fell very quickly and deeply in love with the farm with everything that was within 50 yards of the park.
Pat-A-Pet and Animal Feeding
Right beside the outdoor play park we found a huge play barn with an attached pets corner. The play barn is open all day and into the evening, but the pets corner is only open 8am-5pm.
Evie’s favourite part of the whole farm was the Pat-A-Pet corner. We ended up spending a lot of time here. The corner is packed full of guinea pigs and in one of the sections there were lots of really adorable little baby guinea pigs!
A young girl was in the corner when we first popped in to see the pets. We’re not sure if she was part of the farm or if she was a guest. But, she was very knowledgeable about the guinea pigs and helped Evie to pick one up and give it a cuddle.
I wish I snapped a picture because Evie was in her absolute element. But toddler + pet + solo parenting + camera = disaster. So, I had to hold off. We ended up visiting the guinea pigs many times over the course of our two day stay.
Feeding The Animals
The pet barn also doubles up as a house for the pigs and goats. At 8am you can go and help the farmer to feed the animals. After which the pigs and goats are let out into the neighbouring field to roam about for the day.
At 4.30pm you can pop back and help the farmer to feed the animals again. A lucky guest gets to open the gate so that the animals can run back from the field to their pen.
This is such a lovely thing for kids to do. Evie was so excited to get to watch the goats and pigs scamper back to their pens at the end of the day. Each one knew exactly which one belonged to them and it was so interesting to get to learn so much more about life on a farm.
The Olde House’s Indoor Play Barn
But, that’s not all there is in the barn. Nestled between the pets barn and the outdoor play park is the indoor play barn. We were so impressed with how many things there were to play with in this area.
The huge ball pool with two slides and plenty of tunnels to explore was a huge hit with Evie and every child that entered the barn.
There were lots of grumpy faces and stern looks every time we told Evie it was time to leave. But you can see why. The indoor barn was literally heaven for little kids. Luckily it’s open for a long time, from morning right into the evening. So there is plenty of time to keep popping in during your day.
There is something to do for all ages in the indoor play barn. The soft play corner was perfect for really little ones and the huge two story house, complete with kitchen and pretend bedroom, was amazing for roleplaying.
There were tractors to ride on, see saws, slides and even a piano in the corner for those who wanted to have a tinkle.
There was also kettle in the corner for parents to help themselves to drinks. Just off the play room there was a huge information centre with an impressive wall mounted map of Cornwall. Just below it you could rummage through lots of leaflets packed full of local information and recommendations of places to go and see.
The indoor play barn was brilliant. It must get quite crowded in here in Summer, but on a quiet September evening, Evie only had to share it with 5 other small children.
During our stay at The Olde House, we really didn’t feel like we needed to leave the farm at all. Onsite there were plenty of things to do. Once your kids have tired of the play areas (which already is an impossible feat) there is an AMAZING shop like nothing I’ve seen before. Unlike a traditional shop, this is a borrow shop.
Inside you can ‘borrow’ what ever you like. It is jam packed full of things to do. You can borrow anything from books, games and dvds; to fishing nets, pond dipping equipment, swimming gear and even beach gear. They have wellies to borrow, bird nest building kits, bodyboards, windbreaks and even baking kits in case you fancy a winter family ‘British Bake Off’.
When we popped in to have a peek at what they had, we were so impressed. They even had some homegrown produce that you could take back to your apartment to cook with. There are a handful of things that are actually for sale; such as t-shirts and swim nappies. But, there is an honesty box for these rare things that you need to pay for.
We couldn’t resist picking up some pond dipping equipment for Evie to try out. Evie also insisted on taking a giant pink fishing rod with us, even though we didn’t need it. But she definitely looked the part. Loaded up with our equipment we checked out the map that was in our ‘Green Book’ and headed to find the ponds.
On the way we explored a couple of the fields to see what was there, but in true toddler style Evie ended up having a tantrum about walking anymore. Instead of making it to the pond we ended up in a boggy, waterlogged field.
Evie protested that we were at the pond, so we ‘pond dipped’ to prove to her that it was in fact a bog. Surprisingly (and luckily) we actually caught a lot of live little bugs. Some of which were identifiable on our pond dipping sheet.
This was such a lovely activity to do and I was loved how enthusiastic Evie was about finding more bugs. This has inspired us to get a kit at home and we’ll be taking it to our local pond very soon.
Although we didn’t make it to the actual ponds, on the way back we got to stop off to see the little lambs that have just been born. We also discovered the ‘Bird Hide’.
The Bird Hide
Just along the start of the farm trail is the ‘Bird Hide’. Up a wooden ramp and through a door you’ll find a huge lookout room with panoramic views of the ponds below. Inside there are some noticeboards to show you what birds you can spot. The views were so beautiful and if I didn’t have an absolutely ridiculous fear of spiders (wooden outhouse = huge spiders house), I would have definitely snapped some pictures.
We wished we could stay in the ‘Bird Hide’ for a lot longer. But, when a very large friendly spider decided to dangle down in front of my eyes, we were out of there faster than you could say buzzard. A real reminder that I need to conquer my fear in order to enjoy beautiful spots like this.
Swimming At The Olde House
If all the farm activities I mentioned aren’t already enough, there is also an indoor games room with snooker table. Oh…and did I forget to mention that there is a swimming pool?
At the moment ‘The Olde House’ is constructing a brand new swimming pool which will be open later this year. We fully expected the current swimming pool to be a complete disappointment. After all, if someone is updating a pool, you’d think the old one might be a bit naff. But when we arrived at the swimming pool, we were so impressed. It was really lovely inside.
There was a regular pool, a little kids pool with jet streams, a jacuzzi and a sauna. The pool was clean and the brick walls and wooden beams made it feel really cosy.
To the side of the pool there were huge windows where you could take a peek into the new pool that’s due to open in November of this year.
I have to say it looks like it’s going to be amazing. It has huge windows overlooking the fields. It’s also really light and it has an incredible rounded roof. You can see more of what it’ll look like on The Olde House website here. It’s definitely worth a peek!
The pool was quite busy when we arrived, but around 5pm everyone left to get dinner and we were able to enjoy the pool area to ourselves for a little bit. A great chance to teach Evie how to swim a little bit more.
Local Area – Port Issac
Even though we hadn’t yet exhausted everything there was to do on the farm, we really wanted to explore the surrounding area. We are so lucky to already live in Cornwall, but we rarely get to venture up to North Cornwall. The county is so big and the hour or so drive usually puts us off. That’s what we love so much about staycations in this county. We know we’re going to get a beautiful holiday in Cornwall. Plus, it’s a great chance to explore more of the local area.
During our stay, we couldn’t resist popping over to nearby Port Issac. Apparently my dad actually lived here for a few years when he was small. My grandad used to be a coastguard and at one point he was positioned in Port Issac. They lived in the coastguard houses on the hill. Everyday got to enjoy the breathtaking views of Port Issac harbour.
Port Issac has been made famous by popular TV show Doc Martin. So, it was no surprise that even on a quiet September day, Port Issac was pumping with people wanting to stand in the spots they’d seen so often in the show.
I have to admit I’ve never really watched it myself and we were more drawn to the town by its views and its food. We’re huge foodies so we’ve been wanting to come to Port Issac for a while to try out Nathan Outlaws restaurant. We were so gutted that we couldn’t get a reservation that matched with our stay. But, we will definitely be returning to try it out soon.
Instead we explored the little village and all of its adorable little shops. Most of which you’ll find scattered about and nestled between the most beautiful stone built fisherman cottages.
Lunch In Port Issac
We stopped for lunch in ‘The Mote’ just off the harbour. The menu wasn’t extensive, but we settled for two Jubel peach beers (they’re so fruity and refreshing and made by two Cornish lads!) and two burgers.
Inside The Mote, it was really warm and friendly. Even though there were no sea views, it was the cosiest spot for lunch.
We wished there were more choice on the lunch menu, but the service was fast and my toddler was impressed. That’s certainly a brownie point in my eyes!
The burgers were so mouthwateringly delicious. We’d gone for both a traditional beef burger and also a halloumi and pesto burger.
After lunch we strolled through some more shops and up the neighbouring hill, to see just how beautiful the views were from this part of the coast.
When the afternoon came to a close, we headed back to the farm. We helped feed the animals once more and made the most of the play areas. After a busy couple of days exploring farm life, we opted for an early night, ready for our short journey back down to St. Ives in the morning.
Our Stay At The Olde House
We absolutely loved our stay at ‘The Olde House’ in Cornwall. I wish we could have stayed for a bit longer. We are lucky enough to have been all over the world with Evie in the last year. From France, to Italy, to Spain, to South Africa. But nothing for Evie was more magical than getting to run wild through muddy fields and to wake up and get to feed some animals.
We were so impressed with the amount there was to do at The Olde House in Cornwall. The people who run the farm were so lovely and welcoming. The views were absolutely stunning and it most certainly the perfect spot for a little family retreat.
If you are thinking about a farm holiday with your children, we cannot recommend this place enough. It really is the farm holiday for ‘all seasons’.
Have you ever had a family farm holiday? What do you think about The Olde House in Cornwall? Let me know below!