Most people think the words “family holiday” and “relaxing” can’t go hand in hand. These people haven’t been to Gitcombe Country Cottages in Totnes.
Even as a parent of two very small children when I go away I dream of switching off, chilling out and feeling calm and relaxed. I hear laughter from weary mums everywhere, but bear with me.
I’ve found a place where this dream became a reality, even with a four-year-old and boisterous two-year-old in tow.
Looking at Gitcombe’s website I suspected I would fall head-over-heels in love with this family-friendly retreat and I did. We all did.
The whole estate is beautiful and enchanting. I’m going to try and portray its magic the best I can…
What’s on offer:
Gitcombe is a collection of luxurious holiday cottages nestled together to create a private 14-acre country escape. This rural hideaway between Dartmouth and Totnes is perfect for families of all ages.
The eight properties share a heated outdoor swimming pool and an indoor pool with a sauna, steam room and hot tub. The views from the bubbling hot tub are incredible.
Pride of place in the centre of the estate is a full-size tennis court, which lies in front of a wood-carved adventure playground.
We planned to stay in the fabulous looking Garden House, which sleeps eight. However, as word of our adventure spread among my family our party size increased and we were offered the spectacular Gitcombe House – a Grade II listed Georgian manor farmhouse. Everything about this property, which sleeps 13 plus infants, is incredible and utterly perfect for a large family get together.
The elegant 200-year-old house is a feast for your imagination as well as your eyes. Just walking around the huge farmhouse kitchen and opulent dining room complete with French chandeliers, you can’t help wonder what entertaining must have taken place over the years.
The large country kitchen with stylish Aga and American style fridge is perfect for all family meals.
However, the weather was glorious during our stay so we made full use of the private garden, firing up the BBQ in the evening as much as possible.
Gitcombe House oozes elegance with its original sash windows, polished wooden floors, grand bedrooms and antique furniture. However, it felt wonderfully cosy and very lived in, bursting with character.
A newly renovated bathroom and en-suite added a sleek, modern feel with an opulent roll top bath and luxurious walk-in shower.
Settling into life at Gitcombe you instantly notice how quiet and idyllic it is. The whole estate has a very calming influence. Apart from the faint roar of a distant tractor or the tranquil woo of a wood pigeon it’s practically silent.
What can you do?
Although there were other families, couples and holiday makers around it never felt noisy or over-crowded using the facilities and we had a huge element of privacy too.
Start your day with a leisurely swim in the heated indoor pool and relaxed in the sauna, steam room and hot tub. Apart from the laughter of our children and bubbling water jets it was so tranquil and idyllic.
Or take a wander across to the outdoor swimming pool, we were there in June and it was heated to a perfect temperature for swimming and larking around in.
If you fancy a game of tennis you can easily do this while your children are at the wood-carved adventure playground as they lie side-by-side. As well as a wooden train and tree house you’ll find a two-seater hammock swing, a baby swing and a pirate ship. Hours of fun for the little ones.
There’s nothing in life quite the same as sitting on a wooden rope swing under a big old tree and watching the world fly beneath your feet… whatever your age.
Especially for children:
Locate the wood shed and you’ll find an assortment of things you can borrow. There’s a big collection of tennis rackets and balls, hula hoops, footballs, wet suits, boogie boards, pool floats, swimming noodles, buckets and spades, wind breaks and the all-important crabbing lines – which will come in very handy when you head off in your car for the day.
There is also a soft play room inside the indoor pool area dedicated for 0-5-year-olds full of toys and things to entertain them.
Everything you need to make your stay easy and enjoyable is available – including baby cots, high chairs, stair gates and toddler bed guards. Even the beautiful resident labrador Wilson is eager to meet your children and get a cuddle.
The local area:
Within ten minutes in either direction of Gitcombe there are interesting places to visit including Dartmouth, Dittisham, Totnes and Salcombe. Nearby Blackpool Sands has been hailed one of the best beaches in Devon.
Also for seafood lovers booking lunch at nearby Archor Stone Cafe in Dittisham is a must. Definitely take a crabbing line – we chatted to two children who caught 36 crabs in one morning!
There are lots of nice pubs nearby like The Maltsters Arms if you fancy lunch or an afternoon drink on the river.
What’s the vibe?
Whatever your idea of a relaxing holiday is Gitcombe will take it to the next level. They’ve somehow managed to get the perfect mixture of family friendly and peaceful.
The tranquil environment means even children are in awe of all the wonderful things they see in front of them.
Do I recommend to other families?
100% yes! Tell your friends about Gitcombe and go and visit, it’s definitely a place where happy family memories are made. Our little ones absolutely LOVED it as did their grandparents. So I can recommend from 2 to 72-year-olds!
DISCOUNT: The lovely folk at Gitcombe have offered all readers of Jessica Loves a 15% discount for online bookings* made during August 2018!! Book here and use the code Jessica_Loves
(*Must book before end of August 2018. Applies to holidays/short-breaks until 5th January 2019. Cannot be used in conjunction with other offers.)
*Disclaimer: This review is in collaboration with Gitcombe – all photos, words and opinions are 100% mine and genuine*