Our next trip as a family was a staycation…something which my husband seems to be a fan for the foreseeable future. He organised this weekend and I have to say, hats off to him, he seemed to think of everything!
Krishna arranged a surprise weekend for us all to go stay at Cliveden House. Some of you may have heard of this hotel. It’s known as the location of the Profuma affair back in the 60s (apparently). It was also where Meghan Markle stayed there the night before she got married but there’s a lot more to this amazing venue then any of that. You can visit Cliveden House as a day trip as it is National Trust property and you can also stay in the hotel itself. It’s not cheap but as a tick the box once-in-a-lifetime thing, it wasn’t a bad way to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.
The great thing about it being a staycation was there was no airport, no flights and a relatively short journey from our home to the site – something that made me think we might even go back for a day trip in the summer. The downside of travel with a baby is that no matter how long you are going for, the basic requirements (and amount of stuff) for a baby remain the same. So with the car crammed full we jetted off for our weekend away.
But what did we learn from our trip to Cliveden House?
- Sometimes short breaks can feel a lot longer if you make the most of your time away: We only stayed 1 night but arrived the Saturday morning and left the Sunday evening so that when we came back we not only felt refreshed but also like we had been away for a few days.
- Places that are suitable for kids can get rammed: the cafes got really busy, so go a little earlier if you want space. The cafes catered for kids/toddlers/babies and had a special hot and cold menu for toddlers. There was also a microwave and other bits on hand for younger babies.
- Try as many of the different experiences as you can: there were so many things to do there – a storybook den (with books for children of all ages), play area, a maze and 180 acres of gardens to name but a few. Rishi seemed to enjoy them even if he was a little bit young.
- Make the most of nap time: on one of Rishi’s naps we popped him in our carrier and went for a really beautiful walk along the river and through the forest. It was a perfect way to spend the afternoon.
- Let them know in advance you have an infant: they will usually offer lots of help and ask if you need extras bits in your room like a highchair or a cot.
- See if upgrades are available in the day: We booked through Amex hotels and with this you will always get an upgrade if there’s one available. So be a bit cheeky and ask.. what’s the worst they can say?
- Always ask for help: this particular hotel was so welcoming for families. We were given some fruit in the room and asked for a few Rishi favourites to be added and it was no problem at all. At breakfast we also asked for some little extras for Rishi and they couldn’t have been more helpful.
- Some time away isn’t a bad thing: Krish treated me to a facial (the best facial I have ever had) and looked after Rishi – it was a really lovely treat. We also booked a babysitter through Tinies (a baby sitting company recommended by the hotel) as we wanted to have a dinner and some time in the spa. We booked the baby sitter from 9pm-12am on Saturday night and then 9am – 12pm on the Sunday morning. It was a perfect little treat and the company was very helpful. They located a local babysitter for us and we also got to have some information about her in advance. We filled in a briefing sheet on Rishi for information on what he normally does, when he sleeps, even how to play with him. He was asleep on the Saturday night and played on the Sunday morning. We had never done it before but it was a real treat. I think we would definitely do it again if we stayed away.
Now Rishi is more active we can get out more: Rishi is on the move and getting interested in everything so we are excited to take him to more places and for him to experience more stuff! National trust properties seem to be really kid friendly (it was full of children of all ages) so sure we will be back here again soon!
Having our little family together was the best anniversary present but it was so nice to have some time together as a couple. Here’s to next year… which I am told will be much more low key!