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family friendly holiday to Cornwall | part one – where to stay

With baby number two on the way in October, we decided to give Portugal a miss this summer and go to Cornwall instead. We really wanted to try a working farm holiday, and my husband cleverly found Tredethick Farm Cottages, near Lostwithiel.

Tredethick Farm has been transformed over the last 25 years from a traditional Cornish farm to a very special place for family holidays, meticulously designed around the needs of parents with young children. Still a working farm, and 100% sustainable and eco-friendly, it gently draws you in, and you feel glad you chose it within seconds.


Our criteria for the perfect family friendly holiday is always:

  • Two bedrooms
  • Self catering element
  • Things to do on site, as well as nearby
  • A social element for both us and Tibbs, but one we could walk away from if required
  • Decent furniture (sounds weird but have you ever had a holiday cottage with a rubbish sofa or bed?)
  • WiFi (I know, but, well, we are those people)

Tredethick fulfils the brief and more. We were so happy to arrive to a smiling Farmer Jenny welcome and a cream tea for three in our cottage (we stayed in Liddicoat).

What we loved about Tredethick:

  • The small size. With only a handful of cottages, most of which are spaced around a courtyard with a beautiful water feature and allocated garden within, it never felt busy
  • The morning farm animal feeds with Farmers Jenny and Ashlyn. Not only do the children from every cottage get to feed each animal (everything from lambs to alpacas and back to guinea pigs), it’s done with such gentleness and each morning felt just as fun as the last. The joy of finding fresh eggs, and feeding patient goats, was all over the kids’ faces.
  • The indoor play. Not content with a soft play that shames most soft plays (free coffee, newspapers, not full of raisins), Tredethick has an indoor sand pit. This is genius. It’s big. You’d get less space on a crowded beach. There’s buckets and spades. There’s also table tennis and pool in the same barn. Amazing.
  • The outdoor play. Ride on tractors, scooters, balance bikes, big bikes. A lovely playground, a farm trail, a trampoline, and a 100% safe environment to do it in. Perfect for all young children.
  • The honesty shop. Cider, bacon, fudge, you name it, we took it down. There was also lots of frozen Cook! meals for you to buy, if you fancied.


What Tibbs loved about Tredethick:

  • Making friends her age. When you roll with preschoolers, you always hope that someone else is going to have some so that they make friends, too. At Tredethick, in September, everybody’s got at least one! Tibbs loved having kids to play with, out of season.
  • The pony rides. Lovely, calm Ladybird and Toby were on hand (or hoof) for the riders to do a small farm tour twice a week, as well as help with brushing and tacking up. Kudos to Tredethick here too, as a horse person I know it can be a big deal to have lots of kids around horses, well done for making it completely normal.
  • Her own room with a big girl bed. Her cosy twin room was just right for a three year old. She slept really well.
  • The gentle routine of Tredethick. Within one day, Tibbs knew that each morning meant feeding the animals and was SO excited to join in.
  • Being around her mum and dad. It sounds silly, but I could tell this holiday was as important for her as it was for me, in terms of spending time together. She still loves being near us. I know it’ll end someday, but for now, I love it.


Living in the South West makes Cornwall more accessible. When you’re choosing a family friendly holiday, anything more than a three-hour drive can feel like a punishment, especially on the way home. Tredethick was about three-hours from Bristol, if that. It’s an hour on from Exeter.

We stayed for a full week and felt completely relaxed when we got back. We were sorry to leave, which, isn’t always the case when we go away, sometimes we look forward to home.

Tredethick gets family holidays just right

If you are looking for somewhere to spend time with your family, Tredethick is perfect. It enables you to be present – there’s no kids club (although there are babysitters available in the evenings). There’s no fuss. It’s ideal for hiring a couple of cottages and doing a group or extended family trip. You don’t feel observed or ‘managed’.

Tredethick gets very booked up in advance, so I can highly recommend looking at it now if you are planning a holiday in 2017. In my next post, I’ll be taking you on a bit of a tour of this magical part of Cornwall. There’s so much to do and see. Beautiful!

A last note here is that our visit came shortly after the death of Farmer Tim, the driving force behind Tredethick and much-loved father, husband and colleague. We were so sad for the Reed family and so thankful for the environment that Farmer Tim had created for children. Long may his lovely legacy live on. 

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  1. I just popped over to the Tredethick Cottages website. It looks like a great place to stay. Gorgeous photos. x

  2. Ah that’s a sad note at the end, but it sounds like such an amazing place that Farmer Tim has created. We love Lostwithiel and have family friends with a beautiful house just outside the town. It’s such a gorgeous part of Cornwall – and Fowey just down the road!

  3. Oh I love that photo of you with your feet up and the Guardian, my idea of time well spent. Looks like a fab find and I loved seeing your pics on instagram!

  4. Sounds lovely. Am so with you on the furniture element, and for me, has to have good linen (I’ve been known to bring my own too).


  5. Claire Kirby Claire Kirby

    We have been here every other year since our first child was one. It is fantastic and we had the privilege of knowing Tim. We have seen his vision for Tredethick develop over the years. It is second to none and the only place we have ever returned to. You will never regret booking,

    • My husband found Tredethick and I’m so glad he did – I don’t regret him doing the booking at all! Thanks for commenting.

  6. Andrew Stickland Andrew Stickland

    An amazing place especially for the young children. Tim was an amazing guy full of passion. They have created a relaxing holiday destination for all ages to enjoy. 10/10

    • I agree with you – 10/10 is a fair score! Thanks for commenting

  7. Jamie Jamie

    I have stayed at Tredethick with my young and growing family 4 times over the last 6yrs, the last time just this February 2016. Farmer Tim was amazing and I can’t imagine going back without him there but am so pleased that Jenny and Ashyln are carrying on as he would have wanted them to and not only managing but making it a stay worthy of a glowing recommendation.

    • We really were so struck by how much he and the Reed family had achieved, I wish we’d got to meet him. Thanks for commenting.

  8. Jane Jane

    Ahhh it’s lovely reading this, as we have visited Tredethick annually for the last 5 yests and were very sad to hear of Farmer Tim’s passing. He has indeed created a wonderful place, with just the right amount of comfortable, well-equipped cottages and our children have loved many holidays there with friends we have made and returned with. The animal feeding is special, and they also love the pool and hot tub!

    • From reading our guest book it was so incredible how many families were returning year after year, some had been 12 or 13 times. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Em Em

    Here at the moment, staying in Liddicoat too! It’s the best holiday we’ve ever had with a 3yo in tow (and 3 month old!). Would thoroughly recommend, they’ve got it all covered from morning to night in a beautiful setting. Bring on the pony rides in the morning for my horse mad boy!

    • I hope he enjoyed the pony rides, our daughter absolutely loved them!

  10. Kat Hough Kat Hough

    An absolutely fabulous and spot on review……….we stayed 3 times when my son was younger, and the trips are still talked about in our house………we were so distressed for the lovely Tredethick family when we heard the shocking news………….it is an amazing place and an amazing legacy. I thoroughly recommend a stay to anyone with a young family x

  11. Ceri Brinkworth Ceri Brinkworth

    We’ve booked to go to the farm in April in scantlebury cottage. However, we are worried that the loft room won’t be appropriate for our 2.5 year old. I’m reluctant to cancel after these amazing reviews but need reassurance the room will be safe. Any comments will be greatly appreciated. X

    • Hey Ceri, I didn’t go inside Scantlebury but the one thing would say is that, if it wasn’t suitable, Ashlyn or Jenny would say something in advance. They are super in tune with what families need. I hope you have an amazing holiday!

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