We fled for half term: seven adults and seven kids escaping the city for salty Cornish air. Here, Matt and Anna give their take on a Perfect Stays trip. (In exchange for a press discount, we agreed to write an objective and independent review, with no copy approval by Perfect Stays – this post was original posted in Feb 2020)
The villa-with-mates experience can go two ways. Either it’s like an extra Christmas where you’ve removed the pressure of gift-buying and lingering family resentments, which makes everyone much nicer to each other, or the kids go to war and the parents have snarky disputes about washing up while drinking with breakfast. The place you’re in goes a long way to deciding whether it’ll be the former or the latter.
Perfect Stays do fancy pads in the southwest: mostly in Cornwall but with a few in Dorset, Devon and Somerset. We headed to Newquay, a place Matt visited on his first ever boys holiday. He literally still owns the T-Shirt (‘Sailor’s Arms, 1994’, with a treasured place in his memories box in his mum’s loft).
After speaking to friends who left London for Cornwall five years ago, they suggested a quiet spot overlooking Porthcothan Bay. We did a bit of hunting online and the best reviews came up for Roscarrock, a Scandinavian-inspired house complete with steam room, sauna and cinema room that mainly doubled up as a child receptacle with Peppa Pig singing her merry/ irksome little tune. (It’s soundproof so there’s that bonus ball). One look at the views made it an easy choice, though, as our own London living room mostly overlooks wheelie bins.
But pics can’t really do justice to the expanse and finish of the place. This is a newly done-up spot that manages to mix show-home finishes with a position so close to the wild and rugged Atlantic Ocean that with the tide up and a storm blowing you feel like you could step out and float away. Just edging onto the balcony with a fresh mug of coffee and staring at the sea for five minutes makes the world seem less confused.
When you’re used to seeing more exhaust fumes than sea spray, a view like that can wash away a half-term’s worth of stresses. We were last in, and even with a full set of seven kids (aged from one to seven years) and seven adults (older and more tired, obvs) there were enough spaces to explore without ever feeling cramped.
But there is life beyond those carefully considered walls too. A (slightly toddler-unfriendly) flight of slippery steps runs down from the cliff path to the sea in five minutes or you can walk along the road and do it in ten.
Once there you find a wild beach with caves to explore, rock pools, sand dunes and the crashing waves of the sea. The bay is an adventure in itself, and you don’t need much more than a ball or bucket and spade to while away the hours. But there’s plenty within a 30 minute drive and the Perfect Stays guide gives plenty to keep you entertained, from foodie Padstow to Newquay itself, the best surf spots and kid-friendly expeditions, plus plenty of tips for food and drink.
With kids the only two words you will need: Dairy Land. Yes, if you want to drop a bargain £3.50 on some of the best kid’s entertainment in our glorious land, get yourselves to Dairy Land. Think miniature tractors, petting farm animals, gargantuan soft play areas and teddy bear-making classes.
The main pull of this house, though, is the attention to parental detail. Everything from the plastic cups, plates and forks to the Tommy Tippee cups and the abundance of games and toys made this the sort of place that makes a holiday with a cacophonous troupe of infants something to remember not forget.
Cost-wise, initially we were looking at £250 per person (this comes in at £235 during February half-term) for a week before we were offered to review this place for a discounted rate. It isn’t cheap but there aren’t many rooms as luxurious as this – all with sea views – that come in at £33 per night per person.
More than anything, there’s so much to entertain the kids that they soon begin to fend for themselves, become a whirl of giggles and shrieks as they explore while grown ups read and stare wistfully out to sea. A winning half term for all.
Matt, Anna and friends stayed with a press discount in exchange for an honest review. Perfect Stays did not get copy approval for this post. Roscarrock sleeps 12 to 14, with prices starting at £3,300 (£235 per person) for a week.