I can’t recommend a pre-Christmas break enough. It’s a magical time of year to go on a staycation with your family. Everywhere is festive, and you can cosy up in your accommodation whilst indulging in all the treats.
We try to go away every year in early December. It sets you up for the madness of Christmas, and it’s nice to enjoy a break before all the mayhem! This year I wanted somewhere both family and parent friendly! That means making sure the kids are happy but also, us adults get a bit of a pamper.
While I’m always up for trying new places, a place we stayed five years ago came to mind. Just after we got married, we stayed at Fullers Hill Cottages over Christmas with our doggos. We wanted to have Christmas just the two of us. It obviously stayed in my mind as a lovely place to stay as we decided to go back! Read more to find out about our most recent stay.**
A little about Fullers Hill Cottages
Fuller’s Hill Cottages is located about 20 minutes outside Cambridge in the beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside. It’s set on a farm right next to an airfield. You literally walk behind all the cottages and straight onto an airfield, which was a massive hit with our three-year-old. She liked looking at all the small planes and even saw one take off, whizz around and land.
Some of the cottages are dog friendly (we previously stayed in The Stables), which is handy if you want to bring your four-legged friend. The owners live on the family-run farm and are available to help during your stay. The cottages are nestled within miles of picturesque country walks with plenty of woodland walks to discover.
One thing we noticed about this area of Cambridge is because the land is so flat, you can see right across the horizon and enjoy magical, brightly coloured sunsets. Each day when we drove back to the cottages from our adventures, we were treated to a stunning sunset. There are some pretty spots you can walk to at dawn or dusk, sit there, and take in the sunrise or sunset amongst the countryside.
If ecotourism is important to you, then you’ll appreciate the effort Fuller’s Hill are making to up their eco credentials. They are members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme and have things like solar panels that provide all the power to the cottages, and all their kitchen appliances have a high energy rating.
We chose to stay in the Granary this time, as it was perfectly laid out for the kids. Our one-year-old is walking now, so we needed somewhere where she can toddle around without too many hazards!
The Granary has a large double bedroom with an ensuite shower, a super king-size bed, an open-plan lounge, and a kitchen. Then on the opposite side, there’s a twin (or double) room (also with an en suite double shower).
It’s all on one level, which is a game changer with toddlers because you don’t have to worry about stairs! It’s also nice to be close to them in the lounge in the evening so we could easily check on them.
The Granary feels luxurious down to the small details. For example, the comfy, super king-size bed (one of the best beds I’ve stayed in by far) with Egyptian cotton sheets. It also has a large corner sofa which we always look for; it’s ideal to fit a family of four. Plus, there’s a double walk-in shower and a fully equipped kitchen with a Nespresso machine. We also really appreciated the lovely underfloor heating, particularly as it snowed during our stay!
The Granary has access to the shared hot tub. Some of the cottages have their own private hot tub but we found their layout wasn’t as child-friendly. The hot tub is literally ten metres away, just to the side of the cottage. So it’s easy to pop outside (in your lovely towel-dressing gown) and hop in.
Honestly, staying somewhere with a hot tub as a parent is a game-changer. After a hectic day entertaining the kids, it’s so nice to unwind in the hot tub with a glass of bubbly. As it snowed on the last day, I managed to have a magical hot tub experience surrounded by a snowy garden.
Things to do around Cambridge with the kids
Herrings Green Activity Farm (& bird of prey centre)
If you love birds of prey, you’ll have a fab time here. We were there for an owl and hawk flight demo, which was cool to watch. The girls loved watching a big owl fly around right next to them. There are other animals as well as birds, and there’s a play area and cafe.
Potton is a charming little town about ten minutes from Fuller’s Hill. We visited Potton mainly to try out brunch at The Coach House, and we weren’t disappointed. We ended up going back there again. The food is fantastic and they serve unique brunch options such as mushrooms in a blue cheese sauce on toast and brisket with poached eggs on toast. They had good options for the kids too.
The Fitzwilliam Museum
This museum looks really cool from the outside; it’s quite a striking historic building. And the inside didn’t disappoint either! There are fascinating displays of artefacts and historical features, including a section on protests through the years. The Fitzwilliam Museum is the University of Cambridge’s principal museum. It’s mainly focused around art and antiques. They have a fun challenge for kids to find different objects which our eldest enjoyed. The kids mostly loved just running around looking at loads of interesting things they’d never seen before.
Cambridge City is obviously well worth a visit. It has unique old buildings and a lovely central square where they run a regular market. We’d originally planned to go and visit the Christmas Market, but we got it wrong and had looked at a Christmas market online in Cambridge, Canada by accident!
I had also planned to grab a coffee and a cinnamon bun at Fitzbillies, but when we got there, we couldn’t fit in with the pram. So with two hungry children, we had to settle for lunch at Browns instead, and it was awful. Sigh.
I usually try to only visit independent restaurants and cafes, but with kiddos, this isn’t always possible! We did, however, find a good place to enjoy a rich, dark hot chocolate (Cenu Cacao). I’m extremely fussy about my hot chocolates. Try Cenu Cacao if you like a very chocolatey, rich dark hot chocolate.
Wimpole National Trust
Just down the road from the cottages, you can enjoy a wonderful National Trust site, Wimpole. We went at just the right time, we only paid for basic entry, but because we were there towards the end of the day at sunset, they were setting up all the lights for their light show. So we got to see a few of the displays and enjoy some Christmas music before all the crowds arrived. It was extremely pretty here at sunset.
Afternoon tea at The Stove, Bourn
We found out about The Stove via Fuller’s Hill. An afternoon tea experience was featured in one of their guides. However, I decided we’d rather go out with the kids for afternoon tea. So we booked a table at The Stove. We had probably one of the best afternoon teas I’ve had. They had a really good selection of savoury sandwiches, and the cakes were fab. It also just looked like a lovely cafe to visit with hearty, soul-warming food.
Us adults have to have treats on holiday too! I highly recommend booking a treatment at your cottage. Put the kids to bed, then enjoy a much-needed pamper. So I booked myself and my husband a massage and facial for our wedding anniversary. It was so nice to have a treatment in my dressing gown and then just crash on the sofa afterwards. We used ovepampercompany.co.uk, and the therapist they sent us was excellent.
**Our stay at Fullers Hill was discounted.