We went away this week as it was Easter half term and the smallest Hansford was home from school. Looking at the prices of holidays during the… well, the holidays, did genuinely make me weep originally. I thought there just wasn’t any way we were going to escape home over Easter.
As a last ditch attempt, I had a look over at the Hoburne Naish website. We stayed at Hoburne Naish last year and reviewed it for Approved Family Friendly, so it was on my radar. However, given the fact it was Easter, I didn’t expect that there would be anything in our price bracket. I was over the moon to see that a Chewton Lodge was available for our dates and in budget too – fantastic! And so we arrived on a windy Saturday to our home for the week.
I was very impressed. We’d gone for a mid-level two bedroomed lodge so my expectations weren’t too high. But here’s what we found;
A private driveway outside the property – isn’t it annoying when you have to move your car away from the accommodation?
The living room had plenty of seating, plus a decent telly with FreeSat and we were able to plug in our laptop to watch films. Lovely and warm with gorgeous curtains and matching furnishings.
Fully decked kitchen with oven/hob/microwave/kettle/toaster as expected, a dishwasher, washing machine, loads of storage and a full height American style fridge freezer. Very impressive! Completely child friendly too – no scary cords hanging down, sharp corners of worktops cut down to rounded edges, etc.
The family bathroom included a jacuzzi bath – minimal bubble bath + button = hugely excited five year old + ALL THE BUBBLES! As per last year, the accommodation was desperately lacking the cheapest of things – a little step. Due to this, the smallest Hansford wasn’t able to wash/brush teeth independently as she couldn’t reach, although it did lead to amusing Supergirl impressions instead.
The twin room was amusing – the beds seemed almost 3/4 size. If we’d been away with my stepbrother, all near 7 foot of him, he would have been disappointed. However, perfect for the smallest Hansford.
The double was lovely – again, the great furnishing continued throughout, the curtains did a great job of keeping out the light (we’re used to blinds at home) and the ensuite was well set up. Mind you, the shower screen which folded in half inwards would probably be a challenge for many in terms of getting out of the thing.
It was lovely, comfy and cosy, even against the force of Storm Katie which took down a fair number of both junior and well established trees throughout the New Forest.
Location-wise, it was a quick walk down to the local stony beach with a bit of sand which Mr Hansford and the smallest Hansford enjoyed lots. On site there’s also the outdoor pool (open from May onwards), plus the still brilliant play area with its safe location, single entrance/exit to take the pressure off wild eyed parents and loads of play options.
We were well placed, just a couple of minutes away from the pool (bit cold, smallest Hansford ended up with blue lips) and the main centre which recently underwent a complete refurbishment and is now blissfully light and airy. Within this there is a great schedule of events for all ages running throughout the week. It’s reassuring to see that the Ents Manager was still the same chap – it shows that he must enjoy his job, and hints that Hoburne make for good employers, which is nice. Ents teams tend to have a quick seasonal turnover, so consistency is great.
We made it to the annual Easter Egg hunt – I admired the Ents Manager as he skilfully made an indoor egg hunt (did we mention the storm?) still good fun for ooh, about 50 kids. There were prizes and party dances to follow. However, the smallest Hansford sunk into a sulk and spent the next hour underneath the table, later citing (and this is a direct quote); “I don’t want to be told how to dance – I want to be free!” As such, rather than make her do something she didn’t enjoy (because it’s everyone’s holiday, not just ours), we didn’t make use of the fantastic itineraries that week which included line dancing, family frisbee tournaments, dancing competitions, games, music, live performances and the rest. However, we were delighted to have our own little holiday home to return to after jaunts.
We tried to get out when we could. Within easy travelling distance was Southampton with plenty of shops (and rain), Bournemouth with it’s glorious sandy beach, pier, entertainments and Oceanarium, plus plenty of other tourist attractions including the New Forest Reptile Centre (don’t expect the world – these are mostly animals which are local to the New Forest), Paulton’s Park and farms aplenty.
Unfortunately, by Wednesday I was down with the worst throat infection I’ve ever had, plus my first ever migraine (ah, bless!) so it was up to the other two Hansfords to get out and about. But I was so very grateful for the very comfy accommodation. When you are ill, you just want your own bed. But this one certainly did the job.
Also, I am now a huge fan of self catering holidays. Of course you can go and eat out whenever you want – there’s a lovely Wetherspoons-style restaurant on site, plus the local restaurants within a short drive – but we saved a fortune by taking some food with us, eating in of a night and doing a top up shop halfway at the local Morrisons.
We headed back on the following Saturday, fairly well rested and happy with our lovely family time. Normally we return from a vacation needing a holiday, but this time was different. I think we’ve found that place which we return to as a family – Hoburne Naish.