It was day one of May half term, and after a few crazy busy weeks of school events, juggling our busy jobs with after school clubs, and the usual issues of battling the odd cold, and sleepless nights, we were ready for a change of scene…and where better than the beautiful coastline of Cornwall. We arrived at Heligan Caravan and Camping Park, and got settled into our lovely holiday home, which would be our base for the next four nights. Keen to explore, but also pretty exhausted after a long couple of weeks at school, the kids were happy playing games, while we unpacked, and had a cuppa, before becoming acquainted with our surroundings.
TraveLynn Family were offered a complimentary four night stay at Heligan Caravan and Camping Park. As we were unable to go (we were in the Dordogne), we sent the Sansam Family in our place. This is Lizzie Sansam’s (the Mum) honest review of their stay.
For all the insider tips for a family holiday to Cornwall, make sure you head over to Tin Box Travellers’ page for oodles of inspiration and ideas.
During our stay at Heligan, we stayed in a Gold three bedroom holiday home. Situated in the back half of the site, on higher ground, the views over the rest of the site were lovely, and just through the trees, the sea! The holiday home was beautifully clean and comfortable throughout.
With 3 bedrooms, it sleeps 6 people comfortably, with 1 double bedroom, a toilet en-suite, and 2 slightly smaller twin bedrooms (ideal for the kids). Each bedroom feels well equipped with a wardrobe (including hangers!), and drawer / cupboard space. In the living area, the sofa can be converted into a double bed, therefore making it possible to sleep 8 people in total. The bathroom is immaculate, with a decent sized shower, which was a nice surprise for a relatively small space.
The main living area of the holiday home feels lovely and cosy, and as a family with young children, the open plan living makes life so much easier! A small but perfectly functional kitchen, with plenty of utensils and equipment, looks onto the living area with comfy seating and a TV. Next to this is the dining table and built in corner seating. Whether it was the novelty factor, or the ease of everything being compact but easily accessible, we managed to rope the kids into helping with laying the table, washing up, drying up, and packing away after each meal, with no arguments!
At the end of the living space are French doors, which open onto a lovely decking area, with views over the park, and in the distance, the sea! A lovely space, which I can imagine in warmer, drier weather, would be idea for meals al-fresco. To the side of the holiday home is space to park at least two cars, and a picnic table, where we managed one meal in a rare moment of direct, lovely sunlight! Be prepared to share your dinner with a few tiny but very brave birds, who apparently like sweetcorn!!
Growing up I have stayed on many a campsite, whether it be in a holiday home, or my parents’ caravan, and various tents! I can honestly say however, that Heligan Caravan and Camping site, is one of the most beautiful. The winding gravel road through the holiday homes is dotted with huge trees, and plenty of flowering bushes – perhaps an ode to the neighbouring Lost Gardens of Heligan, providing inspiration to the site design.
The Holiday Homes are well spaced, as are the pitches on the rest of the camping site. Wandering through the campsite to reach the children’s playground, looking out over a spectacular view to the sea, it is easy to see why this site is a favourite. It is busy enough to feel like you’re on holiday, and the kids will have friends to make and play with, but it is a relatively small site, so it still feels peaceful.
The visitor’s reception houses a small shop, where you can buy the basics. There is also a ‘book swap’ shelving unit, plus a DVD rental, at a very reasonable price of £1 per DVD.
The site adjoins the world famous ‘Lost Gardens of Heligan’, which you can walk directly to through a gate (tickets are bought once you reach the main entrance building, with a discount as a result of staying on this site).
Heligan Caravan and Camping site has a sister site, Pentewan Sands, just a 2 minute drive away. This is a much bigger and busier site, right on the beach, and with a wide variety of services and activities. The Seahorse (which houses a restaurant, swimming pools, and soft play) is open to the public, however in school holidays, this is only open to residents at Pentewan Sands, and Heligan. We visited on a rainy day, and spent nearly 3 hours in the pool, which has two flumes – a big highlight for the little ones.
There are various cycle routes in this area, with one leaving directly from the campsite. I believe it leads to Pentewan Sands, where you can also hire electric bikes.
The local area
The beautiful coastline of Cornwall never disappoints, and being just over 2 miles away from the small fishing town of Mevagissey, and various beaches along this coastline, you’ll not be at a loss of things to do. With the quaint and still working fishing harbour in Mevagissey, for crabbing, ice creams, gift shops, and some lovely places to eat, it is a great visit. The old lifeboat station has been converted into an aquarium with free entry, which our kids loved. It may be very small but home to the biggest crabs and lobsters I’ve ever seen! A visit to the fudge shop is a must! In the harbour there are various, daily boat trips out to sea, either on fishing trips (often mackerel) or on a high speed rib, if thrills are more your thing.
Despite the weather not exactly playing ball, we still managed to grab a few hours on the beach, at the stunning Porthluney bay, with the spectacular backdrop of the Caerhays estate right behind. Daddy Sansam donned his wetsuit to show us how it is done on a kids-sized body board, in May!
Things to bring
The Holiday homes at Heligan are well equipped, so other than your usual holiday packing there is little else you need! Bed linen is provided, though you need to bring your own towels, tea-towels, washing up liquid, and hand soap. I’d also recommend chucking a couple of extra toilet rolls in when packing, depending on how long you’re staying for.
As always, with the unpredictability for our British weather, come prepared with plenty of games, puzzles, magazines etc for the kids. We’re huge fans of family card games such as Uno, and whilst exploring the area and having fun on the beach was a huge highlight, sometimes a cosy afternoon in when it is raining outside, a cuppa, cookies and a long and very competitive family game of Uno is difficult to beat. And where better to do this than in our comfy holiday home at Heligan.
We are a family of four from the UK who thrive on adventure. We've lived in India, trekked the Himalayas, traversed Africa in a Land Rover, and now we're staying closer to home with our Mazda Bongo camper. Off the beaten track road trips keep our soul alive, and through this blog we share our itineraries and experiences with you.