I really struggle to find suitable family breaks so when I come across a great holiday for SEND children (special educational needs and disabilities) I want to shout about it.
Last year, whilst browsing one of my favourite travel blogs, Kiddie Holidays, I found Higher Lank Farm in Cornwall. I was blown away by its friendly, informative website and inclusive attitude.
Luckily they had an available cottage in August with three bedrooms (essential for us with Big Bear’s early morning starts) and five star reviews on TripAdvisor. I booked it straight away and, hands down, it’s the most relaxing holiday we’ve had as a family.
Note: This isn’t an advert and we paid for the holiday ourselves.
What is it?
Higher Lank Farm, run by couple Lucy and Andrew Finnemore, is a working farm which also specialises in providing holidays exclusively for families with babies, toddlers and children under 12. It’s a great holiday for SEND children because it offers a range of acccommodation – B&B in the farmhouse or self-catering in two converted barns with private gardens.
Situated in the Bodmin area of Cornwall, the farm is very central – it’s about 30 minutes drive from Padstow, The Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan.
There are three family suites in the farmhouse and two cottages on the farm.
We stayed in the wonderfully-named Humpty Dumpty cottage, which had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen diner and private garden.
This is a great holiday for SEND children because the couple provide all the equipment, facilities, and toys families need, enabling parents to travel light and not arrive totally exhausted.
Big Bear was beyond excited with his ‘treehouse’ bunk bed and Little Bear was delighted to find a Peppa Pig picnic scenario laid out in the bedroom, ready to play with when we arrived.
What makes it special?
This is a great holiday for SEND children because Lucy and Andrew really have thought of everything. They are extremely accommodating to families with additional needs and also specialise in catering for families with food allergies.
If you’re staying in the farmhouse or you don’t feel like cooking, Lucy provides nursery teas and adult suppers. She even offers babysitting services if you want an evening out.
Lucy knows every child by name, which ensures that each one gets a hands-on experience with all the animal activities and is made to feel special.
Tractor and trailer ride. A highlight of our stay at Higher Lank Farm was the welcome tractor and trailer tour and feeding of the herd of cows. It’s good fun for the kids and an opportunity to meet the other families staying at the farm.
High tea. After the ride, families go back to the farmhouse for a high tea with delicious homemade sandwiches, scones and cakes.
Animal feeding. Every morning after breakfast all the children staying on the farm can help feed the animals. They visit the chickens, ducks and geese, to feed them and collect the eggs before bottle feeding the orphan lambs and feeding the goats, turkeys and pigs. Big Bear loved his morning routine and grew in confidence as the week went on. By the end of the holiday he was leading the tribe, knowing exactly where to go and what to do. Lucy and Andrew are brilliant at making sure every child gets a turn to do everything.
Play areas. The site also has two farm-themed play areas and a pony and trap ride. Families can also take walks in the woods or along the farm’s private stretch of river.
Swimming pool. The main attraction on the farm is the indoor pool and hydrotherapy jacuzzi and sauna.
Prices start from £675 for a week in one of the cottages off-peak. In peak holiday season prices can rise to £1,800 for a week. It’s sounds expensive but not when you take into account the overall cost of the holiday. We actually didn’t spend very much during our stay as animal feeding took up each morning and we spent a couple of wet afternoons in the farm’s swimming pool.
To find out more, visit http://higherlankfarm.co.uk