Thursday, 15 October 2015

RNLI Minecraft Beach Safety Project - ideal half term activity

Is your child aged between 7-14 years and Minecraft mad? The RNLI would like them to take part in a pilot project to see whether Minecraft can be used effectively to increase children’s knowledge of beach safety running from Friday 23 October 15 (ideal half term activity). Children will be challenged to craft beaches with lifeguard huts, rescue craft and colourful safety flags and signs. The aim is to make the beaches safe for characters to enjoy a swim. For more details visit: Did you know that the RNLI rely on donations to provide, a 24-hour on call lifeboat search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, and a seasonal lifeguard service? To find out how you can help visit:

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Top 5 woodland walks in Cornwall

Woodlands can be enjoyed in all seasons and in most weathers if you dress accordingly. These are our top woodland walks in Cornwall.

Cardinham Woods, nr Bodmin
The 1.5 mile flat tree lined Lady Vale Walk is perfect for families and follows a stream flowing through the woods. There are also another 3 trails of varying lengths and gradients to choose from. There is a lovely children's play area and a visit to the delightful Woods Cafe is a must!
Tehidy Woods, nr Illogan
Tehidy Country Park is the largest woodland in Cornwall covering 250 acres and over 9 miles of paths including a circular walk which runs around the edge of a lake taking around 30 minutes. Little children will love feeding the ducks! Flat and with a lovely café onsite for refuelling.
Idless Woods, nr Truro
A well-laid path stretching for 2.8 miles and framed by a variety of tree types offering climbing challenges for mini adventurers. Bluebells carpet the ground in the Spring. Scan the woodland floor for pine cones and nuts in the autumn. Look out for deer and otters.
Carnanton Woods, St Mawgan
A great woodland walk in the Vale of Lanherne along the River Menalhyl. Wander deep in to the woods as far as the ruins of Lawry's Mill then return for refreshments at the 16th century Falcon Inn or the village Tearooms. Look out for deer.
No.5 coming soon...still deliberating. Can you help? Do you have a favourite that's not above?

Top 5 things to do this October Half Term in Cornwall for Families 2015

Here are our top picks for family fun activities in Cornwall this October Half Term
Ice Skating and magical Halloween activities at The Eden Project, home to the worlds largest indoor rainforest. 24 Oct - 1 Nov. There is a Little Monsters Halloween Ball on 31 Oct. Click here for more details

Rogue Theatre at Tehidy Woods
Watch The Rogue Theatre's 'Dead of Night Dance', a wicked and wonderful Halloween celebration full of adventure, thrills, frights and delights in the heart of the woods. Not to be missed! Shows at 2pm, 5pm & 8pm 27 Oct - 1 Nov.  Click here for more information and to purchase tickets

Pendennis Castle, Falmouth
The fearsome pirate leader Captain Bones has taken Pendennis. Meet this most salty of seadogs, discover scary stories of Pendennis’ piratical past, and embark on our spooky smugglers quest to find the buccaneers ill-gotten gains. Tales of dastardly deeds, discover the pirate skills of ropes and rigging, and discover some of the most infamous weapons from the Golden Age of Piracy. Frightfully good fun this Halloween half term! 26-30 October. More info at:


Crealy Adventure Park, Wadebridge 
 Crealy's Witch will be residing in her grotto throughout the week, casting spells and giving a free gift to each child, plus a pumpkin carving competition (every child receives a free pumpkin), close up encounters with some of the residents of Crocodile Corner Reptile House, magic shows and face painting. There will also be the opportunity to feast on hot pumpkin soup, toffee apples and gingerbread biscuits available throughout the day. 24 - 31 October's-On
The Great Outdoors
Wrap up warm and go on a woodland walk or a cycle ride


Monday, 21 September 2015

Best family bike rides in Cornwall

Cornwall boasts some of the most picturesque and varied bike trails in the UK. Pedal your way along rivers and coastline and through woodland and mining heritage sites. There are enough trails to do a different one day of the week (weather permitting of course!). I have recommended some bike rides below, in particular 'traffic free' which are ideal if you have children. And as I am always thinking about my next meal have included great places to eat along the way.
The Camel trail: Wadebridge to Padstow - 5.5 miles
Probably the most popular cycle trail in Cornwall. A nice flat trail following the picturesque Camel Estuary. There are some lovely spots to stop and enjoy a picnic, alternatively grab an award winning Cornish pasty at The Chough bakery or visit Greens Café in Padstow. There are some lovely cafes and coffee shops in Wadebridge too. If you don't have bikes you can hire them at either end of the trail.
The Camel Trail: Bodmin to Wenfordbridge - 6.25 miles
Relatively quieter than the more popular and better known Camel trail between Padstow and Wadebridge, this disused branch line between Bodmin and Wenfordbridge follows the river through tranquil woodland. It is flat all the way and you can park free at Scarletts Well Road in Bodmin. It took us a steady hour (with a tired & wingey 11yr old moaning most of the way due to previous late night) to get to the end of the trail at Wenfordbridge where we stopped for lunch at the delightful Snails Pace cafe.  We were pleased to see that this café is taking a similar approach to ourselves by running a sustainable 'eco' business, complete with compost toilet, solar panels and a bicycle powered smoothie maker! The food did not disappoint either, all freshly homemade and a lovely cream tea. Such a delightful little cafe that I almost want to keep it a secret. 
Pentewan Valley Trail - 3.4 miles
A lovely flat trail from St Austell to Pentewan. Take a bucket & spade, lock your bikes up at Pentewan village and walk to the Hub Box on the Beach for refreshments (they serve fabulous burgers too) and spend some time on the golden sands before heading back or there is the option to leave the traffic free section of the trail at Pentewan and continue on to Mevagissey totalling 8 miles. After leaving St Austell going towards Mevagissey, you can park for free in the laybys and small car parks along the left hand side of the road before London Apprentice.
Mineral Tramways
You can cycle 11 miles coast to coast from Devoran to Portreath but if you have younger ones you may wish to turn around about half way. We got to about the 7 mile mark before turning back. This disused tramway through Cornwall's historic mining sites was one of the earliest railways in Britain. The trail is a mixture of flat and a steady incline (not really noticed by my 11 yr old who was obviously having a good day!) but this decline was a welcome treat on the homeward journey. There is a nice little café, The Bike Chain at Bissoe serving homemade cakes and refreshments. Set off from Devoran where you will find free car parking.
 Lanhydrock Trails
This fantastic new bike trail in the grounds of The National Trust's Lanhydrock House offers a variety of trails for all abilities. Ranging from a gentle 1.5 mile trail to a series of 1-2 mile moderate trails taking you deep into little explored woodland on the estate. If the kids have any energy left after their bike ride they can blow off even more steam in the adventure playground which is located near the Park Café and the car park.  The beautiful Lanhydrock House is the grandest house in Cornwall and is well worth a visit if you have the time.

Monday, 27 July 2015


Eden have excelled this year in providing the perfect family day out for my dinomad son and his friends.  What more could they want - finding dinosaurs in the worlds largest indoor rainforest!

On arrival collect your free Adventure Journal where you will find all of the information you need to become a Certified Dino Expert and collect the stamps as you complete all the dino activities at Eden.

Walk through a magical underwater scene to marvel at ancient sea life, then step into a landscape from 67 million years ago to explore a world of prehistoric beasts. Cower in the shadow of a life size T.rex and peep into a nest of Dromaeosaurus babies. 
At the Palaeo Camp you can hone your palaeontology skills in the Dig Pit, sharpen your dinosaur knowledge and complete your Dino Expert training. There are also Jigsaurus puzzles to test your palaeontology skills and piece together creatures from the past.
As you wander around the site look out as you may come face to face with a ferocious Australoventor! 
We spent 5 hours at Eden, which included stopping for a delicious lunch in the Eden Kitchen (before you enter to the Mediterranean Biome). It was a dry and sunny day so we wondered around quite relaxed as the children explored. Eden is a great rainy day venue too but expect it to be a lot busier! 
The dinosaurs are at Eden this Summer until 2nd September 2015.
Late Summer Escape

We can also recommend the fabulous Rogue Theatre for a captivating afternoon or evening in Tehidy Woods, choose from the 2pm performance of 'Blackbeard's heart or the 7.30pm performance of 'King Arthur'. Shows everyday until 31st August. Tickets £7.50, under 3's free.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Another award for Merlin Farm

We are delighted that our Eco Cottage has won 'Best Green Holiday Home' in the European Holiday Home Association Awards 2015...
The European Holiday Home Award 2015 
Announcement May 12
As a way to generate more public awareness about the benefits of holiday home renting in Europe, the European Holiday Home Association launched a search for the best representatives of our industry to compete for the first European Holiday Home Award.
The EHHA was thrilled to announce this initiative and received more than 200 excellent entries from all across Europe covering all categories of a modern holiday home.
The purpose of the awards was to showcase the fantastic examples of the holiday home rental products. The members of the European trade associations, representing the short-term rental industry, nominated the holiday homes. Both member trade associations, direct pan European members and private house owners made their entries. 
The European Holiday Home award reflects 7 categories of excellence, which are, Green, Health & Wellness, Beach House, Family Friendly, European Capital, Pet, and Unique Spot.
A special jury of experts and professionals compiled the short-list by selecting 8 finalists in each category. This selection was made from an objective set of criteria including presentation, indoors and outdoors, bookability, amenities and special parameters specific to each category. The EHHA owes great thanks to our expert panel Niki Christian Nutsch, Miguel Ferrer and Jacob R. Kirkegaard Larsen for their great contribution. We also thank SuperControl for managing the Award Webpage with great professionalism.
The final vote was given by email to the EHHA administration by the member trade associations of the EHHA in France, Germany, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
We congratulate the winners who represent the very best of the holiday home industry! 
And the winners are:
Best Health and Wellness Holiday Home: Whitefalls Spa Lodges, Scotland
Best Holiday Home Beach House: Holiday House Dra�nice, Croatia
Best Holiday Home family friendly: Holiday Home Orizzonte Monteriggioni, Italy
Best Holiday Home in European Capital: Mitte Penthouse 1 Berlin, Germany
Best Pet Holiday Home: Pet friendly Holiday Home with pool and garden Catalonia, Spain 
Best Unique Spot Holiday Home: Northern Fiord Area, Norway 
Carlos Villaro Lassen
Secretary General

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Best places to view the solar eclipse in Cornwall

We have fond memories of the 1999 eclipse, on the morning of 11th August sat on blankets sipping Champagne and eating strawberries on Pentire Headland. It was grey and cloudy and just minutes before, the clouds parted enough for us to see the total eclipse, then the clouds moved back over, it felt like a miracle. So as we brace ourselves for another eclipse, the biggest since 1999, here are a few suggestions of where to view this rare phenomenon, there's no guarantee you'll see it, but where better to be than at one of the highest landmarks in Cornwall.

The partial eclipse is expected to begin shortly after 8am and lasting up to 90 minutes on Friday 20th March. Sadly we won't be able to get to any of these focal points in time following the school run, but hope to get a glimpse from the top of our field.
Brown Willy - Cornwall's highest point, Bolventor
Photo: The Guardian
Carn Brea, near Redruth.
The Cheesering, Minions

Photo: The Guardian
Helman Tor, Lanlivery.
Kit Hill, near Callington
Rough Tor, St Breward
Looking for somewhere to stay? Visit Merlin Farm Holiday Cottages