Taking small children on long flights can be a hassle, not to mention the excess baggage charges for all the equipment you need. Child-friendly holidays in the UK have never been more popular – after all, there is so much flexibility in a self-catering cottage. Parents can prepare family meals in fully-equipped kitchens and make the home their own for the duration of their stay.
Getting certain things right in the holiday cottage is essential when appealing to a family-friendly market. We have put together some of the key things to consider for a child-friendly holiday home.
Ten tips for creating a child-friendly holiday home:
1. Have baby-friendly equipment available
Try to make things as easy as possible for parents with useful equipment available. Having items like high chairs and cots means parents can travel lighter, but we also recommend having baby monitors, toys, books, toilet seats and cutlery for toddlers. Microwaves are handy for warming up baby meals and dishwashers can help make sure everything is properly sterilised.
Any additional extras you can provide in a child-friendly holiday home is one less thing that stressed parents will have to think about.
2. Keep children entertained
It can be nice to have a separate snug/playroom that children can make their own for the holiday. Providing DVDs (or Netflix) along with an X-box or Playstation means kids can entertain themselves and give harassed parents some peace. It’s also nice to go a bit old-school with some family bonding over a classic board game. Monopoly is always a favourite!
3. Make the most of your outside space
If you do have outside space, then having a seating area for watching kids play is a good option. Having an enclosed garden will also help to keep kids out of harm's way and if you do have the room, a swing set or slide will always go down well. If you don’t have room yourself, then mention any local play areas in your welcome pack.
4. Provide information on local shops and deliveries
Families probably aren’t going to want to arrive at the holiday cottage with a week’s supply of food, so it is important to let them know about local shops where they can stock up on bread, milk and other provisions.
More and more people are also choosing to get a supermarket delivery arranged for their arrival, so if you have details of supermarkets nearby providing this service, it can be very handy. Guests can arrange for Yorkshire recipe boxes courtesy of Born and Bred to be delivered to any Gorgeous Cottage.
5. List any child-friendly places to eat and attractions nearby
Let’s face it, this is a holiday for families to get away from it all and relax, so it’s likely they will want to go out to eat at least one evening. Providing information on any local cafes and restaurants that are particularly accommodating to babies and children will help your guests make a good choice on where to eat.
There are lots of child-friendly places to eat such as High Park Tea Room in Newton-le-Willows.
Providing a selection of leaflets, particularly if they have money-off vouchers for local attractions, will help provide ideas on what families can do and it’s good to mention walking routes, picnic spots and local wildlife to spot.
6. Think sturdy and practical furniture
Kids do love to get messy and mucky and have been known to clamber over furniture. Go for quality pieces that can take some wear and tear and paint that can be cleaned and touched up as needed. Hard flooring is much more forgiving than carpets when it comes to spills, and rooms can be softened with rugs that can be more easily washed or replaced. Having an entrance hall or utility room where wet and muddy boots and clothes can be stored is very handy – as is a washing machine so they can be cleaned up!
7. Make flexible spaces with room for a cot
Flexible space works well for families – open-plan living areas mean parents can keep an eye on kids playing while they prepare a meal. When it comes to bedtime, parents are likely to want to be within easy reach of their children, so having the bedrooms close to each other on the same floor is ideal.
Make sure there is room for a travel cot to be set up, preferably in the master bedroom. Having a second bedroom that can be set-up as a twin means children can have their own beds. Little touches like black-out curtains can help children get a good night sleep.
8. A bath can be handy!
Having a bath in a holiday cottage can be a godsend for parents of small children, so we would always recommend including at least one in a holiday cottage. If you can provide a special baby bath, this will also be extremely useful. Of course, lots of adults prefer a shower, so if you can fit one of these in too – all the better!
9. Provide a useful welcome hamper
While it is nice to have jams, candles and wine in a welcome hamper, it is much more practical for families to have something they can make supper with – especially if they are arriving late on a Friday night. Items like eggs, milk, bread and cheese mean families can rustle up an omelette or scrambled egg on toast to feed hungry mouths.
10. Minimise any hazards
If you are targeting families with young children, it is important to think about all the things inside and outside your holiday cottage that could be hazardous. If there are steep stairs make sure there is a stair gate and any areas of the garden that could cause issues (sharp drops or ponds), can be gated off.
We recommend doing a thorough and honest assessment of the property and ensuring parents are made aware of any potential hazards. This way, they can keep an eye on little ones.