Travel Review: Happy families

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IT sounds so simple, does IT not? Holiday accommodation that fulfils the needs of children yet grants their tired parents a proper break. But it is astonishing how many places get it wrong: hotel rooms with no kettle or fridge and guesthouses with endless rules about breakfast times and staying out all day.

Yes, I've been there, done that, paid through the nose and then arrived home more exhausted than before I went away.

So it was a breath of fresh air to stay with Sarah and Dylan McLeese Taylor at their guesthouse, Westcroft, in the Cornish fishing village of Kingsand.

An immaculately restored Georgian coaching inn, Westcroft is yards from the beach and has breathtaking views overlooking Plymouth Sound. It is also one of a growing number of exclusive properties under the umbrella organisation Baby-Friendly Boltholes, which provides accommodation (plus all the baby/toddler paraphernalia you'll need) with care and consideration.

Sarah and Dylan take this idea to the extreme at Westcroft. The little touches are everywhere. As well as each room being thoughtfully and exquisitely designed by Sarah, all our needs were anticipated and met.

Take that much sought-after luxury for holidaying parents – going out for dinner without the children. But where to go and how to get there?

These problems had been solved before we even arrived, tired and hoarse from singing to our frustrated two-year-old daughter for most of the journey.

Sarah and Dylan suggested we might like to try their excellent local fish restaurant, The View. As well we might – but what about a babysitter? Dylan and Sarah looked at us quizzically. "Well, we'll be here," they said.

Knowing that Westcroft is hand-picked by Baby-Friendly Boltholes meant we never had a moment's hesitation in accepting Dylan and Sarah's offer, and our daughter, Dory, the usual two-year-old mix of sociable and timid, took to them immediately – helped along by their child-adoring English pointer, Edie.

It became an early-morning ritual to pop down to the beach while Dylan collected fresh croissants from the village shop. However, 20 minutes later, with my stomach rumbling, how could I coax Dory indoors for breakfast?

As if by magic, Sarah appeared. "Dory, let's go and give Edie a biscuit," she said. Up Dory leapt and skipped up the quay beside Sarah, bucket and spade discarded in the sand.

In the ground-floor dining room, listening to the waves lap over the shore, we ate breakfast with our fellow guests, a honeymooning couple (and their two daughters) who had the top two floors of the house, including the attic Clock Tower suite.

"How do you fancy a lie-in tomorrow?" asked Dylan. We nodded, open-mouthed. "I'll come and get Dory around 7:30am."

He did and she loved it; they went rock-pooling, they walked up the steep hills of the Rame Peninsula and they wandered the lanes of Kingsand, saying hello to everyone they met.

Later, we enjoyed a family stroll via the South West Coast Path westwards to Penlee Point and a "secret" sandy beach.

I'd like to tell you more about Cornwall's "forgotten corner" but we didn't actually leave Kingsand. With its two lovely beaches, rock pools, views, caf, deli and five pubs, why go anywhere else?

This applies to parents and couples alike. Westcroft is a perfect grown-up destination and Sarah and Dylan are careful never to mix the two parties.

If romance and relaxation are your thing, stay in the Clock Tower suite and take advantage of the beauty treatments and candlelit dinners that they are happy to arrange with a little advance notice.

Behind the main house, through the pretty courtyard, Westcroft Gallery features the works of some prominent local artists.

Cremyll, a beautiful village only a couple of miles away, is home to the glorious Mount Edgcumbe House and Gardens.

Make a promise to give yourself a break at Westcroft and I guarantee it's one you'll make every year.


Rail travel from Scotland to Devonpart Station (three miles from Kingsand) starts from 164 from Edinburgh and 169 from Glasgow (

Where to stay

Double rooms at Westcroft Guesthouse, Market Street, Kinsand, Cornwall, start from 90 (01752 823 216,

And There's More

Westcroft babysitting services cost 9 per hour.

Scotsman Reader Holidays offer three-day trips to Cornwall, from 299. Call Brightwater Holidays, tel: 01334 657155 or e-mail