Zoey Goto visits Country Kids in the South of France to find out what a post lockdown family holiday is like…
Our London lockdown – with an active toddler and minus a garden – presented all sorts of challenging moments! As restrictions slowly eased up, it became crystal clear that the one thing our two-year-old daughter Indiana needed was a dose of nature and some space to run free. So when I heard about Country Kids – a luxury farmhouse resort with its own petting farm, surrounded by stunning scenery in the South of France – I enthusiastically booked a visit. A health-packed week of fresh air, country walks and animal bonding sounded like the ideal post-lockdown retreat.
Although the path-most-travelled to Country Kids is by air – flying into Montpellier and driving an hour to the farmhouse – we decided to take the scenic route with an 8-hour Eurostar journey from London to Montpellier. Masked-up and watching Paris whizz past the window, it was a surprisingly relaxing journey that also felt quite intrepid – a little like inter-railing with a toddler in tow, which it turns out is not as horrendous as it sounds!
Arriving at the rural idyll, we were greeted by the owners Laure and Sylvain, and their two young children. The family extend the kind of warm hospitality that puts you at ease to do as much or as little as you please. Apart from a local pony-riding lesson for Indiana, we decided to kick back and spend the week soaking up life on the farm.
We opted for the self-catering package, which was pretty effortless as the onsite shop stocks plenty of homemade family meals. Our visit also included unlimited use of the kid’s club, daily teatime with oodles of delicious cakes, a generous welcome hamper of food and two babysitting nights, when I headed out to La Palombe – a fantastic little restaurant within walking distance. There’s also the all-in package during the school holidays, which covers all food and drink, spa treatments, yoga, baby essentials from the shop and even a few hidden extras such as cook-out and camping night for older kids.
A typical day at Country Kids starts with piling into Farmer Sylvain’s tractor for the morning farm visit, where the kids excitedly collect eggs from the coop, feed the animals and pet the outrageously cute bunnies. The day can then be spent relaxing around the pool, venturing to the local market towns or lake with a picnic hamper, or the children can drop-in at the kid’s club, where the creative program includes nature hunts, animal grooming and pizza making.
One of the holiday highlights for Indiana was the pyjama party, where she was picked up from our apartment for a breakfast bash with her new friends. As the resort has just seven apartments, there’s a friendly atmosphere between guests.
In our downtime, we romped through fields of wildflowers, made regular visits down the grassy lane to feed the pregnant goat Juliette, and explored local villages by bike, with my speed-loving toddler shouting “faster!” from her baby seat, as we ambled along peaceful country tracks. With rolling fields and barely a person in sight, social distancing is a given in this scenic spot.
One our final evening, as Indiana sang herself to sleep with a rousing rendition of Old McDonald, accompanied by the faint bleating of sheep in the background, I knew that we had experienced a very special holiday that will foster a love of nature for years to come.
Self-Catering package prices start at €3,950 for a family of four for a week.
Absolutely Everything Included package (during school holidays). Prices start at €7,350 for a family of four for a week.
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