With stay-at-home holidays the talk of 2009, today's launch of Tots to the UK couldn't be more timely. Already established in France and Italy, the award-winning rental company hand picks family-friendly, self-catering accommodation, which it checks for safety and kits out with baby and toddler essentials.
Focusing initially on North Wales, Cheshire, Shropshire and Yorkshire, Tots to the UK aims to search out beautiful houses in lovely locations for those of us who "want a little luxury as well as a potty".
Eaton Manor, a cluster of quality properties on a 500-acre family farm in Shropshire, is a winning example of the accommodation Tots to the UK will offer. Curlew Cottage, a traditional restoration of the original milking parlour with a huge enclosed garden, was our home for the weekend.
Curlew Cottage sleeps eight in four bedrooms – three en-suite – plus another bathroom. The decor is simple but tasteful, with handmade oak furniture. There's a well-equipped kitchen, cosy living room and a huge dining table.
The food and drink
A homemade cake and bottle of wine await you on arrival, as well as kitchen and bathroom basics. We liked the Chef on Board service, which offers quality frozen dishes that can be pre-ordered (£5 each) and stocked in the freezer. Or shop online at Tesco, have it delivered to the on-site office and it will be unpacked for your arrival. You can also engage the services of private chefs.
Guests who reserve through Tots to the UK (totstotravel.co.uk), or who mention them when booking, will have access to an exclusive range of family-friendly extras. The extensive list includes everything you could need from Cuddledry hooded towels to monitors – so ditch the excess baggage. There's a shared indoor, heated swimming pool (open April to October). For local attractions go to shropshiretourism.com.
Children welcome. Dogs, too, for a charge. Pendennis, on the estate, has been graded a Mobility 1 by the National Accessible Scheme.
A three-night weekend break at Curlew Cottage from £499.
Eaton Manor Rural Escapes, Eaton-Under-Heywood, Church Stretton, Shropshire SY6 7DH (01694 724814; eatonmanor.co.uk).