Destination UK

Our Top Tips for spending Christmas away from home

Posted on
December 30, 2018

This year we celebrated Christmas away from home at Coombe Mill in Cornwall.

We first visited Coombe Mill for Christmas 2013 and loved it so much we headed back again in 2014. Sadly due to work commitments we were unable to return, but this year we found ourselves back in their biggest property – Tree Roots.

I actually find spending Christmas away from home less stressful, as there is less pressure to make it perfect, however, it is not without its challenges, especially in the build up to the break.

Our Top Tips for spending Christmas away from home

Pick somewhere family friendly to stay

Coombe Mill know how to make any family holiday special, but there is something magical about their Christmas holidays and the first thing on our plan was to decorate the tree they provided.

Coombe Mill is a working farm and every morning at 9am (10am on Christmas Day) you get to join in with the feed run. Each child gets a chance to drive the tractor, accompanied by Farmer Nick, meet and feed the animals, which include a herd of Fallow deer and hopefully collect some eggs for breakfast.

In the afternoons there is the chance to ride on their miniature train and on Christmas Eve, there is a special guest in the tunnel with presents for the children.

There is also craft hour, where the kids get to make something special for the Christmas table, an invitation to the Christingle Service in nearby village St Tudy, where the service is not only beautiful, but the whole village gathers outside the church afterwards for a mince pie, mulled wine and a gift from Father Christmas and a Christmas Eve party in the Games Room to enjoy afterwards.

Of course, there is their properties too. Coombe Mill was originally a 16th Century water mill, but has been transformed into a beautiful and secluded hamlet of picturesque holiday cottages, Scandinavian and riverside lodges set amidst an idyllic 30 acre private estate between Bodmin Moor and the Beach, all of which come equipped with everything you need, including playrooms for the kids, filled with toys.

Order your shopping online

The last thing you want to do, is go shopping when you get to your destination, so my best advice is to order your shopping to arrive. Christmas shopping slots open early December, so make sure you book your slot. All supermarkets now allow you to update your orders up to midnight the night before your delivery slot, allowing for any last minute needs.

Book Christmas Days Out in advance

Christmas days out, particularly those to see Father Christmas, book up early, so ensure that get your days out booked as early as possible.

Father Christmas

We enjoyed the Santa Specials Train Ride at Lappa Valley near Newquay, for our day out, where we got to remind him that we were staying at Coombe Mill for Christmas.

Car Jenga is real!

The real challenge of spending Christmas away from home, is getting everything where it needs to be.

We had to take two cars and even then we still struggled with room. Some places allow you to send big items up early, but remember you need to get them back home again too. We just took presents from us and then had family presents when we got back home.

Don’t forget loved ones back home

Spending Christmas away from home is an adventure, but don’t forget the ones that are still at home. Modern technology is great and we all enjoyed a video chat with Callan, who sadly stayed at home as he had to work and the kids spoke to their grandparents on the phone too.

Be prepared for the weather

Our first Christmas at Coombe Mill was very chilly, whilst the 2nd was what could only be described at wet! This year was mild and damp, so all my thermals stayed unloved in the suitcase, however, the waterproofs and wellies were a godsend.

Explore your surroundings

There was lots to do on the farm with play areas and a games room, but finding out the locals’ recommendations for days out can lead to some real gems and we had lots of fun exploring the local beaches to work off all that Christmas food.

Have you ever spent Christmas away from home – what do you recommend?

  1. Reply


    December 30, 2018

    We have spent Christmas away from home twice and the best thing for me was always getting someone else to cook and wash up!

  2. Reply

    Emma @ Adventures of a London Kiwi

    December 30, 2018

    Oooooooooh, this sounds so cosy and lovely (out of the mud that is!) I must suggest this to my husband & his family for next year!

  3. Reply

    Kim Carberry

    December 30, 2018

    We spent Christmas away from home for the first time this year and it was wonderful.
    It looks like you had a fab time. Coombe Mill looks such an amazing place to stay at any time of year but it must be so special at Christmas x

  4. Reply


    December 31, 2018

    What lovely photos! It looks so lovely and relaxing (and much less stressful as you say than being at home!) I hope you all had a great time. I must confess to never having been away from home at Christmas – but it would be a great experience to try sometime.
    Thank you for your tips 🙂

  5. Reply


    December 31, 2018

    nawww Christmas is my most favorite time of year.

  6. Reply


    December 31, 2018

    I always spend Christmas away from home, and so appreciate these tips! Thank you!

  7. Reply

    Rebecca | AAUBlog

    December 31, 2018

    with family all over we have spent Christmas away from home a number of times. Planning what you’re going to do ahead of time really helps, as well as packing as light as we can!

  8. Reply

    Tiffany Barry

    December 31, 2018

    Great tips! Can I just say that his elf beanie is beyond adorable? I just can’t get over how cute it is!!

  9. Reply

    Hola Cheska

    December 31, 2018

    I was thinking in going to an Hotel here in my island to spend new years eve. Having a good trip in a holiday can be challenging (because of family) but should be very good to spend it with strangers and meeting new people. After all, you are always doing the same thing year after year.

  10. Reply

    Sincerely Miss J

    December 31, 2018

    I have never spent Christmas away from home. So thank you for these tips! Thank you! You guys looked like you had a great time

  11. Reply

    Rebecca Smith

    December 31, 2018

    I’ve only spent it away from home once but it is definitely something I would consider doing again.

  12. Reply

    Marianna Frances

    December 31, 2018

    We have been toying with the idea of Christmas away from home, but honestly Santa worries us. Was it a lot of work for Santa to find you and get your things to you? Especially if you are flying? Any tips for that?

  13. Reply

    Sally Pederson

    December 31, 2018

    This year is the first one in years I have spent back “home” with my family. I usually spend it in various cities around the world. I think people should spend money on experiences and not on materialistic things. People remember experiences, not things.

  14. Reply

    Maggie Unzueta

    December 31, 2018

    Wow! Coombe Mill looks so wonderful. I love the idea that you still could enjoy decorating a Christmas Tree even away from home. I should put this on my bucket list!

  15. Reply


    January 1, 2019

    I’m desperate To go away for Christmas. My mother retires next year so we will definitely be booking a getaway. Brilliant tips thank you

  16. Reply

    Nicole Vick

    January 1, 2019

    very good tips! I will have to try them since my parents live out of town and we may consider going to visit them for the holidays this year.

  17. Reply

    Bella and Dawn at Dear Mummy Blog

    January 2, 2019

    We’ve been following your adventures at Coombe Mill – looks like you had a fab time! We went for Crimbo Limbo last year! Love it there x

  18. Reply


    January 2, 2019

    Sounds like a fabulous idea for a holiday and for spending some quality time with family. I’m sure it must have been brilliant!

  19. Reply


    January 2, 2019

    Looks like you made some fun family memories! I could definitely see us enjoying Christmas away from home when the kids get a little older.

  20. Reply

    Angela Federica

    January 3, 2019

    I thing this is a great way to spend Christmas with your kids! These moments have big value for them!

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog