celebrate big birthdays at our hand picked homes 


OK – this is a big deal to anyone who is spoiling their parents. You’re old enough to realise how much they did for you, let’s be honest, for a long long time and now it’s your weekend or week to show them how much you appreciated it.

So you’d better get it right…!

There’s lots to think about.

  • The place you stay and finding a room perfect for your VIP guest (handrails, walk in shower, can they bring their dog – who will in no way leave their side EVER, medication, local hospital, travel logistics).
  • Who comes and how long they come for.
  • The cost and how you split the bill.
  • What are you going to do each day and night to keep the different generations happy. ARGHHHH
  • The food. The party bit. The presents. The invitation.
  • And this is supposed to be a holiday for you too right?! Doesn’t read like it yet does it?
  1. The place you stay.
    Read our earlier blog here staying sane and booking for families.
    The 30 sec takeaway; book a place with flexible accommodation; beds and a separate ‘room’ with kitchen/sitting/bath rooms; a decent garden with lots of areas in it and dens and toys for small children. Book near a pub with rooms or B&B so you can have extras visiting too, plus eat at the pub once during the week. Think creatively about meals out as well as in. Consider splitting up the group during the days to fit everyones needs. 


    Adding to that for golden oldies;
    ask your host about
    – any adaptations they’ve made for people with mobility challenges. In my opinion, it should be on their website already…
    – don’t travel far. Two hours for most oldies is plenty.
    – make sure you can take the dog
    – check how close you can park to the house

2. Many of my guests organising big celebrations, DON’T ask everyone for the whole week. It’s just too much work for the host. People come and go, giving you a bit of downtime now and then. So ensure that you have any overflow accommodation booked up. Ask you host to do an extra clean/sheet change for you if required. If it costs £60 to have a cleaner/help in for a day midweek, do it, it’ll make a big difference.

3. Have an agreed plan for the ‘big do’. If you’re staying in do you need a chef, are you going to a local pub, if you’re cooking at home check with the host what’s in the kitchen; do you need to bring your own Magimix or favourite blender. Are there enough smart, big, serving dishes.

7. The party. Does your house supply some decorations? Is is already partly decorated? Whats going to be the difference that makes the difference? Flowers? Balloons? A story-teller (dressed up as a lost rambler) who blunders in and invites himself to tea and starts his stories… Think out of the box. Ask your host to help. Our house The Ploughmans Cottage has kit for Alice in Wonderland parties.

8. Visit our Pinterest board for more info on presents and set dressing. Celebration ideas for adults and grand-parents. 

9. Finally (and I’m getting RSI from typing) make sure you look after yourself. Build in some ‘me time’ for your break. You’ll need it. Go and hide in the forest with a book. Go to a different beach alone.

4. The bill. Every family is different and I can’t advise you. Splitting it helps – obviously. Some families split it per day, some per person per day, some half or quarter it. Try to agree a budget and stick to it if possible. Remember there’s a breakages deposit to be paid too.

5. Create more value for money. If it feels like the break is expensive and too short, then add to the anticipation and follow up. Do lovely invitations on Paperless Post or get the kids to do a short invitation video on Facebook for a private event. Put up some Pinterest boards on what you’re going to do. Sit down with your VIP guest and go through what’s going to happen. Give them lots to talk about with their friends before and after. Building anticipation is the key. For the kids – we have lots of info on pre-planning for holidays. Read more here.  Delegate some of these jobs to teenagers or kids who will like the kudos of being given responsibility.

6. Food. Most of my guests get in a chef or some help. If you do some of the dessert/coffee then it needed be prohibitively expensive. Otherwise delegate to other family members and ensure the house fridge space is big enough.