Category Archives: Holiday Tips and Advice

Best Cottages for 2017 Holidays

With Christmas approaching, it will soon be the New Year and time to look forward to 2017 and perhaps a cottage holiday.  With a new year many people start thinking about a self-catering cottage getaway and it’s important to a lot of travellers to get a holiday booked to look forward to.  When it comes to booking the best cottages for 2017, remember that the most sought after cottages often book up early.

Finding the Best Cottage for your 2017 Holiday

What is the best cottage for you, will depend on your likes, needs and personal preferences.  When it comes to finding the perfect cottage for your 2017 self-catering holiday here are some ideas to inspire you!


Splash around in a Cottage with a Pool in 2017

Coat Barn with pool Somerset

Coat Barn with pool Somerset

Perhaps because they’re great for holidays at any time of year, cottages with pools are always sought after.   Having a morning dip, a relaxing evening swim or a splash around with the kids can be great fun and truly relaxing.  Cottages with a swimming pool also appeal to both groups of friends and families, meaning that they are popular options.  These sort of properties can book up fast so if you want to stay in a holiday home with a pool then booking early is recommended.  Another popular option to consider is a cottage with a hot tub, another wonderfully relaxing possibility.


Unique Holiday Homes Available for 2017 Holidays

The Tree House Somerset

The Tree House Somerset

Do you dream of staying in a holiday tree-house where you can hide away by the trees and enjoy a magical break?  Or do you love the charm and unique features of converted chapels or mill-houses?  Whatever type of quirky property you love, you can be assured you’re in good company as lots of people simply adore the idea of staying in a unique and memorable holiday home where you can make memories to treasure.  If you’re thinking of staying in a quirky unusual holiday home, booking as early as possible in 2017 should be considered to make sure you can book your chosen unique cottage for your preferred dates.


A Cottage with a View for your 2017 Holiday

Stunning countryside views at Mill Barn in Cumbria

Stunning countryside views at Mill Barn in Cumbria

Whether it’s waking up to a holiday cottage with stunning countryside views where you can look out on fields or farmlands or gazing upon a shimmering sea view, cottages with a view are highly sought after.  After all, with many properties it’s all about location, location, location and it’s no different with holiday homes.


What is the Best Cottage for your 2017 holiday?

The above are some ideas of some of the most typically desirable holiday homes, but what type of holiday home best suits you can be quite a personal thing.  Perhaps you are searching for a remote hideaway, hidden far away in the Scottish Highlands?  Or a cottage with a games room where you can keep the kids entertained.  Finding the best cottage for you in 2017 is a personal decision and there’s no one-size fits all solution.  For more ideas and inspiration on places to stay for your 2017 self-catering holiday, see our Holiday Inspiration section can help guide you.














Best Places in Britain for Summer Holidays

As the weather starts to warm up, thoughts turn to summer holidays and booking a break away.  Planning a ‘staycation’ in Britain can be an appealing idea, particularly for those with pets.  No one likes to leave their dog in a kennel and with a break in the UK you can take your precious pet pooch with you, without missing them whilst you’re away.

With summers getting warmer, the UK can be good weather-wise too, particularly for those that don’t like it too hot.  For a special treat, booking a holiday cottage with a swimming pool can help your summer break feel extra special.

If you’re short on ideas of where to go for your summer vacation, we’ve got some pointers for you on some of the best of Britain when it comes to summertime getaways.


Experience Coast and Countryside this Summer in England’s West Country

Dartmouth in Coastal Devon

Dartmouth in Coastal Devon

With award winning beaches and lush national parks, England’s West Country has to be one of the most popular parts of the UK when it comes to summer holidays.  Perhaps it’s by virtue of the South West being a good bet when it comes to sunshine in the summer months or on account of the renowned beaches in the area, but nowhere quite says summer holiday like England’s South West.

So popular is this area in fact that some families return year after year to this beloved part of England.   Whether Devon, Cornwall, Dorset or Somerset is your favourite, each part of the West Country has its own unique appeal and attractions.  Take note though, holiday cottages in the South West get booked up early, particularly the luxurious ones or holiday houses with leisure facilities such as a hot tub or a swimming pool, so if you want to stay somewhere special  in June, July or August then booking early is recommended.

Go Wild this Summertime in Wales

Pretty Pembrokeshire Coast

Pretty Pembrokeshire Coast

If there’s one thing  people long for when it comes to summer holidays,  it’s the chance to be by the seaside, feel the wind in your hair and breathe in fresh sea air.  Wales with its expansive coastline can be a wonderful place for a coastal holiday.  Whether you choose to explore the Snowdonia coastline (some of which falls within the National Park),  the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park or the Gower Peninsula, each part of coastal Wales has its own unique appeal to offer and charm visitors.

Explore Scotland’s Coast in June, July or August

It’s a little known fact that Scotland has a stunning coastline.  Summer can be the best season to visit Scotland as it’s the time of year when you’re least likely to get rain and most likely to get sunshine.  Everything looks better in the sunshine and Scotland’s coastline is no exception where the sea glistens in the sun and the sand glitters in the sun’s rays.  Whether you love walking, jumping from the sand dunes, boating or watersports, Scotland’s coast is wonderful for experiencing the great outdoors and all these activities are made all the better with the heat of the sun on your back.

One of Scotland’s most beautiful coastal areas is Argyll and Bute with its inlets, coves, beaches and quaint fishing villages.  This is a fantastic part of Scotland to enjoy a variety of outdoor pursuits and see stunning sunsets.

Golden Sands of an unspoilt Aberdeenshire beach.

Golden Sands of an unspoilt Aberdeenshire beach.

If you want to truly get away from it all, head for the Aberdeenshire coastline in Scotland.  It’s a well kept secret that this area has miles and miles of golden sandy beaches (some of which can be deserted so you can enjoy them all by yourself!), pretty fishing villages and is one of the best places in Scotland to experience soulful scenery without crowds.    For those keen to explore the road less travelled, a tranquil holiday along the Aberdeenshire coast could be just what you need to feel relaxed and rejuvenated this summer.

We hope we’ve inspired you with our ideas on some of the best places in Britain to holiday in summertime.

Top 5 Hot Tub Cottages with Wow Factor Views

Hot tub cottages are a popular choice for holidaymakers nowadays who want to escape from it all and de-stress somewhere special with a warm bubbly hot tub where you can lie back and truly relax.

Something Truly Special; Cottages with Hot Tubs and Amazing Views

We feature a great range of holiday cottages with hot tubs, from properties with shared leisure facilities including a bubbly spa bath and individual holiday homes with an inviting private hot tub.  For something truly out of the ordinary though you may be after a hot tub cottage with an amazing view to boot? If so, then our selection of Top 5 Cottages with Amazing Views could be for you:


Rower Fort Rooftop Hot Tub

Feel on Top of the World with a Soak in this Hot Tub

Top of the list has to be Rower Fort because this hot tub truly is in a top location, on top of a 8 bedroom folly tower on a tower house in fact!  We truly wonder if it’s possible to get a holiday house with a hot tub with a more impressive view. A relaxing soak here is for those with a head for heights!


Valley views from Caban Haf Hot Tub

Soak up Stunning Valley Views.

2.    With views out over an unspoilt Welsh Valley near the Berwyn Mountain Range, 2 bedroomed Caban Haf has a truly well sited hot tub where you can listen to bird song whilst you enjoy a long warm bubbly soak, sheer bliss!





Wonderful Countryside Views from Darling How's Hot Tub

Wonderful Countryside Views from Darling How’s Hot Tub

A real darling, Darling How with its hot tub with countryside views lives up to its name. Set within the wonderful Lake District National Park, this 5 bedroom cottage is a great place to return to and relax those tired muscles after days out exploring. The views here can also soothe the soul.


Stunning countryside views at Mill Barn's Hot Tub

Stunning countryside views at Mill Barn’s Hot Tub

4.    With a location that will have you saying Wow, the private hot tub at Mill Barn is truly well located for making the most of the wonderful Cumbrian countryside views. The warm bubbly hot tub and high quality accommodation here are truly inviting.

Hot Tub with Views over Fields and Pastures

Wonderful indoor hot tub with views out over fields and pastures

5.    With an indoor hot tub, Sycamore Farm Cottage still offers fantastic views where you can look out over the unspoilt Leicestershire countryside, in all weathers. Just remember to open the windows to preserve those views when you’re having a relaxing soak!

Best English Christmas Markets to Discover on a Cottage Holiday

Planning to take a cottage break from which to discover one of England’s best Christmas Markets? Taking a short mini-break and doing some Xmas shopping can be wonderful and can brighten up wintertime. Read our Choice of Top 3 Christmas Markets to Shop at during a self-catering break in England.

Our Top Choices of English Christmas Markets


One of England’s and the UK’s finest cities, Bath’s Christmas Market makes this city even more magical.  The streets around the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey are transformed during the time of the Christmas Market as wooden huts and chalets appear selling all kinds of festive gifts, toys, food and drink. Mulled wine can help keep you warm as you enjoy meandering around this fantastic outdoor market for festive gifts for friends or family.


The Christmas markets at York are amongst some of the very best to be found in England. Beautiful at any time of year, the fascinating historical city of York seems particularly special at Christmas time. At York’s St Nicholas Market, wooden huts help make this market all the more Christmassy and many stall holders dress up in Dickensian costumes, adding to the atmosphere. Goods on sale include crafts, food and drink, as well as Christmas decorations, who could wish for more?


London Covent Garden

The Market at Covent Garden at Christmas

Covent Garden’s Christmas Market

Home to a market all year round, Covent Garden is particularly worth a visit at Christmas. If you’re on the lookout for high quality gifts for friends or family you may just find the perfect present at Covent Garden. With high end shops as well as stalls selling artisan crafts, there is plenty of choice on offer here. What’s more, with cafes, bars and restaurants galore to choose from, this is a lovely place for a day out in any event. The Christmas decorations on this year are particularly spectacular and worth seeing.

Whichever Christmas market you choose to visit, taking a short break in a cottage can help you feel refreshed and more relaxed at this time of year which can become a little too frantic for some. Book a cottage with a hot tub or access to a pool and you can truly look forward to a relaxing break from which you can head out and do some shopping at a Xmas market during your stay.

Our Guide to the Best Locations for Wildlife Watching Holidays in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland

Do you love wildlife watching at home and when away on holiday in the UK? Why not book a cottage holiday with opportunities to discover some of the best flora and fauna nearby on days out? Let us inspire you with our ideas on some of the best places to enjoy getting back to nature and spot fascinating animals and bird life when enjoying a self-catering break in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Wildlife to Watch on Holiday in England: Deer, Wild Ponies, Butterflies and Dragonflies

Beautiful English butterfly

England’s stunning butterfly

England is a wonderful country for a cottage holiday and with a wealth of rural areas and stunning coastline is also wonderful for spotting Britain’s beautiful animals and creatures. Many areas in England have resident deer; Ashridge Forest with its wonderful leafy canopies is home to a large population of beautiful deer which can be spotted on early morning woodland walks and the New Forest is also a fantastic area to spot deer. The New Forest National Park is also a great area for seeing wild ponies. These charming ponies happily trot through the wonderful landscapes of the forest and through the many picturesque villages dotted around; in and around Beaulieu seems to be one of the best places for seeing ponies.

In summer time and in Autumn England is a great place for spotting butterflies and stunning iridescent dragonflies. The Norfolk Broads with their watery wonderland are a wonderful place for seeing dragonflies and birds. Gardens rich with flowers and ponds are also brilliant for catching sight of dragonflies, bees and butterflies, National Trust and Historic Houses’ gardens with a mix of flowers and water features can be some of the very best places to visit to discover delightful insect life.


Binoculars at the Ready for Brilliant Bird-Watching and Ample Whale Watching on Holiday in Scotland

As you may expect, some of the best wildlife watching opportunities when holidaying in Scotland are to be found in the country’s most remote places. Spot sea eagles on the Isle of Skye and take a whale watching trip (although sightings are not guaranteed) whilst enjoying a self-catering break. For even better whale watching opportunities the Orkney and Shetland Isles are said to be the best and with a wealth of unspoilt landscapes are wonderful places to get away from it all and enjoy getting back to nature.

The Cairngorms National Park is said to be a good area to spot wildcat and capercaillie, but these are very shy creatures so if you want more of a sure thing then Orkney, Shetland or the Isle of Skye with their fantastic whale watching and bird watching opportunities may be better bets.


Wales for Glimpsing Puffins, Seals, Dolphins and Birdlife Galore on a Self-Catering Holiday

Can you spot the basking shark?

Can you spot the basking shark?

With over 200 nature reserves, 11 RSPB reserves and extensive National Parkland, Wales is a wonderful cottage holiday destination for escaping and getting back to nature.
Cardigan Bay near Cardigan is said to be one of Wales’ very best places for spotting dolphins and you may even be lucky enough to see whales or basking sharks whilst holidaying there. With a resident population of dolphins, said to be Britain’s largest, for those who love these fascinating creatures, this is a wonderful place to visit.

Who doesn’t love a Puffin? These colourful birds have to be one of the most beautiful in Britain and Skomer in Pembrokeshire is one of the best places to catch sight of them. Well worth the boat trip, head to Skomer equipped with binoculars and you shouldn’t be disappointed. There is also an array of other fascinating birdlife to be spotted on Skomer. What’s more Skomer is said to be one of Wales and Britain’s very best places for seal watching making this an absolutely brilliant place to visit for nature lovers.


Ireland for Bountiful Marine-Life and Bird-Life Watching on a Cottage Break

Although not as well known for its wildlife watching opportunities, the Emerald Isle offers tranquillity and a remoteness which only enhances a cottage holiday as well as the opportunities for bird-watching and catching glimpses of fascinating animals. The South West of Ireland is said to be a good area for dolphin watching and it’s even possible to spot minke whales in the summer months if you’re lucky. The coasts off Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Limerick, Clare and Tipperary are said to be one of Europe’s top spots for whale watching. Also well worth a visit for keen ‘twitchers’ is Puffin Island bird reserve off the south west coast of Kerry.

Overall when it comes to wildlife watching holidays, staying in farm-stay accommodation can be a good starting point. Surrounded by countryside and in tranquil locations, farms tend to be good locations when it comes to spotting wildlife. Ask cottage owners which kinds of animals or birds visit their farm. From resident owls to foxes and deer, staying on a farm can delight animal lovers and keen twitchers. Oh and our top tip is don’t forget your camera! Capture those stunning images to treasure, look back on and enjoy fond holiday memories.

Top Things to do on Countryside Holidays or Farm-stays in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland

1.      Wildlife Watching

Pheasant on haystack

Spot wonderful wildlife on a country break

One of the best benefits of staying in a farm or in a countryside location is the wealth of wildlife opportunities available to you from the doorstep.

Whether you love to watch birds or larger animals, keep your eyes peeled and watch out at the right time and your persistence should pay off.

Avid wildlife watchers know that sightings can never be guaranteed but are usually more likely when there is peace and quiet. The early hours of the morning and evening just before sunset offer the best opportunities. From deer to badgers and awe inspiring birds such as owls and pheasants, Britain’s green and tranquil countryside is teeming with fascinating wildlife.

If you are someone who likes to watch animals but wants more of a sure thing or have children who want guaranteed sightings, why not book a stay at a farm where you can feast your eyes on and meet farm animals?

On some farms there are ample opportunities to meet animals. Some places offer opportunities to meet and pet goats or cute friendly animals like ponies, which are sure to bring a smile to yours and your child’s face.

2.      Walking

When holidaying in the country or in a rural location, there is usually ample opportunity to discover walks on site or footpaths that criss-cross across the countryside nearby.
To make walks more interesting why not enjoy some wildlife watching en-route or take snapshots of your favourite scenes?

3.      Photography

Stunning sunset

Some of the best sunsets can be enjoyed in the countryside

When staying in a scenic green place why not capture some scenes to look back on and enjoy fond memories of in the future? Whether you love to take snapshots of family, friends, farm animals, wildlife or sunsets, there are plenty of scenes and fantastic photography opportunities to inspire you in the Great British countryside.

4.      Relax

When enjoying a rural treat break it may sound obvious but a great thing to do is relax whilst on holiday and just enjoy some quiet downtime. Whilst sightseeing and getting out can be great fun, spending time making the most of your countryside location is highly recommended and can often help you feel relaxed.

Whether there is a garden where you can laze around and may be read a book, grounds where you can enjoy a picnic with family or friends or jut an outdoor dining space where you can enjoy eating al-fresco, spending time outdoors in the countryside can really help you reconnect with nature and discover that inner calm.

Outdoor pool set in countryside

Outdoor pool in countryside

Large country houses or complexes of farm cottages also sometimes offer excellent leisure facilities to help you fully relax. Facilities on offer can include swimming pools, hot tubs, games rooms and even tennis courts. With opportunities to relax as good as this, you may not be able to bring yourself to leave your rural idyll at all.

5.      Cycling or Horse Riding

When it comes to exploring the great outdoors, taking to 2 wheels and biking around the farm or country lanes can be great fun. Feel the wind blowing through your hair and enjoy the exhilaration of a bike ride. For those who haven’t cycled for a long time, it really is something that you never forget to do and once on a bike again it won’t be long until you are re-experiencing the long forgotten thrill of riding.

Another great way to discover some of the best of Britain’s countryside is on horseback. Whether you have in mind a gentle pony ride in the local area or a trek around tree-lined bridleways, taking to a horse can help you feel at one with nature again and offer a new perspective on your surroundings.


Find out more about rural retreat breaks and farm-stay holidays on our Countryside Holidays page.

Top Places for Cottage Holidays this September and October

Cottage holidays aren’t just for summer time. In fact, it can be even more important to get away outside of summer to keep your spirits up and to keep that sunny feeling. September and even October can still offer bright sunny days and can be a wonderful time to get out and explore the great outdoors. Why not book a short cottage reak and get away for a long weekend this September or October?

1. Britain’s National Parks

Burley village, New Forest National Park

Pretty Burley village in the New Forest National Park

For getting out and enjoying outdoor activities, cottage holidays in Britain’s National Parks can be perfect. Whether you choose to discover England’s, Scotland’s, Wales’ or Ireland’s parks, you will find that each offers its own unique appeal and landscape. With safe walking paths to guide you around and cycle paths available in some, as well as bridle paths, these nationally beautiful areas are wonderful for enjoying walking, cycling and horse riding, as well as a choice of other outdoor activities.

2. Britain’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Dunstable Downs in the Chilterns

Dunstable Downs in the Chiltern Hills

With so many to choose from, Britain’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are just wonderful for self-catering holidays where you can enjoy spending quality time with friends and family. Whether you head for forested areas, areas of stunning countryside, moorlands or coastline, you should find Britain’s AONBs enchanting places to spend time and like the National Parks, these are wonderful areas to enjoy a range of outdoor activities. On high up areas, activities like kite flying may be on offer and are great fun for adults and children alike. Dunstable Downs in the Chiltern Hills has to be one of the very best naturally beautiful areas for this sort of activity.

3. The Coast

Aberdeenshire Coast Cruden Bay

Aberdeenshire Coast by Cruden Bay

As an island, Britain is blessed with an expansive and stunning coastline. Why not enjoy a cottage break by the beach this September or October? Days out by the seaside aren’t just for summer. Fun activities like jumping from sand-dunes, paddling, throwing pebbles in to the sea, walking and breathing in that wonderful sea air aren’t just for summer. As a real treat why not book some horse riding along the beach, for a truly romantic notion.

Deals and Late Offers for Summer Holidays

Summer Holiday Inspiration

Book a Summer Holiday and take advantage of some Fantastic Special Offers

If you haven’t booked your summer holiday yet, then now, when the sun is shining bright in the sky, could be a great time to get your cottage break planned. Good weather can really inspire you to get away and have that well deserved cottage holiday to look forward to. Britain is wonderful in summer time when the sun is out and you can really enjoy getting out there and discovering some of the best that countries like England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland have to offer.

Whether you choose to holiday in the countryside or by the coast, Britain has some truly amazing places to visit and explore. If you need ideas, let our guides help advise you on some great places to visit. Or if you already know where you want to stay then check out our Deals and Special Offers page and find that bargain cottage holiday so you can have something special to look forward to.

Best Places to Discover Englands Natural Beauty

England is indeed a green and beautiful country with many stunning areas to discover on a short break or longer holiday. Those who enjoy walking will discover footpaths and trails which guide you through the greenery of the British countryside.

Yorkshire Dales England

Stunning countryside of the Yorkshire Dales

England’s National Parks
There are 10 National Parks in England to choose from, each of which has its own unique landscape and appeal. In the south of England choices include the New Forest and the South Downs, whereas in East Anglia there is the New Forest, in the West Country there are two parks; Dartmoor National Park and Exmoor National Park whereas the north of England is blessed with five parks; the Peak District National Park, the Lake District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales, the North Yorkshire Moors and Northumberland National Park. Staying in a holiday cottage within the greenery of one of the National Parks is ideal for those looking to enjoy rural tranquil surroundings.

Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The naturally beautiful landscape of the Chiltern Hills.

English Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
There are 33 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) protected by Natural England and these landscapes are renowned for their beauty and the quality of their countryside. For walks, cycling and taking photographs, these are protected, special places to visit where you can enjoy peace, tranquility and wonderful fresh air.

English Valleys
It is Wales that is best known for valleys but England too has a few valleys for those looking to discover beautiful unique landscapes on holiday. A few choices include the Suffolk River Valleys with its network of grasslands, rivers and heathlands, the tranquil rural farmlands by the Severn Valley and the Tamar Valley in Cornwall, a lovely river valley by the River Tamar nestled by woodlands close to Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor.

National Trust Gardens and Country Homes in England
The National Trust has a fantastic collection of gardens and country houses which are free for members to visit. These wonderful outdoor spaces are either beautifully maintained or left to grow wild to ensure sustainability and to keep England beautiful for future generations.

English Country Cottages and Holidays in England

There are plenty of choices available to you when it comes to finding the perfect holiday home for you and staying in an English country cottage is just one of the possible choices in the UK.

What makes English Country Cottages so Special

Stunning English Country Cottage

Beautiful and quaint timber framed English Country Cottage

Cottages in England come in a variety of shapes and sizes and English Country Cottages are no exception. Choose from thatched country cottages, cottages with beautiful gardens and character cottages and select a holiday home to match your personality. For those who love wide open green spaces, a stay in one of England’s National Parks could be absolutely perfect. Wherever in England you choose to go, have a fabulous time.


By Yvonne Christina