Monthly Archives: October 2014

How to Find the Perfect English Country Cottage this Winter

Christmas Lights in the Cotswolds

Christmas Lights in the Cotswolds

Planning on taking a break this winter and want to find a perfect quintessentially English country cottage where you can relax and celebrate the festive season?  Let us help you find the ideal place to stay. December can be a wonderful time of year to get away from it all with Christmas lights shining brightly and adding a touch of magic to those winter nights. Snow can never be guaranteed but when it does snow that can also add a touch of magic to your holiday.

Hints and Tips on How to Find the perfect English Country Cottage:

– Write a Wish-list for your Dream Country Cottage

So you know you want to get away from it all but one of the most important things is deciding what it is you are looking for from a holiday cottage. Speak to family and friends to agree what kind of cottage and holiday destination would be ideal for you and what kind of property you would be happy to compromise with if your dream holiday home is not available. Do you need to find a holiday home with a hot tub or a swimming pool? Holiday cottages with special facilities such as hot tubs or pools can get booked up early and are some of the most popular around so be prepared to compromise if you have left booking to the last minute.

If you’re taking a last minute break consider options such as a holiday home with a lovely warming log fire and good walks available nearby, this kind of property can be just wonderful for winter warming holidays.

Also consider are you flexible with location? The more flexible you are able to be with location, the more options will be available to you.  You may have favourite holiday destinations that you like to return to year after year but discovering somewhere new can also be great fun. When considering new locations it’s essential to bear in mind whether the sorts of things to see and do are those which appeal to you. Destinations like Northumberland can be wonderful for those who love to visit historical castles, coastal towns, experience a more relaxed pace of life and take refreshing walks but are not likely to be a good choice for you if you like to spend time in the city and in a bustling envrionment for example.

– Do your Research on Available English Country Cottages

So you’ve identified destinations that interest you for a cottage break and what you are looking for in a holiday home so now the challenge is on to find your perfect holiday cottage. There are a variety of websites including Country Cottages Online where you can search for English Country Cottages. Some people prefer to opt for tourist board rated cottages where you can be assured of certain standards of accommodation and opt for 5 star or 4 star cottages for more luxurious holidays and 3 star or 2 star properties if they are on more of a budget.

If you are on a budget or looking out for a deal then getting away during wintertime (with the exception of the period of Christmas and New Year), can make a lot of sense as you can frequently find discounts and offers available during November and December. Look out for deals when booking your break and you may be able to make savings on your winter break.

If you value reviews then it can be a good idea to look up whether the holiday cottages you are interested in are mentioned on sites like Trip Advisor whereas others prefer to rely on Tourist Board ratings and their own personal taste as we can all have very different ideas when it comes to what makes for a perfect English Country Cottage.

Once you’ve found and booked your dream cottage remember to make sure that you have appropriate insurance to cover you in the event of something going wrong.  Once sorted, put this completely out of your mind and look forward to a relaxing winter break in what for you is your perfect country cottage.


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.