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
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
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.