Tag Archives: Inspirational Places

Best of Britains Green and Gorgeous Gardens

Wonderful British gardens

Step out in to wonderful British gardens

When it comes to ‘blooming’ marvellous gardens, Britain has some of the very best. With bountiful greenery, Britain is renowned for its countryside and gardens. What’s more, when it comes to outstanding gardens, these aren’t just found in the country, there are many wonderful secret gardens in cities, brightening up what can otherwise seem in cities to be a man-made landscape. Whilst enjoying a cottage holiday, there are a variety of fantastic gardens that you can visit to help make your holiday all the more enjoyable.


Our Pick of the Best

When it comes to identifying Britain’s best gardens, there are some obvious choices such as Kew Gardens in London with their extensive and exotic collections. In our collection though we’ve picked some of the perhaps less well known but incredibly wonderful gardens hidden away in Britain, making them all the more wonderful when you come across them.

  1. Hidden and Secret Gardens

There is something wonderfully special about hidden gardens that only certain people are in the know about. Local knowledge can be key when it comes to discovering hidden and secret gardens which are well kept secrets. These hidden gardens can also be found in the most surprising of places. One of the very best hidden gardens can be found in London. Temple Gardens are award winning gardens. Hidden within Inner Temple are 3 acres of gardens which include a rare collection of trees as well as colourful flowers in season.  For a true oasis in the city, Temple Gardens are an absolute gem.

2. Walled Gardens

Wonderful walled garden

Walled gardens, wonderful places

There are a number of walled gardens within the collections of the National Trust and English Heritage, many of which form part of larger gardens. There is something about walled gardens giving a feeling of safety and a sense of seclusion in an oasis, far from the noise and hubbub of the world beyond. Some of the wonderful walled gardens to visit in Britain include Helmsley Walled Garden, in the heart of North Yorkshire with its lovely assortment of plants and flowers right next to Helmsley Castle. With 5 acres to explore, there are plenty of green and colourful displays to see here.

3. National Trust Gardens

Wisteria in National Trust's Greys Court gardens

Beautiful wisteria in National Trust’s Greys Court gardens


If you’re not a member of the National Trust you may be unaware that the National Trust protects and cares for some of the best gardens in the country. From historical houses with wildflower meadows to country houses with perfectly manicured landscaped gardens, the National Trust has an impressive range of gardens. One of our favourites is Greys Court close to Henley on Thames. With a network of connected gardens including walled gardens, vegetable gardens and secret gardens, these gardens are wonderful whatever the season and with benches and paths to guide you through, are wonderful places to visit. The wisteria which is hundreds of years old is particularly special. Entrance to these garden is of course free to National Trust members.

4. Royal Horticultural Society Gardens

For those with a real passion for being green fingered, the collection of gardens run by and in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society have to be some of the very best. The RHS has 4 of their own gardens at Wisley, Hyde Hall, Harlow Carr and Rosemoor and there are also 145 partner gardens throughout the country to choose from. Entry is free at partnership gardens for RHS members.


5. Historic Houses Gardens

Stonor Park Gardens

Stonor Park Stunning Gardens complete with water-lillies and dragonflies

The country homes that come under the Historic Houses Association are very special places. Like National Trust properties many of these historical homes have simply outstanding gardens and what makes these all the more special is that many are less visited and less well known than National Trust properties meaning that you have more chance of being able to share them without large groups of other people. Walking around these wonderful gardens with the added bonus of peace and tranquillity and no crowds really adds to the enjoyment factor for many. In fact some of these gardens could even be called secret gardens as many are usually only enjoyed by the families that own these wonderful historical homes and can only be visited by Historic Houses members on specific dates.


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.

Inspirational Country Cottages for 2014

With snowdrops flowering and signs of spring on the doorstep you may now be planning your holidays for 2014. We feature a great choice of holiday homes and inspirational places to stay. Choices include unique unusual holiday homes, cottages in the national parks as well as award winning cottages.  One way of ensuring a fabulous rural setting is to choose a country cottage in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Wherever you choose to stay, discover the very best of the area from a good value, comfortable cottage. We hope you find the perfect self-catering cottage for your 2014 holiday.

Inspirational Cottage Holidays in Green and Beautiful Britain

When it comes to finding the best cottage for you, you may be in need of some inspiration. We aim to help you find an inspirational place to stay. Our collection includes hand-picked properties selected by agencies as well as holiday homes from independent owners. Compare the different available options and find a good value and high quality place to stay. See our holiday inspiration section for more information, hints and tips.

Inspiration for your self-catering holiday in 2013

Dreaming of your ideal cottage holiday for 2013?  We can help.  It isn’t always easy deciding where to go and how to spend your time.  Read our area guides for information and inspiration on some of the best places in the UK for self-catering cottage holidays.  From the Cotswolds to the Highlands of Scotland, there is plenty of choice and many beautiful places to discover.  If you don’t mind where you visit, why not save with a last minute cottage deal?  Being flexible on location may mean that you are likely to get the best possible price.

We’ve also compiled a list of best picks of the most inspirational cottages and self-catering accommodation that we feature.  To find out more information, take a look at our top 10 cottages for inspirational self-catering breaks.

Cottage Holiday Destination Guides

Our experts have written some helpful guides on cottage holidays in the UK.  Scotland is a country within the UK with a wealth of outstanding landscapes and a rich culture  Why not take a look at our Scotland guide or see our regional specific information such as our info on the Scottish Highlands or the Isle of Skye?  Scotland has lots to offer for self-catering holidays.  The landscape is stunning and there is a great deal of choice when it comes to country activities.  Do get in touch with your feedback on these guides to help us make these as useful as possible.

Self-catering accommodation in Scotland can be in cottages, lodges, log cabins, chalets and even in mansions.  If you would like more advice and guidance on holidaying in Scotland take a look at our recommendations for having an enjoyable cottage holiday stay in Scotland.  It usually pays to plan ahead and do your research.  Shopping around can also save you money.  For last minute deals take a look at our late cottages or special offers.

Need inspiration? See our guides

If you are in need of some ideas about good places within the UK and Ireland for self catering holidays then we can help.  We have written free online guides on England, Scotland, areas such as the Brecon Beacons in Wales and fascinating places like the Lakelands in Ireland, all of which are aimed at highlighting the main attractions along with things to see and do.

Self catering Island Getaway

This unusual cottage is an exciting prospect.  Located in Essex, this 3 bedroom cottage is on an exclusive island which can only be reached by car during low tide.  With coastline galore to discover and the prospect of taking a holiday on an island where only select people are there, this cottage holiday certainly offers a unique experience.  Click to find out more about cottage breaks on Osea Island.

Cottage Breaks for 2012

When it comes to finding a cottage for your 2012 break there are plenty of options.  You may want to book a cottage for your summer holiday, for a Christmas getaway or for a special Valentines weekend away.  There are lots of choices for you.  You may want to take a self catering farm stay or rent a secluded retreat somewhere green and charming.  We aim to make things as easy for you as possible with our helpful menus and search facility.  If you need some inspiration on where to go then do take a look at our area guides for cottage holidays.

Top rated places for countryside breaks

When it comes to rural self catering holidays which are the best areas in the UK to visit?  Some people like to spend time in Britain’s National Parks where they can be assured of protected woods, moorlands, mountains and more.  These places are known as Britain’s breathing spaces.  Others opt for areas of outstanding natural beauty which are nationally recognised areas which many enjoy due to their pristine qualities.  There are 46 of these and efforts are made to safeguard these for all to enjoy.  Others still head for countryside which is less discovered and less well known.  If you need some inspiration take a look at our free guide on Best Country Areas.  Wherever you go, have a wonderful cottage holiday.