Archive for category Cumbria

Lake District cottage special offer

5 star bedrooms

5 star bedrooms

Panoramic views

Panoramic views

We have a terrific special offer on this award-winning, 5 star luxury self-catering cottage overlooking Derwentwater in the Lake District.

This beautiful house nestled in the Borrowdale Valley is less than a ten minute drive from the charming market town of Keswick.

Perfect for group and/or family holidays (comfortably sleeps up to 10 guests across the four bedrooms) Lodore House not only has spacious living with all the amenities you would expect from luxury accommodation, but guests can also order room service from the next door Lodore Falls Hotel. Guests can also enjoy the  hotel’s leisure facilities: gym, sauna, indoor and outdoor swimming pool, outdoor tennis court and hot tub with views across Derwentwater and Catbells.

Spacious living area

Spacious living area

This 5 star break can be enjoyed at a rate of 4 nights for the price of 3 at £1200, 7 nights for the price of 5 at £2000 and 3 nights for the price of 2 at £800.00 PLUS a complimentary breakfast starter pack on arrival. This price is for up to 10 people PLUS 1 free bed change during the stay.

Book quickly as the offer is only available on the following dates:

1st June – 18th June

24th June – 27th June

1st July- 5th July

8th July – 24th July

28th July- 2nd Aug


We have many more great special offers at, so if you haven’t booked your summer break yet, then now is the time!

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Met Office issues amber warning over Easter weekend

The bitterly cold winds, ice and snow that has been battering the UK for the last few days is unlikely to let up over the Easter bank holiday weekend, according to weather reports.

The Met Office has issued an alert level 3 amber warning across the majority of England. It warns that there is 100% probability of severe cold weather and icy conditions until Friday, and 90% probability over the rest of the Easter weekend.

Motorists in Cumbria have been advised by police not to travel unless absolutely necessary. The warning comes after search and rescue teams deployed special vehicles to help more than 70 stranded drivers. They were forced to stay in Millom High School, Copeland, overnight, as snowdrifts made many roads impassable.

The South West is on a lower Met Office yellow warning; however, it is suffering from its own weather problems with 11 Environment Agency flood warnings issued in the region after heavy downpours.

Chris Hogan, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, warned that the freezing weather will feel even colder due to the bitter winds, with no sign of warmer weather just yet. He added: “London will mark the border of rain and snow, with everywhere north looking at a covering of snow and around 6cm in the Midlands, Wales, north England and southern Scotland.

So far this month, the average March temperature in central England is at 3.8C, compared to a relatively balmy 8.3C last year.

If you are due to go away this weekend, take cake on the roads and check with appropriate agencies and local news reports for advice on travelling conditions.

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Bonfire Night 2012

Fireworks photo by Flickr User Bayasaa

Fireworks photo by Flickr User Bayasaa


It’s getting closer to Bonfire Night, so here are a few events going on around the country:

Chatsworth – Enjoy a large firework display, bonfire in the garden and lots of live entertainment. 3rd & 4th November, Adults £12, Children £8. Check out some of our holiday cottages near by and make a break of it.

Lewes Bonfire Night – with processions and many bonfires at different sites around the town, Lewes looks to be putting on a spectacular evening on 5th November. Ticket prices vary. There is also a mobile phone app you can download here. Here are some holiday cottages nearby too!

The Station Inn, Oxenholme near Kendal – Wrap up warm for the firework display, bonfire and burgers and pies from 6pm, 2nd November. There are also lots of Lake District holiday cottages to choose from!

Kendal Castle firework display – 7.30pm, 5th November. No charge for this one, but all donations go towards hosting next year’s event!

Leeds Roundhay Park – enjoy a huge bonfire with 70,000 other visitors, 7.30pm, 5th November, free admission.

Museum of East Anglican Life – enjoy a bonfire, firework display and refreshments, all alongside the sights and smells of traction engines in steam. Family ticket £12 or Adults £4.50 and children £3.50 available from the Tourist Information Centre in Stowmarket. 6.30pm, 3rd November.

Gulliver’s World Theme Park – If you book for the Mystical Mayhem Show you can get access to the rides, fireworks and dinner! 3rd November Adults £19.95, Children £17.95


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Sculpture parks

Yorkshire Sculpture Park picture by Flickr User chris-rice

I was talking to a friend about the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) today. We agreed that it is a brilliant place to visit on a weekend and should go soon. We live close enough to drive to the Park from Manchester in around an hour as it lies close to Wakefield in West Yorkshire, and as it’s only £4 to park and free to roam about in then it isn’t a day trip that will break the bank.

The park is around 500 acres in size and holds some of the most highly regarded sculptors’ work such as Antony Gormley, Barbara Hepworth, Andy Goldsworthy and Elisabeth Fink. It also has four galleries for days when the weather is less than accommodating. Recently opened is ‘MADE’ at the Park’s shop which will be selling work from some of the UK’s top recent craft and design graduates. The main park is also hosting a special autumn exhibition of over 200 pieces of work by artist David Nash.

The UK is actually full of wonderful sculpture parks, so if you can’t get to the YSP, how about trying some of these:

Kielder Water and Forest Park, Northumberland – a 27-mile forest trail around a lake with many wonderful sculptures scattered around is great for keen walkers and art lovers alike. Free admission.

Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, Gloucestershire – this is one of the oldest trails in Britain, it is 3.5 miles long but follows a circular pattern and can take up to three hours to complete, make sure to stick to the path however, as the surrounding forest is huge! Free admission.

Pride of the Valley Sculpture Park, Surrey – with around 180 sculptures in a fairly small area the longest walk is around two hours long. Adults £6, children £3, under-5s free.

Another Place, Crosby Beach, Merseyside– this is Antony Gormley’s work of around 100 cast-iron figures scattered around the beach and staring out towards the sea. I went to this a few weeks ago, it was brilliant but very, very cold and windy at this time of year so I’d advise wrapping up warm! Free.

So, I hope that my friend and I will visit the YSP soon and I also hope this list may have inspired some of you to consider visiting a sculpture park either near you, or as a day trip on your holiday.

Build a better bookshelf

One of the great pleasures of getting away on a cottage holiday is the chance to relax with a good book. Another is getting out and about, seeing and doing things that make a real change from everyday life.

So having a well chosen selection of books (as well as DVDs and games) in a holiday property can contribute a lot to a holiday. Bookshelves tend to acquire a life of their own, with visitors donating books they’ve brought and read. That can lead to a wonderfully mixed selection of books reflecting all sorts of tastes and interests. Even so, it still helps a lot if at the heart of the collection is a core of books appropriate to the property. Books about the area, of course, whether guide books, local history or fiction. But also books that can help visitors appreciate aspects of country life they might otherwise miss.

For instance, a couple of new books from Britain’s Wildlife Trusts do this in quite different ways. The first is a guide designed to help you get closer to nature, called 152 Wild Things to Do. Divided into four seasonal sections, it lists places to visit (mostly wildlife reserves owned by the Trusts), activities for both adults and children, and skills you can acquire.

In spring, if you’re in Wales you could visit Silent Valley nature reserve. Or you could cook nettle soup. “Healthy, delicious and found absolutely everywhere, nettles are a wonderful leaf that can be cooked up into a wholesome soup. Food that’s free and full of goodness – perfect! You’ll need to pick the tender tops of young nettles in the spring.” It goes on to a full Nigella-style listing of ingredients (including optional wild garlic leaves), cooking instructions and a final flourish: “You could stir in some crème fraîche or serve with a swirl of cream and some crusty bread.”

In summer, you could go wild swimming or glow-worm spotting; in autumn, you could go blackberrying (and make jam), discover Tolkien’s inspiration or see Britain’s largest butterfly. And in winter… well, buy the book and give it as a present, or just for yourself to spur inspiration and booking another cottage holiday.

In all there are – as you would expect – 152 recommendations, so there’s plenty to keep you busy. The book is probably aimed mostly at parents hoping to occupy children and stir an interest in nature and the countryside, but there’s plenty for everyone. It serves as an introduction to a number of small, lesser-known nature reserves and the colour photography is beautiful. It’s a book that deserves a place on every holiday cottage bookshelf.

Rather more traditional is Nature Tales, from  the same source. It’s a compilation of nature writing spanning the last three hundred years, with a forward by Sir David Attenborough. “This wonderful collection of some of the greatest nature writers in Britain’s history is a pleasure to read from start to finish and a valuable addition to any naturalist’s library,” says Sir David. Quite so, but don’t let that reference to a naturalist’s library make you think this is some learned, stuffy book. Quite the reverse, because it’s the ideal accompaniment to a cup of tea and a digestive, with most of the items no more than two or three pages long.

The book is organised in themed sections – By river and sea, From my window, Nature trails, and so on – each with items from across the 300 years. So an entertaining piece by Bill Oddie – one of the longest items at nine pages – is preceded by the 19th century novelist Richard Jefferies and followed by Nan Shepherd, a wonderful descriptive writer who died in 1981 at the age of 88. There are brief notes on each contributor, which might well lead you to follow up on their other writings.

Even more than in a naturalist’s library, this book belongs in every holiday cottage. And it, too, would make an excellent birthday or Christmas present for any nature-minded reader.

152 Wild Things to Do, published by Elliott and Thompson Ltd, £12.99,
Nature Tales, published byElliott and Thompson Ltd, £18.99

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Ride, stride and support

Explore the English countryside

There’s another opportunity in September to explore and enjoy the English countryside by taking part in Ride+Stride, a sponsored walk or bike ride between 10,000 participating churches. The event involves over 13,000 people of all ages, crosses 34 counties and opens the doors to some of the landscape’s most unusual and unknown churches.

The event has run each year since it began in Suffolk in 1981, and last year’s event raised £1.5 million for church restoration. This year’s event was on Saturday 11 September, with churches open from 10am – 6pm. The idea is that you sign up with the Churches Trust in your chosen county and find sponsors for your walk or ride between whichever churches you fancy. The route can be as long or short as you like, visiting two, or however many more you like, churches. The sponsorship money can all go to your favourite church, or to all the churches in that county.

Cyclists and walkers lucky enough to live in Cumbria, or planning to be on holiday there, might like to put together a route including the charming Newlands Church in the hamlet of Littletown; Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tiggy Winkle was dedicated to the Vicar’s daughter. In Dorset, participants could head over to Loders’ St. Mary Magdalene’s Church, to offer sympathy and support to its gargoyle with toothache.

Riders and striders in Wiltshire can picnic by Bremilham Church in Cowage farmyard, the tiniest church in the UK, which has one pew and seats four. Or over to Kent and spend the day on Romney Marsh visiting St Clements Church, Old Romney which boasts pale pink pews, having been painted for the filming of Dr Syn in the 1960s, and which were kept because the parishioners liked them. Or wander to St Thomas a Becket in Fairfield, which sits in the middle of a meadow that was only accessible by boat until the 1960s.

Ride+Stride is ideal for the young and old, the energetic and the more relaxed. In 2009, the oldest participant was a 101 year old lady from Oxfordshire who walked between six churches in hilly countryside; the youngest was still in his push chair. Some walk between two and three churches, others are more ambitious – one inspired rambler spent two weeks running 630 miles along the South West Coastal Path from his local church, St John the Baptist, Buckhorn Weston, to Poole in Dorset.

There is also the opportunity to relax and recharge between journeys, with most churches offering a display of snacks and drinks, from cakes and biscuits to home grown plums and orange squash. In fact, you don’t even need to participate in the main event, as this is an ideal opportunity simply to visit a church, knowing it – and its collection box! – will be open.

Ride+Stride helps preserve some of Britain’s 47,000 churches, chapels and meeting houses. Many historical landmarks are falling into severe disrepair and need our help. The event is supported by The National Churches Trust, in partnership with County Churches Trusts nationwide. Keen cyclist and Channel 4 news presenter, Jon Snow, is the patron. Another keen supporter is author Bill Bryson, who said: “No feature of the English countryside is more important, or potentially more vulnerable, than its churches. That’s why I am so delighted to support Ride+Stride.”

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Carlisle Citadel station gets revamp

Carlisle Station.

Carlisle Station image at

The home furnishing company Homebase has revamped the historic Carlisle Citadel station after Virgin Groupfounder Sir Richard Branson identified the Gothic style station as in particular need of some TLC and has this week received a makeover that includes the waiting room being changed into a lounge, a platform being changed into a garden and installing a kitchen. 

The Homebase/Virgin tie up effectively allows the retailer some great PR and calls attention to Branson’s call for train operators to get more freedom to invest in stations. Branson would also like to smarten up Preston and Crewe.

Station manager at Carlisle for Virgin Trains Ann Turner said: “We’re very proud of our station, which looks amazing. The station is full of history and we love it. What has happened has really transformed it and shows what can be done.”

She added: “Response from the local community has been great. We’ve noticed passengers arriving a little bit earlier to allow extra time to enjoy the station and take it all in.”

Late availability on UK Cottages

Just had a quick look at the late offers page on the Holiday Cottages website. There can often be some good last minute offers on there. Worth checking out if you want a last-minute UK break.

Tom K

Guide for group getaways

Check out our top ten tips for organising a celebration break with your friends or family. There’s advice on choosing the best location and the most appropriate self-catering accommodation (you could be better off with several cottages together rather than one big house), as well as how to organise activities and eating in – and out.

Hope you find this useful for planning your special gettogether!

Click here for our article on group getaways

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