Archive for category Holiday advice

Parents take action on term-time holiday ban

Parents are taking a stand against the ban on term-time holidays. Campaign group ‘Parents want a say‘ officially launched over the weekend and has already won support of 200,000 other parents.

Read the full story on sister-site Villaseek.

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May special offers

The Easter and school holidays may nearly be over, but with two more bank holidays coming up in May then why not take a mini-break in the West Country and save your work-entitled holidays for another time? Our friends at Helpful Holidays have plenty of special offers on for bookings throughout next month, so you’ll also be saving cash as well!

Gulworthy J35

J35 Gulworthy

Save 20% on the remaining weeks of May, including both bank holidays at The Granary (J35) near Gulworthy, a hamlet three miles from Tavistock. This single-storey cottage (sleeps 4) is converted from an old granary on a 250 acre dairy farm. Inside, enjoy open-plan living/dining/kitchen and French windows to terrace; two bedrooms – a double, and one with two singles; and a bathroom (suite plus hand-shower). A good spot for relaxing, listening to birdsong and avoiding the rush of everyday life.

P326 view from top bedroom

P326 view from top bedroom

Or how about saving 20% on this three-storey cottage in Port Issac P326 (sleeps 7) on week commencing 17th May? The exceptionally pretty fishing village is famously the setting for popular TV series ‘Doc Martin’. The property has four bedrooms, two doubles, a twin and a single. There is a lovely, sunny living room with a bay window with a sea view, a kitchen/dining room, upstairs bathroom and downstairs shower room.

P306 waterside views

P306 waterside views

Another 20% saving on week commencing 24th May at Little Petherick, North Cornwall P306 (sleeps 4) a peaceful location just two miles from Padstow. There’s an enclosed, waterside, decked terrace and a first-floor balcony to enjoy the views. A ground floor twin bedroom with en suite shower room; an open-plan living/dining/kitchen. French doors to the terrace and stable doors to a little summer room with foldaway chairs and more French windows to decking. The first floor has a double bedroom with balcony and a bathroom. Neat and compact; a lovely, peaceful waterside spot, excellent for walking or cycling.

For these and more holiday cottages, visit the main website.

 

 

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Easter events in Devon 2014

Easter Bunny by Flickr user somewhereintheworldtoday

Easter Bunny by Flickr user somewhereintheworldtoday

Here are some family friendly events taking place this Easter in Devon. If you haven’t already booked your accommodation, make sure to visit our Devon holiday cottages.

Easter weekend at Living Coasts, Torquay’s costal zoo and aquarium. Meet the cute little chicks and take part in the Easter egg trail, games and craft activities, as well as meeting all the playful penguins and many more fascinating creatures!

Visit Kents Cavern, prehistoric caves in Torquay for a Dinosaur themed Easter. Piece together the Dino facts around the caves, solve the T-REX riddles and see if you can win an Easter surprise.

Easter egg trails at Coleton Fishacre, Dartmouth. Part of the National Trust, you can explore this lovely RHS accredited garden with winding paths through glades, past tranquil ponds, and see many wonderful plants from the Mediterranean, South Africa and New Zealand thriving in this sheltered valley.

Go ‘Beyond the Book‘ in Bovey Tracey at this exhibition of artists that examine the book as a physical form as well as a container of ideas and concepts. Expect a variety of sculpture, installation and jewellery.

Family Rock Days in Okehampton. Suitable for ages 8 and up, this tour of some of the famous Dartmoor tors will cover a range of activities such as rock climbing, weaselling and bouldering.

Also in Okehampton is the Finch Foundry rag rug making workshop on Easter Monday.

The Big Sheep near Bideford, North Devon, is holding an Easter egg hunt to end all Easter egg hunts. Over 30,000 miniature chocolate eggs will be hidden throughout the site, plus, if you find three of them, you can claim a big egg! The Easter Bunny will also be making an appearance for a special breakfast!

 

 

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Easter availability in the West Country

There is still time to book a break away for this Easter. Here are a few holiday cottages in the wonderful West Country!

Q10 - View from the balcony

Q10 – View from the balcony

Q10 - spacious living/dining/kitchen area

Q10 – spacious living/dining/kitchen area

This absolutely stunning custom-built detached house (sleeps 8) is positioned on a quiet, private lane on the northern edge of Mawgan Porth. The village has pubs, restaurants, deli, wine bar and beach shops clustered around a beautiful cove. It’s great for bodyboarding, and close to pony-trekking and golf. It’s also not too far from other magnificent beaches and international surfing facilities at Newquay (airport).

The property (Q10) is full of large windows to showcase the view and let light stream in to the generously sized rooms. The living/dining/kitchen area of this house is upstairs to take advantage of the wonderful sea views. Downstairs are four bedrooms (two double, two twin) with three en suite bathrooms and French windows to the garden. Everything about this property is sleek and modern in design for a comfortable holiday.

 

R54 - kitchen/living room

R54 – kitchen/living room

 

R54 - view from patio and garden

R54 – view from patio and garden

Another holiday cottage from Helpful Holidays is this large detached bungalow (R54) (sleeps 6) in the hamlet of Freathy overlooking the fine sandy beach of Whitsand Bay. It has a sunlit living room and fitted kitchen and glazed doors to the patio and peaceful garden. There are three bedrooms, two double, one twin, and one bathroom and a shower room. An excellent holiday home with good links to nearby Plymouth.

 

L153 - view from the front

L153 – view from the front

L153 - inside/outside dining

L153 – inside/outside dining

 

Perfect for a group or large family in the South Hams is this large, split-level, detached house (L153) (sleeps 12) with panoramic views over the bay to Burgh Island. Just 200 yards up from the magnificent sandy beach in Bigbury-on-Sea stands this contemporary home designed with the latest green technology. The interiors are light, bright and spacious. Consisting of four large en suite bedrooms (three twins, one double) on the lower ground floor, and another huge master bedroom with walk in dressing/cot room and en suite bathroom from the hall. A light-filled kitchen/dining room with glossy, modern units and a kitchen island. Through to a large living area with floor to ceiling glass doors here and in the kitchen to give panoramic views and access to the deck and steps down to the garden, hot tub and little summer house, plus much, much more.

These are just a few of the stunning properties still with availability for the Easter holidays, so make sure to visit the main site to discover even more!

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2013 round up

Happy New Year from all of us at Holiday Cottages! Before we start on the news and reviews for 2014, here’s a some highlights of what we covered on the blog in 2013:

We started the year with a report that we Brits are creatures of habit with our holiday choices, often returning to a previous destination and holiday cottage when we’ve had one good holiday there before. Last year was the Year of Natural Scotland, and was launched with an advert featuring Shetland ponies wearing onesies!

In February we found that 50% of Londoners prefer holidays in the sunshine, with many also stating that their holidays in the UK were some of the happiest they have had. We also gave you a run down of some of our most splendid cottages with pools, which are all still available now and could be great for a summer holiday vibe in winter!

Flybe announced flights from Manchester to Scotland in March, making for a quick and relatively cost effective way of taking a short break in Scotland. The Easter holidays were blighted by bad weather sweeping across the country. It didn’t affect Cheshire, though, as I shared my photography adventure in Tatton Park over the Easter weekend.

Our friends at Helpful Holidays swept the board at the Which? Travel magazine member survey in April. Meanwhile, in May, Blackpool was named the most popular British seaside resort at the TripAdvisor Choice Awards.

In June, research by VisitBritain found that more overseas visitors to the UK prefer visiting open green spaces such as parks and gardens than they do museums and galleries.

July started with the news that a change in the law in 2015, which means schools will decide their own term dates, will very likely drive up the prices of holidays year round. There was a rise in visits to UK attractions, helping to bolster domestic tourism.

We gave our top tips for festivals and activities over the August Bank Holiday; we also reported on the large number of UK piers under threat of coming under a state of disrepair if funding isn’t found.

September was a time for activities such as the Devon Open Studios, Frome Cheese and Agricultural Show, and pickling at Powderham.

In October, inbound tourism was on the up, and also Yorkshire was voted one of the top 10 places to visit in the world!

In November we recommended the North Devon Clovelly Herring Festival and reviewed the light fantastic Lumiere Festival, Durham. There was good news for Hull, as it was named the next UK City of Culture 2017.

Finally, in December, we found that we Brits are flavour of the month with Americans, as tourists from across the Pond have been increasing in number year on year. Christmas was also a great time for UK tourism as the number of overnight stays and short trips increased substantially over the festive period.

So, that’s it for 2013! Keep up to date with news and reviews in 2014 by following the blog, or you can like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

 

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Yorkshire one of top ten global places to visit

Yorkshire Dales by Flickr User Fields of View

Yorkshire Dales by Flickr User Fields of View

The Lonely Planet guidebook has built up a global reputation as one of the most prestigious and recognised guidebooks around, so to have Yorkshire named as one of the top 10 global regions to visit, then that certainly is saying something!

As a proud Yorkshire lass, you don’t have to tell me about the beautiful scenery, cultural quarters and many events and activities taking place in the region. But to have the recognition from such a reputable source, then that can only bode well for tourism in the region, and rightly so.

Yorkshire was chosen because of its “rugged moorlands, heritage homes and cosy pubs” as well as the fact that Leeds will host next year’s Tour de France grand depart.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity told the BBC: “This is massive for Yorkshire and our thousands of amazing tourism businesses, destinations and events.”

Also included in the ‘must see’ guide is Scotland, named third of the top ten countries to visit in 2014. Another place of outstanding natural beauty, but also chosen because it will host the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles next year.

Look out for blog posts about activities and events in Yorkshire and Scotland over the coming weeks to tempt you over for a holiday.

 

Lonely Planet’s top-10 regions to visit for 2014:

1 Sikkim, India

2 The Kimberley, Australia

3 Yorkshire

4 Hokuriku, Japan

5 Texas

6 Victoria Falls

7 Mallorca

8 West Coast, New Zealand

9 Hunan, China

10 Ha’apai, Tonga

Lonely Planet’s top-10 countries to visit for 2014:

1 Brazil

2 Antarctica

3 Scotland

4 Sweden

5 Malawi

6 Mexico

7 Seychelles

8 Belgium

9 Macedonia

10 Malaysia

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Holidays more expensive when schools decide term dates

September 2015 marks a change in the school holiday system as all schools will be able to decide their own term dates.

Currently, term dates are set by the council, but the plans are being put in place to give schools greater autonomy and to allow for more blocks of working time. This could see many state schools switching away from the traditional long summer holidays in favour of shorter ones spread more evenly across the year.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) says it will cause problems for families with children in different schools and it claims that holiday firms will take advantage and extend the peak booking period in order to encompass all dates.

Christine Blower, head of the NUT, said: “Holiday companies will almost certainly just expand the period over which they charge premium rates so there will be no benefit to families, or indeed the general public who will have fewer weeks of less expensive holidays.”

An education department spokesman said: “It is right that all schools are free to set their own term dates in the interests of parents and pupils.”

Academies already have the power to decide their term dates. The changes to state schools will mean that they can change their term dates but must operate within the minimum of 190 school days per year.

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Flights to Scotland

Flybe is adding flights from Manchester to both Glasgow and Edinburgh this April. The two new Saturday return services will operate from 6th April, with one-way flights from £39.99 including taxes and airport charges.

The airline is also increasing the frequency of its weekday flights from East Midlands Airport to Edinburgh and Glasgow to four flights a day from 1st April.

 

These new services could make flying to Scotland a more feasible option when looking for a quick holiday getaway, cutting down journey times and allowing you to spend more time at your destination.

How about one of these three superb cottages (below) on a 3,000-acre sheep farm set in the spectacular Pentland Hills Regional Park? It might feel like a complete hideaway, but you will only be 10 minutes drive from the city of Edinburgh and 10 miles from the airport. Each cottage caters for a different number of guests, from the Stable which is a wonderful space for two, to Steading which is entered via a stone archway to the open-plan kitchen/dining room at one end and cosy sitting room at the other. Upstairs there are two bedrooms, one double and one twin. Byre has charming exposed beams and an upstairs sitting room. There is a twin and a double bedroom, with the possibility of accommodating two more people on a comfortable double sofa bed. All three cottages have wood-burning stoves to cosy up in front of at night, and stunning views Scotland is famed for.

 

 

Another option would be these three cottages on Cloag Farm, seven miles west of Perth, just north of Methven village. Each cottage sleeps 4 with one double and one twin room. They are set away from the road and have panoramic southerly views. Ideal for exploring Perthshire, or as a base for visiting Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow, St Andrews and beyond. Bookings run from “any day” to “any day” and there are discounts available for couples all year. They also benefit from 3 stars from VisitScotland.

 

For these cottages and many more, visit our main site.

 

 

 

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Holiday cottages with pools

This sun is shining and spring is well on its way! However, a dip in the sea might still be a little chilly for some, so why not rent a holiday cottage with its own pool? Perhaps pools aren’t something you would think about when looking for a holiday let, but this little luxury is increasing in popularity and affordability in the cottage market, so don’t overlook the prospect of one for your next holiday!

Hicks Farm Holidays Rose Cottage in Boresford, Herefordshire, is set on a quiet livestock farm. This pretty cottage caters for many activities – you can explore the farm and help feed the animals, badger watch at sunset, play pool in the games room, and of course, swim in the indoor luxury pool.  Sleeps 7 + 2 cots, prices start at £710

Indoor pool

Indoor pool

Rose Cottage

Rose Cottage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If beautiful South Hams is the area for you, why not try one of these three barn conversions, or two cottages positioned on a mixed working farm a mile from Halwell. These Helpful Holidays properties all share an indoor swimming pool with a toddler’s splash area. There is also a children’s play area with swings, climbing frame, slide and trampoline. If that isn’t enough, there is also a games room complete with WiFi. Sleeps 10 and prices start at £725.

View to the kitchen

View to the kitchen

Helpful Holidays South Hams

Helpful Holidays South Hams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Wales this former Victorian gatehouse in Carmarthenshire and Laugharne has access to free leisure facilities – heated indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi and Sauna, fitness suite, tennis courts, table tennis and pool/games room at the exclusive Pantglas Leisure Club, just a short walk away from North Lodge.  Set in a quiet valley, this cottage is positioned for sunshine and has a charming woodburning stove in the kitchen/breakfast room. Sleeps 6 and prices start at £440.

Fantastic leisure facilities

Fantastic leisure facilities

Former Victorian gatehouse

Former Victorian gatehouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last but not least in this list of suggestions, is Maenporth Estate in Cornwall’s Med. A classic modern development with large indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, table tennis, pool table and two tennis courts in 30 acres of landscaped gardens. There is also a large barbecue area, children’’s play area and plenty of woodland walks, all for your enjoyment and use while on holiday. Sleeps 4 and starts at a very reasonable £395.

Tennis anyone?

Tennis anyone?

Maenporth, Cornwall's Med

Maenporth, Cornwall’s Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are plenty more properties with pools on the Holiday Cottages website, just type ‘swimming pool‘ into the keywords search tool for an extensive list across the country to suit all tastes and budgets.

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Londoners prefer sunshine – don’t we all?

In a new survey of Londoners’ holiday preferences, unsurprisingly, 50% prefer holidays in the sunshine.

The ebookers.com survey of nearly 2,000 Londoners also found that a happy holiday consisted of sightseeing (62% of respondents) and hassle-free travel (61%). To add to this, 30% said that beach holidays were their favourite type of vacation.

These results led to the “staycation” maintaining its popularity with 15% of Londoners stating that some of their happiest holidays have been in the UK.

Combine the wish for the beach and the contented holidaymakers in the UK and you’ve got a perfect recipe for a brilliant holiday in one of our many holiday cottages. Why not try beautiful Devon, or Cornwall for instance?

You couldn’t ask for more if you go to this stunning cliff-side chalet (sleeps 4), about one and a half miles from Millbrook at Whitsand Bay. This Helpful Holidays property has sea views to Rame Head and a footpath down to the beach. It’s the perfect place to get away from the stresses of the big city, London or otherwise.

So close to the beach

So close to the Beach

Sunshine in the bedroom

Sunshine in the bedroom

Miles of sandy beach

Miles of sandy beach

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