Archive for category Last minute breaks

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 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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Doncaster Sheffield flights to Belfast and Isle of Man

Doncaster Sheffield airport is launching two new routes to Belfast City and the Isle of Man this April.

LinksAir will base an aircraft at the Robin Hood Airport, with twice-daily flights to Belfast on weekdays and a single Sunday return from 7th April. Isle of Man flights will start on 14th April, operating on Monday, Friday and Sunday.

Airport managing director Steve Gill said: “This is fantastic news for the airport and for Yorkshire passengers.

“These two new routes are a great addition to our offering. Belfast will be a fantastic business route with people being able to set off in the morning and be in Belfast city centre for the start of the business day.

“Our new three-time weekly service to the popular Isle of Man is Yorkshire’s only link to the island, famous for its world famous TT motorcycle race event and its rugged coastline and sandy beaches. It is also a convenient link for the financial services sector.”

Easily reached from the airport, why not try one of these highly commended tourist award 1,2 and 3-bedroom apartments. Located on the beautiful Antrim coast overlooking Ballygally Beach, they are an ideal centre for touring the Glens of Antrim and the world-famous Giant’s Causeway. There are restaurants and pubs within walking distance.

The apartments have been furnished and equipped to the highest standards with full central heating for winter visits. Children are welcome, and it’s a great place for fishing and bird watching. With 2-night breaks from £195 and 3-night breaks from £220, it’s an ideal place for a short break nipping over from Yorkshire.

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e-Luminate Festival Cambridge

'Colour Shift' at e-Luminate. Picture by Elisa Artesero

‘Colour Shift’ at e-Luminate. Picture by Elisa Artesero

I had the pleasure of visiting Cambridge for the annual e-Luminate Festival of light art and technology this weekend (the festival continues until 23rd February).

It was my first time in the pretty city and it was a flying visit, quite literally at times, as it was windy! We started with a Trail of Light, a walking tour of the Cambridge College Chapels. All participants were given an LED flashing light to create a line of light as we walked across from chapel to chapel. Once inside, we were given a performance by either a choir, or my personal favourite, organ music, which echoed through the candlelit chapels and their high vaulted ceilings.

There were quite a few light installations and projections throughout the city, the most impressive was Colour Shift by Susie Olczak, a wash of changing colours across the facade of King’s College. It really highlighted the architecture, creating harsh shadows to emphasise the detailed cuts of the stone.

Saturday was a bright and sunny day, and really gave us the chance to explore and get a feel for the place. There was a market selling local produce, second-hand LPs, clothes and jewellery. The city is famous for its literature festival and in keeping with this, there were plenty of bookshops to be discovered down tiny side streets and in hidden courtyards, many selling rare books of antiquity.

We had a lovely lunch of fish and chips at The Eagle pub. Dating back to 1667, the pub is most famous as the place where James Watson and Francis Crick first announced they had ‘discovered the secret of life’ – DNA. Regardless of that, it was popular yet cosy once you found a seat. We were quite lucky to get one, and would advise getting there just after midday if you’re to find a table also, as many visitors who arrived after 12.30pm were disappointed.

All in all my visit to Cambridge was a success, and anyone interested in interesting architecture, particularly religious buildings, would do well to visit. I think it would work well as part of a longer visit to the area, so it would be a good idea to rent a holiday cottage outside of the centre to allow for visits to the surrounding countryside. 

Orchard Cottage (sleeps up to 7) is a beautifully restored and tastefully furnished 18th Century cottage with half an acre of garden of mainly trees and lawn where you can, if you wish, play croquet, badminton and quoits. It is in a rural situation with a farm opposite and fields around, but is close to travel to Cambridge, Rutland Water and Stamford.

The cottage has three double bedrooms (master bedroom has en suite shower room), study, sitting room with inglenook fireplace and well-concealed television; large kitchen with Rayburn, microwave oven, dishwasher, washer/drier etc, and conservatory. The furniture is antique even the bathroom has Victorian fittings.

Orchard Cottage

Orchard Cottage

Beautifully presented bedroom

Beautifully presented bedroom

 

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Hurling the Silver Ball

It’s back for another year, the annual Cornish event of the St Ives Feast and Hurling the Silver Ball!

We’ve covered it before, but it’s such an exciting tradition and spectacle, we thought we’d cover it again so that you can go to watch this 10th February.

The St Ives Feast celebrates the anniversary of the consecration of the Parish Church of St Eia in 1434 AD. It starts with the mayor’s civic procession for the blessing at St Ia Well near Porthmeor Beach, and is followed by the hurling of the silver ball, when participants try to win the ball from one another throughout the town. The winner is whoever returns the ball to the mayor on the steps on St Ives Guildhall on the stroke of midday, where they will receive a silver coin.

Rest your head at The Salt Lodge in the extremely popular Downalong area of St Ives. A 4 bedroom Grade II listed cottage sleeps 8 (plus a baby) and is perfect for a large family or two families holidaying together. There are two beaches just a few steps away from the cottage and it is situated in a quiet part of this lovely fishing village.

 

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Homecoming Scotland 2014

Fort William photo by Flickr user Hotfield

Fort William photo by Flickr user Hotfield

Scotland is marketing itself to itself in a new £500,000 campaign, ‘Homecoming Scotland 2014’.

The campaign will encourage fellow Scots, northerners and the Northern Irish to visit the various events happening throughout the year, right on their doorsteps. There will be a 30-second TV advert, radio, digital, press and other promotional activity to highlight the 430 family-friendly Homecoming events. These include the Islay Festival of Music and Malt, Lochearnhead Highland Games, and the Wickerman Festival in Dumfries and Galloway.

Tourism minister Fergus Ewing said: “This year, Scotland will also play host to the Ryder Cup, Commonwealth Games and the MTV Europe Awards – which will broadcast to nearly 700 million households through MTV’s global network of channels.

“2014 will be an extraordinary year for Scotland and this advert, alongside the Homecoming app and enhanced information on the wider events programme which are also now available, will help us to share it with as many people as possible.”

So with all these brilliant events going on, what better time than to highlight the Scotland section of our Holiday Cottages!

We have lots to choose from, but to start, how about The Logs, a detached Norwegian-style log house (sleeps up to 10) 3 miles north of Fort William. It has panoramic views of Ben Nevis and the ski slopes of Aonach Mor.

The comfortable accommodation includes a spacious lounge with gallery sitting room, dining room, well-equipped breakfast kitchen, 6 bedrooms (2 en suite) and a bathroom. There is a wood-burning stove in the lounge, gas central heating, 2 TVs, DVD, video and CD player. The large garden and patio area is bordered by the remnants of the old Caledonian pine forest. Plus, there are over 70 events and activities listed on the Homecoming Scotland 2014 website including tours, cycling, fishing and lots more!

The Logs outside

The Logs outside

Cosy living room

Cosy living room

 

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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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Christmas markets

Manchester Christmas Markets picture by Flickr user fussy onion

Manchester Christmas Markets picture by Flickr user fussy onion

It’s nearing the end of November, the nights are getting bitingly cold and thoughts of Christmas are starting to creep in. So, what better way to start the festive build up than with a hot cup of mulled wine, some cheese or tasty fudge at one of the many Christmas markets setting up in towns across the country!

Manchester opened its international markets last weekend, with a two-floor bar and an enormous glowing Santa in Albert Square.

Opening this Thursday (21st November) are the West Country Christmas markets. The Cathedral Green in Exeter will be filled with over 50 local and international traders offering a variety of foods, drinks and handmade crafts, perfect for presents. Take a picturesque train journey from this semi-detached cottage (sleeps 5) situated by the waters edge with views across the bay.

This weekend on the 23rd and 24th November you’ll find a great selection of food, drink and crafts at the Food and Craft Fair in St Austell. Positioned on the site of the old china clay works at Wheal Martyn, enjoy some relaxed, hassle free shopping at this historic site. Take your treats back to the sauna at this upside down house in Talland Bay (sleeps 6).

From 27th November to 1st December Truro will host the Made in Cornwall Fair on the Lemon Quay. There will be a great range of Cornish products, from award-winning food produce to unique clothing to collectable teddy bears. Also on the Lemon Quay on 4th December will be the Primestock Show when town meets country and you can get up close to Cornwall’s finest livestock.

And finally, Santa will be arriving by boat in the picturesque, seaside town of Fowey on 29th November to lead a lantern procession through the village. After which, there will be two days of entertainment, food and drink. Stroll back to this elegant Victorian house (sleeps 7) with views across the river.

 

 

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Lumiere Durham 14th-17th November

Deadgood Studio 'Rainbow'

Deadgood Studio ‘Rainbow’ Lumiere 2011

Starting tonight and running each evening until Sunday is the incredible Lumiere Festival in Durham. One of the UK’s largest and most spectacular light festivals of the year, Lumiere promises to be every bit as exciting as previous years, and what’s more, it’s free to attend!

There will be some of the most innovative uses of lighting technology, from the most complex 3D projections in the form of a huge Elephant walking through the urban environment; and Crown of Light, video-mapping at its best on the cathedral; to simple technologies such as Litre of Light, which uses old plastic bottles and refracted sunlight to create a solar bulb bright enough to light up a home.

There will also be all manner of neon delights, stained glass cars, ghostly lit up dresses and musical tents. Perhaps one of the most impressive installations of the festival will be Solar Equation, an impressive simulation of the sun hung over the Durham University Science Site which will feature projections generated by live mathematical equations that simulate the turbulence, flares and sunspots that can be seen on the surface of the sun.

This year there are free tickets to the central part of the festival up until 7.30pm. This is to ensure that it does not get too crowded in the most popular areas at the busiest visiting time. Unfortunately all tickets have been reserved, however there are plenty of artworks outside of the central zone to visit before being allowed in without a ticket after 7.30pm.

I went along in 2011 and had a brilliant time. I wrote up my experience and pictures on my personal blog, which you can view here. I intend to go again this year and will report back for those of you unable to make it! However, if you are able to get to Durham this weekend, I certainly recommend you go.

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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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