Archive for category North West

Cornwall most family-friendly destination in the world

Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall picture by Flickr user Fraser Reid

Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall picture by Flickr user Fraser Reid

That’s right, our beloved Cornwall has been voted the most child-friendly holiday destination in the whole world, with Devon, Somerset, Dorset and the Isle of Wight also appearing in the top ten.

The results are from a recent poll of 2,000 parents by an international lettings agency, with Cornwall recommended as the best place for family-friendly holidays. The news comes shortly after Cornwall was granted national minority status within the UK, officially recognising it’s distinct culture and heritage.

Top priorities to ensure the best child-friendly holiday included nearby play areas, a good choice of food to cater for fussy eaters, and a shallow sea. Half of the parents polled said the ideal holiday destination must have nice beaches, and 28% said kids’ swimming pools are essential.

Cornwall pipped Orlando in Florida to the top spot because even though Orlando boasts vast theme parks and near-perfect sunny weather, it was marked down for the long flying time of around nine hours.

The study also found that the ideal length of time for a family holiday would be around 10 days, and travelling time to the destination would be under five hours.

Other UK destinations to feature in the top 50 include West Wales, the Yorkshire Dales, Peak District and the Scottish Highlands.

The results are unsurprising to us at Holiday Cottages, where we have holiday accommodation at all of the high-ranking areas voted on in the poll.

 

Top Ten Child-Friendly Holiday Destinations

1. Cornwall, UK

2. Orlando, USA

3. Devon, UK

4. Majorca

5. Costa Del Sol, Spain

6. Isle of Wight

7. Menorca

8. Dorset, UK

9. Somerset, UK

10. Tenerife

 

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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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‘Sounds’ of Britain to encourage visitors

Big Ben picture by Flickr user tjuel

Big Ben picture by Flickr user tjuel

Sounds can evoke strong memories or associations, and VisitBritain is hoping to harness this power with it’s new sound-based ad campaign.

The £2.5 million TV and online ad campaign features the ‘sounds’ of Britain. These will include the pouring of a cup of tea, a black cap beeping and, of course, the chimes of Big Ben.

It’s been launched across key tourism markets: USA, Brazil, China, India, Gulf states, and throughout Europe.

The digital version will allow users to customise their own advert and itinerary set to the ‘sounds’ of Britain, and Rudimental’s song ‘Feel the Love’. They can also share the result with friends via Facebook and Twitter.

Joss Croft, marketing director at VisitBritain said: “We want to involve people in creating their own British experience – first online where they can become the director of their own bespoke tourism ad, and then in reality following their individual journey across Britain according to their own interests and inspirations.

“This ad is something a little bit different and we hope it conveys the humour and character of a modern, confident Britain.”

If you’re visiting the UK, make sure to include Holiday Cottages in your Great British holiday plan!

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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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In-flight entertainment with a twist

There will be in-flight entertainment with a twist if you catch a Virgin Atlantic Little Red flight in the next couple of months. The twist being that the entertainment will be live throughout the flight!

No getting away from it, it’ll be a truly captive audience as the airline treats its passengers to a line up of stand-up comedy and music on flights between London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Depending on your point of view, it will be a delightful or dreadful extra, as this month stand-up comics heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival test out their material at 30,000 feet. In September, music will dominate the line up with a series of acoustic gigs paying homage to the “rich music scenes” in Scotland and Manchester.

Virgin president Sir Richard Branson said: “We launched Virgin Atlantic Little Red to shake up domestic flying in the UK and this latest activity highlights why our customer service is second to none.

“In true Virgin Atlantic spirit we’re doing something a little different and providing our passengers with a line-up of gigs to ensure we offer a truly unforgettable flying experience on Little Red.”

Acts will be announced through the Virgin Atlantic Facebook and Twitter channels, but the exact flights they’ll be performing on will remain a secret until the day.

 

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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 HolidayCottages.cc, so if you haven’t booked your summer break yet, then now is the time!

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Chorlton Coffee Festival

Chorlton Coffee Festival

Chorlton Coffee Festival

A little bit of coffee/cafe culture is coming to South Manchester this summer. The first Chorlton Coffee Festival starts on 28th June and continues over the weekend to the 30th June.

Spread across more than 30 participating bars and restaurants there will be many coffee treats to try, as well as workshops, poetry readings, talks and film screenings.

The festival hub, held at Chorlton Central Church on Barlow Moor Road, will host many events, including a film festival curated by Dale Taylor on the Saturday. This will show various films focusing on international cafe culture and ‘Black Gold’, a documentary about fair-trade coffee.

Festival producer, Lorelei Loveridge, was inspired to host the festival after feeling that the popular Mancunian suburb had a larger focus on pub culture than cafe culture. “When I moved to the UK, I would say ‘Let’s meet for a coffee’, and people would respond with ‘Or a drink’. I noticed that alcohol had a far greater importance than coffee here.”

Certainly not against the pubs in the area, Loveridge hopes to bring the two cultures together, with the festival looking set to be one of the many popular creative events on Chorlton’s community calendar.

The Chorlton Coffee Festival runs from Friday 28th June to Sunday 30th June. Many of the events are free, but entrance to the festival hub will cost £3 per adult and £1 per child. Tweet us pictures of your coffees during the festival @holcottagescc

 

 

Blackpool named most popular seaside resort

Blackpool picture by Flickr user Ingy The Wingy

Blackpool picture by Flickr user Ingy The Wingy

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside! And the most popular British seaside resort we like to spend our time on has been named as Blackpool!

The resort beat off stiff competition from other favoured destinations, such as Brighton, Croyde in Devon, and Southwold in Suffolk, in the latest TripAdvisor Choice Awards.

On the world scale, London was voted third most popular city, beaten by Paris and New York and followed by Rome, Barcelona and Venice.

Within the UK, the capital was the leading destination, closely followed by Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Belfast and Blackpool.

For more holiday cottages within the UK, go to our main site, or for villas abroad, try our sister site Villaseek.

 

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Tatton Park adventure

On the Beatrix Potter Trail in Tatton Park. Picture by Elisa Artesero

On the Beatrix Potter Trail in Tatton Park. Picture by Elisa Artesero

I visited Tatton Park this Easter weekend for a spot of photography in its gorgeous selection of gardens. Little did I know that I’d also find myself caught up in the hustle and bustle of the many family activities taking place across the park!

Beatrix Potter inspired the weekend’s events; these included a Peter Rabbit trail across the gardens, the Pigling Bland trail and the Easter storyteller in the farm, and also magic shows and Punch and Judy shows in the stable yard. An adventure playground, an old-fashioned style merry-go-round, and storytelling time in the barn rooms also added to a long list of things for families to do.

I bumped into Peter Rabbit several times as he tried to hide from Mr McGregor, and found myself unwittingly following the Peter Rabbit trail across the gardens, meeting many of Potter’s most cherished characters along the way. It seemed an especially good day out for parents looking for some entertainment for their children.

Japanese Garden picture by Elisa Artesero

Japanese Garden picture by Elisa Artesero

It was also a lovely place to take photos, particularly the Japanese garden which could only be observed from its periphery so as to keep the careful planting in tact. It was so picturesque, it looked like something from a picture book. The grounds just outside of the main area were ideal for a more peaceful walk away from the popular activity areas. They were also great for a bit of wildlife photography, I saw some young deer settled down near the lake and there was also a special hut for bird watchers.

Deer at Tatton Park. Picture by Elisa Artesero

Deer at Tatton Park. Picture by Elisa Artesero

Luckily, the activities don’t stop at this bank holiday weekend. Many of them continue on throughout the school holidays and beyond, so you have plenty of time to visit yet. For instance, from now until the 12th April it is lambing fortnight at the farm, the ‘Beatrix Potter’s Life’ exhibition in the Mansion runs until 1st September, plus many more events and activities.

If you like the sound of Tatton Park and are also looking for a break away in Cheshire one weekend, you won’t go far wrong with Broomfield Barns (sleeps 5), nestled in the Cheshire countryside and near some award-winning local pubs. For this holiday cottage, and many more, visit our main site for details.

If you would like to see some more of my pictures of the day, please see my website elisaartesero.wordpress.com

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