Archive for category West Country

Father’s day, teddy bears, pints and scarecrows

Scarecrow picture by Flickr user Tim Green

Scarecrow picture by Flickr user Tim Green

This Sunday is Father’s Day and it’s shaping up to be a lovely weekend for lots of activities!

It’s a special Father’s Day teddy bear picnic at Newquay Zoo on Sunday. Great fun for the family and fathers get special half price entry. Children under 15 will get in for free if they bring their teddy bear for the picnic! Face painting will be available throughout the day, and find out about the animals at the daily keeper talks.

Dads go free at Newquay‘s Blue Reef Aquarium this Sunday. Learn about the roles of fathers in the ocean, from dedicated seahorses and not so dedicated sea turtles.

How about a pasty and a pint courtesy of Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh? Dads will also be able to have a go at some falconry or have a blast on the Red Rocket.

This weekend is the annual Scarecrow Festival in Devon‘s East Budleigh. Expect all the lovely festivities, foods and drinks from a normal village fete, but with a surreal but wonderful display of scarecrows throughout the village!

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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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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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Eggcellent Cornwall this Easter

Eggs in basket picture by Flickr user cyanocorax

Eggs in basket picture by Flickr user cyanocorax

The Easter holidays are nearly upon us! So, if you still haven’t planned your activities, here are a select few of the things going on in Cornwall with suggestions of where to stay nearby.

 

National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth 5th-21st April

Inspired by the new Smuggling exhibitions, enter the smugglers’ den to make your own flintlock pistol, pop-up smuggler and secret chest with a concealed compartment. Plus, search for the concealed contraband hidden around the Museum with the Free Traders’ Trail. Plus, on Easter weekend, make your own bunny and chick masks and pour your own mini chocolate Easter egg.

Stay at this spacious first floor apartment situated in a prestigious waterside development on Falmouth Harbour (sleeps 6).

Wild Futures, Looe 5th-21st April

Take a tour of the monkey enclosures and learn about these fascinating creatures at the Monkey Sanctuary. You can also take a gentle stroll around the woodland gardens, and let the children swing like the monkeys in the play area. Have lunch at the award-winning Treetop café and when the day is done, go back to this lovely 4 bedroom house (sleeps 8) with views over Looe Bay and out to sea.

Eden Project, St Austell 5th-25th April

Chocolate Unwrapped is the Eden Project’s festival telling the story of chocolate, how it was found and how it became so popular in Europe. Visitors will be taken on an interactive journey through the Rainforest Biome to see real cocoa trees and meet characters along the way. Children can also make their own chocolatey creations, and adults will be able to take special chocolatier workshops.

Eat your chocolate delights back at this newly refurbished 3 bedroom house (sleeps 6) with stunning views over St Austell Bay.

Cornwall’s Crealy Great Adventure Park, Wadebridge 5-21st April

The Park is unveiling a £300,000 investment in attractions for the 2014 season. One of its most exciting projects is a new area for toddlers and pre-school children open in time for the Easter holidays. Swampy and Dina Land is a 2,000 sq m enclosed area with rides and play areas for children under the age of five.

Stay at this 2 bedroom apartment (sleeps 4)  with a sun trap patio situated in the idyllic hamlet of Little Petherick. Close to the famous Camel Trail and the fishing village of Padstow.

Newquay Zoo, Newquay 5th-20th April

With a programme of family activities including duck races, egg hunts and animal workshops, there’s lots to do at the Newquay Zoo. On 14th April Michaela Strachan will be there with her Wild Adventures Show, which visitors can go to at no extra charge. On the Easter weekend there is an egg trail in the Dragon Maze, and don’t forget to join the Easter Bunny tea party at 1pm on Sunday 20th April.

Close to Fistral beach and Newquay town centre, stay at this 2 bedroom mews house (sleeps 4). Perfect for beach holidays and a spot of golfing.

Tintagel Castle, Tintagel 18th-21st April

Get hands-on with history this Easter weekend. Young adventurers will be needed to crack clues and explore hidden corners of Tintagel Castle on this exciting quest. Those who succeed will receive a delicious chocolate reward.

Take your prize home to this smart detached cottage (sleeps 6) a mile west of Tintagel.

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2014 Spring Steam Gala 27th- 30th March

Ride on the visiting locomotives of days-gone-by as part of the Spring Steam Gala, taking place from Thursday 27th – Sunday 30th March.

The Gala will feature locomotives used on the ‘Withered Arm’ (so-called because the network looked like the withered arm of a tree) and a recreation of the ‘Atlantic Coast Express’ supported by the WSR Home Fleet Steam Locomotives. There are lots of journeys to choose from, and you can also further enhance your journey by downloading the Heritage Hunter’ app which takes you through the history of the railways using interactive augmented reality. For more information, a timetable and to book your train tickets go here.

Stay at this semi-detached former farmhouse in Hatch Beauchamp, a little conservation village nestled in rolling farmland between Taunton and Ilminster. A short walk from the pub, restaurant and children’s playground, the property is by fields and cider orchards. Downstairs there is a large Shaker-style kitchen/dining room with pantry, and also a living room with a piano, and a downstairs loo. Upstairs there are three bedrooms, a double, a family room with double and a single bed and a bunk room. There is also a family bathroom. Outside you can enjoy a pretty, enclosed garden with lawn and small patio. There’s a rustic games barn with table tennis, darts and storage for bicycles.

View from outside

Kitchen/dining room

Double bedroom

Garden

 

 

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Clovelly Fantastic Fudge Hunt 18th March – 27th April

Clovelly picture by Flickr user xlibber

Clovelly picture by Flickr user xlibber

If you have a sweet tooth and love free things then look no further than the Fantastic Fudge Hunt, Clovelly, North Devon, 18th March to 27th April!

20 fudge stones will be hidden in the village each day. Find one and take it to the Fudge Shop at the Visitor Centre to discover how much fudge you have won. Whoever finds Number 20 will get a whole kilo of fudge, made up of eight different flavours! One stone is redeemable per visiting family each day, but you can try again the next day and see if you’re lucky more than once.

Clovelly is a famous cobbled, cliffside, traffic-free village with a picturesque high street that winds down through to a small harbour. There are pubs, a museum, shops and seasonal fishing and day trips to Lundy Island.

3 miles out of the village and surrounded by flower-filled hedgerows and close to a magnificent stretch of coast is this luxurious cottage converted from old barns (sleeps 3). Designed to a high specification, the accommodation looks like it’s been taken straight out of an interior decoration magazine. There are two ground floor bedrooms, a double and a single with en suite shower room, plus a main bathroom. The stairs lead up to an open-plan living/dining room and fitted kitchen. The high ceilings reveal the lovely original exposed beams, and there are French windows with steps down to the private garden.

Book now and save 20% on the remaining weeks in April.

Living/dining room

Fitted kitchen

Double bedroom

 

 

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Exeter Vibraphonic Festival 14th-29th March

Exeter is hosting the Vibraphonic Festival for two weeks starting this Friday 14th until Saturday 29th March.

The festival covers reggae, soul, urban, jazz, funk, blues, hip hop, drum & bass, electronica and experimental music across the city. There are around 20 live music venues taking part, including the Exeter Phoenix, the Cavern, Barnfield and many more.

A wide variety of artists and DJs are expected and there are also workshops, demonstrations, dance performances, films and graffiti art.

The first acts announced are Dreadzone, Son Of Dave, Get Rich Quick & Festival Scratch Orchestra, Larry Miller, Craig Charles, Lee Scratch Perry, Tcha Limberger’s Budapest Gypsy Orchestra, and Salsa Celtica. Ticket prices vary and can be bought at the venues or through local ticket outlets.

Once you’re all danced out, you could rest your weary feet at nearby Ottery St Mary in this lovely Helpful Holidays Grade II listed town house (sleeps 4). Smart and comfortable with wooden floors throughout, a long, elegant hall leads to an L-shaped living/dining room and kitchen. French windows open to a small patio area. There’s a downstairs loo then oak stairs lead to the first floor with with one double and one single room and a luxurious bathroom. On the second floor there is another double bedroom with en suite shower room with 2 steps to a small, private roof terrace with views over the town.

Situated right in the heart of Ottery St Mary, you are minutes away from shops and have a perfect base for exploring the gardens and beaches of East Devon.

Front view

Kitchen/dining area

Double bedroom

Beautiful private roof terrace

 

 

 

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Falmouth Spring Festival

Falmouth picture by Flickr user Nigel_Brown

Falmouth picture by Flickr user Nigel_Brown

Enjoy an array of happy springtime events from 13th-30th March as part of the Falmouth Spring Festival in Cornwall, perfect for a pre-Easter getaway. 

The festival celebrates Falmouth’s open and green spaces through music, dance, community activities, sport and art. A large town, port and resort beside one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbours, Falmouth is a brilliant place to visit for beaches, sailing and sightseeing.

On the 13th, pupils from local schools, together with students from Falmouth University, will paint the town yellow with displays of daffodils and decorations in over 100 shop windows.

Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd March is a free games event called Mar Games on the Moor. From 10am to 4pm, you and the family can enjoy dodging a swing ball, playing giant snakes and ladders, connect 4 or quiots. Also on that weekend is the Mar Cider and Folk Fayre, with a great range of bands and a choice of over 20 scrumptious ciders from across the West Country. Events Square will also host a marquee full of food and craft stalls and children’s activities from 10am until late.

Throughout the festival there will also be lots of different guided walks covering topics such as foraging for food, astronomy, nordic walking, beach-combing, wildlife and history. Different grades and duration mean there will be something for everybody!

For more information on these and the many other activities taking place, visit the website.

Sitting on the edge of Falmouth and only a five minute walk to Swanpool beach and seven minutes to the beautiful Gyllingvase beach by cliff and coastal paths is this lovely private apartment on the first floor of a private house. The comfortable accommodation offers a terraced garden (with table/chairs, loungers and gas barbecue) and 180 degree views across to Swanpool and Falmouth Bays. There are two bedrooms (one double, one twin), a living/dining room, fitted gallery kitchen and bathroom (suite plus bath-shower). The friendly owners live unobtrusively in the main house and are delighted to offer advice on days out etc if requested.

 

View from living room

Living room

 

Double bedroom

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