Archive for category West Country

Cornish Magnolias signal in Spring

It’s officially Spring! The season has been fully declared now that the seven Magnolia campbellii trees from seven gardens in Cornwall have flowered with at least fifty blooms. 

Cornwall is the only place to see the flowering magnolia trees in the UK at this time of year, and it’s a wonderful sight to behold. VisitCornwall have a lovely introductory video to give more information on the blooms and a glimpse of their current phase in some of the magical gardens across Cornwall.

Now is a great time to visit Cornwall. The weather is milder and the sun sets later, so time starts to take on a slower quality, allowing for longer walks and visits to the many Cornish gardens in full springtime bloom.

Trengwainton is one of the gardens where you’ll be lucky  enough to see the magnolias; and with 25 acres to explore you’ll encounter rhododendrons and camellias, a walled kitchen garden, winding wooded paths, dappling streams and open views across Mount’s Bay.

Walled garden at Trengwainton. Picture by Flickr user treehouse1977

Walled garden at Trengwainton. Picture by Flickr user treehouse1977

Rest your weary feet at The Retreat in the tiny hamlet of Badger’s Cross, near Penzance. A semi-detached converted barn with views of Mount’s Bay and Newlyn Harbour. It offers the benefits of countryside living with seaside pleasures.

Sleeps 6-8 plus a cot, the ground floor accommodation consists of a well-equipped kitchen/diner, shower room with WC, and twin en suite bedroom adjacent to the bunk-bed room. Upstairs is the master bedroom and a lounge with a sofabed and stunning countryside and coastal views.

The Retreat - view from outside

The Retreat – view from outside

Kitchen/diner

Kitchen/diner

Lounge

Lounge

 

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

‘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!

Tags: , , , ,

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.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Wonderful for Weddings

Bouquet picture by Flickr user Skakerman

Bouquet picture by Flickr user Skakerman

If you’re planning a wedding, you might like to consider this beautiful detached house surrounded by a quarter of an acre of enclosed garden in Bratton Fleming.

Oaklea (F173) is in the village of Bratton Fleming on the south-west edge of Exmoor. With views over meadows and woodland, it makes for a lovely, peaceful setting for special occasions such as baby-naming and wedding ceremonies.

It’s a modern and stylish home, with a crisp but muted colour palette for a calming atmosphere. Sleeps 18, with 4 bedrooms on the ground floor (two double and two twin, three of which have an en suite), and three bedrooms on the first floor (double with en suite, twin, and one room with four singles, an en suite loo and two extra truckle beds on request).

The height-of-the-house hallway allows for lots of natural light and leads to a large living room with lots of large windows, and French windows leading to the garden with a patio and garden table, chairs, and gas barbecue. The modern kitchen/dining room and utility room has all the expected amenities to help cater for large groups. Children can also enjoy the playroom with toys and table football, and upstairs the adults can enjoy the second living room.

Nearby you can visit the large town of Barnstaple, and a short drive away at Saunton there are also lovely sandy beaches with great waves for keen surfers and golf courses for enthusiasts of the sport.

Tags: , , , ,

The Eden Project reports worst loss

Eden Project picture by Flickr User Karen Roe

Eden Project picture by Flickr User Karen Roe

Once a “must see” attraction, the Eden Project has reported its worst ever loss in its 2012-13 accounts.

In a report by the BBC, The Eden Trust’s accounts show a £6.3m deficit for the year ending March 2013, compared with a surplus of £136,000, the previous year.

The Eden Project is based in Cornwall and made up of huge greenhouse domes, and is home to the world’s largest indoor rainforest. It opened in 2001 as a showcase of nature, and in its first ten years more than 13 million visitors passed through the attraction.

The reasons for such poor figures were due in part, it said, to the 2012 Olympics, poor summer weather, and the economic downturn.

Malcolm Bell of VisitCornwall told BBC News: “Eden is a major attraction – a flagship – and when it opened it was a ‘must do’ both for local people and for visitors coming to Cornwall.

“Repeat and return business is harder for Cornwall than the likes of London – what is a ‘must do’ the first time, becomes a ‘maybe’ the second time and in 2012 the weather killed off new trade for Cornwall and therefore for Eden.”

The results might not sound brilliant, but perhaps visitors have more recently overlooked the Eden Project as an option to visit while on holiday in Cornwall. The Eden Project changes its programme of events seasonally, so there are often new things for visitors to see and do each time they visit. Here’s a top ten list of why you should visit:

  1. The world’s largest rainforest in captivity with steamy jungles and waterfalls
  2. Cutting-edge architecture and buildings
  3. Stunning garden displays all year round
  4. World-class sculpture and art
  5. Evening gigs, concerts and an ice rink in the winter
  6. Educational centre and demonstrations to inspire all ages
  7. Brilliant local, fairly traded food in the restaurants and cafes
  8. A Rainforest Aerial Walkway, where you can take a stunning walk among the treetops
  9. A living example of regeneration and sustainable living
  10. A free ride on the land train, often pulled by a tractor.
Eden Project picture by Flickr user antidigital_da

Eden Project picture by Flickr User antidigital_da

If you’re persuaded and fancy a visit next time you’re on holiday in Cornwall, then we have hundreds of cottages in and around St Austell so you can have easy access to the attraction. 

How about this lovely 2-bed apartment (sleeps 4 adults) with an additional child’s “pull-out” bed available. Converted from St Austell’s famous China Clay Drying House it has a chic modern interior throughout, and is perfect for exploring many parts of Cornwall, and of course, visiting the Eden Project.

10 Pochin Apartments

10 Pochin Apartments

Sleek, modern living room

Sleek, modern living room

Spacious double bedroom

Spacious double bedroom

 

 

Tags: , , ,

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Christmas cottages – special offers

It’s getting closer to Christmas, and with that comes some great special offers on some of Helpful Holidays’ huge array of cottages.

Q4 light and sunny apartment

Q4 light and sunny apartment

How about a whopping 50% off the Christmas and New Year weeks at this lovely cottage in Newquay. This sunny, first floor apartment sleeps 5 and has lovely views over the gardens and to the beach.

L248 stylish converted barn

L248 stylish converted barn

Save 25% on the new year week at this well presented converted barn (sleeps 4) in Aveton Gifford, South Hams. A quiet place on a gorgeous leafy estate to  just relax and get away from it all during the festive period.

L84 Hallsands perched on the clifftops

L84 Hallsands perched on the clifftops

Save 50% on Christmas week and 20% on the remaining weeks in January at Prospect House (sleeps 4), once a legendary hotel and now 16 lovely apartments in Hallsands, South Hams. Perched high on the cliffs you’ll enjoy stunning sea views across to the lighthouse at Start Point and all the way down the coast to Dartmouth.

P21 Boscastle

P21 Boscastle

Save 30% on Christmas and New Year weeks at this charming Grade II listed slate cottage (sleeps 8) in Boscastle. There are lovely woods to walk in, a low-tide beach and pony trekking nearby.

L6 Enjoy the heated indoor swimming pool

L6 Enjoy the heated indoor swimming pool

Due to a last minute cancellation, save 50% on the week commencing 3rd January for a lovely couple’s getaway at this holiday cottage in Kingsbridge, South Hams. Enjoy the use of a heated indoor swimming pool and games room to keep you entertained during your stay. A bargain at just £134 for the week!

Tags: , ,

Americans love us Brits!

The UK is flavour of the month for Americans, it seems. According to research by TripAdvisor, visits by Americans to the UK are up 23% year-over-year.

Not only are they the largest inbound market to the UK, but they’re also showing as the largest increase in interest year-over-year, with Canadian visitors not far behind, with figures up 21%.

The most popular destinations for our visitors from across the Pond are London, Edinburgh, Yorkshire, the Scottish Highlands and Cornwall

TripAdvisor for Business VP marketing Alison Copus said: “In the year of the post-Olympics afterglow and a new royal baby to celebrate, it is clear that the UK’s place on the world stage is as strong as ever.

“Overall, interest in UK destinations is on the rise, and not just to the traditional holiday hotspots on the coast or in the capital – the UK’s inland countryside is thriving too, with Yorkshire and the Scottish Highlands both holding a place in the top five destinations.”

These figures are certainly promising, however they are in conflict with recent statistics from VisitBritain, which suggest that although the US is the biggest overseas market for the UK, visitor numbers are falling.

Tags: , , , , ,

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.

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

North Devon Clovelly Herring Festival

This Sunday 17th November is the Clovelly Herring Festival in North Devon. Once a major centre for herring fishing, the popular festival is held to celebrate the town’s heritage and support sustainable fishing by traditional methods.

There will be herring specialities, cooking demonstrations to get the perfect fish supper, street entertainments, crafts, stalls and traditional shanty singers!

Mike Smylie’s ‘Kipperland’ exhibition will also be included and he’ll smoke his delicious kippers and bloaters. There will also be net making, flax processing and a curragh on show provided by ‘Flaxland’.

K3 Cottage in Stoke

K3 Cottage in Stoke

Why not stay at this detached, thatched, Grade II listed 16th century house (sleeps 10) in the pretty village of Stoke. A lovingly restored property formerly owned by the Abbey, the holiday cottage has a slate-floored hall;  beamed living/dining room with inglenook fireplace (woodburner), TV/DVD; well-equipped fitted kitchen with tiled floor and stable doors to back patio and courtyard. Down from kitchen to the twin bedroom; second living room with inglenook (woodburner); double bedroom; two shower-rooms. Stairs up to three more bedrooms – a beamed double, one with double plus single bed, and a single. Bathroom (suite plus hand-shower). Tumble drier in shed. You even get a games room and an indoor heated swimming pool!

You’re also only 3/4 mile from spectacular cliffs at Hartland Quay, close to some excellent sandy beaches at Westward Ho!, Bude and Instow, and lots of other pretty villages to walk to.

Lovely inglenook fireplace

Lovely inglenook fireplace

 

Heated indoor swimming pool

Heated indoor swimming pool

 

 

Tags: , , , ,