Archive for category wildlife

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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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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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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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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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

 

 

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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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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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Kipp Cottage, Dumfries and Galloway

Kipp Cottage is a beautiful hideaway for two in Dumfries and Galloway. In a secluded position in the grounds of Kipp House on the edge of the village of Kippford, the accommodation is located on the first floor, with special storage area suitable for bicycles and/or wet weather gear on the ground floor.

Perfect for an activity holiday base, the village is set on the Urr Estuary, a popular sailing centre. For keen cyclists, the trailhead for the local section of the 7 Stanes Mountain Bike Network is less than 5 minutes away by car. There is also a small golf course and two hotels/pubs serving food plus local shops within walking distance of the cottage.

The double glazing and full oil fired central heating make this a cosy and comfortable cottage at any time of the year.

Outside view of cottage

Modern kitchen

Beautiful grounds

 

 

 

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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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