Posts Tagged Helpful Holidays

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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August bank holiday in the West Country

Newlyn Fish Festival picture by Flickr user pandrcutts

Newlyn Fish Festival picture by Flickr user pandrcutts

The August bank holiday is nearly upon us, and if you are visiting the South West for a holiday then here is a selection of just some of the fun things happening this weekend and beyond.

The Watchet Festival (23rd-25th August) is a family friendly music festival with amazing views of the stunning West Somerset coastline and beyond. If you’re looking for a last minute break for the family, then day tickets are available at the festival and this stunning newly converted barn (sleeps 8) is a short drive away in the village of Winsford.

The Newlyn Fish Festival (26th August) is held at one of Cornwall’s most distinctive fishing ports. What better place to see live cooking demonstrations and a seafood auction than at the place the fish was caught! The festival hosts a variety of entertainment and fun for all the family.

A little after the bank holiday from the 27th-30th August is the Bude Jazz Festival. A mix of free parade sessions across the pretty little town and ticketed events available to purchase on the day at various venues, it’s a good chance to get your jazz stomp on! Search for holiday cottages in Bude.

The Great Dorset Steam Fair (28th August – 1st September) boasts over 200,000 visitors to this extravaganza of an event, dubbed “THE” National Heritage Show of the year. Entertainment is spread across 600 acres of the enormous show ground at Tarrant Hinton, near Blandford Forum. Many interests are catered for, from steam engines to heavy horses, ancient farm crafts to stunt displays, the list goes on! Stay at this beautiful Helpful Holidays semi-detached Grade II listed cottage in Okeford Fitzpane (sleeps 4) or search for more Dorset cottages on our main site.

If you can’t make it to the Newlyn Fish Festival, or if you had a taste and want more, then on 1st September travel to Clovelly, North Devon, for the Lobster and Crab Feast in the iconic harbour. Not only that, but you can enjoy folk music, arts and crafts and some street theatre to keep you entertained. Still with availability is this single-storey house (sleeps 7) with views of the sea to Welcombe Mouth.

 

 

 

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Second year at top of Which? survey for Helpful Holidays

Many congratulations to our friends at Helpful Holidays for sweeping the board at this year’s Which? Travel magazine member survey!

For the second year running, Helpful Holidays came out on top of the survey rating holiday cottage and villa booking companies. They achieved and overall score of 91% and awarded 5 stars in every category, bar one.

Lorna Cowan, Editor of Which? Travel, said, “Helpful Holidays has proved to be a continued hit with Which? members after being voted the best holiday cottage company in our annual satisfaction survey for the second year running. Its impressive customer score and maximum five star rating in six out of the seven featured categories, including customer service and ease of booking, shows just how well members rate the company and the cottages it offers.”

Which? is recognised for its unbiased and trustworthy endorsements, so to rate so highly by its members is a wonderful achievement. It also follows on from the recent Silver Award for Best UK Cottage/Self Catering Booking Company (UK Properties) at the British Travel Awards.

Beaminster cottage

Beaminster cottage

Why not try this pretty, detached 19th cent. stone cottage in Beaminster, Dorset.  With lovely wooded valley walks to neighbouring Netherbury, where the original ‘River Cottage’ from the TV series is located. Sleeps 4 and has availability in May.

Cottage by the creek

Cottage by the creek

Also available in May is this neat, modern mid-terrace cottage, one of nine in a stylish, small development in Little Petherick. At the back, an enclosed, waterside, decked terrace (lockable gate with ladder to creek) and first-floor balcony are ideal for enjoying the lovely creek views and great for wildlife-watching: swans, egrets, herons and kingfishers frequently seen. Sleeps 4.

Bovey Castle lodges

Bovey Castle lodges

With a 25% discount offer in May, you can’t go wrong with one of these granite built lodges (sleeps 6) overlooking Edwardian gardens, lake and tennis courts in the grounds of Bovey Castle, Dartmoor. All the hotel facilities are yours to enjoy, including indoor heated swimming pool, gym, steam room, sauna, spa (beauty treatments) and restaurant. Outside are hard and grass tennis courts (lessons available), croquet lawn (seasonal), cricket nets (late May to mid-September) and trampoline.

St. Ives cottage

St. Ives cottage

For a beach holiday on the Tate Gallery side of St Ives and just 450 yards from the heart of town, harbour and galleries is this carefully renovated, Victorian terraced house (sleeps 6). The beautifully white interior and simple, contemporary furnishings and original artwork reflect the unique local light and the artistic influences of the town

For all of these Helpful Holidays properties and more, be sure to visit our main site to find your perfect holiday let.

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Holiday cottages with pools

This sun is shining and spring is well on its way! However, a dip in the sea might still be a little chilly for some, so why not rent a holiday cottage with its own pool? Perhaps pools aren’t something you would think about when looking for a holiday let, but this little luxury is increasing in popularity and affordability in the cottage market, so don’t overlook the prospect of one for your next holiday!

Hicks Farm Holidays Rose Cottage in Boresford, Herefordshire, is set on a quiet livestock farm. This pretty cottage caters for many activities – you can explore the farm and help feed the animals, badger watch at sunset, play pool in the games room, and of course, swim in the indoor luxury pool.  Sleeps 7 + 2 cots, prices start at £710

Indoor pool

Indoor pool

Rose Cottage

Rose Cottage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If beautiful South Hams is the area for you, why not try one of these three barn conversions, or two cottages positioned on a mixed working farm a mile from Halwell. These Helpful Holidays properties all share an indoor swimming pool with a toddler’s splash area. There is also a children’s play area with swings, climbing frame, slide and trampoline. If that isn’t enough, there is also a games room complete with WiFi. Sleeps 10 and prices start at £725.

View to the kitchen

View to the kitchen

Helpful Holidays South Hams

Helpful Holidays South Hams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Wales this former Victorian gatehouse in Carmarthenshire and Laugharne has access to free leisure facilities – heated indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi and Sauna, fitness suite, tennis courts, table tennis and pool/games room at the exclusive Pantglas Leisure Club, just a short walk away from North Lodge.  Set in a quiet valley, this cottage is positioned for sunshine and has a charming woodburning stove in the kitchen/breakfast room. Sleeps 6 and prices start at £440.

Fantastic leisure facilities

Fantastic leisure facilities

Former Victorian gatehouse

Former Victorian gatehouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last but not least in this list of suggestions, is Maenporth Estate in Cornwall’s Med. A classic modern development with large indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, table tennis, pool table and two tennis courts in 30 acres of landscaped gardens. There is also a large barbecue area, children’’s play area and plenty of woodland walks, all for your enjoyment and use while on holiday. Sleeps 4 and starts at a very reasonable £395.

Tennis anyone?

Tennis anyone?

Maenporth, Cornwall's Med

Maenporth, Cornwall’s Med

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are plenty more properties with pools on the Holiday Cottages website, just type ‘swimming pool‘ into the keywords search tool for an extensive list across the country to suit all tastes and budgets.

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Devon’s big day out!

From the 19th – 21st May is the Devon County Show in Exeter. Enjoy three full days of West Country food and drink, the very best horses, goats, sheep, bunnies and cows, including the famous Devon cattle known as Red Rubies. Kids can plant seeds, bake bread, milk Daisy the model cow, weave willow wands, see chicks hatch and pet gentle farm animals. For those of you interested in craft there are lace-makers, quilters, weavers, spinners and dyers. Look out for demonstrations and take the chance to talk to these skilled crafts’ people to get  practical advice on anything you may be working on at home. For a nibble, check out the BIG Devon cream tea marquee, with scones made by Richard Hunt, Executive Chef of the Grand Hotel, thick clotted cream and lashings of jam. There is such a huge list of things to do, it’s probably best to go to the website for full details. If that’s not tempting enough, then kids go free on Saturday!

After all this excitement, why not go back to nearby Ottery St Mary (of flaming barrel running fame) to this gorgeous little cottage from Helpful Holidays that sleeps 4.  A long, elegant hall leads to L-shaped living/dining/kitchen with TV/DVD and beautifully fitted kitchen area (dishwasher, washer-drier, microwave, fridge-freezer, gas hob) with small breakfast table (larger table/chairs kept folded in hall for more formal dining). French windows open to small patio area (table/chairs) immediately to the front of the house.. Oak stairs to first floor and two bedrooms – a double, and a single; very luxurious bathroom. On the second floor, a double bedroom under the eaves with smart en suite shower-room (suite) and 2 steps up to French windows to a small and very private roof terrace (table/chairs) with fine views over the town.

photo of Holiday cottage in Ottery St Mary, East Devon with 4 stars, sleeps 4

photo of Holiday cottage in Ottery St Mary, East Devon with 4 stars, sleeps 4

photo of Holiday cottage in Ottery St Mary, East Devon with 4 stars, sleeps 4

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Cottage expansion

West Country cottage specialists, Helpful Holidays, report booming business and are expanding into North and East Devon for 2011 with an increase in properties in both these regions. Other areas seeing growth for next year include Exmoor, Somerset, the coast near Newquay and the far west of Cornwall.


Offering holidays for nearly 30 years, the agency continues to see very high levels of enquiries from both holidaymakers and home owners.


“It may be as a result of the current economic climate and euro exchange rate, or concern about the environmental impact of flying, but more people are planning holidays in the UK,” says general manager Moray Bowater.


“Booking levels were excellent in 2010, helped by a growing awareness that England, and in particular the West Country, has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world,” continued Mr Bowater. “Bookings for 2011 are looking good; we are confident that the market for top level, self-catering accommodation will continue to grow.”


Many of Helpful Holidays’ properties are exceptionally plush and the agency has a reputation for offering big and beautiful places, with 68 of its houses sleeping ten or more.

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