Posts Tagged West Country

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 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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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




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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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Teignmouth Jazz and Blues Festival

This weekend (15th-17th November) is the annual Teignmouth Jazz and Blues Festival!

Managed by the newly elected Jazzteam, there are many gigs and events to get you in the mood for a groove. For example, Jim Mullen will be playing with the Zoe Francis Trio already featuring the great Dave Newton on piano!

With four main venues plus many more fringe events alongside, there are a variety of tickets to cover your needs, be it for the full weekend experience, or selected days. If only one of the gigs catches your eye, then each event is £10, unless you’re a student, in which case you can get a bargain at £5 per gig.

B6 Cottage Shaldon

B6 Cottage Shaldon

Still with availability is this ancient Grade II listed cob and thatch semi-detached farmhouse (sleeps 6). Set in the pretty village of Shaldon at the mouth of the river Teign estuary you’ll be well placed for the festival. You’ll also be near a lovely sandy beach, boats for hire, birdwatching, windsurfing and some great pubs.

The property has a depth-of-house living/dining room with beam and inglenook (‘living flame’ gas fire), TV/DVD, DVDs and variety of artefacts/furniture from the owners’ travels. A smart kitchen/dining room with polished granite worktops, butler sink and Chinese slate floor. Utility area with Belfast sink, washing machine; door to back garden. Downstairs loo. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms – a double (6’ bed), a twin, and a room with two sets of bunks; bathroom (suite) and shower-room (suite).  At the front of the property is a fairly large, enclosed walled garden with a partially hidden den and patio with table/chairs; at the back, an enclosed garden with large patio (table/chairs), steps down to a lawn.

Kitchen/dining room

Kitchen/dining room



Link road between Teignmouth and Shaldon

Link road between Teignmouth and Shaldon



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Oysters and Thundercats this week!

Two Cornish events this week – the first one is the Falmouth Oyster Festival this Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th October, and the second is the Thundercats (sorry, not the cartoon) Power Boat Racing at Watergate Bay 11th to 13th October.

So, to start off the oyster dredging season, the Falmouth Oyster Festival promises to offer some of the finest oysters to be found, along with a diverse mix of additional Cornish seafood caught in the region. There will be many activities such as cooking demos by leading local chefs, local ale, children’s shell painting, a town parade, live music and much more!

If that doesn’t ‘float your boat’ (excuse the pun!) then there is always the Thundercats Power Boat Racing where spectators can watch the action-packed races from the shore to see who will make world champion!

With views over Watergate Bay, this 2 bedroom apartment (1 double, 1 twin) on the Porth side of Newquay still has some availability for this weekend. A brilliant location for sea, sand, surf and that all important beachside pub 400 yards away!

Nicely decorated kitched/diner and living room

Nicely decorated kitchen/diner and living room

Double bedroom

Double bedroom

Spectacular view from the living room

Spectacular view from the living room


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Frome Cheese and Agricultural show

If you are down in the South West this weekend and fancy a day out, there is the Cheese and Agricultural Show in Frome on Saturday.

Cheese makers have been visiting the Show for 151 years, coming far and wide from across the globe. This year there will be around 1,200 award-winning cheeses to set your tastebuds going. Not only that, but there will be entertainment from a motorbike display team, dog agility, lurcher racing plus many other countryside pursuits and rural crafts. It’s a family-friendly event with 20,000 visitors last year and even more expected this year as its popularity grows.

Why not rest your head at this lovely family house in Compton Bishop, Somerset (sleeps 12). The Mendips rise directly behind Compton House with good walks up to Crook Peak. The property has a south-facing terrace running along the length of the house with plants, table/chairs, fire pit and BBQ.  There is also an enclosed lawn, croquet lawn (mallets provided), children’s adventure playground, trampoline, outdoor heated swimming pool (available 24 May to 13 September) and all-weather hard tennis court. Games room (pool table, darts, table football, Wii, iPod dock, TV/DVD). Table tennis in garage. Fun coarse fishing available on the river Yeo, up to 15 March and after 15 June (licence required).

Inside the property consists of a big open plan kitchen/dining room, utility room, loo, large living room and sitting room with open fire. Upstairs there are four bedrooms (three doubles and a twin with en suites). At the rear of the house is a smart annexe: hall and two double bedrooms, one with en suite bathroom (suite) and the other with en suite shower-room (wet-room suite).

View from outside

View from outside

Stunning kitchen and dining room

Stunning kitchen and dining room





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Devon Open Studios

Discover art and craft at its Devonshire source from now until 22nd September with the Devon Open Studios. 

With many artists residing in studios across Devon, open studios are a great opportunity to understand artists’ processes more clearly and buy directly from the artist or maker. Many work in interesting locations you might not normally get to explore while on holiday, so could make for an interesting excursion.

Visit the Devon Artists’ Network to find out more and find an artist to visit.

Why not take a week to explore from this beautiful base in Tawton (sleeps 12). It also has a special offer for the week commencing 14th September, with a 20% reduction in price from £1035 to £828.

View from outside

View from outside

A mile from South Tawton in heavily wooded lanes, this stunning house, converted from stone barns has the ‘wow factor’. Inside it is stylishly decorated with mostly porcelain flooring downstairs. Massive living/dining room with open fire, TV/DVD; big fitted kitchen/breakfast room (dishwasher, microwave, fridge-freezer, two ovens/5-ring ceramic hob, TV) with granite worktops and big double doors to patio/back garden. Utility room with Sheila Maid and loo with butler sink and washing machine. Off living room, a children’s den with TV/DVD, wood floor/rugs. Upstairs there are  five bedrooms (four double, one twin), two are en suite and there is a large separate bathroom also.


Opposite is an open-fronted barn with table tennis, darts, storage for bicycles/surfboards. Shooting can be arranged.

Stunning interior

Stunning interior

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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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