Wednesday 21 May 2014

The AHC guide to cottage holidays

Now don't get me wrong, I love a wee in the sea as much as the next person but a holiday doesn't always need to be based around the beach. (Hubby's just informed me, not everyone likes a wee in the sea, is this true??)  Like many people, I used to associate the word 'holiday' with sun, sand and sangria. A holiday in the UK simply conjured up images of Carry-on camping and school trips to Bognor. Initially we chose to holiday in the UK to save money, but now we've discovered the goodies it has to offer, we actually prefer it ... and the dog gets a holiday too! So for those who aren't convinced lets see if I can put your mind at rest and turn you into cottage lovers .... that didn't sound right did it? here's my rough guide to cottage holidays ...

This was the beautiful woodland behind our cottage in Wales.
We had a lovely picnic here and I'm sure I saw a faerie ...?

What's a cottage holiday like??

It's exactly what you want it to be. There's lots of websites that allow you to search for your ideal house, in your ideal location. We always choose a VERY rustic little cottage with a fire miles from anywhere, where we can walk around in our pants without Miggins going "Ooher Missus!!!" But if it's a family affair we'll opt for something less remote with a games room perhaps. There are so many cottages to suit all styles - whether it's a romantic retreat with hot-tub or a family orientated house for Christmas.

The great thing about cottage holidays is they're cheaper and easier to arrange. You can book a cottage tonight, throw your people / dogs in the car and be off tomorrow. Not everyone can afford big holidays away but we still need a break, and even a weekend away can breath new life into us.

The view from our bedroom window in Cornwall,
looking out onto a little stream ...  beautiful.

5 Cottage holiday myths

"It won't feel like a holiday if we're not abroad..."
We do enjoy tropical beach holidays but it's nice to do something different, and this country has so many wonderful places to explore. We've had some wonderful cottage holidays in places such as the Welsh mountains, Lake district, Cornwall and Shropshire. We've also had some fabulous holidays in yurts, cabins and wild camping in Scotland! but we've only just scratched the surface. In many places it can actually feel like you're in another country because it's so different! Try it once and you'll start to get a taste for what's out there ... 

Shropshire - Waiting for hubby to cook my dinner over the

"If the weather is bad, the holiday will be ruined ...." 
A wise person said "There's no such thing as bad weather, just a bad choice of clothing." I now find this to be true. I never used to go out in the rain but having to walk Ralphy rain or shine has made me enjoy the rain, and I no longer see it as an obstacle. Also you can just plan around it, if we know it's going to rain we might visit indoor places on that day or stay in the dry playing games / reading in front of the fire where it's cosy. Having said all that, we've enjoyed great weather on many of our uk getaways.

Relaxing with nothing to do but eat, sleep and read ...
and that's just Ralphy.

"It would feel like I was staying in someone else's house" ... 
Staying in a cottage is very much like staying in a hotel. It's presented the same: fresh bed linen and towels, empty cupboards, hairdryer in the drawer but has a fully equipped kitchen, etc so once you've unpacked it feels like your own house. I love unpacking and 'setting up home' by taking extra blankets, pretty scarves, candles etc so I can prettify it even more - but that's just me. 

One of favourite stays in Wales. A beautiful cottage overlooking a
beautiful garden.

"I go on holiday to get away from washing up and cooking ..." 
There are so many lovely restaurants you needn't cook if you don't want too. Though hubby really enjoys cooking when we go away. You'll find things that things that are a chore at home often aren't in a cottage. I even do some washing through the week so i won't have any when I get home. I enjoy doing it there too! 

Breakfast and coffee - Watching the sunrise on a welsh moutainside.

"The owners live nearby. Will we have privacy?" 
When searching you'll see some cottages state 'owners live nearby.' We prefer being totally isolated so I was reluctant when we stayed in a cottage near the owners but we needn't have worried. Owners are always careful to give you complete privacy. The key if often under the mat and you won't see them at all unless you want too. I've had some really nice chats when I have spoken to them and I've even stayed friends with one. Note it's often cheaper to book directly through the owners so if you want to return it's worth having a chat with them. 

Ralphy in his favourite place - fetching sticks in a stream.
I think he may have fallen in here ...

How do I find and book a cottage holiday?

Here are my favourite websites to use. Simply fill in all your requirements and search away. You can be really specific, and note the price can change dramatically depending on the time of year. It's especially cheap around Spring and Autumn - which are the prettiest seasons for a country getaway.

 Great cottage websites. Easy to use and covers all of UK and France.

Some lovely coast and country cottages.

A lovely website that includes a wonderful choice of unusual accommodation! great cabins, yurts and tree houses as well as hotels, cottages and B&B's. Based in Britain, France, Portugal and Spain.

Alistair Sawdays website includes some really lovely B&B's, cottages, hotels, cabins, yurts, and tree houses. Can be a bit pricey but well worth a look.

Nite nite! x

JM x

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  1. We love staying in cottages too, and caravans. I take all my blankets and candle holders and strings of fairy lights, my husband laughs at me! I love the look of the blue one in your photos. Whereabouts in Wales is that? We have stayed in North Wales and its lovely. We are staying in a lovely cottage in Cornwall this August and can't wait. year. Lulu loved it last year being on the glorious beaches. X

    1. Hi Jenny, aww fairy lights is a fab idea! Haha, my husband laughs at we too! :-) The blue Cottage is called Waun Bayvil, close to Newport. I'll send you the link if I can find it. Oh I love Cornwall!! very magical place, and EVERYONE is so friendly! xx

  2. I am a huge fan of cottage holidays! The search, the excitement, making it my home for the week, exploring, wishing I had the views, I love it all! Mainly Wales, but then I am biased as I live in Wales! Off to a lovely cottage in Menai Bridge at the beginning of December and can't wait, Jane x ps have only just discovered your lovely blog so I am reading bits and bobs!

    1. Oh Jane I love Wales too! In fact hubby proposed to me in a little cottage in Wales :-) I hope you have a wonderful time in December! we were hoping to escape ourselves but is looking more like Jan now, which is always a lovely way to start the New Year. Thanks for writing, glad you're enjoying the blog xx