Cottages updated today Wednesday 22 May 2013
This website is a personal look by Sarah and Matthew Williams at their cottage holidays throughout the UK, the trials and tribulations of choosing the right cottage every year, selecting the area to visit that mixes the traditional comforts of staying in a traditional holiday cottage, against the need to stay in a new area and discover more of the hidden corners of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Our first cottage holiday was way back, and every year since then we have travelled to a new area, staying in several holiday cottages every year. Our Summer Holiday in 2012 will take us back to Cornwall, our favourite county for cottages, a very quiet rural place that is geared up to welcome holidaymakers. We will be writing a report of the cottage that we stay in and give you the lowdown of what it was like, whether we enjoyed ourselves with the kids, and tell you how it measured up to our last holiday at the beginning of the year in a cottage in Pembrokeshire.
When you are looking to book your cottage you need to check that it meets your requirements. Don't forget to check whether you can take pets like cats and dogs, but also run through this checklist of facilities: smoking electric oven gas hob fridge freezer microwave dishwasher tv video stereo hifi gas central heating garden private parking linen duvet and towels high chair hairdryer open fire double single and twin beds tumble drier.
You should also check when your cottage is available as some cottages are not open spring summer autumn and winter. Availability of cottages differs throughout the United Kingdom based on the type of area you are booking, whether it is a seaside town, a rural country village, farm, or a major city.
What do you want to do when you arrive? Selfcatering is probably best because you can eat when you want. It is a holiday after all!! Self catering is the choice of about 90% of holiday home rentals whether the cottage is cheeap or expensive and luxurious. Is your cottage located near to leisure facilities like a swimming pool, horse riding, cycle rental and cycling paths so that you don't have to take your bike with you on your car. Other facilities that you may want to check are coarse, sea or fly fishing, and find out in advance whether you need an angling permit.
Are you thinking about a cottage rental in England or the UK this summer? Holiday cottages are great places to stay in the Summer when you want to take your traditional Easter or Summer holiday, and you should be thinking about booking your 2012 and 2013 Summer breaks. But what about autumn and Winter 2012? A Christmas, summer, autumn, spring or winter and New Year holiday in a holiday cottage or apartment in the UK is a perfect way to spend quality time with your family. Imagine driving through the snow to a remote, rural rustic country cottage, wending your way down country roads and arriving in a cosy and comfortable holiday house that sleeps your whole party, with a roaring coal or log fire, where you can sit around a Christmas tree and unwrap your presents, sharing the most festive christmas break with the ones you love. Cottages to let in country villages are such a central part of many families holiday arrangements in the Christmas, summer, autumn, spring or winter period that you need to make sure you book early, unless you are happy to make a last minute Christmas, summer, autumn, spring or winter booking and benefit from cancellations and discounts. A discount may not be what you want though - you might want a cheap holiday cottage, but you might alternatively want a luxury or executive cottage or holiday home with all the extras that make relaxing at home so comfortable. Really, you can view this as a home from home! At present, availability in the following months is very good: Easter, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December, Weekend breaks, Bank holiday weekend, Easter week 2012, Christmas week 2012 and New Year week 2012 and 2013. Fortnight bookings are still available in many months, with Summer the most sought after, followed by Autumn, Spring and then Winter.
Scottish holiday cottages and self catering holiday cottages in the Western Isles of Scotland promise the most spectacular scenery, while self catering holidays in Ireland and self catering holiday cottages in Ireland bring you Guinness and green meadows where you can drive for miles without meeting a soul. The South East offers you thousands of self catering holiday cottages in England wheras the South East is often more sunny with good weather for most of the year.
Holiday cottages in Northern England, Northumberland Yorkshire and the Lakes, plus the gorgeous but homely North West tend to be built from local stone and give you a more rustic alternative. On the other hand, holiday cottages in the Shetlands and Orkney Islands of Scotland Argyll Skye and Mull will be more remote, although you can expect phones, electricity and central heating.
Holiday cottages in Scotland, the South West and Wales and holiday cottages in England, the South West, Derbyshire and the Peak District, make the self catering holiday cottages in Northern Ireland seem all the more attractive because a short flight from one of the main airports will get you there in a hop.
If you are by the beach, you might want to check whether there is a nearby sailing club or marina so that you can spend some quality time with the family out at sea, bracing the weather in the English Channel. Safe family sailing facilities might also be of interest if you are less adventurous, spending time at inland lakes, canals and rivers.
The United Kingdom is packed with culture and an extaordinary wealth of heritage and natural beauty spots. National parks like the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, Exmoor and Dartmoor, or the New Forest, cathedrals, castles and stately homes as well as gardens and costal areas, lowlands and highlands. If you want a holiday cottage near a historic city then you can enjoy days out to museums and galleries for days when the weather is mild. On hot sunny days then maybe swimming in the sea or in public swimming pools will be the way to cool down. You'll need a hat and suncream factor 10 or above if you have sensitive skin and make sure you don't sunbathe too long!
Don't forget, when you book your holiday home or chalet even if it is a last minute booking that you want to make sure the accomodation is the right quality, so maybe it will need to be a well equipped high quality cottage with its own swimming pool and workout gym, or a mid priced cottage that will let you spend more money when you rent a car to drive around the countryside. If your house is going to be a cheap or low cost alternative then you need to make sure that it has all the facilities you need like toilet and bathroom, shower facilities and its own garden or patio that will give you space to have a barbecue when the evening sun goes down.
Cottages that sleep one or two people are often available out of season, and during the school holidays like half term and the Christmas break. If your cottage sleeps three, four, five, six or seven people then you can expect to have a massive selection of holiday properties to choose from. Cottages that sleep parties of eight, nine, ten, eleven or twelve people are more likely to have a garden and plenty of space inside to move around and relax on the sofa.
Holiday cotages in England, Scotland Ireland and Wales are a great base when you want to spend your time in your holiday home on foot, maybe a walking holiday, hill hiking or mountain climbing. Just remember to take your walking boots, some comfortable warm and dry clothing and a bar of Kendal Mint Cake! Your comfortable cotage will be waiting for you when you have had an exercise filled day out seeing the gorgeous scenery.
Holiday Cottages in the UK are usually in the more scenic rural counties such as Shakespeare Country, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, Scotland , Sussex, Cornish cottages, North Yorkshire Coast, Wales , The Cotswolds, Peak District, Buckinghamshire, Near Bath and Wells, Suffolk, Kent, Dartmoor and West Devon, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Essex, Mid Cornwall, Northumberland, Blackpool and The North West, Shropshire, York and the Vale of York, East Anglia , Edinburgh and The Border Country, South Devon, Snowdonia and the North, Pembrokeshire and the South, Royal Deeside, Cairngorms and the North East, Ullapool and Wester.
If you're thinking of staying in a holiday cottage in Cornwall you should read our regional guides:
If you are thinking of staying in a holiday cottage in Cumbria:
Holiday cottages in Dorset:
Many of the most picturesque areas of England now have holiday cottages to let that have been converted from working traditional farm houses into modern spacious cottages where you can cater for yourself and enjoy gorgeous country walks, whistling as you walk over hills and through farmyards and over grassy fields. These unspoild areas of English countryside include Ross, North Cornwall, Norfolk Broads, Yorkshire Dales, South Norfolk, North Yorkshire Moors, Center Parcs, Oban and Argyll, Dorset, Skye and The Isles, North Devon, Yorkshire and Northumberland , North Norfolk and its Coast, Cornwall , Berkshire, Heart of England , Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, Cardigan Bay and Mid Wales, Anglesey, London and the Home Counties, Devon , East Devon, Dorset and Somerset , Wiltshire, Sutherland, Caithness and Easter, Cumberland, Cumbria, The Lakes and The Eden Valley, Somerset, Cheshire, Devonshire Heartland, Hereford, Worcester and The Wye Valley, Bronte County, Cumbria , Lake District National Park, South Cornwall, Lochaber, Loch Ness, The Great Glen and Inverness, St Andrews, Perthshire and Tayside, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, Ayrshire Coast, Dumfries and Galloway, South of England , and the Cotswolds.
When you are thinking about holiday cottage rental in the England Ireland Scotland and Wales it is worth considering the meaning of the details you read in a typical holiday home description. When picturesque views are described, perhaps of rolling hills and rural green countryside you can expect to be situated in a remote area of the country. You may be on the edge of a small village or town, so you need to think about local shopping, and whether you will need to drive your car to get basic supplies. It is worth considering whether your holiday cottage is near to a large supermarket like Sainsburys Waitrose Tescos Safeways Asda or Budgen, because you will need to stock up with a variety of food and wines so that you can enjoy your holiday.
Some rustic cottages have partly exposed old beams and these are a very attractive feature of old farm cottages, some of which are hundreds of years old. The layout of these old cottages is very traditional and some may have one or two bathrooms, a shower or power shower, possibly with an en suite to the master bedroom. Low ceilings and inglenook fireplaces are typical features, along with aga cookers and stone flagged floors, all of which have alternative modern equivalents that are a little more easy to live with but do not have the same attractive traditional character. On the other hand, you might want to ensure you have modern conveniences like a microwave, washing machine, dishwasher and tumble drier, along with an iron and ironing board. Don't forget to check whether you need to bring your own bedding, pillows and continental quilt, or maybe a duvet is supplied. Also you can never have too many towels when you are packing for your cottage holiday.
When you are planning your cottage holiday in the UK you have an amazing choice of activities, with walking holidays always a good combination, because it fits so well with self catering accomocation. Farmstays are also great because you get the experience of life on a real life farm, with a rustic farmyard, and often dairy animals. You need to remember that a farmstay sometimes involves a bit of work so you need to sort out the terms and conditions when you book your holiday. Traditionally adventure holidays have not been part of luxury travel or business travel plans but this is changing now, as cultural holidays can take place on your back door, taking the family for a challenging holiday, based around a rustic English cottage or eco lodge, and spending time on the beach without the need for long claustrophobic jet flights. You can find the wilderness in your garden, making sure your travel clothing is up to the job. Self catering cottage holidays give you a great base, if you volunteer travel by air then remember on a cottage holiday you often carry a little more luggage so you will need a taxi to the airport.
Ecotourism has taken great strides over the last few years with solar powered heating and eco light bulbs becoming common features especially in rural areas of the countryside. We've got some great honeymoon ideas, with cottages and honeymoon hotel, B and B, backpackers and the now obligatory rural thatched cottage, and your well being is enhanced by good health advice, community liaison for both long summer stays and short breaks. City accomodation really can't compare with staying in a country cottage, because the air is so clean, and the smells so evocative.
There is still plenty of time to make your last minute summer bookings, and remember you will need to have insurance, car hire and you may have a special interest in bringing pets or gap year students. Remember that over fifties and backpackers take a special interest in making sure they stay dry, and in the same way you will want to make sure your guide books tell you about beach towels, wind breaks swimwear, and comfy day beds so that if you go for a swim in the sea or just a paddle at beach resorts, or enjoy the water slides and wave machines in the local swimming pool you will have the time of your life! Travel magazines so often expound on the virtues of wildlife safaris, winter sports like skiing and going on holiday to spain and ibiza, but you've got all you need for your next cottage holiday right on your back door.