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Focus on: Pink Cottage, Hampshire

February 5th, 2016 by Emily
Pink Cottage, Woodgreen, New Forest, Hampshire

Pink Cottage, Woodgreen, New Forest, Hampshire

Hampshire has long been one of the UK’s top seaside holiday destinations, with famous stretches of coastline including the chalk cliffs of the Isle of Wight, historic Portsmouth and Winchester, the hubbub of Southampton and two of the country’s most-loved national parks. So, why not make this the year that you discover Hampshire?

A charming cottage in heart of the New Forest

To soak up the Hampshire atmosphere, Pink Cottage is the place. A thatched-roof cottage with mature English country garden, this chocolate-box property is nestled in the secluded village of Woodgreen deep in the New Forest National Park.

The 300-year-old cottage accommodates up to six people in rural splendour, with on-site parking and a host of village amenities within easy walking distance. The interior boasts exposed beams, a log-burning stove and original brick and ironwork features, and guests are sure to enjoy the comfortable soft furnishings at the end of each day.

A coastal county just waiting to be explored

There’s something to keep the whole family entertained in this coastal county. You can take the ferry over to the Isle of Wight for a day-trip, or soak up the view of the coastline from Portsmouth’s gargantuan Spinnaker Tower. The New Forest is a great place to let the kids loose to explore, while Paultons Park is a classic theme park that’s ideal for a summer afternoon.

The county is synonymous with Britain’s illustrious naval heritage. Portsmouth is home to the Historic Dockyard with famous vessels such as The Warrior and Mary Rose, while just across the water in Gosport is the Royal Navy Submarine Museum. If you want to go back a little further in time, there’s the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson, or the rambling mediaeval streets of Winchester.

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The best breaks on the Bristol Channel

February 3rd, 2016 by Emily
Coastal family fun at Trecco Bay Holiday Park, Porthcawl, Mid Glamorgan

Coastal family fun at Trecco Bay Holiday Park, Porthcawl, Mid Glamorgan

The Bristol Channel is a famous stretch of water that marks the border between England and Wales. An area once synonymous with the Industrial Revolution, today it has many characterful towns and pastoral beauty to enjoy on both sides of the Channel.

Enjoy a city break in Bristol

Once the second most important trading centre in the UK after London, Bristol is a charming historic city with fine examples of Victorian architecture, such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Britain and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Interactive science centre At-Bristol is a great place for kids to get stuck in, while Bristol Zoo Gardens is another fun choice for a family afternoon.

Bristol City North is a set of contemporary apartments in a peaceful suburban setting. Accommodating 2 – 4 in spacious comfort, these apartments are stylishly furnished throughout and offer weekly housekeeping services and free on-site parking. The apartments are close enough for a leisurely walk into the city centre, making them an ideal base from which to start exploring.

Discover Glamorgan’s coastal, country and urban landscapes

Home to both Welsh capital Cardiff and the major city of Swansea, Glamorgan features everything from verdant valleys to breath-taking coastlines. An ideal destination for lovers of the outdoors, visitors can take a walk through Merthyr Mawr Sand Dunes or see wildlife at Parc Slip Nature Reserve.

Trecco Bay Holiday Park is a coastal retreat with plenty to keep the whole family entertained. Accommodating 5 – 8 in comprehensively facilitated chalets, the park has everything you need for a relaxing break. The kids will be spoilt for choice, with an indoor heated pool, dodgems, mini 10-pin bowling, adventure playground, wet play area, arcade and mini golf. Meanwhile, adults can enjoy the many fine on-site eateries and entertainment centres, try out a spot of surfing or chill out in the Sportsman Bar.

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Focus on: The Gate House, Kent

January 29th, 2016 by Emily
The Gate House mini-castle holiday cottage, Dover, Kent

The Gate House mini-castle holiday cottage, Dover, Kent

Just hours from the capital, it can be easy to forget how much there is to do and see in the countryside of Kent. A historic area with stunning sea views: where better to stay than in your very own castle at The Gate House?

A unique holiday cottage in Dover

A charming property full of eccentricities, The Gate House is a lovingly constructed Grade II miniature Gothic castle, sitting on the slopes of Castle Hill in Dover close to its larger original forebear, Dover Castle. From the tower and crenellations to solid stonework and heavy wooden door, this is the model of mediaeval-style luxury.

Inside, exposed beams, an open fire and other historical features are waiting to welcome you. Sleeping up to four in roomy comfort, this holiday home includes an enclosed garden, TV and DVD player and a contemporary kitchen suite with all mod cons.

Sample Kent’s coastline and castles

Dover is famous for the white cliffs that gave the UK its first name, ‘Albion’, mixing the best of nautical heritage with clifftop views and a fascinating history. Dover Castle stands sentinel over the port and is well worth a visit, as is Deal Castle, Henry VIII’s Tudor Rose-shaped fortification just down the coast.

St. Margaret’s Bay Beach and Samphire Hoe are two unmissable stretches of coast, where on a clear day you can see the beaches of France. There’s many routes for hikers to explore along the clifftops, or explore ‘The Garden of England’ inland for fruit growing and hop gardens. There’s also a host of destinations for wildlife lovers, including The Hawking Centre, Wildlife Heritage Foundation and Lower Leas Coastal Park.

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Best holiday parks for enjoying the Welsh coast

January 27th, 2016 by Emily
Stunning coastal views and accommodation at Gwalia Falls Holiday Park, Cardigan

Stunning coastal views and accommodation at Gwalia Falls Holiday Park, Cardigan

Holidaymakers have long flocked to the remote, sandy expanse of Cardigan Bay – the historic county known as Cardiganshire or Ceredigion. Here, you can take in the fresh sea air, or find adventure with outdoor pursuits. With all the delights of a seaside holiday, mixed with a distinct flavour of Welsh heritage, you’ll find a holiday park to suit all the family.

Gwalia Falls Holiday Park, Cardigan

Gwalia Falls Holiday Park is set just outside the village of Tresaith, near Cardigan, with panoramic views overlooking the bay. A great location for spotting the local dolphins, these stylish beachside chalets feature large front windows giving lots of light and letting you take in the view from the comfort of your living room.

Accommodating 4 – 6 people in luxury, the chalet interiors have every contemporary convenience, with a flat screen TV and a host of kitchen appliances. Most lodges come with a beach-side veranda, which include sun-loungers and patio furniture to help you enjoy the great outdoors in style.

Penrhos Park Holiday Park, near Aberystwyth

Penrhos Park is an adventure-filled destination with a smorgasbord of activities to give you and your family an experience like no other. It’s a golfer’s paradise, with a 9-hole pitch-and-putt, 18-hole golf course and dedicated driving range. There’s also tennis courts, a games room and indoor heated pool, or you can pamper yourself in the spa pool, sauna and solarium.

Both lodges and caravan-style accommodation are available at the site, for 4 – 6 people. Wooden walls, floor and furnishings give the properties a warm, homely feel. Luxury lodges feature flat-screen TV/DVDs and dishwashers, and all properties have full kitchen conveniences, ensuring that you can enjoy an inspirational holiday in comfort.

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Focus on: River Edge Lodges, Perthshire

January 22nd, 2016 by Emily
View from River Edge Lodges, Bridge of Earn Perth, Perthshire

View from River Edge Lodges, Bridge of Earn Perth, Perthshire

A holiday in Scotland is a great way to spend quality time, letting you explore the wilderness before retiring to a cosy retreat. Perthshire is known as ‘the big county’ north of the border, as it stretches from the Lowland valleys up to the Highland peaks. And where better to start exploring than the scenic River Edge Lodges?

Riverside luxury at the gateway to the Highlands

River Edge Lodges sit on an enviable vantage point overlooking the River Earn. Kintillo, which claims to be the oldest village in Scotland, is the nearest conurbation, lined with charming 18th century thatched cottages. Perth, Dundee, Edinburgh and the Highlands are also all easily accessible for a day trip.

The site features high-sided wooden cabins that can accommodate 4 – 8 people, with cosy interiors, statement wood beams, and skylights that drape the walls with light. Fishing, farm animals and a children’s outdoor play area are all available at this family-run site, helping you to start your holiday whilst barely leaving your lodge.

Enjoy the Scottish wilderness with a holiday in Perthshire

No holiday in Perthshire would be complete without a healthy dose of outdoor pursuits. For a more sedate hike, you can visit The Hermitage Woodland Walk or Birnam Wood – made famous in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Alternatively, you can enjoy family thrills at Nae Limits Adventure, or stop off for a taste for the area at Edradour Distillery.

The area has history dating back as far as the Iron Age, which you can relive at The Scottish Crannog Centre, or enjoy the splendour of the many castles and palaces, including The Black Watch Castle & Museum, Scone Palace and Drummond Gardens.

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Easter Bank Holiday destinations with a taste of spring

January 20th, 2016 by Emily
Style in a spring setting at Kingfisher Apartments, in Lyng nr Norwich, Norfolk

Style in a spring setting at Kingfisher Apartments, in Lyng nr Norwich, Norfolk

As the frost nips this January, you must be day-dreaming of the Easter holidays, and a holiday full of colour and life. To get you all warmed up, we’ve scoured our records and come up with two ideal Easter holiday plans that will help you forget all about winter.

Wake up to Sun View Lodges, Gwynedd

Set right on the coast of sublime Snowdonia, Sun View Lodges offer a contemporary and spacious retreat, sleeping up to six people. The lodges are reminiscent of Swiss chalets, with bright interiors of characterful knotted wood and stylish soft furnishings, and your own hot tub on the veranda to sit back and enjoy the view.

Not only can you witness Snowdonia’s dramatic hills burst into life, you can stop by at nearby Bodnant Gardens and wander amongst the daffodils and through the Laburnum arch. One of the most wondrous spectacles in the area each spring is the birthing of Wales’ most famous export – lamb. These little critters are a true taste of spring and can be found gamboling in nearby fields.

Discover the magic of Kingfisher Apartments, Norfolk

Combining modern convenience with country living, Kingfisher Apartments are a set of lakeside properties that accommodate 4 – 6. With on-site fishing, a heated outdoor pool and children’s play area, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy. Or, just recline on your balcony and take in the endless panoramas of the Broads, illuminated by spring sunshine.

Spring is when the bluebell wood at nearby Blickling Estate really comes to life, and – as with most National Trust properties – there’s a playground for the kids and country estate for the adults. Alternatively, you could check out the North Norfolk Railway Steam Gala, or sample some of the area’s famous seafood.

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Focus on: Smithy Barn, Cheshire

January 15th, 2016 by Emily
Stylish contemporary interior at Smithy Barn, Sandiway, Cheshire

Stylish contemporary interior at Smithy Barn, Sandiway, Cheshire

Cheshire is a quintessentially British corner of the country, with everything from countryside and coast to cultural centres and kids’ attractions on offer all year round. And, if you’re on the hunt for an ideal spot from which to explore the West Country and Welsh Borders, then look no further than Smithy Barn, in Sandiway just 15 miles from Chester.

A classic Victorian barn conversion with a twist

A perfect spot for couples, Smithy Barn is a characterful, contemporary barn conversion that’s full of style from the moment you enter. Victorian red brick walls and a local slate roof give way to a sumptuously modern monochrome interior, featuring exposed beams, chic furnishings and a spiral staircase up to the mezzanine level sleeping area.

The property features all mod cons, including Wi-Fi and Freeview TV, and you can enjoy the half-acre of lawns complete with garden furniture. Conveniently, it’s within walking distance of pubs and amenities, within five miles of Go Ape and Delamere Forest, and just an hour from Manchester on the train.

Rural holidays in Cheshire

Cheshire nestles on the north end of the Welsh border, with villages of local red sandstone and thatched roofs, and rolling green countryside.

The area boasts a host of attractions for the whole family. Chester is a hive of historical sites, from the mediaeval walls to the Gothic cathedral and Roman Gardens, while just outside there’s the Tudor Little Moreton Hall and Quarry Bank Mill, built during the industrial revolution. You can also keep the kids happy with a trip to Chester Zoo, Crocky Tail or Ice Cream Farm.

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Beach breaks on the English Riviera

January 13th, 2016 by Emily
Enjoying the English Riviera at Landscombe Holiday Park, Devon

Enjoying the English Riviera at Landscombe Holiday Park, Devon

With winter set to bite hard this January, we’re all daydreaming of sunshine and summer, when you can take the kids away for a beach break.

With an unusually mild climate and long, sandy beaches, there’s a good reason why the 22 miles of Devonshire coast around Torbay has been dubbed the ‘English Riviera’. Here’s tips for exploring this illustrious piece of British coastline.

Discover the delights of Devon

There’s so much to see and do on the English Riviera. Whether you explore the sandy coastline between Torquay Harbour and Berry Head Nature Reserve, or venture inland to one of the many attractions, there’ll be something for the whole family to enjoy.

Kids will love Babbacombe Model Village, the Dartmouth Otter Sanctuary and nearby Paignton Zoo, while adults can explore the historic Kents Tavern, or indulge themselves in the old haunts of all-time-bestselling crime writer Agatha Christie – a one-time occupant of the area.

Find an ideal base and begin your adventure

Landscove Holiday Park sits on a lofty vantage point, boasting panoramic sea views from the verdant surroundings of Berry Head. Accommodating 4 – 8 in elegant chalets, the park has a huge range of attractions for the whole family: from indoor and outdoor heated pools, kids’ clubs and game zone for the little ones, to bingo, bars and the Ocean Club for adults.

Devon Bay Holiday Park overlooks the sandy expanse of Paignton Beach and is within easy walking distance of a host of amenities and attractions. Accommodating up to six in comfy, caravan-style holiday homes, kids can enjoy both indoor and outdoor heated pools, as well as crazy golf and an adventure playground. Meanwhile, adults can take advantage of the spa and gym facilities, or simply relax at the onsite restaurant and entertainment area.

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Focus on: The Garden Cottage, Fife

January 8th, 2016 by Emily
The Garden Cottage, in Blebo nr. St Andrews, Fife

The Garden Cottage, in Blebo nr. St Andrews, Fife

With the days growing longer again, January is the time to start fantasising about holiday destinations. If you’re looking to experience something truly different in a location that fuses the best of countryside and coastal holidays, Fife might just be the spot for you.

A rural retreat in the Scottish Lowlands

The Garden Cottage is nestled in a tranquil corner of a country estate just 4 miles from St. Andrews. Nature lovers and walkers can set off on epic treks right from the doorstep, and the area is also dotted with traditional country inns and shops for provisions – many within easy walking distance.

A Victorian stone cottage with elegant parkland views, this quaint escape features a south-facing walled garden, as well as open fire and patio with furniture and barbeque. Accommodating up to four people, it provides all mod cons, including dishwasher and Wi-Fi, and gives drivers and cyclists alike a secure place to park their ride.

Enjoy coast and countryside in the same trip

The Garden Cottage is situated just off the coast of south-east Scotland, close to the Firth of Forth. The historic cities of Sterling and Edinburgh – both steeped in history and boasting fine examples of mediaeval architecture – are within easy reach, as are quintessentially Scottish villages such as Crail Harbour.

St. Andrews is reputedly home to the oldest golf course in the world (suitably called the ‘Old Course’), as well as the picturesque ruins of St. Andrews Castle. Tentsmuir Forest and the beach at West Sands provide two enviable natural retreats, and no visit would be complete without a jaunt across the iconic Forth Bridge.

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Top UK wetland rural breaks for 2016

January 6th, 2016 by Emily
Woodlakes lodges near Downham, Norfolk

Woodlakes lodges near Downham, Norfolk

UK wetlands are thriving, with new nature reserves assuring the futures of many of our most valued bird species. So, with 2016 set to be the best wetlands year yet in the UK, we’ve found the top destinations to enjoy a break in comfort and style.

Birdwatching in Norfolk

With nature reserves at Cley, Titchwell, Holkham, Blakeney, Snettisham and Welney all within easy reach, Norfolk has become the UK birdwatching capital. Whether it’s flocks of migrating geese, fierce predators like the marsh harrier and peregrine falcon, water birds like the curlew and kingfisher or rare warblers, budding ornithologists will be spoilt for choice.

Situated close to the banks of the River Great Ouse, Woodlakes lodges are an ideal base for your explorations. A group of log cabins surrounding a private lake, each sleeping 4-6, these comfortable lodges bring nature right to your door. And they’re also close to many of Norfolk’s charming villages and market towns.

Rural breaks in Somerset

The Somerset Levels have been mined for peat for millennia, but are now being returned to their natural wetland state. Otters and other aquatic mammals have since come back, alongside a host of marine waders. However, the real stars are the migrating starlings, which descend on Shapwick and Meare Heaths each winter in their millions.

A stay at The Piggery just outside Wells makes for a welcoming and relaxing retreat. Don’t be fooled by its name: this luxurious barn conversion accommodates up to four with chic contemporary furnishings, indoor pool, sauna and steam room, hot tub, gym and tennis court – the perfect tonic to a long day in the marshes.

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