Get organised and book early for a UK holiday

I’m always amazed how quickly holiday cottages book up for the summer, especially in the popular seaside resorts of Devon and Cornwall, Pembrokeshire, Dorset and even along the Northumberland coast. Getting the size of holiday property you want, in the location of your choice, with all your requirements you need, on the dates that fit in with school holidays, annual leave, or work commitments, can be a nightmare if you don’t get organised early.  And if you want to rent a groups of cottages to holiday with family or friends and bring along a dog or two it can be even more complicated!  It often seems to me that all the best holiday cottages in popular locations are booked year on year by the same people, which is great for holiday cottage owners, and the those ‘in the know’, but not so good for the rest of us who can’t get a look in.  Even caravans by the sea seem to get booked up early.
However, as the sizzling summer of 2013 showed, camping by the coast, booking a yurt, gypsy caravan or a shepherds hut can be a great choice and may offer more availability if you take a gamble and book early.  Taking an eco-holiday doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on luxury either.  There are campsites with swimming pools, log cabins with hot tubs, lodges with spa facilities on site.  All can provide great alternatives to the hassle of flying abroad.

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Forget flying with babies and toddlers – holiday in UK for less stress

From my experience flying with a baby or young children is a particularly stressful experience. It might seem like a good idea to take a holiday in the sun – you don’t have to pay for a seat until they are two, and they’ll sit still won’t they? Small babies can be wonderfully adaptable and as long as they are fed, watered and kept clean are happy anywhere,  aren’t they?  Oh no! After all the hassle of checking in, hanging round the airport for hours,  worrying if your brand-new bugaboo pram will be in one piece after being chucked in the hold, you can’t predict how your little one will react to flying – the change in pressure at taking off and landing may effect their ears, and they may decide that this is the time to scream inconsolably for two hours during the flight, resulting in the severe annoyance of your fellow passengers, and what happens if the dreaded exploding nappy happens – baby changing facilities in plane toilets are limited, and it’s tricky at the best of times – and worse if are experiencing a spot of turbulence!  Let’s face it, wherever you go, a holiday with kids is not the same as a holiday pre-children, or without them – you can’t switch off.  Far better to choose a holiday in the UK, and save yourselves lots of stress.  And it doesn’t have to lack in luxury, there are some gorgeous cottages to rent with swimming pools or even log cabins with hot tubs!  You’ve got the added security of knowing if children are ill, Doctors are easy to get hold of.

I remember a very stressful flight to Rome, with my 9 month old.  I tried to discreetly breast feed her on take-off to help balance her ears (as advised). She didn’t want to know – and kept sticking her head up and grinning at the large gentlemen beside me, leaving my breast exposed and me trying look like I regularly spurt milk up at emergency call buttons! Then the loud chattering started; fellow passengers smiled warmly at first, but I could see their tolerance start to diminish as her chuckles turned to tears. Toys on the floor, biscuit crumbs in my hair, and the worry that a dirty nappy was imminent made it feel like the longest flight of my life!  When we finally landed in Rome, the plane was delayed on the runway for 30 minutes! And, just when I thought I’d avoided the baby changing facilities, my daughter decided to void herself of three days worth of waste and stank out the entire cabin! Worse still it is when we were queuing to get off, and there had been some other hold up, so I couldn’t move.  Forget the Trevi Fountain suddenly a log cabin in Dorset seemed a much better idea ….

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Late availability in the Scottish Borders

Due to a cancellation, Burnbrae Holidays, in the heart of the beautiful Scottish Borders, have availability 27/03/2012 to 06/04/2012.

2nts £190 3rd free 4nts £220 7nts only £285

Our warm and spacious cottages are surrounded by pretty views, particularly in spring. Idealy located for walks from site. Kelso town is 3 miles away which has great restaurants and a lovely abbey. Beautiful historic houses are closeby. Price for 2 includes bedlinen, towels, heating, elec,internet. Call 01573 225570 or check website.

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Tickets please! Fancy staying in an old railway carriage?

Fancy staying in a old railway carriage? Could be just the thing if you’ve got a ‘train mad’ child or even a husband with a liking for railways! The owner of these lovely self catering railway carriages, situated near Pickering on the edge of the North Yorks Moors National Park, just sent us this new photo to add to the EcoHolidayShop – and it certainly makes me want to visit! A reminder to other holiday property owners to let us know if you want to update any of your information or provide a new photo.
Spending a week in a railway carriage would definitely be a different experience than staying in a caravan and the location of the Old Station is great for visiting the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors, Dalby Forest or visiting the seaside. For a greener experience, you could even cycle from the Old Station to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, just 5 miles away, and catch the train to Whitby for the day.

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Luxury Easter Breaks in South Devon – Prices from £775

Book a holiday and spend sunny afternoons exploring rock pools, or taking long walks along the unspoilt sandy beaches and coastal paths in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Visit the maritime town of Dartmouth and browse the boutique shops, or head to the popular sailing town of Salcombe and give some watersports a whirl!

Broadsands, Thurlestone (sleeps 12)
Luxury Easter Breaks in South Devon

This elegant country house is the perfect place to spend Easter with all the family. Situated in the heart of the South Devon countryside, this Five Star Gold VisitBritain awarded house offers luxury spacious accommodation for all the family, including a magnificent drawing room complete with mini grand piano, a stylish contemporary kitchen and exquisite orangery, large formal dining room, bar and games room. Enjoy pursuits such as sandcastle building or kite flying on the unspoilt sandy beach, just a two minute walk away. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, entertain the children for hours with a fun Easter egg hunt! Easter weeks commencing 31st March and 7th April are £3250.

1 At the Beach, Torcross (sleeps 6)

Apartment 1 At The Beach is a very spacious and particularly well presented ground floor apartment with a private terrace and superb sea views across Start Bay. Stylish and contemporary, this VisitBritain Five Star Gold awarded property is just a few yards from the beach, village pub, cafes and restaurants. Why not enjoy a game of beach cricket on the seaside, or take a short walk through the village to the unique freshwater lake Slapton Ley, and build up an appetite for Easter lunch! The historic maritime town of Dartmouth is a short drive away, with its boutique shops, restaurants and art galleries. The weeks commencing 31st March and 7th April are £775.

Osprey House, Thurlestone Sleeps: 8

New for 2012, this spacious house is within a small development of new properties on the edge of Thurlestone village. Enjoy a family meal on Easter Sunday in the contemporary dining room, and take in the beautiful views across country fields and a wetland conservation area. The whole family can watch the many species of bird in their natural habitat, including the ospreys! With so much room, both internally and externally, the family can hunt for their Easter Eggs, whatever the weather. The pub, village stores/post office and challenging 18-hole links golf course are around half a mile away. The beaches and coast path are also within easy reach. The weeks commencing 30th March and 6th April are £971.

21 Dart Marina, Dartmouth (sleeps 4)

This beautiful apartment is within the exclusive Dart Marina development and is situated on the edge of the River Dart. The apartment is VisitBritain Five Star Gold awarded and has an internal ‘Juilet’ style balcony, as well as sumptuous, luxury furnishings. Why not enjoy some delicious locally made hot cross buns in the comfort of your spacious holiday home, whilst admiring the picturesque river views. Guests can also enjoy the use of the luxury facilities of the Dart Marina Health Spa. Walk along the picturesque waterfront into Dartmouth and enjoy a champagne breakfast at Café Alfresco, or a delicious meal at the award winning restaurant The Seahorse. The weeks commencing 30th March and 6th April are £1325.

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Book your Summer Holiday in South Devon before 14th February and save up to £300*on selected weeks and properties!

Court Lodge, Hillfield Cottages and Country House, Nr Dartmouth (sleeps 10)

The stunning Hillfield Cottages and Country House development, near the historic maritime town of Dartmouth, is perfect for those with a family, looking for a Summer holiday. Surrounded by acres of beautiful gardens, Hillfield facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, all-weather tennis court and children’s play area. With 28 individually designed properties, there is accommodation to suit all party sizes. Book a week at Court Lodge, a stunning VisitBritain Five Star Gold awarded property sleeping 10, with a private hot tub and spacious deck, ideal for alfresco dining. Offer Extended – £200 OFF selected weeks in July & August, now £2790, under £40 per person, per night, if booked before 14th February 2012.  Alternatively choose a smaller property like one of the Keepers Cottages. These stylish cottages sleep up to four people, and each have a private deck area. Offer Extended – £75 OFF selected high season weeks in July & August, now £815, under £30 per person per night, if booked before 14th February 2012.

Holset House, East Portlemouth (sleeps 12)

For those looking for a property near the popular sailing town of Salcombe, with its beautiful sandy coves, endless water sport opportunities and fabulous shops and restaurants, why not stay at Holset House, East Portlemouth (sleeps 12).With £300* off selected weeks in July and August 2012, this luxury VisitBritain Five Star Gold awarded elegant country house is ideal for a large family gathering. The property has beautiful gardens, children’s play equipment and a fantastic South facing terrace. A truly rural retreat, the property is within easy reach of the South West Coast Path. Offer Extended – £300 OFF selected high season weeks in July & August 2012, now £3125, under £45 per person, per night based on 10 sharing, if booked before 14th February 2012.

Broxdowne Cottage, Dartmouth (sleeps 4)

For sporty families looking for a rejuvenating break, book a week at Broxdowne Cottage, a VisitBritain Five Star awarded thatched property at Dartmouth Green, near Dartmouth.  This stylish newly reconstructed cottage sleeps four and is finished to an exceptional standard, with luxurious furnishings throughout. Relax in the sunny conservatory, or enjoy a game of tennis at the nearby communal tennis court. Situated adjacent to the Championship Golf course near Dartmouth, guests can enjoy the use of ‘Privilege Golfer’s Card’ which reduces green fees by 50% and also provides free access to the ‘Lakeside Health and Beauty Suite’ within the clubhouse, where facilities include an indoor leisure pool and Jacuzzi. Offer Extended! £75 OFF selected mid season weeks in June & July 2012, now £690, under £25 per person per night, if booked before 14th February 2012.

Blackbird Barn, Woodleigh (sleeps 4)

Looking for a peaceful spot to enjoy some quiet family time? Blackbird Barn is a beautifully finished, spacious and contemporary barn conversion, perfect for a family or couple looking for a luxury Summer break. The property is VisitBritain Four Star Gold awarded and sleeps four. Guests can relax in the pretty garden with a Devonshire cream tea, take a walk along the picturesque River Avon, or explore the nearby towns of Salcombe and Dartmouth, with fabulous boutique shops and award winning restaurants. Offer Extended! £50 OFF selected high season weeks in July & August, now £945 per week, under  £34 per person, per night, if booked before 14th February 2012.

*Bookings must be made before 14th February 2012.  Offers are on selected weeks in June, July and August only at selected properties, subject to availability and not in conjunction with any other offer.

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Summer offers on holiday cottages, farms and apartments in South Devon

Broad Downs Farmhouse, near Salcombe, South Devon (sleeps 12)

This luxuriously presented farmhouse offers spacious contemporary living space and beautiful views from all rooms of the surrounding countryside. Perfect for larger parties looking for a quiet rural retreat this Summer, relax in the sunshine with the children in the outdoor pool, or play ball games in the beautiful shared gardens. Just a 5 minute drive from the picturesque sailing town of Salcombe, why not head to one of the beaches for some sun bathing, browse the shops or dine in the restaurants. £250 OFF selected weeks in August (2nd August – 23rd August inclusive) if booked before 31st January 2012

Holset House, East Portlemouth, South Devon (sleeps 10-12)

Newly available with Coast & Country Cottages for 2012, this luxury country house in East Portlemouth is an elegant and spacious property for a family gathering. This luxurious VisitBritain Five Star Gold awarded property is ideal for a large family gathering. With beautiful gardens and children’s play equipment, as well as fabulous, spacious living accommodation, Holset House is perfect for a Summer holiday! The property is within easy reach of the South West Coast Path, and the foot passenger ferry to Salcombe. £200 OFF selected mid season weeks in June & July (17 June – 1 July inclusive) if booked before 31st January 2012

Blackbird Barn, Woodleigh, South Devon (sleeps 4)

New with Coast & Country Cottages for Autumn 2011, this beautifully finished, spacious and contemporary barn conversion is perfect for a family or couple looking for a luxury rural retreat. Relax in the pretty garden with a cream tea, take a walk along the picturesque River Avon, or explore the nearby towns of Salcombe and Dartmouth, with fabulous boutique shops and award winning restaurants. £50 OFF selected high season weeks in July & August (20th July – 24th August 2012 inclusive) if booked before 31st January 2012

14 Dart Marina, Dartmouth, South Devon (sleeps 4)

Book an August week at this stunning waterside first floor apartment! Relax on the feature window seat and enjoy the wonderful views of the River Dart or take a short stroll along the picturesque waterfront to Dartmouth’s quayside, boutiques and award winning restaurants. Enjoy free use of the luxury Dart Marina Health Spa with indoor pool plus 10% off Elemis beauty treatments for guests.  £150 OFF selected weeks in August (3rd – 17th August 2012 inclusive) if booked before 31st January 2012.

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Should I stay or should I go (Abroad)

So Christmas is over for another year and the traditional doom and gloom of January is upon us.  It’s the time when we all need something to look forward to, and, if the Olympics aren’t enough, booking a holiday should do the trick. But before the lure of a sun drenched beach beckons, you might want to consider staying in the UK, as a cheaper, more eco-friendly option.
The UK has some stunning holiday locations,  and a vast range of accommodation on offer – from Five Star luxury cottages to cosy caravans or low impact yurts.

And as well as lowering your carbon footprint it could be cheaper as well.  You might think that given the turmoil in Europe over the Euro, cheap holidays in the Mediterranean or other European destinations would be a safe bet.  Think again.  It’s not like the old days when the likes of  Greece were in trouble they simply devalued it’s currency and we all marvelled at getting a round of drinks for a fiver, now a meal out for two in Corfu could end up costing you as much as £75.  Whilst a log cabin in the Lake District might not sound such a sexy location as a villa in Vilamoura, your bank balance will be better for it.

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Coast & Country Cottages fantastic Summer 2012 offers with savings of up to £250

Why not stay at Holset House, East Portlemouth (sleeps 12) – with £200* off selected weeks in June and July 2012, this luxury VisitBritain Five Star Gold awarded elegant country house is ideal for a large family gathering. The property has beautiful gardens, children’s play equipment and a fantastic South facing terrace, perfect for alfresco dining! A truly rural retreat, the property is within easy reach of the South West Coast Path. Now just £2050 per week, under £25 per person per night, based on 12 sharing, if booked before 31st January 2012.

For a luxury break, book 14 Dart Marina, Dartmouth (sleeps 4), and enjoy savings of £150* off selected August weeks (excluding Regatta). This VisitBritain Five Star awarded, chic waterside apartment boasts beautiful panoramic views of the River Dart. Relax in the delightful window seat or head to the Dart Marina Health Spa, and enjoy the use of the indoor pool, steam room and Jacuzzi. The apartment is situated a short walk from Dartmouth’s amenities. Now just £1625, under £59 per person per night, based on 4 sharing, if booked before 31st January 2012.

For a slightly bigger group, The Coach House, Hillfield Cottages and Country House, near Dartmouth could be the perfect option, with £100* off selected weeks in July and August. This magnificent Grade II listed barn conversion provides superb accommodation with a fantastic outside area ideal for alfresco meals. The Coach House is part of the stunning Hillfield development, where facilities include acres of landscaped gardens, an outdoor swimming pool, all-weather tennis court and children’s play area. Now just £1590, under £29 per person, per night based on 8 sharing, if booked before 31st January 2012.

For those looking for a retreat in the South Hams countryside, there are plenty of options. Book a week at Broad Downs Farmhouse, near Salcombe (sleeps 12) and save £250* on selected August weeks. This luxury farmhouse offers contemporary accommodation, with beautiful rural views, lovely gardens and a fabulous outdoor swimming pool. The popular picturesque sailing town of Salcombe is just a 10 minute drive. This elegant country house is now just £3575, under £43 per person per night, based on 12 sharing.

For a farm stay, Jack’s Cottage, near Totnes (sleeps 4) could be just what you are looking for. This fabulous baby friendly VisitBritain Four Star Gold awarded barn conversion is situated on a 300 acre working farm. This is the perfect accommodation for those looking for a peaceful holiday, or to experience the delights of farm life. Relax on the sun terrace with fantastic rural views, or head outside and explore the farm, see the livestock up close and collect fresh eggs! Save £100* on selected June, July and August weeks. Prices range from £603-£946.

 

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