What to do on your Halloween half term

What to do on your Halloween half termHalloween is a fun time of year, full of spooky stories and ghostly goings-on. If you’re planning a half term break in one of our holiday cottages, what will you do with your time? How will you embrace Halloween while keeping everyone entertained for an entire week?

Here are some ideas.

English Heritage Halloween half term

English Heritage are running a Halloween half term promotion across many of their properties. They include A Victorian Séance at Audley End House, Creepy Castle at Night at Bolsover Castle, Ghosts and Ghouls at Kenilworth Castle, Ghosts and Ghouls at Pendennis Castle and many more.

Each are child friendly and offers a little something different. All within the safe confines of an English Heritage property.

Isle of Wight Walking Festival

The Isle of Wight Walking Festival is exactly what it says, a walking festival on the Isle of Wight. It runs from 24th to 27th of October and includes a Fossil Hunting Walk, spooky Ghost Walk and an Alpaca Trek among other attractions.

We have a few holiday cottages on the Isle of Wight, so it would be easy to combine the two this half term!

Halloween Pumpkin Trail at the London Aquarium

If you’re in the city this week, why not try the Halloween Pumpkin Trail at the London Aquarium? Running from the 27th October to 2nd November, the attraction will have expertly carved pumpkins throughout the building and on Halloween itself, the Fish Witch will be visiting to share spooky stories of the deep!

Boo at the Zoo

Staying in London for a moment, Boo at the Zoo is being held at the Zoological Society of London between the 29th October to 2nd November. The event includes animal themed talks, displays, feeding and more and includes feeding wolves. Children wearing Halloween costumes could win a prize too.

Halloween Scavenger Trail

The RSPB in Leek are running a Halloween Scavenger Trail between the 29th October to 2nd November at RSPB Coombes and Churnet. The preserve will be temporarily handed over to woodland fairies, naughty goblins and more. Activities are built around finding the secret recipes for a potion to scare the goblins away. Good fun!

Wild Halloween Camp

The Wild Halloween Camp at Painshill Park, Cobham seeks to entertain and educate at the same time. Based outdoors, the activities include den building, woodcraft, treasure hunts, campfires and more. It’s a great way to get the kids outside, meeting new people and learning new skills.

If you’re staying in one of our holiday cottages over the period and were looking for something to do, those are just some of the hundreds of activities happening across the Halloween half term. We hope you enjoy your time with us!

Spend autumn half term in a holiday cottage

Spend autumn half term in a holiday cottageWith another half term holiday almost upon us, coming up with ideas to keep the kids occupied and use up all their energy and free time can be something of a challenge. So why not do something a bit different? Why not pack everyone up and spend this autumn half term in a holiday cottage somewhere nice?

It’s relatively cheap to have a break this time of year despite it being half term. Autumn is quieter, cooler and not as popular as summer for taking a break, making bargains easier to come by. Holidaycottages.net features a huge selection of bargains this time of year, so you’re bound to find something to love.

But once you’re in your holiday cottage, what do you do? Here are some ideas that would work wherever in the country you’re staying.

Get outside

The autumn this year is relatively mild so it’s still practical and enjoyable to spend time outside. Wrap up warm, lay the fire, lay out the stuff for some hot drinks and then go outside.

Pick your own apples, collect conkers, walk through the woods, enjoy a quiet beach, or marvel at the changing colours of the countryside. Once you get outside and begin exploring, the beauty of our surroundings soon becomes clear.

Hit the city

If the countryside isn’t doing it for you, why not rent a holiday cottage near a city? We have hundreds of rented properties across the country, many within easy reach of our major towns and cities. Explore somewhere new, go shopping, try new restaurants, visit historical or cultural attractions and enjoy yourself.

If you really want to get the most out of your half term break, try one of the larger cities. Not only will you have the usual shops and cafes, you’ll also have larger attractions, a castle or two or maybe galleries or museums. Most of our big cities have more than enough to explore!

Stay indoors

If the weather isn’t agreeable or you fancy staying snug and warm, most of our holiday cottages have TVs and DVD players. There’s nothing wrong with setting up in front of the TV with some popcorn, a warm mug of tea and a couple of films. In fact, it’s a great way to spend a rainy day.

Alternatively, you could go to the theatre or cinema, learn a craft, or just see or try something new. Anything that engages young minds will satisfy their limitless energy and enthusiasm!

If you’re looking to do something this autumn half term, a holiday cottage could be the answer. Check out the interactive map and see where you want to stay today!

The best places to see autumn in all its glory part 2.


Continuing on from Tuesday’s post, we continue our exploration of the United Kingdom in autumn. It’s a fantastic time of year to be outdoors, weather permitting. The colours, the life and the scenery make it so worthwhile.

So if you’re staying in one of our many holiday cottages dotted around Britain, why not visit one of these locations too?

Batsford Arboretum

Batsford Arboretum near Stow-on the-Wold, Gloucestershire is another fine example of a place to enjoy autumn in all its glory. The cherry and maple woodland and gardens make for a fine day out and the “Autumn Colour Spectacular” is run between early October until mid-November.

Wendover Woods

Wendover Woods near Wendover, Buckinghamshire is another fine woodland well worth a visit. This one sits on the edge of the Chilterns and offers amazing views across Aylesbury Vale. It has ancient woodland, hiking and biking trails, lots of wildlife, an information centre and children’s play area too.

Exbury Gardens

Exbury Gardens in the New Forest, Hampshire is a 200 acre wonderland of garden, woodland and more. Owned by the Rothschilds, this location has award winning Nyassa and Oxydendrum trees and is widely regarded as one of the best places in the country to see them. We have lots of holiday cottages within the New Forest too!


Lanhydrockm near Bodmin, Cornwall is a Victorian country house with lovely gardens and woodland. It’s a National Trust property that offers some of the best landscapes in Cornwall and those woodlands really do take some beating in autumn. There are 14 miles of trails within the property too.

Kielder Water And Forest

Kielder Water And Forest in Northumberland is Europe’s largest and most impressive man-made forest and lake. It has also been voted the most tranquil place in England, which makes it worth a visit on its own. Add the woodlands of ash, aspen and oak, autumn colours and fantastic trails and you have a great place to spend time!

Hyde Park

Hyde Park in London may not have the country glory of many of the place on this list, but it’s still a fantastic place to visit in autumn. The 350 acre park has thousands of beech, horse chestnut, oak and more and all turn golden around the same time. With the Lido and Kensington Palace nearby, it makes for a great day out.

Holidaycottages.net has some fantastic holiday rentals near all of these locations that are available year-round. If you feel inspired to enjoy autumn a bit more, check out what’s available near your location of choice. There are some great deals to be had!

The best places to see autumn in all its glory

The National ArboretumIgnoring the wind and rain for a minute, autumn is a fantastic time of year. It’s nature’s last gasp before hibernating for winter and the last opportunity to show us the beauty of the natural world. That gives us plenty of opportunity to enjoy the final days of life before the big sleep.

So the next two posts are celebrating the very best places in the UK to see autumn in all its glory. Each of these places has one or more holiday cottages within easy reach. If you’re enjoying a holiday this time of year in one of them, you should check one of these locations out!

The National Arboretum

The National Arboretum in Westonbirt, Gloucestershire is a great place to visit any time of year, but autumn especially so. The grounds have been deliberately planted with a range of oaks, Japanese maple, lime, birch and other species to provide a range of colours and textures.

Stourhead Gardens

Stourhead Gardens, near Warminster, Wiltshire is a stunning country estate managed by the National Trust. The landscaped grounds have follies, outbuildings, a temple or two and acres of landscaped grounds. There are also waymarked trails crossing the entire property providing some excellent walks through the forest.

Grizedale Forest

It’s hard to select one forest over the hundreds of others, but Grizedale Forest in Cumbria has to be one of the best. With a wide range of trees, hiking and biking trails, fantastic views of Windermere and Coniston Water and the proximity to the mountains, this forest really does take some beating at any time of year. Autumn makes it especially pretty.

Castell Coch

Castell Coch near Cardiff is a fantastic gothic castle set in lovely beech woodland. With stunning views of the surrounding hills, multi-coloured forest, lots of countryside and the castle itself to walk around, this location has plenty to offer. We have a few holiday cottages nearby too!

Alice Holt Forest

Alice Holt Forest near Farnham, Surrey is another fantastic place to experience autumn in all its glory. The forest once provided oak for the Royal Navy and was also the set for the early scenes in Gladiator. It is covered in hiking and biking trails and covered in all kinds of trees that provide a lovely vista this time of year.

Sheffield Park and Garden

Sheffield Park and Garden, near Haywards Heath in Sussex is an amazing place to visit and spend time. There are dour lakes, a wildlife area, cricket pitch and some villages dotted around the area. It’s an amazing place to enjoy some autumn sunshine.

Holidaycottages.net will be bringing you more fantastic autumn destinations in a couple of days. Join us on Thursday for the concluding post!

Holiday cottage holidays in Norfolk

Holiday cottage holidays in NorfolkIf you’re currently enjoying, or planning to enjoy a holiday cottage holiday in Norfolk, firstly, we’re jealous. Second, you might want some inspiration for a few things to do while you’re there.

Holidaycottages.net manages over a hundred holiday cottages in and around the East Anglian county of Norfolk, so we have a good idea of what’s on throughout the year. Here are just a few ideas for a great day our for all the family.

Happisburgh Owl Barn

The clue really is in the title with the Happisburgh Owl Barn. Based near Happisburgh, north of Great Yarmouth, this venue is an excellent place to see owls up close and personal. You can even handle and fly them for a small extra cost. The barn is also a smallholding, so there are other small animals to play with too.

Hippodrome Circus

The Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth is an excellent, family-friendly circus near the seafront. Set back from the Promenade, this is an old fashioned circus that is still relevant, entertaining and funny. It’s also one of the few circus left with a water ring that is usually used to close the show.

East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden

East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden near Norwich is an open garden run by a couple who are clearly passionate and knowledgeable about what they are doing. They built the garden from scratch and turned it into an oasis of calm and tranquillity with surprises at every turn. If you fancy a relaxing day out while enjoying one of our Norfolk holiday cottages, this could be perfect!

RAF Air Defence Radar Museum

The RAF Air Defence Radar Museum near Horning, Norfolk, is one for the military enthusiast. Located near to a still working air defence centre, the museum celebrates the entire history of radar and air defence. It’s well laid out with lots of explanatory notes and the staff are very knowledgeable and helpful. A nice way to spend an afternoon.

Norwich Cathedral

Norwich Cathedral in the centre of Norwich is a Norman building that dates back to 1096. It’s an excellent building set in acres of grounds in the city and well worth a visit. Volunteers are always there to offer help, guidance and talk you through the history and it’s only a short walk from the shops.

Blickling Estate

The Blickling Estate near Blickling is a complete country estate with red brick mansion house, working farms, small industries, cottages and more. It was also where Anne Boleyn was born. It’s a place full of rural charm and history and makes for a great day out for all the family.

Those are just a few of the hundreds of ways to spend a day in East Anglia. If you’re staying in one of our lovely holiday cottages in Norfolk, there’s something here for everyone. We hope you enjoy your stay!

Enjoy Champions Day from a luxury holiday cottage

Champions DayIf you’re into your horse racing, October 18th is one date you’re going to have booked long in advance. Champions Day at Ascot Racecourse is the richest date in the flat racing calendar and the final big race of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

If you’re planning to spend the day watching some of the finest racing in the world, why not stay for the weekend in one of our fine holiday cottages? We have a selection of high quality cottages around Berkshire and Windsor. Treat yourself and your family to a great weekend away to enjoy a day of racing and a day of leisure.

The QIPCO British Champions Series is one of the highlights of British racing. It begins in May at Newmarket and continues through the summer until this final race. It includes races at Epsom, Newbury, Royal Ascot, York, Goodwood and Haydock park, some of the most famous racecourses in the country.

Fixtures include The Investec Coronation Cup, The Queen Anne Stakes, The Prince of Wales's Stakes, The Gold Cup and many more. All culminating in The QIPCO British Champions Series.

Even if you’re not into horse racing, a day at Ascot is as much as spectacle to experience as it is a race to bet on and watch. A place to see and be seen, to people watch, to look for celebrities and even see the Queen. Add fine dining or a picnic on the grass when permitted and you have all the makings of a fine day out!

Holidaycottages.net has a selection of high quality holiday rentals within easy reach of Ascot. We have many in Berkshire and Hampshire which provide convenient access to the racecourse as well as all the other things each county has to offer. It would be easy to spend a day at Ascot, have dinner in Windsor and then spend Sunday in the New Forest, or shopping in Reading or Woking.

Both Berkshire and Hampshire have a lot to offer the discerning traveller as well as a horse-mad family. There is a lot to see and do in either and both have fast routes into Ascot which is near Bracknell in Berkshire.

Use the interactive map or select Berkshire to see exactly which holiday cottages are available this weekend. Then it’s just a case of booking, confirming and packing!

If you’re going to the races this weekend, we hope you enjoy it, wherever you’re staying.

Great days out in Suffolk

Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation MuseumSuffolk is often portrayed as a sleepy county full of rural beauty and slow paced life. For the most part, that’s accurate. However, there’s more going on that ploughing the fields!

Holidaycottages.net has hundreds of quality holiday cottages in this lovely county. Some are next to towns, some are in quaint villages. Others are deep in the countryside and away from everything. Whatever kind of break you’re looking for, you’ll find it here.

If you want something to fill your day while you’re staying in Suffolk, here are just a few things you can do.

Abbey Gardens

Abbey Gardens in Bury St. Edmunds offers a comfortable stroll in historic surroundings in the heart of the town. Located on the site of an ancient abbey, the gardens are well tended, varied and signposted with helpful information that add value to the experience. If you’re in the town and want to spend time somewhere peaceful, this is where you come.

New Wolsey Theatre

The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich is a charitable organisation that not only puts on a great show, they also promote inclusive learning, performance art and more. Shows range from Shakespeare to Eric and Ernie and include everything in-between. There’s always something going on here.


Minsmere is an RSPB site located in Westleton near Saxmundham. It’s a fantastic mix of coastline, woodland, wetland and countryside that offers much more than just bird watching. There is a lot of life here and all of it is there for you to see. There are hides ranged around for the patient and paths that circle the entire reserve for those who just want a walk. It’s a calm day out for all.

Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum

The Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum in Flixton is run completely by volunteers and their passion for their subject is clear to see. With a range of aircraft, artefacts and exhibits from the world wars, as well as backstories, personal histories and knowledgeable staff, there’s a lot to see here.

Landguard Fort

Landguard Fort in Felixstowe is a relic from a bygone era that guards the north bank of the river Orwell. It dates back to 1543 and has protected the Suffolk coastline in various guises ever since. It’s an interesting place full of history, maritime significance and interesting exhibits.

Those are just five attractions in a county full of them. It’s always hard to single out individual attractions from a cast of hundreds, but these are the best we could find. We have hundreds of holiday cottages in Suffolk, so you’re never far away from a great day out here!

Where to go and what to do in Essex

Colchester ZooWhatever your opinion on the portrayal of the people of Essex, the county itself is lovely. It’s chock full of picturesque countryside, miles of lovely coastline, lots of history and lots of things to do. It’s a real mix, with London at one end and Constable country at the other. That makes for a great short stay.

If you’re enjoying one of our holiday cottages in Essex, here are several things you can do while you’re here.

Imperial Bird of Prey Academy

The Imperial Bird of Prey Academy in Billericay is an ideal opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most impressive predators. These birds of prey balance deadliness with beauty and are a joy to behold. Watch exhibitions and demonstrations or buy some one on one time with the birds and their handlers.

Combined Military Services Museum

The Combined Military Services Museum celebrates a long and interesting military history from all three services. It is an outstanding museum with many quality displays and exhibits. The staff are knowledgeable, the displays well laid out and the entire museum experience is one to remember.

Made by You Pottery

Made by You Pottery is a small pottery studio in Leigh-on-Sea near Southend. Here you learn how pottery is made and finished. You also get to decorate your own pottery with the help of the expert staff. Decorating is harder than it looks, but anyone can master it after an afternoon here!

Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo is one of the best of its kind and somewhere that will easily entertain the whole family. Plan to spend the entire day here as it’s a big place with lots to see. Over 270 species of animals of all shapes and sizes in comfortable looking enclosures, demonstrations, talks and of course, feeding times. It’s all here and all worth seeing.

West Cliff Theatre

West Cliff Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea is a local highlight that shoots well above its weight. With a wide range of local, national and international talent appearing there all the time, it’s a great place to take in some culture while you’re in deepest Essex. The building itself is nice too, but the sheer range of performances are what makes it stand out.

There is a lot to see and do in Essex and it isn’t all about fake tan and nails. It’s a fascinating county with a lot to offer and is an ideal sport to a family break. That’s why we have a number of holiday cottages spread across the entire area. Wherever you want to go, whatever you want to see, we have a cottage nearby. Check out the interactive map to find yours!

Hampton Court Palace

If you’re planning to stay in one of our lovely holiday cottages spread throughout Middlesex, first off, great choice! Secondly, you’ve chosen a county rich in history, culture and commerce, offering lots of things to see, do and explore.

Here are just a few of those things.

Battle of Britain Bunker

The Battle of Britain Bunker in Uxbridge is a perfectly preserved command and control bunker that was home to Fighter Command No.11 Group from 1939 to 1958. It’s a living history attraction that seeks to show life underground during one of the most challenging times in our history. Whether you’re interested in history or not, this makes a great day out.

Capel Manor Gardens

Capel Manor Gardens in Enfield is 30 acres of 13th century property that includes a Georgian Manor House and Victorian Stables. There are also woods and a range of gardens to visit. Open from March to October, the gardens also feature a range of exhibitions and shows depending on the season.

Strawberry Hill House

Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham has to be seen to be believed. Designed by Henry Walpole in the 18th century, it’s a Georgian gothic house with gardens. Tour the inside and marvel at the mixture of gothic and opulent, look at lovely stained glass windows and then enjoy the lovely landscaped gardens. An excellent day out.

Sanatan Temple

Whatever your views of religion, Sanatan Temple in Wembley is a fantastic place to visit. Located on 2.4 acres of land, this is an oasis of peace and relaxation in the centre of the city. The architecture inside an out is impressive, as are the carvings inside. If you’re interested in Indian or Asian architecture and art, this is a must-see!

Myddelton House

Myddelton House in Enfield is another place of tranquillity in the city. Set in 8 acres of lovely gardens, the house and grounds are the legacy of one of England’s premier botanists and amateur gardeners, Edward Bowles. Having been painstakingly restored, Myddelton House is a great day out.

World Rugby Museum

Twickenham is regarded as the home of English rugby which makes it the ideal home for the World Rugby Museum. Set in the East Stand of the stadium, there are over 25,000 rugby themed objects spanning the entire life of the game. The museum offers guided tours which are well worth booking in advance to get the very best out of the venue.

Each of these attractions offers a great day out while you’re enjoying our holiday cottage in Middlesex. They offer great value, interest, entertainment and a healthy dose of wonder. All the ingredients you need for a family day out!