Fantastic days out in Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire is a county with a lot going on. Often overlooked by its higher profile neighbours, it is well worth a visit. has a wide selection of holiday rentals throughout the area, making it a great place for a family break.

If you’re staying, or planning to stay in one of our Bedfordshire holiday cottages, here are a few things to keep the family amused while you’re here.

Whipsnade Zoo

Whipsnade Zoo is owned and run by the Zoological Society of London. The zoo is well maintained, the animals well cared for and a lot of investment goes into welfare and the enclosures. It’s not a cheap day out by any means, but it’s clear to see that money goes back into the zoo. Overall, there is a lot to see and do here, making it a great day out for all the family.

The Shuttleworth Collection

The Shuttleworth Collection is one of the finest collections of vintage aircraft in the world. It also includes the Swiss Garden with acres of landscaped grounds, 13 listed buildings and woodlands. Both together make for a very good day out, even if you’re only mildly interested in aviation history.

Stockwood Discovery Centre

Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton is a museum covering many ages of history and gardens. Unusually, it’s also free to enter, making it a great day out for the family. The museum has everything from old coins to carriages while the gardens are a haven for flora and fauna, insects and more.

Birds of Prey Centre

The Birds of Prey Centre in Wistead is an excellent opportunity to get up close and personal with these magnificent birds. The centre is well run, the animals look well cared for and the people here seem to take welfare very seriously indeed. They offer experience days, exhibitions, special events and a whole lot more.

Wrest Park

Wrest Park in Silsoe is an English Heritage property that really is gardeners heaven. It’s 90 acres of park, garden, lake and buildings spread around woodland and grounds. The park also includes a bath house and manor house and has audio tours, picnics and more on offer.

Dunstable Downs

The little known Dunstable Downs near Whipsnade is a lovely part of the country. The downs of course are open country, but much of it is managed by the National Trust. They provide car parking, café, visitor centre, structured walks and more. There are quite a few trails going for miles in all directions, ideal for working up an appetite!

Those are just a few days out you could enjoy while staying in one of our Bedfordshire holiday cottages. Each offers something a little different while also providing a great day out for all the family. Just what holidays are all about!

Top royal attractions in the UK

One of the biggest tourist attractions this country has is its history and royal family. People travel from all over the world in the hope to get just a glimpse of a royal or to check out their houses. We Brits do the same thing and that’s what this post is all about.

If you’re staying in one of our holiday cottages and feel like a bit of royal exploration, here are some of the most popular royal attractions in the UK.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is without doubt the number on royal tourist attraction. The office and official home of the Queen in London draws millions of visitors per year. During August and September, the doors are opened to visitors so you can wander round to see how the other half lives. Changing the guard happens every day between May and July too.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is the Queen’s weekend place. It’s also the world’s oldest continuously occupied castle and home to the State Apartments, St George’s Chapel and a wealth of history. It’s a great place to visit and is only a couple of minutes’ walk from the centre of Windsor.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is where every monarch is crowned and where many major royals are married. It is over 1000 years old and has been the site of every coronation since 1066. It is also open to the public, has guided tours, lots to see and is within easy reach of the centre of London.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace is the current home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It’s also another building steeped in history where the public can have part access to. The tours are interesting, full of history and well worth taking.


Moving out of London and up to Aberdeenshire to Balmoral this time. This is the country retreat of the royal family and apparent favourite of the late Queen Mother. It’s a sprawling estate covering acres of prime highland. The estate is open to the public between April and July every year.


Sandringham in Norfolk is where the Queen traditionally spends Christmas with her family. It’s another country estate steeped in history and was once regarded as “the most comfortable house in England.” Like many other royal properties, Sandringham is open to the public when not in use, between April and November each year.

Those are just some of the many royal attractions in the UK. Each has its own character and charm and each can be visited by you or I when not in use. If you’re staying in a holiday cottage nearby, why not visit one and say hello to your neighbours?

Explore Hertfordshire from your holiday cottage

Hertfordshire is a county rich in culture, history and character. It’s also only a short drive from London and has dozens of holiday cottages spread throughout. If you’re planning a short break, a weekend away or something longer, here are just a few things in the county that you can do.

St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral is the oldest continuously used church in England. It’s also a place that holds concerts, special events, special services, Christmas celebrations and more. Set inside the city of St Albans, the Cathedral and city itself are well worth a visit.

Natural History Museum at Tring

The Natural History Museum at Tring might just be the most popular museum you have never heard of. It’s a lovely Victorian building designed to house the collections of Lionel Rothschild, an ardent collector of things. It’s an excellent example of the results of an enquiring mind and is educational as well as entertaining.

Cassiobury Park

Cassiobury Park in Watford is 190 acres of open land that is free to use. It stretches from Watford town centre right out to the edge of town and has sports facilities, trails, woods, the Grand Union Canal and more. The woods nearby are worth a visit too. Not only are they lovely this time of year, they also featured in Star Wars The Phantom Menace.

Ashridge Estate

The Ashridge Estate near Berkhamsted is a National Trust location set in the idyllic Chiltern Hills. It is 5,000 acres of ancient woodland and rolling land with a working estate nestled in the middle. There are miles and miles of walking and cycling trails, as well as woodland, chalk downlands and the estate to explore.

Paradise Wildlife Park

Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxborne is definitely one for all the family. The park is a zoo and attraction that is home to hundreds of animals of all shapes and sizes. It has special events, displays, exhibitions, animal experience days and more. You can even sleep over. If that isn’t worth a visit, we don’t know what is!

De Havilland Aircraft Museum

The De Havilland Aircraft Museum in St Albans is one for the history buffs. Not only is the museum the oldest aircraft museum in the country, it’s also the only one dedicated to that British great, De Havilland. It is home to aircraft from 1923 through to 1983 from propeller to jet and is worth a visit if planes are your thing. has dozens of fantastic holiday lets spread throughout Hertfordshire. If you’re planning a break in this great county, check them out from the map. These are just some of the many places to visit while you’re enjoying time away, so check them out and let us know how you get on!

Top film locations in Britain you can visit

Britain is surprisingly popular as a movie location. As a country who loves film as a form of entertainment, this gives us plenty to see when you’re out and about. If you’re planning on using one of our holiday cottages anytime soon, why not visit a film location while you’re there?

You would be amazed at the sheer number of films made on location on our shores. Not those who use the world famous studios at Pinewood or Elstree, but who use our countryside as settings. Here are just a few of them.

The Da Vinci Code

If you were a fan of Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code, you might want to visit Lincoln Cathedral. It’s where they filmed the interior shots of Westminster Abbey during the Knights Templar search. The cathedral is a great place to visit in its own right, but now has extra appeal.

James Bond

Being a home grown movie hero, much of James Bond is filmed in the UK. However, if it’s his cars you like, a visit to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu should definitely be on your to-do list. Located close to the New Forest between Bournemouth and Southampton, this is an amazing place to visit for any reason, but especially as they have a lot of the cars featured in the films on display.

We have lots of holiday cottages in and around the New Forest, so this one is a must!

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen is a firm favourite, so if you want to see Mr Darcy’s house, visit Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. If you would like to stroll around Meryton Village like the cast in the film, make your way to Stamford in Lincolnshire.

The King's Speech

The King's Speech with Colin Firth was filmed across the country, including Ely Cathedral where scenes from Westminster Abbey were shot. The copy of the Coronation Chair featured in the film is now on display in the cathedral.

Harry Potter

Harry Potter is another home grown character that has filmed at locations across the country. Visit King’s Cross Station in London for Platform 93/4, the Glenfinnan Viaduct to see where Harry and Ron flew in their Ford Anglia and visit Alnwick Castle, the Bodleian Library in Oxford and Durham Cathedral to see three locations that formed Hogwarts. has holiday rentals near all these locations. If you’re into the movies and want to see where the magic happened, these are just a few of the thousands of locations featured in some of our favourites. All of them are within a short drive of some of our best holiday cottages. Check out the interactive map to find yours!

Great days out in Cambridgeshire

Given the sheer number of holiday cottages in Cambridgeshire, we thought it only right that it should be next on our county by county where to go list. We have dozens of luxury holiday homes within the county and around Cambridge itself, If you’re staying in one over the next few months, here are a few things you can do while you’re there.

University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge has to be up there at the top of this list as it’s not only a centre of excellent for learning, it’s also beautiful, tranquil and visitors are free to wander around most of it. Walking around this Medieval area is like walking back in time, in a good way.

The River Cam

The River Cam runs through the centre of the city and is another big draw for anyone in the area. You can sit by the river and watch the world go by, enjoy a picnic in the sunshine, a punt in the river or watch rowers practicing in the northern part of the college area.

Imperial War Museum Duxford

The Imperial War Museum Duxford is one of the best museums of its kind anywhere in the world. It’s our premier aviation museum with both indoor and outdoor displays, exhibitions, events, special occasions, helpful staff and more exhibits than you could do justice to in a single day!

Linton Zoo

Linton Zoo in Linton, is more breeding centre than zoo. That means you don’t always get to see the animals, as they might be hiding, breeding or sleeping. But when you do they are much more relaxed and happy. The enclosure can seem a little wild and overgrown, but that’s the intent. To provide as natural a habitat as humanly possible to keep them happy. You still get to see a lot of endangered species whatever time of day you go though!

Anglesey Abbey

Anglesey Abbey in Lode, near Cambridge is a National Trust location with a country house, gardens and watermill. It’s a calm, tranquil place to visit and looks completely different with every changing season. A lot of work goes into keeping the property in excellent condition, making it a great day out for all the family.

The Raptor Foundation

The Raptor Foundation in Woodhurst is a bird of prey sanctuary and hospital. It’s an excellent place to watch birds of prey work, play and relax in 30 acres of land specially designed for them. There are over 300 birds on site at any one time and you can enjoy experience days, twilight flying, photography days and more.

Those are just six of the many great days out in Cambridgeshire. If you’re planning a short break in one of our many holiday cottages in the area, you’re not going to be short of things to do!

UK memorial gardens worth visiting

With today being Remembrance Day, it’s only right that we honour that by listing the top memorial gardens that we know of. Places of reflection, places to honour the lost and places to remember.

Each has its own character, its own allure and reason to visit, especially on the 11th of November. If you’re enjoying an autumn break in one of our fantastic holiday cottages and are in the area, we encourage you to brave the weather and visit.

National Memorial Arboretum

The National Memorial Arboretum near Alrewas, Staffordshire is our national shrine to the fallen. It is a wonderful place that manages to balance relevance, beauty and memory into a single location. It’s an amazing place to visit at any time of year, but autumn is definitely a highlight.

Tower of London sea of poppies

The Tower of London sea of poppies is an amazing sight and one everyone should visit if they can. The Queen loved it when she visited last month and everyone who has seen it since has said the same. Spending a few minutes there while visiting the capital is well worth your time.

Palace Barracks Memorial Garden

The Palace Barracks Memorial Garden is outside Holywood in Northern Ireland. A quiet corner of the base has been turned into a garden of reflection and remembrance. Given that Northern Ireland has had its own troubles, the garden has a dual purpose, to remember the fallen of all conflicts.

Royal British Legion Remembrance Garden

The Royal British Legion Remembrance Garden in Royal Wooton Basset, Wiltshire is a poignant garden as the town used to be where service personnel were repatriated from Afghanistan. The garden has been created to honour the fallen from all conflicts and it well worth a visit if you’re in one of our holiday cottages in Wiltshire.

Lichfield Garden of Remembrance

The Lichfield Garden of Remembrance is a lovely little garden opened in 1920 to remember the fallen. Located next to Minster Pool within sight of the cathedral, it’s a nice, relaxing place to contemplate and remember. Lovely any time of year, it really comes alive during autumn.

There are hundreds of memorial gardens or remembrance locations across the country. Almost every town and city has one and there are hundreds of others in villages across the country. Each offers the respect due to those who gave their all and made that ultimate sacrifice.

If you’re staying in one of our holiday cottages this week, we suggest making a trip to one of the thousands of remembrance gardens, even for a couple of minutes. It’s the least we can all do.

Would you like a holiday cottage in one of the top ten cities in the world?

Would you like a holiday cottage in one of the top ten cities in the worldEagle-eyed readers would have noticed last week that Salisbury was voted one of the top ten best cities in the world to visit by Lonely Planet. It was the only British city to be entered into the list and was nominated because it is "quintessentially English." has a selection of cottages around Salisbury and throughout Hampshire, so if you want to see what all the fuss is about, we can help.

Salisbury beat the likes of Toronto and Vienna to take seventh place in the list. A surprising entry there is no doubt, but a worthy one. The city itself is lovely, the cathedral is impressive and the fact that 2015 is the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta doesn’t hurt either!

The top ten best cities in the world to visit list includes:

1.    Washington, D.C. USA

2.    El Chaltén, Argentina

3.    Milan, Italy

4.    Zermatt, Switzerland

5.    Valletta, Malta

6.    Plovdiv, Bulgaria

7.    Salisbury, United Kingdom

8.    Vienna, Austria

9.    Chennai, India

10. Toronto, Canada

Lonely Planet have this to say about the city.

“For too long travellers have considered Salisbury a short stop on the way to Stonehenge. But 2015 is set to be the year visitors linger in this quintessentially English city, as Salisbury uncorks the champagne for the 800th anniversary of its greatest treasure, the Magna Carta.

As home to the best-preserved original copy, Salisbury Cathedral is the lightning rod for the celebrations. Expect a brand new exhibition alongside an array of talks, evensongs, a flower festival and plenty more.”

A lot is planned for next year’s anniversary, with the cathedral having been granted over £415,000 to put together displays and exhibitions to showcase the Magna Carta.

It isn’t all about that document though. Salisbury has a lot more going for it than just a lovely cathedral and one of the most important documents in British history. It’s also a city in its own right with restaurants, shops, attractions, history, culture, interest and so much more.

It’s also friendly, relaxed, easy to get around and to find parking. Something most other cities struggle with.

If you would like to sample the delights of Salisbury without staying in a boring chain hotel, can help. Our selection of quality accommodation set around the city are ideal for exploring Salisbury and Hampshire. Each is fully furnished, ideally located and ready to move in. Perfect for a short city break!

Top Bonfire night displays this November

Top Bonfire night displays this November

Bonfire night is almost upon us again, so remember, remember this 5th of November!

Fireworks are incredibly expensive, so we think it’s a much better idea to spend a little and go to an organised firework display than spend a lot watching a few fireworks in the garden. It’s even better if you can make a mini break out of it in a holiday cottage!

As we have holiday cottages spread around the country, we thought we would put together five of the most popular Bonfire night displays this week. There’s still time to make a booking, pack a bag and go to any of these.

Midsummer Common, Cambridge (5th Nov)

The annual Midsummer Common Bonfire night display in Cambridge is held on November 5th this year. There is a fair, entertainments, bonfire and all sorts from 6pm, with the fireworks beginning at 5.30pm. It’s free to attend, but all donations are welcome.

Lewes, East Sussex (5th Nov)

Lewes in East Sussex is our next destination for a top Bonfire night display. This is apparently the biggest display in the country, with six organisations collaborating to provide a big event. There will be bonfires, marching bands, burning crosses, parades and fireworks. Festivities begin at 5pm.

Leeds Castle, Kent (8th-9th Nov)

Leeds Castle holds a “Leeds Castle Fireworks 'Go Wild'” event over the weekend which includes displays during the day, a bonfire and fireworks at night and loads more in-between. It’s a good event held in an awesome location. The castle makes an amazing backdrop to the fireworks and will have images projected onto it too. Gates open at 2pm, fireworks begin at 5.30pm.

Glasgow Green Fireworks, Glasgow (5th Nov)

The Glasgow Green Fireworks display in the city is Scotland’s largest. There is a funfair, music, entertainment, the bonfire and more. Being the biggest in the country, it get very busy here, regularly drawing more than 50,000 people. Fireworks begin at 7.30pm.

Penrhos Beach, Holyhead (5th Nov)

The annual event in Holyhead on Anglesey is one of the best fireworks displays in Wales. Voted in the top ten Bonfire displays in 2013, the events has stalls, rides, a huge bonfire and a professional fireworks display. Gates open at 5.45pm and fireworks begin at 7pm.

While it’s November 5th tomorrow, it’s not too late to pack up and find a holiday cottage near one of these displays. We have hundreds of cottages dotted around these locations with many discounts available for late bookings. Use the interactive map on the site and find the perfect holiday cottage from which to enjoy Bonfire night this year!