How to keep the children occupied during a wet half term

It's half term for many this week and it leads into Easter which means there are a lot of children with not a lot to do. This is prime time for getting away from it all and our holiday cottages are busier than ever. Given the weather so far hasn't been great, there are probably a few families out there looking for things to keep children occupied indoors.

Here are just a few. All are simple but effective ways of keeping kids entertained whether you're in a holiday cottage or at home. They go to show that it isn't all about games consoles and expensive computers. Old school games can still be fun too.

We hope they help!

Reading together

Parents reading to and with their children is something we should all do more of. It sparks their imagination, gets them interested in books and makes learning interesting. It's also a great bonding experience. Considering it's a very simple pastime that can keep children occupied for hours, everyone should try it.

Let's pretend

If your children are still of an age where they can build a den or have a tea party with their invisible friends, why not encourage it? It's a healthy way to let children explore their imagination and have a little fun without making a fuss, a mess or causing mayhem.

Make stuff

Making things will be easier at home than in a holiday cottage, but it is possible anywhere. Make cakes, paper hats, marshmallow and cocktail stick molecules or whatever, but get your hands dirty with the children, teach them something and play.

Take pictures

If you have a digital camera, why not let your children loose with it? As long as it comes back in one piece, taking pictures is a fascinating insight to how their mind works. It's also very creative and very "grown up" which adds to its attraction for the child. If they take anything particularly good you can promise to have it printed when you get home.

Sink or float

Sink or float is a simple game that can be quite fun if you turn it into a friendly competition. Take a bowl of water and some random objects and bet with your kids whether each object will float or not.

Those are just five of hundreds of indoor activities you can try while the weather is bad this half term and over Easter. Whether you're staying in one of our holiday cottages or at home, they will work wonders!

More holiday cottage locations for lovers of horse riding

In the second of our horse-related posts, we are going to explore more areas of the UK that welcomes horses. In the previous post, we explored the Cheviots, The Coleridge Way in Somerset, the Brecon Beacons and the North York Moors. This time we're trying another range of great rides.

Each of these locations has a holiday cottage nearby. We have hundreds of high quality holiday lets designed to help you make the most of your time away from home. Check out the interactive map if you want to know more!

New Forest

The New Forest is a fascinating natural resource that provides activities for all people of all ages. Horses feature quite highly there too. Not only are there hundreds of miles of trails, there are also wild horses and ponies roaming free. You can bring your own horse or hire one there. The supporting infrastructure is excellent, the pubs are horse friendly and the entire region is geared around enjoying the outdoors.

You can't get much better than that!

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight may not be the first place you think of when you're looking for horse riding trails, but there are miles of them on the island. Horse riding is a big part of the tourist industry here, so if you like your riding, this is a great place to visit. There are riding schools and stables, organised rides or trails and beaches for you to explore. It's an unexpected gem!

The Lake District

The Lake District is not only a firm favourite of hikers, it's also very popular with riders too. With hundreds of miles of trails and bridleways to explore, plus open fields to let loose, there's a lot to like about this part of the country. With a wide range of businesses built around horses, you won't go short of support either.

Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland is another amazing location to explore on horseback. It takes in mountains, valleys, forests and beaches and is one of the most fascinating trails on the island. With hundreds of miles of trail available along the Wild Atlantic Way, you can explore as much, or as little, as you like.

Cairngorms National Park

The Cairngorms National Park is the claimed home of pony trekking so it's right that we visit here on horseback. There are lots of stables and a few trekking centres in the area, as well as miles and miles of trails and bridleways that take in some of the best of this part of the country. If you like your scenery desolate and beautiful, this is the place to come! has a selection of high quality holiday lets within a short drive of each of these locations. Book yours today!

Holiday cottage locations for lovers of horse riding

Exploring the countryside on horseback is not only an amazing way to travel it's also one of the oldest forms of transport known to man. A horse is a fascinating creature, skittish yet brave, easily frightened yet with a stout heart and a friend for life once you get close enough. Combining a holiday cottage with time in the saddle is our idea of heaven!

Being able to explore our fabulous countryside from the comfort of a saddle at a relaxed pace is one of our favourite ways to spend time. In the hope that you might try it too, we thought we would put together a couple of posts around horse riding. The next few posts will have horses in mind as well as your family. These first two will be a list of parts of the country that you can explore on horseback.


Our first ride begins in the Cheviots and does a loop though Northumberland National Park. It begins in Cliftoncote and takes you round the park along a range of trails from a few miles long to over a week of riding. The routes are being developed by the Northumberland National Park and the British Horse Society. Visit their websites to learn more.

We have a range of holiday cottages within range of Northumberland National Park, so check out the map to find yours!

The Coleridge Way

Named in honour of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, this is a 51 mile trail that runs through Somerset, across the Quantock Hills and into Exmoor. It's a fascinating landscape that will challenge horse and rider but is well worth the effort. From expansive moorland to dramatic coastal views, there is something for everyone here.

Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons is a firm favourite of anyone who loves the outdoors. The variations in countryside, terrain, weather and scenery all combine to make an amazing place to spend time. There are over 600 miles of trails within the Brecon Beacons and most of them will be passable to horses. The website has a list of specific trails and the area has a range of stables and supporting business to help you enjoy your time there.

North York Moors

The North York Moors are another firm favourite of horse riders and lovers of the outdoors. With over 500 miles of trails to explore that take in moors, forest, fields, quaint villages and towns, there is little to dislike about this area. Add in the friendly people, outdoor infrastructure and support for all outdoors activities, it's a prime holiday destination.

We have holiday cottages near all of these destinations. Many will be within easy reach of stables if you bring your own horse or equine centres if you don't. Either way, they are perfectly placed to explore the countryside on horseback!

The Best Spring Walks in the UK 2015 part 2

Continuing on from our blog post on Tuesday, we're continuing our series on the Best Spring Walks in the UK 2015. Last time we covered the Pennine Way, Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Millennium Coastal Path, Cotswold Way and the South West Coast Path. This time we're exploring more fantastic spring walks across the country.

Thames Path, Berkshire

The Thames Path crosses Wiltshire, Berkshire and London from the source of the Thames river in Cirencester into the capital. It takes in some of the best parts of the centre of England such as Henley, Windsor and Oxford and ends up in the centre of London. It's an interesting path that takes in the calm and serenity of the countryside before depositing you in the hustle and bustle of the city.

Hadrian's Wall Path, Cumbria

Hadrian's Wall is one of our most famous historical landmarks. Designed and built by the Romans to keep the Picts out of England, the remains of the wall still remains. Stretching from Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria to Wallsend in Tyne and Wear, this is an excellent walk that traverses the width of the country.

Farndale, North Yorkshire

Farndale is another very popular walk that sees thousands of visitors each year. Famous for its daffodils and in the centre of the North York Moors, there's nothing not to like about this walk. Spring is a particularly good time for this walk as all those daffodils are in full bloom.

Wyre Forest, Shropshire

The Wyre Forest isn't as long as the Penine Way or as picturesque as the South West Coast Path but in spring it is amazing. This ancient woodland comes to life in an awesome way with thousands of daffodils, bluebells and celandines all coming into bloom while the rest of this forest begins turning green. It's a great place to spend time on a shorter walk.

Norfolk Coast Path, Norfolk

We have mentioned the Norfolk Coast Path before as it is one of the few truly great walks in East Anglia. The walk takes in come of the best eastern beaches we have, some lovely sandy cliffs and even a nature reserve. If you like your walking calm and tranquil, this is one to try.

Like those walks in Tuesday's post, we have holiday cottages within easy reach of all of these locations. What better way to spend Easter or a spring day than exploring one of these walks and then coming home to a warm, comfortable holiday cottage and putting your feet up?

Use the map on the site to choose your location. There's a whole country to explore and can help!

The Best Spring Walks in the UK 2015

This week's two posts are going to feature some of the best spring walks this country has to offer. With the weather warming up, the days getting longer and the countryside around waking up from its winter slumber, now is a great time to explore the world around you. Better still, we have dozens of holiday cottages close to each of these walks!

Pennine Way, Derbyshire

The Pennine Way is probably the UK's most walked path. It is 429km of sometimes challenging walking that takes in some of the best scenery in the country as well as three national parks. It would take around three weeks to do the whole trail but it is easily broken down into smaller sections.

Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is another long one at 299km from end to end. Like the Pennine Way, there are lots of small towns and villages where you can break journeys up. As the name suggests, it takes in some dramatic coastline across Wales. St David's is a favourite starting point.

Millennium Coastal Path, Wales

Staying in Wales, we move to Llanelli and to the Millennium Coastal Path. This is "only" around 35km long and begins at the Discovery Centre in the town. It runs across coastline, town and countryside before ending at Pembrey Forest. It is open to walkers and cyclists and is traffic free for the entire length.

Cotswold Way, Gloucestershire

The Cotswold Way is another of the country's favourite walks. At just over 160km, it isn't the longest but it is certainly one of the most picturesque. It runs from Bath to Chipping Camden and includes some of the mid-country's highlights. There are also castles, hill forts and lots of history to take in too.

South West Coast Path, Cornwall

The South West Coast Path actually traverses Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset and is a staggering 1011km long. It takes in the entire coastlines of all four counties and some of the best coastline of anywhere in the world. Sometimes dramatic, sometimes peaceful but always scenic. Fortunately, like many of the longer paths in the country, it can be broken down into manageable chunks! has a huge range of holiday lets within a short drive of each of these fantastic spring walks. Each of our cottages represent excellent value for money and offer some of the best quality holiday rentals in the country. If you're planning to explore any of these walks this spring, they would make the ideal place to rest your feet.

Check you the interactive map to find your perfect holiday cottage!

Top 10 dog friendly beaches in the UK part 2

Welcome to part two of our top 10 dog friendly beaches in the UK. Last time we covered Perranporth and Seaton in Cornwall, Hengistbury West Beach in Bournemouth, Lepe Country Park, Hampshire and Snettisham Beach, Kings Lynn.

We have holiday cottages within easy reach of all of these so your dog is well served if you’re staying close by. Those aren’t the only dog friendly beaches around though. There are hundreds dotted around England and Ireland. Here are five more.

  1.        Balmedie Beach, Aberdeen

Heading north now to Aberdeen and to Balmedie Beach. It offers five miles of lovely coastline with sandy beaches, dunes, gentle seas and lovely scenery. There are literally miles of beach to explore and to run and play and is one of the friendliest beaches in Scotland.

  2.        Gairloch Beach, Highlands

Gairloch Beach is set inside the lovely Scottish Highlands. It’s a secluded bay beach set amongst the dramatic scenery of mountains, islands and highlands. It offers a large beach that is somewhat sheltered from the wind, plenty of space to run and play and everything you and your dog needs for a day at the seaside.

  3.        Blundellsands, Sefton

Blundellsands not only has miles of golden sands and lots of dunes to explore, it also features that statue of Antony Gormley looking out to see. It takes a while to get used to, but it’s a point of interest in a beach full of them. A great place to run and play for all the family.

  4.        Rhossili Bay, Gower

Rhossili Bay has often been voted the Best Beach in Britain and for good reason. It’s a lovely stretch of Welsh coastline that goes on for three miles. There are lots of green spaces bordering the beach ripe for exploration too. Located at the end of the Gower Peninsula, this is a great day out for everyone.

  5.        Burnham Beach, Burnham on sea

Last but certainly not least is Burnham Beach by Burnham on sea. Another year round dog friendly beach where our four legged friends can run and play to their hearts content. Six miles of lovely sand, dunes, sea and lots of space to stretch your legs make this one of our top ten dog friendly beaches in the UK! has a wide range of dog friendly cottages spread across the UK and Ireland. Now there’s no need to keep your faithful friend in a kennel when you have a holiday, they can come too. It’s a fantastic way to spend family time and we regard time away with our dogs as time well spent!

Top 10 dog friendly beaches in the UK

This week’s posts are going to feature ten of the best beaches in the UK to take your dog. With the weather slowly warming up, the beach is returning as one of the most alluring destinations either for a day out or an explore with our four legged friends. So this post and the post on Thursday will feature what are considered excellent beaches for both you and your dog.

If your dog is anything like mine, they will smell the sea a mile away and begin running towards it before they can even see it. Whenever we take him with us to a holiday cottage, we have to be near the sea. We love it, but he loves it more. So with that in mind, here are what we think are some of the best dog friendly beaches in the country.

  1.        Perranporth, Cornwall

Perranporth is in north Cornwall and offers miles of golden sand and is dog friendly all year round. There’s plenty for humans here too, with plenty of space, lots of sea and sand and some facilities dotted along the coast. Much of Cornwall is dog friendly, but this is one of the best.

  2.        Seaton, Cornwall

Staying in Cornwall, Seaton beach is another dog friendly beach with a lot to offer. It has miles of coastline where you can walk to Looe in one direction and Downderry in another. Dog walkers also meet up on weekend mornings to let their dogs run and play together in the sand and the sea. There’s also a café, parking and fresh water for the dogs.

  3.        Hengistbury West Beach, Bournemouth

Hengistbury West Beach is another dog friendly beach that allows year-round access off lead. There’s miles of sand for humans and dogs, there are usually other dogs to play with and it’s a great spot for all the family. Being near Bournemouth, we have a few holiday cottages within easy reach too.

  4.        Lepe Country Park, Hampshire

Lepe Country Park is a dogs paradise. Miles of beach, acres of woodland, cliffs and all sorts of new smells. The park also has a café, play area and some fantastic views of the Isle of Wight. Dogs can play all year round but are restricted to a large section of the beach during summer.

  5.        Snettisham Beach, Kings Lynn

Heading away from the south coast up to Norfolk to Snettisham Beach. This is uniquely a west facing beach on the East coast. It’s miles of lovely beach, the sea goes out a long way and dogs have unrestricted access at all times of the year. Spring and summer runs along Snettisham Beach are a real highlight of the year!

So that’s the first five dog friendly beaches. Join us Thursday for the other five!

Get on your bike this spring!

We have had quite a few clients asking about local cycle routes around their holiday cottage when making bookings since the New Year. We thought we would help by providing a quick overview of what you need to get on your bike. If you’re planning on getting fit, getting out on two wheels or exploring Great Britain or Ireland on a bike, this post is for you!

Spring is traditionally a time when the weather warms and people begin going outside for pleasure once again. We would encourage everyone to cycle as it’s relatively cheap, easy to learn and has far-reaching health benefits. Many of our clients take their bikes away with them to their holiday cottage as it’s a great way to explore the area around you.

If you’re planning to rediscover cycling, or want to enjoy the area around your holiday cottage on two wheels, bear these things in mind.

Rent before you buy

There are probably hundreds of thousands of bikes slowly decaying in garages across the country. Don’t let yours be one of them. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and buy a bike and only ever use it a few times. If you’re unsure whether cycling is for you, rent one first.

There are plenty of places around the UK that will hire a bike by the hour or day. It’s a simple way to enjoy cycling while on holiday and trying before you buy.

Get the right bike for the terrain

Bikes come in all shapes and sizes and not all are equally suitable for every type of riding. Planning to spend most of your time off road? Get a mountain bike. Planning to use country lanes to get around? A road bike would be fine for this. Planning on mixing it up? A hybrid would probably be best here.

If you’re renting, talk to the people managing the rental. They will know the area and what bike would best suit.

Size is everything

Having the right size bike, right size helmet, jacket, rucksack gloves or whatever becomes even more important when you’re on a bike. To be truly comfortable, your kit needs to fit. It doesn’t matter how expensive or how cheap it is, if it doesn’t fit it isn’t going to work properly.

Be safe

Helmets aren’t compulsory but they are a very good idea. Get one that fits you well and you will soon forget you’re even wearing one. The benefits of wearing one far outweigh the negatives. If you’re planning on cycling with the children, you also have to set an example, so put that lid on!

Exploring the countryside by bike is a simple way to enhance your holiday cottage experience. Do it right and you could have the time of your life.

Ten ways to keep the kids occupied this Easter holiday!

Easter is only four weeks away, meaning it’s time to begin planning an Easter break with the family. Or at least, coming up with ways to keep the children’ occupied while they are off school. Here at, we are always on the lookout for ways to enhance your time in one in our holiday cottages, so this is what we came up with.

Ten ways to keep the kids occupied this Easter holiday is our way of helping you manage to combine a relaxing Easter weekend in a holiday cottage and the demands children place on your time. All are quick, easy and simple to arrange and all will keep children occupied!

1.    A movie day – Ideal for if the weather isn’t agreeable. Pack enough DVDs to keep the kids occupied if it’s raining outside.

2.    Magic show – If the weather isn’t great, or you have already explored the area around your cottage, why not get the kids to put on a magic or comedy show? Preparations will keep them occupied for hours!

3.    Galleries or museums – Many venues lay on special events over Easter that will entertain the children as well as you adults. Check the listings where you are for something interesting and engaging.

4.    Easter egg hunt – Many National Trust properties are holding Easter egg hunts on their properties. Many other venues hold them too as they are great fun. Why not find one near where you are?

5.    Visit the zoo – A classic occasion for the school holidays. It’s a classic because it works. Nothing entertains children more than seeing the animals in a good quality zoo. Some might have special events for Easter too.

6.    Reading time – Reading to your children is a very powerful bonding exercise that brings you closer together. It also helps them value and appreciate books, utilise their imaginations and become good with language.

7.    A tea party – If your children are young enough, why not hold a “grown up” tea party with cups, saucers, cake stands and lots of cakes. To make it last a little longer, you could bake the cakes too!

8.    Play some outdoor games – Playing football, Frisbee or running around with the dog in the garden is a great way to keep them entertained, exercised and exhausted. It’s a good bonding exercise for all of you.

9.    Board games – It’s easy to forget that board games exist in these times of computers and smartphones. Yet a good family board game can provide hours of fun in the evening or if it’s raining outside.

10. Learn a new skill – Learning together can be fun too. Why not all learn origami or drawing or painting? There are lots of skills that can be picked up relatively easily and learned as a group.

Those are just ten of hundreds of ideas to keep the children occupied while spending Easter in one of our holiday cottages. If you have any to add, leave a comment below!