Britain’s top ten picnic spots part 2

Welcome to the second part of our series on Britain's top ten picnic spots. If you missed the first part, you can find it here. We covered Somerset House in London, Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire, Corfe Castle and Brownsea Island in Dorset and Bodmin Moor, Cornwall.

So for the final five, let's explore some of the rest of our island. If you're staying in one of our holiday cottages this summer and fancy a day out, there is plenty to choose from here!

1.  Glenkiln Sculpture Park, Dumfries and Galloway

The Glenkiln Sculpture Park is around eight miles west of Dumfries and mixes modern sculpture with ancient highland in a most beautiful way. There are six sculptures located around the park to add interested while the park itself is lovely. It's an excellent place to have a picnic as modern meets ancient in a most fascinating mix.

2.  Stenness Loch, Orkney

Stenness Loch is probably the most isolated place you could have a picnic, but also one of the most beautiful. Visit the Stones of Stenness, the oldest known stone monument in the country, enjoy local produce and enjoy the beautiful isolation on this lovely little island. It's a trek to get there, but well worth the effort.

3.  Tollymore Forest Park, County Down

Tollymore Forest Park is comprised of ancient woodland at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in County Down. The park is full of ancient trees, trails, caves and grottoes, making this an ideal place to bring the kids. Once they are all worn out, spread the blanket under the canopy of an oak or redwood and enjoy the tranquillity of the forest.

4.  Top Withens, West Yorkshire

It's fitting that Top Withens fits into our top ten because it is another place full of dramatic scenery and history. The ruined farmhouse on Haworth Moor is eerie and fascinating at the same time. Allegedly it is where the inspiration for Wuthering Heights came from, it's also a significant local landmark. The surrounding moor isn't bad either!

5.  Arbroath Abbey, Angus

Last and certainly not least is Arbroath Abbey close to Angus, Scotland. This is a 12th century abbey with soaring sandstone walls, nice grounds and a nice, relaxed atmosphere. Local shops also have a wide range of produce, making for that extra special picnic experience. has some excellent holiday lets around the country close to all ten of our top British picnic spots. Check them out to find yours!

Visit Britain’s top ten secret beaches this summer

With summer upon us and the weather warming, thoughts naturally turn to getting out and about and making the most of the good weather. If you, like us, tend to gravitate towards the beach this time of year, this is the post for you!

The team at have got together to build a list of the top ten secret beaches in the UK. Secret is of course a subjective term and here we mean lesser known or quieter beaches that escape the rush of tourists. If you're staying in one of our holiday cottages around Britain's coast, there's bound to be a secret beach near you. So for the next two posts, we are going to share our top ten secret beaches.


1.  Broad Sands, Combe Martin, North Devon

Many of our top ten secret beaches are on the south coast and we begin near Combe Martin in Devon. Broad Sands is a cove with lovely stretch of beach, beautiful clear water and lots of rocks, coves and caves to explore. Accessed by steep steps, this is a very quiet beach with a lovely outlook, perfect for a peaceful day in the sun.

2.  Blackpool Sands, Devon

The confusingly named Blackpool Sands in Devon is another hidden gem that deserves recognition. This is a shingle beach that fronts onto lovely clear water that allows you to almost think you're in the Mediterranean. The tide doesn't move much so is safe for little ones to play and there are lifeguards patrolling during summer. Despite its beauty, it doesn't get as busy as it should.

3.  Sandy Mouth, Bude, North Cornwall

Sandy Mouth is a lovely little beach nestled between the sea and cliffs. There is a nice National Trust café at the top of the cliffs yet is another quieter beach, even during high season. If it does get busy, just walk a mile north to Duckpool or a little further to Stanbury Mouth. All three beaches are lovely at any time of year!

4.  Speke’s Mill Mouth, Hartland, North Devon

Heading back to North Devon, Speke’s Mill Mouth beach is a dramatic piece of coastline that also includes the highest waterfall in the area. It's a wild beach with rock pools, shipwrecks, cliffs, coastal paths and the very handy Wrecker's Retreat Bar in Hartland Quay a short walk away.

5.  Church Bay, Anglesey

Heading up to Wales now and to Church Bay in Anglesey. Known as Porth Swtan locally, this stretch of coastline has white sands, rocks, meadows and relatively calm seas. It also has The Lobster Pot close by for some of the freshest seafood around.

We have holiday cottages close to all of these areas, so if you're looking to spend time by the seaside this summer, you're in good hands. Join us Thursday for part two of our top ten secret beach series!

The Pennine Way hits 50

A couple of weeks ago, one of the most famous trails in the country hit the half century. In 1965, the 268 mile trail across the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales was opened to the public. It was Britain’s longest, most challenging hiking trail and it has gained a loyal following since.

The Pennine Way traverses the spine of Britain from Edale in the south to Kirk Yelholm in the north. It wanders through the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, North Pennines and the Cheviots, taking in some of the best countryside we have.

The Pennine Way

This trail, like many longer walks, can be broken up into bite size pieces so you can walk the entire way, but not all at once. There are dozens of towns and villages within close proximity to The Pennine Way and we have holiday cottages spread throughout the entire length of the trail. It’s easy to plan a week or two exploring the centre of Britain while using one of our top quality holiday lets as a base.

It would take around 19-20 days to walk the entire trail. That’s assuming you walked every day for several hours at a time. As an aside, the fastest completion of The Pennine Way was complete in 1989 in 2 days 17 hours 20 minutes and 15 seconds. A man called Mike Hartley ran the whole way, stopping only twice for 18 minutes each time.

The trail can be challenging as it’s hilly, sometimes exposed and very long. If you begin in Edale, the first few dozen miles can be hard, but then it evens out. Expect to do a lot of training before tackling the entire trail!

If you’re more interested in tackling sections of The Pennine Way, then things are much easier. You can break the trail down into manageable sections depending on your ability. The National Trails website has a wealth of information regarding maps, terrain, planning and much more.

Remember, if you feel like tackling The Pennine Way, check our holiday cottages in the area first. You’ll need to put your feet up after a long day of walking!

The National Trails organisations has organised a number of events this year to celebrate this 50th birthday. Beginning on April 24th, the official birthday of The Pennine Way, there began celebrations, special events and more. A month later and things are still going strong in what will be a year of events.

Check the list of special events here if you would like to get involved.

The National Trails of Scotland part two

Welcome to the second part of our series highlighting some of the many walking trails that make up the National Trails of Scotland. Last time we covered Annandale Way, The Ayrshire Coastal Path, Kintyre Way, Borders Abbeys Way and Great Glen Way. This time we're going to cover five more places to enjoy walking in this beautiful country. has quite a selection of holiday cottages in Scotland. All would make a great base camp for tackling many of these trails. Check them out and book yours today!

The Southern Upland Way

The Southern Upland Way is 212 miles from Portpatrick to Cockburnspath. It includes some of the best hidden scenery in Scotland and is one of the quieter trails thanks to being relatively unknown except for enthusiasts. Enjoy hills, fields, woodland and coast along this way, with plenty of wildlife to spot along the way.

It takes around 12 days to complete this trail from end to end so using one of our holiday cottages as a base camp would be ideal.

Clyde Walkway

Clyde Walkway takes you from Glasgow city centre to New Lanark across 40 miles of city and countryside. Walk along the riverside out of the city into Strathclyde Country Park and then along the banks of Strathclyde Loch to the River Clyde. From here you explore woodland, fields and hillsides and take in all four Falls of Clyde.

Speyside Way

The Speyside Way runs from Buckie on the shore of the Moray Firth southwest to Aviemore on the edge of the Cairngorm Mountains. It is 65 miles long and includes a huge variety of countryside to enjoy. The trails are well maintained and take in some of the best views in the area. Buckie offers a lovely coastline, while you head inland to Aviemore where the mountains dominate the skyline. It's a lovely walk.

Berwickshire Coastal Path

Berwickshire Coastal Path takes you 28.5 miles from Cockburnspath to Berwick across some of the most picturesque coastline anywhere in the world. With dramatic cliffs, energetic sea and some lovely countryside landward, this is an excellent walk for anyone who loves the coast or seabirds as you get plenty of both. It's not the longest trail, but it is one of the prettiest.

The Moray Coast Trail

The Moray Coast Trail runs 50 miles from Findhorn to Cullen and is another excellent coastal trail. It takes in some amazing coves, cliffs and dramatic coastal scenes. Look inland for busy farms, lush woodland and some lovely scenes of Scottish lowland life. has a selection of high quality holiday lets within a short drive of any of these trails. If you're looking to explore, we have the perfect holiday cottage for you. Check out the interactive map to find yours!

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!

How to spend your days when in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire is a great place to spend a little time away from home. It’s only an hour from London, yet could be at the other end of the country. It’s quiet, civilised and offers a huge range of things to see and do. Renting one of our holiday cottages in Oxfordshire is a great way to explore England!

Here are a few things to see and do.

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is almost a thousand years old in parts and is spread out across the city. Some of the colleges are open to the public some of the time and are well worth checking out.

Pitt Rivers Museum

The Pitt Rivers Museum is one of many superb museums in the area but has a character all of its own. It’s a bit cluttered but is truly amazing to wander around. It’s free to enter and is one of the most fascinating museums anywhere in the world.

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology is another Oxford-based museum that is one of the best examples of its type anywhere. You need a full day to really appreciate what’s here.

University Museum of Natural History

Another museum well worth your time is the University Museum of Natural History. Stuffed full of exhibits from across the ages, the museum is an easy way to lose a day. The building itself is fascinating too.

Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library is one of the most famous book repositories in the world and for good reason. The building is amazing, the sheer number and variety of books are too. Take a guided tour to get the very best out of this attraction.

Broughton Castle

Leaving museums and libraries behind for a while, let’s visit Broughton Castle near Banbury. It’s a fortified manor house built around 1300 and is open to the public. It’s a lovely, peaceful place that has feature in more than a few movies.

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is a fascinating walk into the past. The birthplace of Winston Churchill and current home to the Duke of Marlborough, the palace is a historic building with a lot to offer. Allow plenty of time to do it justice!

Those are just a few of the hundreds of places to see and things to do while staying in one of our holiday cottages in Oxfordshire. Each offers a little something different and is well worth your time. Don’t forget to let us know how you get on!

Great days out in Gloucestershire

Whatever time of year you visit Gloucestershire, there is always something to do. It’s a wide open and varied county with a huge range of towns, cities and attractions to keep you occupied. If you’re visiting one of our many quality holiday cottages in the county, you won’t be short of things to do.

Here are just a few ideas of things to do in Gloucestershire while in a holiday cottage.

The International Centre for Birds of Prey

We seem to feature a lot of bird of prey centres here on That’s because they seem widely appreciated by our customers. This one is no different. Based in Newent, The International Centre for Birds of Prey is an excellent example of somewhere that mixes preservation with entertainment. The owl nights are especially good!

Royal Forest of Dean

The Royal Forest of Dean is an amazing place to visit if you like walking, amazing scenery, have a dog or children you want to wear out. It offers something new every season, with spring and autumn being particular highlights. With marked trails and plenty of opportunities to explore, it’s a must-see for anyone visiting the area. Especially if you have a nice warm holiday cottage to go home to!

Torbay Express

The Torbay Express is a step back in time that we should all enjoy at one time in our lives. It’s a steam train that travels across Gloucester, Somerset and north Devon. Options include short scenic journeys or a full five hour trip with dinner. It’s an excellent way to spend a few hours and get to see a bit of the west country at the same time.

Perrygrove Railway and Treetop Adventure

Another rail-based attraction in Gloucestershire is the Perrygrove Railway and Treetop Adventure. This attraction isn’t all about the trains, although they are a main reason for visiting. There is also a treetop adventure area where you can get a bird’s eye view of the woods, a hidden treasure area where children can explore and find real treasure!

Symonds Yat Rock

Symonds Yat Rock is a geological formation on the edge of the Forest of Dean. It’s enormous and accessible via forest trails that are fairly easy going. From the top of the rock you can see over the River Wye, the Wye Valley and the forest itself. It’s also a great place to watch birds of prey in action.

Those are just five of the hundreds of attractions in Gloucestershire. If you’re planning a holiday cottage trip to the area, each offers a great way to spend time. Enjoy them and let us know how you get on!’s top five UK winter walks

Winter is about more than just Christmas and New Year. It offers more than just an opportunity to wrap up in a blanket with a hot cup of tea. Tackled right, winter is a great time of year for getting out and about and seeing our country in a whole new light.

As long as you have the right clothes, there’s no reason why a wonderful winter walk shouldn’t be a highlight of your year.

Hadrian’s Wall -Northumberland

Hadrian’s Wall is spectacular all year round, but in the winter it really is something special. Spanning Northumberland and Cumbria, the wall is 84 miles long and most of it is very accessible. It offers some amazing views of moorland, country, wood and field. It’s a great place to walk, especially in winter and especially if you’re wrapped up warm!

Wastwater – Lake District

Wastwater is our favourite of all the lakes in the Lake District. It’s much quieter during winter and the scenery can be much more dramatic. Get the weather right and you could be in for some jaw dropping scenery and some amazing walking. Surrounded by mountain peaks, wooded hills and verdant green countryside, this has to be one of the best places to walk in the world.

Dartmoor – Devon

If you like your winter walks desolate and beautiful, Dartmoor is the place to come. You can walk the majority of the moor as long as you’re properly equipped but there are also structured walks out of Princetown and Postbridge. After your walk you have Exeter in one direction, Plymouth in another an Tavistock in yet another. It’s a great part of the country to walk.

Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland

No list of winter walks would be complete without mentioning what is undoubtedly the best walk in Ireland. The Wild Atlantic Way stretches across the entirety of Ireland’s west coast and takes in some truly astonishing scenery. Add in that legendary Irish hospitality, some lovely towns and villages, as well as some fantastic holiday cottages and you have an amazing package.

Richmond Park – London

Richmond Park is one of many parks in London, but it’s definitely one of the best. Containing acres of ancient woodland, parkland, wildlife and even fallow deer, this is a true oasis in the city. Walk along to King Henry’s Mound and get a fantastic view of the city skyline, including the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral.

Those are our top five winter walks in the UK. There’s something there for everyone and a walk to delight the senses. Each has at least a couple of hour wonderful holiday cottages nearby too, which is even more reason to try them!

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!