More Wonderful Winter Walks Part 2

Continuing on from our previous posts on Wonderful Winter Walks, we’re intent on helping you make the most of not just what could be on your doorstep when you stay in one of our lovely holiday cottages, but what the UK has to offer too. So here are a few more winter walks to work off that turkey!

Cairngorm National Park

The Cairngorm National Park is one of our newest parks, having been established in 2003. It’s also the largest, covering hundreds of acres of land that’s twice the size of the Lake District. There are 52 peaks here, many over 900m high.

As well as some stunning scenery, over a quarter of the UK’s endangered species can be found here, so if you’re into nature, there’s a double reason to visit!

The Malvern Hills

The Malvern Hills are located south of Worcester and while not our biggest area of outstanding natural beauty, is certainly one of the best. It’s also close to motorways and centres of population, making it ideal for a day out walking. Walking the Malvern Hills isn’t as challenging as some of the other places on here, but it’s still very rewarding.

The Brecon Beacons National Park

The Brecon Beacons National Park is one of the more famous of our parks and not far from the Malvern Hills. Located in South Wales, the park is the natural border between England and Wales and includes some of the most challenging winter hiking around.

Here you can walk the Black Mountain, Fforest Fawr and Pen y Fan. The Wye Valley offers some stunning scenery from atop the many hills and ridges, making for a very rewarding day out.

North Yorkshire Moors National Park

The North Yorkshire Moors National Park is another park surrounded by towns and villages, making for a very interest winter break or day out. This park is more rolling hills and valleys than mountains and crags but is no less rewarding for it. Miles and miles of trails cross this wild land and there are plenty of holiday cottages within a short distance too!

South West Coast Path

The South West Coast Path isn’t a park or mountain, it’s a dedicated trail that covers almost the entire coast of Devon and Cornwall. It’s 630 miles in all, but it broken down into manageable chunks between seaside towns. We have dozens of holiday cottages in this part of the country so would make a great New Year getaway.

The path stretches from the edge of Exmoor National Park and covers all the south west coast round Cornwall to Poole in Dorset. It’s an epic place to walk!

More Wonderful Winter Walks

With the post-Christmas period now upon us, many will want to get out of the house, move away from the TV and do something more interesting instead. One option is to stay in a lovely holiday cottage somewhere within the British Isles. There’s no better way to begin 2015 than by staying somewhere scenic!

With that in mind, we thought we would continue the Wonderful Winter Walks series we began a couple of weeks ago. For such a small island, we are blessed with a diversity of natural landscapes that is hard to beat. From lakes and forests to moorland, fell and beach. There really is something for everyone here.

So, for the next two posts, we’re going to list some of our favourite places to walk in the UK. Each has a holiday cottage within a short walk or drive and would make for a very rewarding New Year’s break.

The Peak District

The Peak District is a huge swathe of wild land that stretches from Derbyshire in the south, up to Sheffield and across to Glossop. It’s easier to hike than the Lake District, but no less rewarding. There are hundreds of marked routes, or hundreds of square miles of countryside to explore on your own.

It’s the perfect place to spend a winter’s day!

The Lake District

The Lake District National Park is one of our most famous wild areas to walk and to visit and with good reason. Not only does it have England’s highest mountain in Scalfell Pike, it also has the lakes, fells, hills, valleys and hundreds of acres of parks, towns and villages to visit and enjoy.

There are also plenty of holiday cottages within the region too, so you’re spoilt for choice!

Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia National Park is probably the most challenging hiking Britain has. It has more mountains than anywhere else in the UK, the terrain is exposed to the elements and is over 1km above sea level. There are hundreds of miles of trails that traverse the area. Some will include mountains, others will not.

Snowdonia National Park has challenges for all levels and some stunning scenery. That’s what makes it so special.


We covered Dartmoor last time, so it’s only right that Exmoor gets some attention this time round. Also located in Devon, Exmoor offers dramatic landscape and over 600 miles of trails crisscrossing one of the most scenic counties in England. It includes beaches, hills, valleys, rivers, moor and more. It’s a fantastic place to walk in a lovely part of the country.

Best Christmas ice rinks in the UK

Ice skating is like gift shopping or eating brussels sprouts, something many of us do only once a year. Yet it’s an enjoyable activity that offers entertainment, a little exercise, a bit of romance and a few thrills and spills.

If you’re wintering or spending Christmas in a holiday cottage, why not see if one of these Christmas outdoor ice rinks is nearby? It’s a great way to spend a few hours and is much more fun than it might look!

Winter Wonderland – Hyde Park

Winter Wonderland is one of two outdoor ice rinks we feature in central London. This ice rink surrounds a Victorian bandstand which is in turn surrounded by a Christmas market, activities and more. After dark, the rink is lit by lights and Christmas music will play. There are also plenty of cafes to keep you warm!

Ice Skate Vauxhall – London

Ice Skate Vauxhall is held at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in London. The ice rink is huge and is open until 4th January. Once you’re too tired to skate, there is a Christmas tree maze to solve, a fair, street performances and a Christmas market to enjoy.

Royal Pavilion – Brighton

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton is a lovely place to spend time anyway, but add an ice rink to proceedings and it gets even more interesting. As it’s only a few steps away from the city centre, it’s a great thing to try when you’re bored of Christmas shopping. There is a rinkside bar and kitchen too to keep you fuelled for skating.

Winter Wonderland – Cardiff

We have spoken about Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland before and will unashamedly plug it again as it is good. This time, the outdoor ice rink takes centre stage. It’s a good size, surrounded by fairground rides and is only a short walk from the city and the castle, both of which have their own Christmas activities going on.

Selfridges – Manchester

Selfridges in the Trafford Centre Manchester has its own ice rink too. While technically outside, it is covered. The rink is themed to match the store’s Christmas theme, so expect woodland creatures, elves and so on around the ice. It’s a great opportunity to mix a little retail therapy with ice skating.

Winchester Cathedral – Winchester

The Inner Close of Winchester Cathedral has been transformed into an ice rink for Christmas and is open to the public until 4th January. The rink itself is managed by the Cathedral and is surrounded by a Christmas market. It’s a lower key setup than say, Selfridges, but it is still eminently enjoyable.

Those are just six of the many Winter ice rinks featured around the UK. If you’re looking for something to do while staying in one of our holiday cottages, or just want a day out doing something new, all of these deliver.

Great UK Christmas days out for all the family

One of the downsides of Christmas is having a lot of time to fill. Kids need entertaining, adults need to get out of the house and everyone needs a break from Christmas TV adverts and wrapping presents. If you’re staying in one of our holiday cottages for Christmas, these offer a great activity for the day too!

Winter Wonderland – Hyde Park

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London is one of the best Christmas days out in the city. It includes The Magical Ice Kingdom, Lycamobile Ice Rink, the Victorian Bandstand, Giant Observation Wheel, Santa Land, Christmas markets, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk and more.

Beaulieu – New Forest

Palace House in Beaulieu always does Christmas well. This year, kids get the opportunity to dress up as Victorian children and experience the holiday as it used to be. The decorations and the tree are lovely and the National Motor Museum in the grounds also has a Victorian-themed exhibition running. It’s a great day out on a lovely estate.

Santa’s Grotto at Bounce Below – Gwynedd

Santa’s Grotto at Bounce Below is a unique experience set inside a cavern underneath Gwynedd in North Wales. Tour the underground caverns, visit Santa and then have a bounce on a huge net within the cavern. It really is something very different and is sure to tire the little ones out!

Christmas at the Lost Gardens of Heligan – Mevagissey

Mevagissey in Cornwall is a lovely place to visit at any time of year. Our holiday cottages in the area are some of the busiest we have. Add the Christmas at the Lost Gardens of Heligan event and you have even more cause to visit. The 200 acre estate is lit up with a Christmas Advent Trail, Santa comes to visit the children and craft fairs run throughout December.

Lantern Magic – Chester Zoo

Lantern Magic is a unique opportunity to see Chester Zoo at night. Not only do you get to tour the zoo at a time you wouldn’t normally be able, children also get to visit Santa and make a wish on the Giant Wishing Tree. It’s definitely something different that will entertain the whole family.

Christmas at the Castle – Warwick Castle

Christmas at the Castle is an annual Christmas event held at Warwick Castle each year. This year the property has been transformed into a winter wonderland that offers the chance to have breakfast with Santa, marvel at a huge Christmas tree, enjoy a Christmas banquet and take a torchlit tour of the castle.

Those are just five Christmas activities happening around the country. There are thousands of others across Britain and Ireland. If you’re spending winter or Christmas in one of our many lovely holiday cottages, why not try one? Don’t forget to let us know how you got on!

The best Christmas light displays in the UK right now

There are many elements that make any Christmas a good one. Family, friends, happiness, relaxation, time away from work, the culture of Christmas and seeing everyone embracing the holiday season are just a few.

If you’re enjoying a winter weekend away in one of our lovely holiday cottages, why not see a Christmas light display near to where you are? They are one of the highlights of the season for us and we enjoy them every single year. If you’re close to any of these, they are well worth a visit!

Mousehole, Cornwall

The quaintly named Mousehole in Cornwall has the reputation pf being the best Christmas light display in the country. With thousands of lights strung throughout the village and across the harbour, this light show may not be the biggest, but it’s certainly the best. It has England written all over it, in the history, the culture, the displays and the pies!

Kew Gardens, London

A visit to Kew Gardens is a must for anyone at any time, but Christmas offers something special. The main building is decked out in lights, the lake is lit and a one mile trail throughout the gardens is lit. There are also light sculptures, giant snowflakes and the Tunnel of Lights too. Well worth a visit!

Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury

We have featured Westonbirt Arboretum on before and probably will do again. Not only is it a national treasure, it also always has something going on. The annual Christmas light show is just one of them. The trees are lit, a mile-long trail is lit, Father Christmas comes to visit, fairies haunt the woods and choirs bring Christmas to everyone. It’s lovely.

Regent Street, London

No list of awesome Christmas lights would be complete without mentioning Regent Street in London. The city does Christmas well, but this street does it better than most. The long shopping street is lit from above with lights, each shop window is full of Christmas displays and Hamleys Christmas display should never be missed, whatever your age.

Cardiff Castle, Cardiff

Cardiff Castle is another destination we like visiting at any time of year, but Christmas is especially appealing. The castle itself is lit up at night, the town centre has its own light show and there are always things going on, late night shopping and the usual Christmassy things.

Those are just five Christmas light shows being held around the country this December. If you’re staying in one of our holiday cottages and are looking for something to do while you’re there, these are definitely worth a visit!

3 Simple Reasons You Need To Book Your Autumn And Winter Holiday Cottages Now

With the school holidays now over and most children having been back at school for at least a week or two, we’re sure there are plenty of you out there who are relieved. Keeping your kids entertained for a weekend can be difficult enough, but for those who have had the full ‘joys’ of the summer holidays with your brood, you deserve a medal!

Most of us at are parents ourselves, so we really do know just how challenging it is to keep the kids entertained during the holidays – and also how expensive.

With the October half term only six weeks away for most (and Christmas less than 100 days away!), if you’re planning on booking one of the many holiday cottages around the country for a family getaway, it’s important you do so now, for three simple reasons.

1. You could save a fortune

Let’s just get straight to the point – if you book any type of holiday as far in advance as you can, you’re almost always going to get the cheapest price possible.

You’ll of course be able to get some cheap last minute deals with most holidays, but there’s a huge risk factor involved. Imagine you waited until the weekend before you wanted to go and it turned out everywhere was fully booked. Then what do you do?

Chances are there’ll be something available somewhere, but nothing that fits in with your budget or suits your needs, which leads us perfectly onto the next two points.

2. You’ll be able to choose exactly where you want to go…

It’s a simple point, but it’s one that a lot of people forget about.

Just like the further in advance you book, the cheaper it will be, if you book at least a month or two before you travel, you’ll be able to choose exactly where you want to go (whether that’s in a rural area away from it all or close to the local attractions) and get your choice of which type of cottage you want to stay in – how about a cottage with a hot tub or swimming pool?

Everyone likes choice. No one wants to put their details and requirements into a website or search engine and find out that there’s only one or two cottages for them to choose from. It’s disheartening having to settle for second best!

We really do try to offer the widest selection of quality holiday cottages we possibly can, but there’s only so many available to offer (and with a particularly small window to book at peak times, the longer you leave it, the more chance there is that everything will have been snapped up).

3. …and when you want to stay

When you’re booking a break with restricted dates – the half term holiday is a perfect example – one of the most frustrating things about booking late is that you can’t often get to stay exactly when you want (or more importantly, need).

Linking back to your choice of cottages and destinations, you might be able to find somewhere that suits your needs, but what if it takes nearly a full day’s worth of driving just to get there? A three night stay could give you just one full day before you have to start thinking about getting ready to drive all the way back home.

Not really a relaxing break with the family, is it?

Sometimes you won’t be able to book holiday cottages in advance, we understand that. You might not know exactly when you can go, for example. You might not even know yet whether it’s a possibility if you do have dates.

But if you have your dates already worked out, the simple fact is, book now and you’ll be able to choose exactly where you stay, when you go and most importantly, all for the cheapest price possible.