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!

Top UK attractions according to visitor reviews part 2

In the second part of our list of the top UK attractions, we continue the good work we began in part one. This list has been compiled from the top attractions according to users of Trip Advisor.

The list is designed to give you an idea of things to do and places to see while enjoying one of our many top quality holiday cottages. Located throughout the UK, our 15,000 holiday rentals offer a bit of luxury, a holiday escape or a place from which to explore.

We have already discussed The Royal Yacht Britannia, Houses of Parliament, The Bomber Command Memorial, The Tower of London and Durham Cathedral. So let’s continue our list!

1.  Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle in Berkshire is a short distance west of London and is one of the oldest working castles in the world. Home to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family, the castle is one of the best preserved of all our historic buildings.

Much of the castle is off limits, but tours take you round as much as it’s possible to see. If you see the royal standard flying, you know the Queen is home while you’re there!

2.  Big Ben

Back to London for the next landmark in our list. Big Ben in the Elizabeth Tower in the Palace of Westminster is something every visitor to the capital should see and hear.

While you can’t do much but look at it from the outside, it forms such a part of our national identity that you simply must see if for yourself at least once.

3.  Cragside House and Gardens

Cragside House and Gardens in Morpeth, Northumberland is a National Trust site and an amazing place to visit. Originally home to Lord Armstrong, a famous landscaper and inventor, the house was the first place in the world to use hydroelectricity.

It also has some of the most beautiful grounds of anywhere in the UK. We also have lots of quality holiday cottages in Northumberland too.

4.  Liverpool Central Library

Liverpool Central Library is a surprising hit with Trip Advisor users. Ranked 9th in the top 10 list of places to see in the UK, the library is certainly impressive. Some of the rooms are curious shapes, the newly restored Picton library is amazing and the sheer number of books is simply staggering.

If you’re into history or literature, the Liverpool Central Library is definitely somewhere you need to visit.

5.  Edinburgh Castle

Last and certainly not least is Edinburgh Castle. Ranked tenth in the list, this castle overlooking the city is as impressive to look at as it is to tour round. It’s full of history, intrigue and marvellous things to see. The guided tours are well worth it if you want to get the most out of your trip.

The Royal Mile leading up to the castle is well worth a visit too!

So that’s our top ten UK attractions as voted for by Trip Advisor users. Each is fantastic in its own right and well worth a day or a few hours of your time. Let us know how you get on if you try them!

Top UK attractions according to visitor reviews part 1

We may be a small island on the northern edge of Europe, but we do have a lot to offer. It’s an island full of character, history, quirkiness and culture which is why so many people visit here.

Here at holidaycottages.net, we have over 15,000 holiday cottages spread across the entire United Kingdom. From County Down to Cornwall, the Shetland Islands to Shepherds Bush and everywhere in-between.

If you’re considering staying in one of our fine holiday rentals, this two part blog series on top UK attractions is for you. Wherever you are staying in the UK, there is always something to do as this list proves.

What follows is the top ten attractions according to user reviews from Trip Advisor.

1.   The Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia is berthed in Edinburgh and is ranked the top visitor attraction in the UK. It’s a fantastic piece of boatbuilding, history and state extravagance. It’s also the former floating home of the Queen and has travelled over a million miles in her service.

The Royal Yacht Britannia is a living museum and a fantastic place to visit. The city of Edinburgh isn’t bad either!

2.   Houses of Parliament

We may not always like the decisions made there but the Houses of Parliament are a significant part of Britain’s identity. The Palace of Westminster as it’s correctly called is a fantastic piece of architecture and is well worth a visit if you’re in the capital.

It’s also full of history and holds regular guided tours during the week, making it a great place to spend an afternoon.

3.   Bomber Command Memorial

The Bomber Command Memorial is a relatively new attraction but has made a real impact since opening. Located in central London by the Thames, this new memorial commemorates the thousands of airmen who lost their lives during World War 2.

The memorial itself is made from Portland stone and contains a lovely statue of airmen in pose. Well worth a visit!

4.   The Tower of London

The Tower of London is another fantastic British landmark with lots of history, over 1000 years of it. The building itself is amazing, the Brown Jewels are lovely and the living history throughout gives a real sense of the depth and importance of what has gone on here since its founding.

The Yeoman Warder tours are a real highlight and full of interesting stories and anecdotes making them a must-see during your visit.

5.   Durham Cathedral

Heading out of the capital, we go north to Durham Cathedral. Even those not of a religious persuasion will enjoy the architecture and history of this great building. This World Heritage site is sited next to Durham Castle which is also worth the trip.

The cathedral has an amazing library, lots of special events and of course is a place of worship. There really is something here for everyone!

Those are the first five of our top UK attractions. Wherever you are in the country, whichever of our holiday cottages you’re staying in, there’s bound to be plenty of things to do nearby. These are just a few.

Join us next time for the remaining five. What do you think they will be?

The UK’s Ten Best Easter Walks Part 2.

Continuing our Easter roundup of Britain’s best Easter walks, we now have the final six. All of these are great reasons to get away for the Bank Holiday weekend and rent a holiday cottage somewhere beautiful.

Try one, try them all!

5.    Pennine Way

The Pennine Way has to be one of the most famous walks in the country. The trail stretches over 429km from from Edale in Derbyshire’s Peak District, through the Yorkshire Dales to Kirk Yetholm.

The path traverses some amazing countryside, including three National Parks. It would take around three weeks to walk it all, so a holiday cottage somewhere strategic would make as much of this as accessible as possible within a four day weekend!

6.    Cotswolds Way

The Cotswolds Way is another famous walk that shows off the best of the English countryside. This trail lets you enjoy everything the Cotswolds has to offer between Bath and Chipping Campden over 164km of relaxed trails.

The Cotswolds area is one of outstanding beauty and now the floods are over, most of it is now passable once more. We have plenty of holiday cottages in the area too.

7.    Offa's Dyke Path

Offa's Dyke runs the entire length of the England-Wales border for over 130km. Originally built to separate the two warring kingdoms of Mercia and Wales, the dyke stretched for over 286km.

Some of it has now gone, but the Offa's Dyke Path now runs from Sedbury in the south to Prestatyn in the north.

8.    Kintyre Way

Kintyre Way in Scotland stretches 140km from from Tarbert at the north end of the Kintyre peninsula to Dunaverty in the south. It’s a coastal walk that is largely unknown, having been open only 8 years.

It’s a mixed trail with some easy walks and some serious hikes, making it ideal for an Easter getaway.

9.    Yorkshire Three Peaks

If you love a challenge, you’ll love Yorkshire Three Peaks. The trail is “only” 42km long, but includes Yorkshire’s three highest points. It’s a loop that includes Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent. While only 42km long, 1.6km of that is ascent!

If you’re competitive, the goal is to complete the walk within 12 hours. If you’re not, it’s an excellent place to spend Easter weekend. We have a few holiday cottages within easy reach too.

10.    South West Coast Path

The South West Coast Path is an epic trail spanning 1011km through Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset. You certainly couldn’t do this route over an Easter weekend, but you could enjoy a decent portion of it!

If you want to see dramatic coastline, beautiful fields, forests and beaches, this is the trail to do.

We have holiday cottages throughout the UK that would serve as an ideal base for walking these top ten trails. Book yours today before it’s too late!

Enjoy Easter in an eggstravagant holiday cottage!

Easter is a fantastic time of year. Not only do you get to eat as much chocolate as you can handle, it’s also springtime. Taking an Easter break in one of our lovely holiday cottages is the perfect way to spend that time.

Spring is the best time of year as far as we’re concerned, especially this year. After a long, wet winter, nature is throwing off the gloom, drying the land and waking up once more. The grass is growing, trees are coming into leaf, flowers are blooming and the animals are getting ready for the year ahead.

What better time to enjoy the fantastic British countryside?

Whether you’re planning for the Easter bank holiday, the school break or both, we have a cottage for you. We have holiday cottages by the sea, in the depths of the countryside, near lively towns and villages. We have romantic cottages for two, or large family-sized cottages so the kids can come too.

Holidaycottages.net always has the widest range of holiday accommodation. From quaint to contemporary, character to colossal, it’s all here and all priced affordably.

Easter holidays are about taking a break from work and school, sitting back and enjoying what the world has to offer. It’s about spending time with the ones you love and starting the new year as you mean to go on. What better way to do that than with an Easter break in a holiday cottage?

Easter is also a time of year when attractions hold their own Easter events. Easter egg hunts, festivals, fayres, fetes, exhibitions and all sorts of organised activities are held over Easter. If you’re up for something a little more free form, then a lovely cottage is a great base of operations for an Easter break of your own making.

Look out for local events in the place you’re staying as there is bound to be something going on!

Enjoy Snowdonia, visit Cornwall, relax by the lakes, explore East Anglia, hike Hadrian’s Wall, visit the Giant’s Causeway or do whatever feels right. Just know that there are hundreds of high quality holiday cottages here to help.

Don’t pay excessive holiday charges because it’s a school holiday. Don’t pay over the top for hotels because they have a captive audience. Don’t spend hours in an airport waiting for flights. Book an Easter holiday cottage with Holidaycottages.net and begin your holiday right away!

Taking your dog to your holiday cottage

We have hundreds of holiday cottages here on holidaycottages.net. Many of them are pet-friendly and will welcome your dog as warmly as they welcome you.

Taking pets on holiday is something that is become more popular by the year. We have always wanted to holiday with our furry friends, but have rarely had the opportunity. As holiday accommodation has woken up to this new requirement, a new market has sprung up for pet-friendly holiday cottages.

If you’re travelling with your dog for the first time, here are some useful tips for you.

Travelling with your dog

Some dogs are more than happy to travel by car. Some not so much. If you have to drive to your holiday cottage, plan on stopping to let your dog go to the toilet and have water on hand for them to drink. Dogs that are anxious get dehydrated very quickly, which compounds the problem.

Where practical, have a window open to provide fresh air. Air conditioning works well too if open windows won’t work. Keep the temperature in the car as cool as you find comfortable to prevent your dog overheating and further dehydrating.

Dogs and trains

If you’re travelling by train, you are legally entitled to take your dog with you as long as it is well behaved, under control and on a lead. It forms part of the National Rail Conditions of Carriage and all railway companies have to comply.

Check with yours before travelling though in case there are any restrictions.

What to pack

Most holiday cottages cater for human visitors only, as that’s what they are geared up for. That means you have to pack for your dog just as you would your children. Items to pack include:

  • Food and water bowl
  • Bedding
  • Toys
  • Lead
  • Poo bags
  • Dog towels
  • Chews

You might also want to add a ground anchor to secure the lead, shampoo and brush if your dog likes to explore and cleaning products to ensure your holiday cottage is left in the same condition you found it.

Routine and dog behaviour

Dogs are like humans in that they are essentially creatures of habit. They can adapt to change, but need a little time and a little reassurance in order to do it. When travelling with your dog, ensure you’re always close by and that they can see you at all times. Keep them company until they are used to the holiday cottage and bring as many of the dog’s things are you can manage.

Bringing the dog’s bedding doesn’t just ensure you don’t dirty the cottage, it also provides a link to the dog’s routine and comfort in something they recognise. Plan on providing more stimulation than usual in the first couple of days to help take their mind off the differences in routine.

Cleaning up behind your dog

A well behaved dog isn’t just a joy to be around, they also prove to the owner of the holiday cottage that allowing pets is a good idea. Cleaning up after your dog is an essential part of that. Not only to continue the goodwill from property owners, but also to prevent any big cleaning bills.

Holiday cottages are businesses after all. If that business has to pay for cleaning after you stay, it’s only right that they pass that charge on to you. Cleaning up after your dog means everyone goes away happy!

Embrace spring with a weekend break!

After what seems like an eternity of wind, rain and perpetual greyness, spring has finally sprung. The sun is out, the puddles are gone, floods are receding and the world is righting itself once more.

We had four months of rain, storms, flooding and low pressure. We had a wet Christmas, a damp New Year and a somewhat soggy beginning to 2014. Now all that is over and it’s time to move on. What better time to move on to Spring than taking a break from work?

Holidaycottages.net has a huge selection of high quality holiday cottages across the UK and Ireland that would fit the bill perfectly!

Spring breaks

While spring is a traditionally busy time of year for holiday rentals, there are some vacancies left if you’re in the mood for a change of scenery.

We have a wide range of holiday cottages available, in all areas of the country. Whether it’s a quaint historical cottage, a romantic getaway for two or somewhere for all the family, we’re bound to have something here!

We have cottages by the beach, cottages in the country, pet-friendly cottages, cottages with sea views, cottages near cities and even cottages with their own tennis courts. Whatever kind of property you’re looking for, we’re bound to have it here!

Book ahead for Easter

Once spring is well underway, Easter is only round the corner. If that isn’t a great excuse for a break from everything, we don’t know what is!

Why queue for hours at the airport if you can simply drive to a lovely holiday cottage? Why travel across the world when you can travel a couple of hours for the same effect? Why pay the expense of a foreign holiday when you can holiday at home for less?

With the rules on taking kids out of school during term time, booking your holiday cottage early is more important than ever. More and more people are choosing to holiday at home, meaning more people wanting quality accommodation for a well-deserved break.

So, if you see something on Holidaycottages.net that you like and it’s available, book it! You never know when someone else will have the same idea. Feel free to browse our huge collection of holiday cottages. All offer fantastic value, great accommodation and everything you need to kick off spring in style!

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 HolidayCottages.net 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.