Where to find the UK’s best Christmas shopping Part 2

Welcome back to our two-part series on finding the UK’s best Christmas shopping destinations. Last time we covered Oxford Street and Westfield Stratford City in London, The Trafford Centre in Manchester, the Bull Ring in Birmingham and Princes Street Edinburgh.

All are fantastic shopping destinations with holiday cottages close by. They are perfect for last minute gift buying or enjoying a festive shopping expedition with family. That’s why we love them. So without further ado, here are the final five of the UK’s best Christmas shopping.

Bluewater – Kent

Bluewater is one of the UK’s largest shopping centres and it’s all indoors. If it’s cold and wet outside, it’s the perfect antidote to the winter blues. The mixture of shopping, undercover, cafes, restaurants, cinema and seasonal exhibitions make Bluewater a great place for catching up with Christmas shopping or spending the day.

The Quays – Newry

The Quays in Newry, Northern Ireland is one of the region’s largest shopping destinations and is one of the newest too. Built just outside Newry, The Quays has all the big names and some smaller ones too. There is also a cinema, food, cafes and lifestyle venues spread liberally around the centre too.

The Shambles – York

The Shambles in York is a fantastic place to visit for itself let alone for Christmas Shopping. Like much of the old city, The Shambles is Medieval, at least 500 years old and as pretty as a picture. The narrow streets can be a challenge in crowds, but the place is such a delight that you can quickly forgive it.

St David’s Dewi Sant – Cardiff

St David’s Dewi Sant in Cardiff is the Welsh flagship shopping destination. It’s wide open spaces, lots of parking, variety of shops and seasonal highlight make it one of the UK’s best Christmas shopping. With over 200 different stores, there really is something here for everyone!


The newly revamped Bristol city centre is quickly becoming one of the must-visit shopping destinations in the country. With no one particular centre or street as a highlight, the entire city is great for shopping, eating, drinking a coffee and watching the world go by. It’s also easy to get around and has a lovely quayside area too!

Those are what we here at holidaycottages.net regard as the top ten UK’s best Christmas shopping destinations. We have a wide selection of top class holiday cottages near to each of these locations, so if you’re looking for inspiration, you’re in luck!

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!

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.