Spring in England means that it is time for cottage holidays. With the holiday cottage industry booming, it is harder than ever to choose a place to go. Holiday cottages range in size from tiny hideaways perfect for newlyweds, to sprawling mansions ready for a multi-generational family reunion. They are found in every nook and cranny of the country, from the Lake District in the north, up through Cornwall in the south.
There are cottages with special amenities for families with young children or babies, as well as many options for those with pets. Amenities and size aside, location is the primary criterion when choosing where to vacation. There are six popular locations for cottage holidays in England during the spring. These are the Lake District, Cornwall, Yorkshire, Devon, Norfolk, and the Peak District. By getting an idea of what there is to see and do in each of these areas, vacationers can make the most of their cottage holidays.
The Lake District is the area in Cumbria known for its lakes, mountains, and outstanding natural beauty. Cottage holidays here are perfect for those who enjoy nature walks, canoeing, and other outdoor activities. Towns like Windermere and Keswick are at the heart of the mountains in the area, and are located close to large lakes, but also have a lively city ambience as well. Eskdale and Wasdale offer more solitude for those who want the peace and quiet of the mountains. For those who like the beach as well, Whitehaven and Seascale are right on the coast.
The Lake District receives more rainfall than any other area in England, so it may be wise to look for cottages with rainy day amenities like game rooms or indoor jacuzzis. A fireplace also makes for a cosy way to spend a cold evening, in case a cold front comes through. It is very easy to find dog-friendly accommodations since the Lake District draws nature- and animal-lovers all year long.
The southern county of Cornwall has a multitude of small and unique towns. As a peninsula, it also offers a wide range of water activities. St. Mawes is known for yachting, Porthtowan for surfing, and Falmouth is the destination for anyone interested in Cornwall's maritime heritage. However, there's more to Cornwall than just harbours and boats. Newquay boasts excellent nightlife, and Padstow has no less than four of Rick Stein's restaurants. These attractions bring tourists from far and wide.
The shape of the peninsula means it is only a short distance from coast-to-coast, and many different towns are easily accessible from a central location. The Roseland Peninsula in particular offers visitors a chance to go car-free as many places are easily reached on foot or by ferry. Cornwall's mild climate and Cornish maritime heritage make it the perfect place to spend a few days by the sea. Cottages in Cornwall have to be reserved well in advance since they are in high demand during the peak season.
By far the largest county in Britain, Yorkshire has almost one third of England's national parks. One of the most prominent national parks is the North York Moors, which cover almost 1,500 square kilometres. The Moors are distinguished by vast green areas of pasture land contrasted with purple and brown areas of heather moorland. This area is also mountainous and on the eastern side of Yorkshire, has a beautiful coastal area. Some sights to see in the area include the cliffs at Whitby, Filey, and Flamborough Head. Whitby is also known for its 'postcard-perfect' beach which draws in tourists. Scarborough, on the east coast, is Britain's oldest seaside resort.
The size of Yorkshire, and the geographic variations from the coast to the mountains to the dales and moors, ensures that there is a lot of variation in climate throughout the county. Yorkshire has both very wet and very dry areas, a coastal climate in some areas and a semi-arid climate in others. Fog is common, especially in the moorland and the mountains, and some parts of Yorkshire may still have snow in spring.
Devon is a county with a mild climate, low population density, and a beautiful landscape. Visitors to Devon are often attracted to the Jurassic Coast, North Devon's Biosphere Reserve, or the resort towns along the southeast coast, but others look to self-catering cottages that dot the rural farming areas. Many farming families in Devon offer bed and breakfast, or self-catering holiday cottages to those who want a taste of farm life. These can be an enjoyable and educational holiday for children as well as a peaceful retreat for parents. While farm cottages are by no means found only in Devon, the rolling hills and low population density make it a beautiful place to spend a farm cottage holiday.
With quite a bit of coastline, Devon also has everything to offer fishermen, surfers, and other water sports lovers. History enthusiasts can find all they want and more at Plymouth, the maritime centre of Devon. The coast also offers cliffs, coves, and beautiful beaches to explore.
Like the other popular cottage holiday destinations in Britain, Norfolk also has a coastline, fishing villages, and all kinds of water sports. However, Norfolk and Suffolk are set apart by the Broads, a network of rivers and lakes. Walking or biking around the Broads is a popular pastime, and there are many bicycle rentals with all kinds of bicycles to accommodate the whole family. Horning and Wroxham are two villages located near the Broads, and there are many cottages for rent in both these villages. Other inland villages popular with visitors include Blickling, Burnham Market, Sandringham, and Holt.
Coastal Norfolk villages include: Cley, Stiffkey, Hunstanton, Burnham, Weybourne, and Wells-Next-The-Sea. Great seafood can be found in any of these villages, as well as the chance to windsurf or engage in other water activities. Not surprisingly, fishing is a major activity not just on the coast, but in the Broads as well. In fact, the Broads attract people from all over the world who come to do some pike angling. Whether sea fishing on the coast, or day fishing at one of the many lakes in the area, Norfolk is a fisherman's paradise for beginners as well as the experienced fishermen.
In sharp contrast to Britain's other popular tourist attractions, the Peak District is completely landlocked. Covering parts of five different counties (Derbyshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, and Yorkshire), the Peak District is home to the national park with the same name. The Peak District National Park was the first in the United Kingdom.
Walking the trails is a common pastime, as are mountain biking and horse riding. In fact, one can find almost every outdoor sport imaginable here, including rock climbing, hang gliding, fishing, and birdwatching. Towns in the Peak District include the spa resorts Buxton and Matlock Bath, and Tidewell, Bakewell, Leek, and Wirksworth, all of which have holiday cottages for rent. There are also springs, caves, and mines to visit in the area, and a great deal of history to accompany them.
Holiday cottages are easily booked online with eBay. Using eBay's feedback system, you can easily see the feedback left by other renters to get an idea of the service you can expect to receive. It's also easy to use eBay search functions to quickly find a cottage in the area you want.
To book a cottage, simply enter the search term ' holiday cottage' in the search box located on any eBay page. If you know the area you are interested in going, you can enter that in the search box as well. Then follow the links to the appropriate subcategory where you can see all the listings for self-catering holiday accommodations.
Once you find a listing you are interested in, the first thing to check is the seller's feedback score. It is best to do business with experienced sellers that have been tagged with high selling scores. These often have the eBay 'Top-rated seller' award icon next to their names. With other sellers, getting an idea of their service is as easy as clicking on their names or scores to see their feedback in more detail. Self-catering accommodations can vary quite a bit. Before sealing the deal, make sure you know what is included. Ask specifically about any special amenities you might like, such as a high chair or baby gates where there are stairs. Many cottages include these free of charge.
Even just a weekend in a cottage away from home can do wonders to restore one's sanity after a hard week. The spring is the perfect time for cottage holidays in any part of England. Those in colder areas can appreciate the mild climates of southern counties like Cornwall. While there are cottages that can be rented in any and every part of the UK, there are six areas in England frequented by tourists every year. These are the Lake District, the Peak District, Cornwall, Norfolk, Devon, and Yorkshire.
While the majority of these have coastal areas and water sports, each one has a unique history and feel. The subculture of each area is delightfully different and the fun of a cottage holiday is in exploring a new place, with all of its quirks and history. Cottage holidays make the perfect getaway for a couple, or the perfect get-together for extended family. By learning a little about what each place has to offer, one can plan a holiday and book a cottage with all the necessary amenities and truly enjoy a few days of vacation.