This week we bring you the first in our new series on ‘Staying together’.
Over the next few weeks, we will be taking a look at different types of holidays and destinations which are perfect to visit with the people closest to you over the autumn and winter. Whilst we all need a little time to ourselves, staying together and really exploring a destination is when we really get to know the people we’re closest to; whether that’s family, friends or that special someone.
Autumn and winter can seem rainy and cold, but Becky Goddard-Hill shows us why the autumn is a great time to whisk yourself off to a holiday cottage in the countryside. She takes us from rural Wales, to Yorkshire and Derbyshire, as we see what UK cottage holidays are all about.
In autumn and winter, when the air is crisp and the leaves are falling, it is wonderful to explore the beautiful United Kingdom. The days are shorter of course, so to have a cosy cottage base to return to early in the evening is absolutely perfect. Whether you are kicking up leaves or sledging down slopes, you will be working up a hearty appetite ready for some home-cooked fare.
“Cottage holidays make me feel relaxed before I even get there”.
No planes to catch, passports to worry about or suitcases to weigh. There is room in the car to take all we want to, and a place to put it all when we get there. No living out of suitcases or squished into a tent; homely, practical and convenient. Cottages make things easy and you don’t have to depend on good weather!
The fact that we will have normal beds, a kettle, a base to come back to after days out exploring, probably a television and a place to put our boots makes my heart sing. It takes so much stress away. Often when you go on holiday you have to adapt greatly, but cottage holidays can be like stepping into a home from home. You can eat when you want to; possibly even do your laundry! Above all, you can relax.
There are many things about cottage holidays that work wonderfully, not only for families but for couples and groups of friends.
When I first met my husband we went out on many dates: we went camping with friends; had a rowdy week abroad where we danced the nights away; and we enjoyed a few fast-paced city breaks. Yet staying in a little cottage with a roaring fire, just the two of us, over a lovely long weekend in a snowy Welsh village? That was the time I felt I got to know him best. Our cottage holiday was peaceful, restful and romantic, and we have such lovely memories.
It was quality time.
I also went on a cottage break with my university class to Derbyshire. Twenty of us hired a huge cottage and had a lovely long week together walking, talking, cooking and relaxing. I have happy memories of carefree times. There is no stress on a cottage break. You have a secure base to return to each evening; a place to cook and sleep and be together.
For families, cottage holidays are ideal. Children often flag in the middle of the day and need a nap or down time; a cottage enables you to just come and go. We stayed as a young family on a cottage on a farm in Yorkshire near Robin Hood’s Bay and my children would nap after lunch before we ventured out again. They also went to bed by 7pm. We spent our time reading, watching DVDs, playing chess and generally relaxing; not in a cramped tent or tiny apartment, but in a lovely ‘home’.
There was room for our highchair and cot bed, and all of the ‘stuff’ that comes with small kids.
In fact, the cottage owners provided many of these items for us.
Whether you like beaches and coastal pathways, being in the countryside or being near a town, there are cottages the length and breadth of the UK to suit your needs. There are ones near parks and entertainment centres, or there are remote cottages far from anywhere. There are huge cottages, ones with pools, tiny, cosy cottages and groups of cottages if you want to travel with friends or extended family. Some are totally child friendly and have stair gates and bed rails, while some will allow you to take your pets. You can tailor your choice to suit your needs.
There will always be a cottage that is right for you.
Becky Goddard-Hill is the author of How to Afford Time off with Your Baby (Vermilion, 2009). She writes Baby Budgeting and Family Budgeting both award nominated blogs whose purpose is to support parents on a budget. Becky has 2 children aged 6 and 9 and is a strong advocate of creative family life.
For more ideas on where to visit this autumn and winter, including some great half term holiday tips, follow this series on ‘Staying together’ as you think about booking your next holiday with the ones you love.