Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Late deal for a special get together...

Searching for a last minute holiday cottage large enough to meet your needs? In the pretty Dorset village of Chideock, this Grade II listed farmhouse is perfect for a big family celebration or that long overdue get together with friends. There's plenty of room and an indoor heated swimming pool and games room make it perfect for socialising.

Only a mile from the sea, there's excellent walking and the spectacular 'Jurassic Coast' scenery on your doorstep - beautiful and peaceful at this time of year. And what better way to wind down after a day out exploring than in the friendly pub nearby or in front of the cosy woodburner at home?

As a late special offer, the week commencing 30th October is now only £62 per person based on 12 people sharing. Hard to resist!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Warm welcome and food treats in Rose!

Rose is a quiet hamlet in North Cornwall, about a mile from Perranporth, with great walking on its doorstep. The huge stretch of beach at Perran Sands (pictured) can be reached by footpath from the village (3 mile round trip) over an SSSI area of natural sand dunes. My recent visit to Rose to see a couple of Helpful Holidays' properties confirmed my impression that the home owners we work with really look after their holidaymakers.

The Smithy, over 200 years old, is a new cottage with us and tasty biscuits on arrival ensure a warm welcome. The locals are so friendly and certainly have a tale or two to tell about the area. So if you're looking for a comfortable family home, close to the sea, with a huge library of videos and books to keep you entertained, this could be the place for you.

Bluebell Cottage, just across the road, is a really sweet property and has been with us a little longer. The decor here is more modern yet still retains much of its old cottage charm. Here too, the owners leave a welcome package for holidaymakers including huge cookies!

Dune View, a bit further down the same road, has been with HH for many years now and is another comfortable property (this one takes dogs) with a lovely owner. I'll always remember visiting Dune View for the first time because she insisted I stop for a cup of tea and a homemade Cornish pasty! It's a popular property and gets lots of repeat bookers. Well, who could resist the home-made pasties, pies or cakes that greet you on arrival? A tasty treat to enjoy in the enclosed garden while taking in the great views over fields and sand dunes to the tantalising sea beyond.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Last minute Half-Term getaway...

Autumn is such a beautiful and peaceful time of the year to explore the West Country coastline and moorland - and a chill in the air makes getting back to a cosy cottage all the more enjoyable. Short breaks are increasingly popular and this year is no exception judging by our cottage bookings.

But the good news is that we still have a few fabulous places with last minute availability during half term.

For example in Cornwall, this contemporary cliff-side chalet in Whitsand Bay has breath-taking 180 degree views and is the perfect place to get away from it all and explore the coastal paths.

In the heart of Devon, this idyllic thatched cottage is only 200 yards from a beautiful stretch of the River Teign and enjoys long valley views. Located in the exceptionally pretty Dartmoor village of Drewsteignton, there are plenty of scenic walks and places to visit nearby such as the historic stannary town of Chagford and Castle Drogo.

Or how about Shaftesbury in Dorset where you can stay in this utterly charming cottage with bags of character on Gold Hill (perhaps better known as ‘Hovis Hill’ after the TV ad)? Surrounded by stunning countryside, you can also easily reach the south coast at Sandbanks or visit fine houses such as Stourhead and Longleat.

Be quick though; we know from experience these properties won't hang around, so take a look and get inspired...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Classic Exmoor cottage is an October hit!

What a welcome addition to the Helpful Holidays portfolio! This classic cottage is three miles west of Minehead - Exmoor's seaside resort - and set in 150 acres of mixed-leaf woodland. It's easy to understand why the bookings are flowing in. Recently renovated, the cottage is comfortable, light and contemporary with long views from all rooms across the valley to fields and heather moorland. A unique place to stay...enjoy peaceful solitude and cosy hours in front of the open fire, or explore the beautiful moorland and coastline right on your doorstep. Sleeps 5, from £296 per week.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Half Term Gem in South Hams

Well that looks like an absolute cracker of a house for the half term – so why still available? Ayrmer Path is within walking distance of a good food pub and a sandy beach, has beautiful views, is very 4 star inside and possibly the location is even better. It’s just outside Ringmore with its ‘fine little pub’ - The Journey’s End - doing good ale and food. This website gives an impression of the village.

There’s some good walking in the area – this circular walk for instance, or stroll down to the beach at Bigbury-on-Sea and The Pilchard on the island via ‘the cat’. South Devon is easy to get to via the M5 and A38 and there’s a Tesco at Lee Mill near Ivybridge (7 miles) for the big shopping and Modbury has lots of little shops for basic supplies (about 4 miles). Altogether, the potential for a half term to remember. For more information about this property or to book online visit Helpful Holidays.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

The Kinks play the Pig's Nose

The Kinks play the Pig’s Nose in East Prawle on 24th October. You can book via ‘The Meeting Room’ at the pub on Tel: 01548 856393.

This September East Prawle has felt like the end of the earth. At any time, the surrounding sea gives the place a strange light but with the summer holding on and on and the sun drifting lower and lower, there was a magical air about the place when we visited a couple of weeks ago. Ash Park has a lot going for it. ‘A view to die for’ – no question, total seclusion on the narrow road down to the pebbly shore, comfort and class inside and a swimming pool around which to lounge. Elsewhere in the village HH has other comfy cottages all within wandering distance of the excellent pub. The Pig’s Nose is still a stranger to plastic and there’s no cash machine in East Prawle but the shop will do cash back ‘in return for a purchase’ they suggested. Speaks volumes about the place that I found a very fine and rare malt close by on a handy shelf as my bribe -East Prawle is ‘fine and rare’ sort of place. During lunch a stranger approached and asked if we were from Helpful Holidays. The affirmative brought forth a tale of life in London and happy Helpful Holidays arranged West Country jaunts stretching back a decade or more which had lead, eventually, to up sticks and down to East Prawle for the good life. The smile on his face said it all and those on the faces of the family sitting outside ‘the snog’ said the team were all on side. This moment of blazing sunshine will illuminate our memories of the lunch and village for ever.

More properties than ever before for 2010

Wonderful to see a significant number of new properties in Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks as well as Devon’s South Hams in our 2010 brochure. We now offer over 600 places to stay in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset and Hampshire sleeping from two to 37 guests. Something for everyone! And it's simple to find your perfect getaway with our advanced search facility.

Amongst our new additions is ultra-modern O’Sullivan House (pictured) - an award winning, architect-designed property for ten, which forms part of the estuary sea wall in the popular sailing resort of Salcombe. Passing river-life and ever-changing seascapes can be watched from two terraces and a balcony over the water, while below the house is a small sunny lawn and two boat moorings. Inside enormous windows along three sides and a glass-floored area give an ‘on-the-water’ feel and unrivalled 180 degree views up and down stream. Truly a spectacular setting at any time of year to relax and unwind.