Thursday, 28 October 2010

Save almost 60% on a short break in Exmoor this weekend...

Due to a cancellation, you can now save almost 60% on a 4 night stay from 29th October at this magnificent family house in Porlock Vale, one of the most beautiful and romantic parts of Exmoor.

The rental was £3,060 and is now just £1,285. Sleeping 30, it's ideal for a big gathering, but, at this price, it's affordable for a smaller group too.

It is exquisitely positioned with a superb wooded backdrop looking out over the sea as the coast circles gently round to the small picturesque harbour of Porlock Weir.
There's 12 acres of grounds to explore and the pebbly beach is only a short walk (250 yards) across the fields from the house. Good walks and pretty pub nearby. Professional catering, fishing and shooting can all be arranged.

A very special place to stay; a wonderful weekend in the country awaits...

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Winter breaks: holiday cottages with fireside charm...

Jack Frost’s arrival heralds a period of peace and tranquillity on the moors and coastal paths of the West Country: the perfect time to enjoy a restful winter break (2, 3, and 4 night short breaks available now) at a holiday cottage in the countryside or by the sea.

Wander down gently meandering riverside paths or along the beach. Spend a lazy afternoon with the papers beside a blazing fire at a country pub or in the comfort of your cottage. Relax and revitalize before the Christmas revelry. We've picked out below a few of our holiday cottages with open fires or woodburners to guarantee a really cosy atmosphere.

This sensational property in Stoke Gabriel has it all: position, view, house, standard, privacy, large indoor heated swimming pool, full-sized snooker table; what more does one want? Well, maybe a fantastic open fire, perfect for gathering around after a bracing walk along the nearby sandy beaches at Torbay. Sleeps 12.

Or how about this large, detached, beautifully-converted, south-facing barn set high on a hillside in Southleigh? Outside there's the most amazing rolling countryside, surrounded by approximately 200 acres of fields and bluebell woods; inside there's an enormous open-plan living area with big comfy sofas and all-important woodburner. Sleeps 14.

Relax at this 300-year-old cottage in the remarkably off-the-beaten-track little village of Kingston. It's got a pretty living room with woodburner and comfy sofas, and if you want to venture out, it's just 600 yards from the nearest pub! Sleeps 7.

This remarkable Grade II listed former music room in Aveton Gifford features a comfy seating area around a large open fireplace, and three steps leading up to the stage, now converted into a bedroom with 5' four-poster bed. An extraordinary and romantic place to escape to. Sleeps 2.

To find just the right holiday cottage for your winter break, use our advanced search, check our special offers or call us on 01647 433593 for human help or to ask for our free 2011 colour brochure.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Special offer on former milking parlour near famous Clovelly...

A former milking parlour sleeping six in the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and close to the coastal, traffic-free cobbled village of Clovelly, has been reduced by 20% for a week's stay during November.

Now priced at £247 per week (around £41 per person per week), grade II listed Buttery Barn is superbly converted, retaining original beams with an open plan living/dining room, galleried first floor landing and vaulted bedrooms. Pets welcome.

If you have any queries about the property or area, call us on 01647 433593 or email us at

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Cottages and events for November...

There's a lot going on this November - we've picked out some of the best events across the South West, with a fantastic place to stay for each:
5th Nov: Tin Barrel Rolling, Ottery St Mary features countless Flaming Tar Barrels carried through the streets of Ottery St Mary to the delight of thousands of townsfolk and visitors (pictured right). A gigantic bonfire over 30 feet high and crowned with Guy Fawkes himself, forms an impressive background to the occasion together with a fairground and many other attractions. Place to stay: Cool off at Abbey Cross Barn (G20).

7th to 13th Nov: Dartmouth Drama Festival is a four day event consisting of two complete performances by eight participating Amateur Dramatic Societies (four plays per night). Highlights include Dartmouth Players with "Shop for Charity", and Salcombe Players with an extract from "Birthday Honours". Place to stay: Rehearse your lines at Primrose Cottage (L104) (pictured right).

11th Nov: Shepton Mallett Carnival sees processions of illuminated floats - part of an ancient tradition stretching back as far as the 1600's when many parts of Somerset commemorated the Gunpowder Plot. Grand firework displays and street entertainment adds to the sense of fiesta and fun. The floats can be huge, over 50 feet long and covered in hundreds of light bulbs. Place to stay: Wave your sparklers at Barton Cottage (E18).

15th Nov: Truro City of Lights takes its themes from the city’s rich history, unearthing fascinating stories from its mercantile, social and maritime past to artistically and creatively inspire the procession in which giant ship lanterns will carry the ‘cargo’ of the city’s past through its streets (pictured right). Place to stay: Follow the lights back to Nansavallan Farmhouse (S239).

19th to 21st Nov: Teignmouth Jazz Festival brings artists from the UK, USA, and Europe covering all forms of jazz from Traditional and Standards to Latin and Contemporary. Described as one of the best UK jazz events, it takes place in five main venues – The Carlton Theatre, Oystercatcher Cafe, United Reform Church, Rugby Club and Shaldon's Coast View Holiday Park. Place to stay: Hit the right note at Cherries (B8).

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Somerset’s glittering November Carnivals...

Many Somerset towns and villages become a dazzling spectacle of colour, light and sound during November as the free, illuminated Guy Fawkes Carnivals take place across the county.

Book a cottage during the carnival season and follow their route. At Trebles Holford, two cottages made from farm buildings, Sunset Cottage (D4) sleeping two and The Stable (D183a) sleeping four, are available from 6th and 8th November respectively from £198 for a week; from here you can watch the carnivals in North Petherton and Burnham-on-Sea.

Or book Glebe Cottage (E64), a renovated limestone cottage for four in Wookey village, for a week from 13th November for £255 and go along to the all-singing, all-dancing Glastonbury carnival the same evening.

View all our holiday cottages in Somerset online and if you need any help, call Helpful Holidays on 01647 433593.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Our top ten walks...part two

Original image here

This week we've been feeling the urge to get outdoors and blow away the cobwebs. Here are five more of our favourite walks:

1. Kingsand around Rame Head – pretty villages, magnificent views, a lonely 10th century chapel and a pub at the end…

2. Helford, St Antony in Meneage, Manaccan and back – easy walking along the banks of the beautiful Helford River.

3. Landʼs End, Sennen, Coastal Path to Botallack and pick up – itʼs quite a long walk, so best to get someone to drive round and pick up in Botallack (pub).

And two longer walks...

4. The Camel Trail – walk it or cycle it – Padstow to Bodmin and Blisland. Blisland has a good pub and the trail follows the route of the old railway line, hugging the river Camel most of the way to Padstow. Bridge Bike Hire in Wadebridge offers (surprise, surprise) bike hire and a car park – perfect.

5. Two Castles Trail – Okehampton Castle to Launceston Castle – The Royal Oak at Bridestowe for lunch. Beautiful views over the western edge of Dartmoor and down into Cornwall.

Let us know if you've tried any of these walks, and remember to let us know your favourites too!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Our top ten walks...

This week we've been feeling the urge to get outdoors and blow away the cobwebs with a bracing walk or two. We thought we'd share some of our favourite walks with you.

We like these because they're beautiful, easy and there are places along the route for refreshments or lunch.

1. Chagford to Steps Bridge via Castle Drogo – from our home town beside the river Teign down to Steps Bridge. Lunch and a drink at picturesque Fingle Bridge. A detour to Castle Drogo is worth the climb.

2. Galmpton to Kingswear to Dartmouth to Greenway – beside the Dart from Galmpton down to Kingswear. Ferry across to Dartmouth. Thereʼs an hourly ferry from Dartmouth to Dittisham and over the river to Greenway (Agatha Christie), then back along the river to Galmpton. Lots of interesting stopping/lunch points.

3. Doone Country – up Badgworthy Water to the Doone Valley beside the picturesque stream.

4. Taste of Dartmoor – from Two Bridges up the West Dart valley, past Wistmanʼs Wood to Higher White Tor, back for tea at the Two Bridges Hotel.

5. Noss Mayo and the Coastal Path – Lord Revelstoke's Drive – almost flat. Starting and ending in Noss Mayo (good pub), this walk takes in some of the coastal path – good views – and, in summer, the most beautiful yachting/boating scenes in Devon.

Let us know if you've tried any of these walks, and let us know your favourites too. We'll share five more of our favourites tomorrow!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Special places for a West Country Christmas…

Whether you're looking to escape or entertain, make this Christmas a memorable one with a change of scene. If you're a crowd, book with us to enjoy some additional elbow room. If it’s peace and quiet you’re after, we’ll help you find a hideaway. Here are three festive cottages to whet your Christmas-dinner-sized appetite:

In Mousehole, perhaps the prettiest Cornish fishing village, is Carn Du (Z31), an imposing detached Edwardian house with sensational ‘right out to sea’ views from many of its big, handsome windows. Built by a French sea captain, the house has reputedly hosted many famous and colourful personalities, including Charlie Chaplin, Dylan Thomas and artists Gwen and Augustus John. In recent years it has been completely renovated to provide the most glorious family home. Christmas week in this exceptional six-bedroom house is available for £310 per person when 12 share. Pets welcome.

In Holsworthy, Devon, Yellowland Farm (M273) is part of a delightful couple’s 75 acre working farm and comes complete with an indoor heated swimming pool and a jacuzzi from which to decadently toast the festive season. There’s also a games barn (table tennis, snooker table), adventure playground (swings, climbing frame, children’s trikes), and you are welcome on the farm and can feed the hens and pet animals. Inside, there’s a peaceful, pretty living room with inglenook fireplace, and the kitchen has a 5-hob range cooker with double oven for the all-important Christmas feast. Available Christmas week for just £201 per person when 11 share.

Two miles south-west of Lydford, on Dartmoor’s western edge, The Red Barn (A51) is on the 250 acre Burnville Farm with sheep, cattle, ponies, pigs, chickens and pheasants all around. Tremendous freedom and number of things to do on this farm if you want some fresh air or exercise after those festive indulgences, or simply spread out and relax in the stylish living room in front of the cosy woodburner. A really fine five star cottage with indoor pool for a special celebration. Available Christmas week for £278 per person when 6 share. Pets welcome.

View a list of all our holiday cottages available over Christmas. If you need any help planning a festive break, call us on 01647 433593. 

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Big houses for New Year gatherings…

Families and friends planning a get together in the West Country this New Year will find a selection of big coast and country houses on offer from Helpful Holidays sleeping ten guests and over. Pets are also welcome in many cases, so Fido can join in the festive fun too.


The Coach House (A120) at Burnville Farm, near Lydford on Dartmoor’s western edge in Devon, sleeping 11, is available for New Year week priced at £2,165 (around £197pp). The large detached family house has its own indoor pool and sauna in a separate building a few yards away, plus a heated games room.

Guests are welcome to wander the 250 acre working farm with its sheep, cattle, ponies, pigs, chickens and ornamental pheasants and help is most welcome with egg collecting and feeding the animals. Fresh seasonal home-grown vegetables and eggs can be purchased from the helpful owners. They also have shared use of a hard tennis court and a second games barn equipped with table tennis, 6ft snooker table, darts and table soccer. Mountain bikes, fun badminton and volleyball are available from the owners who can also arrange a clay pigeon shoot and will make home prepared meals available to heat up in the oven, if possible using local ingredients. There’s even stabling and grazing for holidaymakers to bring their own horses. Pets welcome too!


Underbecks (L901), a stunning contemporary house for 12 guests in south Devon overlooking South Sands beach, near Salcombe, is available for New Year week priced at £5,194 (around £433 per person).

The light and airy detached house is furnished in a cool, contemporary style in cream, beige and taupe with stylish light wood furniture and comfy sofas. A large open-plan living area stretches the width of the house with floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto the magnificent terrace with sensational watery views.  Features include mood lighting, state-of-the-art home cinema with high definition plasma screen, Sky TV, surround sound and a digital music library plus Wi-Fi and a telephone.

If you need any help planning a festive break, call us on 01647 433593. 

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

New holiday cottages in our 2011 brochure…

Our 2011 brochure is out, packed with more than 550 inspected, high quality places to stay throughout the West Country, including some exciting new properties. We’ve expanded the number of properties in north and east Devon for next year and in other areas such as Exmoor, Somerset, the coast near Newquay and the far west of Cornwall.

Take a look at The Barn (G191) in Southleigh, east Devon, surrounded by 200 acres of fields and woodland and beautifully converted with 180 degree views of rolling countryside. It’s a smashing property, comfortable and well-equipped. Lots to see and do nearby and plenty of on-site options for fun activities 
or total relaxation. Sleeps 14, pets welcome.

Or how about Little Bocombe (K27) (pictured), a stunningly beautiful Arts and Crafts style house surrounded by nine acres of mature gardens, daffodil woods and pasture? Set ½ mile from the sleepy village of Parkham in north Devon, it’s not far from famous Clovelly and the huge sandy beach at Westward Ho! Sleeps 14, pets welcome.

Down in Cornwall, Tregwynne (Z41) is situated in Rinsey, ½ mile from the cove beach and ¾ mile from a good food pub. It’s a semi-detached 19th century slate/granite cottage with long views across farmland to the sea and along the coast. A welcoming, comfortable cottage, great for walkers and surfers. Sleeps 6, pets welcome.

View a list of all the new properties in our 2011 brochure here.

For a free copy of our 2011 brochure, contact us on 01647 433593 or, or visit our website to order online.

Monday, 4 October 2010

More October half-term availability…

There’s still a handful of holiday cottages available for this October half term – here’s two more to tempt you, this time in Devon. 

About ½ mile from the centre of Shaldon, a pretty village at the mouth of the river Teign estuary, is Laurel Farmhouse (B6), an ancient Grade II listed, cob and thatch semi-detached cottage. This is a lovely old family house, ideal for exploring the many attractions of south Devon. Children love the garden, playhouse and selection of books. The house sleeps six and is £72 per person the week commencing 23rd October.

For those with a slightly bigger brood, Ash Park (L12) is about ½ mile from East Prawle village. Nestled into a rocky hillside, it has 180 degree uninterrupted views over farmland and coastline to the sea (the coastguard cottages at Prawle Point the only other habitation at all near). It is imaginatively designed, set in the most beautiful, three-acre landscaped garden. There is a games room in the garage (table tennis, table football, skittles). For position, interior, garden - all 'five star' - this is one of the best houses we have ever seen. It sleeps 12 and is £165 per person the week commencing 22nd October.

For details call us on 01647 433593 or book online at

Friday, 1 October 2010

Holiday cottages for October half-term...

We've still a handful of holiday cottages available for a last minute break over October half term and we've picked out a few to whet your appetite. We'll post two today - check back early next week for two more.

Keep the family entertained at Ros Creek Cottage (S233) in the tiny village of St Just in Roseland, 2 miles from St Mawes in Cornwall's Med. The cottage is situated on a low ridge with commanding views over Falmouth Bay - terrific sunsets. It's freshly renovated and has a small, pretty garden with a good-sized terrace. It's £105 per person the week commencing 22nd October based on six sharing.

Up in north Cornwall, Kelly Park Cottage (P36) in St Mabyn is not far from the sandy beaches at Rock and Polzeath and the famous fishing village, Port Isaac. It's a detached cob and stone cottage at the end of a quiet no-through road with a pretty, enclosed garden. This is a comfy, homely place to stay and is £76 per person the week commencing 22nd October based on five sharing.

You can look and book online or if you need any help, contact us on 01647 433593 or

West Country food on the menu for Somerset holiday cottage guests…

Families staying in a Somerset holiday cottage can sample delicious West Country produce at a food festival next month. The Exmoor Food Festival will be held in various venues throughout the region between 2nd and 10th October.

Visitors to the festival can see the vast array of food and drink Exmoor has to offer while enjoying a packed programme of events that includes farmers' markets, themed evenings and cookery courses.

Those with a sweet tooth will love the Homemade Cake Bonanza at Lyndale Tea Rooms, while holidaymakers can learn the secret of making delicious chocolate at The Chocolate House in Dunster. Budding cowboys are invited to a hoe-down in Lynton as Kensington Tea Room is transformed for a western-themed event on 5th October.

The festival will coincide with the North Devon and Exmoor Autumn Walking Festival and organisers have arranged a number of food themed walks to help guests burn off those extra calories. ADNFCR-1734-ID-800079080-ADNFCR

View Somerset holiday cottages from Helpful Holidays here.