Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sporting action in the West Country…

Image courtesy Exeter Chiefs
You can’t help but notice that 2012 has a slight sporting theme – the Olympic Games is certainly one of the most eagerly anticipated events in Britain this year.

If you’re in the West Country you can capture the spirit of the games as the Olympic Torch Relay tours our region this May - the procession starts from Land’s End and then winds through the region via Plymouth, Exeter, Taunton and eventually on to Weymouth.

Aside from the Olympics, there’s plenty going on outside London for those with a penchant for sporting endeavour. There’s a wonderful variety of top class competition here in the west to whet the appetite of every sporting family or fan.        

If you’re a football fan, there’s plenty of choice if you want to catch a game. In Somerset you’ll find Yeovil Town (The Glovers), infamous giant killers of old, whilst Devon hosts no less than three football league clubs: Exeter City (The Grecians), Torquay United (The Gulls) and Plymouth Argyle (The Pilgrims). It’s a win-win at Quiet Corner Cottage.

Rugby enthusiasts will no doubt be aware of the success of the Exeter Chiefs. Why not make a weekend of it and come down to Exeter to watch your own team battle it out against our local champions? Scrum down at The Old School House.

Or perhaps you prefer something more sedate for the summer months? While away a day at the delightful County Ground in Taunton. The cricketing action is first class as Somerset regularly competes for all the top honours. You’ll be bowled over by Sunset Cottage.

If the Grand National has stirred your love of furlongs and fetlocks, you’ll be pleased to know that we’re blessed with four first-class racecourses in the region with tip-top National Hunt racing throughout the year. Somerset is home to Wincanton and Taunton racecourses, whilst in Devon you can enjoy the rough and tumble at Exeter and Newton Abbot. Our top tip: Jesters.

And for those who prefer their sporting action afloat, there’s first class sailing throughout the year at Weymouth. This quintessential English seaside resort is the home of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, where not only do our top sailors train, but many absolute beginners get their first taste on the briney. The Academy will host a huge range of national championships and other sailing events this year, from the humble, one-man Topper to the elite Olympic class racing dinghies. Dry off at Poppy Cottage

Weymouth doesn’t have the monopoly on sailing – there are fantastic regattas in Falmouth, Fowey and Dartmouth too.  

Maybe you enjoy participating in sport as well as watching it? Look no further than our holiday cottages where all manner of games, activities and country pursuits (tennis, badminton, riding, shooting, fishing, swimming, cycling, canoeing, table tennis, pool, snooker and golf, to name but a few) are available or can be easily arranged.

Use our Advanced Search or call our telephone team (01647 433593) who will be delighted to help you find just the right place to indulge in your favourite sport or pastime.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Love the beach? Love Burgh Island Apartments…

If you love being near to the beach on holiday, you can’t get much closer than at our Burgh Island Apartments, overlooking one of south Devon’s biggest and most striking sandy beaches at Bigbury-on-Sea.

Just 20 yards from the beach, and looking out towards pretty Burgh Island over the low-tide sandy causeway, this is a truly excellent and greatly appreciated development of 29 high quality apartments, of which we let 14. 

All the apartments – such as L550 - have those sensational views, are double-glazed, marvellously light, with smart, modern kitchens and large, open-plan living areas, plus glazed doors to balconies or terraces.

Some apartments, including L542, are dog friendly. Dogs are welcome on the beach, although they are restricted to certain areas during the summer.

All apartments have access to a well-equipped and stylish Leisure Club, with a fine indoor kidney-shaped swimming pool, spa pool, gym, sauna and changing rooms and showers. The smart bar provides coffee and drinks through the day and light meals, cream teas and a children’s menu from 10am to 7pm, served either in the Club or for you to take to your apartment. A comfy lounging area has sofas and WiFi Broadband so you can sit and upload your day’s photos to Facebook, or take to the outside terrace facing the sea.

The views over the sea to the south and west, and at low tide of a huge expanse of smooth washed yellow sand reaching to Burgh Island, are outstanding. The island's jolly pub, The Pilchard, is fun to visit, via a long-legged sea tractor at high tide, or by foot at low tide. Or perhaps enjoy a cocktail at the island’s Art Deco hotel?

Right by the beach you’ll find the Venus Café and Venus Riders watersports with hire and tuition available for windsurfing, surfing and kayaking. The Venus Company has kindly given our holidaymakers a special discount in our What Shall We Do Today? 2012 guide - £5 off when you spend £10 or more at its cafés, shops or watersports centres. The less energetic can while away the hours paddling, building sandcastles or exploring the rock pools.

Away from the beach, you can enjoy pretty walks along the coastal path, boat trips along the river Dart or a round of golf at Bigbury’s splendid eighteen hole course with wonderful sea views.

For more information, see our dedicated Burgh Island Apartments brochure or check availability and book online.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Focus on Fowey…

Fowey Harbour. Photo courtesy Martin Pettitt
Nestling at the mouth of the river Fowey, on the south Cornwall coast, the picture-postcard seaside town of Fowey (pronounced ‘Foy’) is very much focused on the water. It’s also a hive of cultural activity, with a packed events schedule. Here are a few examples:

From 9th to 20th May, the annual du Maurier Festival (inspired by author Daphne du Maurier, who was a Fowey resident for many years) is a mix of star names, talks, walks and community events. Amongst some of the famous names appearing in the packed programme are Sir Terry Wogan, Esther Rantzen, Julian Clary, Richard and Judy and the BBC's Trevor McDonald. Plenty of musical offerings are included, such as guitarist John Williams, 80s pop icons Nik Kershaw and crooner Georgie Fame.

A new event for 2012, the Fowey Mussel Fest (23rd June) will feature live cooking demonstrations by local chefs in a covered area of the Town Quay in the centre of Fowey. Also on offer are Champagne tasting, cream teas and live music to round off the event in style.

Fowey’s natural harbour is a haven for yachtsmen, and as a result the Fowey Royal Regatta (19th to 25th August) is regarded by many as one of the best local regattas in the country. Daily events are held on the Town Quay, and there are also carnival processions, the Red Arrows, gig racing, two firework displays and – one not to miss - the hotly contested children's crab catching competition.

With lovely long views over the estuary and village to the wooded hills beyond,
7 Park Road is an impressive semi-detached house on three levels, hugely improved and extended in recent years to provide modern comfort and style. Both back and front gardens have decking with table and chairs to take advantage of the sun and the views.  A handy pathway means you’re just 800 yards away from all the action, so this is a perfect base from which to explore all of Fowey’s events and charms. Sleeps 7.

Beam Reach is nestled in the heart of Fowey, just yards from cafés, shops, pub and quayside. This end-of-terrace fisherman’s cottage on three floors has likely 17th century origins, a nautical blue and white theme, original lumpy stone walls, half-spiral narrow stairs and oak floors, making it a really characterful place to stay. Sleeps 6.

A little further out, in nearby St Veep, Wyvell Cottage is a detached, 300-year-old cob/slate cottage with lovely long rural views. Here you have plenty of space, with a big, totally private, mostly lawned garden on three sides with table and chairs and barbecue for those long summer afternoons. Beyond the garden is a tidied barn with table tennis, and a footpath going prettily down to the river Fowey and along to Lerryn (a 4 mile round trip). Sleeps 9.

Why not browse all our holiday cottages in south Cornwall, or call us on 01647 433593 and we’ll help you find the best cottage for you and yours.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Holiday cottages with fishing nearby…

Image courtesy South West Lakes Trust
Why do you fish? Chances are it’s a mixture of the peace and quiet, the water at your feet, the challenge of outsmarting your quarry, the odd flash of excitement – and the fun of regaling your friends with fishy tales. Here are some good places to stay in the West Country with fishing available nearby… 

Dartmeet gets its name from being where the East and West Dart Rivers meet in a beautiful moorland wooded valley - some of Dartmoor’s most glorious scenery. Brimptsmead is a handsome stone cottage with twelve acres of woods and meadows, stretching to the river (with private salmon / trout fishing), and direct access to the moor for panoramic country walks. Sleeps 5.

Mousehole has been a thriving fishing village for over 500 years and the horseshoe of granite cottages is perhaps the prettiest in all Cornwall. 150 yards up from the bustling little centre of shops, pubs and cafés is The Queach, a traditional, comfortable and much loved stone-and-slate cottage with stunning sea views. The perfect place to charter a boat and try your hand at sea fishing. Sleeps 6.

In Combebow, you’ll find Honey House, a very private, detached little house (originally used for storing and bottling honey) in 54 acres of meadows and bluebell woods. Doesn’t that sound idyllic? There’s private fishing available in the river Lew, which tumbles past nearby. This is an oasis of tranquillity, but also a good base for touring Devon and Cornwall. Sleeps 4.

Near Lustleigh, Dartmoor, just a mile from beautiful fishing reservoirs and walks, is a very much praised and appreciated place. Attached to the charming owners' farmhouse (and 35 acre farm) are four very good and attractive cottages, three made from barns. It’s an idyllic setting, with an abundance of flora and fauna and farm animals all around. After a day’s angling, you can also make a splash in the indoor heated swimming pool. Each cottage sleeps 4.

This Tregonhawke Farm Apartment (we also let a farmhouse on the same farm) has the owner’s own coarse fishing lake nearby. This is a spacious, comfortable first-floor apartment looking over the garden to farmland (you should spot horses, hens, Dexter cattle). You can enjoy sitting out on your own private decked area to reflect on the day’s catch. A good place for honeymooners, walkers and fishermen. Sleeps 2.

In the beautiful creek-side hamlet of Port Navas, the whole of the top floor of Bosoljack, a former boathouse, is yours to enjoy. You can fish directly off the pier into the tidal creek, which leads into the Helford River. If you want to head out a little further, boat hire is available in the area, plus, you have temporary membership of Port Navas Sailing Club for the duration of your stay! Sleeps 4.

Whether you enjoy freshwater or sea fishing, there are plenty of opportunities for both beginners and experienced anglers in the West Country. For ease, why not browse all our holiday cottages with private fishing, or call us on 01647 433593 and we’ll help you find the best cottage as a base for your angling adventures?

Monday, 2 April 2012

FREE Albelli photo book when you stay with Helpful Holidays...

Capture all those special holiday memories. We’ve teamed up with Albelli, one of Europe’s largest photo book suppliers, to give you a FREE landscape, medium photo book worth £19.95 (including postage & packing) when you book and stay in one of our holiday cottages by 30th June 2012.

Offer is now extended until 16th July 2012.

The Albelli photo book, recently ranked number one by The Gadget Show, is simple to create: select your favourite digital photos, create your book online and then place your order – your photo book full of magical moments will be delivered within seven working days.

How do you claim? We’ll send you a link to the Albelli website in your 'Welcome Home from Holiday' email so that you can claim your promotional code for a FREE photo book. Details of how to fulfil your order (and create your photo book) are all on the Albelli website.

Don't worry if you've already booked your holiday with us, you still qualify provided that you take your holiday and return home by the end of June 2012.