Friday, 29 June 2012

Indulge your guilty holiday pleasure: sit back and soak up West Country views…

Stopping to smell the roses is a big part of the West Country holiday culture. If gazing idly at a glorious view is your guilty pleasure, take a look at this selection of holiday homes.

Sandsgate, three miles from Chagford in Devon, is a magnificent detached house with superb sweeping views across the river Teign valley to Chagford, the National Trust’s Castle Drogo and the moors beyond. It has just been beautifully refurbished and extended, so you can enjoy it as one family or with a larger group of family and friends. The quarter-of-a-mile driveway approaching the house, set in 18 acres of gardens and woodland, makes the perfect start for a special gathering.

Apartment16 is just 20 yards from the beach at Bigbury-on-Sea, South Hams - a perfect vantage point from which to enjoy the shifting panorama. The tide below the first floor apartment will creep in, giving waterside views to Burgh Island, and drift out again, revealing a huge expanse of smooth washed yellow sand. The island's jolly pub, The Pilchard, is fun to visit, whether you walk across the beach or take the long-legged sea tractor at high tide. Visitors can also enjoy the leisure club, including a smart bar and kidney-shaped pool.

Salcombe is one of the most beautifully sited small towns in Britain. It sits at the mouth of the Kingsbridge estuary, where the spacious Underbecks is perched, looking out over bobbing yachts and South Sands’ golden beach. The loungers on the enclosed terrace are in an ideal spot for taking in the sensational views upstream to Salcombe itself. When it’s time to go and explore, boats can be hired locally and the National Trust’s Overbecks is less than half a mile away.

For a real taste of West Country history, head to the once famous Elizabethan port and beautifully kept old town of Dartmouth. At Last is a Grade II listed town house with views over the river Dart to Kingswear and situated just above Bayards Cove – the oldest part of Dartmouth's harbour with cobbled quayside.

For more outstanding vantage points, take a look at our holiday cottages with sea views and holiday cottageswith country views in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset. 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Helpful Holidays is nominated for a British Travel Award!

We've been nominated for a 2012 British Travel Award in the 'Best UK Holiday Cottage/Self Catering Booking Company' category in which we won a Silver Award against strong national competition last year.

The British Travel Awards are acknowledged as the most definitive and largest monitor of public opinion on the performance of travel and tourism providers. Travel companies and tourism organisations were invited to register for listing in the various categories; a shortlist was then drawn up by a panel of respected individuals from both in and outside of the travel industry, but it's the leisure holidaymakers whose votes finally determine the winners. The results will be announced at a glittering ceremony on Thursday, 1st November at the Battersea Evolution in Battersea Park, London.

Delighted to be shortlisted for the second year in succession, our General Manager, Moray Bowater, said, “This is a great credit to our team and home owners, as well as a testament to the level of service and quality of properties offered by Helpful Holidays overall. Our holidaymakers and home owners’ views are at the very heart of this awards programme and we’re seeking their support by asking them to cast their votes. If our service has met or exceeded their expectations, they can register and vote online until 30th September.”

BTA’s Chief Executive, Lorraine Barnes Burton, said, “It’s the largest consumer voted awards programme in the UK, designed to reward the best companies in travel. The winning accolade is the benchmark for excellence when it comes to finding out who really is the best in the business of travel for the UK consumer.”

Here's how to vote for Helpful Holidays...

1. Visit the British Travel Awards website to register (it's a very short form).
2. Once registered, you'll be taken to a page listing various categories. You only have to vote in the categories that interest you.
3. Scroll down the page and click on the question Who are the best UK holiday companies and visitor attractions?’. (Different to 'Who are the best hotels and accommodation booking companies' which is for overseas operators.)
4. Click on the ‘Best UK Holiday Cottage/Self Catering Booking Company’ category.
5. Select Helpful Holidays from the list.
6. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click 'Submit Answers'.
7. The deadline is 30th September 2012.

Every vote counts, so we appreciate your support, thank you!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Space to play: holiday homes with pools, gardens and more

Whether you’re six years old or 66, holiday time is synonymous with play time. Take a look at a selection of our holiday cottages with leisure activities built in.

Weddicott Barn in the pretty Devonshire town of Chagford is the ideal holiday home if you’re taking the whole brood away for a break. Spacious and beautifully converted, it includes an indoor pool and a large enclosed garden with lawn, gas barbecue, badminton and table tennis. With two double rooms, one twin and one family, a group of ten can happily rest and play here. Visitors are also welcome to enjoy the 70 acres of Dartmoor farm.

If you can tear yourselves away from the stunning outdoor swimming pool, Rashleighayes Farm near Tiverton in Devon is the perfect venue for music and film enthusiasts. The contemporary cinema room is home to a 10’ home-cinema screen with digital projector, Sky and a DVD player, a baby grand piano and half-sized snooker table. Set on a 150 acre working farm in a thatched village, it could easily provide inspiration for budding directors and musicians.

The sun terrace at Park Farmhouse must have been made with the view in mind. The lush green garden enjoys the rolling hills of Chideock and the surrounding Dorset countryside as a lovely backdrop. The large, detached, Grade II listed farmhouse also has an indoor pool and games room, offering a respite from the suntrap garden.

For more ideas, take a look at our hand-picked holiday homes in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset. 

Friday, 1 June 2012

Dig deep into the West Country for hidden holiday gems – directions included!

Great local knowledge is the key ingredient when hunting down a secluded West Country cottage or holiday home with just the right amount of peace and tranquillity, balanced with nearby attractions.

Driving through the winding West Country lanes as they open out onto views across beautiful countryside and seascapes, it should feel like you’re about to make an important discovery – so take a look at some of our holiday cottages that have hidden gem appeal in abundance. Each one comes with directions carefully written by our team, who have been to visit each one personally.

Acorn Cottage, close to the top end of Roadford Lake country park in Devon, is tucked away off a no-through farm lane (with one farm beyond). The cleverly converted carthorse stable hides a suntrap patio and lawned garden surrounded by big oak trees and 12 acres of the owners’ adjoining woodlands where owls, buzzards and deer are often spotted.  The spectacular 730-acre reservoir and country park in beautiful, sparsely populated farmland is a popular place for watersports, fishing, birdwatching and walking.

Hill House Farm Cottage, in the pretty village of Upper Weare, Somerset, sits high on a quiet lane, giving superb panoramic views from all rooms. Look across expansive green fields towards Cheddar Gorge in one direction and the Mendip hills and Crook Peak in the other. The Gorge’s natural beauty or the nearby golf course might just be able to tempt you away from the cottage itself.

Stonehaven Cottage is nestled in a hamlet between Bideford and Barnstaple in north Devon. The journey through deep winding lanes reveals a wing of a handsome detached house converted from 16th century barns. The Tarka Trail cycleway and lovely Tapeley Park Gardens, plus the sandy beach at Instow, are all nearby.

Sheltered by mature trees and an ancient hedgerow, Briar Cottage, in Tregadillett, north Cornwall, has all the character you’d expect from a former gamekeeper’s cottage. It stands on a little-used lane and has a garden full of shrubs with long tranquil views and great proximity to stunning nature walks, fishing, boating and a steam railway stop.

For more ideas, take a look at our hand-picked holiday homes in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset