Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Farms for City Children is our charity for 2015

We're delighted to announce that Farms for City Children is our charity for 2015. The charity, founded by children’s author Michael Morpurgo and his wife Clare at Nethercott Farm in Devon in 1976, was also our charity in 2012.

The charity’s aim is to enrich the lives of children from urban areas, who may not know where their food comes from and have limited opportunities to get up close to animals, by giving them the chance to spend a week living and working on a real farm in the heart of the countryside.

We are looking forward to working with them again and hopefully helping lots of deserving children to spend some time on one of the farms. The charity has three working farms which welcome around 3,000 children and 400 teachers each year. Over 70,000 children have benefited to date.

We hope you'll help us spread the word about this wonderful charity and the excellent work it does. We'll keep you updated on news from the farms and our fundraising efforts during 2015.

If you’d like to make a donation, visit at any time or you can also make a contribution when you book a holiday through Helpful Holidays.

2014 Poetry Competition Winner

We have a winner for our poetry competition - a lovely poem inspired by a family holiday in one of our cottages in Cornwall - Apple Cottage in Tregadillett (pictured above).

Sophie Crouchman penned this ode to her daughter Evelyn, who was 7 months old at the time and was embarking on her first holiday.

Sophie, who wins HH vouchers worth £400, said: "We all had a wonderful time and have lots of fond memories which will stay with us forever. We've stayed in the West Country twice before with Helpful holidays and on the way back from Cornwall this year I reflected on the differences between those holidays and our holiday with Evelyn - which is what the poem is all about!"

Here's the poem in it's entirety:

Last year we went on lots of walks,
Through craggy paths & wooded valleys.
This year we had to stay on paths,
And watch out for cobbled alleys.
Last year we ate out every night,
At bistros, pubs and bars.
This year we packed the car to the brim, With your baby food in jars.
Last year we packed our favourite clothes, Our suitcase over full.
This year we packed your tiny socks,
And lots of cotton wool.
Last year we slept in every day,
Waking up in time for brunch.
This year you're up all night long,
And we're tired out by lunch.
Last year we loved our cottage,
Quirky nooks & steep of stair.
This year we loved another place,
Spacious, with cot & high chair.
Last year the only thing of note was my tiny rounded tum,
This year everything has changed, Because I'm now your mum.

Next year we'll hold another competition - watch this space for news!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Enjoy bonfire night in the West Country

Remember remember... to head to the West Country for a great fireworks display this November. Here are some to look out for:

Ottery St Mary, Devon: A tradition hundreds of years old, the famous Flaming Tar Barrels (pictured above) are not for the faint-hearted! The story goes that the flaming barrels were originally used for the fumigation of cottages and as a warning of the approach of the Spanish Armada. There are Seventeen Barrels in all, each sponsored by one of Ottery's pubs.

Bridgwater, Somerset: The Bridgwater Carnival, on 1st November, is the largest of the famous illuminated Somerset Carnivals which take place throughout November. In fact this annual Guy Fawkes event claims to be Europe's largest illuminated carnival and the oldest event of its kind in the UK.

Sticklepath, Devon: Sticklepath Fireshow, on November 5th, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. This year’s show and spectacular firework display is themed Quarks & Sparks - all will be revealed on the night!

Visit or call us on 01647 433593 and we'll help you find the perfect place from which to enjoy these amazing spectacles and more!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Have a Spooktacular Halloween in the West Country

You can be sure of some ghoulish goings on and garish make-up at a number of Halloween-themed events across the West Country this October. We don't know 'witch' to be more frightened of - the scary themes or terrible puns!

Woodlands Park is holding Devon's Greatest Halloscream week with a special Spooks Olympics - with 8 wicked games to choose from, including Ring the Mummy and Bash a Beast. There's also a Ghost Train creepy enough to scare big monsters.

It's all a bit more sedate at Pennywell Farm, where the team are preparing for the Pennywell Pumpkin Olympics. Take part in the pumpkin and giant spoon race, pumpkin tossing, pumpkin skittles and have a go at the daily competition for the longest pumpkin throw. The greatest of all prizes - chocolate - is on offer for daily winners.

There's a special guest coming to Devon’s Crealy Great Adventure Park on Halloween - Scooby Doo will be bringing his unique brand of canine fun to the proceedings.

And last but not least, if you head on down to the Eden Project (pictured above) you can meet the witch from Room on the Broom - she’ll welcome you into her lovely Cornish holiday home, where she’ll be reading the Room on the Broom story at various times throughout the day. With other activities including potion workshops and wand-making, there's plenty to keep your young witches and wizards happy!

It's easy to find a safe haven from these terrifying treats - just visit or call us on 01647 433593.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Autumnal delights in the West Country

The scrunch of crisp autumn leaves underfoot, the crack and pop of a log fire, or the roar of rough seas crashing against rocks - which is your favourite sound of autumn? For us, it's the sound of happy customers calling to book a much deserved break in this most atmospheric corner of the country.

There are always some tempting autumn offers - the leaves are falling and so are October prices.

You're well set for the local pub and Exmoor's dramatic coast at The Bothy (F56) near Parracombe, or how about The Linney (G94, pictured above) at Colyton - sheltered inland from some lovely east Devon coastal villages and the spectacular 'Jurassic Coast'.

Book your seat for a steam train expedition past the romantic ruins of Corfe Castle from Westcott (H31), a 16th century cottage in the village. Jane's Place (J37) is a recently renovated cottage for five just outside Lifton, a popular stomping ground for fishermen.

You're in excellent walking country at Hawthorn Barn (L61) in East Allington, where foot and bridlepaths lead to the beautiful wooded river Avon valley. 

Just outside Trelights, a sleepy hamlet about a mile from the South West Coast Path and handy for beautiful beaches at Port Quin, Daymer Bay, Polzeath and Rock, is Long Cottage (P87). Explore evocative mining ruins at Trevaunance Cove from 2 Water Lane (Q34), a handsome, Victorian villa in St Agnes.

These are just a few of our autumn offers, so check our special offers page for other great deals over the coming weeks.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Our 2015 brochure is out!

Our new 2015 brochure features nearly 600 places to stay all across the West Country. Ranging from romantic retreats for two up to big country houses sleeping a maximum of 47 guests, most have stunning views out to sea or across lush countryside.

65 have use of a heated swimming pool, some have private moorings or fishing rights and others are on working farms. Many are within ambling distance of the beach or local pub, and over half welcome pets.

Here are some of the best:

Near the old coaching town of Chudleigh and around eight miles from the coast at Dawlish is The Barn, a smart and spacious conversion sleeping six with an upside-down layout to make the most of the superb country views. This is a peaceful, rural location within easy reach of Exeter, the coast and Dartmoor.

A half mile from Scorriton, in the tiny hamlet of Combe where the river Mardle meanders through and on to the river Dart, is Cullaford Cottage - stunning, detached and thatched - once home to the author Mary Wesley and still a haven from the rush of the modern world. This is a magical and sophisticated cottage in a tranquil, beautiful setting.

Amongst the many new places to stay in Cornwall is Hedgerows, an imposing custom-built detached house for 12 with stunning sea views and interiors on the south coast at Maenporth, near Mawnan Smith and Falmouth. Set opposite the spectacular sandy, cove beach, this magnificent house is surrounded by an acre of enclosed garden.

On the northern slopes of the Mendip Hills at the edge of Chilcompton village, with lovely long rural views, is single-storey Magnolia Cottage. Sleeping four, this charming cottage was formerly stables to the old parsonage; now light, stylish and smartly refurbished it’s a peaceful base from which to explore Wells, Bath and Glastonbury.

For a free copy of our 2015 brochure call 01647 434063, email or order online at Every holiday home in the brochure, plus a selection of online-only properties, are featured on our website.