Holiday Cottages! Self Catering Holidays Guide!
1 – Introduction To Holiday Cottages
Holiday cottages or self catering holidays are very popular these days for going on a holiday to escape from day to day routine and stresses.
They are very popular with families that want to go away with either:
- Elderly parents,
- Younger children, or
- Family pets.
This post describes what a holiday cottage is before listing a variety of different types of holiday cottages.
If you want to read about the benefits of holiday cottages, you can find out in my cottage holidays guide here.
However, if you are already convinced of the benefits and simply want to look at popular holiday destinations for cottage holidays, then go to my post on self catering holiday accommodation for popular holiday destinations here.
This video provides an overview about holiday cottages and lists various types of property types and locations.
Contents On Holiday Cottages
Use the following information to discover more about holiday cottages:
- 1 – Introduction To Holiday Cottages
- 2 – What Are Holiday Cottages
- 3 – Types Of Holiday Cottages
- 3.1 – Property Types
- 3.1.1 – Traditional Cottage
- 3.1.2 – Semi or Detached House
- 3.1.3 – Townhouse
- 3.1.4 – Bungalow
- 3.1.5 – Barn Conversion
- 3.1.6 – Villa
- 3.1.7 – Lodge or Chalet
- 3.1.8 – Flat, Apartment or Studio
- 3.1.9 – Manor House
- 3.1.10 – Castle
- 3.2 – Property Locations
- 4 – Summary On Holiday Cottages
2 – What Are Holiday Cottages
Holiday cottages are properties that are made available to holidaymakers. The two main characteristics of holiday cottages are:
- Exclusive Use – When you hire a holiday cottage you are the only one that has use of the property for the duration of the hire period.
- Self Catering – When you hire a holiday cottage you do so on a self catering basis by cooking or arranging your own meals.
3 – Types Of Holiday Cottages
When people mention the term “cottage” they most likely have a picture in their mind of a “traditional cottage”. We describe a traditional cottage below but when mentioned in the context of the phrase “cottage holiday”, the definition of a cottage is used somewhat more liberally.
A cottage in the context of holiday cottage accommodation on cottage holidays is used describe a range of property types that are located in a variety of places:
3.1 – Property Types
There are a variety of holiday cottage types, with each type coming in various sizes and shapes to satisfy your individual requirements. We define different property types below from the perspective of the United Kingdom, although these definitions may be applicable in other countries and regions.
No matter what your preference is for property type, there is bound to be a property that is appropriate for your requirements. Here are the major types of holiday cottage:
3.1.1 – Traditional Cottage
The notion of a traditional cottage usually brings to mind a certain visual image. That image is usually of an old, quaint and cosy little stone building with a thatched roof and a lovely cottage garden, situated in a rural location. Indeed, you can find such properties available to stay in during cottage holidays.
Cottages may be found in rural and other locations as some modern houses are designed in the traditional cottage style. One major advantage of a cottage is that it will usually have a garden. Gardens are family friendly and a good environment for taking young children and maybe the family pets on holiday. Also, when the weather is good you may be able to take advantage of any sun terrace or barbeque equipment made available to you.
A cottage usually has one or two floors depending on the design, the later not usually being suitable for people for mobility difficulties unless there is a bedroom on the ground floor level. The number of cottages available is limited as statistically speaking, not that many exist in society compared to other types of property.
3.1.2 – Semi or Detached House
A semi or detached house is probably the most common property available for going on cottage holidays in the UK. This is probably because statistically, there are more of this type of property available is the general economy than other types of property. However, this may not be the case in other countries. As with a cottage, most houses will have a garden, be family friendly and therefore be suitable for families with children and pets.
By definition, a house will normally have two or more floors connected by stairs. Thus, unless a bedroom and all other facilities are available on the ground level floor, a house is unlikely to be suitable for people with mobility problems. An added advantage of houses is that they usually provide more space or rooms than single story type properties.
With a detached property you will get a higher level of privacy compared to attached properties. In addition, you will be able to make merry more loudly as you are less likely to disturb and upset neighbours.
3.1.3 – Townhouse
When we talk of a townhouse we mean a property that belongs to a row of terraced properties. Some people may describe a detached house located with a town as a townhouse but this is not the definition used here.
With a townhouse the degree of privacy may be diminished somewhat compared to detached properties. You should also be more considerate and not disturb and upset neighbours by making excessive noise. As you will be on holiday you may also wish to receive the same consideration.
As with a house, a town house will usually have two or more levels with the same advantages and disadvantages as a house. As the name suggests, a town house will often be located near a town centre and provide the holiday maker with all the pros (shopping plus conveniences) and cons (noise plus crowded areas) of town life. An additional con of some townhouses may be lack of a parking space if you have travelled by car.
3.1.4 – Bungalow
The definition of a bungalow is a single storey semi or detached house. There are some bungalows termed chalet or dormer bungalows where extra bedrooms are provided in the loft space. They are said to have one and a half floors.
Unless there is a bedroom at ground level the chalet or dormer bungalow is unlikely to be suitable for people with mobility issues. Families taking young children with them on holiday may favour a bungalow due to the lack of stairs. Without stairs, parents no longer have to worry about dealing with the safety hazard of stairs with children and they can relax more.
A con of a bungalow is that for the same ground floor area as a house, you have less overall space for facilities and storage. As a consequence, people may feel a little bit confined in a bungalow, unless you specifically search for a large bungalow.
3.1.5 – Barn Conversion
As the name suggests, a barn conversion is a barn or other farm building that has been converted into holiday accommodation. There are more of these types of property becoming available for holiday. As income from farming declines, farms are seeking alternative income by converting their farm buildings to holiday use.
A barn conversion may be either a single or two storey building. If you have any mobility issues then make sure you have access to all the facilities you need on the ground floor, including a bathroom and bedroom.
Barn conversions will normally be situated on either a working or non working farm, and by definition will be located in the countryside. As a consequence, many barn conversions are likely to be some distance from a village or town. Your own car transport is therefore more likely to be required with this type of property than any other type.
3.1.6 – Villa
The term “villa” comes from ancient Roman times and referred to an upper-class country house. These days within the UK, a villa has become known as a high quality detached home in a warm destination. Therefore, by this definition, most villas are properties outside the UK.
Villas come in various types and sizes. They may be one or more stories and may come with or without an exclusive or communal swimming pool. A pool and sunshine are a great combination to keep children entertained throughout a holiday. Some villas may also have a small garden and most will usually have one or more sun terraces around or on top of the property.
As villas are usually outside the UK you will normally have to fly there and hire a car for when you get there. You can either book a package deal through a travel agent or arrange your own villa, flights and transport separately.
3.1.7 – Lodge or Chalet
A lodge or chalet is usually a wooden structure built specifically as a holiday property. Also called log cabins, among other names, they come completely fully furnished and equipped. They come in various styles and sizes but are usually sited in small clusters on a piece of land which is described as a holiday park or holiday village with other similar properties.
A holiday village will usually have various facilities and attractions for holiday makers and are popular with families with young children. However, some lodges may be located in the countryside on small, isolated plots of land with very few facilities and may be suitable for people looking for a quiet, relaxing break.
Most lodges will be single storey but some luxury lodges may have two levels. People with mobility issues should make sure that they are accessible and that there are bedrooms on the ground floor.
3.1.8 – Flat, Apartment or Studio
The term “flat” originates in Britain and the term “apartment” originates in America. Both refer to a self-contained unit that is part of a larger building containing other units. In Britain flats can be found in buildings called blocks of flats, tower blocks, high rise buildings and sometimes mansion blocks.
In America and other places, apartments belong to an apartment buildings and apartment house block. A flat or apartment should have all the facilities associated with a house, such as a separate kitchen, lounge and bedrooms, with the exception of a garden.
A studio, or studio flat or studio apartment is usually a small flat or apartment which combines the living room and bedroom together with a kitchenette into a single room. In some countries, the bathroom and kitchen facilities may be communal areas so be absolutely clear you know what you are getting before you book a flat, apartment or studio.
Being close to so many others on holiday means privacy is curtailed somewhat and noisy neighbours may be an issue. This type of property will usually be found in cities and towns. A studio is unlikely to be suitable for families but couples or elderly people may find them appropriate to their circumstances.
Couples may like the intimacy and elderly people may like everything easily at hand. If you have any mobility issues, either make sure the building has a lift or that you are on the ground floor.
3.1.9 – Manor House
A manor house is usually a large grand building with its own grounds and gardens, usually located away from towns and villages in the countryside. Depending on the arrangement, you may be able to book the whole of a manor house, or just a smaller unit, usually a flat, within the manor house.
A manor house is especially suitable for booking by large groups or for special functions where a communal area is desirable for people to socialise. If you have a special occasion for an extended family gathering a manor house may be an ideal option. There may be a function room or an extra large lounge. Some may even have a games room which is particularly attractive to families. There may even be facilities such as a pool, sauna or a tennis court.
If you are a couple or a small family unit, you may be able to get the style and charm of the manor house experience if you can find one that rents out smaller units within it on an individual basis. Note that if the décor of the manor house is delicate, children may not be allowed.
3.1.10 – Castle
Castles generally have unique locations and provide that extra special experience that takes you back to a more ancient time. The idyllic surrounding of a castle should conjure up a sense of romance in an historic and stylish setting. Imagine how it feels to be a lord or lady of a castle.
Whether you want a romantic couple weekend; an emotional family reunion weekend or holiday; or a group holiday with friends; a castle could be the ideal venue. A castle will usually have its own grounds and gardens for your enjoyment. Also, as with manor houses, it may be possible to either book the whole castle, or just a smaller unit, usually a flat, within the castle.
The facilities available in Castles will vary but could include a pool, sauna, games room or tennis courts, etc. Some castles may not allow children due to the delicate nature of the décor.
The availability of castles will be more limited when compared to any other type of property, simply because there are fewer of them. So if you fancy a holiday in a castle and you find something suitable, do not hesitate in booking it, as it may not be available if you return at a later time.
Note: Stairs – In any property with stairs, when young children will be taken on holiday, make sure that there are safety precautions in place. For example, ensure that unused pools or hot tubs are covered over and that stairs have childproof barriers.
3.2 – Property Locations
As holiday cottages are individual properties, you can find them located in different locations. No matter what your preference is for property location, there is highly likely to be a suitable property to satisfy your needs. Take a look at these most popular locations:
3.2.1 – Major Cities
Going on holiday to a city is great for people who love the buzz of city life. There are plenty of things to see and lots of things to do in a city. Attractions available in cities include: museums, galleries and other cultural places. In addition to private transport and taxis, cities usually have good public transport to make getting around fairly easy.
There is usually lots of entertainment available such as theatres, bands or cinemas. At meal times the options can be vast with everything from take away establishments to fine dining restaurants and cuisine from many different nations. The downside to a city holiday is that you are unlikely to get much relaxation because life around you is so busy and noisy.
3.2.2 – Countryside Towns
A town based holiday is likely to be a little more relaxing than a city based one. Then there is the added advantage of being able to easily and quickly reach the more relaxing and natural environment around the town such as: villages; open countryside; hills and mountains; and regional or national parks. As with cities, towns will usually be lively but not so much as cities.
Some of the things available in cities will also be available in towns but on a more limited scale. There may be a small local or specialist museum of some kind, a small gallery or two, maybe a local cinema, some local entertainment and a few places of culture to enjoy.
Transport options will also be restricted with a lower level of service from the public sector providers and taxis are likely to be in short supply. Options around meal times will also be more limited. However, there will still be a good choice of take away food and dining options with cuisine from a number of nations.
3.2.3 – Villages
A village based holiday could provide the ideal compromise between a city holiday and one based more close to nature. Most holidays based in villages will be more relaxing than holidays based in cities and towns. Villages are usually quite peaceful and provide a relaxing environment for those looking to get away from the hectic nature of everyday life.
Villages are usually based close to the countryside and access to the surrounding countryside is easy and rapid. You will be based close to the open countryside; local hills, mountains and national parks.
Most things available in cities and towns will not be available, such as museums, galleries, cinemas, or other local entertainment and places of culture. However, if you do your research and time your holiday right, you may be able to synchronise your visit with a local country show, market or fete.
Local transport is likely to be non existent and mealtime options will be restricted to one or two options if you are lucky. The most probable eating option available is likely to be a local pub.
3.2.4 – Near A Pub
Being based near a pub is probably of no real advantage on a city or town based holiday as there will probably be several eating options close by and easily accessible anyway. However, when based in a village or in a natural countryside setting, having a pub within a short walking distance or a quick drive provides that extra welcome dining option.
You may also want to have the occasional drink in the evening and have the option of walking back to your holiday cottage and not worry about either the cost of, or inconvenience of finding a local transport option.
3.2.5 – Near The Sea
One of the most popular holiday scenarios is to be based near water, especially near a beach by the sea. So many people just love to either relax on a beach in the sun all day; paddle or swim in the warm sea; or get sand between their toes on a beach walk.
Many people simply like to be based anywhere by the sea as they enjoy walking along the coastline and benefit from the fresh air and sea breezes. As long as your holiday is not based in a seaside town, the experience is likely to be quiet, peaceful and restorative.
Staying in a coastal town will offer a certain amount of attractions, culture and transportation options and it is likely to be highly commercialised and especially busy during peak holiday periods. Elsewhere along the coast, attractions, culture and transportation options are likely to be non existent.
You may find that the local cuisine near the coast remains more traditional than that available in towns and cities, and seafood dishes are more likely to be served using the catch of the day.
3.2.6 – By A River
Just like people like to be near the sea, rivers are also a great attraction to many of us. People are enthusiastic about being near moving water, particularly rivers. Rivers seem to represent life and vitality and the life force of the planet. The fact that rivers seem to always remain flowing reminds people that time continues passing by and life goes on.
Depending on where along a river you are based, the options may be varied. The options which usually attract people to rivers are travelling along the river and sport:
- Boating – Firstly, people love to travel on top of rivers in either a tourist cruise boat or under your own power in a canoe or other similar small vessel.
- Walking – Secondly, people enjoy walking beside rivers, getting exercise whilst watching other people enjoy the river.
- Fishing – Then there are people who see fishing as both a sporting challenge and a relaxing leisure activity.
3.2.7 – Near Mountains
In the scenario of being based near mountains; you will rarely be located in a city or large town. However, a small town or a village is a more probable option for both hills and mountains.
The main reasons for people wanting to be near mountains on a holiday are to participate in either walking or climbing activities. People seem are attracted to hills and mountains for a variety of reasons. Here are two main reasons:
- Physical Challenge – People feel they need to ascend them as a physical challenge.
- Symbolic Challenge – On the other hand, other people just view walking over hills and mountains as a challenge which symbolically represents a hurdle or limitation in their life.
- Relaxation – Mountains also appears to have some sort of relaxing effect on some people.
- Pleasure – Others like to travel around mountains simply for the pleasure of it.
3.2.8 – In Open Countryside
A holiday based in the open countryside has several attractions. Your accommodation will most likely be based on or near a farm or small village. One of the main reasons for a holiday in the countryside is that it provides people with the opportunity to easily and quickly access walking and cycling routes across the natural landscape.
A holiday in the countryside also serves as an escape from the speed and stress of everyday life. In the countryside life is slower and more peaceful and hence people are more easily able to relax.
The beautiful open views of sky and landscape unobstructed by manmade structures facilitates a sense of peace and connection with the planet. People feel refreshed when they return home from a countryside holiday.
4 – Summary On Holiday Cottages
In this post we have described what holiday cottages are that they are part of self catering holidays where you have sole use of the holiday property.
This type of holiday is extremely popular today, enabling you to get away from daily routines and schedules.
No matter if it is for a short midweek or weekend break; a one week, two weeks or longer long annual holiday you will surely find something suitable.
No matter what your circumstances, be it for a family holiday with elderly parents, children or pets; a romantic couples retreat; or a large group outing; you are sure to find something suitable at your preferred destination.
So next time you want to get away on a holiday be sure to investigate the options that holiday cottages and self catering holidays provide.