Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Snowdonia Granted Dark Sky Status

Sunday, December 6th, 2015
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You may well have missed it but there’s been some pretty big news for the Snowdonia National Park over the last few days! It’s just been announced that the park has been given special status as an international dark sky reserve, making it part of a select few such places in the whole of the UK. Handpicked for their lack of light pollution and stunning views out over the night skies these places are the best spots in the whole of the UK to visit if you want to catch a glimpse of the stars. In celebration of Snowdonia’s  latest achievement we’ve pick out some of the best dark sky reserves for you to visit.

Snowdonia National Park

Where else could we start? As I mentioned Snowdonia is the UK’s most recent addition to the list of International Dark Sky Reserves, and it’s just the tenth in the whole world. The adding of Snowdonia to this list means that lights will be dimmed in three separate areas around the National Park (the Migneint mountain range, Nant Gwynant and Cadair Idris) meaning that the already stunning night skies will only get better!

Exmoor National Park

Back in the autumn of 2011 Exmoor was named as Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve by the International Institute. Nowadays it may share its status with the more recent additions but that doesn’t take anything away from it! On a clear night you’ll be able to spot a wide array of stars and constellations from near enough anywhere in the park but the best locations include Brendon Common, Wimbleball Lake, Bosington Hill and Dunkery Beacon, all of which are worth a visit.

Kerry Dark Sky Reserve

Or if you’re over on the Emerald Isle then you’ll want to head down to County Kerry where you’ll be able to find Ireland’s only Dark Sky Reserve. Here you’ll be able to enjoy some of the finest night skies going with both the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy amongst the constellations that you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of without the help of any specialist equipment.

Kielder Water and Forest Park

And finally we’ve got the Kielder Water and Forest Park. Now being an International Dark Sky Park this one’s slightly different to the others, however according to the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), Kielder has the darkest skies in all of England. But that’s not it! You’ll also be able to find the specialist observatory offering a wide range of experiences days and courses where you can learn all about the skies above.

So how do you fancy taking a trip to try your hand at some stargazing? Happily we’ve got cottages in Snowdonia, Exmoor, Kerry and Kielder, all of which would be the perfect base for your break, why don’t you take a look and see which you fancy?

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Our Favourite Sunset Snaps

Monday, November 9th, 2015
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The clocks might have changed and the nights may be drawing in ever earlier, but every cloud has a silver lining and it all just means that we get to enjoy some stunning sunsets earlier in the day. Let’s be honest there’s nothing quite like a good sunset, with the varying hues of pinks, golds and blues stretching out over the skies, they’re a sight to behold. So we’ve picked out some of our favourite sunset snaps from spots all around the United Kingdom, why don’t you take a look?

The Kelpies, Falkirk

Attenborough Nature Reserve, Nottinghamshire

Brean Down, Somerset

Brighton Pier, East Sussex

Callanish Stones, Isle of Lewis

Durdle Door, Dorset

King’s College, Cambridge

Polzeath, Cornwall

There you go, some of our favourite sunset photos taken here in the UK! We’d love to know which one is your favourite so do let us know, either on Facebook or by Tweeting us, or if you have a photo that you think rivals them do send it over!

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Days Out With A Difference

Friday, August 14th, 2015
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Well the kids have been on their summer holidays for a few weeks now, and no doubt you’re starting to struggle to think of things that you can do to keep them occupied. So to give you a hand, we’ve tried to come up with a few ideas of days out with a difference that you can do as a family before the new school year starts up. So take a look and see what you think.

The Jacobite Steam Train

How about a taste of one of the nation’s favourite film and book franchises to start us off? That’s because with a trip on the Jacobite you can follow in the footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermione on their annual trip on the Hogwarts Express and what’s more, you’ll be able to enjoy some stunning views and even a tasty treat along the way (sadly there won’t be any pumpkin pasties or chocolate frogs involved)! The Jacobite’s route runs from Fort William through to the coastal town of Mallaig and back again, a journey of around 85 miles, and leads you through some of the best scenery that the Highlands have to offer, from the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct to Loch Ail and the quaint village of Arisaig.

Beamish Open Air Museum

Or, alternatively, you could take a trip back in time by stopping off at the Beamish Museum in  County Durham. When it first opened up back in 1970, Beamish was the very first of its kind and it’s only grown bigger and better since then. Nowadays the museum comes complete with a First World War market town, a 1940’s style farm and even its own railway station. Between the full cast of volunteers recreating everyday life in the various periods and the numerous activities you can join in on, any trip to Beamish is bound to be educational as well as fun.

Wookey Hole

But what if you’re after something a little bit spookier? Well that’s where Wookey Hole down in the Somerset countryside comes into it. Tucked away amongst the Mendip Hills, the caves are one of the strangest attractions going. It’s probably best known for its resident witch but Wookey Hole is also home to a series of impressive show caves, a museum, crazy golf course and even an old fashioned penny arcade, making it one of the most diverse attractions around.

So there you go, a few ideas for an unusual day out that you can enjoy with the kids over the last couple of weeks of the summer holidays. Hopefully you’ll have got a bit of inspiration from them but give us a shout if you have any good alternatives, either on Facebook or over Twitter.

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Why You Should Book a Coastal Break in the UK

Friday, July 3rd, 2015
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I think it’s safe to say that we’re a nation of beach lovers! As soon as there’s a bit of good weather, we all seem to flock to the nearest beach and set up shop for the day, but have you thought about taking your next holiday on the British coast? That’s right you can forget all about the Costa del Sol, we’ve got plenty of spots on the UK coast that can more than stand up for themselves! So take a look here to find out why you should spend your next holiday on the UK coast!

The Beaches

We might as well start with the obvious answer mightn’t we? If there’s one thing you can bank on for a UK coastal break, it’s the fantastic beaches! There are well over 150 Blue Flag beaches dotted all around the UK, from the Cornish Coast right up to the North of Scotland, so you’re bound to be spoilt for choice no matter where you go, just remember to pack the bucket and spade!

The Food

Then there’s the seaside food! Ice creams on the beach, seafood fresh from the boat and of course some proper fish and chips, what else could you want? Or maybe you fancy something a little more fancier? Well in Cornwall alone you’ve got Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant and Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, all just a stone’s throw away from the sea!

The Walks

Whether it’s a gentle stroll along the beach, a cliff top wander or a hike along a section of one of the fantastic coastal paths on offer, you just can’t beat going for a walk when you’re on a UK coastal break. There are stunning sections of coastal path all around the UK just waiting for you to explore them and in fact, plans have been put in motion to open up an uninterrupted path right around the whole of the English coast, which should be completed by 2020. But don’t worry if you can’t wait that long, just take a look at The Guardian’s top 10 coastal walks where you’re sure to find one that you fancy.

The Seaside Towns

If there’s one thing that we do well here in the UK it’s definitely the seaside towns. Arcades, donkey rides, Punch and Judy shows – need I say any more? Then there’s the good old fashioned piers; the ultimate sign of a proper British seaside town! A visit to any seaside resort will help you relive some old memories and experience the nostalgia of childhood breaks, so what are you waiting for?

The Wildlife


Photo Courtesy of

If you need any more convincing then there’s also the fantastic array of wildlife that calls the UK coast home. From the puffins up at John O’Groats, all the way through to the dolphins frolicking off the South Coast- they’re all a sight to behold! And it’s no problem if you want to get even closer to the action! There are countless companies offering boat trips out to the wildlife hotspots letting you get up close and take a few snaps for the holiday albums.

So hopefully you won’t need any more convincing, maybe you’re even packing already? If so, you’ll definitely want to take a look at our selection of coastal cottages so that you have the perfect place to retreat to after a long day at the seaside.

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Large Properties Offering Flexible Breaks

Friday, June 12th, 2015
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You can’t beat a break with a group, whether it’s getting the all of the family together for a week away or spending some time with friends, however when it comes to larger parties it can be difficult to arrange dates. Some people might struggle to get time off work, whereas others might have to leave early because they have to get back for some sort of engagement, and this is where our Flexible Breaks come in! You won’t have to worry about changeover days or having the property for too long, as with a Flexi Break you can start your holiday on any day of the week and book for as little as two nights! So to give you an idea of where you could be staying, we’ve decided to showcase some of the cottages offering Flexible Breaks that would be perfect for larger parties, take a look and see what you think.

The Malthouse – 17888

The Malthouse is a Grade II listed former corn mill, found in the Derbyshire village of Cromford. With nine bedrooms that sleep eighteen between them, two kitchens and two living rooms, it could well be the perfect place for a large group to take a break together! The owners have managed to maintain much of the character of this old mill with exposed beams throughout. The old mill pond still has its waterfall cascading down and there’s even a window through to the inner workings of the mill from one of the kitchens. All this has been married with countless, luxurious features from American style fridge/freezers through to slipper baths and rainfall showers, meaning that any stay in The Malthouse will be enjoyed.

Capel Dinorwig – 919390

Tucked away in the peaceful village of Llanberis, just on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, is the stunning Capel Dinorwig. Formerly a chapel, the property has been fully converted and designed by an architect into a luxury holiday property fantastic for larger groups.  There’s more than enough room for sixteen people with eight bedrooms as well as a stunning open plan living area on the first floor, complete with a feature wall and double sided wood burner, there’s plenty of space for all of the family. Add in the vaulted roof and exposed beams- pointing back to the buildings heritage- and also the full height windows offering stunning views out over the mountains, and you can see why Capel Dinorwig is such a popular cottage!

Capel Jerusalem – 918082

Finally we have another converted chapel, this time the Capel Jerusalem. A former Methodist chapel from the 1860s, it’s now a luxury property capable of sleeping up to ten people. The accommodation itself contains a deluxe open plan living area which sees all of the contemporary mod cons blended perfectly with traditional details, from the lancet windows through to the feature ceiling. Add to this a baby grand piano, zoned underfloor heating and a comfortable sitting area with room enough for all of the guests and you’ll never want to leave!

Hopefully they will have caught your eye; if so, don’t forget to click on the links below the photographs to find out more and maybe even book a sneaky break for you and your friends. Or if you’d like to take a look at all of the properties that are available to book on a Flexible Break then you can click here to see them all.

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.