Today on the Sykes Cottages blog, we’re bringing you an interview with another of our fabulous cottages owners. After the success of our last post, in which we spoke to Stephen Bacon about his holiday cottages in Norfolk, we decided to continue our investigation into the background behind the cottages that we work with and get some insider tips on owning and letting out a holiday cottage from the experts. Today, Megan Graham, who owns a stunning romantic getaway in North Wales, has kindly agreed to talk to us.
Thank you for setting aside some time for us! Tell us a bit about yourself, Megan.
I am 55 years old and 8 years ago, I purchased a converted woollen mill in North Wales. Since then, I have spent quite a lot of time (and money) renovating and extending my own cottage as well as converting my holiday let, Watermill Cottage. I have a Rough Collie dog called Ben and thoroughly enjoy taking him on long walks in the hills surrounding the cottage (when I am not working of course!) I am hoping that the holiday let will top up my pension when I retire.
How did you come to own the cottage?
It is located in the grounds of my own cottage, which is a converted woollen mill. Watermill Cottage originally housed part of the mill workings. It had become rather dilapidated over time and I converted it into living accommodation approximately 5 years ago.
Can you tell us a bit more about the area that the cottage is in?
It’s on the banks of the River Wheeler, just outside the village of Afonwen in North Wales. I really enjoy the wildlife, the peace and tranquillity of the area, and the range of walks just outside the front door; the Offa’s Dyke path is within easy walking distance. The cottage also comes with fishing rights and offers guests the opportunity to see badgers which is fascinating as many people have never seen them in their natural environment.
What features do you think make your cottage more marketable?
The underfloor heating is a fantastic addition and I always leave a welcome pack for my guests including a complimentary pint of milk and bottle of wine, together with tea, coffee, sugar and guest soap. The cottage also accepts 2 well-behaved dogs which makes it much more marketable to pet owners. There are extensive dog walking opportunities adjacent to the property, where dogs can exercise off their leads in safety. The surrounding area and fishing rights are also great selling points.
What is your favourite part of the property?
The views down to the river and the under floor heating! I am also hoping that the newly refurbished kitchen will be a great asset.
Do you get to spend a lot of time there?
I have never slept in it but I am always in and out of it as it is next door to my own home.
Have you ever had any visits from special guests that have ended in a rewarding experience?
A couple came for their honeymoon and said it was absolutely perfect for them. They really enjoyed the peace and quiet after a hectic wedding day. Another guest was writing a book and had been struggling to make progress, however she said sitting in the window of the cottage and at the picnic table overlooking the river had provided her with inspiration and she was able to write a few chapters during her stay.
Why did you decide to start renting out the cottage?
To supplement my income.
Do you have any advice for people thinking about renting out a holiday cottage?
Always ensure that the cottage is welcoming, spotlessly clean, warm and nicely furnished. I like to include a few extra personal touches such as a welcome pack, slow cooker, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, portable fan heater, OS Maps, walking books and places of interest in local area. Basically, I do my best to try to ensure that the accommodation is as close to hotel standards as possible.
How did you find out about Sykes?
Through my daughter as she is friendly with one of the managers.
How do you find working with Sykes?
They provide excellent service! Everyone is very helpful and accommodating and the joining process was very quick and simple. I also like that working with Sykes means that I don’t get pestered by time wasters!
We’d like to say a big thank you to Megan for taking the time to answer our questions. If you’d like more information about Watermill Cottage or if you want to book a holiday in this delightful property, please visit our website.