What’s your idea of the perfect holiday cottage? We often stay in a cottage when we’re on holiday in the UK. It’s a great way to make the most of the English countryside, particularly when you’re travelling with children. You can explore the local area during the day then return to your cosy cottage for the evening.
Some cottages have been so perfect we felt like moving in but sometimes it’s more about the location than the cottage itself. It doesn’t matter so much if it’s not your dream home if it’s in a fabulous area.
It’s the little details that can make all the difference when you’re renting a cottage. Treats waiting for you when you arrive, fluffy towels, comfy beds and thoughtful touches like fresh flowers and a bottle of wine all go a long way to make it feel more special.
But with so many cottage companies out there, it’s not always easy finding that perfect cottage for your holiday so I’m sharing details of five of the best English cottages we’ve stayed in over the last few years and I’ve asked some UK family travel bloggers to tell us their favourites too.
There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re looking for a cottage near some of the UK’s best beaches, countryside walks from your doorstep or simply want to escape from everything in the quietest part of the Lake District.
Holm Oak Cottage near Looe
First impressions really count. We knew we’d come to the right place when we turned up at the cottage after a long journey to find a cream tea laid out for us on the kitchen table and a jar of biscuits for our dog. But the cottage itself was really special too, with a spacious living area with sofas and armchairs in front of an open log fire and three beautifully decorated bedrooms upstairs.
The cottage is set in a private park so there’s lots of space for children to roam around. Ours loved feeding the ducks and wandering down to the little bridge over the stream. Holm Oak Cottage is a short drive from the pretty seaside town of Looe in south east Cornwall where you’ll find good beaches and great walks along the coast.
You can book Holm Oak Cottage with Toad Hall Cottages.
For more Cornwall inspiration, take a look at 6 of the Best Beaches in Cornwall.
Dowr Penty in Helford
Location is everything in this whitewashed cottage in one of Cornwall’s prettiest villages. Helford turned out to be a dream of a destination. It’s a village with a sprinkling of thatched cottages, a village shop and a fantastic local pub, all beside a river where you can go kayaking or boating. There are wonderful walks to tiny beaches straight from the door and the amazing beaches and villages of the Lizard Peninsula a short drive away.
The cottage itself was an ideal base for our family. The pretty sitting room had a woodburning stove and there was a separate dining room with old copies of Daphne du Maurier novels on the bookshelf. The three bedrooms were all lovely, especially the master bedroom with its four poster bed.
You can book Dowr Penty on Cornish Horizons.
To find out more about the lovely Lizard Peninsula, take a look at 7 Amazing Reasons to Visit the Lizard in Cornwall.
Old Sawyers in Stoke Abbott
We fell in love with this thatched cottage in a tiny Dorset village near Beaminster. Everything about it was perfect, from the homemade cakes and fresh flowers that had been left for us alongside farm fresh apple juice and organic honey to the wonderful farmhouse kitchen with its red Aga and the lovely sitting room with beamed ceiling and large wood burner. Even the crockery was special: all the mugs and plates were from Emma Bridgewater.
We were there in the winter and the cottage was so cosy we wanted to stay there on the days when it poured with rain. I couldn’t have agreed more with the person who’d written in the guest book that she “felt like I was living in the cottage from the film, The Holiday, without Jude Law at the pub.”
Even better, the cottage is in a fabulous location for exploring the local area. There are great walks into the countryside from the village and it’s only a 15-minute drive to the fabulous beaches of the West Dorset coast.
You can book Old Sawyers with holidaycottages.co.uk.
3, Albion Cottages in Walberswick
This pretty cottage is in one of our favourite seaside villages. Walberswick, on the Suffolk Coast, has everything your perfect English village should have: a village green, quaint tea shops, half-timbered houses and a couple of good pubs. But Walberswick is even better because it’s beside a wonderful beach that never seems to get too busy and a river that’s ideal for crabbing.
This cottage is just around the corner from the village green. There’s a large kitchen diner with a cupboard full of board games, a cosy sitting room with a log fire and two pretty bedrooms upstairs. The garden at the back is ideal for breakfast on sunny mornings.
You can book 3, Albion Cottages on Airbnb.
To find out more about Walberswick, read The 6 Ways to Fall in Love with Walberswick. You’ll find more inspiration on visiting the Suffolk Coast by reading A Photo Tour of the Suffolk Coast and Best of the British Seaside at Southwold.
Brontë School House in Cowan Bridge
It was a real thrill staying in this cottage in Cumbria. It’s in a beautifully renovated building that used to be the school the Brontë sisters attended and believed to have inspired Charlotte Brontë when she was writing Jane Eyre.
The cottage itself is gorgeous. There are bay windows, original beams, bedrooms with window seats and a bathroom with a claw foot bath. Our family loved the large garden where we had breakfast every morning and the fabulous walks into the countryside.
This is a great location because you’ve got the historic market town of Kirby Lonsdale on your doorstep and you’re close enough to explore the Lake District to the west and the Yorkshire Dales to the east.
You can book the Brontë School House here.
Craster Reach Cottage in Craster
Sam from North East Family Fun says, “This cottage in Northumberland is one of my favourites. It is perfectly located in the sleepy fishing village and just a 30-second stroll to the village pub which serves delicious food and has a beer garden looking over the North Sea where you can spot lots of wildlife. The views from the master suite across the harbour over to Dunstanburgh Castle are magnificent and very relaxing. For children there’s a play park and rockpools one minute from the cottage door. There’s no mobile phone signal in Craster – but that’s part of its charm I think!”
The cottage has three bedrooms AND three bathrooms and a big open plan kitchen, sitting and dining area with a woodburning stove.
Beehive Cottage in Poulton
Ting from My Travel Monkey found the perfect cottage in the Cotswolds. It’s a very pretty cottage made of traditional Cotswold stone, with an inglenook fireplace, lovely-looking bathroom and a secret stone staircase that my kids would die for. The rooms have all been beautifully decorated and guests are made to feel straight at home when they arrive to find croissants and millionaire’s shortbread waiting for them.
Bruern Cottages near Chipping Norton
Another great option in the Cotswolds is Bruern Cottages, a collection of 12 luxury cottages near the market town of Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire. Jo from Kiddie Holidays loved her stay in one of these where the master bedroom had a four poster bed and complimentary Elemis toiletries and the children’s room came with an exciting bed in a curtained alcove.
There was even a summer house at the end of the garden. All guests in the cottages can make use of the other facilities from the indoor swimming pool to the children’s play areas and games room.
For more inspiration on visiting the Cotswolds, take a look at 10 Pretty Villages to Visit in the Cotswolds.
THE LAKE DISTRICT
Watergate Farm at Loweswater
I love the idea of getting away from it all and having the kind of holiday where you don’t get out your phones or laptops and have a real digital detox. After reading Laura’s post on Have Kids, Can Travel I’m determined to stay at Watergate Farm one day.
This wonderful place is owned by the National Trust and you can find it beside Loweswater, one of the quietest stretches of water in the Lake District. The cottage is surrounded by meadows and woodland and you can walk through the woods to the lake. There’s no phone signal or WiFi here so you can just chill out and relax.
There’s a big kitchen and sitting room here and three lovely bedrooms upstairs with views over the lake.
THE PEAK DISTRICT
The Old Temperance Hall in Kingsley
I had serious holiday cottage envy when I read Alison from Not Another Mummy’s blog post about her stay in the Peak District. This place, as she says in her review, is not strictly a cottage, more an impressive dream home.
There are five bedrooms and a huge open plan living space with skylights in the roof. It looks amazing and it’s in a fabulous area for families as it’s close to Alton Towers and all the great activities of the Peak District.
Tamarisk Beach House in Woolacombe Bay
I have always wanted to stay in a beach house overlooking the sea and I absolutely love the look of this amazing house that Trish from Mum’s Gone To found though Unique Home Stays. There are four bedrooms here, most with en-suite bathrooms and a stunning modern kitchen. There are magnificent views over Devon’s beautiful Woolacombe Bay from the master bedroom and balcony and a bottle of Prosecco in the welcome hamper.
One to add to my travel wish list, that’s for sure.
Seashell Cottage in Deal
Nell from The Pigeon Pair and Me stayed in a sweet little fisherman’s cottage with her family. Seashell Cottage is a cosy cottage in the seaside town of Deal in Kent, just a few steps from the beach. It turned out to be the ideal base for a wintry weekend, with its woodburning stove, comfy sofas and two staircases leading up to the bedrooms which were the ultimate thrill for her two children.
Brassknocker Cottage near Stratford-upon-Avon
This 400-year-old cottage four miles from Stratford-upon-Avon was Lisa from Travel Loving Family‘s base for a weekend exploring Shakespeare’s birthplace. She loved the cottage’s quirky bedrooms, the wooden beams, flagstone floors and cast-iron cooking range. There were even references to Shakespeare all over the cottage and a working well in the garden.
Have you stayed in any amazing cottages in England? Do let me know in the comments.
This post was featured as one of Lonely Planet Kids’ best posts of the month in April 2018.