Favourite English Cottages for Families

English cottages for families

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.

CORNWALL

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.

DORSET

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.

For more inspiration on visiting Dorset, take a look at 6 Things to Love about the Dorset Coast and Reasons to Visit Lyme Regis

SUFFOLK

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.

CUMBRIA

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.

NORTHUMBERLAND

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.

THE COTSWOLDS

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.

DEVON

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.

KENT

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.

WARWICKSHIRE

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.

Favourite English Cottages for Families. Are you looking for the perfect cottage stay in England. Here are our favourites from thatched cottages in tiny villages to places beside the sea, near the UK's prettiest villages and most beautiful areas. Recommendations from top UK #familytravel bloggers. #familytraveluk #englishcottages #cottagecompanies #wheretostayuk #selfcateringuk

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55 Comments

  1. 26th April 2018 / 8:41 am

    WHY oh WHY did you not post this earlier! The hotel we stayed in was cool, but the rooms were incredibly plain! I would have splurged a little bit more for any of these!! Pinned for next time! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      3rd May 2018 / 8:16 pm

      Hope it helps for next time, Lori. To be honest, I was inspired to write the post after our disappointing cottage in the Cotswolds. I thought it would be so useful for people to have a collection of other people’s fantastic cottages as a resource for planning their own getaway. Wish we’d found one of these other Cotswold cottages to stay in for our visit.

  2. 26th April 2018 / 8:58 am

    I want to stay in all of these but especially the Old Temperance Hall in Kingsley …… my grandfather was called Kingsley and it is my son’s middle name #FarawayFiles

    • 27th April 2018 / 5:49 am

      I think a stay in Old Temperance Hall is a must for your family. I have only ever known one Kingsley – he was our electrician many years ago.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      3rd May 2018 / 8:18 pm

      That’s a rather marvellous name for a grandfather, Catherine. We’ve given one of our boys my grandfather’s middle name too.

  3. 26th April 2018 / 10:35 am

    Ah wow what a gorgeous collection, pinning it for later ! Will also check soon how many are feasible for a long 3 days weekend 😉 #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      3rd May 2018 / 8:19 pm

      Hope you got lucky!

  4. 26th April 2018 / 11:24 am

    Wow, I wanna do that! The cottages are adorable, in those settings as well. #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      3rd May 2018 / 8:20 pm

      It’s the combination of great setting and fabulous cottage that makes these so irresistible, I think.

  5. 26th April 2018 / 11:25 am

    Some absolutely gorgeous cottages here – definitely pinning! You stayed in the Bronte’s school house – how fantastic is that!
    #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      3rd May 2018 / 8:21 pm

      It was a real thrill for me, Trish. They’ve done it up so beautifully too – it’s a gorgeous house in its own right but add that literary connection and you’ve got a real winner.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 2:40 pm

      Me too, Sam! Love the sound of your recommendation especially.

  6. 26th April 2018 / 2:03 pm

    pinned! you have stayed in some gorgeous places!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 2:41 pm

      Thanks. We’ve been lucky but it’s good to get some more recommendations too.

  7. 26th April 2018 / 2:56 pm

    Ah, Seashell Cottage – thanks for bringing back the memories! We had such a lovely time there. I do like the sound of Dowr Plenty. Helford’s a place I haven’t visited since childhood, and I’d love to return. #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 2:42 pm

      I always remember your lovely posts from Deal. Helford is an amazing place. One of the few villages we’d actually really like to return to.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 2:41 pm

      Thanks Tanja.

  8. 26th April 2018 / 4:06 pm

    those cottages all look so cozy! Would love to stay in one during fall or winter sometime 🙂 #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 2:42 pm

      Cottages are SO cosy in the autumn and winter. We always pick one with a log fire so we can curl up in front of it in the evenings with a glass of wine and a good book.

  9. 26th April 2018 / 4:10 pm

    It’s too bad that the Dorset cottage didn’t come with Jude Law 😉
    These cottages are so beautiful and homey! I want to move into most of them right now. And the added touches of cream teas, cakes and dog biscuits for your pooch sound lovely! I’m pinning this so that when we take a family holiday (we need a family first), we look up some of these UK cottages. #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 3:48 pm

      Too right, Catherine. That really would have made it special! You could have a fabulous stay in any of these cottages even without a family. We loved them all.

  10. 26th April 2018 / 8:28 pm

    Great list, and plenty of inspiration for those who need to explore our own countries a bit more too! (like my children! :D) … Thank you! 🙂 #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 3:49 pm

      We always find it makes such a great base for exploring a new part of our own country.

  11. 26th April 2018 / 9:26 pm

    The Holiday is one of my favorite movies! I’ll take that cottage, but I’d also like Jude Law to be at the local pub, oh and the cream tea, can we arrange all that? Seriously though… all of these look and sound heavenly, and will definitely consider trying out this type of accommodation next time we do an England trip. #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 7:16 pm

      Wouldn’t it be great to arrange all that? Honestly though, cottages are such a great way to explore the British countryside, particularly if you want to base yourself in the one area for a good few days.

  12. 26th April 2018 / 9:44 pm

    They all look so lovely, but I think I especially would love to stay in Dowr Penty in Helford! I was in Cornwall a couple years back, but never made it to that particular area. Looks lovely! Thanks for all of the great information, I’ll keep it in mind for my next visit! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 7:16 pm

      We’ve been to Cornwall a few times but Helford and the Lizard Peninsula really stole our hearts. By far the nicest part of the county we’ve ever visited.

  13. 27th April 2018 / 2:06 am

    Beehive cottage looks like my dream home!
    #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 7:17 pm

      I know! Wish we’d discovered it for our trip to the Cotswolds.

  14. 27th April 2018 / 2:54 am

    I would love to rent one of those cozy cottages one day!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 7:17 pm

      They make a great choice of accommodation, that’s for sure.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 7:18 pm

      Cottages are so ideal for weekend breaks in the countryside, Bryna.

  15. 27th April 2018 / 5:52 am

    While the cottages all look lovely from the outside, it’s the interiors that I love most. The owners have all decorated their cottages with style. #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 7:18 pm

      Quite right, Annette. The interiors are really important to me too. It makes such a big difference between an okay cottage and a wonderful one.

  16. 27th April 2018 / 6:01 am

    What a nice selection of cottages! I would not mind staying on any of these. I can see many benefits of staying in places like these. To me, these cottages have personality. That is very difficult to find in a hotel. Plus, I can dream I am actually living in the place.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      5th May 2018 / 7:20 pm

      They certainly do have bags of personality, Ruth. I really love our cottage stays. They feel like a real home from home.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th May 2018 / 11:43 am

      This sounds amazing! I’ll definitely look into it. Thanks so much for the recommendation.

  17. 27th April 2018 / 2:59 pm

    Oh gosh this has me dizzy! LOL – What a wonderful write-up of cottages for families, especially when 1) there are so many options out there to choose from 2) the UK is definitely a destination which people dream of with in cottage in the picture. I want to visit all of these places, too. The Bronte School House is most appealing to me. I am determined to explore that area someday, will have to remember this suggestion. Thanks for an amazing resource!

    And I agree with everyone else…Jude Law should come with the cottage. haha! I have actually done a country walk that takes you past the location where they filmed The Holiday (where the cottage actually stood…via lots of movie magic!) and we ate in the pub where they filmed, too. Now I want to go and watch that movie! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th May 2018 / 2:30 pm

      Thank you so very much for this wonderful comment, Beth. I do think that staying in a cottage is such a delightfully quintessential English thing to do and it’s such a great way to explore the beautiful countryside. And of COURSE Jude Law should come with the cottage! I’d like to visit the area where they filmed The Holiday as it looks so pretty. I think it’s in Surrey, isn’t it?

  18. 27th April 2018 / 7:49 pm

    You really have stayed at some gorgeous cottages, haven’t you? There is something quintessentially English about these type of cottages, a unique way for visitors to experience the country. Beautiful! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th May 2018 / 2:31 pm

      We’ve certainly been lucky with a few of our choices, Jonny, although it’s some of the less attractive places to stay that inspired me to write the post and share other people’s great cottage stays. We could all use a little help sometimes.

  19. 29th April 2018 / 8:46 am

    Based from the photos alone, my favourite is the cottage in Helford and can I move in right away to the one in Kent? 🙂 These cottages look heavenly and inviting! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th May 2018 / 2:34 pm

      The Helford cottage was particularly lovely as it was in the most fabulous village. It’s one of the few places we’d absolutely love to return to.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th May 2018 / 2:34 pm

      It’s good to get personal recommendations, isn’t it?

  20. 29th April 2018 / 12:43 pm

    I love the look of Tamarisk Beach House, such an amazing sweep of sand. I’ll be adding it to my wish list too!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th May 2018 / 2:36 pm

      That’s one I’d absolutely love to try too, Annabel. Those views and that kitchen are to die for!

  21. 29th April 2018 / 7:09 pm

    Although we live in the UK, there are quite a few places on your list we have never visited. We don’t often stay in cottages, however, looking at your post & the quality of the places I’m certainly going to consider it for the future. #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th May 2018 / 2:37 pm

      We’ve always loved staying in cottages when we’re in the countryside, Janis, especially in the winter and spring when you can get cosy in front of a log fire after a day of exploring.

  22. 2nd May 2018 / 12:53 am

    Beautiful!! I’ve actually been looking for a cottage type place to stay in here to give me a break from hostels but I’ve yet to find an affordable one. These all looks stunning, especially the one by the water

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th May 2018 / 2:47 pm

      It’s a lovely way to explore the countryside, Chiera, and they’re usually a lot cheaper than hotels – even more so if you visit outside of the main tourist season. Cottages in the winter months can make a really cosy bolthole for a weekend.

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