It’s OK to admit it: you love Christmas but feel exhausted just contemplating the associated admin and
It’s OK to admit it: you love Christmas but feel exhausted just contemplating the associated admin and chaos? Home-sprucing. Bed-making. Tree lugging. Trying to untangle the fairy lights. Finding space to store the food and booze, and boxes. And all this in a space where you’re surrounded by myriad reminders of what hasn’t been achieved in 2022… DIY that still needs doing, decluttering that still hasn’t been tackled, and spare rooms that still haven’t been sorted.
This year, why not take the fun bits of the festive season – being together and celebrating with family, friends, good food and fine wine – and transport yourselves somewhere serene, where the views are different, the property is sparkling, and all the cleaning and Christmas decorations have been done for you? You’ll still be stacking a dishwasher, but it’s not your dishwasher which makes all the difference.
Self-catering specialist holidaycottages.co.uk has over 9,000 properties across the UK, with something to suit everyone: singles, couples, families, friends – and, of course, their canine companions. Here is a selection of country and coastal holiday homes, each of which will be festively adorned prior to guests’ arrival, and currently still available for Christmas and New Year. Best to get your skates on, though… they’re booking up fast!
SUSSEX – pedal boating and nature peeking within ancient woodlands
Snugly inside or wrapped up warmly within the property’s grounds, Christmas wonder is guaranteed at Benchwood House (sleeps four). Set on the outskirts of the village of Guestling, in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this luxurious, vibrantly decorated barn has a wood burner, underfloor heating, a selection of rainy-day games and a spiral staircase leading to two beautiful bedrooms. Power across the lake on the owners’ Aqua Cycle pontoon pedal boat; take up a position in the tree platform, nestled around an ancient oak tree, for some wildlife watching; and toast marshmallows around the fire pit whilst enjoying a spot of stargazing. For anyone who loves to be immersed in nature, this is the place to spend the festive season.
A seven-night self-catering stay costs £515 pp (£2,060 total), arriving Thursday 22 or 29 December. Pics below.
NORTH WALES – subterranean bouncing in Snowdonia National Park
East Hay Barn (sleeps four) is a superb, architect-designed barn conversion with luxury touches and creature comforts. Located in Arthog, the property offers open-plan living and amazing floor-to-ceiling windows capturing the stunning views from sunrise to sunset. To really add something special to your Christmas getaway, visit Bounce Below, an underground, trampoline-style net adventure within a disused slate mine in Blaenau Ffestiniog that’s twice the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
A seven-night self-catering stay costs £257 pp (£1,025 total), arriving Thursday 22 or 29 December. Pics below.
LAKE DISTRICT – cosiness for kids and commanding views across Coniston Water
Children love a bunk bed, and never more so than at Christmas; a time when sibling kinship is particularly strong, spurred on in no small part by the promise and excitement of what’s to come. Sun Cottage – Lake District (sleeps four), situated in a magnificent, elevated position above Coniston Water with panoramic mountain views from the terraced garden, is a homely dwelling and ideal for a family with younger children. The comfortable lounge floods with light through the patio doors. A sofa and two plump armchairs are positioned around a warming wood-burner, and there is a Smart TV catering to all viewing tastes.
A seven-night self-catering stay costs £336 pp (£1,343 total), arriving Thursday 22 or 29 December. Pics below.
CORNWALL – the unexpected joys of a coastal Christmas
For a truly uplifting Christmas, The Tall House (sleeps eight, plus three dogs) is a fabulously presented Victorian townhouse in the popular coastal town of Newquay. Christmas by the coast is something totally different and a fabulous bonding opportunity for families; children don’t often expect buckets and spades in December, whilst dogs can usually only dream about hurtling across sandy expanses in winter. A beautifully tiled period hallway leads through to the spacious lounge/diner with its bay window. Snug sofas nestle in front of an open fire and there’s a Smart TV with DVD player. Outside, the tiered garden keeps hounds exercised and enclosed between beach walks.
A seven-night self-catering stay costs £220 pp (£1,753 total – was £2,052), arriving Thursday 22 or 29 December. £20 supplement per dog. Pics below.
NORTH YORKSHIRE – Gothic charm and games to keep a group happy
Gather together a group of festively-minded friends or family and spend your Christmas or New Year all together at Captain’s House – Whitby (sleeps eight, plus two dogs), a beautiful, boutique-style holiday home in intriguing Whitby which brims with Gothic culture, characterful shops and quirky cafés. Being by the sea, you’ll also get to enjoy coastal fun and food with locally-caught crab, scampi, fish and lobster – a welcome change after roasted everything. One of the four bedrooms has bunk beds, suitable for children and teenagers, plus there’s a good-sized garden and a games room.
A seven-night self-catering stay costs £503 pp (£4,020 total – was £4,560), arriving Thursday 22 or 29 December. Pics below.
THE HIGHLANDS – loch-side boathouse for couples seeking silence – and just themselves
Overlooking Loch Ewe and the mountains beyond, the boathouse Writers Retreat – Poolewe (sleeps two) is an idyllic refuge for romantics seeking their own space and time over the Christmas period. The open-plan studio-style space has a traditional king-size bed, cathedral ceiling, wood-burner, mood lighting and underfloor heating in the bathroom. Outside, and up a few steps, is a quirky shepherd’s hut – a delightful separate space for dining. With tasteful, retro-style décor, it has an electric hob, combi microwave oven, toaster, small fridge and a kettle. This glorious little place is the perfect base to enjoy walking, cycling, fishing, golf and water sports, with canoeing and kayaking also available.
A seven-night self-catering stay costs £637 pp (£1,274 total), arriving Thursday 22 or 29 December. Pics below.
Find these and more festive escapes at www.holidaycottages.co.uk, where it’s possible to tailor-make your perfect stay, choosing from criteria that include properties which are ‘Decorated for Christmas’ alongside the more usual choices such as location, size and facilities available.