Author Topic: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)  (Read 1130 times)

WhitstableDave

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In the not-so-distant past, my wife and I were happy to sleep in tents on our holidays to faraway places such as the Scottish Highlands. We weren't walkers then and we travelled by motorbike, but the principle was much the same: carry only what can be strapped to the bike and rough it!

Nowadays, we prefer self-catering cottages and all the comforts they bring.

I've noticed in the months I've been a member here that tents feature regularly, while cottages and other types of accommodation barely get a mention. Having stayed in a dozen or so self-catering cottages in the last three years, I’ll attempt to restore some balance by reviewing some here. And who knows? Perhaps someone might decide they like the look of one and rent it for a week or two…
 
I’ll start with Hywel Sele Lodge near Dolgellau in Snowdonia:
 
We’d spent a week in a cottage near Snowdon a few months before and fallen in love with Snowdonia. For our next visit, we decided we’d like to be within easy reach of Cadair Idris, and we discovered this castle-like cottage online:
 

 
Hywel Sele Lodge is actually an early Victorian folly, which serves as a gatehouse on the Nannau Estate. But it really does feel and look like a castle.
 

 
There are two bedrooms, but we found it the perfect size for just the two of us.
 
From the windows, there’s a good view of the Cadair Idris range:
 

 
And this is the almost genuinely medieval toilet!..
 

 
We arrived and found the key in a prearranged place. We saw no one all week and left the key where we’d found it. The cottage is about 100 yards down a tree-lined track – here, we’re returning after an evening stroll:
 

 
We loved Hywel Sele Lodge and would recommend it highly.  O0
 
Oh, and in addition to Cadair Idris, we did a good many other excellent walks in the area. My personal favourite (meaning not my wife’s!) was the climb up Aran Benllyn and on to the summit of Aran Fawddwy. Aran Benllyn is about 9m shorter than Cadair Idris while Aran Fawddwy is about 12m taller and the two summits are 1.5 miles apart. Whereas the summit of Cadair Idris was very busy, we had this pair completely to ourselves – and the views were every bit as spectacular!

SteamyTea

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Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
« Reply #1 on: 15:27:35, 30/06/20 »
Where did you leave the keys.
I fancy sitting on that throne.
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BuzyG

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Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
« Reply #2 on: 15:29:25, 30/06/20 »
I that Liberace's lost loo by any chance.  ;)

SteamyTea

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Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
« Reply #3 on: 15:33:14, 30/06/20 »
I that Liberace's lost loo by any chance.  ;)
Ewwwww
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BuzyG

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Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
« Reply #4 on: 15:35:41, 30/06/20 »
We have found many great and relatively cheap places on Air b&b in the past few years.  That lodge is particularly cute though.  O0 


We find the later you book the more chance of finding a quirky often excellent bed for the night, as the regular rooms sell out first and there is always another place to stay. (Just as long as you have a car that is).

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
« Reply #5 on: 19:24:05, 30/06/20 »
We frequently stay in self catering accommodation in the UK and abroad. It is more flexible and better value than hotels or B&Bs (IMO) and my wife wouldn’t rough it by camping. She has camped with me in the New Forest and the Lake District, but decided it wasn’t for her.
« Last Edit: 19:38:28, 30/06/20 by Bigfoot_Mike »

Brandywell

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Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
« Reply #6 on: 19:32:44, 30/06/20 »
I've noticed in the months I've been a member here that tents feature regularly, while cottages and other types of accommodation barely get a mention. Having stayed in a dozen or so self-catering cottages in the last three years, I’ll attempt to restore some balance by reviewing some here.
 

Please don't!!!   :(
Watch where you are putting your feet : AW

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
« Reply #7 on: 19:39:59, 30/06/20 »
Please don't!!!   :(
Why ever not? Not everyone has to stay in a tent in order to go walking. I would be interested in reviews of self catering properties, particularly in the Highlands and Islands.

SteamyTea

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Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
« Reply #8 on: 21:33:24, 30/06/20 »
Why ever not? Not everyone has to stay in a tent in order to go walking. I would be interested in reviews of self catering properties, particularly in the Highlands and Islands.
What is needed is a set of cheap places to stay along well used routes.
Ones with washing machines and tumble dryers.
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Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
« Reply #9 on: 21:40:24, 30/06/20 »
What is needed is a set of cheap places to stay along well used routes.
Ones with washing machines and tumble dryers.
Not everyone wants the same things. I am past the stage where cheap is the main priority. I would imagine the places that WhitstableDave has mentioned were not selected solely due to a low price, but that won’t be an issue for some. To me well used route means popular or busy. That is also not my cup of tea.

Brandywell

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Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
« Reply #10 on: 21:51:24, 30/06/20 »
Why ever not? Not everyone has to stay in a tent in order to go walking. I would be interested in reviews of self catering properties, particularly in the Highlands and Islands.
Well I can't speak for the Highlands and Islands but here in Cumbria there are about 7.000 holiday lets, equivalent to a town the size of Kendal.  I say 'about' because nobody really knows the true figure. Most of them are owned by people who don't live in the county and have bought them with 'city money' as an 'investment'.  The majority of them avoid paying council tax by declaring themselves as small businesses and claim 100% business rate relief so hence pay nothing at all towards local sevices which include -
 
  • Road maintenance, repairs and street lighting
  • Local transport services like buses
  • Children’s social care
  • Support for elderly and vulnerable
  • Supporting children’s education
  • Preventing homelessness through social housing
  • Libraries, arts, museums, leisure and recreation services
  • Maintaining parks and open spaces
  • Waste collection, recycling and disposal
  • Street cleaning and flood defences
  • Administration of licences, permits and housing benefit
  • Planning and building control
  • Other services like coroners, courts, registrars, elections and tax collection
  • Long term investment


  • The resulting shortfall in the Council income arising from the prevalence of holiday lets in Cumbria has been estimated to be £20 million which is ultimately picked up by the resident council tax payers who are therefore subsidising this 'cottage industry'.  Most local residents become angry when they are made aware of that fact.  Nationally it is recognised that a village which has more than 10% of holiday lets suffers damage to local services. i.e schools, bus services, doctors surgeries and general community involvement. Some Cumbrian villages now comprise 50% plus holiday lets which also makes it impossible for local people to buy properties due to the inflated valuations.
    So, yes - please do resist the temptation to promote holiday lets as they are a scourge on the survival of local communities and village life in general.
    Watch where you are putting your feet : AW

    SteamyTea

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    Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
    « Reply #11 on: 22:06:22, 30/06/20 »
    So, yes - please do resist the temptation to promote holiday lets as they are a scourge on the survival of local communities and village life in general.
    Down here, in Cornwall, they are the lifeblood of many places and bring in £m.  The majority are services and maintained by local business.
    Mousehole was a dying town until the tourist came, as was Porthleven.
    St. Ives has always been a bit odd as it was an artists place long before the tourist came.
    Part my income comes from tourism, so I don't have a problem with it.  They are just businesses like all the rest.
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    WhitstableDave

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    Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
    « Reply #12 on: 22:27:07, 30/06/20 »
    Please don't!!!   :(

    I was going to ask "Why not?", but then I saw your lengthier reply.

    Please don't worry. We've not stayed in any self-catering accommodation in Cumbria and have no intention of doing so; so no reviews from there.  :)

    We did stay overnight at Heads Nook Hall near Carlisle on the way back from Scotland last summer though. Very nice! O0

    (BTW, I'm not 'promoting' accommodation, simply posting some reviews of places we've enjoyed staying in.)

     
    « Last Edit: 22:32:16, 30/06/20 by WhitstableDave »

    WhitstableDave

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    Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
    « Reply #13 on: 22:41:56, 30/06/20 »
    I'm grateful for the interest shown in this topic, so here's another self-catering cottage in Snowdonia that we thought was brilliant - Clogwyn CottageO0

    The cottage is one of two on a working farm at the foot of Snowdon (the other cottage is called Clogwyn Barn). We arrived at 4pm and were met by Jane, the lovely owner, who showed us the necessary bits and pieces then left us alone for the rest of the week. The farm is vast - Jane told us that it extends as far as the eye can see - including to the top of Snowdon. A big benefit of that was that we were free to wander anywhere on 'our' side of Snowdon, including using a private track up the mountain should we wish to try it!



    The image below gives a good idea of the setting. The right-hand thick white line is the Rhyd-Ddu Path to the summit (which we went up on) and the the left-hand line is the Snowdon Ranger Path (which we came down on). The farm covers most of the land between these paths and footpaths lead directly to them from the cottage. These two mountain paths are much quieter than some of the alternatives on the other sides of Snowdon, which means that this cottage really is the perfect base from which to explore the mountain. Other mountains, such as Mynydd Mawr, are also within easy walking distance, as is a station on the Welsh Highland Railway - the track runs through the farm!



    The sitting area had two sofas and a log burner. A good supply of logs, kindling and fire-lighters was provided and we used it all - more fuel would have meant buying it ourselves and we didn't fancy a trip to find logs! The TV used FreeSat and there was a TV in each bedroom as well. Being in North Wales, it was no fault of the accommodation that there was never any phone signal and the internet connection was okay but less than reliable.



    The kitchen was modern, high quality and fully equipped. We'd taken our own coffee machine but an espresso machine with pods was provided.  O0



    There were two bedrooms. When we began our search for accommodation we looked for one-bedroom properties but couldn't find anything to suit us. So we extended our search to two bedrooms and that's when we found Clogwyn.  :)  We thought the cottage would be too small for four adults but that it would be perfect for a couple with two children.



    And finally, the bathroom. The shower was extremely good - instantly hot and very powerful!



    To summarise: we thought that Clogwyn Cottage was absolutely excellent. It is in an amazing location and extremely good value. What's not to like?

    rural roamer

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    Re: Self-catering cottages for walking holidays :-)
    « Reply #14 on: 22:47:53, 30/06/20 »

    We never camp and would always go for a self catering cottage when away for a week, so always interested in recommendations. We often do LDWs though, so it’s usually B&Bs, pubs or farms for those.

    So, yes - please do resist the temptation to promote holiday lets as they are a scourge on the survival of local communities and village life in general.
    Surely there needs to be a balance! Many areas rely on tourism.


    What is needed is a set of cheap places to stay along well used routes.
    Ones with washing machines and tumble dryers.
    Not easy to get self catering places along LDWs if only staying one or two nights.