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Getting away this Easter

Easter can be a special time of year for many reasons.  With daffodils around, crocuses and spring flowers emerging plus more sunlight hours, spring can be a great time of year to take a cottage break.  Staying on a farm can be especially fun.  Seeing baby animals can be enjoyed by both children and adults alike.  Who doesn’t love the sight of a baby lamb, a horse with its foal or ducks with their chicks?  There are so many things that make farm breaks over Easter truly special.  Whether for you the best option is a stay in a cottage on a farm or a holiday in the country, take a look at these cottages available for Easter: http://www.countrycottagesonline.com/self-catering-cottages_Easter.php, we trust you’ll find an inspirational cottage for your Easter break.

Horse with foal in field

Easter sights on the farm

It’s time for birdwatching

It’s that time of year again, for the RSPB’s big garden bird watch.  If you enjoy wildlife watching then this is a great chance to take part in a community event where you can help to make a difference.  If you’re going to be away on a farm stay or cottage holiday then you may still be able to take part.  There are a range of bird watching events taking place up and down the country.  What’s more, if you can’t’ count the birds in your own garden for the RSPB’s big birdwatch then you can still take part in the count at a local park so even if you’re on a country cottage break or rural retreat holiday you don’t have to miss out.  What’s more, the bird watch can be an excellent activity to involve all the family in.  Why not get a book out from your local library to help guide you on birds when doing your watch?

The countryside, excellent for birdwatching

Just what birds will you spot wildlife watching in the countryside

Save on Rural Retreat Stays

If you are planning a rural retreat getaway in 2013 read our helpful hints and tips and learn how to make savings this year.    Some last minute discounts can be had if you wait to book your planned holiday until the last minute.  The trade off with this though is that very often you will be faced with a lack of choice and find that the best located and furnished places have gone by the time you are looking to book.

Booking early can even work out cheaper nowadays.  The best advice when it comes to getting a bargain is to shop around.  Many websites allow you to negotiate direct with owners and you can make contact direct and ask for best available prices.  Even if no discount is available there is nothing to stop you from asking whether they can throw in a small freebie like a free bottle of wine to welcome you and entice you in to booking.  Many of the best places offer such freebies as a standard.  If you want to feel pampered why not look out for 5 star rated accommodation where you can have the security of staying in a rated property?

Another thing to consider is holidaying as part of a group.  This type of holiday doesn’t always work out but if you have good friends that you would like to go away with then why not?  Sharing costs can really help when it comes to paying for the price of a rural retreat break.

Have you also considered taking a break out of peak season?  Peak season prices can send a chill down your spine.  However, if you look outside of peak period you may find that prices are much more palatable.

As a starting point to finding a good value rural retreat break we recommend that you take a look at rural country cottages with Country Cottages Online as they feature an excellent selection and great choice.

Specialist Country Holiday Guides

Need some inspiration of where to visit this Christmas or planning your self-catering holiday for 2013?  Take a look at these helpful informational guides for country cottage holidays in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.  These guides are helpful free resources offering inspiration on some of the best places to visit in the UK and Ireland for cottage holidays.  We trust that you’ll find the information inspiring and helpful.

Country Cottage Holidays

Country Cottage Holidays

For inspiration on country holidays, Country Cottages Online aren’t just specialists in country cottage breaks but also feature a fantastic selection of log cabins, unusual self-catering, romantic cottages, pet-friendly cottages and large country houses.

Free range on the farm

Buying free range products can be really important.  If you care about animal welfare and think that things taste better when the animals are allowed to roam free then free range products are for you.  If enjoying a farmstay holiday do ask the owner about free range products – you may just find that they have some chickens and may give you some beautifully fresh free range eggs to sample.  If you don’t usually buy free range eggs why not give them a try next time and see if they taste better?  Meat lovers will be pleased to hear that you can also buy free range pork and chicken if you look carefully.

It can be a joy to see animals in fields when on a self-catering holiday in this country – to keep things this way do buy free range and support the simpler way of life.

Farmers Markets

When taking a cottage break do look out for local farmers’ markets.  Farmers markets often represent an excellent opportunity to buy local fresh produce direct from the growers or producers.  Whether you love the idea of eating rare breeds meat, award winning cheeses or organic fruit, all of these can be found at farmers markets in the UK.  Some areas have more regular farmers’ markets than others so do your research before going on your trip so you are sure not to miss any local markets that are on.

If you are enjoying a farmstay do ask the farmer that you are staying with about local produce.  At some farmstays you will be provided with free eggs and may be even some local milk.  Whether you have to buy these products or get them given to you for free, there can be a real pleasure in eating fresh produce.  If you can’t manage to get to a farmers market and don’t get any free goodies from the local farmer then why not pay a visit to the local farm shop.  It is usually best to go to a shop that can be recommended by someone locally or if not, why not just pop in to the local farm shop and find out what is on offer.  You can then enjoy cooking up some cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients in your comfortable cottage.

Local resident sheep next to farmstay in Northumberland

Sheep, great neighbours for a self-catering holiday

Wild flowers guide?

When on a cottage break or simply when enjoying the great British countryside do you ever wonder what certain flowers are?  This weekend I stumbled across some incredibly pretty wild flowers when taking a walk around our local nature reserve.  Many of us are familiar with the names of flowers such as daffodils, tulips, roses, pansies and magnolias but stumble when it comes to Britain’s wild flowers.

Considered by some as weeds, and by others as quite beautiful, there are some stunning wild flowers that you can find growing  in Britain.  Various varieties of poppies can be found growing wild.  Buttercups and daisies are firm favourites when it comes to wild flowers.  Many are aware that heather can be found growing naturally untamed in Scotland but did you know that heather can also be found growing freely in England but mostly in moorland areas?  The other flower I stumbled across this weekend was a yellow flower with wide green leaves.  I will post a photo shortly and welcome feedback and help with identifying this beautiful wild flowering plant.

There are many naturally beautiful places to discover in the UK and Ireland when taking a rural country cottages break but may also be many within easy travelling distance of where you live.  Look up the website of your local wildlife trust for more information and to see if there is a nature reserve nearby you that you can easily visit.

Guide to enjoying country life

Let us help guide you on enjoying country life.  Recently with the good weather we have been enjoying it really gives you inspiration to spend time outdoors enjoying the good country life.  A little bit of sunshine goes a long way when it comes to getting people out and about making the most of the great outdoors.  If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in a town or village in the country if you have a car or are taking a cottage break you should still have opportunities to experience what the countryside has to offer.

The countryside is always best explored in good weather but with the UK and Ireland we do sometimes have rainy days.  Hopefully when you decide to have a taste of country life the weather will be kind to you.  It is advisable to take wellies and a waterproof top if you are going on a long walk  though as British weather can be unpredictable.  There are a good number of activities suited to the country including horse riding, cycling and walking.

Horse riding is sometimes available around towns but ideally to have the most pleasant riding experience you will want to find a riding school where you can enjoy horse riding along tracks away from cars.  There are a number of such riding schools located throughout the UK and Ireland.

Cycling can be a pleasure in the countryside.  Many people enjoy cycling around country lanes.  If you prefer not to cycle where there are cars do your research and find out where there are cycle lanes where cars are not permitted.  A bit of research and forward planning can really pay off.  There is plenty free information available on the internet to help you find the best places to go.  Country Cottages have produced some useful guides.

Many people are attracted to the countryside because of the great walking and rambling opportunities.  The UK and Irish countryside hold many country trails, paths and public rights of way where you can enjoy walking without cars.  For really unspoilt countryside why not visit one of the UK’s National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty?

 

If you plan to take a self catering break and stay a few nights somewhere to enjoy a piece of country life why not take a look at what these farm cottages have to offer.

 

Easter farm breaks

Easter will soon be here and could there be a better time to enjoy a farm stay then at this time of year?  Daffodils and spring flowers are springing up in gardens and in the countryside and can be a delight to see.  Add to this baby lambs, spring chickens and other baby animals and Spring really is a wonderful time to spend on a farm.  Meeting the animals whilst taking a rural break is of course great fun for all the family at any time of year but can be particularly special around Easter time.  If you haven’t booked a cottage in advance don’t worry there are usually plenty of good offers to be found for spring breaks.  Some complexes either have cottages with pools and other leisure facilities like hot tubs or spas.  Remember when it comes to rural cottage stays that some farms have complexes with a number of different holiday cottages whereas others have just one or two individual properties within the farm grounds.  If you want seclusion and peace and quiet remember to make full enquiries about the cottage’s location and neighbours before booking.

At some farmstays you are even provided with eggs from the farm for a really enjoyable fresh breakfast.  You are perfectly entitled though to prefer the chocolate variety of eggs at this time of year when you have the perfect excuse.  Whatever you do on a farm break whether you choose to take it really easy or have an action packed trip planned have a wonderful time.

If you want a break in the country but don’t wish to stay on a farm why not consider a self catering stay somewhere rural and book a Country Cottages break.

Farm Events on over Half Term

Half term is almost here and for families with children it’s important to have a plan of things to do to keep the kids entertained.  Up and down the country there will be farm events going on.  Nowadays there are many farms all across Britain which are open to the public and for an admission fee you and your children can visit and meet some animals.  Some such farms have petting areas where children can pet animals like rabbits or even small micro pigs in some places.  There is something so charming about small animals.  Sometimes adults want their turn to stroke the rabbits or pigs just as much as the children do!  And why not, it’s all part of the fun of a farm visit.

The best resource for finding out about farm events is usually your local paper or check out any posters at your local farm shop to find out what is on nearby.

And if your budget stretches to it why not take a cottage break for half term.  At times it can be just great to get away from it all and recharge your batteries.