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What do you look for in a holiday cottage?

(112 Posts)
WetAugust Sat 27-Jul-13 19:56:13

What do you look for when booking a holiday cottage?

Old / new building?

How important is parking directly outside?

How far would you travel to a beach?

Rural or in a town?

Garden or walled courtyard?

Is downstairs bathroom acceptable?

Minimum number of bedrooms?

Stylish interior or would basic be acceptable?

Anything else?

Location for me is everything. I’m thinking of Cornwall (west / north coast) or Pembrokeshire – probably a bucket and spade holiday if you have children.

It’s not about booking a ‘dream cottage’ just about separating the must haves from the desirables - the sort of cottage you have booked or would book.

Thank you.

Sirzy Sat 27-Jul-13 19:59:34

Pet free

Good, off road parking - normally for 2 cars as we tend to go as an extended family.

So sort of garden safe for children

Not to cluttered but good quality furniture.

Washing machine would be nice!

VivaLeBeaver Sat 27-Jul-13 20:02:47

Outside space.
Not bothered if bathroom is downstairs.
Would want to be able to park outside.
Comfy sofa

Basic interior is ok as long as clean and comfy. I've seen cottages where the only seating in the living room is what I'd call conservatory know the wicker sofas and chairs. No way am I spending £hundreds to sit on a wicker chair!

VivaLeBeaver Sat 27-Jul-13 20:03:18

And a dishwasher would be required!

SconeRhymesWithGone Sat 27-Jul-13 20:05:11

We (DH and I, plus my brother and sister-in-law) often travel together and stay in rented holiday cottages in the US and UK. Our must haves: at least two bedrooms and more than one bathroom (downstairs bathrooms ok); laundry facilities; linens provided; walking distance to restaurants/pubs; local contact if something goes wrong.

Cerisier Sat 27-Jul-13 20:05:17

Essentials- washing machine and tumble dryer, wifi, being able to walk to some amenities, parking for one car.

We book cottages in National Parks and like ones with period features and good walking nearby.

Mrsrobertduvall Sat 27-Jul-13 20:06:45

All the comfortsI have at home....minimum 2 bathrooms, dishwasher, washing machine, properly equipped kitchen, decent showers.

starfishmummy Sat 27-Jul-13 20:09:36

Parking - not necessarily off road but would need to know I could park easily
Washing machine
Bedlinen & ideally towels included or for hire
Electricity/heating included
Separate rooms downstairs so kitchen/diner is ok; but not kitchen/diner/sitting room

anchovies Sat 27-Jul-13 20:11:12

The best one we have stayed in had a great enclosed garden, terrace and bbq and parking on the driveway. Kids bedroom with books, games etc. Separate utility room with washer and dryer. 5 mins walk to the beach (along the coastal path). Oh and I "need" a dishwasher!

Don't mind basic but it would need to be fairly modern and clean.

Jins Sat 27-Jul-13 20:11:26

Proper beds for the number of people its supposed to sleep. No sofa-beds in the lounge thank you very much


That's about it.

JollyHolidayGiant Sat 27-Jul-13 20:16:39

No pets allowed is top of the list.
We once stayed in a gite in France that I was allergic to. I was thoroughly miserable. My nose was blocked for the entire time I was there and in France they don't do much over the counter meds. I couldn't breathe through my nose again until we'd been home for 24 hours. It was grim.
Enclosed garden
No open water on site

Anything else is up for grabs. DH wants a pool, but this year we only used it once so i think I'll be arguing that one next year. We will stay in the country or in a town, provided there is a garden. Not fussed about a beach. This year we stayed near Swindon. Would prefer not to be in North Scotland or in Devon/Cornwall. N Scotland too cold and Devon/Cornwall too far. Apparently West Wales is also too far but I'm not convinced.

ouryve Sat 27-Jul-13 20:18:47

Old / new building? Not fussed

How important is parking directly outside? Very - all those bags and cases.

How far would you travel to a beach? We'd walk up to 1km - drive depends on the roads and the weather.

Rural or in a town? Either. A town is nice to be able to pop out and have a bite to eat without driving.

Garden or walled courtyard? Nice, but not essential.

Is downstairs bathroom acceptable? Of course it is. Our house has one! (great for washing down mucky children without dragging it all through the house)

Minimum number of bedrooms? One for the boys and somewhere comfortable for us to sleep.

Stylish interior or would basic be acceptable? Can be both. Fine with simplicity. We like a bit of quirkiness. We dislike the thought of lots of clutter and things that we'd need to put out of the boys' reach for the duration of our stay.

Anything else? We'd want a proper bath - one of the boys is terrified of the shower and I find it easier to shave my legs in the bath. I butcher myself if I do it in the shower. We'd also want a kitchen we could gate off, or else we'd never be able to cook. Access to a washer is also nice.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sat 27-Jul-13 20:19:56

Everything included in the price - no dicking around re bed linen/towels/electricity by the meter. Just add on an extra 50 quid a week if need be.

And a cafetiere and decent, sharp breadknife. That's it.

hugoagogo Sat 27-Jul-13 20:21:39

3 bedrooms- this is quite hard to find.

The lack of three bedroom cottages has contributed to us not going on a cottage holiday for about 5 years.

A private garden is lovely, corner shop and nice pub all a bonus.

BackforGood Sat 27-Jul-13 20:22:50

What do you look for when booking a holiday cottage?

Old / new building? ..... doesn't matter

How important is parking directly outside?.....not especially that it's directly outside, but is important that there is enough allocated parking (that said,I don't have mobility issues, and my dc are all old enough to walk and carry things to and from the car - you would rule out some families I guess)

How far would you travel to a beach?..... We've done all sorts - from 50 yards to a half hour drive. I'd expect the price to be considerably lower if I had to drive to a beach rather than it being in walking distance though

Rural or in a town?...... doesn't matter to me. I prefer peace and quiet, but have also enjoyed staying in some seaside towns

Garden or walled courtyard?.... Not particularly something I'd look for, or rule a cottage out if it didn't have it, but given the choice, grassed garden

Is downstairs bathroom acceptable?.... Would be for me

Minimum number of bedrooms?.... Isn't that going to depend on the size of your party ? hmm

Stylish interior or would basic be acceptable?... Prefer basic - would be nervous of anything too fancy - I want to be able to relax on holiday, not worrying about damaging something.

Anything else?..... Access to an indoor pool was always very important when holidaying in this country - a good back up plan for a couple of hours a day when it rains, and a nice 'extra' even when it's nice.
Also a tumble drier.
Really helpful to have a list (or be able to e-mail the owners to ask) what's there in terms of pegs / hairdryer / scrabble / whatever - you don't mind taking it if it's not there, but it's very frustrating to take stuff that's there, or not take stuff that you could have, when it's not there.

thechildrensparkle Sat 27-Jul-13 20:30:07

We once rented a four bedroomed house, two bathrooms, outside shower, within half a mile of the beach, nice terrace and pretty garden with parking, an outbuilding and room to install a pool. Roll on Thursday smile

Doyouthinktheysaurus Sat 27-Jul-13 20:31:29

Great location. By the coast or water ideally.

Well kept property.

Walks from the front door.


Plenty of towels, hand towels in bathrooms too.

Downstairs loo is a bonus

Wifi is a bonus too.

Enough teaspoons (experience)

Best one we stayed in Was Chirk Aqueduct. Incredible location, literally on the canal side 2 mins from the aqueduct. The property was beautifully kept and the owner bought us cakesmile

DontCallMeBaby Sat 27-Jul-13 20:34:10

I am on holiday RIGHT NOW. grin We wanted - two bedrooms, one with king size bed (standard double is NOT a fun holiday experience when you're used to king size), wifi, somewhere we could walk to places to eat (got a bit fed up the last couple of years with having a day out, getting back to the tent* then having to get back in the car to go out for a meal.

DD is 9 so we don't need child-friendly in terms of highchairs etc, but we needed her to be welcome - I was a bit perplexed by cottages with a double and a single room, that didn't accept kids.

Interior wise, it didn't have to be luxurious, just nice. Some looked really dated and I knew the decor would just annoy me (especially after three nights with the in-laws en route, whose carpets make me quite furious). I had a proper cottage in mins, rejecting loads of places that just looked like suburban semis (I live in one, don't want to go on my hols in one).

End result? We got the bed and location (central Windermere) but no wifi and it's an apartment! Nice though, I think we did alright.

* we're having a break from camping after nearly taking off in Pembrokeshire last year

DontCallMeBaby Sat 27-Jul-13 20:36:12

Oh, and parking. On-road would be fine in a little village or somewhere isolated, but given where we are allocated off-road parking is a must.

WetAugust Sat 27-Jul-13 20:45:19

I’m so glad I asked. You’ve come up with things that never occurred to me. I’m surprised that so many go on holiday with extended family. I’ve never done that so was assuming the cottage would be for one family.

I had a dishwasher for the first time in the cottage I rented this year. Before that I used to wash up by hand every evening – not much to do as I mostly ate out.

I’ve never used a washing machine on holiday. I just take enough clothes or wash any essentials by hand – usually just rinsing out swimming kit or wet suits. I didn’t realise how important a washing machine is for some.

I agree about comfortable furniture. I hired one cottage that showed pictures of an old fashioned comfy looking floral suite, only to find when I got there that they had replaced it with 2 red leather settees from hell. The sort that are the same height in the back and arms (all the way round). I spent an unusual amount of time in my bedroom as the thing was so uncomfortable.

Definitely agree with having a bath. That for me is non-negotiable.

Wifi seems to be almost a must have these days.

Lots of things to think about. I had been considering a 2 bedroom cottage in Pendeen, Cornwall but based on the above, it’s a complete no-go.

Thank you

Piffpaffpoff Sat 27-Jul-13 20:49:08

I have a comprehensive list, created over many years of holidaying

It MUST have

Washing machine
A garage or somewhere secure to store bikes
Electricity must be included in the overall price
An enclosed grassy garden for the kids
No pets allowed
A decent sized telly
Decent living room furniture - not wooden framed sofas, I want something comfy I can 'lounge' on
Decent standard of furniture and other contents - I don't want to stay somewhere where the owner has basically decanted their old worn stuff into the holiday cottage as and when they buy new things for their home. At our favourite cottage that we have been going to nearly every year is a great example of how to do it - everything in it was new from John Lewis and that standard has been maintained over the years.

Nice-to-haves are

Sky tv
A conservatory
Being in catchment for a supermarket delivery

I'm not fussed for super-stylish decor or anything - with two small kids we look for space and practicality over style at the moment!

Piffpaffpoff Sat 27-Jul-13 20:50:41

Oh and I also like there to be decent supplies of dishwasher tablets, washing up liquid and loo rolls

Doyouthinktheysaurus Sat 27-Jul-13 20:52:18

Yes, washing machines vital for us, we do loads of washing!

And off road parking, I forgot that. Last year the first cottage we did was Anglesey and the car space was barely bigger than our huge car! Did wonders for my reverse parking though, I'm a whizz at it nowgrin

Although we only have 2 dses, we always go for 3 bedrooms too so we get peaceful bedtimes.

This year we are doing a week on the Northumberland coast and a week in the heart of the Yorkshire dales, very close to a river.

capercaillie Sat 27-Jul-13 20:58:04

Simple basic but stylish interior - tend to modern as easier to clean

3 bedrooms - tend to have more space all round

Washing machine

Dishwasher nice but not essential.

TV (I'd be happy without but kids would disagree)

Location - not on main road but don't mind driving to places. Near (ie walking distance) to a beach nice too but tend to have a premium and get booked quickly


WetAugust Sat 27-Jul-13 21:02:24

Piff the cottage I rented this year ticked all your boxes except it had a small TV (very annoying trying to watch Wimbledon on it) and no off road parking (but it was on an island where you don't bring your car, so that didn't matter).

It also had a dishwasher but no dishwasher tablets. That was very annoying.

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