Tell HouseTrip about your best holiday home experiences and you could be in with the chance of winning a £200 Boots voucher NOW CLOSED

(167 Posts)
AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 16-Jun-14 16:10:58

HouseTrip have asked us to find out about Mumsnetters' best holiday home experiences, either from childhood or more recently.

Here's what HouseTrip have to say:

"We're on a mission to make it easy for people to holiday wherever they want in the world but in beautiful whole homes rather than cramped hotels. Holidaying in a home allows families to spend crucial quality time together that they don’t always get in normal life in order to make memories that will last a lifetime”

So, what has been your best holiday home experience? Maybe it was staying in a cottage as a child? Perhaps you have fond memories of visiting a city apartment? Or maybe your best experiences have been in a villa you go to each year with your kids? What made your experience so special?

Whatever your best holiday home experience has been, HouseTrip would love to hear about it.

Everyone who posts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a £200 Boots voucher.

Please note your comments may be included on HouseTrip's social media channels, and possibly elsewhere, so please only post if you're comfortable with this.

Thanks and good luck,

OP’s posts: |
babsmam Mon 16-Jun-14 16:30:22

Keeping it simple works best for us. My dd6 and ds4 love nothing better then a beach, NT, play park, castle to clime, ball to kick about day out with a pic nic of course.

When it comes to where we go quality space is what counts. And the excitement of arrival and exploring every room, something you don't get in hotels so much.

Spirael Mon 16-Jun-14 17:38:12

It's been five years since I last booked a holiday villa, but I remember having trouble finding one which had internet access. This wasn't in the middle of no-where, it was in Orlando, Florida!

Things might have changed in the past few years, but hopefully more villas now have the internet. For us it's an essential, as roaming tariffs are ridiculous and we use it for everything from letting extended family know we arrived safely, to checking local weather forecasts so we can plan our time effectively, to finding directions to the nearest supermarket or a specific attraction and finally so we can check in ahead of getting to the airport for our return flights.

The villa we eventually stayed in was fantastic. It was on a quiet estate and was clean, simple, spacious and modern, having everything we needed without being cluttered. It was also not excessively Disney in decor and all the bedrooms were suitable for adults or children.

NicNak71 Mon 16-Jun-14 20:38:50

We have stayed in a few fantastic houses in France. There is a huge choice from whole chateau to rent, to gorgeous renovated farmhouses. I loved waking in the morning, throwing open the shutters and looking out across fields of sunflowers and lavender.
Our last trip was to a fabulous farmhouse in the Midi Pyrenees. On the edge of a village, beautifully renovated with a heated swimming pool, huge garden full of fruit trees and loads of peace, quiet and privacy. I didn't want to cone hone.
Having all the comforts of home, glorious weather, a private swimming pool and a fantastic bakery nearby, what's not to love.
Once or twice we have gotten a little lost finding our destinations, even with the gps coordinates. Now we put the coordinates into google earth and look for landmarks before we set off.

mandincardiff Tue 17-Jun-14 09:20:32

I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in 2009 and ever since we have always gone for 'self catering' holidays, staying in apartments or villas. At first I didn't like the idea of being restricted to these types of holidays but now I wouldn't do anything else! I love the fact that you can make the place your home for the time you are there.

My favourite experience was 2 years ago when we stayed in Stockholm. We were woken up every morning by a seagull who seemed to like our balcony, and staying right in the city centre meant we were free to explore all of the attractions by foot. At the same time, I was able to relax knowing I had a base with kitchen facilities in the apartment to go back to whenever I needed to prepare food. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but it took all the pressure off me trying to find places I could eat, leaving me free to enjoy my holiday!

JS06 Tue 17-Jun-14 09:24:40

We rented a house in Highland Reserve, Orlando so we could easily access the parks but could come away in the evening for some peace and quiet. It was so reserved and quiet that the children were lone trick/treaters at Halloweeen. Where people opened their doors they were welcomed royally! We loved having space after spending time altogether all day and it was good to have a dip in the pool and not have to spend ages trekking to the beach or a resort pool some distance away. We were able to keep the car on the drive and loved having a home from home facility which served us very well. It would have been quite a squash if we were all in one hotel room and would have compromised our holiday enjoyment.

Would look to do a house rental/swap in the future as it was a success.

starlight36 Tue 17-Jun-14 13:01:57

With two children under three we've found holiday cottages have been the best option over the last few years. It gives us the option of having space to relax properly when both children are (hopefully!) fast asleep without risking waking them up. Having our own kitchen provides us with the flexibility of feeding children food they will eat at times they are used to eating - which can be tricky when we've stayed in hotels.

The best holiday accommodation we've stayed in have been some converted stables which as well as having lots of character were all on
one level so our children could safely crawl / run around.


MadMonkeys Tue 17-Jun-14 13:12:44

We always go self catering in the UK. Best place we've found is right on the shore on the Isle of Skye - fab beach, loads of outdoor space, clean interior, not particularly posh which means we're not hovering over the kids in case they break something = nice relaxed happy holiday. But I'm not revealing exactly where it is...

Nouseforausername Tue 17-Jun-14 13:23:24

We've spent the past 6 years or so going away with dps whole family. 12 of us usually. it started off in france but now that one of his sons has 2 dd's and we have a ds theyre in center parcs. its lovely spending time together, we're all spread all over the country and barely ever get to see each other at the same time for any length of time. big houses or 2 on the same plot are brilliant for us. With a place to swim, somewhere to bbq and relatively ok weather is all we need grin

CharmQuark Tue 17-Jun-14 13:30:54

It was always the feeling of adventure.

Having a while new home to explore, and imagine yourself living there - whether it be a 60s bungalow in the beach at Weybourne, which had sloping eves (such a novelty!) or a villa in France where we could walk straight out of our bedroom's French windows into the pool - we just imagined a different life. And so we ate new foods and tried out new things, and made the places our own by creating a den in the under-eaves cupboards, or creating elaborate rituals about how to jump into the pool..or finding new trees to climb in the gardens, or feeling oh-so grown up because we could walk to the chip shop on our own in this place and order a portion of chips to eat on the way home.

Perhaps the best wqas the house just up the road from a creek on which we could sail and row. Being able to stroll down the High St with a rpey old canoe slung across our shoulders, dressed in sailing shows and shorts - such confidence, such ownership of the landscape, such ownership over our own day. None of these things could happen, quite like that, back in our real home.

I lived in a permanent Enid Blyton novel on our holidays in our 'new' homes.

sharond101 Tue 17-Jun-14 13:42:38

We took my dog who had to be put down a couple of years ago to a cottage in the north of Scotland. I had a miscarriage shortly before and the dog was my comfort. It was so relaxing. We had sheep in our garden and hens too. There were no restaurants so we had a BBQ each night and watched rubbish TV. The isolation of the cottage was magical and I couldn't have grieved in a better location.

Bicnod Tue 17-Jun-14 13:48:09

We holiday in Cornwall twice a year in self-catering cottages. The best holiday homes for us have:

- a sea view, preferably from a balcony/garden as well as living room, so our holiday can continue (with a glass of wine) after the children are in bed.

- a secure garden (fenced in) where the children can play safely.

- walking distance to the beach - it's so nice not to have to get in the car every day.

- family friendly touches such as cot beds provided, high chairs provided, step stools provided in bathrooms, plastic plates/bowls provided, so don't have to worry about bringing our own.

- towels/bedding provided is always a bit of a luxury - it doesn't make or break the holiday but it makes a big difference to the amount of packing/washing you have to do.

- DVDs/toys/games available + folder with local attractions/good local eateries etc is helpful.

In the Autumn/Winter a wood burning stove is fantastic - again, the holiday can continue round the fire after the kids are in bed.

haggisaggis Tue 17-Jun-14 14:26:06

As a child best was a cabin in Ardnamurchan in the far north west of Scotland. It had no electricity, but instead used bottled gas for lighting (I remember having to light the lamps individually - it was fantastic!) and cooking, and had a woodburning kettle stove. It was cluttered with books inside and sheep outside. We could walk to the white sandy beaches close by. Over 30 years ago now and I still remember it! With my own kids it is probably the house in Cape Cod we have been to for the past 9 years - a tiny 2 bed cottage with fantastic views across a salt pond and the sea a 5 minute walk away. Cottage was clean and bright and well equipped with very friendly owners. Kids too big now as needing separate rooms but it'll always be a special place.

Annalucidon Tue 17-Jun-14 14:35:56

Our favourites rental holiday places have always been those where the little things are taken care of (like soap, washing up liquid and tea towels provided!) and we can relax in comfort... extra touches like a soft blanket to snuggle on the sofa with, books to read, even an old pair of binoculars and a birdwatching book, if it's somewhere rural. These make all the difference xx

defineme Tue 17-Jun-14 14:43:21

We had a holiday chalet on the Nothumbrian coast when I was a child. It was like another world. I spent all day rock pooling and canoeing. The chalet had gas lighting and a wrap around deck. It was a friendly community of fellow 'shack' owners with whom we spent evenings in the tiny pub or on the beach with a bonfire.

MyLatest Tue 17-Jun-14 14:44:31

Villas are the best holiday type for our family at the minute but only if they include Wi-Fi and air conditioning if we're staying somewhere hot. DS is very fair-skinned and goes red and blotchy in humid heat. It has only been a problem when there is no air conditioning in the bedroom (he's fine outside in the sunshine).

Emrob86 Tue 17-Jun-14 14:56:00

We went on our honeymoon to New York and stayed in a glorious little upper east side apartment that we'd found via

It was a great experience to like in a true New York apartment and really feel like a New Yorker for the 2 weeks we were there. Amazing! I really recommend visiting New York like this.

We were close to lots of restaurants and shops and Central Park but not where all the tourists were - bliss!

NotWeavingButDarning Tue 17-Jun-14 18:28:56

We've had a great time renting a farmhouse in France.

Tbh, the house was nothing special at all, but that was quite nice in a way, as we didn't have to worry about the DC destroying stuff.

There were plenty of outdoor toys, a pool with an alarm and lots of fun things for the DC to do like picking apricots and collecting eggs from the farm hens. It was a boiling hot summer, so we barbecued outside almost every night, which was great.

ScrambledEggAndToast Tue 17-Jun-14 19:52:36

When I was a kid we stayed in a gite in France. There were two side by side in a really quiet location with tennis courts out the front. Myself and my sister played tennis loads in the sunshine and it was fab, we also had loads of BBQs. The gite was lovely, really nice kitchen and there was an outdoor hot tub!! Loved it there, didn't want to go home.

Redtartanshoes Tue 17-Jun-14 20:38:29

We found an amazing hotel in a Turkey last year. It's probably some folks idea of hell but it was 5* all inc bliss. With 2 children aged 6&7 it was totally relaxed. More food drink and luxury than you could shake a stick at which made for a blissful holiday. The on site water park was a massive hit with the kids, the pontoon complete with huge mattresses, bean bags and bar was my favourite!

There is certainly a time and a place for culture, sight seeing and exploring but occasionally it's just nice to kick back, put the feet up, watch the kids play and sip a cocktail!

CMOTDibbler Tue 17-Jun-14 20:40:00

We stayed in a lovely cottage which was part of a group, but very spread out on the property so it didn't feel like there were loads of people. Fab play area and lots of grass for children running round.

HettyD Tue 17-Jun-14 20:42:49

We rented a gite in the Dordogne a couple of summers ago. My parents came too and it was the perfect place for my dad to recuperate after a winter of chemo. He sat in the shade and watched the red kites circle in the still air whilst my small boys learnt to swim in the pool and had endless snorkel and lilo races. Mum and I cooked relaxing dinners and enjoyed our time together. The gite was fully furnished for rental but was clearly still a home as well, there were spices in the kitchen and candles on the terrace. This is the holiday we always talk about and reminisce about, a blissful week of doing very little except enjoying the family.

Pinotgrigioplease Tue 17-Jun-14 23:17:27

The best holiday homes for us have had all the little things that you have at home like a well stocked kitchen in utensil drawer to make cooking away from home easy.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Tue 17-Jun-14 23:28:04

The little things matter, when it comes to a holiday home - decent, sharp kitchen knives, a cafetiere or coffee maker, some ornaments and pictures, but fairly neutral - we have stayed in cottages where we felt overwhelmed by the owners' taste, and in once case, felt we were intruders in their home, rather than feeling we could relax in a homely place that was welcoming us. Whilst I understand why cottage owners don't want their nice towels take to the beach, it would be nice if beach towels were available - that takes a bulky item out of the packing!

If you are marketing the place at families with small children, I think a washing machine is essential, and a tumble dryer is too, unless you can almost 100% guarantee decent drying weather (and even then, a tumble dryer makes things easier for whoever does the laundry).

Comfy bedding is important - I really like cotton bedding - it feels nicer because it doesn't bobble. Style-wise, I would go for neutral bedding - avoid patterns - white bedding always looks good, in my opinion - and you can bleach it if necessary.

We once arrived at a cottage to find a tea tray set on the kitchen table, with scones, jam and clotted cream all there, so we could have tea when we arrived - that was a lovely touch.

janeyf1 Wed 18-Jun-14 06:10:41

My best holiday home experiences were as a child being taken to a mobile home in the South of France each year. It felt like an exciting adventure and enjoyed the outdoor games such as petanque and cooking using camping gaz.

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