Cottage of the Week – Luccombe Chine Lodge, isle of Wight

Luccombe Chine Lodge (ref PRRN) is nestled within the grounds of Luccombe Chine Private Estate, not far from picturesque Shanklin and located in an AONB looking out to the English Channel. The House is one of the most impressive, prestigious manor house properties on the island, set within its own natural and partially landscaped grounds of about 6½ acres, complete with fish pond, natural streams and castellated folly. Sleeps 4. More info.

Cottage of the Week – The Bolthole nr. Driffield, Yorkshire

An idyllic, one bedroom, detached, characterful eclectic cottage situated on the owners’ smallholding in the village of Tibthorpe, with rare breed sheep and hens just outside the door, you really are in the countryside at The Bolthole. This new addition to our portfolio sleeps 2 and has really good short break availability. Take a look on our website.

Cottage of the Week – Poggio Pasquale 17, Lazio

This delightful, air-conditioned holiday property is situated on a hill in the residential area of the picturesque medieval village of Vitorchiano and is ideally located for exploring Umbria and Lazio. Enjoy fantastic views, including a 360° view of Montefiascone, a large garden with a covered terrace, sitting-out area, children’s swings and a swimming pool. Sleeps 6 and 1 pet. More info on the property listing.

A Walk for Anne

 

11411851_1111316002216479_3935039835727071140_o

In April this year our good friend and work colleague Anne Dalby passed away after her 5 year battle with ovarian cancer. Pendleside Hospice is where Anne was cared for in her final weeks and it gave her and her family all the help and support they needed.

Anne worked at the cottages4you site for over 20 years until her retirement in December 2010 after her original diagnosis at the beginning of that year. She was the Payroll manager for the business for all that time working in payroll and also HR. Most people will remember Anne as an outgoing and bubbly person with a great sense of humour and definitely once met never forgotten.

As a business we support Pendleside as our nominated charity but we wanted to do something above this. So when the ‘Girls night out’ was advertised as a sponsored 10K walk I thought it would be a good event to get a team of ladies together to walk in Anne’s memory. We called ourselves ‘Anne’s Angels’, consisting of myself (Nikki Caygill), Gill Carter, Lindsay Pennington, Emma Riley, Gill McAdam, Siobhan James and Shirley Brooks and we donned pink halos, tutus and wings to walk the route around Burnley.

We set up sponsorship forms and just giving pages to get people to support our cause along with advertising through Facebook messages to all our friends. At the moment our total money raised is £950.

Find out more about the great work Pendleside Hospice do on their website.

Cottage of the Week – The Main House, Westwood Lodge, Ilkley

It’s Yorkshire Day tomorrow so we thought we had to showcase this lovely property in Ilkley. This Grade II listed historic building, one of 8 properties, was built between 1875 and 1890 and is set on the very edge of the world famous Ilkley Moor, in the ancient West Riding of Yorkshire. Sleeps 20 and 3 pets. Take a look at more info on the property listing.

The UK’s Most Romantic Festivals

(Photo: Somersault Festival)

(Photo: Somersault Festival)

When you look back on your festival days in years to come, you won’t necessarily remember the bands who performed that stonking set, or the number of beers you drank on the first evening. What you will remember is who you were with. Festivals can be surprisingly romantic places – you are away from home, steeped in nature (and alcohol), and free of the drudgery of everyday life. It’s a chance to reconnect with yourself and your partner, and just ‘be’ together in an otherworldly place for a few days each year.

Of course, some festivals are more romantic than others, but there are a few UK events which tick a lot of boxes.

From Norman castles to massage yurts; from champagne by the river to oysters by the sea – we have hand-picked the UK’s most romantic festivals which will appeal to couples everywhere.

Croissant Neuf Castle Sessions

Location: Caldicot Castle, Gwent

Date: 18-19 September

Link: http://www.partyneuf.co.uk/

The stunning 1000-year-old Caldicot Castle forms the backdrop to this year’s Croissant Neuf Castle Sessions festival, adding a touch of ancient charm to what already promises to be a thoroughly romantic festival. Previous headliners have included Ed Sheeran, Seth Lakeman and Willy Mason, and there is always a great mix of different musical genres, as well circus performances, walkaround performers and craft workshops (don’t miss the lantern-making class).

Book out a private room in one of the castle turrets and enjoy a relaxing massage or facial together, while the sounds of the festival drift up from below.

Most romantic moment: Toasting marshmallows together beside the festival’s huge communal campfire, before releasing a hand-made lantern into the night sky.

Somersault Festival

Location: Castle Hill, North Devon

Date: 23-27 July

Link: http://somersaultfestival.com/

Somersault is a surprisingly laid-back festival, full of eclectic fringe activities that are best enjoyed by two. Don’t miss one of the epic feasts by top restaurants such as Fifteen Cornwall and The Ethicurean, or take a cookery class together at Seven Mile Cookery. In the Wellbeing area, enjoy a couple’s massage, an organic facial, or a spot of meditation.

Or just cosy up on a picnic blanket and listen to ethereal tunes by Angus and Julia Stone, The Staves, and Laura Marling. Somersault is all about good vibes, so there’s no need to rush around from stage to stage, pushing your way to the front. Just turn up, chill out, and focus on spending quality time with the person you love.

Most romantic moment: Treat yourself and your partner to a simultaneous Somersault Wellbeing Signature Massage. Two top massage therapists will spent a full hour massaging away your worries and tension, while you simply relax in the comfort of an upmarket yurt.

Henley Festival

Location: Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Date: 8-12 July

Link: http://www.henley-festival.co.uk/

Henley is perhaps best known for its Royal Regatta, which sees the good and the great of British society descend on the riverside town to watch Olympic-standard rowers race past.

The Henley Festival is in many ways an extension of this. Perhaps the only festival where black tie is an acceptable dress code, this is the sort of place where you drink champagne instead of cider, and eat seared scallops at pop-up restaurants instead of a greasy burger from the back of a van.

Entertainment is provided by Jessie J, Lionel Richie, The Philharmonic Orchestra, and more, while you can also catch a ballet performance, or simply seek out some performance art in the town itself.

Most romantic moment: Watching the Sunday night fireworks burst into light above the Thames, while you drink champagne in evening-wear with your beloved.

The Secret Garden Party

Location: Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire

Date: 23-26 July

Link: http://www.secretgardenparty.com/

One of the (many) mottos of The Secret Garden Party is “glitter not litter”, so that should give you an idea of what to expect. This is one of the most colourful, most sparkly and most romantic festivals on the planet – from the iconic field of sunflowers, to the randomly scattered love notes in the trees. This year’s theme is ‘Childish Things’, so it’s perfectly acceptable to indulge in a little PG-rated role play (think Lady and the Tramp; Ron and Hermione; Peter Pan and Wendy; or any other iconic couple from your childhood).

Headline acts include Jungle and The Cat Empire, but your most unforgettable festival moments will probably happen off-piste, wandering through the woods, lounging around at the lakeside pagoda, or doing silly things at the Bearded Kitten.

Most romantic moment: Where the Wild Things Are. This fairytale-inspired stage is surrounded by twisting branches and bathed in pastel lights – the perfect place to steal a kiss at twilight.

Anne Hathaway’s cottage

Anne Hathaway’s cottage

Festival of Romantic Fiction

Location: Stratford Upon Avon

Date: 6-8 November

Link: http://festivalofromance.co.uk/

Any festival which is sponsored by Mills & Boon is bound to be just a little bit romantic… This is an intimate and friendly festival which celebrates romantic fiction in the birthplace of William Shakespeare himself. Day tickets include access to the Shakespeare Archive and a guided tour of Anne Hathaway’s cottage, where you will mingle with like-minded literature lovers, and famous romance authors such as Adele Parks and Milly Johnson.

Most romantic moment: Friday Night Book Crush – a mass book launch event featuring established and upcoming authors. Costumes are welcome so expect to see several dozen Romeos and Juliets (win extra literary points by coming as Much Ado About Nothing’s Beatrice and Benedick – possibly the only functional couple Shakespeare ever wrote).

Whitstable Oyster Festival

Location: Whitstable, Kent

Date: 23 July – 2 August

Link: http://www.whitstableoysterfestival.co.uk/

Oysters are a famous aphrodisiac, and England’s own Whitstable has some of the season’s finest offerings. Indulge in your favourite seafood in the Gothic surroundings of Whitstable, and cheer each other on as you compete in the famous Oyster Eating Competition.

The week-long festival features performances from DJ Craig Charles, The Cuban Brothers, and Jonny Borrell (the former Razorlight frontman), plus dozens of beachside activities and oyster-themed events.

Most romantic moment: The not-very-romantic-at-all-sounding ‘Grotters’. Join the locals in building your very own oyster-shell turret (or ‘grotter’) on the beach. As the sun sets, light a candle in the middle of your creation and watch the pearly shells shimmer and glow in the light of the setting sun. Stay on the beach to witness the famous Whitstable firework displays, and keep warm with a pint of something local.