9 Holiday Hideaways for Halloween

Scarved jack-o-lanterns

It’s that time of year again, when the nights draw in, the mercury drops and no matter how much you wrap up, you can still feel an ominous chill tingling up your spine.  We are of course talking about “All Hallows’ Eve” – a chance to dress up, scare yourself silly and celebrate the myths and monsters that have become mainstays of the season.  And with this season very much in mind, we’ve decided to put together a selection of Halloween-themed holiday properties.

Despite being associated to some of the season’s spooky traits, the selection below are bound to delight more than they terrify with some lovely accommodation in very unique locations.  So even if your break fails to scare away your wits, you will still have a few tales to tell; they will just be about about amazing views, heavenly hot spots and friendly locals! Click the pictures below to find more info on cottages4you.

1. Peelers Lodge: W43197, Pluckley, Kent – Visit the ‘most haunted village in Britain’ 

peelers

Pluckley’s ghostly residents are alleged to include a highwayman who haunts Fright Corner (we’re sure that part doesn’t attract too many visitors), a screaming man and the ghost of an old lady who sits on a bench drinking gin and smoking pipe.  In contrast to the village’s rumoured spooks, this property is a detached, relaxing, lodge-style holiday home situated in the owner’s grounds, facing across fields and close to the North Downs with an outdoor pool, lovely garden and stylish interior.  Previous guests have rated it very highly on Reevoo, praising the location, owners, décor and facilities at the property.

2. Kings Stables: SHHI – Explore ‘Europe’s most haunted city’  

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Edinburgh is believed to be Europe’s most haunted city with the castle in particular said to be one of its most haunted locations. King’s Stable seems to relish in this fact, boasting a suitably dramatic Gothic interior and a setting at the foot of the castle. This hasn’t deterred visitors, with guests praising its unique and convenient location just yards from the city centre. It currently has a Reevoo rating of just over 8 out of 10 for its ‘magical setting’ and more.

3. Bridge House: MVA – Chill by Britain’s ‘most haunted castle’

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Steeped in history, Chillingham Castle played a large part in Northumberland’s bloody border feuds. Today its dramatic past is explored through ghost tours of its more unsavoury corners (torture chambers) and the occasional film and TV appearance.  Set in the Castle’s grounds, Bridge House offers a convenient location for exploring Chillingham’s colourful history and surrounding attractions (nearby Alnwick was the filming location for some of the Harry Potter films), along with the opportunity to enjoy a stay at a property described as “spotless and beautifully presented” by former guests.

4. Pendle View: 28606 – Trace the history of the witch trials

pendle view

Isolated and with a peak nearly 2,000 feet above sea level, Pendle Hill provides the perfect opportunity for intrepid visitors to Lancashire to get away from it all and enjoy an undeniable highlight in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The area is also infamous for its part in the Pendle witch trials in the 17th century, in which 10 local residents were tried for witchcraft in nearby Lancaster Castle. Pendle View provides the perfect opportunity to explore both the natural beauty and historic legacy of this lovely corner of the UK – or just relax and enjoy it in any way you see fit. Either way, amazing views at Pendle View are assured, as guest feedback will attest.

5. Cobweb Cottage, Whitby: 27828 – Visit a vampire’s holiday haunt 

cobweb cottage

Whitby’s appearance in Bram Stoker’s Dracula has ensured that the seaside town is a popular destination for those looking to celebrate the trappings of Halloween at any time of the year.  So a break at the aptly named Cobweb Cottage is just the ticket for those looking to enjoy the autumnal entertainment of the Film Festival and the Goth Weekend – while those seeking the summer fun of the Regatta and Whitby’s many music festivals will be equally charmed by Cobweb Cottage, perhaps even venturing up to explore the ominous cliff-top Abbey!

6. Woodside Cottage: S4105 – Become neighbours with Nessie

woodside

Your enjoyment of Halloween at Woodside Cottage may depend on how much stock you put in the belief that the waters of Loch Ness contain a giant prehistoric beastie! But whether you believe the legend of Nessie or not, what cannot be denied is that the region is a true delight, with glorious views and a wealth of wonderful heritage to soak up.  Woodside Cottage isn’t short of charm either.  This charming and romantic getaway for two is praised by guests for its lovely quiet location, gorgeous views over the Loch and more.

7. Wagtails nr. Bishop’s Castle: QQQ – Wake with the wolves

wagtails

There are few sounds that signify Halloween quite as much as the distant call of a wolf.  And while the opportunity to get up close and appreciate the grand majesty of wild wolves in the UK is all but non-existent, Wagtails in Shropshire is located within the Conservation Centre for Wolf Watch UK.  So not only could you hear their call – you can watch them from the window! Please don’t be put off though, the wolves are located in an enclosure and have been praised by guests for being ‘excellent neighbours’.

8. The Towers, Conwy: OTR – Enjoy a grand Gothic mansion

the towers

Watching scary movies is another Halloween hallmark that we never seem to tire of – especially when the location is as grand and unique as The Towers.  This substantial harbour master’s mansion boasts a suitably grand gothic style and a home cinema that is bound to delight holidaymakers, whatever the choice of entertainment.  Other attractions at the property include a beach room, library and games room, a lawned garden with an attractive ornamental pond (featuring a Japanese three-tier fountain) and a 9-hole putting green.

9. Puzzlewood Cottage: E5286 – Take a walk in the wildest of woods

puzzlewood

While Halloween is a celebration of a wide array of myths, legends and superstitions, our next location is a very real and entirely spooky destination.  Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean is a stunning collection of woodland paths, strange caves and odd rock formations.  Previous visitors have included JRR Tolkien and JK Rowling so its influence is not to be underestimated!  Guests at Puzzlewood Cottage have free access to the area’s many attractions, including a willow maze, large trim trail play area and an indoor maze.

Autumn After Dark – a UK entertainment guide

New Year's Eve Fireworks

London lights up in November

As the nights begin to draw in, and a distinctive British chill returns to the air, it’s easy to lament the passing of those long, hazy days spent outdoors in shorts or summer dresses. It often feels like there’s nothing left to do until next year but hibernate, coming out only to celebrate those precious fun filled weeks over Christmas.But fear not! Your summer clothes may be packed away, but the UK is chock full of activities, locations and adventures up and down the country that will help you to enjoy the evenings that are closing in.
Enchanted Forest – Faskally Wood, Pitlochry
3rd – 26th OctoberWhat better way to take advantage of the early darkness than enjoying one of the UK’s most spectacular sound and light shows! Put one every year as autumn unfolds, each event has a different theme that is then explored through choreographed sound and light effects, which unfold as you work your way through the forest. This year’s theme is Elemental, and is all about getting back to nature through the enjoyment of the elements. While the weather is usually an uncontrollable aspect of the show, this year you can expect to be wowed by elemental effects.

The natural backdrop of the forest will be set off by amazing visuals and beautiful design, accompanied by an original music score written specially for the event. You can also expect to be delighted by aerial performance artists defying gravity in the tree tops, and an enchanted story telling yurt. The outdoor catering team also ensures you won’t go hungry, and you can enjoy a hot chocolate or a mulled wine to keep you cosy as you wonder around on a frosty evening.

It’s recommended that you allow between 60 – 90 minuets to fully appreciate the event, and you may want to go around more than once to make sure you catch everything! The show is fantastic for children, although you may struggle to get around the forest path with large buggies.

Illuminating York – York city centre
29th October – 1st November

On a similar theme, you can also brighten up your autumn nights with a visit to York’s annual light festival, Illuminating York. Named as one of the Guardian’s top ten European light festivals, it’s one of the city’s biggest annual events and is not to be missed. Having begun nine years ago, York have been wowing visitors with stunning illuminated art for nearly a decade. With specially commissioned digital art being projected onto various historic buildings, you get to appreciate York’s beautiful architecture as well as seeing some great works of art. Using the latest technology available, 12 pieces of illuminating artwork will be displayed across the city centre.

The main attraction is to be Hidden Worlds, which is being projected onto the York Crown Court Building. Using 3D projection-mapped animation, the art work explores the microscopic and the unconscious. There are also various supporting events and other local attractions that can be taken advantage of while visiting the city, including several tours and trails, so you can enjoy the event over several evenings. Also new for this year is the opportunity to travel further afield to witness the Castle Howard bathed in light.

Lewes Bonfire Night Celebrations – Lewes, East Sussex
5th November

The biggest and best known bonfire night celebrations in the UK have been taking place in Lewes for hundreds of years. Almost always a riotous affair, the event sees six local bonfire societies joining forces with visiting groups. Marching bands also travel to take part in revelries, and the occasion is always marked by costumes and parades, along with a tradition of carrying 17 burning crosses through town. The evening peaks with huge bonfires on the surrounding hills, and spectacular firework displays. As the carnival-like evening can be pretty boisterous, it’s not recommended that you take young children.

Lord Mayor’s Show – London
8th November

While occurring very close to bonfire night, this event comes from a completely different tradition – since the year 1215, the city mayor was expected to travel upriver to Westminster, in order to swear loyalty to the king. What started out as a duty became a major celebration, and now the event sees a flotilla sailing up the Thames, followed by a street procession and a massive firework display. The show takes up a whole day, with the flotilla beginning as early as 8.30 am the procession following at 11 am, and the fireworks taking place at 5.30 pm. It’s a fun and exciting day out for all the family.

So there you have it – you don’t have to stay at home forlornly just because it’s getting dark! Instead, take advantage of the early evenings and experience some of the great night-time events that are happening up and down the country.

The Best Autumn Food and Drink Festivals

iStock_000023362468SmallfoodfestivalThe chilly mornings and darker evenings of autumn often find us turning to comforting, warm food and drinks to get through the day. If you are lacking in inspiration, don’t worry as autumn is the perfect time to visit one of the many and varied food festivals taking place across the UK.

Love Food Festival, Dyrham Park, South Gloucestershire

Making the most of the autumn harvest will be the theme of the Love Food Festival in Dyrham Park, South Gloucestershire on Sunday 28th September. Visitors will have the chance to try local seasonal produce and as well as lots of opportunities to try and buy food and drink, there will be fun activities for the children, a chance to try out survival skills and even a Homemade Competition to show off your own homegrown or homemade seasonal produce. Find out more on the event website.

Melton Mowbray Food Festival

A name synonymous with food, Melton Mowbray hosts one of the largest food festivals in the country. The weekend of 4th and 5th October will see the 11th annual Melton Mowbray Food Festival with over 150 exhibitors showcasing new and traditional food and drink from the local region and from around the UK. Alongside the traditional Melton Mowbray Pork Pies and Stilton, you will find alcoholic ice creams, chocolate kebabs, artisan cheeses to name just a few, which can all be washed down with locally brewed ales. Find out more on the event website.

The Chocolate Show, London

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The Chocolate Show is a food festival with a difference. Completely dedicated to all things chocolate, the best UK and international chocolate companies will be ready to tempt you with wonderful chocolate treats. Taking place at Olympia West in London from 17th to 19th October, there is even the chance to see the highly acclaimed chocolate fashion show, which sees chocolatiers and fashion designers join forces to create amazing chocolate inspired couture outfits. Find out more on the event website.

Hamper Llangollen, North Wales

In North Wales Hamper Llangollen is described and the ‘heavyweight’ of the Welsh food festivals. Held in Llangollen on 18th and 19th October, this is a food and drink festival where over 100 exhibitors offer a wide range of food and drink for visitors to sample and buy. Here you will find that it certainly isn’t just about the food and there is a dedicated beer tent featuring locally brewed ales. Find out more on the event website.  

Lincolnshire Sausage Festival, Lincoln Castle

Dedicated to the Lincolnshire Sausage, this festival will take place on 25th October and there will be sausages to sample, eat or take home. With chefs on hand doing cookery demonstrations, there should be plenty of inspiration and recipes to transform the Lincolnshire sausage into a family favourite. Find out more on the event website.

Bramley Apple Festival, Southwell, Nottinghamshire

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The market town of Southwell in Nottinghamshire was where the Bramley apple was first propagated over 200 years ago and it now hosts an annual festival of food and drink to celebrate the heritage of this much loved apple. With fun and craft activities, cookery demonstrations and much more, each sticking to the apple theme this is a food festival with a difference. Find out more on the event website.

Dartmouth Food Festival

Dartmouth Food Festival is the perfect food festival for the whole family to enjoy. From 24th to 26th October there is plenty to see and do with cookery demonstrations, food and drink seminars, tasting and the chance to see top food writers and celebrity chefs. There is even a festival for children with lots of fun activities to keep the little ones entertained. Find out more on the event website.

The Good Food Show, Birmingham

The ultimate food and drink experience can be found at the NEC, Birmingham from 27th to 30th November with celebrity chefs, demonstrations, endless shopping opportunities and lots of inspiration. Find out more on the event website.

Botany Bay Christmas Food and Gift Festival, Chorley, Lancashire

With Christmas on the horizon, the Botany Bay Christmas Food and Gift Festival in Chorley, Lancashire on Sunday 30th November is the place to visit. The five floors of the Botany Bay mill have been transformed into a Christmas food and drink shopping bonanza with street entertainment, carol singing, fairground attractions and cookery demonstrations all to get you in the mood for the festive period. Find out more on the event website.

There is nothing better than a food and drink festival to tempt your taste buds or offer inspiration and new ideas for seasonal produce and there are lots to choose from. Whichever you choose, you can guarantee a fun day out for all the family and you might get to try something new and delicious for the coming season.

Find accommodation nearby on the cottages4you website.

Late Summer Savings in France

A  selection of savings on lovely holiday properties over the Channel – with availability from this weekend! Enjoy villas with private pools on the Côte d’Azur, traditional holiday homes in Normandy and much more.

Find links to the properties with more pricing and availability info on each picture caption. Check out more French savings on our website.

Cottage of the Week – Little Thatchings, Oxfordshire

Our new featured property is located in the pretty little village of Warborough in Oxford, perhaps better known to TV viewers as the filming location for Midsomer Murders. Thankfully, real life in Warborough is far more relaxing (and safer!) than its portrayal on screen, which should allow you plenty of opportunity to explore and enjoy one of the UK’s most stunningly scenic regions.

The property itself isn’t short of beauty and tranquility. Nestled in its own garden just off the village green with secret seating areas and a small orchard, it has been delightfully furnished in ‘Arts and Crafts’ style with original beams (some originating from ships of the Spanish Armada which were broken up at The Wharf just down the road) and many more attractive features.

You’re also perfectly located to enjoy a range of quintessentially English locations and activities including Oxford, Blenheim Palace, Henley, Windsor, Stratford, The Cotswolds and London with numerous gastro pubs, restaurants, markets and antique shops in the surrounding area.

Take a look at the latest pricing, availability and make a booking on the property’s listing on cottages4you.