Summer of Sports – 5 equestrian escapes

Every Olympics has a sport that grips you more than any other. For us in 2012 it was the equestrian competitions. Dressage, Jumping, Cross Country – each event was filled with enough entertainment, tension and occasional head-scratching to fill several Albert Squares. And it seems we’re not alone in our equine appreciation. Since the Olympics we’ve seen significant interest in horse related holiday homes.

So if you’re one of those people who can’t wait for the equestrian events in the Paralympics then we have a treat for you: five of our finest featured cottages with a horse-related theme. These include cottages with paddocks and stables, places where you can arrange to ride a horse through the grounds, or those with spectacular surrounding scenery that’s perfect for appreciating on horseback.

Villa Voltarina  in  Bracciano

The Italian countryside’s renowned beauty is one of the best locations for horse riding, and that beauty is rarely better exhibited than at Villa Voltarina in Bracciano. Owned by an internationally renowned actress and director, the property boasts a more than welcome level of comfort and glamour. You can explore the surrounding beauty on horseback by arrangement with the owner and, thanks to its prime location, can also take in some of Italy’s most appealing sights, including Rome, Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio and more! More info:

Eclipse Holiday Cottages nr. Kenmare, Co. Kerry

If you’re new to horse-riding but keen to take the reigns then there are few better locations than Eclipse Holiday Cottages in County Kerry. Once you’ve learned the basics (at additional cost) you can either try your hand at activities like task challenges, assault courses, mud surfing, archery and fly fishing – or just explore the stunning Irish countryside. More info:

Portnoo, Co. Donegal

Further equine adventures can be found on Ireland’s northern coast. Gweebara Bay and Inishkeel Island are undoubtedly the focal point from the balcony at Portnoo, County Donegal, but for a true appreciation of the countryside you might want to take in the view from horseback. Alongside horse riding, amenities include golf, sea and fresh water fishing, mountain climbing, walking and cycling. After all that we’re sure you’ll be grateful for the comfort Portnoo affords! More info:

White House in  Flat Cliffs, nr. Primrose Valley

Not content with showcasing a stunning area with horse riding nearby, we’ve decided to showcase a slice of British seaside history with this property. The beautiful art deco White House was once owned by Sir Billy Butlin and has since become an iconic landmark on the Yorkshire Coast. The apartments are also a great place to rest and recuperate after a day in the saddle!

The Old Vicarage  in  Aymestrey, Leominster

Horse riding is available at the Old Vicarage, a stunning Regency house in rural Herefordshire with the Mortimer Trail on the doorstep and Offa’s Dyke Path close by. As well as offering 8-acres of grounds and a lovely interior décor, a stay at the property includes use of paddocks, so you can even bring your own horse and treat them to a break! More info:


Summer of Sports – Something completely different

We’ve covered tennis, football, swimming, cycling and even suggested some fantastic cottages to sit back relax and enjoy the Summer of Sports on the big screen! Now, in the immortal parlance of Monty Python (whose Eric Idle is no stranger to Olympic glory), it’s time for something completely different…

With over 10,000 featured holiday cottages in the UK alone, you may think we’ve seen just about every configuration of holiday accommodation that there is to see. But then we take a look at the properties featured below and realise that we’ve barely even scratched the surface. So, without further ado, we’re going to use this Summer of Sports installment to promote offbeat, lesser-known or just slightly different active entertainment.

Whitmuir Hall – Teviot  in  Nr. Selkirk

Archery, abseiling and buggy driving.

We’re no experts but can say with some certainty that these three sports are probably not combined at the stunning Whitmuir Hall. Instead, by prior arrangement you can have an instructor educate you in the ways of shooting arrows, descending steep slopes – even driving ‘trailblazer buggies’. Basically, a stay at Whitmuir will turn you into James Bond! But if you fancy something that will leave you stirred but not shaken there are also 32 acres of private grounds, consisting of woodland and lawns and a recreation building containing a heated indoor swimming pool and games room. Check out more info on the property listing.

The Stables  in  Devauden, Wye Valley


The Stables is a light, large and stylish converted property that will ensure rest, relaxation and the formation of fantastic holiday memories when you keep your feet on the ground. However, by prior arrangement, and with the weather on your side, you can take to the skies in the owner’s magnificent flying machine. The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty makes for a spectacular subject at ground level but take a trip up in a hot air balloon and you gain an incredible new appreciation of your surroundings. Check out more info on the property listing.

Wheeldon Farm Adventure Cottages in  Halwell, nr. Totnes

Motorbikes, 4x4s and more

The clue’s in the name at Wheeldon Farm Adventure Cottages – but even that falls short of describing the variety of activities available at this fantastic fun-filled holiday destination. There’s a zip-slide, under 5s playroom, games room with full-size American pool table, table tennis and table football and 4×4 driving. However, the main reason for its inclusion on this list is for the adjacent Wheeldon Off-Road Centre, a purpose-built 30,000 square foot indoor arena and junior training circuit where all children staying on holiday in one of the three cottages at Wheeldon Farm (refs 27214, 27215, 27216) can enjoy a free private full taster bike session in the highly acclaimed Junior Academy. Check out more info on the property listing.

Penthouse Apartment  in  Craster Tower

Sand yachting and jet-skiing

For the ultimate in leisurely relaxation and slightly unconventional sporting entertainment we’d recommend booking a break at the Penthouse Tower at Craster in Northumberland. The region’s beaches are sparsely populated, which allows you to enjoy sand yachting at Bamburgh and jet-skiing at Beadnell before lowering your pulse with a spot of sandcastle building at Embleton. The property itself is a superbly preserved Grade II country house dating from the 15th century and built around a 14th-century pele tower. Set above part of the owners’ home, but with a separate entrance, this magnificent penthouse was refurbished in 2008 and has a Visit Britain 5 Star gold award. There is also opportunity for formal dining by arrangement! Check out more info on the property listing.

Summer Breeze  in  Somerford Keynes, nr. Cirencester


We’ve decided to finish with somewhere wet, wild and wonderful. Summer Breeze near Cirencester offers a superior, stylish living space with expansive views onto the Lower Mill Estate complex. A fantastic array of watersports are available at the location, including water-skiing, windsurfing and dinghy-sailing. You can also enjoy pools, gyms and a treatment room. Situated on the southern edge of the Cotswolds, and easily accessible by road, the Cotswold Water Park offers a great base for exploring the wealth of surrounding beauty – and life on dry land in the region isn’t bad either! Check out more info on the property listing.

Summer of Sports – 5 football friendly cottages

The Olympic Summer of Sports may have officially ended around the time Jessie J joined Queen on stage (though judging by some of the reactions, more than a few wished it had ended a bit sooner!) but there’s plenty more sporting action to come. Not only do we have more fantastic competition with the Paralympics at the end of the month but, here at cottages4you, we’re also gearing up for this weekend’s epic Ride with Brad Sportive in the hills of Lancashire: two different routes with Olympic hero Brad Wiggins followed by a family cycle show at Victory Park, Barnoldswick from 12pm-5pm. And if that wasn’t enough we also still have loads of great sporting properties we’d like to share with you…

This week we’ve decided to focus on that popular sporting staple, ‘The Beautiful Game’. It may have been overshadowed by rowing, track and field and dancing horses in the past few weeks but, judging by the excitement preceeding the new season, enthusiasm for football is as palpable as ever. So we’ve decided to celebrate its return by selecting a few of our finest featured holiday cottages with football connections. This could either be an on-site pitch, a games room or somewhere a little bit different. But one thing that unites them all is that each of these properties offers a wonderful holiday experience. So, even if you think the offside rule refers to punishment for the clumsy placement of crockery, you’ll still find much to enjoy at these fantastic holiday cottages!

Casale La Mossa  in  Ponzano Romano, Italy

The phrase ‘Italians do it better’ may have been tarnished somewhat by the result of the Euro 2012 final but, when it comes to being a bit handy with a football, few can rival Italy’s proficiency. So the stunning Casale La Mossa seems like a good place to start. Overlooking the River Tiber, just an hour away from the Eternal City of Rome, this stunning villa offers a large swimming pool, dining gazebo, viewing terrace, outdoor kitchen with pizza oven and 5-a-side football pitch. It essentially offers some of Italy’s best features for up to 14 lucky holidaymakers. Find more info on the property listing.

Bush Rew Cottage  in  Brook, nr. Newport

The private idyll of Bush Rew Cottage near Newport has featured in many gardening magazines. Its modern interior is equally unique and entrancing, but if you’re looking for its connection to the beautiful game it also offers a games room with table football and more! Find more info on the property listing.

Tŷ Pêl Droed (The Football House) in  Pentre Bach, Blaenpennal, Aberystwyth

The Football House at Pentre Bach is bound to please younger football fans. Pentre Bach is the home of Welsh children’s character Sali Mali and each of the four homes at this farm is the ‘home’ to one of the characters from the books. Alongside its unique football décor you’ll find a tearoom and gift shop onsite with the opportunity to book a tea party for the kids and have home-cooked food and cakes delivered to your door. If you fancy something a little more active the surrounding area boasts Cors Caron Nature Reserve, the Cambrian Mountains and many more activities. Find more info on the property listing.

Alexander House  in  Auchterarder, Scotland

Alexander House in Auchterarder, Scotland not only offers a football pitch for up to its 20 occupants but also offers a host of other sporting activities including a indoor games room, outdoor hot tub with views towards the Sidlaw Hills, covered courtyard swimming pool, croquet lawn, trampoline, swings and slides. It’s basically a one-stop shop for active entertainment and relaxation. Find more info on the property listing.

Bayview Cottage  in  Dawlish

Bayview Cottage in Dawlish, Devon offers table football and air hockey but, alongside its cosy and stylish décor, one of its greatest attractions is the sandy beach just 100 yards from the property. So if you fancy a quick game of beach football you won’t have far to travel. Other nearby beaches include Dawlish Warren, holder of the European Blue Flag Award and Coryton Cove, recipient of the Tidy Britain Group’s Seaside Award. Find more info on the property listing.

We’ve still got a few more sporting properties up our sleeve but in the meantime visit cottages4you to search from thousands of fantastic featured holiday cottages.

Summer of Sports – 5 amazing properties with pools

In some ways we’ve decided to have our cake and eat it too with this week’s instalment of our Summer of Sports coverage. While that may sound like an unconventional approach to sports promotion, after the past few weeks of cycling and tennis, we think you’ve earned and opportunity to take a leisurely dip in a fantastic selection of properties with pools…

Swimming is one of the few sports that’s as active or as relaxing as you want to make it. As such it’s one of the most popular features for those seeking a holiday cottage with unrivalled fun, leisure and active entertainment. The upside of this popularity is that we feature hundreds of holiday cottages with pools; the downside is choosing only five for this blog post. Still, too much choice is one problem we’re sure you can all handle. So if you want to take a look at more properties with pools visit our website for some of the finest in the UK, Ireland, Italy and France.

Tewynn  in  Mawgan Porth, Newquay 

The hardier holidaymaker may favour an outdoor pool to raise the spirits, while those seeking fun often favour frolicking in a heated indoor pool. Tewynn, and its associated holiday properties, ticks both boxes while offering plenty more charms to make for an unforgettable holiday in Cornwall. If you fancy a little wake-up in the morning then there’s a 26ft outdoor heated pool, but if you fancy something a little more leisurely then you can also tackle the 49ft indoor pool with added steam room and sauna. There’s much more to explore and enjoy at this lovely eco-park so we suggest taking a look at the property’s listing on cottages4you, where you can find lots more stunning pics.

The Beeches  in  Sea Palling

The phrase ‘small but perfectly formed’ could quite easily have been coined to describe the accommodation at The Beeches in Sea Palling. That being said, the comfortable and stylish accommodation sleeps up to six holidaymakers whilst also offering a large garden and its own private indoor heated swimming pool – so it’s anything but cramped, and the options provided are anything but limited! If that doesn’t quell your aquatic desires then you’ll find nearby Great Yarmouth offers plenty more opportunities for indoor and outdoor swimming. Check out the property listing on cottages4you.

Beer Farm  in  Waterrow, nr. Wiveliscombe

With a name like Beer Farm, you might not expect exercise to be too high on the agenda at this property. The again, like most great holiday properties, it offers more than a few surprises. The first of which is a clean, light and spacious barn conversion that can sleep up to six happy holidaymakers. There are 15 acres of private grounds surrounding the property, so it’s the perfect place for a relaxing woodland amble, but the reason it made it onto this list is for the private heated swimming pool with showers. As you can probably tell, Beer Farm really does accentuate a life of leisure. Check out the property listing on cottages4you.

Château du Treuil  in  Burie, Charente-Maritime 

Château du Treuil offers unrivalled comfort to such an extent that it probably wouldn’t be the first place an Olympian would go to train for the games. However, if someone was looking for somewhere to celebrate a gold medal then there are few better locations! Alongside the 18th-century château, standing in 2.7 hectares of walled grounds in an idyllic peaceful setting of imposing trees with a large formal garden with statues, there’s the superb mosaic tiled swimming pool with a lovely covered terrace. Check out the property listing on cottages4you.

Villa Les Chênes in Montauroux, nr. Grasse, Var

Located on France’s south coast, Villa Les Chênes offers a stunning detached stone villa and large private grounds with oak trees, olive groves and shaded grassy areas to escape the heat. It also offers an outdoor infinity pool set in rocks and a terrace with a feature fountain. Yet despite being large enough to accommodate up to 12 contented holidaymakers, perhaps the biggest attraction is the fact you have the entire French Riviera to explore just a short distance from the property! Check out the listing on cottages4you.

Summer of Sports – Anyone for tennis?

There are few sports as resolutely British as tennis. When you think of the idyllic UK summer, it’s hard not to think of bright sunshine, strawberries and cream, and long games of tennis. And while other sports have their origins in this ‘green and pleasant land’ they’ve gained a more international flavour from being co-opted to the world stage. Then again, it may be because other countries seem to have slightly more success at them!

Still, after Andy Murray’s impressive – and emotional – turn at Wimbledon this year, it seems to be only a matter of time before tennis comes home. So, in order to help promote the Summer of Sports, the ultimate British summer and maybe even help find the Wimbledon champions of tomorrow, we’re going to suggest some of the best holiday cottages with tennis courts.

Due to the size needed to accommodate a tennis court, quite a few of these properties are on the larger side, but we have managed to find a few smaller ones too. We’ve also focussed on properties that have much more to offer than tennis, so if you’re not a sporting fan, or fancy a little more rest and recuperation on your break, you’ll be equally satisfied with one of these stunning properties.

Curlew Barn in Sutton Bridge, Spalding  27608

The light, airy and beautiful Curlew Barn offers a fantastic competition standard tennis court and a wonderful place to recuperate after your sporting exertion. Formerly the ‘wing’ of Curlew Lodge it has been converted to provide excellent holiday accommodation. The surrounding area is equally rich with sporting opportunities, including walking paths and cycle routes. Or you may prefer to relax and bask in the ultimate comfort afforded by your surroundings! Check out the property listing on cottages4you.

Crogen Coach House

Sleeping 16, Crogen Coach House is one of our larger featured properties, and the all-weather tennis court allows you to stage your own mini Wimbledon with your fellow holidaymakers! If that leads to holiday rivalries then there are a number of alternative sporting options at the property. Horse stables are available, there’s a 5-a-side football pitch and you can enjoy 4 miles of salmon fishing on the nearby river. For those looking to take their sporting competition to the next level there’s also paint-balling available just half a mile from the property. Check out the property listing on cottages4you.

La Maison du Jardin  in  Marsillargues, Hérault

Did you know that the title of most matches played by a man at Wimbledon belongs to French champion Jean Borotra? Similarly, fellow countryman Nicolas Mahut holds the title for the longest match played at the tournament (an eye-watering 11 hours and five minutes!). But their capacity for tennis should come as no surprise to visitors of this stunning French property – in fact you may decide to give them a run for their money! Alongside a great sheltered court you will find imposing cedars, expansive lawns, two shaded terraces for al fresco dining and a swimming pool. Oh, and the property itself is a stunning former farm dating back to Napoleonic times, so if you can drag yourself away from the court there’s much to enjoy. Check out the property listing on cottages4you.

Milbourne Cottage, Tuckenhay Mill  in  Bow Creek, nr. Totnes

Only serious sports fans – and those seeking unrivalled relaxation – need apply to the properties at Tuckenhay Mill. These stunning listed holiday homes are set around an old paper mill and boast a wealth of options to ensure a fantastic stay. Tennis fans will enjoy the all-weather court, but there are a number of other options, including 60-ft outdoor swimming pool, superb indoor leisure complex with two heated swimming pools, Jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms and drench shower, gymnasium, sports hall with badminton and kids’ play area; pool and snooker tables, short mat bowls, croquet lawn and 20 acres of greens. We’re exhausted after just typing that! Check out the property listing on cottages4you.

Wynnstay Hall  in  Nr. Ruabon, Llangollen

Our last cottage offers the chance to take part in a traditional game of tennis while relaxing in a quintessential British holiday property. The great hall is Wynnstay’s centrepiece, and the accommodation there has been completely designed around it. After enjoying a game of tennis, or 5-a-side football, you can enjoy the games room, cinema, bar, views of the surrounding mountains and Capability Brown sculpted gardens. Or you could just sit down and enjoy a meal with up to 19 other happy holidaymakers! Check out the property listing on cottages4you.

Summer of Sports – 5 cottages for cyclists

Warmer weather and Bradley Wiggins’ heroic performance across the Channel over the past few weeks seem to have heralded a resurgence in cycling’s popularity. We noticed it on Monday morning: Scores of cyclists welcomed the new week by setting off in the saddle. We’ve also seen a marked increase in submissions for the upcoming ‘Ride with Brad’ cycling sportive through the hills of Pendle – so don’t get too comfy on those laurels, Wiggo; we’ve a few cottages4you staff who fancy giving you a run for your jersey!

So if 2012 can be called the Summer of Sports, you could just as easily give it the ‘Summer of Cycling’ moniker. And unlike some of the other sports taking place this season, all you need is a cycle and helmet to get out there and start enjoying it. But if you’re all saddled up with nowhere to go, we’re going to recommend a few of our favourite featured cottages for a summer cycle below.

The Stables  in  Tawstock, Barnstaple

The Tarka Trail is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most popular cycling routes. This 50km network of footpaths and cycle paths follows the route taken by the titular hero of Henry Williamson’s incredibly popular novel. Expect to experience a variety of Devon’s most beautiful terrain, including wooded valleys and coastal paths. Unlike Tarka, however, you can rest and recuperate in the fantastic Stables in Tawstock. This beautifully airy south facing barn offers a wonderful mix of style and comfort and is perfect for larger groups of cyclists. Check out the property listing on cottages4you.

The Hollies  in  Bowness-on-Windermere

More off-road experiences can be enjoyed at Grizedale Forest in the Lake District. This challenging off-road network offers a fantastic off-road trail and some amazing works of art – so you can soak up some culture while you soak up the sights. But despite the incredible surrounding beauty, Grizedale is perhaps better known for its challenging terrain, so you’ll need somewhere incredibly comfortable to relax afterwards. The Hollies more than fits the bill. Tucked away on a quiet road, The Hollies is a spacious Victorian family home situated in the heart of Windermere, within walking distance of the lake and marina offering sailing, water sports and swimming – if you fancy an equally active unwind! Check out the property listing on cottages4you.

Falicon, nr. Nice

Warmer climes, and many more cycling options, can be found at the village of Falicon near Nice. Twelve routes set off from the village, varying in length from 3 to 30km, and in difficulty from very easy to advanced. This stunning poolside property offers incredible views of your surroundings, so you can choose where you’re going to conquer next! Nice is 12km away, while Cannes is a little further at 48km. Monaco is 21km while the Italian border is just 32km from the property. If you’re not the adventurous sort we’re sure this delightful light and airy, air-conditioned studio villa will provide adequate comfort – and you can always take a few laps of the pool! Check out the property listing on cottages4you.

Chez Chamberlin, Prades, Pyrénées-Orientales

More continental comfort can be found at Chez Chamberlin. Equidistant from the Med and the mountains, the surrounding area boasts a welcome amount of variety for the holidaying cyclist – not to mention a wonderful array of spectacular scenery to enjoy. Bikes can be hired just 5 km from the property, which may come in handy as you will also find bakeries, patisseries, chocolate shops, restaurants and bars only a few minutes away! If you get saddle sore there are plenty of other activities to try in the surrounding area, including tennis, canyoning, kayaking and white water rafting. There’s also a lovely pool with diving board at the property. Check out the property listing on cottages4you.

La Source  in  Thônes, Haute-Savoie

If you fancy becoming ‘King of the Mountains’ then we highly recommend a trip to La Source in Thônes for some high-altitude exploring. The surrounding Aravis mountain range provides some wonderful snow-sports in the winter months but from May onwards there’s plenty of challenging terrain to explore from the saddle. Both road cyclists and mountain bikers are catered for in the Aravis region with plenty of challenges to suit both disciplines. If you’d prefer a more relaxing exploration you could always take a ski-lift to the summit before enjoying a relaxed ride downhill to La Source, where you can check out your mountain route from the comfort of the large balcony. Check out the property listing on cottages4you.