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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

Most Remote Music Festivals

Ullapool coastline

Ullapool coastline

Tiree Music Festival

Location: Tiree Island, Scotland

Date: 17-19 July


For most of the year, the tiny island of Tiree is home to 650 people, and at least as many cows. But for three days each July, the population triples as hundreds of music fans arrive for the award-winning Tiree Music Festival.

This year’s headliners include Scottish rock band The Fratellis, Celtic rockers Manran, and local legends Skerryvore, who just so happen to be the festivals founders.

Tiree is known as the ‘Hawaii of the North’ due to its white sandy beaches and unusual abundance of sunshine all year round. Stay a few days and enjoy the local surfing, and local hospitality, then do a spot of island hopping around the Inner Hebrides and take in some of Scotland’s most stunning remote vistas.

How do you get there…? There is a daily ferry service from Oban to Tiree which takes approximately four hours. Alternatively, FlyBe operates an infrequent Glasgow-Tiree service, which offer some incredible aerial views of the Scottish coastline and Inner Hebrides. Between 15-21 July, festival representatives will be waiting to meet you at the harbour with information on the stage locations and how to get around. You can hire a bike from around £10 per day, and explore the island at your leisure in between gigs.

Monmouth Festival

Location: Monmouth, Wales

Date: 24 July – 1 August


Set on the edges of the Forest of Dean, in the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the rural town of Monmouth is full of countryside charm. It’s not easy to get to, but that’s part of the appeal for festival visitors! The locals still speak Welsh (despite being just two miles west of border with England), and the Monmouth Festival is a proud celebration of Wales’ culture and music.

Check out some local talent at the Busking Festival on the 25 July, and dance to Valley rockers The Pollen Count and A Fool and His Money. Or simply use the week-long festivities as your chance to get to know a hidden yet culturally rich corner of the UK, in all its glory.

How do you get there…? The nearest train stations are in Abergavenny (15 miles to the west) and Chepstow (16 miles to the south), although there is a limited bus service which runs through the Wye Valley, stopping off at Monmouth. If you are driving to the festival, take the scenic route via the M48, which will take you across the original Severn Bridge.

Corbiere lighthouse, Jersey

Corbiere lighthouse, Jersey

Jersey Live

Location: Jersey, Channel Islands

Date: 5-6 September


The Channel Islands are a haven for anyone who craves peace, quiet, and nature. The island of Jersey is famous for its white sandy beaches and hidden seaside coves, as well as its rolling hills and large swathes of countryside. More than half of the island is agricultural, and you could walk for hours without meeting another soul.

It is a truly beautiful place, so it’s no wonder that Jersey Live manages to attract such a stellar lineup of artists every year.  George Ezra, Palma Violets, Clean Bandit and Slaves are just a few of the bands who will be taking the stage in Trinity, approximately 6km north of the island’s capital St Helier.

How do you get there…? There are regular flights into Jersey from across the UK. Alternatively, why not hire a boat and sail into one of the island’s many ports to kick off your island stay in true Jersey style.


Location: Ullapool, Scotland

Date: 25-26 September


Loopallu prides itself on being the most remote festival on the calendar and it may have a point… The tiny music festival is situated in the coastal village of Ullapool, 60 miles from the nearest town.

But this tiny village comes alive at the end of September, when it becomes a temporary home for some of the UK’s most acclaimed bands. The organisers don’t tend to reveal the year’s line-up until the very last minute in order to avoid oversubscription (the town can only handle so many music fans), but previous years have seen headliners such as The Stranglers, Ash, Shed Seven, Mumford and Sons, Paolo Nutini, and Franz Ferdinand, performing alongside local folk heroes such as the Ullapool Pipe Band. For music fans, it is an unparalleled opportunity to hear world-class music in an intimate, rural setting.

How do you get there…? The nearest transport hub is Inverness, 57 miles to the south. You can arrive here by air, sea or train, and start making your way north to Ullapool – it is one of the few settlements on the North West coast, so it will be well signposted.

Isle of Wight Festival

Location: Isle of Wight

Date: 9-12 June


It may be a small island, but don’t underestimate the Isle of Wight’s pulling power. Between 1968 (the first year of the festival) and 1970, it played host to Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Doors, and other 60s legends. This year’s festival claimed one of the biggest headline acts in the world – Fleetwood Mac. Blur, Pharrell Williams, The Black Keys and The Prodigy also performed to a delirious crowd of more than 50,000 people.

Festival fever takes over the entire island, so this is your chance to live out your dreams of dancing in the streets, singing on the hilltops, and frolicking on the beaches without anybody raising an eyebrow.

How do you get there…? Around the time of the festival, ferries leave regularly from Southampton, Portsmouth, Lymington and Southsea. When you arrive on the island, festival reps will be at hand to guide you to the site and give you directions to your accommodation.


Location: The Hebrides, Scotland

Date: 15-18 July


HebCelt is unlike most other festivals in many ways. For a start, it is situated in the remote Outer Hebrides of Scotland, and the music venues are scattered across a wild stretch of islands including Stornoway, Lewis and Harris.

Lews Castle in Stornoway is where you’ll find the main stage, which this year will welcome the likes of Idlewild and Afro Celt Sound System. But diehard HebCelt fans come here for the traditional Celtic folk music and the unique island hospitality. Get your bearings in Stornoway, before hitching a ride on a fishing boat to one of the neighbouring islands and discovering your new favourite trad band.

How do you get there…? FlyBe operates 92 flights per week into Stornoway from cities across the UK. But to really get a sense of your location, take the ferry from Ullapool (which is itself a remote festival town) or Skye. There are also inter-island ferry services between Ardmhor in Barra and Eriskay in South Uist and from Berneray in North Uist to Leverburgh and Harris.

Cottage of the Week – Suite Three at Witton Hall, County Durham

One of 4 properties at the location, Suite Three (ref MWD) is an apartment situated directly behind Witton Hall (once listed in The Times as one of the top 100 houses in the country) and is surrounded by the grounds, gardens and a shared hot tub. Leisure facilities include a gymnasium with weights and cardio vascular equipment and a sauna looking out on to a dance floor with a sparkling ceiling consisting of hundreds of multi-coloured lights. Guests can also find a heated swimming pool with wave system and wet bar. Sleeps 2. More info on our website.

Best UK Festivals for Families 2015

(Photo by Camp Bestival)

(Photo by Camp Bestival)

When you are young, free and single, the idea of bringing children to a music festival sounds like hell on earth. After all, who wants to spend their festival dragging a pram through mud, or hunting for toddlers in a mosh pit?

Well, luckily, this is no longer the only option. While you are still very welcome to try to keep track of your kids on a rainy weekend in Glastonbury, it doesn’t have to be like that.

The current crop of family-friendly festivals have managed to strike the perfect balance between ‘grown up fun’ and ‘kid-appropriate’. Think watersports, dressing up boxes, kite displays, miniature railways, and cardboard cities; alongside coffee stands, cocktail bars, big-name headliners and world class DJs.

This year, there is a huge range of kid-friendly festivals to choose from, all offering a unique blend of the creative and the quirky. Take a look at our top seven choices, and prepare yourselves for a summer staycation which actually promises to be fun for all the family.

 Beautiful Days

Location: Escot Park, Devon

Date: 21-23 August


This award-winning festival just keeps getting better and better. This year, Beautiful Days boasts another eclectic line up featuring the likes of House of Pain, Happy Mondays, Gogol Bordello and Wilko Johnson, as well as all the usual fringe activities and some of the best children’s entertainment on the UK festival scene. The Children’s Area at Beautiful Days is curated by the Majical Youth Theatre and features workshops, funfair rides, music, comedy, theatre and lots of other activities for children of all ages. What’s more, because the kids’ area is situated between the Main Stage and the Big Top, you can plan your perfect family day with minimal trekking.

Don’t miss… The Circus of Horrors – it’s too scary for younger kids but teenagers will love the gory spectacle of watching a man pull a sword out of his throat.

Cornbury Festival

Location: The Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire

Date: 10-12 July


Cornbury Festival describes itself as “civilised, charming and irresistible”, and it’s not wrong…  This is a quintessentially English festival, complete with bunting, cider and Morris dancers, who weave through the crowd when you least expect to see them. The laid-back, homespun vibe makes it the perfect place for families of all ages, and although the Children’s Zone is expertly kitted out with balloon shows, fancy dress, circus skills and musical workshops, the chances are that they’ll be just as entranced by the bright lights of the Disco Shed, headline acts such as Lulu, Razorlight or Tom Jones, and the roaming entertainers.

Don’t miss…the food! This is one of the few festivals who actually take their catering seriously, and a sponsorship deal with Caffe Nero means you can get a mean cappuccino (or babyccino) first thing in the morning.

The Deer Shed

Location: Baldersby Park, North Yorkshire

Date: 24-26 July


This festival was dreamed up by a group of parents who were sick of the sub-par entertainment on offer for kids at other festivals. At The Deer Shed, it’s all about the kids – we’re talking eight tonnes of play sand (and a whole shedload of buckets and spades), a soft play area, a cardboard city (yes, a cardboard city), and a huge sports field bursting with activities. There’s even a milk-warming centre for the babies.

This might be a child’s dream festival, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything for the parents! This year’s headliners include a rare appearance by cult folk singer John Grant, as well as other contemporary folk favourites such as James Yorkston, Emmy the Great and Damian Dempsey. Billy Bragg headlines on the opening night, while The Unthanks close the festival on Sunday evening.

This year’s theme is ‘Up in the Air’, so keep your eyes on the skies and you never know what you might see!

Don’t miss… the cardboard city. Did we mention the cardboard city?

(Photo by Lakefest)

(Photo by Lakefest)


Location: Croft Farm Waterpark, Gloucestershire

Date: 7-9 August


It’s a festival at a waterpark – what more could you ask for? While the parents will be attracted to the stellar line up (this year’s headliners include Ash, Embrace, Billy Bragg and The Magic Numbers), the kids will also have plenty to be excited about. Expect storytelling, face-painting, circus acts, gladiator dueling, bungee running, arts and crafts and the ever-popular Lakefest Treasure Hunt. But the real draw at Lakefest is – you guessed it – the lake. Kids (and adults) can take part in all sorts of watersports, including banana boat rides, aqua zorbing, kayaking, sailing and 6-man katakanuing.

Bring a sense of adventure and all the swimming gear you find.

Don’t miss…zorbing on the lake. The most fun you can have on the water while staying completely dry.

Camp Bestival

Location: Lulworth Castle, Dorset

Date: 30 July – 2 August


The original family-friendly festival is still hitting it out of the park when it comes to themes and activities. This year the theme is ‘Into the Wild’, and the Camp Bestival crew are taking it very seriously indeed. At the Dingly Dell, families will learn basic survival skills together, including how to make a fire in the wilderness, how to identify trees, and how to build a home for faeries.

There is a comedy club for kids, a range of theatrical workshops, a soft play area for the tots, and a series of great wilderness-inspired films such as Madagascar and Up. The Den caters specifically to teenagers aged 13-17, and includes an exclusive Q&A with Professor Green, plus live performances and DJ sets from the likes of Rob Da Bank.

Apparently there are also a few bands playing on the main stage. But let’s face it, the most fun is to be had running around the site in a home-made owl costume, while wearing a leaf mask and looking for faeries.

Don’t miss… The Jungle Book Bedtime Story – read by celebrity guests such as Sara Cox, Michaela Strachan and Dick n Dom. The perfect way to end a busy day, no matter how old you are.


Location: Tarnside Farm, near Aspatria, Cumbria

Date: 28-30 August


Set along the coastal edge of the Lake District, Solfest is a haven of tranquility. Between storming sets by Maximo Park, The Joy Formidable, KT Tunstall and The South, festival goers can relax in the Healing Gardens, trek through the beautiful surroundings or catch a spot of teddy parachuting with the kids. The kite displays are a popular draw, so bring your own home-made creation if you want to get involved!

Don’t miss… The Solfest Community Musical – a nature-themed performance by local residents that everyone is welcome to join. Just make sure you turn up for rehearsals on the Saturday, and be there with your instruments in hand for the Sunday afternoon performance.

Chilled in a Field Festival

Location: Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum, East Sussex

Date: 31 July – 2 August


Chilled in a Field won the prestigious gold award by Festival Kidz last year, marking it out as one of the UK’s best family-friendly festivals. This year, it looks set to build on its success with a “fantastical” offering of fun, games, music and dancing. Why not start the day off with a spot of glitter wrestling, followed by a session on the tree-top zipwire? Then get the kids ready for bed at the ‘No Sleep Til Bed Time Family Disco’, where the dress code is simply ‘pyjamas’ and everyone has to dance and dance until they’re ready for bed.

For the parents, there is a coffee-tasting workshop, a well-stocked bar (which also offers cashback), live music all day, and a host of DJs and video artists lined up to keep the party going all night long.

Don’t miss… the Miniature Railway – a tiny purpose-built track which takes adventurers of all ages on a 20-minute tour of the beautiful grounds. Just watch out for the geese!

For a better night’s sleep take a look at our featured holiday accommodation near to the UK’s best family festivals