Cottage of the Week – Captain Cook’s Cottage, Seaview, Isle of Wight

Nestled near the seafront in the delightful fishing village of Seaview on the Isle’s northern coast, this charming holiday cottage is the perfect place to relax, unwind and soak in the sights whilst you breathe the wonderful sea air.

Captain Cook’s Cottage is one of  several family-sized holiday properties set within the same development. Enjoy cycle rides, bird-watching, gentle walks, exploring coves and beaches, a host of nearby attractions and the quaint streets and gentle ambience of the village itself.

Sleeping 8, Captain Cook’s Cottage is the ideal retreat for larger families and groups – and when you factor in the other properties sleeping between 4 and 8, you’ll find the perfect setting for family gatherings and celebrations.

View more on the property listing on cottages4you.

Cottage of the Week – Apple Tree Cottage, Isle of Wight

If you’re after the ultimate, idyllic village break then we’d like to recommend our new featured property of the week on the Isle of Wight. This charming Grade II listed thatched cottage is located along the village road, close to the local shop, post office and pub. It’s been lovingly restored and modernised to offer homely comfort – with beams and ornamental fire surrounds – alongside more modern conveniences. Sleeps 6 and 1 pet. Find more info and pricing on the property’s listing on our website.


Mr. Turner’s Britain: 5 Destinations that Shaped the Artist

Timothy Spall as J.M.W. Turner

With Mr. Turner currently earning great notices and a retrospective of his late work exhibiting at The Tate, the life and work of artist Joseph Mallord William Turner has never been more talked about. But with a career spanning over 60 years involving the creation of countless sketches and paintings in several different countries, understanding where to begin an appreciation of Turner’s life and work can be a daunting prospect.

With Turner’s current prominence in mind, we’re decided to look at a few key works from his life and suggest where might be the best place to appreciate some of his works: the locations where they were painstakingly created.  As a renowned “painter of light”, Turner is regarded as the master of capturing the beauty, majesty and drama of history and the natural world so you can expect unparalleled beauty, stunning scenes and a few surprises as you embark on the Turner trail.

1. Otley and the Wharfe Valley, Yorkshire


The beautiful Wharfe Valley

Turner’s dramatic portrayal of Hannibal crossing the Alps has its origins in the unlikely setting of a snowstorm rolling in over the Chevin, a rocky bluff that crests over the pretty Yorkshire market town of Otley. The artist spent a lot of time painting at nearby Farnely Hall and was a good friend of the Ramsden Fawkes family who live there to this day. Visits to the hall are by invitation only so we would recommend a walk up the Chevin ridge to marvel at the stunning views of the Wharfe Valley that inspired Turner and prompted him to return and paint throughout his life.

2. The Needles, the Isle of Wight


Yachts off the Isle of Wight

Turner’s first exhibited oil painting at the prestigious Royal Academy was Fishermen at Sea, a moonlit portrait of men working tirelessly against crashing waves whilst the Isle’s dramatic Needles rise up out of the murk in the distance. Visitors to the west coast of the Isle who have marvelled at the craggy Needles rising from Alum Bay won’t be surprised that Turner was so inspired by them. In fact, the artists found a lot more inspiration in and around the Isle with fantastic portraits of Cowes, yachts at the Regatta, Freshwater Bay, Carisbrooke Castle and more still exhibited to this day.

3. Margate and Kent

White cliffs of Dover

The Kent coast was another location Turner would return to throughout his life. The artist would hone his skills as a young boy capturing local landmarks in pen, ink and watercolour. In fact, it was here that Turner first saw the sea, a subject that, like Margate itself, would recur throughout his life. Margate’s Regency flourishes were irreparably damaged during World War II, so filmmakers had to recreate Turner’s time in Kent elsewhere. Today his life and times in Margate are celebrated at the Turner Contemporary Gallery, and you may still find a few of his subjects still standing and awaiting your admiration!

4. Wales


Caernarfon Castle: one of Turner’s Welsh subjects

Turner seemed to have a particular affinity for Wales and the Welsh landscape. Growing up in London in the late 18th and early 19th century, he was immersed in the creative atmosphere of the Piazza at Coven Garden – a hub of artists’ studios. The work of one particular painter would have a formative effect on Turner, Welshman Richard Wilson. Turner set out on a pilgrimage to the artist’s homeland and there would fall in love with the history and large array of stunning topographical features set within a relatively close space. During Turner’s five visits to Wales he would capture castles, lakes, mountains, cliffs and coasts all with an unerring focus on the rich majesty and natural drama they contained – a feature still evidenced in the delightful Welsh landscape today.

5. Twickenham, Richmond upon Thames


The Thames from Richmond Hill

Turner received formal training in architectural drawing in his early years, and allegedly wished to train as an architect if he had the chance to have his time again. The artist’s structural paintings are a good indicator of his affinity for architectural design, but perhaps his greatest achievement in the field is Sandycombe Lodge, the Turner House in Twickenham. The home was built to Turner’s specifications and would allow himself, and his father ‘Old William’ a refuge from the pressures of London. Sketchbooks at the Tate in London show Turner’s design extend to the plot surrounding the home, which his father would later spend his days tending to. Turner himself was keen on exploring the surrounding area taking boat rides on the Thames, walking the towpaths admiring the views and taking guests on picnics.

Cottage of the Week – Whitecroft Farmhouse, Isle of Wight

Looking for rustic charm, relaxation and a lovely location from which to explore the Isle of Wight Area of  Outstanding Natural Beauty? Look no further than our new featured property. Whitecroft Farmhouse is a beautiful 17th-century detached red brick farmhouse with a host of traditional trappings and a wealth of contemporary comfort. It sleeps 11 and 2 pets, has Xmas availability and a customer Reevoo rating of 9.4/10. Find more info and make a booking on our website.

The UK’s Scariest Halloween Attractions

Blackgang Area 5 at night Stegosaurus

Ghosts and dinosaurs team up to make the Isle of Wight terrifying this Halloween!

With the October half term coming fast around the corner and Halloween shortly afterwards, now’s a better time than ever to find the best scary sights up and down the country to celebrate. Halloween is a festival with something for everyone – whether you enjoy witches and wizards, ghost walking, or jump frights at every corner, attractions tend to offer several events all at once to accommodate families and horror fans alike this time of year. We’ve taken a look through some of the more interesting sights and sounds of this spooky time of year and compiled them in the list below. Whilst you’re deciding what you want to do for Halloween, take a look at travel and hotel deals in the area to see if making your day trip a week’s break is worth it.

Isle of Fright – Isle of Wight
October 25th – November 2nd 2014

The Isle of Wight has a reputation for being haunted, and has been named as one of the Top 10 Scariest Islands in the world by paranormal experts. It’s therefore the perfect place to host the annual Isle of Fright festival, celebrating all things Halloween – there’s plenty to do to suit all ages and in fact many local hotels are offering good half term deals, meaning you can turn a day out into a supernatural break. In fact, South West Trains are running an October half term discount, allowing buyers to save 50% on adult and child off-peak day returns.

Some of the highlights of the event include Spooky Castle at Carisbrooke Castle; reputed to be full of ghosts and phantoms, children and adults alike will have fun with creepy crafts and going ghost hunting – there’s even a prize for the best costume! With Dark Nights celebrating the end of British Summer Time on October 25th, the cliffs at Shanklin will play host to a beautiful illumination show. Finally, the Halloween Walk at Ventnor Botanic Gardens on October 31st is sure to have to perfect blend of daytime beauty and night time horrors – the same walk on November 1st finishes with a spectacular bonfire to finish.

House of Halloween – Dickens’ World, Kent
October 31st – November 2nd 2014

What better place to spend Halloween than in the world of the king of ghost stories? Charles Dickens’ works feature some of the most famous phantoms to grace literature, and the House of Halloween attraction this year promises to be as frightening as any novel. The attraction combines two separate events – The House That Jack Built, and The Ministry, which are mazes where participants can walk through and observe the action, whilst being terrified by live actors in the various roles.

Full details of the events are under wraps so as not to spoil the surprise, but previous years’ events have been raved about in both local and national press. However, the organisers have released some details about both events to whet the appetite of those eager to go. The House That Jack Built tells the tale of an old house inhabited by cutthroat convicts by the order of a wealthy benefactor, known only as ‘The Man In Black’. Meanwhile, if you choose to explore The Ministry you’ll encounter the mysterious brotherhood of the Crimson Wax, who are preparing for their annual Ceremony of the Crimson Cull in the heart of the Ministry. But be wary; those who witness this ceremony tend to disappear without a trace…

Halloween at York Maze
October 17th – November 1st

We don’t know about you but the thought of getting lost in a maze fills us with fear at the best of times, so to try and attempt to navigate the UK’s biggest maze in the dark surrounded by 5 unique ‘haunted attractions’ makes us a little reluctant to book tickets for ‘Hallowscream’. If you’re braver than us then the nights between 17th October and 1st November are probably just the ticket to get your pulses racing.

Halloween days at York Maze are a little more family friendly with pumpkin carving, treasure hunts, a haunted house, face painting, crazy golf, a special maze attraction and much more to entertain younger visitors. Halloween by Day runs from 25th October until 1st November.

Blackpool Tower Dungeon & Pasaje del Terror – Blackpool
Year Round

Blackpool Tower Dungeon is probably one of the most famous attractions on this list, and for good reason – it’s had rave reviews from critics and visitors alike, and can give your Halloween holidays a hint of horrible history. The attraction is a live show that covers over one thousand years of history in the Lancashire region and delving into some of the legends about the area – there’s even an exciting drop rid in the attraction where you might not expect it. It’s a great attraction for those with children as it’s an educational and funny exhibit for the family.

As for the Pasaje del Terror, this Spanish attraction is famous across the world with branches in Barcelona, Madrid, Tokyo and Rome – however, the Blackpool attraction in the deepest basement of the Casino is one you certainly don’t want to miss. Like other exhibits on this list, you’ll enter a walkthrough maze with live actors, but it’s filled with the most famous horror characters from fiction, rather than history – it might be the best chance of catching all your old favourites in the flesh, but be wary of jump scares!

All of these events are easy to arrange and visit, as they request payment on the door and can be visited to suit you. They can also be planned into a much longer trip should you wish, meaning that they can be the perfect half term break if you have children. However, if you’re already planning for Halloween 2015 without youngsters (or perhaps with teenagers) then might we suggest one final attraction to whet your appetite…

Zombie Experiences – Across the UK
Year Round

If you’re looking for something unique and thrilling for the holidays, it might be worth looking up Zombie Experiences to take the next step into the world of horror. These experiences are different from the usual live mazes and walk through shows listed above, as it requires audience participation – you’ll be right in the thick of action, fighting zombies and trying to become the last survivors in your group experience. It’s a great activity for either couples or larger groups who want to connect and become closer, but the organisers are just as welcoming to single runners as well.

The experience can vary depending on where in the country you’re based and what sort of activities you prefer. For example, the Zombie Experience in Reading is based in an abandoned shopping mall, after a mysterious attack cut communications from the rest of the world and you must investigate what has happened to the survivors. However, for those who prefer camping in the open air, a trip to The Desolate Lakes in Cumbria could be a future adventure to consider. Believed to be starting up next year, this one is a full camping weekend with additional zombie hunting on the side – perfect for those who love the great outdoors and the sound of axes in the morning.

The places on these experiences fill up very quickly – although there are a few places left for this Halloween and you might get lucky, it may be best to consider preparing for this experience next Halloween – at least you’ll have plenty of time to prepare!

Check out our website if you fancy booking a holiday cottage this Halloween.  We offer castles, cabins and an assortment of historic hideaways to make for a very memorable stay!

Your suggestions…

Cottage of the Week – Mulberry Rest, nr. Sandown, Isle of Wight

A lovely cottage for 2 surrounded by glorious views of the Downs, an abundance of wonderful wildlife and excellent attractions – Mulberry Rest is proving to be a very popular property but still has a few weeks available over summer! Find out more and make a booking on our website: