A Bubbling Business for Local Home Owner

CottageA local businesswoman has launched a new high-end holiday property in the Llandrindod Wells area in time for the peak summer months.

Jayne Wright and her husband built the property, Heighleighs, in Crossgates twenty years ago and it’s been home ever since. They recently made the decision to convert the property into a holiday let.

Having lived in the area for such a long time, Jayne is well placed to discuss it’s attraction to holiday makers and is keen to bring visitors into her home patch. She said: “The position and views of the property are wonderful and Mid Wales is very well situated to access the coast and many local attractions and beauty spots; the Elan Valley, the Brecon Beacons and Cardigan Bay are all within an hour’s drive”.

CottageThe area is also a great spot to enjoy some of the country’s most notable wildlife, and Jayne believes this is also a real draw. She continued: “The property over looks rural hillside and gives the opportunity to look at a wide variety of birds and wildlife such as rabbits, squirrels and the occasional fox. The area is famous for its Red Kites and they can be seen daily flying over the house.”

The property has been awarded an impressive four star status by letting agency cottages4you. One of the more luxurious features include an en-suite Jacuzzi and a hot tub in the garden. Jayne commented: “People love the hot tub and being able to relax outside whilst enjoying the wonderful views is quite an experience.”

cottages4you regional manager Debbie  DeCroo  said: “We’re  delighted to be able to offer this excellent holiday property  within our portfolio. The quality, attention  to detail and  consideration to the needs of our guests  is testament to the hard work of Jayne and her husband. We hope that it will attract plenty of visitors to the region who can enjoy the area and its picturesque landscapes in luxury.”

Home Run for Highlands Local Entrepreneur

A Highlands property owner is celebrating a successful start to her new tourism venture. Tracey Stewart has kick-started her new holiday letting profession with over four months-worth of bookings already, despite only opening in March.

When Tracey and her family decided that they needed to leave their home of ten years, they found themselves unable to part with their prized property. So they decided to renovate and preserve the cottage themselves and pursue the route of self-catering holiday rental and opened Snookie’s Cottage (Property Reference: 29360) to the public.

The unusual property name comes from the nickname Tracey was given by her grandfather when she was young. She believes these personal touches have been one of the reasons behind the property’s soaring booking figures, with 19 bookings already made in the first four months.

Tracey said: “I do believe that attention to detail is important so I put a lot of effort in delivering the highest quality product to provide the perfect stay for my guests. I’ve had a lot of advice from my regional manager Lora, who has been able to fill in any gaps in my experience.

“So far I have been lucky enough to have guests from a wide variety of places throughout the UK and I like to think that I am contributing to the enjoyment of their holidays in some small way and enhancing their experience of being here in the Highlands.”

cottages4you regional manager Lora Morrison added: “We’re always delighted to see our properties have such stand-out booking figures and to see Snookie’s Cottage do so well in its first few weeks is testament to the comfort and character of the property and to Tracey’s hard work.

“The Highlands remain a very popular region for cottages4you, with holiday-makers drawn to the spectacular scenery and the warm welcome, providing a great opportunity for local property owners as Tracey has proved. We look forward to meeting owners both already with us, and hopefully some potential additions at our stand at the Royal Highland Show this year”.

Serving up a Holiday Delight

CottageThe menu is definitely changing for local chef, Sue Fergus as she launches her first venture into holiday letting.

Crown House, which was built in 1804 by Napoleon’s family as the first Catholic church for worship in Falmouth, is a beautiful three-storey, waterfront, period property, now available through holiday letting agency cottages4you.

But Sue won’t be ignoring her 35 years of expertise as guests staying at the property will be offered the chance to book her for a personal dinner party serving tasty regional delicacies.

Cottagecottages4you regional manager for Cornwall, Linda West said: “We currently have a great selection of properties in the Cornwall region and are thrilled that Crown House has joined our portfolio. It is a beautiful property that we’ve added to our luxury collection and we’re sure it’s going to be a huge hit with our customers, especially with the delicious dishes Sue will be serving up!”

It’s not the first time cottages4you has partnered up with a chef. The company is currently offering a collection of simple recipes, created by chefs across the UK, to inspire holidaymakers enjoying a self-catering stay in properties such as Crown House.  Each recipe uses the same five ingredients as a base plus one locally sourced regional speciality to show just how versatile a few basics can be.

Crown House, Falmouth (Property Reference: TPC) is available at www.cottages4you.co.uk

To finds out more about the recipes, please visit http://blog.cottages4you.co.uk/2014/08/04/fabulous-flavours-from-a-shoebox/

Two’s Company, Three’s a Success!

Sherburn resident Joan Coombs is celebrating her continued success in the holiday letting industry by adding a third large property to her portfolio. Her latest ‘celebration house’ will have six bedrooms and feature an infinity swimming pool.

The proud owner of two successful holiday lets in the area, Joan first spotted a gap in the market 16 years ago. She decided to turn two cottages she owned (part of a converted granary) into holiday lets. Ten years later, with the properties in need of refurbishment, she decided it was time for them to undergo a makeover.

Conscious of the favourable location close to the North York Moors National Park, she turned the two initial properties into a single luxury holiday home, Westfield Granary (ref. ISG). With this large property on her hands,sleeping up to 14 people and aimed at larger groups looking for special celebrations and get-togethers, she decided to let it through self-catering specialist English Country Cottages.

It didn’t take long for the property to be fully booked all year long, prompting Joan to look at ways of expanding her business. She decided to renovate another run down property she owned close by. A Grade II listed former farmhouse, Corner Farm (ref. IWG) was too initially comprised of two very run-down properties, which are now joined to accommodate up to 16 guests.

Joan said: “The success of the first two properties has given me the confidence to go a bit more upmarket every time. The third property will be even more luxurious than the first two and will feature an open plan living area, extensive glazing throughout, as well as an infinity pool for guests to enjoy.

“We’ve seen increasing demand in celebrations and reunion houses, so it seemed natural that this property should cater for the same market. Weekend availability at both properties is very limited, with only a few weekends available at each property until 2015.”

Helen Fehler, English Country Cottages regional manager said: “Joan is a very successful owner who’s put in a lot of effort and has already transformed two rundown buildings into something incredibly special and successful. Not only is she running a successful business, but is also very hands-on, applying great attention to detail to ensure her guests have a memorable break together. She has big plans for the site and I’m certain we’ll see it evolving further over the next few years.”

For more information on Westfield Granary and Corner Farm or to book your stay, visit: www.english-country-cottages.co.uk or phone 0845 268 0785 using booking references ISG and IWG.

COTTAGES4YOU NOMINATED FOR A BRITISH TRAVEL AWARD

Earby-based holiday letting agency cottages4you has been named by the British Travel Awards (BTAs) as a nominee for a 2014 travel award.

The organisation is hoping to secure the title of Best UK Holiday Cottage/ Self Catering Booking Company and is one of the largest self-catering agencies in the UK. The company has been based in Earby for 35 years and employs over 450 people in the local area.

With more than 10,000 properties in the UK alone, the company has a wide variety of accommodation in its portfolio, including chocolate box style thatched cottages, windmills and even a converted petrol station!

Nick Rudge, cottages4you managing director, said: “We’re thrilled to have been nominated for a British Travel Award. We pride ourselves on the holiday services we provide and this acknowledgement is testament to all the hard work put in by our staff from those based in head office to those out in every corner of the country.”

BTA’s chief executive Lorraine Barnes Burton said: “cottages4you is to be congratulated on reaching the voting stage of the prestigious British Travel Awards, the largest consumer voted awards programme in the UK. The BTAs winning accolade is the benchmark for excellence when it comes to finding out who really is the best in the business of travel for the UK consumer.”

The winners will be the companies with the most votes – in 2013 over one million votes were cast with the voting process and results scrutinized and audited by independent auditors Deloitte LLP. The winners of the 2014 British Travel Awards will be announced at a ceremony on 26 November at the Battersea Evolution in Battersea Park, London.

Pathway to Success

As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting the South West Coastal Paths, cottages4you is supporting a range of walking books produced by www.culmvalleypublishing.co.uk. The books, created by South West locals Simone Stanbrook-Byrne and James Clancy, offer walkers the chance to explore the wide range of stunning walks available in the region.

Here, Simone tells us how a passion for walking and love of photography were the inspiration she and partner James needed to launch their own publishing company.

Having worked in publishing for many years, on Midsummer’s Day 2010, James Clancy and I decided to start a new venture, combining our enjoyment of the great outdoors with James’ flair for landscape photography. The plan was to create very accurate and user-friendly walking guides which promote the glorious region of England in which we live.

Since then the venture has given rise to 11 new books, mostly covering country walking but with two titles guiding people on walks around West Country towns – something which appeals to those who want to explore but prefer easy walking, less mud and plenty of tea shops! Researching Town Walks in Devon and Town Walks in Cornwall was hugely enjoyable, with lots of attractive and historic towns to include.

The country walking books in the A Dozen Dramatic series were born of a desire to walk into really stunning scenery – the kind of thing James wants to point his camera at. This has resulted in some superb routes, not necessarily too challenging as the drama is in the landscape. Some, inevitably, are rough underfoot, like our absolute favourite which goes through Dartmoor’s awesome (in the true sense of the word) Tavy Cleave. Here the elusive bird, the Ring Ouzel, was an extra treat. Notes on expected birds are included in all the country walks, the wildlife en route being an added attraction. Another big treat was the Lizard Point walk in Cornwall as the Choughs had just fledged. Choughs haunt some spectacular places on the Cornish coast so if there’s any chance of seeing them you know you’ll be in good walking country. A Dozen Dramatics series covers Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset – our Exmoor walk from Simonsbath is one we re-visit many times.

We’ve also written regional guides for different areas of Devon: Circular Walks in Central Devoncovers Mid Devon, away from the moors and coasts where the beautiful, undulating country of Devon’s heartland has much to offer and can sometimes be overlooked. As with all the books, town and country, we include history notes to keep people interested on the way round and recommendations for refreshments. Also in this series are guides for spectacular North Devon and Exmoor, idyllic East Devon with its Jurassic Coast and the tranquil and picturesque South Hams.

Another fun project was to work with other authors and walkers on an edited collection, Favourite Walks in Devon. One of the contributors to this is Adam Hart-Davis, well-known television presenter and photographer extraordinaire, who illustrates his walk with original sketches as well as photos. It was lovely to work alongside all the contributors to this book – people with whom we share a love of walking and the West Country.

All in all, it’s been a fabulous venture, living and working in an area we love so much.  We want to share it with people!

Hales Cottage Hailed a Success for Youth Council

Aldbourne Youth Council (AYC), the award winning charity lead by local children, is celebrating the first anniversary of its holiday letting community business venture.

Hales Cottage, near Marlborough in Wiltshire, is available to holiday let through cottages4you (property reference 28684) and was renovated as part of the pioneering team’s restoration of various buildings in Aldbourne village centre in July 2013.

In its first year, the property has raised more than £6,600 through holiday bookings, which has been reinvested back into their latest project, the Community Junction, and enabled the charity to become a sustainable endeavour for the first time.

Albourne Youth Council is run and managed entirely by children aged 11 years and up with very minimal support by elected adult trustees. It has attracted national acclaim for its inventive approach to engaging young people with local policy and has recently received a Prince of Wales award.

This latest venture into holiday letting has required the young team to take on all responsibilities of running a holiday let, including property renovation and maintenance, gaining valuable business experience and learning new skills in addition to raising funds. Where required, volunteers from within the village have supported their work by providing professional services either discounted or free of charge including an interior designer, painter and decorators, electricians, plumbers and builders.

Chair of Aldbourne Youth Council, 14 year old Amber Phelps, is proud to be part of this enterprising initiative. She said: “The holiday let gives us the opportunity to experience and learn things that aren’t taught in school, as well as develop new skills, such as interior design or how to plan and plant a cottage garden.  Our trustees are always there to guide us if our ideas are a bit too unrealistic!  None of this would be possible without the amazingly generous support of the Kingham Family Trust, who purchased the building for us in the first place and have supported us through the whole project.”

Lynne Currie, cottages4you regional manager said: “The success of Hales Cottage within its first year as a holiday let is testament to the great work of the Aldbourne Youth Council and is a fantastic example of how a community can pull together to provide a valuable amenity not only for the young people involved but also for residents of the wider village. Our guests love to get involved with the idea behind the project and we look forward to welcoming many more over the years ahead.”

Buyers Urged to Do Their Homework on Foreign Holiday Homes

Homeowners have been warned about the need to do their research and exercise caution when buying holiday property abroad.

A second home in France, Spain or Italy is a dream for many people, but many middle-income families who achieved this dream are now facing serious problems. An investigation by the Daily Telegraph has revealed that plummeting holiday home values have caused many holiday homes to become millstones in divorce cases; instead of fighting over who gets the property, separating spouses are battling not to have to take it on.
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Cornwall the Hotspot for Ownership of Second Homes

More than 2.3 million residents of England and Wales have second homes in which they spend more than 30 days each year, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Information obtained in the 2011 Census shows that 1.57 million of these properties are in a different local authority in England and Wales. In total, 11 per cent of these properties are specifically for holiday use. The vast majority (77 per cent) have their primary use for something other than holiday or work, with the main reason being the second addresses of students.
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