Close Icon

A holiday is an experience we all look forward to, offering the chance to break away from the everyday trials and tribulations of the workplace and enjoy some quality time with the family. With the budgets of most families realistically only allowing for one true family holiday each year, it’s important to ensure that it’s a memorable getaway for all family members. If this is something that is on your mind ahead of your cottage holiday in the UK this summer, here’s a handy guide to help to avoid a nightmare getaway.

Keep everyone entertained with a packed itinerary

While you may be more than happy relaxing in the sunshine on a cottage break in Dorset, Wiltshire, Cornwall or other hotspots for UK holidays, there’s every chance that younger members of the family will soon get bored and restless if they are left with nothing to do. A great method to avoid this is by planning an activity for each day during your holiday, whether it be to a local family attraction or even a pleasant walk in the countryside. As well as keeping everyone happy, venturing away from your holiday cottage also allows you to learn more about the area – an aspect that many will agree is of paramount importance when visiting somewhere new.

If you have young children, you can’t go wrong with a visit to an adventure park as the spectrum of rides and experiences on offer are sure to result in sleepy heads on the back seats during the journey home. One great place for all the family is Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, where you can get up close to a range of wild animals! They also run plenty of family-friendly events throughout the year, which is particularly handy when holidaying during the school break.

Wiltshire’s Stonehenge is another great place to take the kids, who are sure to be fascinated by this mysterious prehistoric monument. The attraction recently unveiled its new visitor experience, which includes a museum, visitor centre, shop and café, making it possible to learn more about Stonehenge during a visit than ever before.

As a swim is almost a prerequisite of any cottage holiday in the UK, a trip to the beach will always prove to be a winner. Providing you locate a lifeguard-patrolled beach nearby, it offers the chance for the children to safely play in the water while you still get that sunbathing you long for. If you are keen on a visit to the seaside, click here to find the closest beach to your English country cottage.

With the UK being famous for its unpredictable weather, you should always offer an alternative plan should a sudden downpour scupper any plans for heading to the beach. This is where all-weather attractions are unbeatable, such as the Newlyn Art Gallery in Cornwall, which has been bringing the best in contemporary art to the south west for almost 120 years. While the host of free craft activities on offer will keep even the liveliest of children entertained, the wealth of exhibits could also provide the perfect inspiration for a budding art student looking to reflect their holiday experiences into art for their portfolio. As museums and art galleries are almost always free, it serves as a great cost effective day out while staying in any of the nearby countryside cottages in the UK.

Research the area prior to your visit

If you want to drop your bags and set off on an exploration straight away, finding out more about the area beforehand will certainly put you in good stead to do just this; there’s nothing worse than wasting time trying to work out where you are or, more importantly, where you want to go.

This aspect of pre-planning is especially important when deciding where you want to eat and after a long day of family fun; when hungry mouths need feeding the last thing you’ll want to do is traipse around trying to find the ideal restaurant. While you may want your family to try something completely new during your self-catering cottage holidays, finding familiar food is key to appeasement as it means that fussy eaters won’t go hungry. It also means that restaurants can be contacted ahead of a visit, which could be particularly important for family members with special diets or food allergies.

It’s well worth checking out the websites of local tourist boards as these are often packed full of useful information and event guides that will make planning a holiday a breeze. If holidaying in the South West, Visit Wiltshire, Visit Dorset and Visit Cornwall are excellent places to start for finding activity ideas and more.

Make sure you don’t leave anything behind

After identifying local attractions to keep the family entertained, the next thing to consider is to make sure you leave no stone unturned on your holiday packing list. While the worries about forgetting passports or plane tickets can be left at home during a cottage holiday in the UK, there are plenty of everyday items you might not think about that could cause an issue. One of these, for example, is the phone charger, a humble device that can always be relied upon to keep your phone running through the week ahead; it is quite likely that you’ll need it during a holiday, especially if you get separated! Another is the toothbrush and although these can be purchased at a local supermarket, you’ll probably only realise its missing when you’re in your pyjamas.

There’s also like suntan lotion, beachwear and towels, and while the latter may be offered at your UK cottage property, there’s no harm in taking a few in preparation.