Log fires, snug sofas, toasty beds and quiet, starry nights, it’s no wonder so many of you are choosing a West Country cottage holiday this Christmas – a home from home.
Whilst we’re thrilled to be welcoming back returning guests for the ‘jolly season’, we’re also looking forward to greeting some brand-new visitors to our cosy Toad Hall Cottages, and have, in the meantime, put together this seasonal stress-busting guide to help make sure your Christmas ‘hols’ run smoothly…
Snug as a Bug
Many of our holiday cottages have stylish wood burners or traditional open fires to hunker down in front of with the family on a chilly winter’s evening. With the chimney swept and the ash pan empty, it’s time to light the kindling, load the grate with seasoned logs or coals, and then sit back, put your feet up, and sup on a steaming mug of hot chocolate or glass of mulled wine and indulge in an obligatory mince pie and dollop of West Country clotted cream. If you need a helping hand, read our guide to lighting a cosy log fire.
The Kitchen is the Heart of the Home
From modish galleys to spacious islands, our cottage kitchens make self-catering holidays a breeze. Fitted out with the latest mod cons, you’ll have no problem keeping your Christmas turkey moist and your sprouts nutty and zesty. For many families, preparing the Christmas dinner is a cherished time spent together in the comfort of a busy kitchen and that’s why a self-catering cottage holiday is so appealing.
Markets and Fayres at your Doorstep
Throughout December, from Poole to Penzance, towns and villages will be holding traditional festive markets and fayres to help celebrate the switching on of their Christmas lights. It’s a great opportunity to explore the craftsmanship of local artisans and buy some delicious homemade treats. Didn’t manage to finish your Christmas shopping in time? Christmas markets are perfect for picking up some unique last-minute gifts. Here’s our guide to some of the best in the South West.
West Country Delicacies
Indulge yourself this Christmas with some of the West Country’s finest, from sweet Devon fudge to traditional Cornish pasties, craft ales to the ‘Catch of the Day’, there’s so much to spoil yourself with when you book a cottage holiday in the delicious South West.
Many of our West Country market towns run regular farmers’ and barrow markets with stalls crammed with home-grown fare, so why not include local produce in your festive feast? Think locally grown vegetables, delicious cheese and chutneys, fresh meat and even locally produced wine, beer and spirits.
Off for a Wild Swim or Winter Walk
A bracing walk along the South West Coast Path or an organised wild swim with other plucky dippers could be just the thing for those of you who enjoy invigorating the senses. An adventure outdoors is the perfect way to work up an appetite, but not before you’ve had a soak in a hot bath back at your cottage. It’s worth reminding any of our potential guests that many of our properties are dog-friendly, so you can bring along your four-legged friend and enjoy miles of uninterrupted countryside together.
Popping Down ‘The Local’
A visit to the village pub is a must over the festive holidays. Expect a warm welcome, open fire, locally brewed ales, sumptuous menus, plus plenty of seasonal activities from good old-fashioned carol singing to travelling pub bands. And the best bit, you can walk (perhaps not in a straight line) home afterwards under a blanket of stars without a care in the world. We provide a long list of local pubs for each of our properties on our website so you can choose your favourite, read reviews and find their contact details.
Embracing Village Festivities
Whether it’s a Christmas Eve stroll to the parish church for a candlelit Midnight Mass or taking up a spot on the cobbled fore street to cheer in the midwinter parade, immersing yourself in some of the region’s traditions is a great way to capture the festive spirit whilst making some new friends or catching up with some old faces.
Pack those Winter Woollies
Don’t forget to pack your hats, gloves, woolly jumpers and wellies to keep you one step ahead of the changeable winter weather. If you feel the need for an extra layer, that’s no problem, there are hundreds of high-quality local clothing brands and outlets to choose from, be it thermal socks for ramblers or the latest outdoor styles for all you fashionistas.
It’s Fun Getting Board
Christmas is a time when the board games come out and those fierce but hilarious family rivalries resurface: maybe you’re a shrewd Monopoly mogul or a champion chess master, what better place to indulge in some good, old-fashioned family fun than in the comfy lounge of your holiday cottage accompanied by some moreish festive nibbles and your favourite tipples. Lots of our properties provide a range of board games to keep you entertained, and if you’re travelling by car, you’ll have lots of space to bring your favourites from home.
Bookworms and Movie Buffs
If games aren’t your thing, why not enjoy some downtime curled up with your latest book or settle down to your favourite Christmas movie, it’s the perfect way to rest and recharge after your latest West Country adventures. Lots of our holiday cottages provide DVD players, but it is worth checking if yours does before you pack all of your favourite films. Visit the ‘accommodation’ section of your holiday cottage on our website to find out if a DVD player will be provided.
Keeping in Touch
You might be surrounded by acres of green fields and ancient woodland, but you won’t feel ‘backwards’ when it comes to technology. A great many of our holiday cottages have Wi-Fi, so you’ll be able to FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, Instagram your season’s greetings and share all your latest holiday snaps without any fuss. And don’t forget to share your festive photos with us by tagging us or using the hashtag #ToadHallCottages.
Book your last-minute Christmas break with Toad Hall Cottages, we’ve got hundreds of cosy cottages nestled up and down the glorious South West coast, all perfect for self-catering holidays and surrounded by some of the most spectacular countryside the British Isles has to offer.
Seasons Greetings from ‘All at Toad Hall’