Is your holiday home pet friendly?

dogIf your holiday home is in a rural or coastal area with plenty of walking opportunities, or if you simply want to reach out to a wider market of potential guests, then it’s well worth thinking about accepting pets at your holiday home.

All pet cats, dogs and ferrets can enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine provided they meet the rules of the PETS scheme. See the gov.uk website for details of the scheme.

But before you market your holiday home as pet friendly, read about the benefits and the ways you can prepare your property for four-legged friends.

What are the benefits of accepting pets?

  • You’ll be reaching out to a larger market so you’re likely to increase your number of bookings. According to a poll by travelsupermarket.com, two in five Britons now take their pets on holiday.
  • Less hassle than you think. It’s normal practice to charge £10-£20 per pet to cover additional cleaning and the provision of food/water bowls, etc. Find out more about adding extra fees to your standard prices.

Common worries and how to overcome them

  • Odours. If you ensure your home is well aired and provide a good quality vacuum cleaner and air fresheners, any odours will be reduced.
  • Hair. Pets will shed hair in your holiday home – another reason to invest in a powerful vacuum cleaner, but also an incentive for you to determine house rules and request pets are kept off soft furnishings. Leave the vacuum cleaner in your holiday home so guests can hoover up as they go along.
  • Damage. Request that guests never leave dogs alone in your home and that they keep a close eye on them. Make sure that any fragile items are removed beforehand.
  • Fleas. The vast majority of responsible pet owners keep their pets free of fleas at all times. However, even with the best intentions it’s possible that a pet could pick up fleas while at the beach or just out and about. Have some flea spray on hand at your home and leave a note to say where it is. Check your home when airing it between guests – you can even ask people to flea treat their animals before staying.

Is my holiday home suitable for pets? Ask yourself:

  • If your holiday home is in a resort/complex, do the community rules allow pets on site?
  • Is there enough indoor space? Is there enough room in the kitchen/living room for a dog to lie  down and for guests to still walk around easily?
  • Are the bedrooms and living areas separate? It will be difficult to make sure dogs are kept off beds if you have a studio apartment.
  • Have you considered putting a stair gate in to prevent dogs from going upstairs? This would also be helpful if guests want to restrict pets to certain areas of the house while children or babies are playing on the floor.
  • Are you happy to remove any expensive/fragile furnishings?
  • Does your home have a secure, enclosed garden? Are there holes in hedges or fences where animals could escape? This is particularly important if the holiday home leads straight out onto a busy road or a field of livestock.

Finishing touches:

  • A doggie welcome pack. You could include some treats, a new hide bone and some tennis balls for a game of fetch.
  • Separate water and food bowls.
  • Waste bags for owners to clean up after their dogs. A shovel and a separate bin in the garden will also be appreciated.
  • Some old towels to protect carpets when dogs come in from a muddy walk.

 

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7 types of successful holiday home owner

Shot of a young man working on a laptop at homeWe’ve been working with holiday home owners and property managers worldwide for over 15 years, so we’ve learned a thing or two from them about how they keep business booming. From the organiser to the social-savvy marketer, here are seven types of successful holiday home owner – are you one, or all, of these?

The go-getter. As a wise sage once said, the early bird catches the worm. Successful owners are proactive and determined to maximise bookings by following up every enquiry with a quoteresponding quickly and being ready to answer any questions from potential guests. Owners who are quick off the mark will snap up the bookings.

The welcoming host. First impressions are often long-lasting. Owners who provide their guests with a warm welcome will see those guests coming back year after year. Owners who give their guests the VIP treatment, from the moment an enquiry comes in to the day the guest checks out, are sure to succeed. They can even make some valuable friendships along the way.

The social-savvy marketer. Aside from your listing on Holiday Lettings and TripAdvisor, there are lots of other ways to get the word out about your property. FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest are all fantastic tools for promoting your place. Don’t forget to add a link to your Holiday Lettings listing so that guests can book online. Some owners even run a blog about their place, posting news of any recent improvements and info about events in the local area.

The student. Successful holiday home owners are always learning and seeking to improve their business. It’s a good idea to keep tabs on the latest travel industry news, such as info about any new airlines operating in the area, by subscribing to websites such as travelweekly.co.uk. Forums are a good place to exchange insider knowledge with other owners and the owners/managers section of our blog is packed full of advice.

The tour guide. The more information you can give your guests about the area, the more enjoyable their holiday will be. Give them tips about the best places to eat, walk and sightsee, plus advice about local trains and buses. They won’t want to spend too much time researching the area, so be their tour guide and give them a head start. Find out more about how to think like a local.

The organiser. Guests tell us that one of their biggest bugbears is finding adverts that have out-of-date information on them. Be sure to keep your calendar updated regularly, your prices set at least 18 months in advance and your photos recent. This will keep your potential guests happy and make sure that your home appears in all relevant searches. Log in to update your ad.

The communicator. One of the most important traits of a successful holiday home owner is to be a good communicator. That means responding to all enquiries, being at the end of the phone should your guests need you while they’re on holiday and listening to their feedback. Show you’re interested  in their opinion by asking them to write a review of your place, then respond to it, even if it’s just to thank them for their comments.

Click on the links in the article for more advice.

5 places to celebrate National Ravioli Day

Time to dig into a bowl of pasta parcels stuffed full of tasty ingredients as 20 March marks National Ravioli Day. In honour of this, here are some of best places where you can tuck into this delicious speciality.

Piccolo Parma, Mineola, USA

Every day is Ravioli Day at Piccolo Parma. They offer a combination of quirky and classic flavours from apple to artichoke, and sauces including triple sec cream and vodka. Last year, they even marked National Ravioli Day with a tasting menu of six courses and over 30 different ravioli. Drop by to see what’s on the menu this time around.

While you’re in Mineola, it’s well worth getting to know the area. There’s the fascinating Cradle of Aviation Museum just up the road. It’s only a few miles from the town to Old Westbury Gardens, the perfect spot for a moment of relaxation. You could also check out the colourful Nunley’s Carousel and ride on the back of one of the vintage horses.

Pick a perfect apartment in nearby New York

Taverna Trilussa, Rome, Italy

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The Taverna Trilussa restaurant has won awards in Milan and Rome for its Mimosa Ravioli. The exact ingredients are top secret, but if you fancy trying to unravel the mystery, then dig into a plate of them on the pretty terrace. The sauce is beautifully creamy and the staff hints that there’s no meat or fish inside. Any ideas? To round off the perfect evening, treat yourself to a trio of house tiramisù, millefoglie and mousse.

Since the restaurant’s at the heart of the buzzing Trastevere district, why not explore this part of Rome further? There’s a terrific flea market, bohemian cafés aplenty and vibrant nightspots where you can join the locals. During the day, architecture buffs will appreciate the sensational Santa Maria in Trastevere church with its glistening gold mosaics.

Sample some of the world’s finest pasta in Rome

Latium, London, UK

rome

Fancy a meal consisting entirely of ravioli? Then look no further than Latium’s Ravioli Menu. You can kick off with a potato and nutmeg filling and move on to ricotta cheese and lemon parcels for the main course. Later there’s a mint version stuffed with pineapple and drizzled with coconut sauce for dessert.

It’s only a quick walk from the restaurant to the multiple shopping opportunities of Oxford Street, where you may find something to tempt you. Keen photographers will then enjoy a wander round the neighbouring Photographers’ Gallery to catch a cool exhibition. By that point you may well be tired after a hard day of pounding the streets – if so, take a break at the Agua Bathhouse Spa.

Book a foodie break in London

Marcelli’s Ravioli Factory and Restaurant, Eureka, USA

These are ravioli like “mamma used to make” – the deep-fried appetisers are, perhaps, even better (though please don’t tell her). Marcelli’s make their own pasta dough and sausages for that authentic home-cooked taste. Had enough ravioli? The sumptuous fettuccine alfredo or rich spaghetti and meatballs are excellent alternatives.

Work off the excesses with a stroll through Sequoia Park Garden, where you can wander through the woods and take in vast redwood trees. History fans will be keen to tour the Fort Humboldt State Historic Park, which creates a vivid snapshot of the area’s heritage. The park is a 10 minute drive from the beautiful Humboldt Bay where you can spot seals or take a trip out on the water.

Try some traditional pasta dishes in Eureka

Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy

italy2

Often rated Italy’s best restaurant, the Osteria Francescana also delivers delicious ravioli. Luxury’s the name of the game here so, if you’re lucky, you might be able to try the ravioli filled with foie gras and black truffle; the crispy leek garnish is the perfect finishing touch. It looks like a work of art and tastes even better.

Modena itself is a lovely place to wander round. In the Piazza Grande you can watch the world go by with a cappuccino and gaze up at the soaring Ghirlandina tower (the breathtaking views from the top are ample reward for the climb). There’s also the traditional Albinelli market where you can sample the local speciality, balsamic vinegar.

Watch the world go by in Modena

Still booking hotels for your holidays? It’s time for a change

spain villaOne of the best things about going on holiday is, to quote a well-worn expression, “getting away from it all”. So why book one room in a hotel, surrounded by other guests, when you can enjoy the privacy of a whole house for a fraction of the price? Here’s why hotels are out and holiday rentals are in.

More for your money. We all want value for money and you’ll certainly get that with a holiday rental. You’ll have more space, exclusive use of facilities such as the kitchen and garden, and sometimes, extra luxuries such as a hot tub or private swimming pool. It’s a world away from a hotel holiday, where eating out gets expensive and finding a spare sun-lounger near the pool is no mean feat.

Feel at home. When you book a private holiday home, you can do what you want, when you want. There’s no need to worry about getting dressed (or even getting up!) for breakfast and you can have your eggs just the way you like them. Don’t feel like going out? You’ll have plenty of room to relax in the garden or curl up with a book on the sofa.

Great for kids. Anyone who’s got children will know they don’t like being confined to one area for any great length of time. Staying in a holiday home allows teenagers some privacy and excitable toddlers the freedom to make as much noise as they like. And it’s a great opportunity for families to spend some quality time together, from barbecues on the patio to board games in the dining room.

Your pets can come too. Many holiday homes are pet-friendly so guests can bring their four-legged friends along. You won’t need to worry about expensive kennel fees and your pet will love exploring the area with you.

A unique experience. Ever stayed in a castle, lighthouse or watermill before? Well, now is your chance. We’ve got all sorts of homes on Holiday Lettings. Take a look at this tree house in Costa RicaShepherd’s Hut in Snowdonia and this Pigeon Loft in France to see what we mean.

Ready to book your dream holiday rental? Here’s how it works.

5 fab experiences for a memorable Mother’s Day

mothersdayMother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to spoil your mum and make her feel appreciated. So why not treat her (and yourself) to a special experience? We’ve got five ideas to help you plan a fantastic holiday that she’ll love, whether your Mum’s a green-fingered gardener or a musical theatre lover.

For the theatre fan – catch Mamma Mia! on Broadway, New York

Bride-to-be Sophie invites three of her mother’s old flames to her wedding but can she find out which is her real father? An extravaganza of fun, music and dance ensues – it’ll have you both dancing in the aisle. Enjoy singing along to ABBA classics from Dancing Queen to Waterloo.

Once you’ve emerged from the show, absorb the hustle and bustle of Times Square. You can watch filming of the Good Morning America TV show here. For a peaceful surprise, take a few steps to the beautiful Church of Saint Mary the Virgin.

Book a New York apartment your mum will love

For the sweet mum – join the Chocolate Walking Tour and Workshop, Brussels

This tour is choc-full of deliciousness. Your mum’s only difficulty will be deciding which of the chocolate boutiques’ offerings are the best: options include classic pralines or orangettes (candied orange strips dipped in dark chocolate). Chocoholics can even study with a Master Chocolatier and make their own sweet creations.

If you still haven’t had enough of the sweet stuff, you can visit the central Cocoa and Chocolate Museum, followed by a walk around the heart of delightful Brussels. Its picturesque Grand Place and art nouveau houses will impress architecture fans, whereas shoppers can browse the Place du Grand Sablon’s tempting antique shops and flea market.

Choose from this selection of tempting holiday homes in Brussels

For the stressed-out superwoman – relax at After the Rain spa, Geneva

Your mum’ll feel all her stresses and strains melt away at Geneva’s super-luxurious After the Rain spa. Luxuriate in the warmth of the hammam or have a nap in the relaxation room. Or maybe try one of their signature gold facials or edelweiss body scrubs while you’re there.

Continue the tranquil vibe with a vintage boat cruise on the calm waters of Lake Geneva. You’ll drift past the vast Jet d’Eau fountain, which shoots out 50 litres of water, and if you’re lucky you’ll see a rainbow appearing in the mist. A quaint café on the central Place Bourg du Four is a lovely spot to relax and people-watch at the end of the day.

Take a relaxing break in Geneva

For the elegant lady – take afternoon tea at Betty’s, Harrogate

Betty’s is an iconic tearoom in an iconic location, and their afternoon tea is particularly indulgent. Sit back in the graceful room and take in the crystal chandeliers, piano playing and vista over the park. There are then 18 speciality teas to sample as well as delicate sandwiches and sumptuous cakes.

When you’re refreshed, drop into the nearby Royal Pump Room Museum; it tells the story of this elegant spa town and features beautifully ornate architecture. Why not stroll the streets of Harrogate’s picturesque Montpellier quarter? Alternatively, head to the charming market town of Pateley Bridge and join a llama trek.

Find a stylish holiday home in Harrogate

For the avid gardener – wander through the Château de Villandry gardens, Loire Valley

Any keen gardener will love the Château de Villandry’s palace estate. Stroll through some of the country’s finest gardens taking in the ornamental vines, free-flowing flowers and pretty fountains. Another highlight is the kitchen garden, where you can check out colourful arrangements of the season’s vegetables, from cabbages to carrots.

If you can’t get enough of châteaux, then you’ll enjoy the romantic Château de l’Islette too. While you’re in the vicinity, it’s well worth ducking into the Grottes Pétrifiantes – eerie caves filled with gigantic limestone stalactites. And it wouldn’t be a proper trip to the Loire Valley without a session at one of the fab local wineries.

Enjoy some outside space in the Loire Valley

 

Top 20 Adventure Travel Bloggers – 2015

adventureDo you dream about setting off on the adventure of a lifetime? Whether you’re an armchair traveller or are currently plotting the route of an imminent expedition, there’s inspiration and encouragement at hand from our top 20 adventure travel bloggers.

Ordinary Traveler

Christy and Scott believe that travel is for absolutely everyone; they prompt busy people to make the most of precious holidays and illustrate how to balance the reality of work with dream travels. They successfully juggle professional lives in San Diego with fab forays as far as the Scottish islands and remote Nepalese villages. Yes, you really can have it all – and Ordinary Traveler is the proof. @OrdinaryTravelr

Mapping Megan

If you’ve drafted a travel bucket list but haven’t (yet) ticked anything off it, then Megan Claire’s blog will soon have you raring to go. You can scroll around her personal world map as she completes her list. Then click on posts detailing specific experiences, including safaris in Africa and camping in the Amazon Rain Forest; which ideas will you nab for your own list? @mappingmegan

Adventure Women

Sisters (plus their mothers and friends) are doing it for themselves! Susan Eckert puts together
bespoke trips that motivate women over 30 to challenge themselves within a safe and supportive environment. Will you join them to cross the Serengeti’s vast plains or track through Slovenia’s spectacular mountains? If you can’t decide which, you can always browse their terrific photos and videos. @AdvWomen

The Travel Camel

Shane Dallas seeks out the world’s least appreciated locations, uncovering hidden gems along the way. If you like straying far from the beaten track, then you should read about Shane’s journeys from Kurdistan to North Korea and absorb his useful safety hints. You might just find yourself adding a trip to that disregarded destination into your diary too. @TheTravelCamel

Hiking the Trail

Fans of action-packed adventures will appreciate Adam Nutting’s online journal. It offers updates on his latest escapades, whether striding down the Appalachian Trail, hurtling through the Snake River or backpacking in the Seven Devils mountains. There are also invaluable travel tips and gear reviews to consider if you’re planning your own expedition. @HikingTheTrail

Borders of Adventure

There’s no need to leave your social conscience when you jet off: Becki Enright unearths different dimensions to misunderstood destinations on her travels. She recently toured the eerie US Embassy in Tehran and also reported on the cultural rejuvenation of Athens.  Her pieces show how your adventuring can have a sense of responsibility and purpose too. @BordersofAdv

Life, Love and Adventure

Dawn Kealing has travelled through 12 countries including Jordan and Mexico since 2012. She chronicles her reactions to the different cultures that she encounters; highlights include a hot-air-balloon ride over Egypt’s Valley of the Kings as the sun rose and meeting sloths at the jaguar reserve in Costa Rica. Will she make it to El Salvador and Panama? Watch this space. @DawnKealing

Monkeys and Mountains

Named after blogger Laurel Robbins’ favourite things, Monkeys and Mountains recounts her quirky travels. The blog offers a winning blend of adrenaline-pumping action punctuated with intervals of well-deserved luxury. Whether you’re tempted by swimming with sharks or devouring legally protected pastries, there’s sure to be something of interest. @Laurel_Robbins

Just One Way Ticket

This is the perfect how-to- guide for anyone who has ever dreamt of just taking off. With ideas for fun things to do in Malaysia and great pictures of the Philippines, Sabrina Iovino will soon have your packing your bags too. There’s no need to book a return ticket either as, fortunately, she explains how she finances her voyages of discovery. See you at the airport! @Just1WayTicket

Go, See, Write

A real-life Phileas Fogg, Michael Hodson set off to circumnavigate the globe without any bookings or ever boarding a plane.  It took him 16 months to investigate 44 countries across six continents; he’s now permanently on the road so Go, See, Write is the best places to keep up-to-date with his latest jaunts.@GoSeeWrite

Five Dollar Traveller

Why let minimal funds stop you living life to the full? Tommo and Megsy have trained elephants in Thailand, stayed in a volcanic spa in South Korea and minded a 16th-century French chateau – and spend under $750 a month on this stylish living. So if you’ve got champagne tastes but a beer budget (or simply fancy spending a month in the French Alps for under $225) then their blog is for you. @5Dollartravel

The Epic Adventurer

It’s so enriching to live like a local when you’re away, and this blog’s your resident expert on the best-kept secrets from Boston to Bangkok. Your reward for stepping out of tourist haunts is the authenticity of cool coffee shops and trendy cocktail bars it recommends. Full of thoughts on engaging with different cultures in a sustainable way, it’s well worth a look. @EpicAdventurer

Getting Stamped

As Hannah and Adam say, ‘a full passport is a happy passport’. They’d know, having toured nearly 50 countries from Australia to Zambia since they escaped from suburbia 18 months ago. You can find out how they saved for their road trip, get the scoop on Rome’s finest gelato and cook authentic green curry. @GettingStamped

GlobalGrasshopper

This team of self-confessed travel snobs specialise in tracking down wild spots near busy resorts, for instance Turkey’s craggy interior and Tenerife’s majestic Anaga mountains. They also highlight other beautiful places around the world – can you resist taking in the UK’s most spectacular views or the most gorgeous locations in Bali? @globalgrasshopr

Adventurous Kate

Meet Kate McCulley, the ultimate guide to being a solo female traveller. She demonstrates how to explore on your own – straightforwardly, safely and still thrillingly. How do you handle being alone in a party destination? And how do you separate safety facts from fiction? You can also learn (one way or another) from her crazy escapades like getting shipwrecked in Indonesia and eating 10 chilli peppers super-quickly in Laos too. @adventurouskate

Off the Path

After a hit-and-run incident, Sebastian Canaves decided it was time to see the world. He urges you to do the same, even if you can only spare a few days and suggests weekends away from snowy Oslo to sunny Mallorca. To inspire your next break, flick through his photo essays or download his handy ebooks on Edinburgh and Bangkok. @offthepathcom

Divergent Travelers

Here you can follow the twists and turns of Lina and Dave’s path through the unknown and unexpected. They awoke from the American Dream in 2013, decided to hit the road with a round-the-world trip and are still going strong. Their website enables them to share their decision-making process and its consequences with other travellers. @divergenttravel

Paul Kirtley’s Blog

Do you know how to generate water in frozen environments? Or build emergency shelters? If you don’t, then you should probably study Paul Kirtley’s blog before you venture into the wilderness. You can also find out about his own extreme excursions: some of the latest examples are canoeing down Manitoba’s savage Bloodvein River and cross-country skiing across the Hardanger Plateau in the bleak Norwegian winter. @PKirt

Section Hiker

Grab your rucksack and head to the hills with Section Hiker. Whether you’re a novice or are already proficient, you’ll pick up lots of recommendations ranging from spice kit ingredients to must-have gear. There’s also a forum where you can canvas opinions and pose questions to other members of the walking community. @philipwerner

AdventureRob

Robert Fitzsimmons was made redundant and promptly spent the entire settlement on travelling the world. He also set up his blog at this time and says ‘’I hope it inspires others to leave the rat race and travel, even if it’s just for a little bit.’ He’s now embarking on new adventures, planning trips with his wife and new baby. @AdventureRob

 

1411-badge-for-top-adventure-blogs

How to write a description that will get guests booking

Shot of a young man working on a laptop at homeThe secret of writing a great description is to put your guests in a holiday frame of mind – that way they won’t be able to resist booking with you. By following our tips and taking a look at some examples of successful descriptions, you’ll be writing your own enticing text in no time.

Note: we’re focusing here on how to write your main description (the block of text a traveller sees first when they click your ad), which is an extension of your search results summary.

Your description should:

  • Include your unique selling points (USPs). What sets your place apart from the competition? A sea view, wood burner, Jacuzzi and garden are all worth mentioning.
  • Appeal to your target audience. For example, if you’ve got a two-bedroom cottage that’s perfect for couples, talk about how romantic your place is and why.
  • Focus on the type of holiday you’re offering. For example, if you’ve got a ski chalet in the Alps, make sure your description mentions some of the skiing facilities (without going into too much detail).
  • Say a little about the location. If you’ve got beautiful beaches nearby, mention these. Attractions such as theme parks, museums and restaurants are also worth including.
  • Be checked for spelling and grammar. If travellers can see that you’ve taken care with your advert, they’ll be more confident that you’ll take good care of their holiday too.

Your description shouldn’t:

  • Include a detailed description of the layout of the house and room dimensions.  It’s important to remember that you’re not selling your house, you’re selling a holiday.
  • List general facilities such as a washing machine and a toaster – that’s what your facilities tick boxes are for. You can check them by logging in and going to Properties > Update description.
  • Contain too much general info such as T&Cs, directions on how to get to the property or check-in/check-out information.
  • Be more than a few paragraphs. If you write too much in your main description, your reader is likely to skim through the text and USPs that you might have mentioned further down.

Here are a few examples of descriptions that work well:

Apartment in Prague, Home 222333

“This beautiful 4 bedroom, partially air conditioned apartment, with huge terrace is located on Bethlehem Square in the heart of Old Town. Just a short stroll to the river (2 minutes), Charles Bridge (3 minutes) and Old Town Square with is famous Astronomical Clock (4 minutes). All the magic of Prague Old Town is literally on your doorstep.

The historical apartment building is adjacent to Bethlehem Church and is close to many cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, boutiques, department stores and antique shops.

This 4 bedroom apartment sleeps up to 11 people. It has 3 bedroom each with queen sized beds, a twin bedded bedroom, and 3 additional sofa beds in the lounge. It has a great kitchen, and two bathrooms – one with bath and shower cubicle, and one ensuite to bedroom 4, with shower. The cafe style dining area opens onto a huge terrace where you can relax with a glass of beer or wine after your day of sightseeing.”

Villa in Chianti, Home 70883

“Casa Mazzoli is a very ancient stone farmhouse on two levels brimming with character and restored with total respect for its innate simplicity. All rooms are furnished to excellent standards, in an elegant country style with old terracotta floors and original beamed ceilings. There is a fully equipped kitchen with a beautiful fireplace and a dining table, a dining room, a living room and a library. The hosts live in the nearby self contained barn. There is a 5x10m swimming pool for the exclusive use of the guests, in a private ,enclosed area with a beautiful array of plants.

Casa Mazzoli is situated 3km along an unsurfaced road in a peaceful corner of Chianti. It is near the pretty cosmopolitan villages of Panzano (3km) and Greve (8km), where it is possible to find fashionable wine bars and very special restaurants. The position is perfect as its in the heart of the region only 30 km from Florence and Siena.”

Chateau in Cahors, Home 1197773

“A fabulous twelfth century chateau in the style of a fortified farmhouse, with many beautiful original features such as stone staircases, original beams, huge working fireplaces, and a vaulted stone “cave” which makes an exceptional dining room. Set in 60 acres of private woodland and arranged around a totally private courtyard, with swimming pool. Almost every room in the property has stunning views over rolling countryside.

The property has been renovated to an exceptionally high standard and is furnished with many works of art and antiques. Divided into the main chateau, which has 5 bedrooms and 5 bath/shower rooms, plus the guest house with a further 4 bedrooms and 3 bath/shower rooms. Every room is individually decorated with its own unique charm. The main chateau contains a magnificent fully equipped kitchen with professional quality range cooker, 2 conventional ovens plus combi oven, fridge, freezer and dishwasher. The guest house contains a second smaller kitchen with hob and fridge. There is ample dining space inside the properties and also in the courtyard for those preferring to dine al fresco.

The house is only a mile away from the beautiful medieval town of Penne d’Agenais, which contains many lovely restaurants and artisan stores.”

 

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What to see and do in Cyprus – from Jan to Dec

Rowena skiing in Cyprus

Rowena, our guest blogger, tells us why there’s so much more to Cyprus outside of peak summer season.

Cyprus is popular summer holiday destination, especially as it’s only a four hour flight away from the UK, but what happens on this beautiful Mediterranean island outside of peak summer season?

As a holiday home owner in the village of Anarita, I’m lucky enough to be able to visit Cyprus at different times of the year. As such, I wanted to share with you ideas of where to go, what to see and what to do in Cyprus – no matter what the season.

January and February
Head to the mountains and go skiing

Yes, that’s right – you can go skiing in Cyprus. The Troodos Mountains are worth a visit at any time of year: the views are incredible and you can breathe in the fresh mountain air. In winter, the mountains are covered in snow and Troodos is transformed into a delightful skiing resort.

The Ski season normally runs from January to February. There are four ski lifts and a full day’s ski pass will cost you 23 euros. What’s more, it’s less than an hour and a half drive from our holiday home. If you’re lucky, you could be skiing in the mountains on day one and sunbathing by the pool back at the house on day two!

March and April
Discover Cyprus – walking and biking

This is the perfect time to discover Cyprus – be it walking, horse riding or by mountain bike, the weather is warm but not too hot to go and explore the wonders of the island. From coast, forest and mountains, the Island has a wealth of stunning scenery. Equipped with good footwear, plenty of water, sun lotion and a hat to protect you from the sun’s rays, discover the miles of wonderful paths of The Akamas Peninsular, Avakas Gorge and Troodos Mountains.

May and June
Explore Cyprus – enjoy the history and culture

The east of the island is rich in mythology with thousands of years of history and culture that has been influenced through the ages by Greek, Egyptian, Byzantine, Venetian, Roman, Ottoman and British rule. When staying at our holiday home, you can explore some fascinating places including some UNESCO World Heritage Sites, all just a short drive away.

The Tomb of the Kings in Paphos dates back to the 4th century BC and you can walk along the scenic coast discovering the ancient tombs.  Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s Rock) is said to be the birthplace of the Goddess Aphrodite and is well worth a visit, particularly at sunset. Or visit the Sanctuary of Aphrodite in Kouklia (in the village next to Anarita). Here you can see the ancient ruins, some of which date back to the 12th century BC, and visit the museum.

Aphrodites Rock1

Aphrodite’s Rock

 

July, August and September
Fun in the sun

Temperatures soar and the air con in our home becomes essential! There’s nothing better than relaxing on the sun longer under the parasol and cooling down in the pool. No wait, that’s a lie: if you’re feeling more energetic, a trip to the nearby Aphrodites Water Park is a must or a trip to one of the many beaches, all just a short drive away.

There’s plenty to keep the family entertained, from boat trips at Paphos Harbour to snorkelling and diving. Also worth a visit is Lara Bay Turtle Conservation Station, a sandy beach which is home to loggerhead and green turtles. To get there a 4×4 is recommended or try a guided tour so you can learn more about these endangered species and their nesting environment.

October and November
Golfers paradise

This is a great time to visit Cyprus for any golfer. We are in a superb location for golf with Aphrodite Hills and Secret Valley just a 15 minute drive to the east, and the Nick Faldo designed Elea Golf course to the west, approximately 10 minutes drive away.

If you need a break from golfing, the courses resorts have plenty of other activities on offer. Aphrodite Hills has a village square with restaurants, shops and bars, sporting activities including tennis and segway hire, a luxury spa to relax and unwind, and a large children’s play area with activities.

December
Escape to the sun for Christmas and New Year celebrations

December can enjoy some sunny days so if you can’t face the hectic Christmas frenzy, why not escape to the sun. Relax and unwind on Christmas day and celebrate in style in Cyprus. You can also visit one of the regions many wineries where you can learn more about the production of wine in Cyprus, see the vineyards and taste the local wines.

A visit to Paphos Harbour is a must and you will find many restaurants, bars and tavernas open where you can celebrate the arrival of the New Year.

Our holiday home is in the beautiful village of Anarita on the resort of Anarita Chorio and is the ideal base to explore and enjoy the delights of Cyprus at any time of year. We have availability throughout the year and hope you have the opportunity to stay with us to discover the incredible Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

Our Cyprus holiday home1

Rowena

Gorgeous places to go gooey over dairy products

Nothing beats a decadent scoop of ice cream or lashings of golden butter on your toast. But where do the crème de la crème of dairy goods come from? From potting cream on a Cornish farm to making mozzarella in Campania, we’ve got some top spots for enjoying your favourite dairy products.

Cream in Camelford, UK

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Home 5308838

It’s not just the cat that gets the cream at Cansford Farm. Watch the cream being separated, help pasteurise the milk and pot up some cream. You can even feed the calves and milk the cows. It wouldn’t be a proper trip to Cornwall without indulging in a cream tea – can you resist one on the farm?

The neighbouring Cornwall at War Museum is well worth a visit: sit in a bunker listening to the sound of bombs dropping around you, wander round the Officer’s eerie mess or take a trip across a former airstrip. Alternatively, you could follow the scent to St Kitts Herbery, where you can try their Bergamot Perfume or select a plant from the nursery.

Book your Cornish break

Chocolate in Bruges, Belgium

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Home 478427

The Choco-story exhibition follows the humble cocoa bean from its early days in the Americas to its present day popularity in Europe. Drift through the galleries and learn about the health benefits of hot chocolate as well as cocoa-growing methods, before tasting pralines made while you watch.

How about working off the tasting with a stroll along the city’s picturesque canals? On your way you can admire the quaint architecture and take in an exhibition of elaborate local lace. Stop as you cross the canal over St. Bonifaciusbrug bridge to catch dreamy views of the swan-filled Minnewater Lake.

Find a place to stay in Bruges

Cheese in Campania, Italy

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Home 271834

Calling all pizza fans! Here you can see how the Caseificio Michelangelo factory has made mozzarella for over half a century, from the first drop of milk to the finished cheese. You can make your own using traditional production moulds and tubs, then step outside and feast al fresco under the orange trees.

Pluck up your courage and venture down the nearby Amalfi Coast’s twists and turns – your rewards are Amalfi Cathedral’s shady cloisters, Positano’s sun-drenched beach and a zesty sip of chilled limoncello. Why not sail to the gorgeous island of Capri too? You can hike to the Roman emperors’ imposing holiday pad at Villa Jovis or marvel at the Blue Grotto’s ethereal light.

Book a pizza-filled stay in Campania

Butter in Cork, Ireland

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Home 181141

Find out more about dairy history at the Cork Butter Museum (did you know people used to preserve butter in bogs?). You can see a keg containing butter that’s over a thousand years old and a collection of butter bricks. Afterwards, wander past the retro wall displaying butter wrappers over the years.

You can spy dairy motifs throughout the city’s Shandon district, for example the cow above the former butter market. Absorb the nearby hilltop’s panoramic views over Cork city centre and stroll through Shandon’s quaint squares and alleyways. Pause in its art galleries to see inspiring works and check out the antique centres packed with quirky treasures.

Find your favourite Cork getaway

 

Holiday Lettings homes in the Press – January

Our owners have been gaining plenty of column inches this January. If you’d like your holiday home to be considered for a feature in the press, please get in touch by emailing press@holidaylettings.co.uk.

Here are some of January’s highlights.

Blaencwm, Home 138744 & Stargazer’s Loft, Home 236711

The Hay Festival in Powys (May 21-31) is attracting more lovers of literature every year, so it’s no surprise that demand for a holiday rental in the area rises at festival time.

Two homes advertised on Holiday Lettings were included in The Telegraph’s Hay Festival: accommodation booking guide. The article picks up on how the little touches at Blaencwm (Home 138744), such as fresh hens’ eggs and a pool table, make this holiday let a great option for families and friends. Cosy cottage Stargazer’s Loft (Home 236711) is singled out because of its close proximity to the festival (just two miles away).

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Blaencwm (Home 138744)

 

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Stargazer’s Loft (Home 236711)

 

Chestnutt CottageHome 1148897

As many travellers are leaving the tent at home and looking for self-catering accommodation, media interest around holiday lets near festivals is increasing. Chestnutt Cottage (Home 1148897) was featured in The Telegraph’s Latitude Festival: accommodation booking guide as it’s just a 20 minute walk from Southwold. Guests can also rent a beach hut situated on Southwold Promenade and this got a special mention.

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Chestnutt Cottage and Beach Hut (Home 1148897)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Villa Anne, Home 108952

Congratulations to the owners of Villa Anne (Home 108952) in Crete, Greece, whose child-friendly villa appeared in The Times’ The 50 best villas in the Mediterranean. Their villa has been fully child-proofed, putting parents’ minds at ease.The pool is alarmed to international standards and short wetsuits for all ages are supplied. Read more on The Times’ website.

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Villa Anne (Home 108952)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodstock, Home 5128209

Paula and Greg’s aim when renovating their traditional Victorian villa in Broadstairs, Kent, was to “retain as much of the character as possible but give it a modern touch”. The owners’ unique and quirky holiday let, Woodstock (Home 5128209), was featured in 25 Beautiful Homes Magazine. It includes an interview with the couple about why they bought the property and what their vision for it was. It also includes some fantastic images of their home which show the owners’ careful attention to detail and style.

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Woodstock, Home 5128209