The Blissful Escape: The Benefits of Cottage Holidaying Near a Blue Flag Beach in the UK

If you’re dreaming of a serene seaside getaway, look no further than the beautiful Blue Flag beaches of the UK. Nestled amidst stunning coastal landscapes, these pristine stretches of sand offer more than just picturesque views and soothing waves. So what are the benefits of cottage holidaying near a Blue Flag beach in the UK? And where are they? Potential locations include Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Kent, Norfolk, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and Wales. Get ready to embark on a blissful coastal adventure.

What Are Blue Flag Beaches? 

Blue Flag is an internationally recognised eco-label awarded to beaches that meet stringent standards for water quality, environmental management, safety, and services. It serves as a symbol of cleanliness, sustainability, and excellent beach management. The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) administers the Blue Flag program, and beaches must meet a set of strict criteria to earn this prestigious status. In 2023, 77 UK beaches were awarded the Blue Flag, 37 of which are in the South West.

Benefits of Cottage Holidaying near Blue Flag Beaches:

Pristine Beauty: Blue flag beaches are known for their natural splendour. With soft sands, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking vistas, these beaches provide the perfect backdrop for a relaxing holiday. You’ll find it all at these coastal gems, whether you’re seeking a quiet escape or an adventurous beachside experience.

Water Quality and Safety: One of the primary benefits of Blue Flag beaches is the assurance of high water quality and safety standards. The beaches undergo regular monitoring to ensure the water is clean and safe for swimming. Lifeguards are often present during peak seasons, providing peace of mind for families and water enthusiasts.

Environmental Responsibility: Blue Flag beaches are committed to preserving the local environment. These beaches have strict policies to protect the natural habitats, wildlife, and ecosystems surrounding them. By choosing a cottage near a Blue Flag beach, you actively contribute to the conservation efforts and support sustainable tourism practices.

Recreational Activities: Cottage holidaying near a Blue Flag beach offers various recreational activities for all ages. Whether building sandcastles, flying kites, surfing, kayaking, or simply strolling along the shore, there’s something to cater to everyone’s interests. Many beaches also provide facilities for beach volleyball, picnicking, and coastal walks, ensuring a fun-filled experience for all.

Are you looking for a holiday Cottage near a Blue Flag Beach?

The South West offers the most Blue Flag beaches; however, there are plenty elsewhere.

Cornwall: Renowned for its stunning coastline, Cornwall boasts several blue flag beaches. Some popular destinations include Polzeath, Porthtowan, Summerleaze, and Widemouth Bay. From the picturesque harbours of St. Ives to the dramatic cliffs of Land’s End, Cornwall offers a diverse range of landscapes to explore.

Devon: With its charming coastal towns and rugged beauty, Devon is another fantastic choice for a cottage holiday near a Blue Flag beach. Enjoy the idyllic charm of beaches like Beer, Blackpool Sands, Croyde Bay and Exmouth, or explore the breathtaking Dartmoor National Park, which lies just a short distance inland.

Dorset: Beautiful locations on offer, including Weymouth and Westward Ho!

Kent: Joss Bay, St Mildreds and Margate

Norfolk: The Norfolk coastline offers a tranquil retreat for those seeking a cottage holiday near Blue Flag beaches. Explore the sands at West Runton or visit the charming seaside towns of Cromer and Sheringham.

Yorkshire: Fabulous countryside, glorious coastline! How about Scarborough or Whitby?

Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland’s coastline is blessed with captivating Blue Flag beaches. Take a trip to Castlerock Beach, the sandy shores of Tyrella Beach, or the picturesque Whiterocks Beach. The Giant’s Causeway and the stunning Antrim Coast are must-see attractions nearby.

Wales: The stunning coastline of Wales offers a multitude of Blue Flag beaches. Consider locations such as Pembrokeshire’s Tenby South Beach, Poppit Sands or Newgale, and the sandy shores of Aberporth or Borth in Ceredigion. Wales is also known for its fascinating history, with ancient castles and charming villages waiting to be explored.

Cottage holidaying near a blue flag beach in the UK offers a host of benefits for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. From pristine beauty and water quality to environmental responsibility and a wide range of recreational activities, these coastal getaways provide the ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With an array of potential locations in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Norfolk, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and Wales, you can discover your own slice of paradise and create memories to last a lifetime. So, pack your bags, leave your worries behind, and immerse yourself in the serene bliss of a cottage holiday near a Blue Flag beach.

Holiday Home Get-togethers – Tips for planning a large gathering or family celebration

Having recently organised a large family gathering to celebrate my mothers 80th Birthday, I know all about the stresses and strains of event planning.  There are so many things to think about, not least finding a large house big enough for 14 people! My advice is to book accommodation well in advance and plan everything you can in good time, particularly if you want to have a summer weekend event.

Blaithwaite House

What’s your budget for your group holiday/weekend break?

So where do you start when the idea of having a family ‘get-together’, friends reunion, ‘big’ birthday celebration, hen party or stage weekend is suggested?  Who is invited? And who is doing the organisation? Are good places to begin.  What is your budget? And who is paying for what?

It’s good to get these things clear early on.  You don’t want to go ahead and find a beautiful house that sleeps 20 only to find that it is way out of your price range or that some people want to find cheap accommodation for the weekend and spend as little as possible.  In my case, my mother had set aside an amount to pay for her 80th Birthday celebration.  She had initially wanted to go into a hotel, however, after discussions, it was agreed that a large house or a group of cottages near each other, was a better idea and would be more flexible – plus we could take our own booze and avoid expensive bar bills!

When is the best time to book accommodation for a large group? Get the date for your large gathering sorted early!

The key thing to agree on, once who is invited is sorted, is a date or a choice of dates.  This can be tricky if your group has lots of commitments, have school children with busy social lives, or work weekends.  So giving everyone as much notice a possible is a must.  I say a choice of dates because, once you start looking for large accommodation, you may be restricting your choice of properties if you only have one date.  We only had one date – because my mother’s birthday was on a Saturday, she wanted to the weekend celebration to be then.

Find the best location for your event

So, with a date in mind, what next for finding that perfect weekend away.  Well, location, location, location is the next big thing.  There are some fabulous large properties in Scotland, great for a ‘hen weekends’. No use if the majority of your group live in Cornwall without cars and without public transport options. It’s good to know your travel limitations – who will be arriving by car? Is there a railway station nearby or a bus service?  It could be that some of your party are abroad and will be flying in – finding a holiday house near an airport could be important, particularly if time is limited.  Consider the direction everyone will be coming from.  We chose a central location in the Peak District as we had family travelling from the north, south and midlands.  If a lot of your group are in the South East then looking for a large cottage near London, or a big house in Hampshire, Dorset or the Cotswolds could be the best option.

To save money on your cottage holiday it’s worth looking to stay where fewer want to go. Less popular destinations are often as attractive as popular places it’s just that people haven’t heard of them!  Travelling might be easier too.  Whilst the Malvern Hills aren’t as stunning as Snowdonia, they are easier to get to! In the less popular destinations, cottage owners generally work hard to keep standards high and visitors coming back. Devon and Cornwall have some wonderful large houses that can be best appreciated without crowds of people.  Or if you don’t want to travel that far, a large cottage in Somerset or Wiltshire might work

Do you want to rent a country cottage or a seaside property?  Again, it’s worth thinking about the time of year.  Dragging your friends to a house in North Wales may not be ideal in the depths of winter. That said, there are some great places to stay in the winter months that are less busy and cheaper than at the height of the summer. There are 13 weeks of school holidays a year and 39 weeks that are not. So if you’re restricted to school holidays, you know that you will be paying a premium. This, unfortunately, is the reality of the market and supply and demand; lots of people want those weeks so the price goes up. However, if you can go away in term time, you could grab yourself a bargain.  The traditional Whit weekend of May / start of June can often offer the best value.  Prices are lower than the high season and if you’re lucky you can enjoy the long days with lovely weather.

Look out for offers and discounts

Another plus if you are looking for a large property and without school-aged children, is that bigger properties tend to drop the most in price outside school holidays, as families can’t travel then.  So three couples splitting the cost of a large cottage could be a real bargain. Now’s the time, if you have a baby or pre-schoolers, to take advantage of holidaying in term time! Share the cost with another couple or take along Grandparents and you’ve got built-in babysitters!

How many beds do you need to sleep everyone? Is the accommodation suitable for disabled guests? Child-friendly? Does it allow dogs? What must your holiday home offer?

Do you need accommodation suitable for children?  Or do you have people in your group with mobility issues?  We didn’t have any babies or very small children to cater for, so no cots or high chairs needed,  instead, we wanted to find somewhere that was ok for older children – so finding a property with a garden was important, so that they could kick a ball around. And of course, having Wifi in the cottage was vital!  We did look at some cottages with a swimming pool. Some had private pools or if they were a group of cottages they often had a shared swimming pool. Swimming is a great family activity for all ages, so long as the weather is ok.  Lots of large holiday houses have hot tubs – which now seem a pre-requisite for any Hen Party!

You also need to consider the number of double, twin or single rooms you need.  Who’s happy sharing? And how many rooms are en-suite, if not all how many bathrooms in the property are there?  We managed to find accommodation with en-suite and all rooms to the same standard.

What about the dog? Do you need to bring your pets to stay?  Thankfully, we didn’t!  It can save on kennelling fees though, especially if there is more than one dog.  Look for properties that allow pets, but beware it might narrow your choice. And check that everyone in your party is happy that the dog is coming!

Don’t want to cook? Who’s doing the catering in your cottage?

How are you going to cater for everyone? And who’s going to do all the shopping? If you have a group of cottages or lodges together it might be that everyone brings their food for breakfast and lunch and then you eat at the local pub in the evenings. Or you could find a house big enough for you all to eat together. We were lucky that the place we rented had a dinning table big enough for 14 and also the option for us to eat (and seat everyone) outside.  Some cottage complexes have cottages that have the capacity to seat more people that they can sleep! Perfect for just this type of large gathering.

We decided to have a caterer cook for us on the Saturday evening – so no cooking or no clearing up that night.  For the other food needs we arranged a home delivery from a nearby supermarket.  This is a great way to organise the food and drink.  With most supermarkets you can check if they deliver to the area, by putting in the postcode of the rental property.  Some holiday properties also offer a catering service, food delivery, fresh milk, meat and bread, or provide a welcome hamper or have an on-site restaurant.  It’s good to use local products if you can, it helps support the local economy, and smaller shops will often offer a delivery service too.  The one thing I forgot to organise was flowers; luckily there was a florist nearby.

Fancy horse-riding or need a pub in walking distance? What activities are near your cottage?

Once you’ve decided roughly where is the country have your gathering you want to be you can consider other requirements.  Do you want a cottage in walking distance to a pub? Or with shops close by?  Do you want a holiday house that you can walk to the beach from or a country cottage in a National Park with direct access to good walks and Public Rights of Way?  Or perhaps you want to rent somewhere be near a town, so that you can go the theatre or to restaurants.

We were happy spending time together, and were fortunate that the weather was glorious. Had it rained then there were plenty of board games and DVD’s to keep everyone amused.  I had planned a circular walk for the Sunday, which took in a pub along route – always good to keep motivation.   It could be that your group wants more organised events such as clay pigeon shooting, horse-riding or quad biking, depending on your location, these activities are often available nearby.  For those wanting a more relaxing experience a cottage near a spa or beauty parlour could be a winner.  Day packages at spas are often good value, and a popular choice for hen weekends, 40th Birthday’s or just a ‘girly’ weekend.

If you’re organising a golfing break for a large group, finding a large house near a golf course could be a more flexible option than staying in a hotel – particularly if there’s a pub nearby offering food.

Start searching for your perfect weekend away

So our advice for booking a large cottage and arranging a gathering with lots of people is to start early, look at less popular locations and search for your requirement  – whether it’s ‘dog-friendly cottages’ or ‘wifi’, using the Cottage World search tool. Happy holidays!

Top tips for planning a large gathering

  • Set a budget for your holiday and agree who is paying
  • Find a suitable date for the event
  • What facilities MUST your holiday rental property offer?
  • Choose a good, easily accessible location for all your guests
  • Consider home deliveries and the cottage catering requirements
  • What group activities do you want near your accommodation?
  • Use Cottage World to search for your specific requirements
  • To get the best locations and choice of cottages for large groups Book early!

Flaming June! Even better this year with an extra bank holiday

Are you looking to make the most of the extra bank holiday this June? Cottage World has many beautiful places to stay to make this Platinum Jubilee celebration one to remember. The usual late May Bank Holiday has been moved to June 2, and a special one-off bank holiday was added on June 3 — meaning four days of celebrations!

Over 1,500 beacons will be lit throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories, and one in each of the capital cities of Commonwealth countries in honour of The Queen’s long reign. The beacons will encourage local communities, individuals and organisations to pay tribute to her as part of the official Platinum Jubilee Weekend of celebrations.

An opportunity for a large family gathering?

So, if you missed Christmas together — perhaps this is an opportunity for a large family gathering? And now Cottage World has an availability checker, allowing you to check what cottages are available within a region easily. It could be a pet-friendly lodge in the East of England or a cottage with a hot tub in Wales.

Availability checker live on Cottage World

Booking a Jubilee celebrations cottage this June?

Many popular holiday destinations will be planning special Jubilee celebrations for everyone to get involved in, such as the English Riviera Airshow and Jubilee weekend (2nd — 5th June) in Devon or how about a spectacular music concert and Pageant of Motoring at the Queen’s Norfolk home in Sandringham. So, not to miss out, get your accommodation sorted early and book tickets to the events. It promises to be a smashing June!

Are you planning a big family getaway this Christmas?

Spending time with friends and family over Christmas is what many of us look forward to. Last year it couldn’t happen. Hopefully, this year it will. Is it time to find somewhere lovely to stay to create some special memories?

Cottage World has the most extensive choice of large holiday properties…

You may be looking to book a large property for that long-awaited family get together with enough room for everyone to sleep comfortably — or a group of cottages in a complex that lets everyone have their own space. There are some great places to choose from; A farmhouse in the Cotswolds with great walks on your doorstep, a seaside retreat with added hot tub, or a converted barn in the Peak District with magnificent views.  

Special offers this Christmas…

Toad Hall Cottages – some with 10% off over Christmas and New Year!

See Cornwall without the summer crowds 

Devon and Cornwall are popular summer destinations. The downside of this is that you often have traffic queues and need to fight the crowds for pavement space! Why not spend a winter break in Cornwall? or discover the delights of Devon without the crowds. Wild and windswept landscapes are beautiful antidotes to the winter blues. A large family gathering in the summer can be expensive, and demand outstripped supply this year once the restrictions of Covid were lifted, particularly in popular holiday destinations. Choosing off-peak times could be a better option. Okay, you might not get the weather, but some holiday properties have fantastic indoor entertainment.

Perhaps a white Christmas in Northumberland snuggled in front of a log fire

Cosying up in front of a log fire with snow gently falling around is a cliqued scene from many movies — think of the ‘Holiday’ or ‘Bridget Jones Diary’. However, it needn’t be the Cotswolds to be idyllic. The Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland and Wales, even the Malverns. Offer some gorgeous cottages with open fires. Snow is not guaranteed.

Give the local publican some support – we’ve loads of holiday cottages near a pub  

A top feature people look for when searching for a holiday cottage to rent is the proximity to a good pub! 

Something uniquely British is our love of the pub, and publicans need our support this year more than ever. It might be to enjoy a pint of locally brewed beer or a full-blown gourmet meal or just good old scampi and chips; having a pub within walking distance is a real bonus.

Working from (the holiday) home…

Flexible working — the ability to work from anywhere — has been one of the positives of the pandemic for many. There is no need to wait until 6 pm Friday to head off for the weekend; as long as the Wi-Fi is good, you can work anywhere. In addition, it opens up the opportunity to arrive early and stay in a holiday property a bit longer — still time for a stroll by the beach after logging off.

And there’s always Hogmanay in Scotland

The Scots take celebrating the arrival of the New Year very seriously. So why not join them and experience some ‘first footing’ and Scottish joy? Lang may yer lum reek, and I remember my Scottish relatives cheering –– translated as Long may your chimney smoke! Which wishes you a long and healthy life. Cottage World has numerous lovely lodges in Scotland and plenty of large houses for a family proper Hogmanay

Four-legged friends welcomed by many holiday property owners

If you acquired a pet during the pandemic, the joy of taking a break in the UK is that you don’t need to worry about rabies jabs and pet passports or expensive kennelling costs. 

Many holiday properties now welcome responsible pet owners. You can specifically search for ‘pet-friendly properties on Cottage World.

Are you stuck for a gift idea? Why not book a cottage?

Maybe a gift of a holiday away together could be the perfect solution to avoid the panic of what presents to buy for Christmas. It could be a getaway at Easter or during 2022’s special extended May Bank Holiday. No doubt about it big houses to rent are in demand.

Perhaps you missed celebrating a ‘big’ birthday — and you want to get all your friends together — or you’ve had the wedding but want a belated girly ‘hen do’ in luxury surroundings. 

Whatever the reason, start looking and get booking — it’s good to have something to look forward to…

Struggling to find a cottage to rent?

Why not escape to your very own woodland? With a choice of wonderful beaches nearby, on the edge of a great village with a superb pub, in the heart of the South Hams, Devon, Collaford wood has so much to offer.  A great adventure for kids and a relaxing, chilled environment for grown-ups.

Experience off-grid living – yet there are hot showers and the most amazing bath to soak in.  Exclusively yours is the use of two yurts and a very special Shepherd’s Hut. There is even provision for an extra tent if you need more space.  Handcrafted kitchen and bathroom spaces blend beautifully into the woodland setting giving a wonderful sense of calm.

A real escape to the wild!  Close the nature, away from the crowds…

no WiFi
no hassle
nobody else
just you

Find cottages near:
Late availability:
Mon 2 Oct 2023
Start exploring...

Self-catering cottage holidays in the UK and Ireland can still be a green option. You can have the comforts of home and the flexibility to do what you want; when you want - without the hassles of air travel!

Northern Ireland Wales South West of England South of England East of England Heart of England North of England Scotland Isle of Man Ireland