Our team of experts have written comprehensive guides to what's new in Britain for 2015, including Cornwall  Devon, Scotland, Pembrokeshire, Yorkshire, the Cotswolds, Norfolk and Suffolk, and the Lake District.

1. Cornwall

St Ives, the Roseland peninsula and the Camel estuary all offer easy access to some of the county’s best beaches but it can be more relaxing to escape the summer hordes by staying on a farm a few miles inland. On the Land’s End peninsula, try St Aubyn Estates (01736 888 515; staubynestatesholidays.co.uk), Trewinnard Manor (01736 740016; trewinnardholidaycottages.com), and the private Porth-en-Alls estate at Prussia Cove, near Penzance (01736 762014; prussiacove.co.uk), which has historic cottages in a glorious coastal location.

For beaches on the Lizard, the Trelowarren Estate (01326 221224; trelowarren.com) is a good base, a mix of renovated estate farms and attractive new eco-houses. A few miles from St Austell Bay, Bosinver Farm Cottages (01726 72128; bosinver.co.uk) has assembled a wonderful collection of individual holiday cottages aimed at families in a sylvan valley.

There is a charming selection of cottages at Prussia Cove.

Porth-en-alls Estate

On the Roseland peninsula, Roundhouse Barn Holidays (01872 580038; roundhousebarnholidays.co.uk) has cosy, award-winning cottages sleeping two.

Roundhouse cottages offer comfy accommodation on the Roseland Peninsula.

Roundhouse Cottage Holidays


Specialist agents with top-rated properties include Cornish Gems (01872 241 241; cornishgems.com), Boutique Retreats (01872 553491; boutique-retreats.co.uk), Niche Retreats (01872 870675; nicheretreats.co.uk) and Beach Retreats (01637 861005; beachretreats.co.uk). Helston-based Classic Cottages (01326 555555; classic.co.uk) has a wide selection of affordable cottages with high standards countywide.
Gill Charlton
Read our full guide to the best of what's new in Cornwall for 2015

2. Devon

If it’s a sea view in Devon you’re after – and who isn’t? – head for Salcombe or Dartmouth on the south coast. Their winding, narrow streets are crammed with characterful holiday cottages, many with their own moorings. In north Devon, the Exmoor villages of Lynton and Lynmouth are firm favourites, offering easy access to both moor and beach. In Dartmoor, Chagford is perfect for self-caterers - its deli, butcher and dairy sell wonderful local produce. More rural still are the thatched villages of North Bovey and Lustleigh, which have idyllic woodland walks on the doorstep and traditional village pubs. Topsham, near Exeter, is an urban option, with eclectic antiques shops and plenty of restaurants, pubs and tea rooms.

Helpful Holidays has a wide selection of properties throughout Devon.

Helpful Holidays


Helpful Holidays (01647 433593; helpfulholidays.com) and Toad Hall Cottages (01548 202020/0800 6101122; toadhallcottages.co.uk) have a broad portfolio of cottages throughout Devon. Coast and Country specialises in south Devon (01548 843773; coastandcountry.co.uk), while Exclusively Dartmoor (01364 621466; exclusivelydartmoor.co.uk) has the best collection of moorland cottages.
Suzy Bennett
Read our full guide to the best of what's new in Devon for 2015

Scroll down for a list of cottage booking agencies in Britain

3. Pembrokeshire

To enjoy the wild West Wales sunshine and open country to the full, rent a house in a coastal area such as Strumble Head or the Treginnis or Dale peninsulas. A short drive will take you to nearby hubs — respectively, Fishguard, St Davids and Milford Haven – where you can pick up deli food and essentials. 

Trehylin Isaf is a cosy cottage, with slate floors and a log-fired burner.

Under The Thatch

Trehilyn Isaf, owned by Griff Rhys Jones, is near the hamlet of Trefasser. It’s a classy but cosy cottage, with slate floors and a log-fired burner — perfect as a base for walks out to Strumble Head, and Fishguard is less than five miles away. Book through Under the Thatch (0844 5005 101; underthethatch.co.uk).

Solva is a picturesque spot, with an inlet that floods at high tide and a quaint village looking down over the harbour. The family-owned Solva Holday Cottages (01437 720619; solvaholidaycottage.co.uk) comprises three lovely and very different properties – the Stables, the Old Dairy and Mill House Cottage – midway between Solva and St Davids.

West Wales Holiday Cottages has a selection of properties on the coast and in towns.

West Wales Holiday Cottages

Out on Dinas Fawr and at St Davids Head you get a real sense of being at the edge (Pembrokeshire has its roots in the Welsh Pen-fro for “land’s end”) and few spots are more dramatic. Agencies specialising in local cottages include coastalcottages.co.uk and westwalesholidaycottages.co.uk.
Chris Moss

Read our full guide to the best of what's new in Wales for 2015

4. Lake District

Renting a cottage is by far the best-value way to stay in the Lake District. Windermere, Ambleside and Coniston are the most useful bases for exploring the central and southern Lakes, while Keswick is ideal for the northern area around Derwent Water and Borrowdale. You’ll find better value and fewer crowds by staying off the beaten track: try Kendal in the east, Cockermouth and the Lorton Valley in the west, and the area around Ulverston and Cartmel in the south. Many cottages are quite rural, so you’ll be thankful for your own transport, although summer traffic can inevitably be a headache.

There are a number of specialist rental companies:
Lakelovers (01539 898798; lakelovers.co.uk) and Heart of the Lakes (01539 432321; heartofthelakes.co.uk) are good for traditional cottages.

Heart of the Lakes has an attractive selection of traditional properties.

Heart of the Lakes

The Good Life Cottage Company (015394 37417; thegoodlifecottageco.co.uk) has a small but attractive selection.
Lakes Cottage Holidays (01228 591555; lakescottageholiday.co.uk) and National Trust Cottages (0844 335 1287; nationaltrustcottages.co.uk) have some wonderfully quirky properties, including lakeside boathouses and Nordic-style cabins.
Oliver Berry

Read our full guide to what's new in the Lake District for 2015

5. Scottish Highlands

The hills and glens of Argyll, set in a mosaic of sea lochs, are easily reached from Glasgow and have some of the most romantic scenery Scotland can offer. Ardmarnoch Estate (01700 811623; ardmarnoch.co.uk) on the Cowal peninsula has three well-appointed cottages sleeping four-eight by the shores of Loch Fyne.

Farther north, the remote Ardnamurchan peninsula is a magical tapestry of sun-dappled woodlands and pretty villages on the northern shores of Loch Sunart, and the most westerly point on mainland Britain. Laga Lodge (01972 500208; west-scotland-marine.com), overlooking the loch, sleeps seven and comes with a small self-drive boat for fishing and viewing seals, otter and porpoise. Charter boat trips for whale watching are also available.

Plockton, in Scotland, near the Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle,enjoys one of the most gorgeous settings in the west Highlands.


The village of Plockton near the Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle enjoys one of the most gorgeous settings in the west Highlands, with panoramic views of Loch Carron and the Applecross Hills. Three two-bedroom cottages are available through Plockton Cottages (01599 544 255; plocktoncottages.co.uk).

Unique Cottages has a selection of attractive properties including the Old Post Office at Kylesmorar

Unique Cottages


Other properties are available from Unique Cottages (01835 822277; unique-cottages.co.uk), Scottish Country Cottages (0345 268 0801; scottish-country-cottages.co.uk), Mackays Holidays (01237 426725/0131 5501180; mackaysholidays.com) and the National Trust for Scotland (0131 458 0305; nts.org.uk/holidays).
Gavin Bell

Read our full guide to what's new in Scotland for 2015

6. Yorkshire

The gentle, rolling chalk hills and valleys of the Yorkshire Wolds are easily accessible from Hull and York. Once an overlooked part of the county, these green hills are now known simply as Hockney Country. The award-winning Wold Cottage (01262 470696; woldcottage.co.uk) near Driffield, formerly a Georgian gentleman’s country retreat, has two well-appointed cottages that sleep four to six.

In North Yorkshire, the A1 slices through two national parks, quaint Wensleydale and wild Swaledale to the left and the sweeping moorland expanse of the North York Moors to the right. The village of Thornton-le-Moor between Northallerton and Thirsk on the edge of the moors, is a clutch of classic North Yorkshire red-brick buildings.  The four Thief Hole Cottages (07815 791395; thiefholecottages.co.uk) can accommodate up to 20 people.

There are four cottages at Thief Hole accommodating up to 20 people in total.

Thief Hole Cottages


Farther south lies the Peak District; a matter of a few miles separating metropolis, motorway and wilderness with remarkably little urban sprawl. Smallshaw Farm Cottages, near Penistone, is a 700-acre working dairy farm with four 17th-century cottages sleeping from two to seven, that is well worth a visit and easy to get to.

There are other properties available from Sykes Cottages (01244 356666; sykescottages.co.uk), Gorgeous Cottages (0844 736 6276; gorgeouscottages.com) and Yorkshire Cottages (01228 406701; yorkshire-cottages.info).
Joe Shute
Read Joe's expert guide to Yorkshire

Read our full guide to what's new in Yorkshire for 2015

7. North Norfolk

Traditional flint cottages in seaside villages such as Burnham Overy Staithe, Blakeney and Brancaster come at premium prices. But rates plummet by up to two-thirds if you opt to stay just a few miles inland in less well-known but more tranquil areas such as the Creake villages, around Docking, south of Burnham Market, or in the small villages close to the Georgian town of Holt.

Kett Country Cottages (01328 888411; kettcountrycottages.co.uk) offers Jesters Barn, a converted coach house in South Creake, sleeping six, at £795 for a peak summer week.

The Blakeney Cottage Company (01263 741777; blakeneycottagecompany.co.uk) offers around 100 upmarket places within a 10-mile radius of this seaside honeypot. Old Firestation Cottage in Letheringsett, sleeping four, is £845 in August.

The Old Firestation in Norfolk is a cosy cottage for four.

Blakeney Cottage Company

Other specialists with a good choice of coastal and inland properties include Norfolk Hideaways (01485 211022; norfolkhideaways.co.uk), Norfolk Country Cottages (01263 715779; norfolkcottages.co.uk) and Birds Norfolk Holiday Homes (01485 534267; norfolkholidayhomes-birds.co.uk).
Sophie Butler
Read Sophie's expert guide to Norfolk

Read our full guide to the best of what's new in Norfolk and Suffolk for 2015

8. Cotswolds

The northern Cotswolds plunge dramatically through close-contoured sheep pastures to serene valleys that shelter some of the most picturesque villages in England. Blockley, with its honeystone houses, is especially halcyon, and the narrow roads keep it wonderfully tourist-free. Discover the Cotswolds (01386 700807; discoverthecotswolds.net) offers five cottages here, sleeping from two to six, and two further houses in the glorious uplands just beyond.

The rolling country around the Golden Valley west of Cirencester is particularly bucolic. Just outside mellow little Chalford, Westley Farm (01285 760262; westleyfarm.co.uk) is an arcadian retreat with donkey-grazed meadows, ancient woodland and five secluded cottages sleeping from two to six. Dogs (and even visiting horses) are welcome.

Westley Farm has donkey-grazed meadows, ancient woodland and five secluded cottages.

Westley Farm

A little farther south, the captivating hamlet of Owlpen is in romantically pretty landscape of wooded dales and patchwork fields. Manor Cottages (01993 824252; manorcottages.co.uk) offers seven houses in the area, sleeping from two to eight.

Character Cottages has a selection of traditional properties in the Cotswolds.

Character Cottages

Other rental options include Character Cottages (020 8935 5375; character-cottages.co.uk), Campden Cottages (01386 852 462; campdencottages.co.uk), Jigsaw Holidays (0870 325 0013/01993 849 484; jigsawholidays.co.uk) and Web Cottages (0845 689 2501; webcottages.co.uk).
Harriet O’Brien
Read Harriet's expert guide to the Cotswolds

Read our full guide to the best of what's new in the Cotswolds for 2015

Agencies offering cottages in Britain

Long gone are the days when there were little more than damp holiday cottages and down-at-heel caravan parks on offer for those wanting to self-cater in Britain. Today, the range of accommodation options is varied, and one could spend as long poring over images of places to stay in Britain as villas on the French Riviera, or farmhouses in Italy.

The Triumphal Arch at Berrington Hall is available to rent as holiday accommodation.

National Trust

The National Trust has some beguiling heritage properties, including The Triumphal Arch at Berrington Hall, in Herefordshire, from £286 for two nights (0344 335 1287; nationaltrustholidays.org.uk). For this year, two new cottages have also opened at Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s residence on the Isle of Wight, offering contemporary accommodation in Sovereign's Gate, the property’s formal entrance. Sleep four, plus a cot, with three night breaks from £402 (0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk).

More conventional properties have also been added to cottage agencies’ books. The Cider Press is a mile from Wells, in Somerset, on a farm estate with a heated indoor swimming pool and a tennis court. It has three double bedrooms, one with an en-suite bathroom. A week’s stay in March for up to six people starts from £1,140 (01761 241425; premiercottages.co.uk). Boutique Retreats has added Pier View, in Cornwall, a four-storey townhouse moments from the beach in St Ives, with three stylish bedrooms. A week’s stay for six is £3,600 in high season (01872 553 491; boutique-retreats.co.uk).

The Landmark Trust, a charity that rescues buildings of historic or architectural importance, will open two more properties for bookings this year – although not until after the summer season. They include Belmont, a Grade-II listed seaside villa in Lyme Regis that was the home of John Fowles, the writer. A three-night weekend break for eight will cost from £890 when the property opens its doors in September (01628 825925; landmarktrust.org.uk).

It is also worth checking out the following agencies:

Rural Retreats  (01386 701177; ruralretreats.co.uk) has a wide selection of interesting properties.

CV Villas (020 7401 1086; cvvillas.com) has 13 villas in Britain, with several that are suitable for big groups or families travelling together. These include House by the Tweed, sleeping 10, in Northumberland at £2,250 for a peak week.

The House by the Tweed, in Northumberland, sleeps 10, and has extensive facilities.

CV Villas

Unique Homestays (01637 881183; uniquehomestays.com) offers more than 130 self-catering homes from family-sized options to two-person hideaways.

Blandings (020 7936 9611; blandings.co.uk) supplies spacious country houses, with cooks, nannies and housekeeping staff if requested.

Offering a vast range of 15,000 properties at more affordable prices, cottages4you (0345 268 0760; cottages4you.co.uk) offers a gateway to its sister companies, English Country Cottages (english-country-cottages.co.uk), Welsh Country Cottages (welsh-country-cottages.co.uk), Scottish Country Cottages (scottish-country-cottages.co.uk), Welcome Cottages (welcomecottages.com) and Hoseasons (0844 847 1100; hoseasons.co.uk).

Sykes Holiday Cottages (01244 356666; sykescottages.co.uk) has more than 4,500 cottages throughout the UK, including properties with shared pools and tennis courts.

Hideaways (01747 828170; hideaways.co.uk) specialises in southern England, the Cotswolds, the Welsh Borders and West Country.

The Cottage Holiday Group (01768 774 060; cottageholidaygroup.co.uk) covers northern regions of England and Scotland; new properties include Half House in the Scottish Borders.

Holiday Cottages (01237 459888; holidaycottages.co.uk) has a large collection of properties in the south-west and a growing number of rentals elsewhere in the UK.

Direct booking agencies for UK properties include:

Premier Cottages Direct (premiercottages.com)
Stilwell’s Cottages Direct (cottagesdirect.co.uk) 
HomeAway.co.uk (homeaway.co.uk) lists more than 17,000 properties around the UK, and the lettings site Airbnb (airbnb.co.uk) has accommodation from Falmouth to Orkney.

Families with young children may find Baby Friendly Boltholes (0203 6031160; babyfriendlyboltholes.co.uk) and Child Friendly Cottages (childfriendlycottages.co.uk) useful for sourcing suitable accommodation.

For Scottish properties, contact National Trust for Scotland (0131 458 0305; nts.org.uk/Holidays).

For eclectic heritage properties, see:

Landmark Trust (01628 825925; landmarktrust.org.uk)

Landmark Trust offers holidays in characterful historic buildings, from cottages to castles.

Landmark Trust

English Heritage (0370 333 1187; englishheritage.co.uk)

Vivat Trust (01981 550753; vivat.org.uk)

Sophie Butler and Lizzie Porter

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Our team of experts have written comprehensive guides to what's new in Britain for 2015, including Cornwall  Devon, Scotland, Pembrokeshire, Yorkshire, the Cotswolds, Norfolk and Suffolk, and the Lake District.


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