Holidays - maybe they are not the most important thing in your life but for us the need to escape and recharge is something we cannot manage without. Equally at home in the big cities or out in the wilderness. We don’t really do exotic and despite extensively researching different countries, towns and cities every year we seem to have developed a tendency to just drift back to Scotland – well specifically the highlands of Scotland.
It’s hard to see my childhood holidays as anything other than a vintage postcard (not the saucy ones!) caravans, seasides, you and your sister in matching clothes, picnics in the car after a ‘drive’ (who does that anymore!), Grandad leaving his false teeth everywhere, Nanny and her crochet bag who despite the heat always produced a new blanket for someone! We holidayed across the country finding special places on the Isle of Wight and Lake District, Wales, Devon and Norfolk – once we even ventured as far as Dumfries! Almost every holiday was self-catered which (unless my memory is beginning to fail) was a cheap and cheerful way to get away and have some fun. Caravans and chalets (not as exciting as they sound and definitely nothing remotely like a swiss one!) and eventually progressing to country cottages!
Somewhere during the past ten years self-catering holidays changed. Hot tubs began to appear, luxurious accommodation, chefs to cook in your cottage and a gradual climb in the cost. Like a large amount of the country we are tied to school holidays (job not children) so any potential break we decide to do always involves the most expensive prices of the whole year. 6 people (and the dog) appears to give you an average price of £2000 for a week in the summer and whilst researching Cornwall last year we were quoted £7500 for one property! Prices for a summer break on the Isle of Scilly would definitely make your bank manager (probably a robot now) faint! Needless to say, we didn’t take up any of those options but for those prices to be quoted presumably someone is paying them.
It’s almost become cheaper to stay in a hotel now with food, but for us (and probably many others) we like the relaxation of a self-catered holiday. Free to eat when and where we want and (boringly) even be able to wash and iron during your stay. There is nothing nicer than a suitcase of clean clothes ready to hang when you reach home! We look (after price) for somewhere to sleep all 6 of us and the dog (we never know who is coming!), at least two bathrooms, somewhere we can eat outside (providing it doesn’t rain all week!) comfy beds and most importantly – location.
Thankfully, if you look hard enough you can get all of these things without breaking the bank. Our most recent choice proved to be one of the most perfect self-catering accommodations we had ever stayed in and for a very reasonable school holiday price.
Handpicked Lodges' ‘Riverside Lodge’ should really have given us a clue as to what we could expect, and we fell in love with the house and its location the minute we walked through the door. Patio doors on every bedroom and a living area looking out over a fast-flowing river. Comfy beds, red squirrels running around outside, a firepit next to the river, Netflix (bring your own log in!), birds to photograph, leather couches, a forest on your doorstep and so many little extras (loved the local beers and famous Scottish delicacy the Tunnock Wafer!) and it even had a washing/drying/ironing room!
Thanks to a week of sunshine and heat, meals on the patio every night and wildlife by the bucket load it was a memorable holiday and thankfully midge-free. Time to start thinking of our next trip – where shall we go? Scotland again? Why not….
Life and other