Classic Cottages

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Welcome to Notes & Stories, our on-line journal (aka, our blog) about staying somewhere else. It's a balance of things you might find useful or interesting, before, during and maybe even after your holiday.

Dip in and out. Bookmark an article for your coffee break. Or get lost in our West Country world. And please, feel free to let us know your thoughts. We'd love to hear about your stories from the South West so email us at nas@classic.co.uk and we'll share them for you.

Things to do
Origin Coffee brewed by you

Origin Coffee brewed by you

Learn how to make a proper coffee at home (or in your holiday cottage!) with Origin

Things to do
Lanhydrock Cycling

Lanhydrock Cycling

I was headed to the new cycling mecca: Lanhydrock - where there would be no cars, only trees, the rumour of cake and other lycra-clad illuminous beings.

Visitors' Book
On the river: Canoeing on the Carrick Roads in Cornwall

On the river: Canoeing on the Carrick Roads in Cornwall

And the best bit? You don’t even need to own your own canoe to explore the Carrick Roads, there’s all sorts of ways to get out and about on the water.

Visitors' Book
Devon’s Top Ten Best Fish and Chips

Devon’s Top Ten Best Fish and Chips

Devon, a part of Britain where the grass genuinely is greener than anywhere else , and you're spoilt for choice about where to go for your fish-and-chip fix

Visitors' Book
Coast, Clifftops and Country Lanes: A Circular Walk from Exmouth

Coast, Clifftops and Country Lanes: A Circular Walk from Exmouth

Take a circular walk that takes in coast and countryside, with stunning views and a little history and geology thrown in for good measure.

Visitors' Book
Wild swimming in Cornwall

Wild swimming in Cornwall

Here are my recommendations on where to get away from the crowds and take a really wild Cornish dip

Places to Go
Family Holidays: Pram-friendly walks in south Cornwall

Family Holidays: Pram-friendly walks in south Cornwall

When we plan to go out together we’re always on the lookout for pram friendly strolls in south Cornwall. Photography by Annabel Elston

Things to do
Open Air Theatre in Cornwall

Open Air Theatre in Cornwall

Theatre really comes into its own when it’s performed on the road. Each summer in Cornwall, a myriad of makeshift stages spring up all over the county – some providing seating, but many simply on the beach or a patch of grass on which to spread your blanket. It’s an experience not to be missed.

Places to Go
Family Holidays: Family-friendly pubs in south Devon

Family Holidays: Family-friendly pubs in south Devon

Eating out with young children can be a challenge but it’s definitely worth it in the end.

Visitors' Book
Family Holidays: Pram-friendly Goodrington Sands beach in south Devon

Family Holidays: Pram-friendly Goodrington Sands beach in south Devon

The phrase ‘pram-friendly beach’ is almost a contradiction in terms. If there is any surface designed to test even the most all-terrain of pushchairs it is a beach. But we might've found one...

Things to do
Family Holidays: Outdoor Cornwall with the kids

Family Holidays: Outdoor Cornwall with the kids

The great Cornish countryside is a veritable playground, crammed to bursting with adventures to be had. Photography by Annabel Elston

Places to Go
Family Holidays: There's no such thing as a Gruffalo?

Family Holidays: There's no such thing as a Gruffalo?

The highlight of the trail was a large carved wooden sculpture of the Gruffalo which my five year old in particular adored.

Visitors' Book
Family Holidays: Pram-friendly North Sands beach in Devon

Family Holidays: Pram-friendly North Sands beach in Devon

Although it can be frustrating manhandling a pram onto a beach there can be advantages to them once they are there.

Visitors' Book
Family Holidays: Cycling the Camel Trail to Padstow

Family Holidays: Cycling the Camel Trail to Padstow

Car parks in Padstow can be busy in the height of August, so I’ve always thought of the Camel Trail as the ideal way to travel there...

Classic Fodder
A beginner's guide to the best Cornish pasties

A beginner's guide to the best Cornish pasties

I’ve taken it upon myself to conduct some thorough research, by sampling various offerings ranging from hardcore traditional to riskily adventurous, in order to bring you a beginner’s guide to the Cornish favourite.

Things to do
Top Ten Fishing in Devon: Catch your own dinner

Top Ten Fishing in Devon: Catch your own dinner

Devon offers many amazing opportunities for visitors who want to try their luck with rod and reel, or simply a handline. Then there's the spearguns...

Classic Fodder
Family Holidays: family-friendly food spots in Cornwall

Family Holidays: family-friendly food spots in Cornwall

A decent eatery with play areas, well thought out menus and a warm welcome is a fantastic find.

Places to Go
Family Holidays: The best beaches for families in Cornwall

Family Holidays: The best beaches for families in Cornwall

A trip to the beach with the kids is not always a straightforward affair, there are lots of very important things to consider, take account of and double check

Visitors' Book
Velo Vintage Cycling in the South West

Velo Vintage Cycling in the South West

Velo Vintage sees hundreds of vintage and cycling enthusiasts come together and take time to ‘cycle, take tea, converse, and dress with style’. Forget lycra and hi-vis cycling wear, this is all about old-fashioned British style.

Things to do
Family Holidays: Crabbing at Stoke Gabriel

Family Holidays: Crabbing at Stoke Gabriel

On most crabbing adventures at other sites we feel the familiar tug on the line and gingerly start to pull the string up, but halfway up the wall the crab wisely lets go of the bag and jumps back into the water. Not so at Stoke Gabriel.

Places to Go
Family Holidays: Best outdoor place to take your kids

Family Holidays: Best outdoor place to take your kids

Berry Head: ‘The highest and lowest lighthouse in England’

Things to do
Miracle Theatre: The Tempest

Miracle Theatre: The Tempest

Live music, beautiful singing and puppetry, costume and trickery are all part of the watery journey that Miracle are inviting you to join this summer.

Things to do
Family Holidays: Canadian canoeing on the Fowey

Family Holidays: Canadian canoeing on the Fowey

Trips always involve tea, occasional fry-ups and if you’re lucky, Pete’s famous pancakes.

Visitors' Book
Surviving Car Journeys with Kids

Surviving Car Journeys with Kids

We have tried a whole host of different boredom buster techniques in the past like...

Places to Go
Family Holidays: The House of marbles

Family Holidays: The House of marbles

The House of Marbles is worth a visit purely for the huge marble run.

Visitors' Book
Family Holidays: Why my boy waves at lamp posts

Family Holidays: Why my boy waves at lamp posts

One of the highlights of a holiday in south Devon has to be a ride on the Dartmouth Steam Railway.

Things to do
What to do in Cornwall on a rainy day

What to do in Cornwall on a rainy day

If there’s one thing that can be counted on in Cornwall, it’s that you can’t count on the weather.

Stories & Characters
Family Holidays: Kids away from home debate

Family Holidays: Kids away from home debate

Tips on keeping a calming routine versus keeping them up past sundown. Have your say on which is best...

Places to Go
Family Holidays: A fat frog, a blue-tit, an armadillo and a Gruffalo

Family Holidays: A fat frog, a blue-tit, an armadillo and a Gruffalo

I quite like a rainy walk but my children sometimes need to be convinced.

Things to do
Family Holidays: Baby-friendly for free in the far west

Family Holidays: Baby-friendly for free in the far west

Property Manager Pip tells us about pram-friendly places to perambulate and how to catch crabs in far west Cornwall.

Places to Go
Family Holidays: Sheep camels and man-eating chickens

Family Holidays: Sheep camels and man-eating chickens

This was called an Imagination Playground and entertained my children for nearly an hour. They made houses and dinosaurs and... man-eating chickens.

Visitors' Book
Family Holidays: Daddy, there's a Raah fish!

Family Holidays: Daddy, there's a Raah fish!

My daughter and I actually cried with happiness before chasing after my son who was running off to spot the next Raah-fish.

Visitors' Book
Car Journey Survival: Cow Cricket and Mini Cheddars

Car Journey Survival: Cow Cricket and Mini Cheddars

Sometimes the travelling really is nearly as good as the arriving.

Things to do
Wild Swimming in Devon

Wild Swimming in Devon

Swimming – it's the most natural of activities, yet so many people only ever do it in the most unnatural of locations.

Things to do
A Jurassic Coast dog walk

A Jurassic Coast dog walk

No sounds of worldly toil ascending there Mar the full burst of prayer

Visitors' Book
Sampling the River Cottage Food Festival

Sampling the River Cottage Food Festival

Itʼs not what you would call a ʻhugeʼ festival, but itʼs all the more special because of that. If anything it feels like a huge family garden party, if only I had that garden!

News & Offers
Discount walking guides

Discount walking guides

We've got a special Classic discount on walking books. All the walks in each book are circular and each has all the information walkers need for a good day out.

Visitors' Book
The best family friendly beach in south Devon

The best family friendly beach in south Devon

I hesitate to write this because I don’t want too many people to know about THE perfect family friendly beach, but just between you and me, I think I’ve found it.

Visitors' Book
An American in Cornwall: The Minack in the rain

An American in Cornwall: The Minack in the rain

It began to rain, and then it began to pour. The wind started gusting. Backdrops blew over and props flew away. The players had to grip their costumes to themselves and shout to be heard over the whistle of wind in their mics. But there can be no better place in the world to experience Shakespeare.

News & Offers
WIN goodies for the kiddies this summer

WIN goodies for the kiddies this summer

NOW CLOSED Great summers make great childhood memories and our Great Little Trading Company competition gives you the chance to win the toys to play with.

Places to Go
A magical afternoon at Dartington Hall

A magical afternoon at Dartington Hall

They say Dartington is situated on a ley line – now I’m not sure about all that hippy stuff, but one thing I do know is I always feel an incredible sense of calm and beauty when I visit.

Visitors' Book
A St Ives Staycation

A St Ives Staycation

Deadlines and alarm clocks quickly become a distant memory, replaced by thoughts of cream teas and tide tables

Visitors' Book
An American in Cornwall: The First English Coffee

An American in Cornwall: The First English Coffee

While the British do drink tea in a way that Americans never will, they also drink coffee in a way that that most Americans never will. And that way is (dare I say this?) unquestionably superior.

Visitors' Book
Fossil hunting in Lyme Regis

Fossil hunting in Lyme Regis

Even my twelve-year-old son was soon bashing away at rocks with his hammer and proudly announcing his discovery of belemnites, crinoid stems and an ammonite

Things to do
Learning to surf in Cornwall

Learning to surf in Cornwall

In a county hemmed by stunning, Atlantic-pounded beaches, it’s hardly surprising that surfing is such a popular pastime

Places to Go
Grimspound: The Enclosure of the Devil on Dartmoor

Grimspound: The Enclosure of the Devil on Dartmoor

Literally meaning ‘Enclosure of the Devil’, Grim being another word for Odin, Grimspound is a late Bronze age settlement on Dartmoor.

Places to Go
Bluebells at Blackbury Camp in Devon

Bluebells at Blackbury Camp in Devon

The flowers are short-lived, and so once they are out, you should grab the opportunity to see them at their best...

Visitors' Book
From luxury hotels to luxury glamping

From luxury hotels to luxury glamping

The Jewell family experience their first glamping holiday in Devon...

Visitors' Book
Exploring Exeter University

Exploring Exeter University

Not just for students – exploring Exeter University Streatham Campus

News & Offers
WIN a River Cottage dining experience worth £950

WIN a River Cottage dining experience worth £950

*ENDED* Visit the River Cottage HQ farmhouse, as seen on tv, and enjoy an evening of private cheffing with friends and family