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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.

Classic Fodder
All things eating in Dorset

All things eating in Dorset

Whatever your idea of holiday bliss, there is an endless supply of things to see and do, and thanks to the mass of locally produced and sourced delicacies, there is also plenty to get your teeth into.

Things to do
Paddle Boarding with SUP in a Bag

Paddle Boarding with SUP in a Bag

Favoured with glassy waters, calm enveloped the morning and as we looked out to sea our excitement grew – this was a perfect day to go paddle boarding.

Things to do
Top 5 best things to do in the New Forest

Top 5 best things to do in the New Forest

We know because we've been there, but we're also backed up by our guests and Owners - here's some of the best things to do in the New Forest.

News & Offers
A day with Cornwall Wildlife Trust

A day with Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Behind many of Cornwall’s greatest sites and natural treasures there are hardworking teams of staff and volunteers dedicated to keeping Cornwall as happy and healthy as possible.

Things to do
Moors Valley Country Park

Moors Valley Country Park

I cannot recommend Moors Valley Country Park highly enough, in fact I've already sent a number of friends and family along and hope to go back again myself soon.

Things to do
Black Prince Flower Boat Procession

Black Prince Flower Boat Procession

The historic Black Prince Flower Boat Procession traditionally took place to bid farewell to the winter cold and welcome spring sunshine – little wonder it’s so popular!

Visitors' Book
Beaches of the New Forest

Beaches of the New Forest

We decided to work our way back along the beaches of the south coast despite it being a somewhat dreary looking February day

Visitors' Book
Lyndhurst and the New Forest ponies

Lyndhurst and the New Forest ponies

We had driven through the town of Lyndhurst earlier in the day and made a note to stop off on our way back to our holiday cottage in Lymington, not least because of the large number of New Forest ponies we had seen just on the outskirts of the town.

Visitors' Book
New Forest Wildlife Park

New Forest Wildlife Park

The wolves and chatty giant otters were a big hit, the stories of their conservation making for heart-warming reading and the friendly deer that were free to roam around the park added a magical touch.

Visitors' Book
Family fun day at Bucklers Hard

Family fun day at Bucklers Hard

Considering it wasn't our location of choice we really surprised ourselves with how enjoyable it was and would highly recommend a visit.

Classic Fodder
Out to eat in Lymington

Out to eat in Lymington

Charlotte and I decided to see if we could find a takeaway for dinner. Yes, there was a fully equipped kitchen to cater to our self-catering needs, but being so close to the sea, our hearts (and stomachs) were set on a fresh fish supper. So fish and chips it was to be.

Visitors' Book
Discovering Saltram House, Plymouth

Discovering Saltram House, Plymouth

The house itself is impressive with fantastic period furnishings and beautifully decorated rooms, but the grounds are the star of the show.

Visitors' Book
A day in Kingsand and Cawsand

A day in Kingsand and Cawsand

Kingsand and Cawsand are twin seafront villages on The Rame Peninsula in Cornwall. They have a rich fishing (and smuggling!) heritage and you can still spot the old fish cellars and stores along the coast.

Visitors' Book
A Family Trip to Dartmoor Zoo

A Family Trip to Dartmoor Zoo

Famously remembered as the inspiration behind the Hollywood film ‘We Bought a Zoo’, Dartmoor Zoo has a charm all of its own.

Visitors' Book
Dog walks in Paignton with Bailey

Dog walks in Paignton with Bailey

It’s very tempting to belt out a rendition of something from ‘The Sound of Music’, but all I can manage is ‘Bailey wait for me!’ as she disappears through some brambles.

Visitors' Book
Our holiday in the New Forest

Our holiday in the New Forest

Do I really only get to stay here for the weekend? Perhaps I will call in sick on Monday and stay just a little longer.

News & Offers
WIN £500 White Stuff Vouchers

WIN £500 White Stuff Vouchers

Our friends at White Stuff have given us a little giveaway to pass on to our guests.

News & Offers
Volunteering for Butterfly Conservation Cornwall

Volunteering for Butterfly Conservation Cornwall

Classic Cottages join Butterfly Conservation Cornwall for a day of chopping, lopping and butterflies.

Things to do
Baby friendly Easter activities in Dorset

Baby friendly Easter activities in Dorset

These Easter picks guarantee baby friendly activities that can also entertain your other little tykes.

Things to do
5 Family Easter Days out

5 Family Easter Days out

Wherever you end up in the South West this Easter there are things to do that will entertain all.

Things to do
Cornish Hurling in St Ives

Cornish Hurling in St Ives

At half past ten the mayor 'throws up' the silver ball, blessed in the holy well of St Eia, and the games begin...

Things to do
Quirky Valentine's in Cornwall

Quirky Valentine's in Cornwall

Do Valentines differently this year with all things love-worthy in Cornwall.

News & Offers
Ten cosy cottages with fires

Ten cosy cottages with fires

Snuggle up together in our cottages with open fires and wood burners.

Places to Go
5 Dog-friendly walks with pubs in Cornwall

5 Dog-friendly walks with pubs in Cornwall

Combining two of the best bits about holidays in Cornwall - dog-friendly pubs and lovely long walks.

Things to do
A wet hotel on the Somerset Levels

A wet hotel on the Somerset Levels

This year the elements have conspired more than even to provide a fabulous winter hotel on the Somerset Levels for the best of wild bird guests that you could hope for.

Things to do
Piskies, Devils and Gubbins at Lydford Gorge

Piskies, Devils and Gubbins at Lydford Gorge

When we saw The Devil’s Cauldron in all its primeval glory we stood agog for a full ten minutes as the waters roared and the mist swirled around us.

Places to Go
New Year Walks in Dorset

New Year Walks in Dorset

What we need is some fresh air and exercise, and Dorset thankfully has scenic walking spots in abundance. Wrap up warm, bundle the kids and dogs into the back of the car and head down to any of these places on New Year's Day to brush off the cobwebs.

Places to Go
Winter walks in Dorset

Winter walks in Dorset

Dorset has some of the finest countryside that the nation has to offer, including some absolutely breath-taking views. For beauty, views, and for a certain special something, here are some top winter walks around Dorset as the cold weather closes in around us.

Things to do
Den building at Coleton Fishacre

Den building at Coleton Fishacre

Coleton Fishacre is a hidden gem. It’s been one of my family’s top ten favourite day’s out for years and it’s just got a whole lot better...

Places to Go
Dog walking around Burgh Island, Bigbury-On-Sea

Dog walking around Burgh Island, Bigbury-On-Sea

Take a wander around, picking up some interesting facts about Bigbury Bay while you're there; the life and times of a Huer, and the pilchard packers. Remember though, it is tidal!

Things to do
10 reasons to Christmas in Cornwall

10 reasons to Christmas in Cornwall

With temperature dropping and the nights drawing in, it’s easy to lust after summer. But our sights are set firmly on the good stuff: a return to decent telly, wintry comfort food (hello Shepherd’s Pie, we’ve missed you) and most exciting of all - Christmas!

Things to do
Christmas delights in Dorset

Christmas delights in Dorset

Christmas themed outings from wreath-making workshops to ice-skating safaris!

Places to Go
Five best pubs with fires in Cornwall

Five best pubs with fires in Cornwall

The best-planned winter activities should factor in a fire, be it a hearth-side Sunday lunch, a cosy pint and pork scratchings or just a large slab of cake and coffee.

Things to do
Blood Moons and Dark Sky Tourism

Blood Moons and Dark Sky Tourism

When on holiday, consider a slightly different point of view. Grab a blanket, a bottle of wine and come and check out the latest in night-time activities.

Visitors' Book
A family walk around Lulworth Cove

A family walk around Lulworth Cove

When the sun is shining on this part of the world you can't really ask for a more perfect family day out.

News & Offers
Large Cottages for Christmas dinners

Large Cottages for Christmas dinners

Christmas cottage holidays mean the whole family can gather round to enjoy festive celebrations in style.

Places to Go
Goat walking in Exmouth

Goat walking in Exmouth

The World of Country Life is a great day out for young children. Even though we went on a Saturday it was surprisingly quiet and we didn’t have to queue for anything which made it all the more enjoyable.

Classic Fodder
Raising a glass to Cornish vineyards

Raising a glass to Cornish vineyards

Raising a glass to Cornish vineyards now the children are back at school

Visitors' Book
The Blue Pool

The Blue Pool

The Blue Pool in Wareham, Dorset is allegedly home to the Wareham Bears... So make sure you take a picnic!

Classic Fodder
The best of the best places to eat in Dorset

The best of the best places to eat in Dorset

Starting in my home town of Shaftesbury in north Dorset, we are incredibly lucky to boast no fewer than nine cafes and at least six great places for a wonderful dinner. There are however two which for me stand out above the rest and are worth travelling down to this part of Dorset especially for.

Places to Go
Beach tunnels and missing meerkats in Shaldon

Beach tunnels and missing meerkats in Shaldon

Philip takes his children on a little tour of this south Devon village, from smugglers' tunnels to escaped meerkats.

Visitors' Book
Finding inspiration in the wild and wonderful west

Finding inspiration in the wild and wonderful west

Emylia's book, 'The Sea Between Us', launches 27th August 2015, inspired by her holidays in Cornwall, and she stayed in Classic cottages along the way...

Visitors' Book
Becky Falls family day out

Becky Falls family day out

I read on the leaflet that Becky Falls has been open to the public since 1903. A lot of small feet must have walked its trails in that time but my children really did feel like explorers discovering a strange and magical land for the first time.

Visitors' Book
Dog walking in Devon on Berry Head

Dog walking in Devon on Berry Head

Yes, we are talking rabbits, dog walkers, bird watchers, picnic lovers, historical researchers; and of course not forgetting the Guardhouse Cafe, on the Berry Head Nature Reserve

Visitors' Book
A winning holiday at Winnie's Cottage

A winning holiday at Winnie's Cottage

The winner of our holiday competition with Classic Cottages and JojoMamanBebe tells us all about her fab baby-friendly holiday in Winnie's Cottage (1822)

Classic Fodder
Surf Cafe living: Crab Claws

Surf Cafe living: Crab Claws

This dish, shared with us by our friends at Surf Cafe Living, forces you to get your hands dirty and get involved with your food, so feel free to dish out bibs for a laugh.

Things to do
A boat trip out of Mousehole

A boat trip out of Mousehole

Head out with Cormorant Cruising and discover the local history, marine life and stunning views from the seas around beautiful Mousehole harbour.

Things to do
The Magnificent Three by Miracle Theatre

The Magnificent Three by Miracle Theatre

Jumpin' Jehosaphats! Miracle pull it out the bag yet again.

Classic Fodder
A grown up night out on The Barbican

A grown up night out on The Barbican

A night out on The Barbican, Plymouth's famous old town sea front.

Things to do
Walking in Dorset

Walking in Dorset

Some of the more rural country walks in North Dorset suggest themselves as more of a waterproof coat and wellington boot alternative, though there are plenty of coastal walks for the slightly more adventurous types with hiking boots and walking sticks. However, these are my particular favourites;