We asked our email subscribers to send us their favourite holiday memory of 2019 with Classic Cottages for a chance to win £250 towards their next holiday with us. Not surprisingly we had loads of responses and an amazing selection of stories. After several days of trying to decide a winner (it was difficult as they were all so good!) we do now have a winner! So without further ado...
Amanda James - A Cornwall Story
So we celebrated our Honeymoon in a lovely cottage we found on the website. Welltown Barn, near Lostwithiel in Cornwall. It was everything we could have imagined and more! Cornwall is full of surprises - and often too are the barns we have found whilst holidaying with you. Lovely little touches that seem to make the week so much better.
Each day we tried somewhere new. We drove into a nearby seaside town, lots of lovely cafes and ice cream parlours. He suggested getting ice cream and I could see the seagulls above and said “maybe we should wait until we’re away from the harbour” he laughed at me and told me I was being dramatic and that there are hundreds of people here and he very much doubts we’d be singled out by a seagull for our ice cream. So, we got an ice cream and proceeded to walk along a very narrow harbour... (He held both of them whilst I tried to get the camera from his back pack so I hadn’t had any yet.) You’re probably guessing what happens next. But no - a seagull didn’t attempt to take our ice cream... a seagull didn’t even get close. He was so on edge about the whole thing and I was making a fair bit of noise fastening up the bag that he thought he heard a ‘bird sound’ close by and threw both of our ice creams into the water out of panic. Neither of us said a word, and we just turned and looked at each other for a little while. I didn’t know how to feel!
To conclude, the seagulls didn’t get our ice cream and neither did we. I wish I had video footage because it was such a whirlwind of emotions. We’d for sure love to book the same destination and capture a nice moment on the harbour. Maybe I’ll finally get some ice cream.
Here are two pictures - A seagull we layer befriended that day. And a picture of us sitting close to the water trying to watch the last of our ice cream sinking into the water. Enjoy! Because we did(n’t).
Other Stories We Loved
Tom, Hannah, Barney & Toby
We booked our first Classic Cottage holiday ten years ago when I was two months pregnant with our first son. The tranquillity of Skylight Barn in Coverack, Cornwall, was ideal for hiding away while no-one else knew our family (and my tummy) was set to expand!
We've used Classic Cottages heaps since then because we've always had such lovely and comfortable holiday homes and the website and service are always excellent.
Now we've got two boys - Barney's gone from being a bump to ten, and Toby's seven - we still love going to Cornwall but we also like escaping to the Isle of Wight.
The island is perfect because the ferry makes you feel like you're going abroad, but it's so easy to get to.
This story is from our stay with Classic last Easter when we stayed in Seaview on the Isle of Wight. As we've been a few times, we've got to know the local area and our most favourite place to spend even slightly sunny days is St Helen's Duver. It's ideal with its beach, abundant rock pools, National Trust sand dunes, pretty wild flowers, horse riding and the best cafe/restaurant for daytime drinks and tasty suppers.
We also like using the local water sports company, and during this holiday, we decided to hire kayaks for the first time. We had a brave instructor come with us to teach the basics and he was very patient with wobbly beginners!
It was a beautiful and bright day but the seawater was a bit chilly, so wet suits and a stoic British attitude were needed. We soon glided around the still estuary water weaving in and out of little boats and looking at interesting sea creatures on the way. It was a very relaxing and interesting way to look at the surrounding area and investigate the water.
But as anyone with daredevil boys will know, it didn't take long for them to be more adventurous on their new vessel, and once they got their kayak legs, they decided it was much more fun jumping into the cold water than paddling over it!!
Like over-excited Labradors and encouraged by their fun instructor, they took turns to 'rock the boat' and fly into the water with a scream, never once complaining they were cold when they surfaced. I still don't understand how kids never seem to get cold! BBBrrrrrrr.
And at the end of a fun two hours in such a safe and idyllic harbour, it was time to dry out at our favourite beach cafe with large hot chocolates.
A perfect holiday. Another classic.
Catherine - Poldue
We had returned to Poldue, two years after our first visit, so struck by the perfect isolation of the cottage and stark beauty of the wild moors that we were drawn back like prodigals returning home. This is a place in which to savour solitude and to listen to the whispers in the wind.
As we sprawled in homey comfort in the conservatory, soaking in the magnificent view of Rough Tor over a steaming cuppa and a biscuit we were charmed by the visits of fluffy mama ewes accompanied by one, two, or sometimes three, gambolling newborn, stilt-legged lambs close by their sides, as they cropped the lush lawn and mosses surrounding the house and peered in the windows with some curious surprise at the humans grinning back at them. We joked about how thoughtful it was for the neighbours to come by to cut the grass.
A storm had blown in over the course of the evening as we sat by the crackling log fire in the lounge, so that by bedtime rain lashed the windows and the wind moaned around the corners of the stout stone house with a ghostly lament. But I was snug in my upstairs chamber whose view was out over the empty moor to the Tor, no sign of human habitation other than a stone circle of ancient origin on its flank.
The wailing wind brought to mind the story of Charlotte Dymond whose granite memorial also stands at the foot of the Tor. Charlotte, an eighteen year old housemaid at the isolated Penhale Farm, was found murdered in 1844, her body left lying on the banks of the River Alan at Roughtor Ford. Mystery still surrounds the story as to the identity of her killer and whether the correct man was executed, unresolved 175 years later. She is said to roam the moors yet, wearing the green striped dress and red shawl of her Sunday best that she had on when she died. As I doze, a gust shakes the window pane with a little rattle, and a fanciful person might wonder if someone knocks. But not me, I just snuggle down deeper and drift to sleep, the rainfall a lullaby.
The Bodmin Moors are wild and open, but never lonely or intimidating. To stand on the narrow track surveying the unbroken sweep of rolling hillocks, surrounded by nothing but furze in golden bloom, hawthorn in a veil of pearly white and the sculpted, rocky tors is idyllic. We have found our perfect place in Poldue and we will be back.
Jane & Maureen - More than a dusting of snow...
Mum and I were looking forward to a short break in north Cornwall last February. We had seen the weather forecast of a large snowfall due in our home town and decided to leave a day earlier.
We packed the car and as we were travelling later in the day than normal, we added in blankets, a flask of hot chocolate and some sandwiches for the journey. Leaving sunny Gloucestershire at 3.30pm the roads were clear and we made excellent time down the M5 listening to BBC Radio Devon we started hearing about snow on the A30 but thought it never gets that bad in Cornwall. As we approached the Exeter turn off to join the A30 the snow was getting quite heavy and once on the A30 it quickly became a full blown blizzard. Very icy and gridlocked. Cars abandoned by the side of the road. For some crazy reason we decided to press on as thought surely it can be this bad all the way. How wrong we were.
We spent the next 6 hours crawling along the A30, slurping our hot chocolate and consuming our sandwiches. Cars slipping and sliding all around us but we took it very slowly and had an inspired moment after listening to the radio Cornwall traffic update about the roads around Jamaica Inn...basically don’t go there. So we turned off onto the north Cornwall road and headed off into the dark, very snowy and very lonely A390. Again slowly we pressed on passing abandoned cars and along the Atlantic highway we drove. After about 2 hours the sat nav told us we were within a few miles of our destination.
It was now after midnight and beginning to wonder if we would still gain access, would it be warm, and would we find it. We drove past it on the first attempt as the sat nav and holiday cottage didn’t agree, but after a 8 point turn avoiding some snow ditches and ice we limped onto a very thick snowy farm track in the total darkness. I got out of the car, leaving my 81 year old mum wrapped in the blanket, dusted off a sign to see the name of our cottage. Hurrah....we decamped and got into the cottage as quickly as possible with out falling over.
We opened the door to a lovely warm living room with a tray of tea and cake laid out for us. Perfect. We arrived, over 9 hours after leaving home for our mini-break. Luckily we had packed some food for our first day so the next day we enjoyed staying in the cottage, fire burning and looking out on the beautiful snowy Cornish scenery.
Photo 1 of on the A30, photo 2 of lovely view we got to enjoy the next day.
Louise - Hidden Secrets in Cornwall
Our holiday cottage in Marizion was the epitome of relaxation - my husband and I, the two dogs, our two children aged 10 and 11 were enjoying classic British bucket and spade beaches, surfing in the waves with our body boards, and glorious cliff top hikes. The weather was kind and the sun shone down on us benignly every day.
But towards the end of the holiday having sampled some of the best of Cornish beaches, we were considering something different, something adventurous. So after some internet research using the cottage’s excellent wifi we were off to the Instagram sensation that is Pedn Vounder beach. The newspaper write ups told us it looked like a tropical paradise but the azure water and golden sands were unbelievably in Cornwall!
We decided not to take the dogs a decision i was later very grateful for - and when we arrived and parked there were multiple signs warning people that this was a difficult walk/climb, and despite what they had read about the glory of the beach in the newspapers, it was a path down to the sea that was not for the faint hearted. Undeterred we set off carrying plenty of water and some snacks, and wearing sturdy shoes. Thank goodness because we passed several groups who were turning back partly because they were wearing flimsy sandals and flip flops.
To start with the cliff top path down to the beach meandered along, then became increasingly steep and narrow. “Seriously?" Asked my ten year old… then there was some rock scrabbling, some keeping closely to the side of the cliff wary of the dramatic steep way the cliff fell away on the other side...hairpin turns…and finally - the view. Wowser. Spectacular. And almost empty. Wonderful.
We hastened our pace, surely the worst was over. Errr. Nope.
We reached the beach but had a steep, steep cliff face to negotiate to get there.
One couple were lowering their sausage dog down in a basket…I was very pleased our 40 kilo Labradoodle wasn’t there - I’m not sure she would have made it down.
Basically it was a rock climb down the final straight, but once there, boy was it worth it. Absolutely stunning, amazing beach with fabulous water and few people there. Some of those who were there were nudists but we didn’t mind.
Just the most fabulous feeling to know you were sharing a secret and visiting this amazing beach.
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Find your next holiday with Classic here and make some amazing memories to last a life time in 2020.