As time goes by we are coming to realise that self catering holiday homes are the way forward for us as a family. Anyone who has tried to sleep in a hotel room with small children for more than one night will tell you it’s a recipe for disaster. Of course we have the added complication of an “extra child” – family rooms generally cater for a “typical” family of four. We’ve got away with this until now as Amy has been in a travel cot, and if caught short she would happily bed in with Chlo. But realistically, this isn’t a great option. We face a future of needing to book two hotel rooms – most likely one for the girls and one for the boys (as I’m not comfortable with the kids sleeping in random hotel rooms on their own even if we are just next door!) Apart from anything else – that doubles the cost of your break before you’ve even left the house!
With this in mind, when we were invited by English Country Cottages to take a little holiday in one of their properties we jumped at the chance! The first gold star comes when you’re searching for a property to sleep two adults and three children, you are given hundreds (and I’m not exaggerating) of options ranging from cute little three bedroom cottages to a couple of seriously enormous places sleeping more than twenty!
English Country Cottages kindly picked out a few suggestions for us and based on a number of factors we chose Low Moor Cottages in Scarborough. A couple of things made it a stand out as the winner for us – the first being it’s not too far away, just a couple of hours in the car from our house but conveniently just an hour from my parents’ which meant we could drop Thomas off on the way. (No pets allowed at Low Moor Cottages however you can search for pet friendly properties on the English Country Cottages website.) The second advantage was the beautiful enclosed garden space. Added to this the fact that the property slept eight and was close to the coast. We were sold!
Stable Cottage is the largest of five cottages built on old farm land – we loved that our garden backed onto the farm itself and a field full of sheep who we could hear conversing with one another at night. The views from both the front and back of the cottage are those of rolling green fields and farm animals. So, whilst you’re only a ten to fifteen minute drive from Scarborough sea front, you are also well and truly out into the countryside and able to escape all the hustle and bustle of the coastal town. The peaceful setting of Low Moor Cottages felt pretty perfect to us!
Of course as a result of being that little bit further out of town, you do need to plan your shopping a little! We had decided beforehand that we would take food for picnic lunches and then probably eat out on a night. This served to be a good decision – in part because the fridge in the cottage is a relatively small under counter affair which really wasn’t sufficient for eight people. As it was, we managed fairly well but were glad we hadn’t brought any more food with us! (We found a pub a short drive down the road which had a great outdoor play area for the kids and was really good value so we ended up eating there for two of the four nights!)
The cottage has four very comfortable bedrooms – two double and two twin, making it ideal for two families of four to share a holiday! We made the most of the extra space by inviting the Butlers to join us (minus Daddy who had to work) which meant we tested out the cottage to it’s full capacity! There are two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs with a further two bedrooms and a shower room downstairs. This worked really well for us as it meant we could separate out the kids a bit at bedtime, however it might not work quite so well if you were putting light sleeping children to bed downstairs or if guests wanted to have a bit of a lie in whilst others were up having breakfast. I wouldn’t normally sing the praises of a downstairs shower, however in this instance it was a god send. After a full day of beach based fun we were able to leave the kids playing out in the garden and bring them in one by one to the shower so we minimised the amount of sand spread about the property.
The enclosed, private garden, which had been one of the main reasons for us booking Low Moor Cottages, didn’t disappoint. It was a great size for the kids to play safely and an equally lovely place for us to sit and have a drink or some lunch!
We made full use of the washing machine to be able to get our sandy beach clothes clean and dried – which had the added bonus of meaning we didn’t bring bag loads of washing home with us! (Paula tells me that Stable Cottage will be having an extension soon to create a sort of utility room for a tumble drier, muddy wellies and pushchairs which I think will be really useful.)
We were beyond lucky with the weather over the course of the week and spent much of our time down in Scarborough either on the beach, in the arcades or at Peasholme Park. This was pretty much perfect for keeping our team of five occupied and also meant we didn’t spend a fortune on entertaining them. Both Mich and I commented that Stable Cottage was the ideal base for us to get out and explore but had the weather been different we might have felt a little cramped if we spent too long indoors. The actual living space of the cottage was perfectly adequate for us having breakfast, watching a bit of TV while we got everyone ready to go out or for the three adults to relax on an evening however if there had been eight adults in the cottage it would have been a different matter entirely. Of course bearing in mind this is a “cottage” and not a “house” I do think you have to expect things will be cosy!
All in we had a really wonderful stay at Low Moor Cottages and the children didn’t want to leave! (Chloe tells me that she’s going to take her own children there when she’s a grown up). We would definitely look to book a break with English Country Cottages again next time we’re looking for a few nights away in our own beautiful country!
*We were invited by English Country Cottages to stay at Low Moor Cottages free of charge for the purposes of review. All thoughts and opinions remain our own*