Winter isn’t just a time for jetting away to exotic destinations – autumn, winter and Christmas can be the best times of year for a self-catering staycation, with lower prices than in high season but all the fun if you choose your destination wisely.
In celebration of this fact, and to inspire you, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite child-friendly cottages around the UK, some with log-burners and/or hot tubs, and some even offering indoor swimming pools. Many are also pet-friendly, so you can bring along the family pooch. With many of the below, we can offer exclusive discounts – follow the links for prices and current deals. Just don’t forget the wellies!
The Lookout, The Rosevine, Cornwall
Just steps from wonderful walking paths, this chic beachside property sleeping up to eight gives you the flexibility of self-catering with the facilities of a hotel – those of The Rosevine hotel next door, with its indoor swimming pool plus restaurant, deli and takeaway service. Inside the cottage, it’s all slate, seagrass and painted wooden floors, and there’s a log-burner, a playroom and a garden.
Leeds Castle Holiday Cottages, Kent
With an unbelievable location within the 500-acre parkland of one of the world’s loveliest castles, itself set on two islands on the River Len, these six period cottages mix modern luxuries with antiques (some from the castle) and log-burners. One is in a former oast house, another in a Napoleonic barracks; some sleep up to six, or 12 when combined with neighbouring properties. Guests get unlimited free entry to the castle and grounds during their stay, including the Knight’s Realm playground, both inside and outside regular visitor hours.
Farmhouse Cottage and Chicken Coop View Cottage, Northumberland
Sleeping up to four in a scenic setting on the edge of the Northumberland National Park, those two homely barn conversions with log-burning stove are in 12 acres of grounds with their own private stretch of the River Rede (with brown trout and salmon fishing). It’s the perfect location for exploring Hadrian’s Wall, Kielder Forest Park (brilliant for star-gazing), the Northumberland coastline, and Alnwick Castle with its Harry Potter connections.
Bluestone National Park Resort, Pembrokeshire
Part of a super-family-friendly holiday park within the UK's only coastal national park, these quaint Welsh holiday cottages sleeping up to four (with a bunk-room for kids) are just steps from the lake activities, Blue Lagoon waterpark with its indoor beach, spa and on-site shops and restaurants.
Foxes Reach, Monmouthshire
Picture-postcard pretty, this award-winning option with a hot tub in its secluded garden sits in the Wye Valley close to Tintern Abbey, the Forest of Dean and RSPB Symond’s Yat, with Cardiff and the Brecon Beacons within easy reach. Christmas and New Year guests even get a tree, festive decorations and sparkling wine.
Weir Cottage, Ness Castle Estate, Highlands
Sleeping four, this single-storey wood-clad property with decking, wood-burning stove and river views is handy for Culloden Battlefield, Loch Ness cruises and dolphin-spotting on the Moray Firth. Within 30 acres of landscaped and woodland grounds, it has access to a shared hot tub, steam room and gym.
Crieff Hydro, Perthshire
Part of a 900-acre country estate with an award-winning hotel, an indoor pool, a kids’ club and a vast choice of on- and off-site activities including archery and horse-riding, these cottages and cabins give an independent feel and plenty of space while also offering easy access to all the resort amenities.
Read more on UK family breaks including things to see and do with kids, with links to regional guides.