12 March 2019
The topic of ‘undertoursim’ got the travel industry talking in March, which got us thinking about where the ‘under-touristed’ spots in the UK are. Turns out there are quite a few hidden gems in our midst! We asked the #trulylocal teams at the Original Cottages offices across England and Wales and they had a wealth of information… Here are their top suggestions - we have many more if you’d like to make a feature of ideas.
Head to Huggate with its chocolate box pretty cottages and a 14th century tower, or ‘mini York’ Beverley with its own Minster, quirky side streets and a racecourse. The lost medieval village of Wharram Percy, where only the historic church remains, was largely wiped out by the Black Death in the 14th century. Adventurous walkers might tackle the 79 mile hike on the Wolds National Trail which stretches from the Humber all the way to Filey Brigg on the coast. Take your binoculars to the nature reserve at Bempton Cliffs or venture out by boat to see puffins, guillemots and kittiwakes. Stately homes abound with Burton Agnes Hall, Sledmere House, Burton Constable Hall and Sewerby Hall.
You’ll know the wider Yorkshire Wolds for their unspoilt bucolic countryside and picture postcard villages made famous by David Hockney. But even in mid-summer you can drive for miles (or cycle - the undulating hills and woodlands are pure joy on two wheels) without seeing another living soul. What better year to explore deeper and escape the staycation crowds?
... splendid Rose Cottage in the pretty village of Huggate, the highest village in the Yorkshire Wolds. Beautiful traditional features include beamed ceilings, stone floors and a wood burning stove to toast your toes in front of after a bracing walk. Relax in the superb kitchen and cook up a feast on the range cooker. There’s ample spreading out room with two lounges and a gorgeous enclosed garden and courtyard so your dog can roam freely and securely.
Sleeps six, from £673 per week. Bookable through Niche Retreats, www.nicheretreats.co.uk
In Suffolk, the Waveney Valley on the border with Norfolk, and Constable Country on the border with Essex have so far been largely unnoticed by tourists.
It’s not clear why - Waveney Valley’s Suffolk Broads are a tranquil paradise of interlaced rivers and lakes, iconic mills and wildlife reserves. Oulton Broad in Lowestoft is the largest lake in the Suffolk Broads and the perfect place to rent a boat. Just north of here is Somerleyton, a beautiful village with Victorian hall and gardens. Still waterways cross ochre-coloured marshland, dotted with 18th century windmills.
To truly get away from it all, stay in Huntingfield, a small village with a spectacular church.
Dunnets Farm Barn in Huntingfield is a converted 18th century barn set in 16 acres of stunning countryside designed to encourage natural wildlife, including deer, barn owls and kingfishers. A stocked fishing lake and games room beckon. The spacious barn comprises a large high vaulted open plan living area creating the perfect space for entertaining, dinner parties or simply relaxing in front of a good movie. Bikes for adults and children are available.
Sleeps six, from £695 per week. Bookable through Original Cottages, www.originalcottages.co.uk
Constable Country: Walk in the footsteps of John Constable and gaze over the views he painted from the National Trust at Flatford. Constable said his days on the banks of the River Stour made him a painter. Constable Country is close to Cambridge, Colchester and the historic wool towns of Lavenham and Long Melford. Slow down and venture off the beaten track on foot or by bike with the many circular trails around the Dedham Vale AONB.
The Old Pottery in Chelsworth.
This romantic self-contained 1600s cottage in the West Wing of the owner’s property has been refurbished by local craftsmen. Beautiful beams rise from floor to ceiling, while hand-crafted mellow brick flooring conceals underfloor heating. Gaze out of the mullion windows across the village church, fields, and woodlands. Bikes and fishing available. Pop into 14th century The Peacock Inn for supper and a drink.
Sleeps four, from £560 per week. Bookable through Original Cottages, www.originalcottages.co.uk
If the stunning coastline of Cornwall beckons, head to Porthleven before it becomes too well known! Next month, Porthleven Food Festival, a three-day feast of food, drink and music will take over this lovely fishing town. Out of season it is known as the most storm-battered town in Britain, sitting as it does right in the middle of the huge sweep of Mount’s Bay.
Hunker down in…
Tripolitania, bravely settled right on the waterfront. Uninterrupted sea views over Mount’s Bay are breathtaking and brisk walks along the sea promise to rejuvenate body and soul. Outside there’s an acre of garden and a private floodlit sun terrace. Dogs welcome.
Sleeps 12. From £1045 per week. Bookable through Original Cottages, www.originalcottages.co.uk
Tucked into an inlet in Pembrokeshire, is the tiny, bustling, village of Solva. You won’t want to be without your tide times as at low tide the harbour is completely dry apart from a central stream providing children hours of net and buckets based entertainment. Head down the beach to the mouth of the inlet to discover a large stretch of sand with rock pools and caves, and shallow, child-friendly swimming. At high tide, daredevils jump off the harbour walls. Running parallel to Solva on the other side of the ridge is another narrow valley with a beautiful pebble beach. Pick up unique fabrics from Solva Woolen Mill.
Ty'r Gwalch, named after the buzzards that are often seen flying overhead. Perfectly placed in Nine Wells, a mile from Solva and two miles from St Davids in North Pembrokeshire, this cosy coastal cottage has panoramic views of the sea and St. Brides Bay from its large south facing balcony. Walk the stunning route from Whitesands Bay to St Davids Head and refuel at the stylish Sloop Inn in Porthgain.
Sleeps four, from £366 per week. Two dogs allowed. Bookable through Original Cottages, www.originalcottages.co.uk