There are few things that beat the glorious English countryside, especially when the weather is fine. The Cotswolds, the New Forest, the Lake District, the Yorkshire Moors and the South Downs are all peppered with quaint villages huddled around millponds, greens and antique churches. Nestling in these villages, or hidden by leafy and twisting roads, are some wonderful country houses that can be rented for weekends, short breaks and holidays. With excellent self-catering facilities and superb furnishings, renting a large holiday cottage can make a break something very special indeed.
1. A Day at the Races
The Sport of Kings has enduring appeal, and you don’t need to be a gambler to enjoy a wee flutter on the gee-gees. The UK racing calendar features some excellent meets outside the usual weekend schedules, so why not organise a racing weekend at Glorious Goodwood, The Grand National or Royal Ascot. Book a lovely, large holiday cottage close to the iconic racecourse, gather together a group of good friends and enjoy one of the best of British sporting occasions. If you can get grandstand tickets or entrance to the Royal Enclosure, so much better the treat becomes – who doesn’t love a chance to get on their best bib and tucker, and sip on champagne.
2. Celebrate Good Times
When it comes to milestone birthdays we want to push that boat out. As we get older, it’s usually only when we notch up another decade that we want a fuss made, and what better way to do it than in the company of best friends and beloved ones. There are large houses dotted all over the UK in stunning locations suitable for a small, intimate party or a huge blow out. Whether it’s a grey-slate manor cradled in the Welsh Mountains, an impressive Georgian pile in the Peak District, or a magnificent Laird’s lodge perched on the fringes of a Scottish loch, it’s the ideal setting for a special occasion. Book a local caterer, and maybe some entertainment, and you’ve got the ingredients for a memorable celebration.
3. Wedding Bells
Long gone are the days when a wedding was a service at the local church, followed a disco and buffet reception in a community centre or favourite restaurant/pub. Every bride now is looking for a fairy tale location for her dream wedding. Whether the guest list is limited to close family and friends, or is so extensive as to include Auntie Mavis who emigrated to Australia in 1995, there is a dream country house venue out there that will deliver the wow factor. You can make like Madonna and Guy Ritchie, and opt for a Scottish castle in the highlands, or instead, plump for an imposing stately home in manicured grounds in leafy Surrey. Choose a grange property close to Bath, for example, and there’s a wonderful chance to spend time on one of the loveliest places in England. It will be a wedding friends and family will never forget.