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Anyone stayed in a National Trust Cottage in England?

Anyone stayed in a National Trust Cottage in England?

Feb 4th, 2004, 01:26 PM
  #1  
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Anyone stayed in a National Trust Cottage in England?

I'm thinking about staying a few days in one of the cottages offered on the National Trust site. Haven't gotten as far as location, I'm just looking for some input as to level of quality, getting to/from the train station to the cottage without a rental car and whether some/most of the cottages are in/near towns with some selection of activities.
I know this is vague but if anyone has a specific location or cottage to recommend as well as any positive or negative comments I would appreciate it.
tudorprincess is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 03:35 PM
  #2  
 
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I've tried several times but every time the one(s) I wanted were already booked. I have seen some of them in person and they are mostly terrific locations. But one problem - the catalog goes out to all Nat'l Trust members a year in advance and many of the prime properties are booked up months ahead. Many are reserved at the very beginning of the booking period.

You may be able to find one that meets your needs but you'll probably need to be flexible. A few are in towns but the majority are associated with gardens, country houses, lighthouses, and other rural locations.
janis is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 03:59 PM
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I've had the same experience as janis. We tried for 3 years to rent a National Trust property but routinely couldn't get one (of maybe a dozen choices). I'm sure janis' point about early booking is a good explanation. Loved looking through the catalogue though.

Which part of the country are you interested in visiting? There are plenty of fine booking agents with lots of listed properties. Perhaps someone here could recommend one.



obxgirl is online now  
Feb 4th, 2004, 05:43 PM
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I'm curious about the experiences of those of you who couldn't get in. Were these peak times you were trying for, or are all times fuly booked?
julies is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 07:25 PM
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Well - I never (or almost never) go to the UK in July/August. So none were in "peak" season. I have tried at various times (mostly May, June, Sept and December) to book a NT cottage in the Cotswolds, Warwickshire, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Kent, Wales and Yorkshire.

Each time I ended up renting a privately owned self-catering cottage, a time share, or changing my plans and going somewhere else.

Now don't get me wrong - with a lot of flexibility you might be able to find one that meets your needs. I just have never been able to. NT, Landmark Trust and National Trust for Scotland properties are all very sought after and you are competeing w/ people from all over the world for some one-of-a-kind places.
janis is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 11:21 PM
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Assuming you can book...

Like any decent group of cottages for hire, NT cottages will vary widely in almost everything but their adherence to fire regulations.

The National Trust is mostly a collection of country estates: the properties' history almost guarantees they'll be some distance from a railway, probably away from a town, and possibly being a stimulating hike to the nearest pub. None of their cottages in my part of the world is within 10 miles of a railway for example.

BUT: if you go to their site and select a region, you'll find a set of icons in the top right of the screen. These icons help you select on some of the criteria you mention: if they're greyed out, it means there are no cottages in that region conforming to the criterion you select.

But their definition might not be yours: "rail accessibility" means a station within 5 miles, for example. This merely means that, if there's a local taxi company, the cab fare won't require a mortgage.

You might find it more hepful to do this the other way around: define your criteria, then put a question on this forum to see if anyone knows cottages (and there are thousands of such cottages outside the charity sector) that meet them.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 12:33 AM
  #7  
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After spending most of last night on the National Trust web site I'm finding almost no availability as you've all said. We're not outdoors people so a property in a town with shopping and pubs is best for us. I was thinking of the Cotswolds or Kent or maybe somewhere around Hampton Court or Windsor Castle.
Thank you for your help.
tudorprincess is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 12:43 AM
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tudorprincess:

Have you checked the Landmark Trust? they refurbish historic buildings and lease them as holiday homes. There are many porperties in towns and cities and even two apartments inside Hampton Court Palace.

I spent a week in their Colchester property last year, and it was perfect.

You may want to check their website at: http://www.landmarktrust.co.uk/

There is a downloadable availability list on the website.

Good luck and enjoy your trip.

Phil
Phil is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 07:27 AM
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Unfortunately, if anything, Landmark Trust properties are even harder to book than NT places.

tudorprincess: There are many cottages in Cotswolds and Kent villages/towns. Take a look at these three sites.

- Cottage in the Country www.cottageinthecountry.co.uk Terrific agency with cottages in the Cotswolds, Thames Valley, Berkshire, Warwickshire and others areas. From £190 to £500+

- Manor Cottages & Cotswold retreats www.manorcottages.co.uk Another really good Cotswold-based agency with properties of all sizes. £200 to £850 per week. Most in the £300 - £400 range

- Garden of England Cottages www.gardenofenglandcottages.co.uk Very well run agency with MANY houses, flats and cottages in all parts of Kent and East Sussex. All sizes and price ranges. Studios to 5+ bedrooms, £200 - £800+.

Plus there are mnay other reputable agencies and even more privately rented cottages you could find via a simple internet search.
janis is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 09:52 AM
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tudorprincess:
You might want to think about your objectives before doing a lot more searching.

Your posts imply you want:
- somewhere accessible without a car - preferably by train
- in a place where there's stuff to do for a few days
- preferably in Kent or the Cotswolds (though presumably that means rural, pretty, and reasonably near London, so could include Suffolk, Sussex and anywhere in Cambridgeshire that's not irredeemably flat and wet).
- somewhere right for people unexcited by country pursuits.

I'd suggest - others may disagree - that the brief's almost impossible.

Most of the pretty small towns with a railway station - Rye, say or Moreton-in-Marsh - have a couple of pubs and restaurants and a few quirky shops. Unless there are indoor activities you want to do a lot of catching up on, anyone whose brain still functions would die of boredom on day 2. (Before I get flamed, let me make it clear I live, happily, in such a place. But with a car, a permanent backlog of unfinished indoor activities, a reasonable social life and a modest interest in things rural)

Without a car, interest in rural stuff or a lot of books or bonking to get through, you really need to be somewhere substantial. Some of the nicest towns in your brief - Salisbury, Caterbury or Winchester - still have neither enough stuff of their own, nor good enough buses or trains to their hinterland, to last more than a couple of days.

I'd suggest only Brighton, Oxford and Cambridge are really self-sufficient in the 1.5hr radius of London belt, and have good public transport to lots of nearby places. Otherwise you do need a car. You can get round the countryside by public transport, but it really requires moving from inn in idyllic village 1 to similar inn in idyllic village 2 each day - or loving lots of long walks. And, though Brighton, Oxford and Cambridge have lots of glorious buildings and houses, they also have their share of hideous houses and depressing locations. So you need to choose carefully.

If others disasgree, they will inevitably suggest places for you to put top of your candidate list. But I'd strongly recommend a car - or a lot of good books - if you want a rural idyll.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 12:52 PM
  #11  
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Janis- Thank you for the sites. I will check them out at length.
FlannerUk- You are exactly right in your assessment. I love the idea of staying in a charming cottage but I'm not going hiking anywhere and we are in England only 6 days and don't want to spend more than 2 in a cottage and I'm really not interested in dealing with a rental car.
I just wanted to get out of London and enjoy the countryside but still with all the conveniences of pubs and shopping close by.
We've been to England 2x's before and have seen alot of the attractions in London so I thought this would be different. Now I'm not sure what to do.
tudorprincess is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 01:35 PM
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Because you have only a couple of days to play with...and because you don't want to deal with a car rental how about staying in a nice historic pub in a small market town. Pick up something like the good pub guide and start from there...
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 01:59 PM
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tudorprincess: W/ your new information, you probably will not find ANY cottage to rent. Except in the off season, 99% of all self-catering cottages require a 7-night stay, usually starting on a Saturday.

In the winter you can get what are called "short breaks" but those are usually for 3 or 4 nights.

Since you are only talking about a couple of days at most - a B&B in any village will be fine. Even smalll places like Moreton in Marsh or the smaller Kentish villages will offer enough to do for a couple of days . . . . .
janis is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 01:59 PM
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Tudorprincess:

If it's only two days, most of my arguments are irrelevant (though few cottages will let for such a short period).

- The big (Oxford etc) heritage towns will work. As will the medium-size ones (like Canterbury or Salisbury)
- Places like Rye or Moreton will just work. Go to www.nationalrail.co.uk, download the rail map and select from there. You'll see that, for example, Moreton is the only place in the Cotswolds that is a real town and accessible on foot from a railway station
- Or look for the exceptionally pleasant exception. Chipping Campden is a 20 min bus ride from the nearest railway station. Woodstock needs a bus from the nearest station, or an 8 mile cab ride from Oxford. But it's a very pretty village, with just about enough to entertain you for a day - and close enough to Oxford (with a bus to London every 5 minutes, and a train every 30, close on 24 hours a day if tedium really hits you) to ward off terminal ennui.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 03:37 PM
  #15  
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Thank you for the good information. It's very helpful to consult someone who lives in the U.K. or has traveled extensively there. I don't know how people planned vacations in the old days!
tudorprincess is offline  
Feb 8th, 2004, 01:47 PM
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For $75 or so, you can join the Royal Oak, which is the US affiliate of the NT. That gives you virtual membership in the NT, with rights to book cottages along with the members. Also gets you NT magazine and Royal Oak newsletter, admission card good at NT properties, etc.

KidsToLondon is offline  
Feb 8th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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.....continued....[this is NOT an advertisement for Royal Oak], but here is their website:

www.royal-oak.org

KidsToLondon is offline  

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