Zoe Bishop

Cosy Cottages

Zoe Bishop
Cosy Cottages

Gather the family and experience a home from home with an idyllic break


Relax in Norfolk

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A sprawling property set at the end of its own mile-long driveway, Modney Hall boasts impressive grounds, a picturesque duck pond and shared outdoor pool. Full of period charm and character, the three bedrooms sleep six comfortably, while a further sofa bed and infant cot boost capacity to eight. There’s also an enormous bathroom with a sunken tub, two large sitting rooms, and a snug that doubles as a games room. Plus, the huge family kitchen features a wood-burning stove and dining table that can seat the whole gang. Even the utility room is large enough to have a party in. 

Although you don’t need to venture out, there’s plenty going on locally if you do decide to explore. Kids will love Church Farm at Stow Bardolph, with its abundance of animals, tractor tours and plenty of indoor and outdoor play areas. There are great pubs nearby, including The Chequers at Wimbotsham, The Hare Arms in Stow Bardolph, and The Ship at Brandon Creek. American diner-style restaurant Arbuckles is also close for a fun meal out, and the pretty town of Downham Market has plenty more options, too. If you want to go further afield, the popular tourist town of King’s Lynn and the charming city of Ely are both only a 30-minute drive away.

Modney Hall, Hilgay, Norfolk, costs from £734 for seven nights. Dogs are welcome, too. Contact Sykes Holiday Cottages to book (01244 356695, Sykescottages.co.uk).



Bed down in a barn

If you’re looking for a getaway with all the family, a stay at the stunning Old Barn in Semer, Suffolk, is a must. Set in acres of beautiful grounds with a fishing lake, swings, wooden fort and stables, this Victorian threshing barn has been transformed into a welcoming cottage. There’s a vaulted dining hall, two sitting rooms, a wood-burning stove, country kitchen and enough bedrooms to sleep up to eight people. But the best bit is the heated outdoor pool, which is available from May to September, and is situated in an enclosed courtyard – the perfect sun trap. 

If you want to get out, visit Hollow Tree Farm, which has a “meet the animal” trail and farm shop. And if you fancy a night off from cooking, head to The Kings Head in Hadleigh for traditional British food and a huge choice of local ales.

Old Barn, Semer, Suffolk, costs from £1,054 per week, or from £791 for three nights. Sleeps eight across four bedrooms, and up to two dogs are welcome. Contact Original Cottages to book (0333 2020 899; Originalcottages.co.uk).


Unwind with the wow factor

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Escape to the country in this stunning retreat in rural County Durham. The Mill Granary’s large kitchen with exposed beams, solid oak floors and granite worktops is the perfect place to gather the family for a home-cooked meal. There’s a snug area and spacious lounge, a master bedroom with en-suite and roll-top bath, a twin room, a king-size double, and a further double on the ground floor. Kids are well catered for with play areas, toys and games, and dogs are welcome, too. Outside, there’s a south-facing garden and wildflower meadow. Nearby, there are great local pubs, butchers and farm shops.

For things to do, Raby Castle and Durham Cathedral are both easy to get to. Beamish Open Air Museum makes for a fun day out, and The Bowes Museum in the historic market town of Barnard Castle showcases fine European art, and is home to some real treasures.

 The Mill Granary, Durham, costs from £825 for a week for eight guests, or from £700 for a three-night weekend break through Premier Cottages (01325 730339; Premiercottages.co.uk).