Monday, October 27, 2008

U.K. cottages for large groups

If you've rented a self-catering holiday home before, you may realize that not all villas are right for all travelling parties. Some homes simply aren't large enough to accommodate groups of a dozen or more. In other cases, you want a bit more privacy than one home can provide. Perhaps you'd like to separate the night hawks from the morning people, or the families with lively small children from older adults who've happily put their diaper-changing days behind them.

For all these groups, there's a convenient alternative to checking into a hotel: spots where you can rent multiple self-catering cottages. The Times (U.K.) recently ran an article highlighting 12 of their favourite multiple-unit locations in the U.K., including everything from cottages clustered around a Tudor manor in the storybook Cotswolds to houses decorated like New York lofts in the Peak District.

To this list I would add my own fave, a set of cottages my extended family rented in Northern Ireland a few years ago. Lecale Cottages, near the village of Rostrevor in County Down's scenic Mourne Mountains, are reasonably priced and spotlessly clean. Smaller, more basic ones appeal mainly to Europeans, while two custom-built cottages with all the bells and whistles--washer and dryer, multiple loos, big kitchens--are aimed at the North American market. (We went for the bells-and-whistles properties and enjoyed them immensely.)

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