Three great places for families to self-cater in the UK

posted in: Blog, UK | 25
On the terrace at the Sherwood Hideway, in Nottinghamshire
On the terrace at the Sherwood Hideway, in Nottinghamshire

Travelling with a family means that accommodation is more vital than ever. And while hotels are one option, they can bring with them a whole host of problems including a lack of space and privacy, as well as a lack of flexibility (you can’t lie in and have a late breakfast, for example!).

So, we thought it might be useful to share three of our favourite places to self-cater with kids in the UK. All of them have different advantages and are all in places which are full of things to do for families. Plus, all three are very near supermarkets or shops which make them extremely convenient too.


The Sherwood Hideaway, Ollerton, Nottinghamshire

This is a gorgeous place to stay, nestled within Sherwood Forest with its hundreds of trees. It’s quiet and beautiful and our lodge even had its own hot tub – which was great fun to use.

The accommodation, which is cabin style, is fabulous – with large rooms, an ensuite for the master bedroom and separate bathroom for the kids, a large living room/kitchen area and balcony.

The master bedroom at the Sherwood Hideway, in Nottinghamshire,
The master bedroom at the Sherwood Hideway, in Nottinghamshire,

We loved staying here because it simply felt relaxing and quiet. It has fewer activities available than the Valley (see below), although there is badminton and lots of places to run around, as well as cycle paths to enjoy. It was the kind of place where I didn’t even mind doing a bit of cooking on holiday as it still felt as if I was away enjoying myself. My kids also enjoyed the fact that there were biscuits on the pillows when we arrived (and I liked the complimentary Molton Brown products).

Enjoying the hot tub at the Sherwood Hideaway
Enjoying the hot tub at the Sherwood Hideaway

We all really enjoyed looking out into the woods and felt that this was a place which families would love – you can snuggle up and watch TV, play board games or read.

We also found it extremely convenient for travelling around as it’s located just outside Nottingham and nothing seemed very far away.

Read about all the things we got up to on our Nottingham holiday

Disclosure: Our stay in the Sherwood Hideaway was complimentary. However, all our views and comments are made honestly and we were not given any suggestions for what to write. The Sherwood Hideaway offers self-catering luxury lodges in the heart of Sherwood Forest. There are often special offers on the site, but for example, a weekend stay in a Woodland Rustic lodge (like ours) in November, costs from £520

The Valley, Cornwall

The kitchen - with outside view of the pool - at The Valley, Cornwall,
The kitchen – with outside view of the pool – at The Valley

The Valley Cornwall was excellent for families who want a home from home. It had a good sized kitchen with a balcony and living room, two bathrooms plus a spare extra toilet, a freezer and washing machine. We were very impressed by the space on offer, although if you have very small children or toddlers be aware that there are steps down to the bedrooms and quite steep steps up from the living room to the kitchen.

The second bedroom is small, but fine for two kids to share, as it has twin beds in it. The master bedroom has its own ensuite bathroom, which is always appealing!

But the Valley’s main selling point, or at least from my point of view, is all the extras it offers.

Using the space to play outside
Using the space to play outside

It has an indoor and outdoor swimming pool (the indoor is small, but we managed just fine by not going when everyone else was in there), plus lots of grassy areas to play on, including a football pitch and small activity area. There is a restaurant on site for those who don’t want to cook all the time, activities for kids (from art to meeting strange pets) and table tennis, squash and snooker.

We really enjoyed taking part in the activities when we stayed, and thought these really enhanced our experience. It was lovely to go out in the day and then come back and have a swim or game of table tennis!

The Valley is located around 10 minutes drive from Truro, Cornwall’s only city. It’s also conveniently located for pretty much all of the places we wanted to visit in the area…

Robert has made his own video of The Valley – please take a look:


Read what we got up to in Cornwall.

Disclosure: A week in a Villa Gallery (which has accommodation for four) at The Valley, Cornwallcosts £1770.We were fortunate enough to be offered a discounted media rate, but that has not influenced our review in any way.

Herbert Woods, Potter Heigham, Norfolk

Outside our Herbert Woods Cottage
Outside our Herbert Woods Cottage

This was a very different experience for us as it involved a cottage right by the water in the Norfolk Broads, a network of rivers and lakes. And it was great fun, especially as we took our own boat out for a trip too.

Potter Heigham is a village which is about 20km away from Norwich and is a huge site with lots of different cottages – and boats.

Once again we were really impressed by the accommodation as it had good sized rooms, a lovely living room and kitchen.

The cottage is right on the water and it was fabulous to see swans and boats glide by. There is a lovely terrace if you want to eat outside, but be warned that there is nothing between the terrace and the water, so this probably isn’t the best place for inquisitive toddlers, or indeed those under around eight I’d say.

Main bedroom at the Herbert Woods Cottage
Main bedroom at the Herbert Woods Cottage

It was a lovely location, not far from Horsey Beach, where we saw seals lolling on the sand and swimming in the sea!

On the veranda outside our cottage by the Norfolk Broads
On the veranda outside our cottage by the Norfolk Broads

The village is also very handy, as it has a huge shop, Lathams, which seemed to stock everything, from clothes to food, plus two pubs, a post office, a fish and chip shop and a magnificent bakery (which offered huge, delicious cakes!)

Disclosure: We stayed in the Broadlands Cottage at Herbert Woods on a complimentary basis, although the company had no input into this post. A three night break in Broadlands cottage (off peak) is £328. We were also given complimentary hire of the picnic boat, which usually costs £140 for a day’s trip.



25 Responses

  1. Steven

    Great family trip!! im sure UK is one of destination that must be visited by any family..Norfolk looks so quiet through your photos..lovely

  2. Ting at My Travel Monkey

    Oh they all look lovely. I particularly like the hot tub in Sherwood. We had one when we went on a Forest Holiday and it really made the difference after a long day of exploring!

  3. Karolis

    Fabulous trip. I bet Herbert Woods location is a magnet in summer time [when we are lucky to have one in UK 🙂 ], but anyways great locations to visit! Thanks for article Sarah!

  4. Louise

    These places look brill. I think self catering with family is a great option. I love the Norfolk property and this is such a beautiful part of the country.

  5. Jen Walshaw

    Oh I think we would LOVE the Sherwood hideaway, i looks like the perfect play to have a digital detox and reconnect as a family

  6. Michelle Twin Mum

    They all look great but I am loving the look of the Sherwood hideaway in particular. It is great to get away as a family and have the freedom to sort yoru own meals. Mich x

  7. Kara

    Looks like you have been having some great adventures – I love exploring the UK and if it has a hot tub, double bonus

  8. Kate Williams

    Oh they all look gorgeous! We’re in Cornwall and have been trying to do a bit of exploring locally so we’ll have to have a look at The Valley.

  9. Emma

    I’m a huge fan of self catering, it gives so much more flexibility. It looks like you have been to some amazing places.

  10. Jane Winterburn

    We have just returned from a family break at Sherwood Hideaway but strongly recommend.Very welcoming lovely and clean and not far from amenities.Such a refreshing place to stay.

  11. Suzy London

    So glad you enjoyed the hot tub! Lodges and log cabins with hot tubs are so popular in UK travel right now. We have a website devoted to helping people find the right cottage with a hot tub however, its the lodges and log cabins which draw most attention online and on our social media!

  12. Nell (the Pigeon Pair and Me)

    Herbert Woods looks fantastic – there’s something so calming about staying close to water. If my two were a little younger, though, I’d be a little worried about them toppling off that verandah!

  13. Charly Dove

    Ahh three superb locations there! Cornwall and Norfolk are wonderful places to visit and I wish we could get there more. Love the idea of Sherwood Forest and so wish it was closer (we’re in Surrey), sounds like you had such an awesome time.

  14. Kirstie

    A hot tub in the UK when the weather is grey is the most awesome experience isn’t it? Even beats a ski lodge. Good recommendations.

  15. Katja

    I’m not sure which one I want to stay in first although I do love the look of that four-poster bed the Sherwood Hideaway! We’re also big fans of self-catering options, both for the space and the flexibility they offer.

  16. Penny

    We loved Sherwood Hideaway too, even though we live in Nottingham, you can’t beat a hot tub! We’d love to try the Norfolk broads as the boating really appeals.

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