The Scottish North East – An Undiscovered Holiday Destination

Fri 6th October 2017

As autumn is very much in full swing, many of us will be looking to get some time away for a little break before the Christmas season comes around. As tempting as beach holidays and autumn sun are at this time of year, getting away off-season can still be pricey, particularly when you factor in the traveller misery that has recently been caused by the RyanAir and Monarch airlines.

We all know that the UK offers a great number of popular tourist destinations. Many of us will have been lucky enough to visit the more popular destinations like Dorset, the Lake District, Skye and Norfolk. If, however, you’re looking for a staycation that’s a little off the beaten track, Aberdeenshire in the Scottish North East is somewhat of a hidden gem.

The area, including the granite city of Aberdeen holds a reputation of being one of the happiest places in the United Kingdom, and the surrounding countryside and towns are home to some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery. Here’s the top spots to check out when visiting Aberdeenshire.

Aberdeen City

The biggest city in the area in the region is an obvious place to start, and there’s plenty for tourists to see and do here. 

Being a city with a bustling port, Aberdeen celebrates its seafaring heritage in the Aberdeen Maritime Museum. Visitors are taken on a journey dating back to the earliest imports that came through the town, right up to the oil producing present day.

Aberdeen also hosts plenty of open spaces worth seeing, including the Duthie Park Winter Gardens and Balmedie Beach, though it’s worth pointing out that if you visit in autumn, you’ll need to be well wrapped up before getting hit with the North Sea winds!

Stonehaven

A few miles to the south, you’ll find the charming coastal town of Stonehaven. History lovers will be keen to visit here as it is the site of Dunnottar Castle

The former home of the Earls of Marischal is now a ruin that lives on a dramatic finger of rock that’s regularly beaten by the waves of the sea. Tour groups are regularly welcomed to find out more about the history of the fortress.  

The town itself is home to a war memorial to the fallen of both world wars, and a memorial garden dedicated to Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns. Foodies will be right at home in Stonehaven, as the stunning seafood can either be enjoyed as classic fish and chips from the Bay Fish & Chips chippie, or as a fine dining experience at the Ship Inn.

Banchory

Heading inland a few miles, you’ll find the scenic town of Banchory. 

This is small town Scotland at its very best, with a population of just 7,500. The town has been popular as a tourist destination since the Victorian era, as people have been charmed by its rural character and the scenery in the area.

Like Stonehven, Banchory has a great deal of history on offer including Crathes Castle and the Drum Castle and Estate. Many people travel here to see the Falls of Feugh, an area of river that acts as a tributary to the River Dee. The falls are popular for the wildlife that lives in the area. Heron can be seen fishing for salmon if you’re here at the right time of year.

Ballater

Heading in land even further, hillwalkers will be familiar with the Cairngorm National Park that takes up 4,500 square kilometres of prime Scottish Highlands, and the town of Ballater is the ideal place to use as a base if you fancy a spot of ‘Munro bagging’. 

No trip to Scotland would be complete without visiting a highland whisky distillery. Those looking for a taste of Scotland will be able to enjoy a dram at the Royal Lochnagar Distillery, famous for its royal warrant providing whisky to the Royal Family.

The Royal connection with Ballater doesn’t end there, though. The UK Royal Family’s highland estate of Balmoral Castle is near the town and is open to the public for most of the year, though it’s worth noting that the Royal Family tend to be in residence throughout October, and therefore visiting is very limited during this time.

A trip to the Scottish north east can be whatever you want it to be, as there is so much to see and do. What will you discover? Want to find the perfect Scottish escape?… look no further.

Find out more about today’s guest blogger Chris Smith at his blog Spend it Like Beckham

10 Things To Do In Cornwall

Thu 15th June 2017

As summer gets into gear and a new series of Poldark hits the screens, now’s the time to visit Cornwall. Here’s what to do down south in this fab article from the Independent written by Julia Buckley.

Beaches, stately homes, great restaurants, more beaches - there’s a reason why Cornwall’s the go-to holiday destination for many British families. But Cornwall’s evolving fast, with pop-up pizza alongside pasties, fantastic restaurants in coastal cafes and beautiful villages that have yet to be hit by second-homers. Looking for a slightly different stay than the normal circuit? Here’s the local’s guide to what to do in Cornwall.

Go for a walk

Cornwall has 296 miles of coastline, and the vast majority of it’s protected – which is why there are no ugly bungalows or wind turbines on Poldark. Footpaths wind their way all around the headland – the walk around the county is said to be one of the most beautiful hikes in the UK, but for a day trip there are plenty of manageable chunks. 

The North Coast is probably the most startlingly beautiful for a quick walk, and Lundy Bay to Rock is a spectacular introduction to the coast. 

For a walk with a purpose, make for the south coast near St Mawes where the Hidden Hut (above) has turned a rickety little cafe on Porthcurnick beach into a first class foodie hub with peerless views.

Eat a pasty

Step one: pronounce it correctly. It’s a paasty (like pahsty), not a paysty.

Step two: canvas local opinion about the best in your area. They will differ, and they will be vocal about it. Our entirely biased view is that best in the county are to be found at Aunt Avice’s Pasty Shop at St Kew Highway, a few miles north of Wadebridge. It doesn’t matter if that’s out of your way - you need to go there.

Step three: tuck in. Did you know pasties were “invented” for miners, who held onto the crust but didn’t eat it, because their hands were too dirty? And did you know they used to be half savoury, and half sweet?

Hit the beach

Everyone has their own favourite beach in Cornwall, and with so many to choose from, that’s no surprise. Consult the tide timetable before you go anywhere – what’s a secluded cove one morning can be flooded out by the afternoon, while that stretch of churning sea you saw yesterday might be a sandy beach today. 

Also keep an eye on the weather – huge, sandy beaches like Polzeath (above) in North Cornwall are incredibly popular (it was David Cameron’s favourite beach) but if it’s blustery, you’re better off going to a more sheltered cove, 

like Daymer Bay round the corner.

Try surfing

Cornwall’s surf scene needs no introduction. Newquay, of course, is its hub, and nearby north-coast beaches like Watergate Bay are popular with professionals and amateurs alike. 

For a family-friendly introduction to the scene, Watergate Bay and Polzeath are both good bets. 

Go all-out Poldark

It’s ok, this can be our guilty secret. Download Visit Cornwall’s new Poldark app

for Android or iPhone. Use it to plan where to go – whether that’s the UNESCO-listed mines around Pendeen and Botallack (AKA Wheal Leisure) or Porthcothan, the beach which doubles as Nampara Cove.

For Poldark souvenirs, your best bet is Truro, where the tourist information centre has a lovely collection of things to buy, from classy to tacky. Buy your old secondhand paperbacks (featuring the first Poldark TV series) from Bonython Bookshop on Kenwyn Street.

Visit Penzance

The most westerly town in the UK and the end of the interminable railway line, boho Penzance is a fabulous mix of old architecture, weird pubs and extraordinary beauty. 

Follow the bay round to either Marazion and St Michael’s Mount (walk over the causeway to the island at low tide and get the boat back), or to Newlyn, known for its school of art, but not chi-chi like St Ives.

Explore the western tip

From Penzance, wind your way around the coastline to St Ives – it’s some of the wildest, most spectacular scenery in the country. Essential stops: 

Mousehole (chocolate box fishing village, above), Porthcurno (for the iconic clifftop Minack Theatre, below), Sennen Cove (long, sandy beach) and the St Just-Pendeen stretch of mine-speckled coastline. 

Ditch touristy (and expensive) Land’s End in favour of bracken-carpeted Cape Cornwall, four miles north (near St Just) – jutting out into the ocean, it’s every bit as beautiful but far wilder and less spoiled.

Pop-up in Wadebridge

Pop ups are all the rage in Cornwall as they are everywhere else but in Wadebridge, two of the town’s most popular eateries are pop-ups.

Wild Bake cooks wood-fired pizza with local toppings in a converted horse box every Monday night opposite Lidl, and the Tiny Thai is in a food truck serving Thai street food from Wednesday to Sunday.

Check out menus in advance and call ahead for both, as waiting times can be long. 

Get on Bodmin Moor

Dartmoor’s overlooked little sister, Bodmin Moor is a softer, greener landscape, stuffed with beautiful little villages and great pubs, with the odd prehistoric stone circle livening up the interior. 

Don’t miss St Breward (lovely village with an ancient church and fantastic pub lunches), the stone circle at Minions and Roughtor, one of Cornwall’s two “mountains” – the climb is further than you’d think. 

Drink the tea

Not just any tea but Tregothnan, the first grown in England. You can visit the plantation near Truro, but you’ll find the tea sold all over the county. 

For more local food brands – from salt and seaweed to raw chocolate and beer – try the Great Cornish Foodstore, which stocks nothing but local brands, in Truro. 

Our last minute holiday cottages in Cornwall are just like the county; there’s something for everyone. 

From the drama of the Atlantic (cliffs and surf and giant beaches) to the tree-lined creeks and secluded, boat-friendly waters of the south coast; from windy moors to fishing ports, art galleries to tin mines, the naturally beautiful to the strikingly built. Be sure to take a look today and find that perfect summer home away from home with Late Lettings.

Why We Love Short Breaks

Wed 31st May 2017

Long holidays are wonderful, there’s no denying that. But when you don’t have many days of holiday to take a short break can be the perfect solution to having some you time even though you don’t want to go far afield. Here’s why we love short breaks and here’s how to get the best out of them.

Stay close to home

It’s a myth that you need to go a long way from home in order to relax. Some great times are sure to be had within just a few hours of where you live.

Why not head towards the nearest place of natural beauty or a buzzing city to see what it has to offer you?

Go With Friends

We often find we have deals on some stunning properties that sleep lots of people. Why not have an adventure weekend with friends by booking a break at the drop of a hat. 

You could all take a weekend bag to work on Friday, someone books the break during the day and off you go! When was the last time you had an adventure like that!?

Save Money By Going Last-minute

Many cottage providers are now wise to the fact that if they want to let last minute they need to offer money off. 

Check out our site for some fantastic deals on wonderful short breaks all across the country. Can’t find what you’re looking for, but found that dream property! Use our hand short break request form. 

3 Things You Must Do In Ireland

Wed 17th May 2017

Ireland is a magical place with plenty to attract visitors: It has ancient history, unique culture, and the chance to eat local foods and enjoy a drink or two just like to locals. So if you haven’t visited yet, or if you’re thinking of going again, take a look at our list of 3 things you must do in Ireland…

See the stunning coastline

Whether you’re interested in walking along unspoilt beaches, taking in epic views, or in catching the best of the surf, Ireland’s coastline is not to be missed.  And as Ireland is, of course, an island there’s plenty of fabulous coastlines to explore!

If you want to see miles of rugged coastline drive the Wild Atlantic Way, a road which stretches 1500 miles from Malin Head in County Donegal, to Kinsale in County Cork. It promises outstanding views, authentic villages, and towns, as well as many chances to meet the people that call Ireland home.

Ireland’s rocky coastline

Explore Ancient Castles

From mysterious ruins, entangled with greenery, to proud castles still decked with antiques and finery, Ireland has a wealth of Castles to explore at all ends of the spectrum.

Trim Castle is an imposing landmark that, although mostly ruined, is popular with visitors and locals alike. You may just recognise it from the 1996 film Braveheart, starring Mel Gibson, where the castle was made famous as a location. 

Trim Castle

If you want to see a Castle that is still very much in use today, pay a visit to the breath-taking Dublin Castle. Rooms are decorated to the highest standard and provide a living exhibit of the changing uses of the Castle throughout history.

The lavish interior of Dublin Castle

Ireland even has castles which you can hire for functions. Fancy getting married in a place as dramatic as this?

The impressive exterior of Kilkea Castle

Hear Live Irish Music in a Pub

Ireland has a rich tradition of pubs and live music with towns like Dingle on the South West coast having an epic 52 licensed premises!

Not every town has this many of course but traditional music can still be heard across the country.  We recommend that you don’t miss it and ask the locals where you can hear Trad music (traditional music)

A lively Irish Pub

So are you tempted by Ireland? We have a range of stunning properties available in Ireland. See here if you’d like to know more www.latelettings.com.

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