THE BEST OF RURAL ENGLAND AWAITS YOU —
Finding Classic England:
Independent Travel using Quality Cottages & Apartments
How to find the classic England of history & culture.
Traditional England quietly continues, co-existing seamlessly alongside modern England — hidden in
plain sight. Scratch the surface and you will find it awaiting you. You can walk or drive on roadways the Romans built. Ancient Saxon churches still invite Sunday visitors. Walk the ramparts and explore the fortifications of medieval castles. Great abbeys and cathedrals — some still active, others dissolved into ruins by King Henry VIII — will move you with their solemn Gothic splendor. Express wonder at the mysteries of prehistoric Stonehenge and the many sites tied to King Arthur’s Camelot. Viking England exists, not far from Arts & Crafts England, War of the Roses England, Oliver Cromwell’s England, Tudor England, and the “finest hour” England of World War II. Visit the Mrs. Shakespeare’s thatched cottage, Winston Churchill’s grand palace, Queen Katharine Parr’s castle from her fourth marriage, Sir Francis Drake’s converted abbey home, Jane Austen’s brick house — a former pub — and the Bronte sisters’ stone house and active parsonage.
To find traditional England of history and culture, travel independently from your own vacation cottage in a charming, safe, traditional village. Home At First offers such cottages in several regions of England. Choose the one that most catches your imagination. Settle in to your quaint English home. Walk through your town or village; discover its shops and restaurants; meet some of its local residents. Tour your English home region in your rental car by driving the country lanes and the secondary “B-roads”, seeking out prominent sites you have longed to see, but keeping a serendipitous eye out for surprises along the way. During your explorations, watch for traditional pubs and restaurants, and choose one for your lunch stop, and perhaps another for afternoon tea. At the end of you day of discovery, return to your comfortable English cottage. Read. Relax. Stroll. Walk to a pub/restaurant for dinner, or eat-in, taking advantage of your well-equipped cottage kitchen. You will see much, and accomplish your travel goals. Most importantly, you will find classic England, and feel part of it.
Home At First’s FINDING CLASSIC ENGLAND Travel Program in a Nutshell:
HOW IT WORKS—
Home At First’s Finding Classic England: Independent Travel with Quality Cottages & Apartments.
Finding Classic England: Quality Lodgings
Minimum lodging time is 7 nights for rural cottages. City apartments have a 3-night minimum.
Pictured above is a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom Home At First thatched cottage in the town of Chipping Campden in the northern Cotswolds. Set in a quiet, residential neighborhood, the cottage is within 5-minutes walking time to the shops, restaurants, and pubs of the town’s High Street. The cottage interior is beautifully furnished and very well-equipped. The cottage exterior is equally impressive: attractive, spacious, and relaxing. Private, off-street parking adds to the cottage’s appeal as an excellent base for car-touring throughout the Cotswolds, into Shakespeare country, to Oxford, Bath, Stonehenge, and beyond.
Home At First’s cottages, townhouse apartments, and city apartments range in size — from studios to 4-bedrooms — sleeping anywhere from 1 person to 8 persons. Lodgings vary in location from urban to rural towns and villages to country estate settings. All of our Classic England lodgings meet high standards for cleanliness and are comfortable, interesting, safe, well-equipped, convenient bases for exploring their locale or region. Most lodgings come with hosts on-site or close-by, who meet you when you arrive and are available throughout your stay. Some city apartments have concierge desks staffed much of the day every day of the week. Most rural lodgings have usable outdoor space — balconies, patios, terraces, even gardens — ideal for snacking, light meals, or relaxing during fine weather.
Care & Cleanliness: The apartments have been thoroughly cleaned prior to your arrival, but are not maid-serviced during your stay. Nearly all rural lodgings and some city apartments are equipped with laundry machines. Accommodations are non-smoking and most do not permit pets. Basic starter kitchen and bathroom supplies are provided.
Well-Equipped: As with lodgings at any Home At First destination, our “Finding Classic England” cottages, townhouses, and apartments have, as a minimum, bedrooms, private bathrooms, living and dining areas/rooms, and well-equipped kitchens. Some multiple-bedroom accommodations come with multiple bathrooms, often en suite with the bedrooms. Some few studio apartments or smaller cottages have open-plan living-dining-sleeping space and/or kitchenettes without ovens. Bed and bath linens and a hair-dryer are provided. Flat-screen cable TVs and free internet WIFI are almost universal.
Sample Lodgings & Locations Ideal for Finding Classic England
Shown and described below is a sample lodging from each of the four Home At First Classic England regions. They are shown here as representative examples of different sizes and capacities of lodgings we provide our guests. While the full range of our available Classic England lodgings and locations to choose from is extensive, the standard of quality and service is the same regardless of apartment or location.
NOTE: to see a selection of London apartments, click here.
NOTE — FOR BEST VIEWING: each of the following apartment descriptions begins with a slide show. You can move from slide to slide (forward or reverse) by clicking on the direction arrows below each slide. To see any slide in large format on a PC, “right click” on the selected slide and click on the “Open image in new tab” (Chrome) or “View Image” (Firefox).
In & NEAR CHIPPING CAMPDEN
CLASSIC ENGLAND’S HEARTLAND
In the Northern Cotswolds —
Gloucestershire & Worcestershire.
THE LODGINGS & THEIR SETTING: Located in the attractive town of Chipping Campden and nearby in neighboring villages in northern Gloucestershire and southeastern Worcestershire, Home At First‘s Cotswolds Cottages are ideally located for exploring the heartland of England. There are several cottages to choose from, with new offerings being added each season. Regardless of their location, all our Cotswolds cottages are in classic English settings close to shops, pubs, and restaurants. The cottages themselves reflect the traditional style of the classic England countryside, often featuring exposed wooden beams in the walls and ceilings, stone hearth fireplaces, eat-in country kitchens, plush living room chairs and sofas, chintz curtains, and beds topped with thick duvets and extra pillows. Bathrooms will have a shower, and many have bathtubs as well. Appliances are up-to-date modern, TVs large & flat-screened, and WiFi universal. A few very photogenic cottages have thatched roofs. Many cottages have gardens with terraces or patios for sitting in fine weather. Most have private parking, but a few offer only on-street parking, which can be challenging on busy summer weekends.
CHIPPING CAMPDEN — the principal town in our Cotswolds regional setting (pop. 2,300) — is known for its thatched “cottages”, medieval church that hosts an important classical music festival every May, and the 400-year-old Cotswold “Olympicks”. Home At First offers several cottages in Chipping Campden, where there are several pubs, restaurants, shops, and services. Home At First has additional cottages and apartments in towns and villages within a few minutes of Chipping Campden, including:
• Blockley (pop. 1,000; Moreton-in-Marsh rail station reached in 12min by car)
• Bretforton (pop. 1,023; Honeybourne rail station reached in 6min by car)
• Broad Campden (pop. 150; 4min by car or 25min walking to Chipping Campden)
• Broadway (pop. 2,540)
• Moreton-in-Marsh (pop. 3,500; rail station in town)
All make excellent bases for touring throughout the Cotswolds and are within easy day-trip range of popular destinations in neighboring regions, including:
• Shakespeare Country (Stratford-upon-Avon: 30-45 minutes away)
• Oxford (45-60 minutes)
• Hay-on-Wye on the Welsh border (1hr, 45min)
• Warwick Castle (45min)
• Bath Spa (1hr, 45min)
• Stonehenge & Salisbury (2hrs, 10min).
While it is perfectly easy to use your Cotswolds village as a base for daily auto excursions, there is much to do in and near your come without driving far or at all:
• Horseback riding (this is horse country).
• Walking & hiking — the long-distance Cotswolds Way meanders south through Chipping Campden en route to Broadway, Snowshill, Stanton, and ultimately to Bath.
• Antique hunting in local shops.
• Visiting English estate gardens, e.g. Hidcote Manor and Snowshill Manor.
• Pub & boutique brewery crawling. The Cotswolds has at least 10 brew pubs or micro-breweries, & several award-winning brews.
• Riding the region’s restored heritage railway: Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway.
Regardless of whether you stay close to home or choose to day-trip far and wide, Chipping Campden and its neighboring villages are friendly, happy, and welcoming English villages to return to, to dine in, to stroll around, and in which to find Classic England.
BY DARTMOOR N.P.
NEAR TAVISTOCK, DEVON
CLASSIC ENGLAND’S WEST COUNTRY
WEST DEVON FARM COTTAGES
In Dartmoor National Park 5-minutes drive from Tavistock in western Devon.
THE LODGINGS & THEIR SETTING: Home At First‘s West Devon Farm Cottages are are located in the southwestern corner of Dartmoor National Park. The three West Devon Farm Cottages are clustered on a small working farm within the confines of Dartmoor National Park. Chickens, goats, sheep, and horses are your neighbors housed nearby, as are your welcoming hosts — the farm owners, who tend their animals and vegetable garden and are customarily on-site and available to tackle guests’ questions and problems, or to talk about life in this beautiful corner of Classic England. The 3 stone & wood cottages are independent of each other — no shared walls or access — but they do share the farm’s private entrance lane. The farm is reached by narrow, hedge-lined, rural roads that see little traffic. Here’s a brief description of the 3 cottages:
• Cottage #1: Sleeps up to 6 persons in an “upside-down” 2-story cottage with open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen on the upper floor. Ground floor has 1 double bedroom, 1 twin bedroom, & 1 bunk bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms and laundry room. TV, WiFi, wood stove, private parking for 2 cars.
• Cottage #2: Sleeps up to 5 persons in a 2-story cottage. Ground floor: open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen. Single bedroom with en suite bathroom (shower) and laundry on the ground floor. Upper floor has a loft lounge (sofa & writing table) between w bedrooms (1 double & 1 twin), & 1 bathroom (tub). TV, WiFi, wood stove, private parking for 2 cars.
• Cottage #3: Sleeps 2-4 persons in a 2-story cottage. Ground floor: open-plan living room (can be fitted with twin or bunk beds to sleep 1-2 persons), dining area, and kitchen. Bathroom (tub/shower) on the ground floor. Upper floor gallery has 1 double bed sleeping area and a living area. TV, WiFi, central heating, private garden sitting area, & private parking for 2 cars. Use of laundry machines in owners’ house.
THE SETTING: The closest shops and services to the cottages are in Tavistock, a 10-minute drive from the farm. Tavistock (pop. 11,000) is an historic market town with a large number of shops, restaurants, pubs, and other services. But guests needn’t drive into Tavistock to reach the nearest pub to the farm: the historic Peter Tavy Inn, a charming, country inn 7 minutes drive or 25 minutes cross-country walk from the farm in the village of Peter Tavy. The closest tor (rocky promontory) — Cox Tor (1,100′ high) in Dartmoor National Park — is an hour’s walk uphill from the cottages.
TOURING: The cottages are well-located for exploring England’s West Country by rental car. Surrounded by the mysterious wilds of Dartmoor, within easy driving of the English Channel (south) and the Bristol Channel (north) coastlines, our cottages are ideally located to explore the region’s top attractions inland and along two coasts. And, because they practically straddle the border of western Devonshire with eastern Cornwall, they provide a perfect location from which to explore all of Classic England’s West Country. Here’s a partial list of popular destinations within day-trip range:
• Dartmoor National Park begins out your door!
• Plymouth: historic maritime city (50 minutes)
• Salcombe: South Devon coastal resort (75min)
• Looe: South Cornwall coastal resort (60min)
• Clovelly: preserved north Devon fishing village (1hr, 20min)
• Tintagel Castle: King Arthur’s birthplace (?) on the north Cornwall coast (65min).
• Bodmin & Wenford Steam Railway: Scenic mid-Cornwall standard gauge 13mi round-trip (55min).
Regardless of whether you stay close to home or choose to day-trip far and wide, West Devon is a friendly, happy, and welcoming region to return to, to dine in, to stroll around, and to find Classic England.
in coverack on sea
lizard peninsula, cornwall
CLASSIC ENGLAND’S WEST COUNTRY
COVERACK COASTAL COTTAGES
Cottages in a remote, classic Cornish seaside village near the southern tip of Britain.
THE LODGINGS & THEIR SETTING: Between west Devon and Lands End, westernmost Classic England — Cornwall — offers Cornish pasties, ice cream, & cream teas, World Heritage mining sites, sea cliffs & crashing surf, castles & historic sites, coastal resorts, and cozy, fishing villages. One such village, Coverack, occupies a semi-protected stretch of Cornwall’s south coast on the Lizard Peninsula, southernmost Britain.
Home At First‘s Coverack Coastal Cottages are remote. They are at least 5½hrs from London, 20+min drive from the nearest town (Helston, pop. 11,200), and 45min or so drive time from Falmouth (pop. 21,800), a pretty 18th century town with an important, historic, deep-water harbor, or Truro (pop. 18,800), county seat of Cornwall. But one doesn’t come to Coverack to find civilization, rather to escape it. Experiencing life by the sea in an authentic and nearly unspoiled Cornish village is the traveler’s reward — that and a choice of several lovely cottages, including these four:
• White Thatch Cottage: Sleeps up to 4 persons in a pretty, whitewashed, 2-story, thatched cottage with views of the Cove and the village. Ground floor: over-stuffed living room with wood stove and flat-screen TV; spacious, well-equipped country kitchen and dining area, Upper floor has 1 double bedroom, 1 twin bedroom, with the bathroom (tub/shower) in between. Washer/dryer. WiFi, Walled front garden. Limited on-street parking. Shops & excellent pub/restaurant 1-3min walk.
• Stone Thatched Cottage: Charming 2-story 18th century thatched cottage. Views of the Cove and the lower village. Sleeps up to 6. Ground floor: spacious, comfy living/dining room with Inglenook fireplace and flat-screen TV; superbly-equipped kitchen foodies find exciting. Upper floor has 1 king bedroom, 1 double bedroom, 2 single bedrooms, and a shower room & WC. Washer/dryer. WiFi, Limited on-street parking. Shops & excellent pub/restaurant 1-3min walk.
• Coast Path Cottage: Historic 2-story 18th century whitewashed cottage. Views of the open sea (English Channel). Sleeps up to 4. Ground floor: spacious, overstuffed living room with stone fireplace and flat-screen TV; well-equipped eat-in kitchen with Inglenook fireplace, washer/dryer, and cushy sofa. Upper floor has 1 king bedroom, 1 twin bedroom, 2 single bedrooms, with a full bathroom (shower/tub). Sheltered, furnished garden with access to the SW Coast Path and stairs descending to the beach & playground. Parking 50 yards away. Shops & excellent pub/restaurant 1-3min walk.
• Sea View Cottage: Sleeps up to 5 persons in a modern, “upside-down”, 2-story cottage. Upper floor: open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen; cathedral ceiling & glass front wall with superb sea views. Glass doors open onto the large, furnished terrace with grand views overlooking the English Channel. Ground floor: master double bedroom with covered balcony (sea view!) and with en suite bathroom (bath tub & separate shower stall); 1 twin bedroom (sea view!); & 1 single bedroom; plus a full bathroom (with tub/shower). TV, WiFi, washing machine, furnished patio with BBQ, and private parking for 2 cars. Close to the SW Coast Path. Two beaches within 10min walk. Shops, pub, & restaurants: 5-10min walk.
TOURING: Rental cars are necessary for Coverack guests, even those with no ambitions to tour Cornwall. However, within day-trip range are many interesting destinations, including:
• Penzance: Britain’s westernmost town is 45min away. Add 20min to reach Land’s End point.
• St. Michael’s Mount: castle-topped island is reachable on foot when the tide is out (40min).
• St. Ives: Resort town on Cornwall’s north coast, home of Tate St. Ives modern art gallery. (50min)
• Lizard Point: Mainland Britain’s southernmost point. 25min by car. 4hrs hike via SW Coast Path.
• Newquay: 2 Atlantic surfing beaches (70min).
• Tintagel Castle: King Arthur’s birthplace (?) on the north Cornwall coast (1hr 50min).
• Bodmin & Wenford Steam Railway: Scenic mid-Cornwall standard gauge 13mi round-trip (85min).
ACTIVITIES: In addition to touring, Coverack guests enjoy:
• Watersports: swimming, boating, fishing in Coverack & along the Lizard Peninsula coast.
• Walking & hiking along the SW Coast Path.
• Shopping for arts & crafts in seaside villages.
• Links Golf at Mullion G.C. (25min drive).
Whether you stay close to home or day-trip far & wide, Coverack is a friendly, happy, welcoming town to return to, to dine in, to stroll around, and to find Classic England.
In & NEAR HAWKSHEAD IN THE LAKE DISTRICT N.P., CUMBRIA
LAKE DISTRICT cottages & apartments
In & near Hawkshead village in England’s Lake District National Park — Cumbria.
THE LODGINGS & THEIR SETTING: Home At First‘s Lake District lodgings are well equipped with all the comforts of home. They may be in cottages in or very near the quintessentially classic England village of Hawkshead. Others are spacious apartments in a beautiful converted country estate house overlooking Esthwaite Water, a small lake 5min drive east of Hawkshead and 10min drive west of famed Lake Windermere. All Home At First lodgings in/near Hawkshead are perfectly located as bases for day trips throughout the Lake District. We offer a wide choice of cottages and apartments in this attractive setting. Here is a sampling of descriptions of three guest favorites illustrated in the above slide show:
• Esthwaite View 2-Bedroom Apartment: Sleeps up to 4 persons in a spacious 2nd floor apartment. Open-plan main room consisting of a well-equipped kitchen, comfortable living room, and dining area with fine views of the Esthwaite Water lake & high mountains to the west. Two bedrooms: master king bedroom with en suite bathroom with shower stall; 1 twin bedroom (twin beds can be configured as a king bed). A full bathroom (with tub/shower) in the hall. TV, WiFi, & private parking. Set on a wooded, landscaped 40-acre estate. Guests have use of common laundry facilities, children’s playground, woodland walkways, and shared rowboats moored on the estate’s lake frontage. Hawkshead’s numerous shops, pubs, & restaurants: 5min drive.
• Copper Cottage 2-Bedroom: Sleeps up to 4 persons in a modernized, classic, 2-story, 18th century, town cottage in central Hawkshead. Ground floor: a well-equipped eat-in country kitchen with dining table for 4 persons. Large living room with overstuffed matching sofa & 2 easy chairs, working fireplace, and flat-screen TV. Upstairs are two double bedrooms with TVs and with en suite bathrooms with showers. WiFi, & permit parking for 1 car in the town car lot. Central location means all of Hawkshead’s numerous shops, pubs, & restaurants are within 1-3min walk from the front door of the cottage. NOTE: this cottage permits guests with dogs.
• Top-of-the-Square Cottage 1-Bedroom: Sleeps 2 persons in a whitewashed, 2-story, town cottage overlooking the square in central Hawkshead. Lower floor: large open-plan room featuring a well-equipped eat-in country kitchen; dining area with table for 2 persons; workspace with room for 2; living room with overstuffed matching sofa & easy chair, working woodstove set in a stone fireplace, and flat-screen TV. Upstairs a king bedroom with TV and with adjoining bathroom with tub/shower. WiFi, & permit parking for 1 car in the town car lot. Central location means all of Hawkshead’s numerous shops, pubs, & restaurants are within 1-3min walk from the front door of the cottage. NOTE: cottage entry is up 16 concrete stairs from street level —has banister but no overhead cover.
ACTIVE TOURING: Rental cars are necessary for Lake District. Within driving day-trip range are many interesting destinations with things to do, including:
• Coniston on Coniston Water: active town with lake cruises, cycling, walking & hiking (10 minutes away)
• Beatrix Potter’s Near Sawrey (6 minutes)
• Busy Bowness on Windermere: lake cruising and The World of Beatrix Potter (35min, using the car ferry across Windermere)
• Windermere: regional center for watersports (40min)
• Ambleside village: shopping, especially for outdoor clothing & gear (15min)
• Wordsworth’s Grasmere: small, quaint village with museum (25min)
• Honister: adventure activities for the whole family at a working slate mine (1hr, 10min)
• Ullswater: more cruising among rugged scenery (1hr, 5min)
• Derwent Water: ditto (50min).
• Haverthwaite: southern terminus of the L&H heritage railway (30min).
• Whitehaven Circle Trip: scenic tour around the Lake District peaks to Whitehaven and along the coast of the Irish Sea (5hrs,).
Regardless of whether you stay close to home or choose to day-trip far and wide, Hawkshead is a friendly, happy, and welcoming English village to return to, to dine in, to stroll around, and find Classic England.
in north yorkshire near the yorkshire dales n.p.
north yorkshire lodgingS
In villages & towns in/near the Yorkshire Dales N.P. and in small city of Harrogate.
THE LODGINGS & THEIR SETTING: Home At First‘s North Yorkshire Cottages are found in villages with characteristic Yorkshire names like Bishop Monkton and Nidderdale. The names suggest accurately the quaint charm and slow pace of the Yorkshire Dales. And for those looking to combine a town and country experience, Home At First also offers apartments in the small, prosperous city of Harrogate, between the Dales and York. The apartments are short distances to of shops, restaurants, and the rail station, making rail trips to York and other British cities attractive and convenient.
Here is a sampling of descriptions of three guest favorites illustrated in the above slide show:
• Richard Nimoy 2-Bedroom Farm Cottage: Sleeps up to 4 persons in a modernized, classic, 2-story, 19th century, farm cottage 2min drive (12min walk) outside the pretty village of Burton Leonard, set approximately midway between Harrogate (25min south) and Ripon (15min north). 14th century Ripley Castle is about 10min drive SW; the Yorkshire Dales National Park is about 15min to the west, and the city of York is less than an hour to the SE.
Ground floor includes a well-equipped country kitchen open-plan with dining area (table for 4 persons); living room with overstuffed matching sofa & easy chair, working wood stove fireplace, and flat-screen TV; powder room (WC).
Upper floor includes two king bedrooms with TVs and with en suite bathrooms with walk-in showers (1 with a separate bathtub); a quiet reading nook.
Extras: WiFi, washer/dryer, & private off-street parking by the cottage. Burton Leonard village has 2 pub/restaurants and a small village shop.
• The Duchess Apartment, Central Harrogate: Sleeps up to 4 persons in spacious, contemporary apartment atop a handsome Victorian suburban home 2min drive (10min walk) to the nearest shop & pub, or 5min drive to the myriad of shops, restaurants, services, & rail station of central Harrogate. Easily reached by car are the Yorkshire Dales National Park (20min NW), Castle Howard and North York Moors National Park (60-120min NE). The city of York is less than an hour to the east by car or train.
The Apartment includes a small, but well-equipped kitchen, a large open-plan dining area (table for 6) & living room with overstuffed matching sofa & easy chairs & flat-screen TV. A delightful balcony with garden views opens off the living/dining room. There are two bedrooms; a master king bedroom with en suite bathroom with walk-in shower; and a super-king (or twin beds). A full bathroom (tub & shower) is in the hall.
Extras: WiFi, washer/dryer, & off-street parking for two cars.
• The Duke’s Apartment, Central Harrogate: Sleeps up to 6 persons in a tastefully furnished, spacious, 2-story, townhouse 2min drive (10min walk) to shopping, services, and restaurants and 4min drive (15min walk) to the Harrogate railway station. Easily reached by car are the Yorkshire Dales National Park (20min NW), Castle Howard and North York Moors National Park (60-120min NE). The city of York is less than an hour to the east by car or train.
Ground floor includes a well-equipped kitchen open-plan with dining area (table for 6); living room with overstuffed matching sofa & easy chairs & flat-screen TV; master king (or twin) bedroom with en suite bathroom with walk-in shower.
Upper floor includes a king (or twin) bedroom, a double bedroom, and a full bathroom (tub/shower) in the hall.
Extras: WiFi, washer/dryer, & permit on-street parking by the house.
HOW TO CHOOSE? We believe that for most guests staying in a rural setting or in a small village offers the most authentic North Yorkshire experience. However, guests wanting to travel by train for day-trips that could include destinations as far away as London and Edinburgh (about 3½ hours to either city) as well as to York (55min) will find Harrogate a more practical base. Regardless, to explore North Yorkshire, guests will need a rental car to have the best experiences while finding Classic England.