I have a bit of an obsession with UK self-catering cottage trips – in fact I’m about to head off on my fourth one of the year. But it’s not something I’d ever think of doing at the last-minute. The logistics of searching through different booking sites and ringing up owners put me off. So I was interested to hear about Snaptrip, a site for discounted, last-minute UK holiday cottage breaks. They approached me to give it a try, so I took up the challenge to choose somewhere to spend a bank holiday weekend with only a few days notice. I did worry we’d end up having to drive halfway across the country to find anywhere, but there were actually over 2000 places to choose from. I finally narrowed it down to The Cottage Loaf, a little terraced cottage in Wedmore in Somerset. Who could resist that cute exterior – though with four of us I did wonder how we were going to fit in. But you’d be surprised how much was hidden away inside.
The cottage is in the middle of the pretty Somerset village of Wedmore. Like the cottage, the village is bigger than it looks. It has a village store as well as three pubs, a cafe and restaurant, a butchers and a few gift shops. It’s a picturesque place, with lots of old stone cottages covered with flowers. There’s a 15th-century church, which had a May Day festival going on while we were there, complete with children dancing around the maypole – it felt a bit like we’d wandered onto the set of a Sunday afternoon TV drama. About five miles to the north is Cheddar, with its famous gorge and cheese, and eight miles to the east is Wells. If you fancy a walk then the Mendip Hills aren’t far away or you can climb up to Glastonbury Tor for a great view across the countryside. And a bit further afield it’s 20 minutes to the coast and about an hour to Bath.
The original cottage dates back to the 1600s but it’s been extended and renovated so it’s modern and spacious as well as having the traditional character. It felt incredibly light with clean, contemporary decor – not the normal country cottage chintz. On the ground floor you come through an entrance porch and straight into the lounge, decorated in soft grey with a big patterned rug. This is the narrowest and oldest part of the house, then behind it is a big L-shaped room with the kitchen at one end and a dining area and the stairs at the other. Upstairs, skylights in the roof make it feel light and airy. There are two bedrooms and a bathroom, which has a bath with a shower over it and double sinks. At the front is the double master bedroom, with a high ceiling and original beams, and at the back is a twin bedroom.
The cottage’s kitchen-diner is huge, and has a woodburner to keep you nice and cosy in the winter. As well as all the usual kitchen equipment and utensils there’s a big range cooker, a dishwasher, washing machine and tumble drier. If you want to cook for yourself, then there are Tesco and Waitrose supermarkets in Wells as well as the little shop in the village (which has a pretty good wine selection too). Otherwise there are three pubs serving food in the village. The Swan and the George are both gastropub-style places and the New Inn is more your traditional English pub. We had a great lunch at the Swan, which has a restaurant run by a chef formerly from the River Cottage. It’s a good idea to book in advance, or you can get sandwiches (including a tasty local Cheddar and homemade piccalilli) and snacks served in the bar.
The cottage doesn’t have a garden as such, but there’s a patio with a table and chairs both out the front and the back, so you can catch the sun on both sides (that’s if you don’t get the traditional bank holiday drizzle like we did). Inside, the lounge has a wall-mounted TV, DVD player and stereo and there’s a supply of books and board games to keep you occupied, as well as wifi around the cottage. The kitchen woodburner comes with a supply of logs for cold winter nights and there’s an efficient modern heating system. There’s no off-road parking but there are plenty of parking spaces on the road just out the front of the cottage.
- Guests are… there’s plenty of room for four people and it would work for two couples, a family or friends.
- Staff are… the owners live next door and met us to give us a tour around the property and tips on the local area (including the best pubs to try).
- Don’t forget… shampoo and shower gel as you’re not supplied with toiletries other than hand wash.
- Useful to know… the butcher across the street does great bacon if you fancy a Full English.
Snaptrip have 50,000 late-availability cottage rentals across the UK, with discounts of up to 50%. You choose your cottage on their website and put in a request, then they will call you up to confirm and take payment. A three-night stay (from Friday to Monday) at The Cottage Loaf cost us £287 for four people over a May bank holiday weekend (which works out at a bargain £24 per person per night).
Thanks to Snaptrip for providing me with a discounted stay. All views and opinions are, as always, my own.