Your questions answered

Here are some FAQs to help answer any queries or questions you might have. If you require any additional help please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Pre-booking questions

You have three simple ways of finding your ideal holiday cottage:

  1. Search by Availability
    Use the “Find your holiday” search on the left hand side of the Home page or click 'Search & book' in the top navigation. The dates used in the search are all Saturdays, the returned list will also display Friday and Sunday changeover properties that are available for the selected week.
  2. Search by Destination
    Click either of the counties on the Home page map to start refining your destinations, alternatively click 'Destinations' in the top navigation.
  3. Browse all cottages
    Click 'Search & book' in the top navigation to view our entire portfolio and use the options in the expanding lists on the left hand side to further refine your selection.

As you are probably on the website while reading this, you will find that the easiest way to book is online.

Click 'Book now' on the right hand side of each property details page to take you to the secure online booking form.

This will take you through the different stages including taking your payment.

You can also complete the booking over the phone by calling 01237 459888.

Yes you can pay a deposit as long as the start date of your holiday is more than 9 weeks away as this is when the remaining balance would be due.

No one books a holiday thinking they will need to cancel it. Unfortunately sometimes things happen that may prevent you going away which is why we would always recommend that you take out holiday cancellation insurance. Part of our booking conditions are that if you cancel your holiday you will remain liable for the whole cost of the holiday. If your claim is covered by insurance, you will be able to claim back all monies paid less the insurance premium and a small excess charge. We do not insist on you taking our insurance, most people have their own travel insurance which covers them for holiday cancellation and curtailment. We will just need to make a note of your policy provider, number and dates covered. Having your own insurance means that you will need to pay the full amount on cancelling, we will then issue a cancellation invoice to you which will enable you to make a claim through your own insurance. By paying in full when booking your holiday, cancellation insurance is recommended but optional.

We offer a whole policy dedicated to this, here are just some of the details that feature: cancellation or curtailment up to a maximum of £5000 along with an element of personal insurance (up to £1000 for personal property - £300 money). The policy covers everyone named on the booking form and cover starts immediately. The main elements of cover are (i) Illness (excluding pre-existing conditions). (ii) Death of anyone in the party or close relative or business colleague. (iii) Fire, theft or flood to your home occurring within 14 days of commencement of your holiday. (iv) Cancellation of leave in armed forces & emergency services. (v) Redundancy (as per current redundancy payments legislation). Full details of the policy can be downloaded here.

Yes, many of our properties welcome dogs, each property will state in its description whether pets are accepted or not.

Sometimes it will state 'by arrangement', if so, the breed will need to be checked with the owner of the property.

You can use the filters when searching to select the number of dogs you will be bringing. Dogs are charged at £20.00 per week per dog or £3.00 per day per dog for short breaks. The owners will sometimes consider other pets.

Unfortunately a few people and their dogs have caused problems in the past resulting in property owners refusing to allow dogs. We have therefore introduced the following guidelines, which we ask all dog owners to adhere to (failure to do so may result in you being asked to leave without compensation)

  1. Dogs must be under strict control at all times while on the property.
  2. Any fouling of lawns etc. must be cleaned up without delay.
  3. The owner must bring the dog’s bed or basket for sleeping in.
  4. Dogs must not be left alone in the property.
  5. Dogs must not lie on beds or chairs, and hair must be cleared up before departing.

Most commonly throughout our collection, properties 'changeover' or start days tend to be a Saturday although sometimes this could be a Friday or Sunday. When viewing a results page or a property description page it will state the respective changeover day.

It may be possible to book a holiday on a start day other than the designated changeover day out of peak times subject to agreement with the property owner, just give us a call and we will be happy to ask the owner. Please be aware that as prices are based on Saturday changeover, any weeks that cross over price bands would be charged at the higher price. Alternative changeover days will be unlikely in peak times such as school holidays as they would in effect split two different weeks.

Mainly our holiday properties book out for the Full week (7 nights), however there are occasions during certain off peak periods or last minute bookings. They can range from 3, 4, 5 or 6 nights and are priced accordingly. We provide the facility to search for a short break using the link under the availability search on the left hand side of the homepage.

All short breaks require the approval from the respective property owner before confirming and taking payment, once you have found a short break available by using the search on the website you will need to telephone or email our office.

Prices are based on a minimum stay of 3 nights and normally start from:

3 nights 70% of the properties full weekly price
4 nights 80%
5 nights 90%
6 nights are at the full weekly rental

Please note that some larger properties may vary their short break price structure due to the amount of work involved in changeovers and this may be reflected within the short break search results page. If running over 2 different weeks, the price would be based on the higher of the two weekly prices. Please contact our booking line on 01237 459888 to confirm prices of a short break.

After performing a search you can use the refine feature to show only properties that have accessibility provisions. The levels of these do vary so please call us with any specific requirements and we will be pleased to help. In addition there is also a facility on our website for sourcing properties that have Increased Accessibility, you can find this by going into the 'holiday ideas' section.

A large number of our properties are situated in the country, sometimes a few miles from the nearest village or town.

The location given in the details of the individual property is the distance in a straight line from the town or village. I.e. Bideford (5mls S) means the property is located 5 miles south of Bideford. Distances given to the beach etc. are by road. The tab labelled 'Local info' will describe the surrounding region.

On each property page there is a tab labelled 'Map' by clicking this you will be able to see the location of the property.

If the extra person exceeds the maximum occupancy of the property it may be possible, however, this must be checked with us before the start of the holiday and confirmed with the owner – there may be an extra cost for this.

A £35.00 booking fee is payable to cover the administration and processing of each booking.

A 2% card fee surcharge is payable when using a credit card. This is a fee that we are charged for every credit card transaction; however there is no surcharge when paying by debit card or cheque. The only exception to this is with an American Express which is 3½ %.

For a holding fee of just £25 per week, you can reserve your chosen property until the new brochure and price list are published or rolled out On-Line (usually in August) at which time the full deposit would be due. All you need to do is call, check availability, reserve the date you require and then send in your payment with a covering letter. You will receive a receipt and confirmation, your holding fee is transferable to another property or refundable should your chosen property not be available.

Next year’s brochure will automatically be sent to you when it is ready, but if you have not received it by the end of September then please contact us.

It is our policy as a company not to take bookings for single sex parties, our experience shows that the property owners are reluctant to accept hen parties/stag nights, however parties of golfers/groups of ladies after a chill out weekend etc are occasionally accepted, please explain your requirements to us and we will be happy to discuss this with the owner.

Parties of younger people will also need to be checked with the property owner prior to accepting any booking. On occasion the owner will request a security deposit to secure the booking; this is normally required in cash on arrival at the property and will be returned in full at the end of the stay providing the property is left undamaged.

Accommodation questions

Where possible, we do try and encourage all fuel costs to be included in the respective property price, however when this is not possible fuel charges are extra and are paid directly to the owner of the property.

These are calculated at cost; central heating can range between £10-£35 per week depending on the time of year and the size of property. Electricity where stated as extra is normally based on a meter reading. Where applicable we will indicate these costs in the description of the property.

We aim to inspect every property annually and categorise each into one of our star gradings ranging from 2–5 (5 being the highest).

The grading takes into account the features / facilities at the property and the quality of the furnishings. Some properties may have also been independently inspected by 'Visit Britain' and this will also be displayed on the property description page if applicable. If you require further information on a property, please do not hesitate to contact us to speak to a member of staff who has visited the property in question.

2 Star - A reasonable standard of furnishing, full-size cooker, shower or bath, washbasin and WC, electric shaver point or adapter.

3 Star - Good condition of furnishing throughout. Modern kitchen with washing machine. Bathroom with bath or shower. Some have towels supplied or available for hire; please refer to the individual property description for confirmation.

4 Star - Good standard of furnishing and appliances throughout. Separate WC if more than 8 persons. Many have towels supplied or available for hire; please refer to the individual property description for confirmation.

5 Star - Well-furnished and equipped. High standard of kitchen equipment. Garden furniture. Many have towels supplied or available for hire; please refer to the individual property description for confirmation.

If a property is described as having a bathroom it has a bath. If it has a shower it is always stated in addition.

For every property we aim to include the status of parking within the property description. Typically farm properties have plenty of parking available but some cottages may have off street or roadside parking and some may suggest you use a public car park. If you require further help with this please contact us.

An enclosed garden means that walls, hedges or fences surround the garden at the property. This however does not necessarily mean that a garden is dog proof/child friendly i.e. a dog may be able to get under a hedge or a child over a fence. If you require further details please contact us.

Swimming pools are unsupervised unless stated in the property description. Children must be supervised at all times whilst using the swimming facilities. Whilst every measure possible has been taken to make the swimming area as safe as possible, all facilities are used at your own risk.

The majority of properties which have a swimming pool make no extra charge for the use of the pool unless where indicated, but sometimes the owner may wish to reserve it for their own use for the occasional half day. The period they are open is usually from late May to early September depending on the weather. You are advised to check these details with us if you are planning to use such facilities around these times.

When a property description states that an amenity i.e. beach, shop or pub is within walking distance, we class this as between a few yards and 1 mile.

Unless stated in the property description there will be no use of a telephone at the property.

Unless stated in the property description there is no access to an internet connection.

Towels are not supplied unless stated in the description. 5 star properties tend to include towels, other properties may offer the option of hiring them, and this consists of 1 hand towel and 1 bath towel and costs £5.00 per set per person. For full details please refer to the relevant property description.

Most properties are non-smoking and do not permit smoking within the property. If this is an important feature for your holiday please contact us to check before you book. Where properties do permit smoking you are usually permitted to smoke in communal areas such as the lounge and kitchen area. However, we ask that you do not smoke in the bedrooms.

Whilst many of our older cottages have charm and character, some were built before the days of damp proofing courses and cavity insulation. As a result sometimes they have a tendency to be damp and despite the care we take when inspecting a property, damp patches may occasionally appear especially after a long wet winter or through condensation if windows have not been left open to allow air to circulate.

Please remember that cottages in the country do attract cobwebs. It does not mean that the cottage is dirty or has not been cleaned as country dwellers will tell you webs can be spun almost as quickly as they have been cleaned away. Some of our properties, particularly in remote areas, may have a private water supply from a spring or well water, which is regularly tested.

Your accommodation will be equipped with bedding and pillows (unless stated otherwise in the property description), crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils. If towels are not supplied or you have not hired them (only available in properties where indicated) you will have to bring your own. Most properties supply a highchair, cot or travel cot with mattress but cot bedding is not supplied.

As a business we believe that our customers provide valuable feedback about our Holiday Properties and our Service. We welcome and encourage this from our guests after their holiday with us. We use it to monitor ourselves to ensure we are listening and meeting the needs of our customers and to help make improvements and changes to our holiday properties and the service we offer. We show feedback on individual property pages which have been written by previous guests. We do ask that all feedback that is submitted to be fair, appropriate, legally acceptable and relevant so that it may be used. We hope that our customers find this feature useful.

Property facilities

Indicates the number of bathrooms available at a property.

The property has one or more bedrooms situated on the ground floor.

One or more bathrooms situated on the ground floor, this may also be an en-suite providing there is either a bath or shower.

Where a property is marked as having sea views, this indicates that there are views of either the sea / river / estuary / loch / canal from at least one of the rooms within the property or outside from a garden, within the grounds or from a balcony.

2 or more properties in one location or site (obviously not applicable in a town / village situation)

An indoor pool is available (Subject to certain restrictions) either private or shared. The pool may be either fully enclosed, partially covered or retractable.

An outdoor pool is located outside with no cover (Subject to certain restrictions) either private or shared.

Garden with either a fence, hedge or wall all the way around but not necessarily considered as dog proof also relevant for a patio or decked area.

The property has a real working open fire or woodburner that may burn wood or coal.

These properties have some increased accessibility features or provision that are all described individually. It is, therefore, advisable that you contact us before you book to ensure the property meets your specific needs and requirements. Accessibility statements are also available.

Hot tub (subject to certain restrictions) either indoor/outdoor, either private or shared.

These properties offer some form of internet access and some maybe wi-fi; subject to certain restrictions and user agreements, specific to each property.

These properties are located on or near a working farm with variable access to farming activities and land which may fluctuate throughout the year.

These properties offer some separate games/play area.

Post booking questions

The balance of your holiday is payable at any time up until and not after 9 weeks prior to arrival, there are three ways that you can pay the remaining balance of your holiday.

  1. By logging in to your account and choosing 'Pay Full Balance'
  2. By calling our office on 01237 459888 to pay by card
  3. By sending in a cheque with the slip from the bottom of your deposit acknowledgment letter

You will receive a booking confirmation when a deposit payment has been made, a second confirmation along with directions to the property will be sent when your holiday is paid in full.

After you have paid in full, you will receive final confirmation, which includes travel directions to your property and details for the person you will need to contact before arrival. We request that you call them a few days before your holiday starts to arrange approximate arrival times. They will then tell you where to obtain the key or will arrange to meet you at the property.

In order that your accommodation can be properly prepared, it is important that you do not arrive before the designated arrival time. This is normally after 2.30pm but can vary and will be stated on the online booking form, the property description and on your final confirmation if different. Departure time is before 10.00am.

As long as your party doesn't change to exceed the maximum capacity of the property you can change the names of the people in the party by calling us at anytime.

Yes, just inform us at the earliest opportunity that friends might be joining you and as long as your party does not exceed the maximum capacity of the property we will get approval from the owner and add the extra people to your booking. If the extra person exceeds the maximum occupancy of the property it may be possible, however, this must be checked with us before the start of the holiday and confirmed with the owner – there may also be an extra cost for this.

If you have to cancel your holiday we will require written confirmation of this immediately, post, email or fax are all-acceptable.

There are many different routes that can be taken on advise of cancellation:

  1. If you have taken out our cancellation insurance and you are cancelling for a reason covered in the policy, we will send you details on how to claim from Travellers Protection Services.
  2. If you have provided us with details of your own insurance provider, you will need to pay the balance of your holiday (if a deposit has been paid), we will then send you a Cancellation invoice to enable you to make a claim independently against your insurer.
  3. If you have paid a deposit but have opted not to take any insurance, we will endeavour to relet the property on your behalf, if successful you would no longer be liable for the balance of the holiday. (Deposits are non refundable). Please be aware that if we are not able to relet the dates the liability for the full balance of the holiday will remain with you.
  4. If you have paid in full for your holiday but have opted not to take any insurance, we will again try to relet the property on your behalf, on relet you will be refunded with 2/3rds of the cost of the holiday. (Deposits are non refundable). Please be aware that no refund can be made if the property is not relet.

We have done our best to ensure that you will not have any cause for complaint. However, sometimes things can be missed and the matter should be brought to the attention of the owner at once.

In most cases the situation can be rectified immediately. If you are unable to resolve the matter please then contact our office without delay so we can investigate and try and help.

Do not leave it until you have returned home, as we are then no longer in a position to help.

Owners expect that a certain amount of wear and tear is inevitable and this applies to the odd smashed glass or broken plate.

However, if something does get damaged while at the property please inform the owner at the earliest opportunity so that it can be fixed or replaced in time for the next holidaymakers.

It is sometimes reasonable to expect to pay the owners for more serious damages and breakages such as incidents to carpets, broken windows etc.

We ask that the property is left in the same state of cleanliness and general order as found.

Yes, if you have provided us with your email address you will automatically be sent a questionnaire email when you get back from your holiday, we would love to hear how your holiday went. As a business we believe that you, our customer provides valuable feedback about our Holiday Properties and our Service. We welcome and encourage this after your holiday with us. We use it to monitor ourselves to ensure we are listening and meeting the needs of our customers and to pass on to the property owner to help make improvements and changes to the holiday properties and the service they offer. We show feedback on individual property pages which have been written by previous guests. We do ask that all feedback that is submitted is fair, appropriate, legally acceptable and relevant so that it may be used. Holiday Cottages reserves the right to decide what is published.

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