The best birdwatching cottages

Accommodation, Rural, Nature

Posted by Ed Roberts on 21st June 2023

The best birdwatching cottages

Birdwatching is a popular outdoor pursuit and is beloved by many. We have a collection of holiday cottages situated across the length and breadth of the British Isles that are conducive to enjoying the perfect birdwatching holiday. Some of the properties are located on private estates with a lake or large pond that attracts certain species of birds. Others are situated in woodlands or by a secluded beach, which are amongst the best habitats to birdwatch. 

The featured properties are also within proximity to some of the UK's best-loved nature reserves, often situated in wetlands with abundant hides to spy on your feathered friends in relative quiet. Depending on which season you are holidaying in, we can help you decide on the best places and times to enjoy a birdwatching holiday in the UK if you are a beginner. 

Over the last few years, has linked up with several organisations to promote conscientious travel and demonstrate our commitment to best practices in global environmental matters. We're very proud of our association with the RSPB who protect our birdlife for future generations. Find out about how we've been raising awareness and funds for the RSPB in our series of seasonal holiday watch guides.

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Higher and Lower Clearwater, Kirkby Lonsdale, Lake District | Sleeps: 6 guests

Higher and Lower Clearwater, Kirkby Lonsdale, Lake District | Sleeps: 6 guests

These two eco-lodges are perfect for birders because they are located overlooking a flooded former quarry. With a turfed roof covered with wildflowers and spectacular balcony views over the lake, these contemporary lodges provide an inspirational spot for those seeking a relaxing family break. A diving school makes use of the lake, so between birdwatching stints you could take up another hobby - they welcome novices through to seasoned pros.

Higher Clearwater and Lower Clearwater are tastefully furnished and both have large communal areas with big theatre windows to enjoy the views of the lake below. There is access to a hot tub, and the lodges are well-equipped with modern kitchens and utility rooms. Each has three bedrooms and welcomes up to two dogs.

Popular attractions close by include Capernwray Diving Centre, Hill Top - the home of Beatrix Potter, Grasmere Gingerbread Shop and Skipton Castle. The Lake District is full of great hideaways to look for birds all year round, so make sure you do some preparation and pay a visit to RSPB Haweswater during your visit.

More birdwatching accommodation in the Lake District:

Lake District cottages

Aero Cottage, Baslow, Peak District | Sleeps: 4 guests + 1 dog

Aero Cottage, Baslow, Peak District | Sleeps: 4 guests + 1 dog

Within easy driving distance of The Avenue Washlands (10 miles), one of Derbyshire's best-loved nature reserves, Aero Cottage in Baslow is an apt choice for bird lovers. The Avenue Marshlands are found in the Rother Valley close to the Derbyshire town of Chesterfield. The 40-hectare site was created in 2005 and has had several restorations to make it home to a variety of wildlife. 

Aero Cottage is situated in the easterly part of the beautiful Peak District National Park; it provides cosy accommodation with its farmhouse kitchen, and characterful lounge, perfect for a family of birders to relax in in-between days of exploration in the local area. 

More birdwatching accommodation in the Peak District: 

Peak District cottages

Laggandhu, The Cairngorms, Scotland | Sleeps: 6 guests

Laggandhu, The Cairngorms, Scotland | Sleeps: 6 guests

Laggandhu is the place to stay if you want to observe ospreys. Just a short distance from Loch Garten (4 miles), where you can view ospreys swoop down to take fish, this idyllic spot is unbeatable for Scottish wildlife. Deep in the Cairngorms National Park, with access to Aviemore (8 miles), Mount Cairngorm (12 miles) and Balmoral Estate, there's much to see and do. 

Laggandhu itself offers comfort and luxury at the end of a long day of bird spotting out on the Loch. Full of charming character, there is a large kitchen and a stylish country dining room where you can enjoy lovely meals with your fellow guests. The gardens offer plenty of birdwatching opportunities, with epic views of the mountains and the woodlands nearby.

More birdwatching accommodation in Scotland:

Scotland cottages

Apple House, Cley-next-the-Sea, Norfolk | Sleeps: 2 guests + 1 dog

Apple House, Cley-next-the-Sea, Norfolk | Sleeps: 2 guests + 1 dog

Apple House is located close to one of East of England's prime birdwatching spots, the NWT Cley Marshes Nature Reserve. You can even watch birds come and go at the visitor centre from the cafe windows where you'll find binoculars and telescopes for use. 

The North Norfolk Coast is a birder's paradise, and Apple House offers the perfect backdrop for an ornithological break. It's a quaint, former apple store that is cosy and perfect for a romantic break. Cley-next-the-Sea is a tiny coastal village close to Blakeney Point with its seasonal seal 'haul out' (one of the largest in mainland England), and an iconic windmill. Apple House is a superb choice of holiday accommodation in famous birdwatching country. 

More birdwatching accommodation in the East of England:

East of England cottages

Machlud Ar Y Dwr, New Quay

Machlud Ar Y Dwr - New Quay, West Wales | Sleeps: 2 guests + 1 dog

This gorgeous glamping pod is poised on the shores of a wildlife pond. Park a chair by the window or on the deck and see what birds turn up. Located close to New Quay in West Wales, Machlud Ar Y Dwr is perfect for a birdwatching break. It is well-located for local amenities and places to eat or to buy good local produce. 

The pod itself is the ultimate escape; it sleeps two people (plus one dog) and is set within 4.5 acres of land with a pond. Inside, you have all the mod-cons and an oven to prepare some interesting home cooking. For a day out, you could head to the coast at Aberystwyth with its picturesque harbour; it also has plenty of places to bird spot. Or why not visit the Dolaucothi Mines or Llancheron, one of West Wales' best-loved visitor attractions?

More birdwatching accommodation in Wales: 

Wales cottages

Warren Roost, Dawlish Warren, Devon | Sleeps: 2 guests

Warren Roost, Dawlish Warren, Devon | Sleeps: 2 guests

Located close to the estuary of the River Exe, Warren Roost is a short driving distance from Exminster Marsh and its twin reserve Bowling Green Marsh on the opposite bank. Both are great places to see waders and geese. The habitats for birds are excellent in the area and there are plenty of places beyond the reserves to catch some good sightings. Warren Roost is also well placed for the South Coast and one of the best seaside trails around - as you walk parallel to the railway track en route to Dawlish, it cuts through the red sandstone cliffs.

Warren Roost itself is a cosy former hayloft set on a peaceful working farm, within walking distance to Dawlish Warren railway station if you fancy a day trip to Exeter or Plymouth and the South West Coast Path. It sleeps two people and is equipped with a kitchenette for cooking up a storm. It’s a pleasant proposition for couples looking for an enjoyable nature break. The plot has great views of the Exe Estuary and surrounding countryside and is set within extensive grounds.

More birdwatching accommodation in Devon:

South West cottages

Stonihoe, Dungeness, South Coast | Sleeps: 4 guests + 1 dog

Stonihoe, Dungeness, South Coast | Sleeps: 4 guests + 1 dog

This converted railway carriage called Stonihoe in Dungeness in Kent is a superb place to stay for birdwatchers as it is very close to RSPB Dungeness, with its large lakes and flocks of visiting birds. Its location is peaceful and literally yards from the sea's edge. There is a telescope in the house so you can watch seabirds and other visitors from the comfort of the lounge. 

Dungeness itself is a 468-acre nature reserve with a unique makeup of wildlife and plant life. The property is especially cosy at night with its wood burner and comfy sofas. Between Dungeness' two lighthouses, it's a dramatic spot to enjoy a birdwatching holiday. Local attractions include Romney Marshes, Camber Sands, Rye, and the Sound Mirrors.

More birdwatching accommodation on the South Coast:

South Coast cottages

9 Spring Lake, South Cerney, near The Cotswolds | Sleeps: 5 guests

9 Spring Lake, South Cerney, The Cotswolds | Sleeps: 5 guests

9 Spring Lake is a waterside New England-style lodge perfect for birders. Sit at the water's edge or watch the birds on the lake from the breakfast table, located at Cotswold Water Park, which is also a good place to enjoy waterborne activities like kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and paddleboarding. 

Between bird-watching excursions around the lakes, you can enjoy a spa at the De Vere Hotel, and day trips to Cirencester. The Cotswolds, with its abundance of elevated natural beauty spots to watch birds from, is a short drive up the road. 9 Spring Lake itself is an exemplar of open-plan holiday accommodation with ample space to relax between adventures.

More birdwatching accommodation in the Cotswolds:

Cotswolds cottages

Willow Tree Cottage at Kirkby Fleetham Hall, Yorkshire

Willow Tree Cottage at Kirkby Fleetham Hall, Yorkshire | Sleeps: 2 guests + 1 dog

Set in the grounds of Kirkby Fleetham Hall in North Yorkshire, this exquisite, one-bedroom holiday home is a wonderful choice for a bird-spotting holiday.  Situated close to an on-site lake where you can set your camera and binoculars up to watch the local birdlife, there is also a private woodland to wander in too. 

Willow Tree Cottage is in the east wing of a Grade II-listed country house, and its exterior is reflective of its period trappings. With views of the gardens, it's a great choice for those looking for somewhere quiet to snuggle up. It is close to Northallerton (8 miles), and both the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks for walking trails, and even more bird-watching opportunities.

More birdwatching accommodation in Yorkshire:

Yorkshire cottages

Stay at a self-catering birdwatching cottage

In the UK countryside, you are never far away from wild birds. There is nothing better than a day out birdwatching and by simply taking the time to appreciate your natural surroundings, you may even spot a rare species. Book yourself a birding holiday far from the crowds this season at one of our self-catering cottages.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.