Letting in the New Forest

Letting in the New Forest

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Paula Norris is the owner of The Saddlery, a fabulous 17th Century property that has been lovingly restored and is bursting with character. We caught up with her to find out about her experience of letting her property with us in the beautiful New Forest and if she had any tips to share.

How long have you and your family called the New Forest Home?

My husband’s family go back for five generations and I have lived here most of my life, so you could very much call us locals!

What do you feel draws visitors to this fabulous region?

The scenery and stunning open spaces has to be the biggest factor. There’s a real contrast of landscapes, boasting the best of both coast and countryside. The resident grazing animals are a welcome sight too – you’ll often see ponies waiting to greet you in the morning!

The New Forest’s central location also makes it a popular choice for guests – you can easily hop on a train and head out to one of the surrounding larger areas or you can amble through the many characterful villages which you can find right on your doorstep.

With London only a train ride via Brockenhurst Station and a variety of fantastic places to eat and visit nearby, guests are never short of things to add to their holiday itinerary.

What attracted you to the idea of holiday letting?

My husband and I were lucky enough to have this beautiful property passed down to us from many generations before, but it was in need of restoration. In 2013 we turned our hand to holiday letting as it seemed like the perfect way to turn it into what it is today, whilst also keeping it in the family. We’re very attached to the property but love being able to share it with all of our guests.

What key features do you think really draw guests to your property?

The location is one of the biggest factors, we are right in the middle of Beaulieu which has fabulous facilities for holiday makers all within walking distance including both a pub and restaurant. The idea of being able to leave the car parked up all week and access everything easily on foot is a real draw. However the property is beautiful in its own right. It’s really old and quirky, and we have invested in an outstanding bespoke kitchen which is the real focus of the property – a social space for families and friends to spend quality time together.

What tips do you have to ensure consistent bookings all year round?

Short breaks and dog-friendly holidays have both risen in demand, it’s therefore important to be flexible and accommodating, especially during the off-peak season. Make sure your property has an appeal throughout the year, whether that be with a wood burner for the colder months or an enclosed garden in the summer. Welcome baskets with local produce also make a nice touch and often result in some lovely feedback too.

What advice would you pass on to anybody thinking about starting a holiday let themselves?

Aim high in terms of design, finish and comfort. Good quality furnishings are an investment and will make sure your property projects a high standard. Once you’ve achieved these high standards, they also need to be kept on top of, otherwise all your good work will quickly slip.

Guests can have high expectations, but ultimately its really rewarding to see them leaving having had a memorable holiday in our home, and then subsequently returning the next year!

What would you say is the most rewarding part of holiday letting?

It’s got to be meeting all of our lovely guests, they are very appreciative of our hospitality and we love sharing our historic family home with others.

How important has the support of holidaycottages.co.uk been to your success?

They’ve really helped to increase our booking levels. The reservations team do a fantastic job and are always there to help if we have a question, no matter how big or small. We have busy lives ourselves, so the Travel Chapter Owner App is a really useful way of managing our bookings on the go too.

For tips on all aspects of holiday letting, take a look at our Owner Advice Center.

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