Well, that was a scorcher of a summer, but it looks like we’ve seen the last of it and it’s starting to feel a lot like autumn now; all those country walks to look forward to, blackberry picking, Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night, and if you haven’t got anything planned yet, it’s not too soon to start thinking about Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
You can’t beat celebrating with a group of your favourite people, gathering together with friends and family, hunkering down against the cold weather, pulling the curtains and lighting the fire, and enjoying the happy times the winter season brings. We’ve got very little availability for Christmas now but we do have a few spaces for New Year; for those of you who prefer a more cosy Christmas spent at home, that’s good news, but don’t leave it too late because now is the time to start thinking about getting away to one of our luxury large group holiday houses for the New Year period.
That lull between Christmas and New Year often leaves a bit of a gap; the excitement of opening presents is over, visitors have come and gone and it gets a bit quiet, and that’s why it’s a good time to pack your bags and head off into the country for a few days away to see in 2019 with your nearest and dearest. Most of our big holiday homes and cottages are dog friendly so you can bring the family pooch along too. No one will be short of things to do because our properties have something for all ages – indoor or covered swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas, games rooms, play areas and BBQ lodges where you can all snuggle together beneath the twinkly lights to toast marshmallows on the firepit.
And when it comes to seeing out the old year and welcoming in the new, there’s plenty of room for singing and dancing, playing games and taking your fill of scrumptious food. Pile the huge dining tables with food and drink and tuck in, whether it’s a sit down dinner, a buffet, or just canapes and champagne, and don’t forget, that if you don’t want to do the cooking yourselves we’ve got a list of professional caterers that we can recommend to come in and do it all for you. Next morning you can all have a lie in, snug beneath the covers, and if there are any sore heads the best way to sort that out is with a walk in the fresh country air, and with holiday homes for big groups in Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire that’s easily achievable, in most cases, straight from the doorstep.
So where do you fancy? In Somerset we have availability at Hurstone, a gorgeous and very homely country house set in the most beautiful countryside close to Exmoor National Park. It sleeps 14 guests in 7 bedrooms but there’s also the option of 2 additional Z beds and an annexe for 2. There’s a big hot tub in the courtyard, and out in the field a summer house which is actually quite a cosy retreat in the winter. The house is full of character - old oak beams, two wood-burning stoves and an open fire, and far reaching views from most rooms – perfect for a mid-winter celebration.
Ilbeare is a lovely rural retreat that sleeps 14 and has a games room, a BBQ lodge and 2 acres of private grounds with woodlands and a stream; it’s idyllic, a wonderful place to see in the New Year. Millgrove House is another spacious house that stands in secluded grounds; it sleeps 12 and has a covered heated pool, a hot tub, and a games room. Foxcombe is a timber-clad lodge that’s one of five nestled at the foot of the Quantock Hills; there’s snooze space for 14 and it’s all self-contained with plenty of room and a fabulous indoor swimming pool and games area.
Also close to the Quantock Hills are Quantock Barns, with room to sleep 14 people and space for a further 10 (charged extra). The good thing here is that the barns are comprised of a main house and several self-contained suites set around a central courtyard, so guests get their own space and yet there’s plenty of room for you all to get together; the suites have their own living/kitchen areas, making it the perfect set up if you’re a group of young families, or with grandparents who like a bit of quiet time on their own sometimes.
Set in wide open countryside in Wiltshire is House on the Hill, which can sleep up to 24 guests, and it’s humongous, homely and eclectic, with big fat sofas, lots of books and interesting artworks. At one end of the house is an area that can be self-contained, with its own living space and bedrooms, so again it’s great for families or grandparents who like their own space.
Not far away on the edge of Monmouth and also sleeping 12 is The Benches, a gorgeous house that’s reminiscent of an Italian villa, and it has a hot tub, sauna and games room for use this time of year. It’s just such a lovely place to be, right on the banks of the River Wye, so you can watch swans and geese coming in to land on the water; bliss.
The cost? Split between all members of your large group it works out at less than the price of a decent hotel, so it’s actually remarkably good value. So don’t dally, get organised and book up your Sleeps12 New Year’s Break whilst we have availability. Chin, chin, folks!