What Makes a Great Holiday Home?

A few years ago I had this little dream that we would sell up and go and live in the countryside. Maybe we could get a lovely cottage with a small holding and use the land to make money in some way. Perhaps we could have a glamping site or rent out a caravan or some property. I started doing quite a lot of research until it became apparent I was the only one in the family that was excited by the idea. Never mind, the timing obviously wasn’t right.

However, I have held onto the idea that owning holiday property is a good idea. Obviously the location has to be right, but I’ve been to lots of different types of property in the UK and having something special is key. I’ve thought a lot about what makes a good holiday home, from when the babies are small to when the children get older and require more freedom.

What makes a great holiday homeWhat are the key ingredients that make a holiday home appealing and popular to families?


I’ve mentioned this already but it really is key for a lot of people. I’ll admit that this hasn’t always been at the top of my priority list though. I’m always looking for something rural as a getaway from the city, but it doesn’t have to be near a village or town particularly. Now the children are older and we spend more time at the beach, I do like it to be relatively close to the coast.


I’ll be honest and say this is one of my main priorities when looking for a holiday property. I want it to be an experience. I want the decor to be modern (I don’t mind the style as long as it’s clean, fresh and inviting). I do want it to be classy though, with a few local and personal touches. I’d rather it wasn’t too clinical, but used local art, reclaimed flooring perhaps and colours that reflect the area. I want it to feel special. I want it to be part of my holiday experience.


I want to relax on  my holiday so I want all the mod cons of a usual house – dishwasher, washing machine and microwave. Sometimes I enjoy trying out something new, like an Aga or underfloor heating or even a remote-controlled shower. It’s little things like this that appeal to someone like me. Last year we had a lovely Cornwall cottage that had bifold doors and two sides made of glass that took in the most gorgeous country views. That made the trip quite special.


By layout I usually mean how the bedrooms are designed. I don’t want rooms filled single beds, and if possible I try to find a home that has separate rooms for the girls (they don’t share well) but that’s just personal preference. Having spent a few holidays in converted barns, I’m not a fan of a home that houses the kitchen, dining space and living area all in one room. Whilst it can feel spacious and airy, it’s hard to find privacy and tricky to keep tidy.

Outdoor Space

What makes a great holiday home?Families want a garden for the children to play in. At the Cornwall cottage I mentioned above, the first thing the girls did when we arrived was run out into the huge garden. They climbed trees, hid in the garden playhouse and swung on the rope swing. The owners had thought of everything and it was a delight.

As adults we want a patio area, somewhere to unwind and enjoy a glass of wine whilst we barbecue. Assuming the weather is fine of course.


I guess what I’ve been saying is that I want to experience the lifestyle. I want a ‘get away from it all’ home, that helps me to escape, and ensures I feel like I’m on holiday. Whether I’m in the countryside, by the coast or deep in the woods. I want to be comfortable and relaxed and, for a short time, know what it would feel like to live there.

What makes a great holiday home

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Images: Coastal view via shutterstock || Residential cabin from Quick Gardens

Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an interiors writer and blogger and has an insatiable love of home style and decor

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1 Comment

  1. Lauren
    May 27, 2015 / 9:45 am

    I love holiday homes, I often rent houses for a group of friends to meet up for the weekend in. We enjoy spending time relaxing together, cooking, walking and exploring new areas. The best holiday rentals are well designed, comfortable and have enough bathrooms for the amount of bedrooms! I particularly like it if it feels lived in and board games, logs for the fire and personal touches are left there. We now always go to a beautiful house in Croyde bay, right by the beach. Its gorgeous – let me know if you’d like the link.

    Love you blog by the way 🙂


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