I was fortunate enough to be asked to photograph this brand new holiday home in the quaint town of Thézan-des-Corbières, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Maison Des Fleurs has been painstakingly renovated by its owners to make the most of the space available and provide a pretty, comfortable base perfect for exploring this corner of the country.
2 Penrhiw wouldn’t be a cottage we would ordinarily select being as owner Sterling prefers not to allow pets in order to offer allergen-free accommodation. I have to admit though while we missed Olive, it was extremely relaxing not having to worry about her escaping out of the garden or sneaking on the furniture when we weren’t looking.
Our criterea was rather exacting, we didn’t fancy the standard water-bungalow or deluxe hotel resort teeming with honeymooners. For a while I resigned myself to the fact that such a utopia just didn’t exist. Until Phil stumbled across Coral Lodge 15.41. It was everything we dreamed of, and as we were to discover, so much more besides.
I probably don’t need to convince the readers of It’s Nice Out on the benefits of swapping a week at an all inclusive resort abroad for one in the Scottish Highlands, but regardless, I will attempt to persuade you why Eagle Brae Log Cabins should be the next place to exchange your hard earned holiday fund. It really is a unique, enriching and unforgettable experience.
Fforest on the banks of the Teifi near Cardigan Bay holds a very special place in my heart. Our first stay had quite a profound effect on us and although we didn’t realise it at the time laid the foundations for It’s Nice Out and focussed my keenness to celebrate all things outdoors.
One of the original UK ‘glampsites’ (owners Siân and James pioneered this concept) what they have created isn’t just somewhere for townies to dip a toe in outdoors living; the notion of ‘glamping’ doesn’t even begin to describe the experience here. Fforest is a more community than campsite. When you visit it feels like you’ve joined their movement, albeit a gentle, peaceful one.
I love a ramble, nothing beats roaming about the countryside, taking in new scenery and feeling a real sense of achievement when I reach summits and complete routes.
Contributor Sara also enjoys a good trek. In the 4th feature in her series on backpacking around Europe, she shares some of her favourite places to take a hike.
When looking for a self-catering cottage to spend a weekend away with friends, we struggled to find anywhere that fit our fairly reasonable (I think?) criteria in a search radius within 3 hours drive of both Maidstone and Leicester. Basic requirements were that it have two doubles and a twin, be dog friendly (with fully enclosed garden) safe for kids, ideally in a pretty location and just as nice if not nicer than home.
After extensive internet trawling one of our group discovered Swallow’s Orchard at Woodlands Retreats. It looked absolutely perfect, the only concession was it was slightly more expensive than we’d been considering, but being as it was the ONLY place that ticked every box, we decided to go for it.
One of the best things about my backpacking trip was the amount of incredible art I got to see. Instead of doing the clichéd backpacker thing of stumbling round Europe getting drunk, I was determined to see some culture, and (with a few exceptions!) spent much of my time in art galleries instead of bars. I could recommend so many of these, but they’re all pretty well known places – there’s a reason you can find them in any good travel guide.
But as well as the traditional galleries, there was one type of art I encountered frequently on my travels: the outdoor kind. I came to realise that there’s something a bit different about seeing artwork out in the open, without four white gallery walls penning it in. Throughout my journey I encountered artwork in gardens, in vast city squares, even alongside main roads. Here are a few of my favourites…
Tucked away in a peaceful valley, former weaver’s cottage Nant y Bargoed (meaning stream under the eaves) couldn’t be more inviting. Lovingly restored by owners Martin and Frances, it feels appreciated and well-cared for; and by extension as visitors, so did we
I’m thrilled to welcome to It’s Nice Out new contributor Sara Magness. Bookworm and self-confessed introvert Sara caught the travel bug when she decided to leave all her comforts behind to explore Europe. A big believer in ditching the public transport and putting on the walking shoes, in a series of posts Sara will share her favourite outdoor experiences from her trip, as well as some tips for anyone else planning a backpacking adventure.
I’d been itching to stay in an Under the Thatch property for years. Their philosophy of preserving and re-appropriating traditional Welsh (and now Europe-wide) cottages into unique holiday homes is immensely appealing. Where possible they strive to restore and conserve buildings which might otherwise fall into disrepair, and a happy by-product of this is that the properties are often quirky and interesting in both style and location.
A last minute decision to take a weekend away resulted in us booking Bryncyn, a minimal secluded hillside cottage complete with woodburner and hot-tub. Most importantly, it’s dog-friendly, so Olive could come too.
It’s this time of year when thoughts turn to holidays and escaping our bleak UK weather for sunnier climes. Conversely, the damp, miserable early months of the year always make me feel shortchanged and long for a proper winter; icy temperatures and snow with clear bright skies. When the opportunity presented itself in the shape of tagging along on a business trip with Phormular Ltd to flee our gloomy English February for a few days in Stockholm, I was packing my suitcase before you could say merino base layer. With such a short time to experience such an incredible city, I was keen create an itinerary that embraced the Swedish principle of ‘Lagom’, which loosely translates as just enough. An idiom that strikes a deep chord here at It’s Nice Out HQ. There was no way we could see everything, so prioritising was paramount. Starting with basing ourselves in an optimal location…
If someone had told me ten years ago that I would have learned to love all things outdoors I would have called them a liar, and then I met the man I just married and he showed me just how amazing the great outdoors really is. We were lucky enough to go to Sorrento, Italy on honeymoon and while we were there we wanted to explore EVERYTHING. Seriously, if you want to know anything about the Sorrentine peninsula I’m your gal.