Classic Cottages – one of only two self-catering companies in the UK to be recognised recently by the Which? consumer guide for excellent customer service offered (see its 700 coastal and country properties across Cornwall, Dorset, Devon and Somerset at http://www.classic.co.uk) - picks some of its favourite destinations along the torch route below, recommending where’s best to stay nearby on the day.
19 May: Historical Helston, South West Cornwall - a week's stay for £116 pp
Watch the Olympic torch pass the pretty Georgian townhouse-lined streets of Helston on 19 May. The town is famous for its traditional Flora Day celebrations too (held the week before, on 8 May), when visitors can soak up the lively carnival atmosphere and an array of colourful decorations, costumes and dancing. Stay nearby at a new property on Classic Cottages' books - Newham Barton (sleeps eight) - a lovingly converted stone cottage that dates from the 14th Century. It’s a real treat, featuring a hot tub, wireless broadband and a lavish four-poster bed in the en suite master bedroom. A week's stay, arriving 19 May, costs £116 pp (£930 total).
19 May: Sennen seaside bliss, Cornwall's Far West - a week's stay for £127 pp
Britain's most westerly beach - heavenly Sennen Cove - wouldn't look out of place in the Mediterranean. See the Olympic torch pay Sennen a visit on 19 May and then relax on the beach’s powdery white sand or, if you’re feeling adventurous, hit the surf. Sennen has a good-looking neighbour, too – the lesser-visited Gwenver beach. Stay close by at Cuckoo's Cottage (sleeps six), a truly idyllic detached country cottage nestled within a glorious garden in the heart of the Cot Valley. The village of St Just is within walking distance too, featuring excellent pubs, shops and eclectic galleries. A week's stay, arriving 18 May, costs £127 pp (£759 total).
20 May: Riverside relaxation in Dartmouth, South Devon – a week's stay for £122 pp
Watch the Olympic torch pass through ancient Dartmouth on 20 May, a picturesque setting by the River Dart. You can feel the history in the air; with its two fortified castles – built to protect the river estuary – and a harbour where from sailors have set off on adventures across the world for the past 1,000 years. Wander the cobbled streets and visit the independent shops, restaurants and galleries. Stay nearby at Lower Norton Farmhouse (sleeps 12) - surrounded by rolling countryside, it’s perfect for a large gathering of friends or family, featuring two living rooms and a games room. A week's stay, arriving 19 May, costs £122 pp (£1,461 total).
21 May: War Horse's Dartmoor, North Devon - a week's stay for £114 pp
When Steven Spielberg filmed War Horse on Dartmoor, he was smitten. He said: "I have never before, in my long, eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty.” The Olympic torch will journey through Okehampton in Dartmoor on 21 May – another reason (not that you needed one) to visit and fall in love with this spectacular moorland. Stay nearby at The Gardener's Cottage (sleeps six), boasting a stylish interior, walled gardens and a shared tennis court. Don't forget to visit the splendid North Devon coastline too, only 20 miles away. A week's stay, arriving 18 May, costs £114 pp (£684 total).
21 May: Raw beauty of Exmoor, Somerset – a week’s stay for £188 pp
Set in the sweeping hills of Exmoor National Park, Dunster is a medieval village untouched by the relentless pace of modern life. Witness the Olympic torch tour its streets on 21 May and then indulge in its unusual boutique shops, traditional pubs and pretty tea rooms. Hop on the West Somerset Railway, which works its way through the unspoilt Somerset countryside from nearby Minehead, and be sure to pay a visit to enchanting Dunster Castle. Stay at the incredibly quaint Combe Cross Cottage (sleeps two), offering calming countryside views from its private garden. A week’s stay, arriving 18 May, costs £188 pp (£375 total).
12 July: Quintessentially British Shaftesbury, Dorset – a week’s stay for £171 pp
A favourite haunt of the novelist Thomas Hardy, Shaftesbury is renowned for its fascinating architecture, including the cobbled street of Gold's Hill and the ruins of Shaftesbury Abbey, which date back to 888 AD. Set on top of a hill, it offers wonderful views across Dorset and Wiltshire. Witness the Olympic torch pass through its streets on 12 July and stay nearby at Hatts Barn (sleeps five), set on a real working farm where kids will delight in the free roaming chickens and lambs in the meadows. A week’s stay, starting 6 July, costs £171 pp (£852 total).
For more information and to book one of Classic Cottages’ coastal and country properties across Cornwall, Dorset, Devon and Somerset, call 01326 555 555 or visit http://www.classic.co.uk.
To help plan your visit to the South West, with plenty of ideas of places to go and things to do suggested by Classic’s local experts, visit www.classicguide.co.uk
Ends – 28 February 2012
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