Cottages going to war on Covid: How UK holiday homes are preparing for the summer season
- Check-in and check-out times will change to allow additional time for cleaning
- There will be extra admin – each guest may have to fill in a health questionnaire
- Kernock Cottages in Cornwall plan to leave ‘Covid care packs’ with masks
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at an important holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: What to expect if you rent a cottage this summer.
Britain’s best country cottages can be ‘coronavirus-free zones with roses around the door’. That’s what owners promise as they ramp up their cleaning procedures and wait to be told when holiday accommodation will be allowed to reopen.
So if and when that happens, here’s what to expect.
Britain’s best country cottages can be ‘coronavirus-free zones with roses around the door’. Pictured is the Coach House at the Lammas
Check-in and check-out times will change. The big agencies that rent out cottages have given owners tough new cleaning regimes that will take longer to complete.
This means you may not be able to collect the keys until late afternoon. Many firms expect to set 5pm or even 6pm as standard, and on your departure day you may have to leave as early as 9am.
There may be more admin. To help with ‘track and trace’ if any virus cases emerge, owners may want contact details for every guest, not just the person making the booking. Each guest may have to fill in a health questionnaire.
Fortunately, you should be able to relax, knowing your property is cleaner than ever. The Professional Association of Self-Caterers and other organisations have new lists of the most effective cleaning products that should be used, and many match those used in hospitals.
Learning how things work around the cottage may move online. Folders full of instructions on everything from the dishwasher to the recycling regime are likely to disappear. Information will be emailed or put on apps that are increasingly used to replace guest books.
Sadly, piles of leaflets about local attractions may be binned. It may also be a while before we find bottles of wine and pints of milk in the fridge again, let alone welcome packs with freshly baked bread.
But you may find other offerings. The owners of the Kernock Cottages in Cornwall plan to leave ‘Covid care packs’ with masks, disposable gloves, hospital-grade hand sanitiser, antiviral wipes and more.
Kernock Cottages in Cornwall plan to leave ‘Covid care packs’ with masks, disposable gloves and more
If none of this is a deterrent, the good news is that there is still availability for holiday homes from late July onwards.
The two-bed Heather Barn (one of the Kernock Cottages) with its wood-beamed sitting room and country terrace, could be yours from £400 a week with premier cottages.co.uk.
In Dorset, the newly redecorated, two-bedroom, dog-friendly Sandpiper cottage in a private clifftop estate on the Jurassic Coast in Swanage has spare weeks from £540 with dorsetcottages.com.
In the Cotswolds, the stone-built, light-filled Coach House at the Lammas, near Stroud, part of a former stable block, lies in five acres of private grounds. It sleeps four from £717 per week with cotswoldshideaways.co.uk.
Couples can enjoy sea views from their bed in the colourful and cosy St Aiden Hut on the coast of Northumberland from £560 a week with canopyandstars.co.uk. Or head north of Aberdeen for river views from Jocky Milne’s Croft, a romantic one-bed stone cottage with a woodburning stove and modern kitchen from £485 a week with cottages.com.
Big groups can also find summer bargains. If you like modern architecture, the eco-friendly Rainbow House in Lincolnshire sleeps up to 25 and is available from £5,450 for short breaks with thewowhousecompany.com.
Alternatively, get away from it all in mid-Wales, where families can spread out and relax in front of the fire in the beautifully converted Groes Heol farmhouse.
It sleeps up to ten from £844 a week with sykescottages.co.uk.