Meet Harold & Stephanie owners of a new addition to Holiday Tots: a stunning child-friendly holiday cottage in Dorset.Posted by Sachele, 26th September 2016 at 10:28
Here Harold and Stephanie share a little information on why their cottage is perfect for families and an insight to how and why they came to create such a stunning holiday home.
Why did you decide to start your own holiday accommodation business?
We fell in love with Milton Abbas the moment we saw it. We completely refurbished the beautiful, 240 years old cottage and it is now luxurious and modern while having retained its legacy. The cottage and surroundings offer an abundance of attractions, including for children of all ages. We enjoy every minute of our time there but since we live and work elsewhere we thought it would be great to share our experience with others.
What was the toughest part about setting it up?
Refurbishment of a Grade listed property is not to be underestimated. In particular, the approval processes are cumbersome and slow. Our refurbishment comprised of a complete makeover including the roof structure and thatch being in a poor state, the replacement of the extension and the excavation of lots of chalk from the rear garden – it took a few years altogether! But that also contributed to the euphoria when it was completed and we now love every aspect of it and every second we spend there!
What was the most memorable/enjoyable part of setting it up?
The most enjoyable part was for us when the central heating worked and we were able to sleep in it for the first time. It was so dark and quiet that evening, but waking up with the sounds of the birds and the warmth of the underfloor heating at your feet was magical to us.
What couldn’t you live without and why?
That’s a hard one to catch in a few words as we simply want it all, with one common factor: high quality. We have tried to build high quality in our home away from home. We love life as a family and spending time together; family meals and family (outdoor) activities. However, we also like our children to feel at home and play by themselves in the play-corner or the garden so we can enjoy some “adult-time”, whether that’s browsing or streaming an episode, enjoying good food at the pub or made in our own kitchen or sipping on a fine glass of wine when the sun sets outside or at the fireplace ;-). We believe the cottage has it all.
What does your average working day involve?
We both work in the financial industry and every day can be very different, may involve international travelling, and most of the time you don’t know at the start of the day what will cross your path that day. It’s very intense but we both love our jobs and have learnt how to balance that with children and family life.
What advice would you give to families wanting to holiday with you and why is your place so special?
Our cottage is very versatile – on rainy days, it’s easy and big enough to stay indoors, light a fire and play games or watch a movie. It’s easy to go for a stroll in your wellies though and let the children get some fresh air as well as some energy out! On sunny days, you open the bifold doors in the kitchen on to the terrace and you have a unique private setting – there’s an abundance of nearby activities to enjoy. We never get bored here and feel totally at ease. Our place is special because on top of the historic elements it has all the facilities of modern life and technology.
If you could pick just two attractions/places to visit in your area what would they be?
We always go to the Hambro Arms, the gastropub 100 yards away. Their kitchen is exceptional in the area and the staff incredibly friendly. We also enjoy the walk to the Milton Abbey about a mile away, first towards the bottom of the street – with its picturesque feel we always get a sense time has stood and still stands still – and then along the pond to the beautiful Abbey and stretching views. The walk’s just about right for young families and can be combined on the way back with the Steeptonbill Farmshop.
Is there anything you would like to highlight that might be interesting to families with babies/toddlers/young children who are thinking of staying with you?
We have 3 young children (0-5 years) so we know what child-friendly means if you're going away as a family. From steriliser to Nintendo Wii…: the cottage has most (if not all) you need for a good family break.
In one sentence can you explain what life is like where you live?
The ultimate cosy and rural retreat to relax as a family in style and luxury, far away from it all yet with all you need within reach.
You can view their holiday cottage here: