An English Christmas Trip: Trip Planning Update – Where We’re Staying On Our Upcoming Trip and How We Booked

Updown Cottage in the snow

It’s been more than a month since my last post about our upcoming trip to Britain. Planned for December we will be experiencing a traditional English Christmas in Dorset, so I thought it would be a good chance to catch everyone up on how our plans are coming along.

We’re very excited, we’ve got just over 100 days to go until we leave for our trip. There’s a lot to do between now and then and a lot to pay for yet. We’re getting a little stressed but it’s the good kind of stress.

First let me start by saying that we will not be staying in any hotels or B&B’s this time around. After our experiences last time, it just won’t work for us with two young children. We’re going to stick with self-catering accommodation which allows us to have our own ‘home’ in Britain that allows the us to settle and the kids to easily adjust to the scenery change (because we’ll all have our own rooms like normal).

First up is our – our London flat.

Booking a London Flat

The Building our London Flat is in

The Building our London Flat is in

On our Diamond Jubilee Trip last year, we booked a flat with The London Connection, an American company that owns and manages a series of self-catering holiday flats in central London. We were very happy with our stay with them – and the flat itself. We wanted to book it again.

Unfortunately, we waited too long to book and we lost out on the flat we stayed in last time. Instead we booked a nice looking flat in the South Kensington area a stone’s throw away from Earl’s Court and Gloucester Road tube Station. It’s bigger than the other flat and much cheaper, so we’re pleased.

It’s a good central location, so we can walk to lots of attractions or hop on the Tube if we need to. We’ll have two bedrooms, a living area, kitchen and two bathrooms. It’s just the right size. It’s a ground floor flat with easy access to the street and the kids will have a patio play in (if it’s warm enough). The flat also has a fireplace, which Mrs. Anglotopia is very chuffed about.

We’re staying in London for 8 nights, which comes to around $2,032 for the flat ($254 a night). It’s about the same cost as a nice hotel but we have so much more privacy and it will feel like home. It’s also in a great location to host the business meetings I will inevitably have (the London part of our trip is not a vacation – a working holiday). The booking company takes 50% of the total amount as a deposit upfront and then they take the rest 60 days before the trip (so sometime in October we’ll have to pay the rest). This is very convenient for us to manage the cash-flow for paying for this trip.

London Connection also provides a car service (for an extra charge) that will pick you up at the airport and deposit you right at the flat (and crucially help with all your bags). We will be taking advantage of this service!

Check them out for your next trip – tell them Anglotopia sent you.

As for what we’ll be doing in London – we will cover that in a future post. We have some exciting things planned.

Booking our Dorset Cottage

As I wrote about in our last post, the whole point of this trip was to spend Christmas at our favorite place on Earth, Updown Cottage on Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset. We booked this in December of last year. We did not have to pay anything upfront (though that’s because the owners are our friends).

I will not say how much we’re paying for the cottage for 17 nights (again their our friends and probably don’t want us to share that) but I’ll say that it’s a lot, more than our stay in London. The reason for this is that it’s over the holidays which are peak travel times. We owe the full balance of the cost 4 weeks before our arrival, so we’ll need to pay for our entire cottage stay in November, which should be doable (well it has to be, the trip is happening!).

Jane and Simon are also going to decorate the cottage for Christmas. She posted pictures last year of what they did and I can’t wait to see how they decorate it for us this year. This will be a huge relief to us as we won’t have to do any decorating for Christmas – back at home or in Dorset. It will all be sorted for us. They’ll even source a Christmas Tree, which will sit in the front window of Updown Cottage. It’s going to be truly lovely.

While London will be a working holiday as he have meetings and have to do research for the site and our guidebooks, the Dorset part of our trip will closely resemble a vacation. I plan to reduce my workload but still keep Anglotopia readers updated on our trip with pictures, etc. As my favorite hobby is photography, I’ll be taking tons of pictures. I also plan to film footage at all the attractions we visit for more episodes of Travels in Britain and Anglophile Zen.

As for what we’ll be doing in Dorset – we will also cover that in a future post.

Booking our Cotswold Cottage

After our short visit to the Cotswolds last year, we have decided to go back for an extended visit this time. We’re going to stay in this area for a week. To make is easiest on everyone, we’ve also booked a self-catering cottage for this time period.

We actually found the cottage through the owners of Updown, who referred it so us. We’ll be staying at The 4* Granary Holiday Cottage  located near Badmintion in South Gloucestershire.

We chose the cottage for several reasons:

  • It’s billed as a family friendly place and they have all the baby gear we’ll need
  • It’s centrally located – it’s an hour away from major cities and other tourist attractions – we can even visit Wales (Doctor Who Experience here we come)!
  • It’s got great views
  • It’s secluded
  • It’s relatively inexpensive (this will be the cheapest part of our trip)

We contacted the owner directly who was happy to accommodate us. The owner sent us a quote using HolidayLettings.co.uk and we were able to reserve our stay and pay a £50 deposit, with the balance being due in November as well. Total cost for the one week stay is £349 (about $550 USD) – we’re staying 7 nights.

After our stay in the Cotswolds, we’ll be returning home in mid-January. I have a feeling after such a long stay in Britain, it’s going to be heartbreaking to leave.

We’re really excited our entire trip and can’t wait to share our experiences with you all. We’ll have more posts coming up giving you some insight into just what we’ll be doing with 33 days in Britain.

Stay tuned!

Comments

  1. avatarDenise says

    so jealous!!!! I am going back the 3rd week of October & just doing London for a week. But staying in the Cotswalds at Christmas!!! How awesome is that!! I LOVE the Cotswalds! I know you guys really like Dorset……haven’t been down to that part yet, but I have been told by several people that it is really nice.

  2. avatarPat says

    Can’t wait to see pics!!! I am going to the Manchester area in early October to revisit the area my Mother was from. I want to do some family tree research as well so I am pumped! But Christmas in England is to die for!! :-)

  3. avataranita stead says

    We have made reservations through the London Connection twice now and actually stayed where you have reservations in Earls Court. Were very pleased – good location, clean and comfortable. Hope you enjoy your stay as much as we did.

  4. avatar says

    We are so looking forward to welcoming you and your family to the stunning Cotswolds in January Jonathan! Don’t worry, we have unlimited central heating to keep our guests toasty and warm and I’ll tell Farmer John to have the logs ready for you to have an open fire as well, but a warning, you will need to turn the heating down when you have lit it, or you’ll cook! lol! Rose xx