Lancashire Holiday Cottages News and Offers
Manchester Evening News
Gartstang: Egged On In Luxury
by Maria McGeoghan
When was the last time a holiday nightmare made you silently swear never to leave these shores again? Trying to escape on last year's dream holiday to Florida, we were met with inexplicable and epic delays, and it took almost as long to get through airport security at Orlando as it did to cross the Atlantic.
The final straw came when the man at the car hire desk cheerily informed us that all the computers were down and forms had to be filled out by hand.
We got to the front of the queue three hours later seething to the point of speechlessness, and vowed to start exploring our own fair country next time we were booking a holiday.
So where can you find sunshine, luxury accommodation, plenty to see and do, great places to eat - and all less than an hour from Manchester?
Garstang. Titter ye not!
High in the hills of the Trough of Bowland above this lovely little market town are the first five-star self-catering cottages in Lancashire.
Barnacre cottages are beautifully decorated and furnished, and fitted out with the kind of kitchens you usually only see in designer homes magazines.
Spacious and spotless, the four cottages are set in the glorious, peaceful countryside that you usually whiz past on the way up the M6 to the crowded Lake District.
Children are made very welcome at Barnacre Cottages and the grounds have been specially laid out with little ones in mind.
A full-size all weather tennis court and an adventure playground are close enough so that you can keep an eye on what they are up to without actually wearing yourself out.
But nothing can top the excitement of a four year old heading out in the early morning to the chicken coop to see if there are any eggs for breakfast.
This became the highlight of Annie's week and our break in Lancashire is still referred to as 'the chicken holiday'.
We made the most of a rare week of sunshine by exploring further afield, and our best day out was at the Bowland Wild Boar Park at nearby Chipping.
It might not be the most polished of attractions, but with a collection of wild creatures, the chance to bottle feed lambs and hold tiny chicks, tractor rides and plenty of room to play and picnic in the sunshine, the £3.50 entry fee (£2.50 for children and under-2s free) was the bargain of the holiday.
If you feel the need to head for crowds, the South Lakes are around 45 minutes away, and historic Lancaster, which has some good, interesting shops, is just half an hour away.
Closer to home, the pretty little village of Scorton is just a 10-minute drive from base, where the village pub, The Priory, serves great lunches and home-made cakes and jams at a reasonable price. But don't miss out on Garstang itself.
The main street is dotted with nice pubs and quirky little shops, and on Thursdays it is transformed into the sort of old-fashioned market where you can buy anything from knickers and socks to pies and sausages.
The highlight of the town's year is the Garstang Show on Saturday, August 6, when people come from miles around to sample the Lancashire hospitality.
I may be biased - I'm from Lancashire, too - but this was one of our best holidays ever.