With the Easter holidays on the horizon (plus that extra bank holiday – thanks Wils and Kate) there’s plenty of opportunity for a cheeky break away in the UK. So the latest ‘Cottages’ app for iPhone and iPad from Farm and Cottage Holidays couldn’t have been better timed. This free app allows you to search for a home away from home from the comfort of your mobile device.
Over the years I’ve done a lot of searching for holiday accommodation both at home and abroad, and it always seems to be a bit of a faff, so I was interested to see how easy this app was to use.
Well first impressions were pretty good – simply choose an area or town, enter your holiday dates and how many people are going and you’re done.
It works quickly, pulling up a list of possible holiday cottages, and clicking on them for extra details was also speedy. The only problem was that there were cottages marked as available, which, when I clicked on to book, apparently weren’t available after all. Having said that, as the app works so quickly, it wasn’t as annoying as I thought it would be.
If you want to search from a map, that is also possible. That’s my preferred way as I usually work out how far I want to drive and then look around that area, so just typing in North Devon, for instance, or a town is not always the best way to look.
Of course, unlike some websites, you are restricted to the accommodation on the books of this particular company, but with more than 1400 properties to choose from, and the facility to instantly reserve your accommodation, I don’t think is too much of an issue. Remember too, that the cottages and farms are all concentrated in the South West – Devon, Dorset, Cornwall and Somerset.
If you’re doing the searching but want to show your preferred list to your partner or holiday companions before booking, you can easily save them by hitting the heart icon, so you can browse them later on at home, or in the pub (which is always my preferred location). It would have been nice to have the facility to email or text the list to someone else though, especially if you’re responsible for booking for a big group of friends.
If you want to search for facilities, such as open fire or hot tub, or for nearby goodies such as a pub or beach, you can also do this. Dog owners will also be glad of the filter that brings up accommodation that is suitable for their pets – it’s a shame there isn’t one for small child-friendly and disabled accommodation though, although to be fair, this is usually highlighted on the front page of the cottages’ details. For instance, some accommodation is set on farms with tractor rides and pets corners, and would be a favourite for families.
In all the Farm and Cottage Holidays app is quick and simple to use – and as it’s free it’s definitely worth a punt if you’re planning a break in the South West.