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January 2024 Newsletter

Get ready for an exciting start to the year with our latest newsletter! It’s chock-a-block full of all things English, Cottage and Vacation!

If you are a new subscriber to our newsletters, welcome! We hope you will enjoy our monthly news and updates from across the pond and of course, if our newsletters inspire you to indulge in one of our unique and incredibly personal vacation experiences then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, Nathan and Laura.

So let’s get cracking as we look forward to the year ahead and what we have in store for you all!

What’s in this month’s issue?

We’re thrilled to announce our upcoming Shared Cottage Retreat, a unique wellness experience debuting in the summer of 2025. Set in our serene and luxurious 18th-century thatched cottage in Dorset, this retreat is designed to nurture your well-being through holistic activities, personalised cuisine, and spa treatments. Whether you’re planning to come alone, with a friend, or with a partner, the retreat promises an intimate and exclusive experience!

Also, don’t miss out on the final opportunities to book your 2024 getaway at English Cottage Vacation! With dates filling fast, secure your spot to enjoy the enchanting Dorset countryside during various seasons, from the vibrant spring bloom to the festive winter wonderland.

We’re also excited about the Dorset Tourism Awards on February 1st, where we’re finalists, hoping for Gold but proud of any recognition! Plus, delve into the quintessential English picnic experience, meticulously crafted by our resident chef Laura and set in the most picturesque locations by chauffeur and guide Nathan.

This edition also features our latest excursion to Cheddar Gorge & Caves, offering a blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue. And don’t forget, we’re already accepting bookings for 2025 and beyond, so plan your luxurious, all-inclusive. tailor-made escape to the English countryside today!

Stay tuned for more updates, and make sure to fill out our brief survey for the Shared Cottage Retreat to be among the first to receive detailed itineraries and updates. Join us for a journey of relaxation, adventure, and cultural enrichment – let’s go!

ECV collage Jan 2024 newsletter


  • Watch! Our Latest Video
  • Wellness in 2025! A New, Holistic, Shared Cottage Experience!
  • Book Now! Remaining 2024 Dates! 10% OFF our last May dates!
  • Gold Ambitions! Countdown To The Dorset Tourism Awards!
  • Picnic Pampering: Experience VIP Al Fresco Dining!
  • Featured Excursion: Cheddar Gorge & Caves
  • A Taste of Well Cottage: Laura’s Featured Recipe!
  • Guest Voices: Reviews and Testimonials
  • This Month’s FAQ: If I book a flagship package, will I ever have to pay extra for anything?
  • Last Word: Final Thought from Nathan & Laura

Step Inside: A Video Journey Through English Cottage Vacation!

We’ve just released a brand new video over at English Cottage Vacation, and we can’t wait for you to see it! So, grab a cup of your favourite tea, get comfy, and click play to journey with us through the heart of the Dorset countryside. We promise, it’s almost like being here with us! Please like and subscribe!

Introducing the English Cottage Vacation Shared Cottage Retreat: A New Wellness Experience for 2025!

English Cottage Vacation spa treatments

English Cottage Vacation is thrilled to unveil an innovative and rejuvenating wellness getaway – the Shared Cottage Retreat. Scheduled to debut in the summer of 2025, this retreat invites you to invest in yourself, cultivate positive thinking, and embrace the transformative power of the mind.

Our retreat takes place in a picturesque 18th century thatched cottage, offering a serene and boutique environment. Here, you can connect wit

h nature and immerse yourself in the calming vibrations of the Dorset countryside.

Holistic Activities and Self-Care

The retreat is thoughtfully designed to promote overall well-being. Engage in enriching workshops, meditative practices, and gentle exercises like yoga. Embrace the tranquillity of nature with peaceful walks and cycling using our in-house bicycles. It’s a flexible experience, allowing you to opt in or out of scheduled events, ensuring your retreat aligns with your personal journey.

Personalised Cuisine and Spa Treatments

Savour healthy, garden-fresh cuisine, tailored to your dietary needs, including vegan and juicing options, all prepared by your private gourmet chef, Laura! Indulge in spa treatments that promise relaxation and rejuvenation, adding sumptuous luxury to your wellness journey.

A Retreat for Individuals, Friends, and Couples

Whether you’re coming alone, with a friend, or with a partner, our retreat is structured to cater to your individual needs! With three luxury rooms available, each varying in price, and a maximum of six spaces, the experience promises intimacy and exclusivity.

Your Feedback Shapes Our Retreat

We value your input to make this wellness retreat an unforgettable experience. Your feedback will guide Laura and Nathan in curating activities and amenities that resonate with your desires and expectations.

Survey: Share Your Thoughts and Be the First to Know

If you’re intrigued by the prospect of a restful and culturally rich English retreat, we’d be so grateful if you’d fill out our brief survey! Your participation ensures that you’re among the first to receive detailed itineraries and updates about this exclusive offering. Plus, you’ll get the first refusal on our inaugural retreat in 2025!

Please share your vision – CLICK HERE !

English Cottage Vacation aerial view of Well Cottage

Final Availability for 2024 at English Cottage Vacation – Book Now!

As we look ahead to 2024, English Cottage Vacation is excited to offer you the last chance to secure your perfect getaway in the idyllic Dorset countryside. Our availability is filling up fast, so don’t miss this opportunity to experience luxury, relaxation, and adventure in our beautiful 18th-century thatched cottage.

Your Options for 2024:

  • 13th – 20th May: 10% OFF for the lucky guests who book this week, today” – Witness the vibrant spring bloom, a time when our gardens are at their most enchanting.
  • 25th June – 2nd July: Embrace the warmth and vitality of early summer.
  • 22nd July – 29th July: Shared Cottage Experience – Only Room 3 now available!!! Single or double occupancy!
  • 31st July – 11th August: Indulge in the peak of summer’s splendour, perfect for exploring Dorset’s natural beauty.
  • 14th – 21st October: Experience the captivating autumnal hues and crisp air of the English countryside.
  • 26th November – 3rd December: Thanksgiving Special – Currently offered as a Shared Cottage Experience. All 3 luxurious rooms are available for booking, either individually or exclusively for your group.
  • 29th December 2024 – 5th January 2025: Ring in the New Year with elegance and joy in our festive winter wonderland.

Honouring Previous Enquiries:

For those who have enquired in the last 6 months about 2024 dates, we will honour the original quote provided! A 25% deposit is required to secure your booking for these dates.

Looking Beyond 2024:

Planning further ahead? We’re already accepting bookings for 2025 and beyond! Secure your future stay with just a $1,000 deposit and start dreaming of your luxurious, all-inclusive escape to the English countryside.

Check Availability:

To view our calendar and check availability beyond 2024, please CLICK HERE and scroll to the bottom. Don’t hesitate – our dates are filling up quickly, and we would love to welcome you to Well Cottage for a memorable English Cottage Vacation!

Book now to secure your preferred dates and experience the unique charm and tranquillity of our luxury 18th-century thatched cottage in the Dorset countryside!

Reach out now to avoid disappointment!

Dorset Tourism Awards Finalist logo

Anticipation Peaks for Dorset Tourism Awards!

The countdown to February 1st, 2024, is on, and excitement is high at English Cottage Vacation for the Dorset Tourism Awards at Weymouth Pavilion! Our selection as finalists is a proud moment, acknowledging our commitment to top-tier hospitality.

Celebrating its 11th year, the awards spotlight the best in tourism, with a focus on inclusivity, environmental care, and community. This recognition, regardless of the final outcome, is a triumph in itself!

Winning means more than an accolade; it’s also a step towards the South West Tourism Excellence Awards and perhaps even the national VisitEngland Awards!

As we eagerly anticipate the results, we’re grateful for the support of our guests. Stay tuned for updates post-ceremony – we’re super hopeful for Gold of course but Silver or Bronze will be equally celebrated! 🏆🤞

Celebrate with us in person! Enquire now!

The Quintessential English Picnic Experience with English Cottage Vacation

ECV picnic group

At English Cottage Vacation, we believe that a picnic is more than just a meal – it’s an experience, an idyllic moment where luxury meets nature. Thanks to the culinary artistry of our resident chef Laura and the thoughtful planning by Nathan, our guests indulge in exquisite picnics set in some of England’s most enchanting locales!

Gourmet Baskets, Crafted with Love:

Each picnic begins with a beautifully prepared basket by Laura. Focusing on garden-fresh, organic ingredients sourced locally, she crafts an array of gourmet delights that range from classic English fare to innovative culinary creations. Whether it’s a traditional ploughman’s lunch, a selection of artisan cheeses and chutneys, or vegan and juicing options, each basket is a treasure trove of flavours, tailored to suit every dietary preference.

ECV picnic 2

A Canvas of Nature’s Best Settings:

Nathan, with his eye for beauty and detail, scouts and selects the most breathtaking spots for your picnic. He seeks out those hidden gems off the beaten path, places where the beauty of Dorset comes alive. Before guests arrive, he meticulously sets up tables and chairs, arranges the sumptuous spread, ensuring that each picnic is a feast for the senses.

Guests’ Favourite Picnic Spots:

Sherborne: Choose between the historical ambiance of the Old Castle grounds or the picturesque lakeside setting in the New Castle grounds. Both locations offer a serene backdrop, ideal for a leisurely lunch.
Royal Victoria Park in Bath: This location combines the elegance of Bath with the tranquillity of lush greenery, making it a perfect urban escape.
Kingston Lacy: The stunning grounds of this estate provide a picturesque canvas for an unforgettable dining experience!

ECV picnic 3

The Perfect English Picnic:

Imagine reclining under the shade of an ancient tree, a spread of Laura’s culinary wonders before you, all set against the backdrop of Dorset’s natural splendour.

It’s not just a meal; it’s a moment to pause, to savour, and to create memories that last a lifetime.

Make It Happen! Enquire now!

Featured Excursion: Cheddar Gorge & Caves

ECV Cheddar Gorge & Caves 1

Embark on an adventure to the heart of Somerset with English Cottage Vacation’s excursion to the magnificent Cheddar Gorge & Caves! Renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and profound historical significance, this destination offers an enriching experience for nature lovers and history buffs alike.

Nestled within the Mendip Hills, Cheddar Gorge stands as a natural marvel, with its imposing cliffs reaching up to 120 feet. Nathan, your expert chauffeur and guide, will navigate the gorge’s expanse, ensuring you witness every spectacular angle! The drive itself is an experience, presenting awe-inspiring views and an introduction to the gorge’s grandeur.

Once at the gorge, delve into the subterranean world of Gough’s Cave. Here, you’ll be greeted by the striking beauty of stalagmites and stalactites, sculpted over millennia. The cave’s vast chambers are akin to a natural cathedral, offering an otherworldly experience.

Cheddar Gorge is not just a feast for the eyes; it’s a significant archaeological site. Home to the Cheddar Man, Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton, the gorge provides a rare glimpse into prehistoric life, adding even more depth to your visit.

Your time at Cheddar Gorge can be as relaxed or adventurous as you wish. For those seeking a physical challenge, ascend Jacob’s Ladder, a climb rewarded with panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside. Alternatively, engage in mountain climbing for an adrenaline-fueled exploration of the gorge’s rugged beauty.

Enhancing your excursion, Nathan will keep an eye out for local vendors selling fresh strawberries – a perfect treat to pair with champagne or Pimms back at Well Cottage’s garden!

This half-day excursion requires approximately one hour and 30 minutes of travel time. It’s a journey that seamlessly combines relaxation, adventure, and cultural enrichment. It’s also perfect for our younger guests!

To make the most of your visit to Cheddar Gorge, consider booking a private Cheddar cheese-making lesson for a truly authentic Somerset experience. And why not extend your day with a visit to the nearby city of Wells?

Next month, join us for another captivating excursion as we explore the historical and botanical beauty of Kingston Lacey. Stay tuned for a journey through one of Dorset’s most treasured estates!

Explore all of our amazing excursions – CLICK HERE!

Recipe of the Month: Laura’s Special Recipe Lasagne

ECV Laura's Lasagne recipe


Makes one large lasagne serving 9-12 people depending on serving size. If you would prefer a vegetable lasagne just leave out the meat and follow all other instructions.

Bolognese Mix

  • 2 medium onions. chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped,
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 small pumpkin or butternut squash chopped
  • 10 mushrooms, chopped
  • 500g lamb or beef ground
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes.
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian herbs
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes or a large jar of pasta sauce.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bechamel Sauce

  • 125g butter
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1.5 litres of milk
  • 1 tbsp English mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

For Finishing

  • 1 pack of dry or fresh lasagne sheets
  • 250 – 500g grated cheddar cheese.
ECV Laura's Lasagne recipe 2


You will be making 2 sauces separately in large sauce pans. The tomato based bolognese mix and the béchamel sauce mix.

Tomato Bolognese Mix

  • Fry the ground meat separately, keep it moving as you cook to reduce large chunks. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t completely cooked at this stage.
  • Separately, in a large sauce pan, sauté chopped onions in olive oil for 5 mins.
  • Add cubed carrot, zucchini, pumpkin, mushrooms etc any type of veggies except peppers. sauté for 5 mins.
  • Add minced garlic, cook for 2 mins.
  • Add the meat.
  • Add crumbled vegetable stock cubes and Italian herbs. Cook for a further 2 mins.
  • Add tomato paste and either 2 cans chopped tomatoes or a large jar of pasta sauce, mix together thoroughly.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Let it continue to cook on a low heat for 15 mins while making the bechamel sauce.

Bechamel Sauce

  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
  • Add flour and mix with butter to form a paste. Cook for a minute on medium heat.
  • Add milk and whisk it in briskly and continuously on a medium heat until it thickens to a wall paper paste consistency.
  • Add the English mustard and salt and pepper to taste.

Creating Your Lasagne

  • Prepare a large, deep Pyrex or lasagne oven dish: Oil and lay 1 layer of lasagne sheets on the bottom of the dish, covering the whole area.
  • Then spoon in a thin layer of the tomato sauce mix, enough to cover the lasagne sheets completely.
  • Add another layer of lasagne sheets, breaking them into pieces if necessary.
  • Then spoon in a layer of bechamel sauce. Keep going until you reach the top. You’ll want to finish with a layer of bechamel. I find I usually do four layers – 2 of each – but it depends on the depth of your dish and thickness of your layers.
  • Now sprinkle as much grated cheese all over the top of the lasagne as you desire.
  • Place the dish on a baking sheet before putting in the oven as it will probably boil over and this will save you cleaning your oven.
  • Cook on around 300F for 1-2 hours. You can’t really over cook it but make sure you cover with foil to begin so the cheese doesn’t crisp to soon.
  • For the last 30 minutes cook on a little higher 350F without the foil to crisp the top.

You can serve right away or…

The best thing to do is make this in the morning before lunch Then let it cool and congeal. Then cut it into pieces but leave in the dish. Place back in the oven on 350 covered for around 30 min-45 mins with foil to reheat before serving. After being reheated thoroughly, the pieces should lift out quite uniformly so that you can plate the pieces. I like to serve with a Greek or mixed salad!

ECV Laura in kitchen

Experience Well Cottage Through the Eyes of Our Guests!

At English Cottage Vacation, the stories and adventures shared by our guests are the source of our inspiration! Every testimonial offers a window into the memorable experiences and meaningful

connections formed at Well Cottage.

Explore their tales:

Website Reviews
Google Reviews
Tripadvisor Reviews

We prioritise your trust above all! Our booking process is designed to be smooth and worry-free, with adaptable policies for your ease. Additionally, our official registration as Appanage Vacations Ltd can be confirmed on the UK Government’s ‘Companies House’ website, providing you with added confidence.

Become a part of our valued guest community and delve into the magic of Dorset. We eagerly anticipate adding your positive review to our ever-growing anthology of treasured guest narratives!

Frequently Asked Questions: Featured FAQ

Q: If I book a flagship package, will I ever have to pay extra for anything – excursions, food, drinks etc?

A: In our Flagship package, almost everything is included within your initial cost. However, there are rare occasions where a special request might incur an additional charge. This usually applies to exceptionally extravagant desires, such as securing tickets for high-demand events like Wimbledon. Rest assured, we have the network and capability to fulfil such extraordinary requests. We always ensure transparency regarding any extra charges, discussing them with you before proceeding. Please note, this flexibility is a unique feature of our Flagship package. Our Set Itinerary packages, on the other hand, offer a fixed selection of experiences without the option for such bespoke additions.

To view our other Frequently Asked Questions, click HERE!

ECV collage 2 Jan 2024 newsletter

Our Final Thought…

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”

As we embrace the brisk beginnings of 2024, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words echo through the tranquil spaces of Well Cottage, reminding us that the beauty of life lies in the journey itself. With each new year, we find ourselves at the threshold of undiscovered paths and experiences, beckoning us to step forward with enthusiasm and curiosity.

January, with its crisp winter air and the promise of renewal, invites us to reflect on the paths we’ve traversed and to look forward with hope to the roads that lie ahead. At Well Cottage, we see each day as an opportunity to weave new stories into the rich tapestry of our lives, enriching each moment with the vibrant hues of discovery, friendship, and joy.

In this year, let us embrace each new day as a precious gift, a blank page on which to inscribe our adventures and dreams. Whether it’s through the quiet beauty of a Dorset sunrise, the laughter shared over a gourmet meal, or the thrill of exploring ancient landscapes, every experience at Well Cottage is a step on the journey of a lifetime.

To all who have walked this journey with us and to those who will join us in the days to come, we extend our heartfelt wishes for a year filled with wonder, peace, and abundant happiness. May 2024 be a year where we all travel not just to destinations, but through the enriching experiences of life’s beautiful journey.

With warmth and anticipation for the adventures ahead,

Nathan & Laura

ECV collage 3 Jan 2024 newsletter