Siren Travels: a UK cottage break to escape caution

September 23, 2020



With my niece turning eight at the end of July, then a road trip for an outdoor pizza-making party was just the kick-up-the-bum we needed. Heading up the M1 there are quiet reminders as you travel that things are not what they were. As Siren’s Stacey highlighted in her recent blog, motorway services are signage, rope barrier and socially-distanced queuing beacons. Watford Gap has never felt so organised, so quiet and frankly so reassuring.




We were unsure what to expect from a cottage rental in this environment. The owners had been unbelievably amazing, refusing to even take a deposit so that we could be comfortable with not travelling at the last minute with no penalty.


The cottage was fitted with hand sanitiser by the front door, and was spotlessly clean. Being a bit nervous about our trip, we travelled with our own bed linen and towels just in case, but those items didn’t even make it out of the car boot.


Some of things you come to expect in a holiday home rental, such as leftover salt and pepper or washing up liquid in the cupboard, are no more. You are asked to remove everything on departure and help out by putting bedding and towels in red plastic sacks as you leave – if you have time – so that cleaners don’t need to touch them.






We enjoyed walks in new surroundings...


...bought ice creams, scoffed fish and chips from a van in a car park, and drank a takeaway coffee from a local Italian deli with the thrill of being served your first legal alcoholic drink at 18. Small businesses that had been reconfigured, reimagined and only just re-opened welcomed us with warm eyes, masked faces and visible relief.


Everyone has longer, and greyer, hair and the children feel twice the size they were when we were last together, but otherwise slipping into eased-lockdown on our UK cottage break to see family was an instant refreshment from some fairly brutal months.


Ice cream




Our cottage was on a golf course and caravan park, and the owners were relieved to see business returning.


The government is encouraging people to take a holiday in the UK to boost the economy, but this is only one baby step on the road to recovery for small business owners. This family was working all hours while it was busy in the first week of the school holidays and the sun was (mostly) shining.


Being in different surroundings, doing a few regular things that created treasured memories, and enjoying the warmth of the UK tourism industry was just amazing. Everyone was keen to ensure we, and they, were safe while enjoying a lovely experience that was as normal as possible. Get out, explore and spend some money in someone’s much-loved business. We’ll be going away again, and soon.