The Aga Holiday that Shaped Our Lives

About eleven years ago we rented a large house in Aldeburgh, Suffolk for a week’s family holiday. The weather was wonderful and we had the thrill of a beautiful cream 5 oven Aga in a divine kitchen. There were ten of us – all Aga virgins and we managed to cook with relative ease for the duration of our holiday! It made our stay special and a real treat for us all being a foodie family. We came away thinking ‘one day ….’

A few years later we actually bought the house next door to the Aga holiday house and we seem to have come full circle and are now proud owners of our pistachio, 3 oven, gas Aga. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think how lucky I am to have such a well used beauty. My family, border terriers, whippet and cats all have an enriched life as a result.

Whilst visiting, my daughter was having a cheeky look at a nearby mobile holiday home and was confronted with a rather pushy salesman. My grandson, then 8, politely said to the man “We are very sorry not to be able to buy one of these homes but there just isn’t room for an Aga!!”

Our holiday experience that first started in Aldeburgh has truly shaped our lives!

Martine Hallybone

Martine, your grandson has such taste. He will go far!

Aldeburgh Image by Helen Hotson

The ‘Osmington Two’

Sounds like a couple of guilty rogues but no, we’ve recently listed two new cottages which are both in the village of Osmington, near to Weymouth in Dorset! It’s quite unusual to have two holidays cottages with AGAs in such a small radius that it has intrigued us! Most be something in the water … but more likely that all the owners have exceedingly good taste!

Why not visit both at the same time with friends or families and holiday together? Fabulous walks straight from the doorstep and a wonderful pub nearby. Still some July dates for all three cottages still available.

Emmies Cottage

Melcombe Cottage

kent vineyard

Stunning Cottages near English Vineyards

English wines have been the focus of a good deal of ribbing amongst our European counterparts in years gone by, but in the last decade or so have come into their own and are regularly winning awards all over the world for their outstanding quality. Here, we highlight three beautiful Aga Cottages in one of the most prolific wine regions of the UK – Kent, the Garden of England.

Beyond The Bluebells

place to stayMore detail for Beyond the Bluebells

Drive through and beyond, (as the name suggests), beautiful woods, scattered in season with bluebells and you will find this enchanting farmhouse, comfortably furnished and fully-equipped to provide a relaxing, rural, family sized retreat. Beyond the Bluebells looks like it should be featured in the pages of an ideal home magazine. Sleeping up to thirteen family members, (maximum ten adults), this house oozes rustic charm with plenty of outdoor games and a Jacuzzi and solar shower to enjoy in the two acre grounds. And in the kitchen? An electric Aga and all the equipment you need for a holiday in the country. A dream home by any standards, Beyond the Bluebells is only a short journey from the historic Cathedral City of Canterbury and the Kent coastline.

Beyond the Bluebells is also a nippy twenty minutes by car from Barnsole Vineyard, an award-winning boutique estate producing quality English wine and selling direct to the public from the winery door. Whether your taste is for crisp, dry white or fruity reds or bubbles, Barnsole can accommodate your tastes at very reasonable prices. There are also winery tours and tastings from May to September. For more information please visit:

english vineyardVisit Barnsole Vineyard

Birch Pavilion

place to stayMore detail for Birch Pavilion

Another house perfect for a family celebration, and big enough to accommodate the whole family under one roof is the majestic Birch Pavilion in the picturesque village of Frant near Tunbridge Wells. Sleeping up to fifteen in seven bedrooms, Birch Pavilion is over 200 years old and is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. It is set in 3000 acres of parkland and features 30 foot high windows and stunning oak beams throughout. Perfect for a winter break with deep, squishy sofas around an inglenook fireplace or a summer fiesta taking advantage of the outdoor tennis courts and outdoor seating, family groups can also enjoy outdoor pursuits nearby such as clay pigeon shooting and trout fishing. A large electric Aga takes centre stage in the kitchen and provides a warm focus for family feasts.

An added bonus for wine lovers holidaying at Birch Pavilion is the Kent Vineyard which is a 25-30 minute drive away in Colliers Green. The vineyard opens it’s gates to visitors several days a year for ‘Cheery Days’ on which members of the public can get a taste of running a vineyard and insight into caring for vines from pruning to harvesting, with a choice of activity depending on the season.

For details of Cheery Days in Kent please visit:

english vineyardVisit Cheery Days Kent Vineyard

english vineyardVisit Woodchurch Vineyard

A little further afield is the world class Chapel Down Vineyard, only 20 minutes away by car, which runs all year round tours and tastings in the delightful village of Tenterden. Chapel Down may be most well known for its multi-award winning range of wines but the vineyard also produces the Curious range of beers and cider.

english vineyardVisit Chapeldown Vineyard


Article by: Rebecca Russell
Main image: Chapel Down Vineyard

anchor seatown dorset

5 Fabulous Walks with Great Views and Great Food

Seatown in West Dorset

This almost perfectly named Seatown is a picturesque coastal hamlet near the village of Chideock. Blink and you’ll miss the turn off the A35, which, rather than a ‘town’, ends with just a few cottages, an upmarket holiday park and a pub sitting almost on the beach. Noted for fishing and smuggling in the not far distant past, Seatown is now a peaceful nook between high cliffs, with Golden Cap, the highest sea cliff on the south coast to the west. The walk from Symondsbury to Golden Cap was featured as one of Julia Bradbury’s Best Walks with a View. You can also walk from Seatown to Golden Cap along the south west coast path, a walk of just over a mile if you’re feeling less energetic. The Anchor Inn at Seatown has a tantalising menu focussing on local Dorset produce and the terrace has stunning views out to sea, perfect for a lazy, hazy summer lunch.

For further information visit:

Great Walk with a View – Golden Cap

Great Food – The Anchor at Seatown

A mere 15 minute country lane stroll from Seatown is the beautiful Chideock Cottage. Ideal for singles, couples or small families, this cosy and tastefully restored cottage is fully equipped for a comfortable stay whatever the weather. With Bridport, Burton Bradstock and Lyme Regis all within easy reach, Chideock Cottage is a perfect holiday home for a Dorset break.

Please visit:

Great Cottage – Chideock Cottage

Mabelthorpe, Lincolnshire

There is currently no official Lincolnshire Coast Path although Natural England have committed to having something in place as part of the English Coast Path by 2020. There are, however, plenty of walks, circular and linear in this area. The walk from Mablethorpe to Saltfleetby Dunes is a circular half-day walk which as well as great views takes in a nature reserve which is famous for being one of the few places in the UK where you can see natterjack toads. There’s always the option to turn back and make this a linear walk and head for Sutton-on-Sea and the Sea Breeze Restaurant, a few yards from the beach.

For more details visit:

Great Walk with a View – Saltfleetby Dunes

Great Food – Sea Breeze Restaurant

Set on a private road in Sandilands, near Sutton-on-Sea, is Sea Links Cottage, a tastefully furnished contemporary-style home, perfectly situated to explore the Lincolnshire coast and Wolds. Skegness with attractions including the Natureland Seal Sanctuary and Fantasy Island is within easy reach. Slightly further afield is the beautiful Cathedral city of Lincoln with its castle and cobbled streets lined with independent shops.

For further information see:

Great Cottage – Sea Links Cottage

Ventnor, Isle of Wight

Ventnor is a Victorian seaside town situated on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, surrounded by the Undercliff, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Sheltered from the north by the national trust owned St Boniface Downs, Ventnor benefits from its own micro climate and as such is home to many usually Mediterranean species of plants amongst its natural habitat.

To the west, Steephill Cove is a tiny fishing village, accessible only on foot and is an idyllic spot to get a drink or an ice cream after an up and down walk skirting low cliffs from Ventnor. The paths alongside the cove also provide access to Ventnor’s famous botanical gardens.

Once in Steephill Cove, you may be tempted by The Crab Shed, which serves produce caught that morning from the sea in front of the terrace. Famous for it’s crab sandwiches and lobsters, there is also a delicious hot crab pasty on the menu.

For further information visit:

Great Walk with a View – Steephill Cove

Great Food – The Crab Shed

Nimrod is a beautifully restored Victorian cliff top villa in Ventnor which sleeps up to eight people over three floors. The main lounge is on the first floor to capitalise on its location and stunning sea views. A short walk from Ventnor’s blue flag beach, the house is located near several other excellent restaurants and if you prefer, you even have the option of hiring a private chef!

Please visit:

Great Cottage – Nimrod

Andreas, Isle of Man>

With rugged cliffs, picturesque glens and hidden coves, the Isle of Man is a walkers dream. The walk all around the island is only 100 miles so easily achievable in a holiday. For those who prefer a mix of activities, there are pretty villages to visit, cycle paths galore and a host of water based activities on the island.

The Millennium Way is a 28 mile path between Ramsey and Castletown which you can dip into easily depending on time and ability. The Isle of Man has a number of guided walks and an annual walking festival each May with walks for all abilities and interests. All festival walks are guided by knowledgeable walk leaders who will accompany you through the Manx landscape, taking in the Island’s wildlife and illustrating its dramatic past.

There are a number of excellent eateries in Ramsey including Jean-Pierre’s Bistro, which serves a mixture of French and Italian dishes alongside more tradition British fare.

For further information please see:

Great Walk with a View – Peel Castle along The Millennium Way

Great Food – Jean-Pierre’s Bistro

A cluster of farm cottages near Kirk Andreas sleep from four to thirteen and share an Aga in a separate laundry/utility room. Guests who are Aga devotees can use the Aga and its equipment for cooking at any time. A local company also runs an Aga cookery demonstration if you need to further hone your skills. Ballacamaish Farm Cottages have been beautifully restored in a contemporary style and make a welcoming home from home for a small or large family gathering.

For further information please visit:

Great Cottages – Ballacamaish Farm Cottages

Cromer, Norfolk

The Norfolk Coast Path used to end at Cromer, but as at December 2014 now comes to an end at Sea Palling. The Cromer Lighthouse circular walk is a fantastic beach, cliff and heathland walk with breath-taking views over the beautiful North Norfolk Coast. This is largely a level-ish walk apart from a climb of 236 wooden steps at the top of which you are rewarded with the most stunning views.

Cromer is packed with pubs and restaurants including the ever popular Rocket House Cafe, a fabulously located café featuring a balcony, ideal for lunch with a view. The café serves a wide range of local dishes featuring, unsurprisingly, the famous Cromer crab and lobster.

For more details please see:

Great Walk with a View – Cromer Lighthouse

Great Food – Rocket House Cafe

White Cottage in Cromer is delightfully situated just 300metres from the beach. The tastefully decorated cottage sleeps up to eleven and is ideal for families wishing to explore this part of the Norfolk coast and beyond.

For more information see:

Great Cottage – White Cottage

Perry and scrumpy i love my aga

I Love My AGA – Let’s Talk AGAs

Perry and Scrumpy (pictured) are two rescue dogs that are lucky enough to live with Ali and her family. Perry is now in his fifth home and is understandably quite a nervous dog. Scrumpy was sadly taken away from his mum far too early and missed a lot of essential puppy learning but both are now clearly enjoying AGA life! The boys were even born on the same day and so are unofficially “twins”! Why are we telling you this? Well, it has been just one of the many varied topics of discussion on the ‘I Love My AGA’ Facebook group.

This is a lovely group of people who all have one thing in common – they love AGAs! Some already have their own beloved range and others are looking forward to the day when they too will own one, making do in the meantime with enjoying the AGAs in our beautiful holiday cottages. Group members come from all over the globe and you’ll find them an extremely supportive and helpful bunch. If you have a question on AGAs, simply post in the group and you will always, and usually very quickly, get an answer… and often more than one! The group members regularly discuss and swap ideas on a huge range of topics based around AGAs and, occasionally, nothing to do with AGAs at all! Its an excellent place for swapping tips and tricks, recipes, happy stories, sad stories, AGA Sagas (ask anyone about ‘The Green Door’!), pet tales, events coming up…. and lots, lots more.

Want to get more involved with the AGA Community? Then why not join us in the I Love My AGA group? Simply click on the following link, click ‘join’ and away you go.

I Love My AGA, founded by Kristof Willems.

The group is ‘closed’ which means that you can post to your heart’s content without your ‘non-AGA’ friends seeing what you write. The information is shared only with other members of the ‘I Love My AGA’ group and you can invite your other ‘AGA’ friends to join the group too.

So, I know you are all dying to know one thing, do Perry and Scrumpy always go to the right colour-coded beds to match their collars? Or do they take it in turns to sleep in front of the baking oven and the warming oven? You’ll have to join the group and ask!

Article by Heather Pepper/Rebecca Russell