holiday · Life · newquay · summer holiday

Summer Holiday | Part 1: Woodpecker Cottage


I’m sitting here, enjoying a green tea, thinking about our recent summer holiday and how much we enjoyed it. Reminiscing about the holiday got me thinking that I hadn’t even told you all about it, so here I am telling you about our summer holiday and the place that we stayed in. Better late than never, I suppose.

So, since being in a relationship with Mr J, I have spent a decade with him visiting Newquay, a seaside town in the county of Cornwall on the south-west coast of England for our annual summer holiday. For the first few years of our relationship, we used to go away for the 3 weeks but this has since been shortened to a fortnight. I don’t mind, I enjoy the time away together and I love the area.

We usually hire a caravan from Mr J’s parents friend, which they have done for the past 15 years, but she has unfortunately had to make the decision to remove her caravan from the caravan park. Due to this, we chose to browse the web to find a new place to stay.

That’s when we found Woodpecker Cottage.

Woodpecker Cottage

Woodpecker Cottage is situated in Porth, near Newquay, just a few minutes away from Porth Beach. The images on the website showed a small stone cottage and some of its interior. Even though the exterior image showed the cottage to be small, the interior images seemed as though it had a good living space with an open plan living room/kitchen, a double bedroom, a single bedroom with bunk beds and some of the amenities the cottage had to offer. Mr J’s parents got into contact with the owners to book our stay away and we were all pretty excited about staying in a lovely country cottage.


When we arrived we noticed that the cottage is set back from the country road that has no pavement or street lamps, along with a number of other cottages with a small courtyard in front. There is an old farmhouse just before you arrive at Woodpecker Cottage that has been made into a lovely home and our guesses led us to believe that Woodpecker Cottage and the others on the courtyard were previously stables which were made into cottages. This was confirmed to us when we arrived at Woodpecker Cottages door and found halves of large hinges, two either side of the door.

img_4044We noticed there were a couple of plaques on the wall. One was a Woodpecker Cottage plaque and the other was a plaque from VisitEngland, giving Woodpecker Cottage a VisitEngland star rating.

We were excited to actually see what Woodpecker Cottage was like. Upon entering, we were all quite disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, the view from the cottage was amazing! It was just the interior of the cottage itself that was a let down.

View from the upstairs windows

The space was quite small, but I suppose a lot wasn’t expected when we realised the cottages were converted stables. As soon as you walked in the door, the seating area was on the right, the dining area and TV were on the left and the kitchen area was straight in front. There were 2 armchairs and a 2 seater sofa bed. The armchairs were set up right against the sofa bed, so there didn’t seem a lot of room to move. Walking on the floor, you could feel it bending beneath your feet and the self-installation wooden laminate panels didn’t even seem to fit together; there were large gaps between some of the panels. The amount of thick cobwebs and large spiders around the cottage was unbelievable!

img_4045In two frames on the left side of the door was a VisitEngland certificate and a list of information that holiday-makers might need when staying at the cottage. The VisitEngland certificate stated that it had been issued is June 2016 and had been awarded a 3-star rating.

After seeing the rest of the cottage, we were all unsure as to how this could be and the idea of a faked certificate ran riot in all of our minds. The certificate seems to be of poor quality than what I would have expected from a professional, VisitEngland certificate. What do you all think? Could this be a fake?

As you are entering the kitchen area, there is a small cupboard on the right, underneath the stairs. In here, we found a small chest freezer as well as clothes airer, washing powder, pegs, broom and a waste bin. The washing powder was stored in an old hot chocolate powder tub.

img_3981As we headed upstairs we found that, as with the living area floor, the stairs also seemed to be bending underneath our feet. There was also mould on the wall.

When we reached the top of the stairs the double bedroom and twin bunk bedroom were found on the left, an airing cupboard on the right and the bathroom was found straight ahead.

Double bedroom: The door to the double bedroom is found right at the top of the stairs. If you came out of the room in the night, one wrong step and you would have fallen down the stairs! Inside was a double divan bed with 2 mattresses, a duvet and some pillows. There was a cupboard unit along the sides and top of the bed. Lamps had been fixed to the sides of the cupboards. There wasn’t a lot of space and had to move away from the door and close it before you could move around the bed.

Twin bunk beds room: As you enter the room, the window is straight in front of you. On the right of the door, you find the bunk beds and there is a small chest of drawers with a mirror and chair to use as a vanity unit. On the opposite side of the bunk beds was a small built-in wardrobe.

img_4052The bathroom has a toilet, wash basin and shower unit. There is also a heated towel rail and an electric shaver point. There was mould on most of the walls, the heated towel rail was rusty and had been repaired using masking tape and the shower itself was dirty too. It had the mould in between the tiles and had hair in the plug hole. There were wooden towel hanging hooks on the back of the door, which were going mouldy too. 3 quarters of aΒ  used bottle of mouthwash had been left for us to use in the bathroom.

The wiring didn’t really seem like a professional job had been done; there were a mixture of switches around the property of both modern rocker switches and the old clicker switches. There was a small shaving light that had been fitted in the bathroom…which was wired THROUGH the electrical shaving point. There were many multi-adapters around the property too, which had other multi-adapters plugged into them and all these adapters were full of plugs. It definitely didn’t seem like it was a professional job and was definitely not safe.

It wasn’t until later that other disappointing things were found…

img_4002Obviously, we all know that safety checks on electrical equipment is a must, especially if they are being used by the general public such as holiday-makers. Well, I found little stickers on some of the equipment that said they were tested in 2012 and the next test is due 2013 but nothing was noted after that! All that we can deduce from this is that the electrical equipment hasn’t been tested.

How clean would you expect to find the kitchen surfaces on the day you entered a property that you have hired to have a holiday in? Clean, right? It was obvious that someone had been in to prepare the cottage for our arrival as they had left fresh teabags and a loaf of bread for us. Mr J’s dad always wipes down and surfaces with antibacterial wipes when we arrive on holiday before we use them, but his first wipe that he used on the breakfast bar came up completely brown! It took him at least 5 antibacterial wipes before the surface came up clean. Definitely not what anyone would expect, I’m sure. As well as the loaf of bread and teabags, a whole bottle and half a bottle of milk were left in the fridge.

dsc_0123And, who knew there should be a U-bend from the shower coming through the kitchen ceiling?

How about sauces, flour, oil and dilutable juices found in cupboards? Fair enough, some things are ok left in the cupboard by the owner and previous holiday makers but what we found disgusted us all! Most of the sauces and juices etc were years out of date! And by years, I mean one of the most recent bottles in the cupboard was out of date in 2014! The vinegar that had been left was out of date in 2012. One bottle of Habanero chilli sauce even had mould growing around the outside of the lid. Safe to say, that it made us all feel sick. Flour had been decanted from its bag into old jars, one of which was open. In total, there were 3 jars of flour but we couldn’t have a clue what type as there were only labels stating “flour“. The worst part about the flour was that the open jar was crawling with flour weevils!! The bottles of oil were separating too.

Needless to say, we will NEVER be staying there again.

What would you have done if you were in that situation? Do you think Woodpecker Cottage deserved the 3 stars? I’d love to hear from you; all your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Look out for part 2 of our holiday adventure very soon. The next one is definitely a more positive post than this one, I can assure you!

Best Wishes


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