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Self catering in London

Wednesday, 11 November 2009 18:55 by lindsey

I recently had to visit London to see a client. As my meeting was on a Friday, I decided to take my partner (and my Dad) and make a long weekend of it.

In the past, when in London, I have always stayed in hotels, the self catering option is not one that readily springs to mind. I don’t know why but I always associate self catering with quaint isolated country cottages. But there is growing pool of quality self catering in the centre of London and this time, I decided to give it a go.

I got a really good deal at Odessa Wharf, a fantastic riverside apartment. It was only £240 for 3 nights which is less than the three of us would have spent on hotel rooms. 

Self catering London

We got lucky, Odessa Wharf is unbelievable, situated on the riverfront with a balcony that actually extends over the Thames, no really! It is centrally located, yet out of town enough to be very quit and private. Odessa is literally 100 metres from the London river bus – a great way to travel! It was so refreshing to be able to escape the hustle and bustle of central London in the evening, hop on the river bus and escape to the luxury of the flat where we could sit out on the balcony, sip on a glass of wine and listen to the Thames lapping on the shingles below.

Self catering accommodation, in general, can offer excellent value for money. It can work out extremely cheap, especially if you are staying in a large group. Self catering accommodation also provides more control over your finances, with the option of preparing packed lunches, picnics and cooking your own meals. Meal times will also be of your own choosing; there is no need to set the alarm and rush down for an early breakfast, or adhere to the often bland full-board menu options.

Self catering properties provide guests with all the facilities of a genuine home-from-home experience.  Odessa wharf had a fully equipped kitchen, dinning area, lounge space and a private waterside roof terrace with unparalleled views of the London skyline ;-) Self catering is private. Guests do not have to mingle in the lobby as in a hotel. There is usually a living room where everyone can relax in a private, comfortable atmosphere. This is especially welcome when funds are tight, the weather is dreadful and you want to spend a quiet night in. There are no other intrusions or forced interactions. No one will knock on the door and ask to clean your room, or ask you to leave your key when you leave.

Self Catering accommodation in London

When I used to think of self catering, I thought of Aviemore or the Lake District, but fully quipped self catering flats, apartments and houses in London are increasing. There is something out there for everyone and every budget, however, I do recommend a place with a private balcony over the river Thames with uninterrupted views of Canary Wharf :-)

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2009 budget is a blow for holiday home owners

Saturday, 25 April 2009 15:33 by Ben

This week’s budget has left holiday home owners worst off than most.

In a week in which most people were left hurting financially, the government dealt holiday home owners an extra blow.

Currently, you can offset running expenses on your holiday property, but more importantly, if the property makes a paper loss, you can offset this against your overall income thus reducing your tax bill. From April 2010 onward, Rental Owners will no longer be able to offset loses from their holiday home against their general tax bill.


Cartoon by Dave Brown of the Independant

Capital gains tax relief has also been removed.  Currently, if you invest in a holiday home after selling assets, you can defer paying any capital gains tax on those assets, it is what’s know as 'business asset roll-over relief'.

Luckily, the changes to capital gains tax will not be retrospective, so anyone who deferred paying capital gains tax buy buying a holiday property will still be able to defer payment until the holiday home is sold.

There is also some consolation for those owning holiday properties outside the UK but within the EU. They will enjoy the tax-breaks enjoyed by those owning properties in the UK, but only but only until the end of the current tax year when, as described above, it will be abolished for everyone.

You can view the view the current tax breaks available to holiday let owners on the DirectGov website here.

Click here to view our other guides on letting your your holiday property.

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Expect a bumper summer in the Lakes and across Britain for 2009!

Friday, 17 April 2009 16:02 by Brian

Living in Lancaster, in the North West of England is great. One of the finest aspects is the proximity to the English Lake District; it’s less than half an hour’s drive from the Southern Lakes. The  Lake District is a great place to escape to, and when the weather is clement, I will often head up there on a weekend, sometimes leaving straight after work on a Friday.

I did my first such trip two weeks ago, one that I did many times last year, camping wild near Easdale Tarn above Grasmere. It was the first time there was enough daylight to make the trip viable after a full days work, the clocks only having gone forward the previous week.

I hiked up from Grasmere with everything I needed on my back - at what in previous years had been a tranquil wild camping spot - ready for some solitude, peace and quiet only to find six other people had the same idea as me! Bearing in mind this is the beginning of April and the first time this trip has been possible. I’ve never seen that many tents wild camping in one spot in the Lakes before. And by the time morning came, there were a total of five tents, eight people and two dogs.

Walking near Grasmere in Englands Lake District

The next day, the streets were absolutely flooded with people in Grasmere, Windermere and Ambleside. By all accounts the following Bank Holiday Easter weekend was even busier. It was plain to me, that on Easter weekend, which is traditional one in which we witness all the major international airports bursting at the seams, people were deciding to spend their time and money in the UK. This got me thinking about shifting trends in tourism during a recession and how it’s a good sign for holiday home owners in the UK.

If we combine the recession with a diminishing pound (against both the euro and the dollar) then it comes as no surprise that British families are spending their leisure time closer to home. I did some research and found some official figures to back up my anecdotal assessment:

  • Cumbria Tourism confirmed there was a busy Easter period last week with Lake District tourism information centres reporting a 45% increase in footfall over the same period in 2008.

  • Recent history shows that a busy Easter period leads to a bumper summer for the hospitality industry especially hotels, B&B’s and self-catering accommodation.

  • In the previous year, the worst hit retailer s have been the top and bottom end of the Lake District tourism industry, including hotels and B&B’s but a good recovery is expected, along with self-catering and holiday-home accommodation providers benefitting from the forthcoming influx of visitors.

  • Financial injections have also been announced to boost the tourist industry, with Cumbria Tourism benefitting from over £5 million made available from the Northwest Regional Development Agency. Creating “high-quality, high-value visitor experiences” is a main concern, as is capitalising on the “increasing trend to holiday at home”. Some of the regions first areas to benefit from this grant are the refurbishments of the Tourist Information Centres and National Park Centres of Ullswater, Bowness, Hawkshead and Keswick.

All this is great news for the local holiday home industry, especially in Lancashire and Cumbria. Expect a bumper summer in the Lakes and across Britain for 2009!

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Book Early to Avoid the Credit Crunch

Friday, 20 February 2009 14:49 by sandy

With lots of property owners worried about their being a lack of bookings this year, many have panicked and discounted heavily - was this drastic action really necessary? Invosoft has been doing some research around the world regarding people’s views on holidays and how they will be affected during the credit crunch. It makes interesting reading…….

A national survey in Australia on consumer sentiment reported that a third of Australians have had their holiday plans affected by the global economic crisis but no more than 12% say they had to cancel their holiday because of the credit crunch. For the Aussies in terms of disposable luxury items leading up to last Christmas their summer holiday escape ranked as next highest on the priority list, after paying for the core essentials such as the rent, mortgage, credit cards or shopping.

While here in the UK the financial slowdown has left many people tightening their belts, the obvious solution to save a few pennies would be to not to go on holiday this year, but evidence has shown the opposite, perhaps it is because of the dreary 2008 summer and the long winter months to get through that the thing to lift the doom and gloom would be to book the annual ski or summer holiday. Alongside this the holiday home owners seem to be reducing their prices for the next season, evidence has shown that to book early will result in achieving the best deals.

According to Sean Tipton from ABTA “The ski market is by far the most resilient in the travel sector,” “Even after September 2001 when there was widespread panic in the travel industry, while everybody else went down, the ski market went up. It was the only market that did.” So, it appears that even in a credit crunch, to get the best prices and the chalet you want in the resort of your choice, it does pays to book early.

The shaky economy might seem a good reason to put off your holidays for this season or to wait for last minute deals, but again evidence has shown that many holiday villa owners have been surprised at the number of bookings already received and to bag the best villas, it's actually made it more important than ever to book early.

In these trouble economic times our research conducted in Europe showed that the Europeans were keeping holidays in mind and that they are more important than ever due to the stressful impact of the credit crunch. However, many thought that they would take advantage of the weak pound and holiday in UK. Good news for the Brits.

Our research paints an optimistic picture; there is still the passion for holidays and spending quality time with family and friends.

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