Renting a cottage in the Highlands can be a really great way to take a holiday in Scotland. It is often a lot cheaper than staying in hotels and bed and breakfasts and gives you a lot more freedom to enjoy your Scottish Highland holiday. Hiring a highland cottage is also excellent if you have kids, a large group or sometimes even pets with you. In the summer a highland cottage keeps the midges off you (unlike a tent) and in winter gives you a cosy base from which to enjoy your holiday.
Choosing a Highland cottage
There are all sorts of Highland cottages available for hire, from cosy little romantic spots that will only sleep two people to large baronial houses that can accommodate entire wedding parties or other large groups. Think about the numbers of people you are planning to go on holiday with whether you are taking pets, how many cars you will need parking for and probably most importantly, which area of the Highlands you want to hire a cottage in.
Some Highland cottages can be a long way from services such as pubs and shops. Others will be really close. It is important to check this before you book, if this is important to you.
I would recommend researching the area you want to stay in first, before booking a cottage, but some people do it the other way round and like the element of surprise.
Paying for the cottage
If you book early enough then you often only pay a deposit, then settle the balance a month or so before your holiday. Other cottages will require the full rental amount on booking. If you are booking through a website like Cottages4u you can pay for your Highland Cottage with a credit or debit card. If however you are booking directly with the owner you often have to send a cheque for payment. Some cottages will also require a housekeeping deposit which is returnable as long as the place is kept in good order and there are no breakages.
Extra costs when hiring a cottage in the Highlands
Check carefully what extra costs will be incurred with your cottage. Some cottages have coin-operated power meters whilst others provide power, light and heat in with the rental cost. You may also have to pay for fuel for the fire if you are lucky enough to have one in your cottage.
Staying in your Cottage
Usually you will see very little sign of the owner around the cottage. You will have been given arrangements for your key and can treat the cottage as your own home for your rental period. Cottages are cleaned between between groups but it is expected that you keep it clean and tidy, dishes washed etc during your stay. You should leave it as you find it. There will be lots of specific rules and guidelines for each cottage and these are normally found in the welcome book or on stickers and notes around the cottage.
At the end of your stay
When you leave the cottage you will have been given instructions for returning the key. Make sure you follow these.
The author has found that with a family, hiring a cottage in the Highlands has almost always given the best type of holidays and it is highly recommended.