THESE days it’s not enough for self-catering companies to simply rent out their properties. In a bid to tempt more staycationers to their cosy pads, they are curating all manner of unusual add-ons, from silent discos to floating yoga. Here are some of our favourites.
Join an extreme adventure in Cornwall
Paddleboarding is a gentle pursuit — until it’s combined with free-diving and cliff jumping. Leaving Falmouth on Saturday mornings, these three-hour adventures from Devon and Cornwall specialist The Beach House Company, in partnership with We Sup Paddle Board, involve paddleboarding, leaping off rocks, and swimming through kelp forests, beside shipwrecks and into underwater caves. Some boardingand swimming prowess is, quite rightly, required.
Stay: In the twee village of Gorran Haven is the eight-person cottage Beachcombers (from £1,130 per week), which boasts a Sonos sound system and a water-facing terrace.
Other add-on options: Private surfing lessons, SUP yoga, a portable pizza oven installation.
From £45 per person, including all kit. thebeachhousecompany.co.uk
Hunt New Forest dragonflies
The New Forest is home to around three-quarters of the UK’s dragonfly species and those who stay with New Forest Cottages can meet some of them. Local expert Doug Overton, who works exclusively with the property collection, will demonstrate how to identify and photograph these elegant and colourful insects. The trip runs between June and September.
Stay: Newly available in the pretty New Forest village of Hordle is the six-person Summer Haven (from £785 per week, newforestcottages.co.uk). It is part of country pile Hordle Grange, which has access to a tennis court and treehouse. It currently has availability for the rest of the month too.
Other add on options: Black-truffle hunt and tickets for Peppa Pig World.
The field trip costs £40 and is booked through newforestdragonflies.com
Dance quietly in the Lake District
Planning a party weekend? Mulberry Cottages can arrange a silent disco so your neighbours aren’t disturbed by your tunes — as classy as we’re sure they’d be. The disco is easily set up inside larger properties, while a gazebo can be arranged for those on the dinkier side.
Stay: Throw shapes with striking scenery as your backdrop at renovated 17th-century Lake District estate Waternook (from £4,295 for three nights). The shoreline property sleeps 12 on the banks of Ullswater — the country’s second largest lake — and is home to a hot tub and cinema.
Other add-on options: Horse-riding, murder mystery games and cocktail-making classes.
The silent disco costs from £95 for 25 headphone sets, including set-up. mulberrycottages.com
Bootleg in Norfolk
Always fancied your hand as a smuggler? You can now give it a shot in Wells-next-the-Sea in north Norfolk. You’ll learn the skills of an 18th-century bootlegger, so that means sailing a gaff-rigged boat, swimming in wild creeks, setting up a rendezvous and delivering a cover story if necessary. Then comes the operation of picking up the contraband and delivering it to a discreet salt-marsh location.
Stay: Once back on dry land, visit the black-painted Corner Barn (from £275 per week for two), around an hour’s drive away in North Burlingham and part of the Norfolk Country Cottages collection, which has a mezzanine bedroom and is close to the Broads.
Other add-on options: Horse-riding, rum-tasting and photography lessons.
The smuggling experience costs from £200 with swimming ability required. norfolkcottages.co.uk
Stargaze in South Wales
Pembrokeshire is one of the UK’s premier dark-sky locations and when you stay with Coastal Cottages they will send a nice astronomical expert to join you at your cosy cottage. During your private stargazing session, you will learn how to navigate between constellations, planets and galaxies while admiring the moon in tremendous detail. You can also give wide-field astrophotography a shot.
Stay: Musselwick House (from £886 per week) is a detached red-brick house in protected farmland that has four bedrooms facing Dale Bay.
Other add-on options: Whale-watching cruises and flying lessons.
Stargazing sessions costs £250 per group for three hours, coastalcottages.co.uk