Summer is the most expensive time to visit the UK. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my family could afford to travel throughout England for more than a month during peak season! But, we did because of house sitting. We arrived the Last week in May to start house sitting in England, the beginning of the peak travel season. We then traveled for six weeks throughout England with free accommodation for the majority of our trip!
House sitting in England, we didn’t stay in any of the country’s top tourist destinations, but that didn’t matter. In fact, house sitting in the three areas we did helped us see many of the country’s most beautiful areas. England is delightfully small with a very well connected railway network. This made it easy for us see and experience so many great things affordably during our six-week stay.
House sitting in England, one week in West Sussex
Our first assignment was in Horsham, a quaint market town about 40 minutes’ drive South of London. We were house sitting in an excellent part of town, walking distance to parks, pubs, and everything we could want or need. We didn’t rent a car because we could explore the town thoroughly and comfortably on foot.
Some of the highlights included easy access to a sprawling park, the cozy pub just down the street, and the town’s weekly outdoor market. The homeowner’s garden was the perfect place to kick back and relax after long walks exploring the town with their sweet dog, Alfie!
Another bonus was having the chance to meet Lamia, HouseSit Matches lovely Director for a visit to our neighborhood pub!
House Sitting 4 Weeks in the Cotswolds
Our second assignment while house sitting in England was in a historic town in the Cotswolds called Cheltenham. Ah, the Cotswolds…It’s no wonder why the area was the model for many incredible fictional places. Famous authors J. R.R. Tolkien and Lewis Carrol both drew inspiration for Alice in Wonderland and Middle Earth from places in and around Cheltenham! For this house sit, we were located in one of the most desirable areas in the city. One block off the Bath Road, a popular walking street loaded with cute shops, pubs, and cafes.
We had the use of the homeowner’s car while she was away. This gave us a chance to explore a little further afield. Some of the highlights included quick day trips to some of the villages close to Cheltenham. We had two favorites.
The first was Bourton on the Water.
Aptly called the little “Venice of the Cotswolds”, the exquisite village is best known for the gentle river that meanders through the middle of it. A number of low bridges straddle the narrow waterway giving residents and visitors access to the many shops and cafes along its lovely tree-lined banks. There are lots of fun things for families to do in Bourton on the Water. A highlight for us was navigating the Dragonfly Maze. A traditional hedge maze but better, there’s a puzzle to solve as well!
Our second favorite was visiting Broadway Tower. Located at the highest point in the Cotswolds the views were simply spectacular!
One Week in Oxfordshire House Sitting
Our last assignment was a week just outside the Village of Blewbury in Oxfordshire. The area was absolutely stunning! The location of the house sit also gave us quick access to Oxford, which was great!
We thoroughly enjoyed both the city and the country during this house sit! Blewbury was a peaceful, serene village with lovely views and lots of wide open spaces. Perfect for nature walks and family picnics. And Oxford, one of the world’s best-known university cities, had all the excitement needed for a well-balanced trip. The Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum were two of our Son, Makai’s favorites in Oxford. Tracking down all of the Harry Potter locations around the city were also highlights for him as well. And we could afford to visit these great places because we were saving money by house sitting in England.
There were many benefits to staying outside the busy tourist zones house sitting in England. We enjoyed the best of both worlds, with the use of a car and the brilliant train network to make day trips to Oxford and other attractions.
All told, we only paid for 5 nights of accommodation during our six-week trip. The rest of the nights, all 41 of them, were all free with house sitting! That saved us at least $4500 in accommodation costs. Having fully outfitted kitchens to cook some meals and visiting pubs and restaurants that cater to locals instead of tourists saved us even more. We could see and do everything we could ever want but save big avoiding the most expensive part, accommodation costs.
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