HomeAway travel expert
Technically, you can bird watch almost anywhere – from a high-rise building, a park bench, the backseat of a car. For seasoned bird watchers, though, there’s nothing like getting out on the nature reserves, trekking across moors and over heather-clad hills, to spot elusive species you won’t find from any of the aforementioned vantages. The best bird-watching locations are flung far and wide across the UK, so if you’re desperate to mark black-tailed godwits, ringed plovers and kittiwake off your list, you’d better set aside a few days.
Nature watching can be a group activity - think of the hordes of tourists who board safari convoys in the African savannah - but bird-watching is a mostly solitary pursuit. At HomeAway, we have a plethora of holiday cottages spread throughout the countryside, from the Norfolk broads to the Scottish Highlands. Whether travelling with others or by yourself, you needn’t worry about securing accommodation in some of the country’s finest bird-watching locations.
Top five UK bird-watching destinations
Cottages for bird-watching in Devon
The Jurassic Coast cliffs shelter all manner of birds, so make sure you de-mist your binoculars! After you’ve witnessed a colony of kittiwake, head along to the RSPB reserve in the Exe estuary, where you can even enjoy a boat cruise beside avocet flocks and egrets. The estuary is in fact home to around 25,000 wintering birds, so if you’re not averse to a touch of chill, November, December and January are great times to visit. There’s over 700 cottages in Devon to choose from at HomeAway.
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Cottages for bird-watching in Scotland
Scotland is a haven for bird-watchers. From the red-necked grebe and surf scoters that call Largo Bay in Fife home, to the roosting waders and peregrine falcons of the Dee Estuary Point in Air, you’re sure to spot some beautiful birds on your journey. If wetland birds interest you, the Insh Marshes in Speyside is one of Europe’s best sites, while the Caerlaverock Wildfowl and Wetland Trust reserve, near Dumfries, is a noted pit-stop for migrating geese.
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Cottages for bird-watching in Northumberland
It’s little wonder the Daily Telegraph dubbed Northumberland “a birder’s paradise”: this is an area of outstanding natural beauty, and its moorland and mudflats, in addition to its rocky cliffs, mean there’s a diverse array of wildlife to appreciate. Head along to the small port OF Seahouses and catch a boat to Farne Islands; here you’ll find nesting puffins, guillemots curious terns - as well as grey seals. In the Northumberland National Park meanwhile, black grouse, curlew and crossbills await.
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Cottages for bird-watching in Wales
There’s over 1,000 cottages to rent in Wales, many of them ideally placed for bird-watching. In the Mid-Wales valley you’ll behold red kites, sparrowhawks, kestrels and merlins. A huge range of species also call North Wales home, with the scenery - water meadows, lagoons and woodland - highly conducive to sightings. The sand dune systems of the west coast, meanwhile, mean there’s a chance to sight peregrines, chough and flocks of seabirds. Head for Mwnt, where, as a bonus, you can look out for bottlenose dolphins and porpoise in the coastal waters.
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Cottages for bird-watching in Gloucestershire
From short-eared owl to great grey shrike, Gloucestershire is a fertile breeding ground for birds from a variety of species. One of the best locales for birders is the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge - all 325 hectares of it - which is famous for its number of rare birds. The Forest of Dean is another first-class habitat, replete with buzzards, ravens, hawfinch and goshawks, while Frampton Pools, with its lakes and pine copses, makes for an excellent day out.
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UK Cottages for Bird-watching
This charming country cottage is situated in the grounds of the owner's home in Wrabness on the Essex/Suffolk border. The cottage is warm and cosy with a wood burning stove in the lounge area. The Annexe was refurbished in April 2011 and has a new...
This flat has been beautifully renovated and furnished to a high standard.
Ground floor: open plan living room, dining area and fully fitted kitchen with dishwasher, bedroom 1 with twin beds and en suite shower and WC, bedroom 2 with bunk beds a...
Pollywinky Cottage has been tastefully decorated and updated, ideal for family beach holiday or cosy short break. With a pretty enclosed front lawn and back yard, it is suitable for families of all ages. Situated on a quiet no-through lane with lo...
Wellfield Lodge is a lovely, light, modern apartment for two people. It is set within the private grounds of Wellfield House, in a quiet residential area of Seaton. The accomodation is bright, airy and tastefully furnished. There is one double bed...
St Malo is a spacious 2 bedroom, centrally heated flat that sleeps 4/5 people. The main bedroom enjoys a pine king size double bed whilst the second bedroom has a bunk bed and single bed also in pine. The kitchen is fully equipped and includes a d...