Developing the offer to tourists

Jo Leiper
Jo Leiper

A north Northumberland holiday cottage is reopening for business following a major refurbishment, designed to provide the little extras that make all the difference.

As the county rides high on a tide of increasing visitor numbers following the popularity of high-profile national television coverage, including Robson Green’s Tales from Northumberland and Downton Abbey, self-catering cottage owner Jo Leiper has invested in adding facilities to improve the whole quality of the visitor experience – especially for those with young families and pets.

Jo’s cottage Seawinds is moments away from Low Newton beach, which is a popular venue for water-sports enthusiasts and dog walkers, and with this in mind, she has added lots of smaller but essential touches to make life easier for visitors to enjoy the north Northumberland coast experience.

Jo said: “As a mum of three and a dog owner, I know the difference that things that are often overlooked can make when you’re on holiday, and how they can affect the enjoyment you get from your stay.

“That’s what inspired me to make changes at Seawinds, such as adding an outdoor hot water tap for washing down children, dogs, wetsuits and body boards.

“We’ve also put in wooden flooring throughout, which is great for sandy dogs and little feet.

“It’s all part of a big modernisation and refurbishment of the cottage to meet people’s rising expectations when they go on holiday. We’ve put in wifi for guests, as increasingly people work while they are away on their break or just want to keep up to date with their emails or social media.

“Plus, we’ve added a new utility area with lots of storage space for suitcases and sports equipment or even bags of dog food.”

Seawinds has four bedrooms and can sleep up to six people. The cottage enjoys a real open fire and its own private garden and is equipped with all the standard facilities that guests expect such as a washing machine, dishwasher, TV and DVD player.

Cris Brown, of Northumberland Tourism, said: “Visitor expectations have certainly increased in the last few years and we applaud what Jo has achieved at Seawinds not only to meet, but exceed visitor requirements.

“People choose Northumberland for their holidays because there is so much to do and see in truly breathtaking surroundings.

“Visitor expectations are always increasing and Seawinds is a great example of how a traditional holiday cottage, on a spectacular section of our coastline, has been adapted to fulfil those expectations.

“The extra touches such as the outdoors hot water tap, free wifi and pool table will contribute to a truly memorable holiday experience so they return and recommend Northumberland to their family and friends.”

Earlier this year, the Gazette reported that, the official destination website for the county, hit one million unique visitors for 2014.