An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
Jolly Sailor Cottage
Tel: 07951 355739
A spacious and quirky old fisherman’s cottage with original features combined with modern facilities to provide a unique and charming holiday home where guests can relax in the rooftop ‘lookout’ snug and watch the changing tides over the harbour, marshes and out to sea – an unforgettable view that adds to an enjoyable and comfortable stay.
Where to find it
Tucked down a narrow road in the oldest, quaintest east end of Wells, the directions are spot on and lead you to the water’s edge where a private parking space is allocated. The cottage, originally part of a number of properties linked to a shipping yard up until 1948, stands out from its neighbours by its white and sailor blue walls and a delightful life ring that sports its name. Being less than 10 metres from the water’s edge, it has an instant calming effect as you amble through the garden to the huge old wooden door.
What to expect
The key is left for you in a safety box and once the door is opened you a greeted with a massive wide wooden staircase and endless doors to open and investigate. This cottage and its grand scale certainly allows for some fun exploring with its split levels and hidden corridors. Downstairs to your left is a grand rustic dining room with period wooden furniture and to your right is a very large lounge with two three seater sofas and comfortable chairs as well as a big open fireplace that welcomes roaring fires in the winter. Behind this is a large Shaker style kitchen with two sinks, ample worktop space and an industrial size oven, all immaculate and modern. There is a downstairs shower room and extensive visitor information stand with everything you could possibly need to know for an enjoyable stay. The place is kitted out with everything you need and more.
Upstairs has four bedrooms, two double and two single, that comfortably sleeps up to six (the king size master bedroom converts to two singles if required). The doubles are large and spacious with good light and the singles have interesting features including an original large brick and wood fireplace thought to be over 400 years old. The bathroom is brand new, clean and modern with a large corner bath to luxuriate in.
The personal touches
One of the things I like most about this place is how it successfully combines ultra modern with original and antique pieces to provide both comfort and character. The finishing touches are present too that make this a home from home. On arrival I found a welcome card from the owner as well as a momento gift of a scented lavender material pouch which smelt heavenly. I also appreciated the cute cat doorstop and amusing flamingo chalk board display that, for me, brought the place alive. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make a house feel lived in and loved.
This cottage has a hidden surprise waiting for you to discover though, which really does put it in a league of its own and if your exploration skills aren’t the best, you could even miss it, as I very nearly did. At the end of the lobby, past the visitor information table is a narrow latched door; open it and you’ll be confronted with a very tiny, very steep, winding staircase. Brave the climb (which is made easy by a pull up rope to steady you) and you’ll be rewarded with the most delightful little lookout snug with views over the marshes and out to sea. The room has an inviting day bed with pillows and cushions and even a sailor teddy to curl up with. A nautical theme dominates which suits it to a tee as one wall is dedicated to a collection of old historic photos of the cottage and its residents over the years. (The owner decided to keep the cottage and renovate it to its former glory in memory of her grandparents).
From the lookout, which also has a small decked balcony, you can witness the changing tides and weather over the rooftops. When I arrived the tide was at its lowest revealing open banks and moored boats; as it came in, it then became awash with shimmering waters and bobbing vessels, both intriguing and magical in their own way. A short stroll down to the water’s edge gave way to a stunning sunset over the harbour that was both a surprise and delight to discover. Wells in general has an old and calming feel, where time appears to stand still. It’s a great place to come and unwind from the stresses of our fast paced lives. This little snug provides an ideal environment to relax in and simply adds to an already charming holiday property.
The cottage can be booked all year round and a reduced price is offered for fewer guests. Changeover day for a full week is Saturday. Peak season prices are up to £950 for 6 people. Short break prices, including Christmas and New Year, start from £395. For further details contact Jess at [email protected]