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5 min read, inspiration, opinion

Sawday’s staff choose their dream holidays

5th March 2015
Sawday's staff choose their dream holidays

Working in travel is a mixed blessing. We speak to generous hosts running wonderfully special places to stay, and inspections are rarely without a homemade slice of cake (or two), but days spent poring over dreamy destinations can really take their toll. Imagine having, daily, to ponder rustic ‘fincas’ with views over bucolic valleys, B&Bs with heavy beams and hearty food tucked between higgledy streets, serene formal gardens surrounding historic chateaux and chalets with open fires and steaming hot tubs. Wanderlust is an ailment that we, at Sawday’s HQ, must all endure.

Here are some of our saved favourites to dream of on a rainy day…



Treshnish Farm is somewhere I long to visit one day! The Scottish isles are my home from home and the views from the cottages are breathtaking.”

Sam, Marketing Executive



“I’ve saved La Parare to my list of favourites. What better place to base yourself for an attempt at the legendary Col de la Madone (a climb well and truly embedded in cycling folklore) before retreating behind the age old stone walls of this B&B perched in the hills above Nice. Great food, cracking views and good company – and the beaches of the Cote d’Azur a short drive away.

When can I go?”

Patrick, Membership Manager, French B&B and Hotels



“I’ve saved the Old Parsonage Hotel in Oxford. I stayed there for my birthday last year and would love to go back, so, I am keeping it in my favourites for those paydays when I feel like treating myself…”

Elina, Assistant Management Accountant



“I would adore a few days of escape at the gorgeous Gatehouse at Moynes Court. Ancient three-foot thick walls, stone mullioned windows, contemporary interiors, soaring views and acres of space outside.”

Nicola, Guardian of Special



Studio Farrows is my dream visit for 2015. I love the quirky interiors – where else would you find a Ford Anglia in the front room?”

Georgia, PR Executive



“I’ve saved Trullo Fico as the ideal place for a get-away with friends. This ancient, stone Trullo in Puglia has a beautiful modern interior, and I can just imagine soaking up the sun by the pool or picking fruit in the meadow!”

Flo, Membership Manager, Italy



“I’ve saved Anime a Sud – Residenza Hortus in my wishlist. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never been to Italy, so I’m looking forwardto exploring Sicily and all it has to offer from this beautiful bolthole.”

Lauren, Marketing Manager


If you’re like us and would like to while the day away dreaming of your next getaway, save your favourites here:

2 min read, friends of sawday's, opinion

The Daily Telegraph’s Jo Symons shares her top 3 places to stay

3rd March 2015
The Daily Telegraph’s Jo Symons shares her top 3 places to stay

As a seasoned globetrotter with a passport brimming with stamps, how could you be expected to narrow down your list of favourite places to stay? That’s exactly what we asked of Jo Symons, Commissioning Travel Editor at The Daily Telegraph, who tipped us off with three of her stand-out spots.




Fuente de la Higuera, Andalucia (where I’m relaxing in the photo!)

Whether you choose a grand hotel or a small B&B, it’s the atmosphere that makes a stay really memorable.This small hotel, set on a hill outside Ronda, gets it just right. Laid back but with great attention to detail, it has stylish rooms, a lovely small pool, friendly staff and sweeping views across olive groves and plains to the mountains beyond. The food is spectacularly good.



Bruce Castle, Normandy is one of my favourite B&Bs in the world. A convincing replica of an 18th-century chateau, it’s run by the delightful Fontanets who create a happy and welcoming atmosphere. The large sunny sitting room and three en-suite bedrooms are decorated (without a hint of preciousness) with good antiques and paintings and there’s a peaceful and beautifully tended garden. Breakfast – the table laid with antique linen and silver – includes freshly poached fruit and home-made jams. It’s well placed for the Cherbourg ferry, and for exploringthe lovely Cotentin Peninsula and D-Day beaches.



Northcourt, in the peaceful Isle of Wight village of Shorwell, is one of the loveliest of the local manor houses, but the real highlights here are the spectacular grounds that reminded me of a mini Lost Gardens of Heligan. Rooms are large, comfortable and traditionally furnished – and the friendly hosts provide an excellent breakfast. It’s all great value. Superb walking, beaches and the rolling countryside of West Wight are nearby.

2 min read, france, opinion

France in the fifties – Alastair Sawday on his everlasting love affair

19th February 2015
France in the fifties - Alastair Sawday on his everlasting love affair

In the Fashoda Incident in 1898, the French and British had a stand-off on the White Nile in the Sudan. The British, surviving on grim army rations, were invited to a dinner of fresh vegetables by the French. They had carried the seeds for 14 months across Africa.

That is why I love the French – for what they consider important: like fresh veg and baguettes, good coffee and good manners, books, cartoons and lampoons, sharp femininity, their own way of doing things. They stick like limpets to their Frenchness. They are French and proud of it.


My early French memories, from the ‘50s, are of empty roads, wine cooling in streams while we picnicked on bread and cheese and tomatoes. A café and bar in every village, farmers, cows, Citroën 2CVs bouncing along with hay-bales, old men in berets, and ineffable charm at every encounter. Ridiculous, of course, to hark back to those days, but they have left their mark on me and early marks survive.



I was introduced early to the châteaux and castles, to the beautiful buildings and villages scattered throughout the country. I thought that Azay Le Rideau was an architectural paradise, a château-jewel in its own lake. I spoke French early, at the urging of a mother who had learned it as a girl, so my connections were alive and nourishing. I felt French, wanted more of it all. Years later I would read JeanGiono and Moliere, take travellers around the country in coaches and then myown mini-bus. I fell in love with French women, idling in Montmartre and underthe bridges of Paris. I took a girlfriend to Les Folies Bergeres – oh how grown-up that was. Paris made me, makes me, think about beauty, about aesthetics, about love.



I have been to Martinique, too, and heard French patois in other islands. I have enjoyed croissants in Pondicherry, and French-style coffee in Kerala, relieved to retreat into nostalgia. France has captured me, and I can see why. I have been touched by Frenchness in so many ways, starting affectionately at a young age. I even taught the language for 5 years, but confess to my love stumbling at the third year of the imperfect subjunctive. However I can still produce it, to startle older French people and mystify young ones. Luckily, we have many ‘older’ owners of our Special Places, and my enjoyment of them is deep. They, too, enjoy their subjunctives.