We wanted a weeks break early in the year and chose Horseshoe cottage. The few reviews we found were positive and it was in a nice rural location. After a long drive we arrived to find there was no kettle, we boiled water in a pan. We obtained a kettle from the owners the next morning. There were a number of cobwebs, two really large swaying ones in the living room and other smaller ones we spotted periodically around the place. Not the corner type but the dusty, blowing type that appear over time. Some of the supplied cooking pans were dirty. One still had cooking oil in it and what might have been bits of old egg. Another, large wok type pan was quite disgusting. (See picture) I think it was a mixture of rust and mold.
The living area is "open plan" with the kitchen. (See picture) There is no segregation and it feels a lot more like a kitchen than a living room. In the pictures at the (Sykes) booking agency where we found the cottage, a comfy looking sofa is clearly seen through the double doors in the living area. In fact this is not there. A two seater conservatory style cane sofa (See picture) is supplied along with the matching cane armchair. We had planned some of the proverbial "cozy nights in" watching a movie (It was February - Valentines week remember) but there was no cozy to be had on this furniture. The owners may have had their reasons for changing the furniture of course and that's fine. It would just have been nice if they also ensured the advertising pictures are changed so that unwitting guests are aware what they will actually be sitting on.
There was dust in the less than obvious places, meaning the visible surfaces had indeed been dusted but little else.
The bathroom, apart from the obligatory cobwebs, was spacious and the water nice and hot but the tiles were worn and some were dirty. (See pictures) They really need regrouting but at the very least a serious clean / scrub up. There is mold around the bathroom window (See picture) and in other areas including the mirror (See picture)
The bedroom is a nice room but was seriously cold on our first night there. The radiator was on and hot but failed to make much difference. It was cold nose time in bed that night. Also the bed is set on a gentle slant so that when you get out of bed at the side, gravity encourages you towards the end of the bed. This can be a bit confusing if you need to visit the bathroom at 3am (ish). The more mature guests will need to be wary of this issue.
There is a small conservatory / porch area with a couple of conservatory chairs. Bubblewrap has been used in here to insulate between the top of the wall and the roof. (See pictures)
There is an information file supplied containing lots of out of date menus from pubs / restaurants in the area. Most of it is dated 2011.
The owners, who live next door, seem like nice people and were helpful on the 3 occasions we contacted them. This was to obtain a kettle, and then when we asked for a maiden to dry some washing, and then again when the wifi connection went down. They are unhappy we did not contact them at the time but we did not go there to produce a fault list for the owners and anyway, were they going to deep clean the whole place and regrout the bathroom while we waited?
We went for a weeks break and that's what we had. We did not want disappointments over the cottage to spoil the week. They are also unhappy we left on the Friday afternoon leaving the key inside with the door unlocked etc. This is true, we were scheduled to leave early Saturday and we actually left late Friday afternoon due to concerns about the incoming storms. We should have let the owners know, but it was a sudden decision to drive home, and actually we did leave the cottage exactly how we found it. (unlocked and empty)
There is a vacumn cleaner supplied and my wife went around the carpets with it before we left. It did pick up some dirt but be warned, using it will traumatize your ear drums.
Finally we have received telephone calls and apologies from the agency and we did agree to withhold feedback if the owners would make a 50% refund, giving them an opportunity to put a few things right at the cottage for future guests and compensating us for a less than satisfactory stay. The owners chose to refuse the offer.
We believe the owners to be well meaning, genuine people and we're also sure that a number of guests have enjoyed their stays at Horseshoe cottage over several years. Time has passed however, and perhaps people are guilty of taking their eye of the ball and letting things slide somewhat. They will probably be angry with us but in truth the wake up call would have arrived sooner or later anyway. Hopefully now things will improve and future guests will enjoy their stay a little more than we did.