+44 (0)1478 612123

Self Catering Basics

Booking a self- catering holiday home with Islands and Highlands Cottages is your first step to a relaxing holiday!

So, let’s go back to basics, and take a look at what you can expect.

A self catering cottage gives you a self-contained furnished holiday ‘home- from- home’. You get the cottage for your own use and have the freedom to eat what you want when you want. To cook for yourself or go out every night sampling the local restaurants. Live your day as you wish, and enjoy a holiday itinerary of your choice. Explore somewhere remote and truly ‘get away from it all’.

Strath Glebe Cottage, Isle of Skye - just one of over 80 different self catering cottages on the Islands and Highlands Cottages website

Self-catering offers you great value for money! Our holiday properties are usually available to rent by the week (seven nights) for a maximum of 4 weeks, or for a short break (3-5 nights). Please note not all cottages offer short break bookings.

Back to Basics

Our holiday cottages are all unique. Choose one that suits you best! Read through the cottage details on our website, including all the essential basics, such as:-

  • The maximum number of people the property can accommodate. A holiday cottage will be insured for the maximum number of guests stated in the cottage details. The maximum number of people cannot be exceeded – so please do not try and add three friends with sleeping bags or a tent in the garden!
  • The number and type of bedrooms – do you need separate beds for each guest?
  • Number of bathrooms /ensuite facilities – is a cottage without a bath a deal breaker?
  • Whether or not the property is all on one level – would a downstairs bedroom make things easier for you?
  • Kitchen appliances and equipment provided – is your priority a kitchen with a coffee maker?

If you need to clarify anything, have any questions, or require additional information, please do not hesitate to ask! We want to make sure that you find the right property for you and your requirements.


Look for the wee Wi-Fi symbol in the cottage details to choose a holiday home with wi-fi. However, please note that Skye and Lochalsh is a rural area. Internet/mobile reception cannot always be relied on. Some areas simply do not get a mobile and/or internet connection at all. The weather, the landscape, the infrastructure, and even the sheer number of people accessing it, can make it subject to slow speeds and intermittent connection issues. These issues are usually outwith the control of the cottage owners and the Islands and Highlands Cottages team.

What to expect

Your self-catering cottage will be clean and tidy, ready for your arrival. The beds will be made up with clean bed linen. There will be enough clean towels provided for each guest (unless otherwise stated at the time of your booking). You should also find an initial supply of toilet rolls and some basic kitchen essentials.

Bedroom at Four Winds Cottage, Isle of Skye

If the cottage has a wood burner/open fire/multi fuel stove, there may be an initial supply of fuel and kindling. After this, you are usually expected to supply logs/kindling/ firelighters for your own use (this is at the owners discretion so do check the cottage details).

Kitchen at Taigh Uilleim self catering holiday home, Isle of Skye

A self-catering holiday home does NOT include ‘room service’, maid service, concierge or staffed reception.  You are expected to respect the owner’s property, and to make sure that you leave the cottage in a clean and tidy state. Please remember to wash and put away your own dishes, wipe surfaces and take the rubbish out. Thank you! 

If anything gets broken or damaged during your stay, please let us know (or leave a note for the housekeeper).

What do you need to bring?

Think about the essentials that you cannot possibly do without!

Highest on that list should be your clothes, your passport (if you are travelling from outwith the UK) your glasses and your camera/phone.

Here are a few more suggestions:-

  • your own toiletries/ toothbrush etc
  • teabags, coffee, small amount of sugar/sweeteners
  • your own favourite spices and seasonings
  • your medication
  • toilet rolls
  • pack of antibacterial surface wipes
  • small roll of bin bags
  • washing up liquid / handful of dishwasher tablets
  • spare tea towel (most cottages will have clean tea towels but bringing one extra wont go amiss)
  • sandwich bags
  • simple meal idea for your first evening (this could be something simple like a pre—prepared lasagne or casserole that you can simply pop into the oven or microwave on your arrival)

If you are flying to the UK (and hiring a car to get to Skye) be aware of what you can and cannot bring in your suitcase! Keep things to the bare essentials and plan to go shopping after you have arrived.

TIP Your first evening’s meal can be something very simple like pasta and a small packet of sauce. Pick up some milk and something for breakfast en route too. We suggest leaving the supermarket food shop until your first day here – that way you can check on what things are already in the holiday cottage and freezer capacity too.

Shop Local Eat Local

The best thing about self-catering is the flexibility. For those of you who find cooking relaxing – you can channel your inner Nigella Lawson / Nick Nairns and cook up a storm in your holiday home kitchen. If you have dietary requirements/food allergies, bring with you anything essential that you might need. Don’t fancy slaving over a hot stove?  Ask about the local restaurants and book a table for an evening meal.


Photographs: Strath Glebe Cottage, Isle of Skye, Bedroom at Four Winds, Sleat Isle of Skye, Kitchen at Taigh Uilleim Isle of Skye