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East Ruston Cottages

Dog Friendly Self Catering Holiday Cottages In Rural & Coastal East Norfolk

Telephone: 01692 650083
Mobile: 07766 665684
Email:
sue@eastrustoncottages.co.uk

East Ruston Cottages
  • Wind In The Willows
  • Wind In The Willows
  • Wind In The Willows
  • The Tender
  • The Tender
  • The Tender
  • The Lodge
  • The Lodge
  • The Lodge
  • Milestone Barn
  • Milestone Barn
  • Milestone Barn
  • Rooster Barn
  • Rooster Barn
  • Rooster Barn
  • Holmes House
  • Holmes House
  • Holmes House
  • The Old Piggery
  • The Old Piggery
  • The Old Piggery
  • Red Roofs
  • Red Roofs
  • Red Roofs
  • Walnut Farmhouse
  • Walnut Farmhouse
  • Walnut Farmhouse
  • Thatchers
  • Thatchers
  • Thatchers
  • St Benets
  • St Benets
  • St Benets
  • Milldene
  • Patikipa
  • Orchard Cottage
  • Orchard Cottage
  • Orchard Cottage
  • Church View Cottage
  • Church View Cottage
  • Church View Cottage

About Us!

 

 

ABOUT OUR CHARITY FUNDRAISER

 

Here at ERC you know we like to support charities in various ways and I think this one could be a biggie with your help. 31 years ago I met a wonderful man – a big, smiley, crazy, funny Belgian called Jean (Jean-bebe! to his friends). At the very same time I met another wonderful man and he went on to be my husband but funny, smiley, larger than life Jean was always in our lives. He was a very great friend and we had so many fabulous adventures together. He was best man at our wedding and my husband was best man at his. Eventually, we all grew up a bit and we lived in different countries and he had kids and worked away and we didn’t see so much of him but we had regular phone calls and when we did meet up, it was like we had never been apart. The fun began again!

 

And then a phone call came, one day, out of the blue to say he had died. Our larger than life friend wasn’t with us any more. In a daze we went with friends to his funeral in Belgium and, odd though it seems, we hadn’t actually been able to find out how he had died. We assumed an accident, a catastrophic health problem but nothing, absolutely nothing, could prepare us for the truth. We found out, through an English speaking friend of his, at his graveside, that he had hung himself. It was inconceivable. Our big, funny, laughing, life loving, generous friend? Impossible to imagine the dark place he had been in to do that. We all wished so hard that he had rung us, turned to us for help but he obviously didn’t feel he could. We feel his loss to this day. At my ERC HQ desk I have a picture of him in front of me. He’s never far. My father too committed suicide when I was 12 – a long time ago – so suicide has been a key theme in my life from early on.

 

I told this story to a friend recently and it all came flooding back...but so too did the idea for a charity fundraising plan through ERC. So, we are going to be raising money for MIND and The Samaritans here in the UK. But as what we do is all about dogs we want to use that fundraising push for a couple of rescue/dog charities and we asked our guests, past, present and future, our Twitter followers and our Facebook community to nominte their favourite dog charities and ended up with Hounds First and East Midlands Dog Rescue. 

So on 1st August we will be starting our event – with donations from owners, guests and me going to every booking made between 1 August and 10 September, which is worldwide Suicide Awareness Day. Thanks for reading and I hope you can support us. Sue x



ABOUT THE PROPERTIES AND WHY DOGS ARE VERY WELCOME.

(And why so many aren't even IN East Ruston!
)

 

East Ruston Cottages really was rather a happy accident!  There was no business plan, no burning desire to start a dog friendly holiday business,
no desire to start a business at all really!  To be honest I was more interested in GOING on holiday with my dogs but I was rather fed up with working
in a 9 - 5 job and in 2006 we were lucky enough to be able to buy the farm buildings next to our little cottage, one of which
was an old pig unit. 


The planning department decreed that the only thing we were allowed to do with it was to turn it into holiday accommodation. 
As we regularly holidayed with friends and between us had 5 dogs we knew how tricky it was to find somewhere that would allow
us to bring all 5 without making us feel like second class citizens, pay a lot of
 money just to clean a little bit of extra dog hair
or make us stay in decidedly 'doggy' accommodation. 

 

So we set out to make something that WE were always looking for when we wanted to go on holiday - a really nice, comfortable, easy place, genuinely welcoming to dogs. A home from home with no charges for dogs and no limits on numbers, a properly secure outside space but nice inside and so the Old Piggery was converted and started taking bookings in April 2008.

 

 

We got bookings through agencies at first but as they seemed to want not just an arm and a leg in commission but a few bits of soul as well
I decided to set up a website and do it myself so www.eastrustoncottages.co.uk came into being with a simple website made for me by a friend (Leonie, the owner of Orchard Cottage) and run from an old PC in the corner of my living room! 
(the website has undergone a couple of reincarnations and I work on a laptop now but it's all still done in a corner of my living room!!).

 

And it went quite well and the word spread and we got some great bookings and some more bookings! We hoped for 50% occupancy within 3 years but our first year was nearly 100% full and it's carried on like that to this day - the Piggery remains one of the most popular properties on the website.  We've grown organically, with people asking us to add them - nearly all friends or people we know which definitely helps keep things friendly.

 

So that's the story so far.  I am having a LOT of fun running East Ruston Cottages despite many of them not being in East Ruston!  But it's where it all started with my husband Dermot and we think it's the very best area in Norfolk.  

 

I love what I do and am passionate about offering properly dog friendly accommodation (rather than dog tolerant) that pleases owners as well as their dogs. 
I still get excited about new bookings and work very hard at the marketing and promotion as I want people to come here and love Norfolk as we do. 
I've learnt loads, worked harder than I have ever done before in my life and have met so many lovely guests, some of whom are now friends and help us by spreading the word about East Ruston Cottages. 

 

Last, but absolutely NOT least, are the people who help make this possible. I absolutely couldn't run ERC without the great admin and accounts support of my very good, efficient and trusted long term friend, Caroline 'Caz' Walker, who works part time, self employed, from her home about half an hour away.  We often use social events to hand over paperwork and can often be found in the kitchen at parties....... discussing spreadsheets!  

 

 

 

Darren at Broadland Computers in Stalham is the lynchpin of the website - designing, modifying and generally keeping it in good health and putting up with my constant requests to change this and that with humour and professionalism.  He allows me pretty much free rein over the site contents so any glaring errors are usually my fault! 

 

Then there's Stephen Mole of Stephen Mole Photography who takes many of the photos of the properties and Penel of Penel Malby Photography who did them in the early days and still takes fabulous images when she is up here to that she lets me use. Then there is Truly Local co-operative shop in Stalham who supply many of the welcome pack items and Jan at Nero's Kitchen - all local and supplying their goodies to the welcome packs too.

Last but very much not least, all the owners who work so hard to keep their properties in good shape and their guests happy and a whole team of hardworking cleaners.  Couldn't do this without them.