As anyone who's tried to book a pretty country cottage for the Easter holidays will know, the best ones were all spoken for months - sometimes even a year - ago. Better to guarantee your holiday by buying a holiday home of your own, you may think, and rent it out when you don't need it. However, if you want a holiday cottage company to handle the lets, you'll find most will insist on being able to rent it during the peak times. Owners usually find themselves left with the weeks no one else wants.

You can handle the lets yourself, although that means chasing money, and finding a reliable cleaner. And there are tax allowances for running the property as a business. On the other hand, you could just keep it all to yourself... These three would be perfect.

The Toll House in Nether Stowey, eight miles from Bridgwater in Somerset, is in the centre of the village at the foot of the Quantock Hills, in prime holiday country. The owner already lets the curved, converted toll house as a holiday cottage. Although the house is small, and doesn't have a garden, it's exactly the sort to appeal to holiday-makers with an eye for the unusual. The front has Gothic-style windows and a Gothic door leading directly into an irregular shaped sitting room. An oak panel above the door leading into the kitchen shows ducks swimming. The kitchen is just 9ft 3in by 5ft 6in, but is fitted with units, hob and oven. There's space for a washer/ drier. Upstairs, there's one bedroom, with a half- moon-shaped window, and a bathroom. Fixtures and fittings are to be negotiated separately. Agents Greenslade Taylor Hunt are asking pounds 56,500 (01278 425555).

Mid Town of Bellyhack is a three-bedroom cottage whose odd name is a mystery. It lies two miles up a no through road near Dufftown in Morayshire, and has uninterrupted views across its half-acre gardens to the Highland countryside. The hall has a curved staircase and leads to a sitting-room and lounge with interconnecting doors. The sitting-room has a built-in fish tank, which can be left if a buyer wants it. The 20ft lounge has partial wood panelling on the walls, and bookshelves built along one wall. It has an 18ft 10in farmhouse kitchen with oak-fronted units and a Rayburn, which heats the water. Outside, there is a large parking area and a landscaped garden with a five-tier pond and wooden bridge. There is a private water supply and mains electricity. The agents GA are asking for offers around pounds 75,000.

John Hirst Cottage is a real Hansel and Gretel cottage, tucked in the middle of the woods in a Cheshire country park. It's reached via a half- mile track running alongside a river. The three-bedroom house was originally lived in by Etherow Country Park's warden, and was known as Keg Cottage. It was renamed in John Hirst's memory. The house has a large kitchen/ dining-room, plus a separate dining-room with a brick-built open fire. It leads into a 15ft sitting room with a stone open fire and hearth, and a beamed ceiling. Two of the bedrooms have built-in wardrobes; the main bedroom has a cast-iron fireplace with tiled hearth. Many of the rooms have views over the country park. The gardens include a raised lawn with borders and pathways, enclosed by rhododendron hedging. The agents, Burlings, are asking for offers over pounds 150,000 (0161 427 4096).