Karelia Holidays was instigated by Helena and Richard Gleed. Helena was a Finnish national when she came to England as an au pair. She grew up in Finland where many families have summer homes set in natural surroundings often beside a lake. Because of this influence, the idea of bringing these traditional log houses and a piece of Finland to Ringwood was borne.
“Karelia” was the first to be erected and was named after the region in Finland where Helena’s parents once lived. This area was lost to the Russians in the Winter war of 1938/9. Subsequent cabins were named after places in this area, hence “Viipuri”, later named ”Viborg” by the Russians, and “Laatokka”, a large lake, later renamed “Ladoga”. The smallest cabin was also given a Finnish name “Piilopirtti”, which means “hidden house”. It is camouflaged by a traditional grass roof providing both insulation and a rustic appearance.
The cabins are set in 4 acres of woodland which Richard’s grandparents acquired many years ago (it was heathland then, with a scattering of silver birch, heather and gorse). His grandfather was very interested in rhododendrons and azaleas and planted many hybrid varieties as well as various conifers and specimen trees. The rhododendrons, now large mature bushes, make a splendid, colourful show in April, May and June.
Although Helena had passed on, Richard continued to run “Karelia Holidays” for many more years until it was time for the next generation to help out. Richard's sons Mark and Steven both have a place on the property and are now responsible for ensuring that Karelia Holidays is staying a family-run business.
In 2018 Mark is taking care of the 3 cottages Laattokka, Rose Cottage and Piilopirtti, and Steven is taking care of the Karelia and Viipuri Cottages
Since February 2016 we have employed a full time manager, Gigi, to run the day to day business, maintaining the original friendly holiday atmosphere on which it was founded. In creating Karelia Holidays, we have endeavoured to duplicate the relaxed style that many Finns enjoy in their summer cabins all over Finland. We hope that we have succeeded.
What our customer's say about us
"Fantastic value for money! Peace, quiet and privacy that you won't get in bigger holiday parks. Perfect for getting away from day to day stress. We love it here and will continue coming. " Nina and Tim, May 2015
"What a wonderful, restful place. It was safe for our children to explore and have some freedom, there was so much for the whole family to enjoy and we wish we didn't have to leave so soon! We will be back!" April 2015
"From the moment that I emailed we received first-class service. Warm, friendly and helpful. This continured upon our arrival. A warm, welcome, a well-equipped, cosy log cabin (Laatokka). Thanks for a lovely stay." Mark and Victoria, January 2015
"Cottage was immaculate, grounds were beautiful, there is a small pool and sauna, pool and table tennis. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this place.
The New Forest amongst other things to take in are a hop skip and jump away.
Definately would stay again.
Huge Thanks to,
GiGi, Mark and Steve....super great hosts!!!" June 2016
"Thank you both for your hospitability and kindness. We could not have been made more comfortable. Look forward to being able to return to Piilopirtti sometime soon." Barry & Marion, 20th October 2014
"Thank you for another wonderful stay. We really appreciated your welcome. We love the warm & homely feel of Rose Cottage" Jenny, 12th October 2014