Celebrate Yorkshire Day 2014

August 1st, 2014
Pin It

If one county deserves its very own day, it’s Yorkshire. On 1st August each year, the UK’s biggest county comes together to celebrate all that’s brilliant about the region. In honour of Yorkshire Day 2014, we set about finding some dazzling facts and truths about God’s Own County, to demonstrate exactly why Yorkshire merits its own diary date. So let’s get to it.

Top 10 amazing facts about Yorkshire

Ilkley Moor- Via Flickr

Ilkley Moor- Via Flickr

Yorkshire’s unofficial anthem is On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at, which to non-Yorkshire folks translates as On Ilkley Moor without a hat. There are worse places to be hatless I suppose…

Yorkshire contains two national parks, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. Between them, the parks cover a land area of 3,203 square kilometres and comprise 1,049 scheduled ancient monuments and 79 conservation areas.

The UK experienced its largest recorded earthquake at Dogger Bank in 1931. The quake measured 6.1 on the Richter scale and caused widespread damage to Yorkshire coastal towns like Filey and Bridlington.

Yorkshire Coast- Via Flickr

Yorkshire Coast- Via Flickr

If Yorkshire was an independent country, it would have finished an impressive 12th in the league table at the 2012 Olympics. The county’s sportsmen and women racked up 7 Gold, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze medals over the course of the games.

Did you know, Guy Fawkes, instigator of the 1605 gunpowder plot, was born in the city of York in 1570?

The popular coastal town of Scarborough in North Yorkshire became Britain’s first seaside resort in 1626, after a damsel discovered a spring in the town which supposedly had health-giving properties. Mystical water or not, the tourists have returned ever since.

The Shambles- Via Flickr

The Shambles- Via Flickr

Roman Emperor, Septimus Severus, ruled his entire empire from York for two years before his death in 211AD. His body is said to be buried beneath the old city- who needs Rome eh?

England’s tallest bloke, William Bradley, was born in the East Yorkshire town of Market Weighton in 1787. By 20, he was well over seven feet tall and was known throughout the country as the Yorkshire Giant.

Brompton, North Yorkshire, has a spot reserved in the history books thanks to Sir George Cayley, an aviation pioneer and all round aerodynamics guru. In 1853, this Yorkshire-born genius invented the world’s first glider. Other inventions conceived in Yorkshire include stainless steel, road cat’s eyes and the steam locomotive.

William Wilberforce, a key figure in the abolition of slavery in the UK, was born in the city of Hull in 1759. Today, his legacy can be seen across the globe, with universities and schools from the USA to Africa named after the Yorkshiremen.

Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

How to take better holiday photographs

July 31st, 2014
Pin It

Holidays mean different things to different people. For some, they’re about discovering new cultures, unearthing ancient history and indulging in fine local cuisine; whilst for others, they’re a chance to lounge on the beach, read a few chapters from a book, and do very little. But whatever you get up to on holiday, one thing’s for sure: you’re bound to take at least a few holiday photographs.

Whether you’re a snap-happy amateur or a kitted-out professional, capturing your holiday is important. To help you rookies take holiday pictures you’ll be proud of, we’ve created a handy guide on how to take better holiday photographs- check it out below.

Copy and paste the code below onto your website to share with your readers

How to take better holiday photographs

So you’ve shepherded your loved ones into a neat cluster on the banks of Windermere and are poised to capture the moment on your camera or smartphone; but how can you ensure that you’ll be proud of the end result? Here at Sykes Cottages, we know how important it is to capture your holiday, so here’s our guide to taking the perfect holiday photograph.

Lighting

Before raising your camera, try to work out where the light is coming from. Usually you’ll want the light to hit the front of your subject, not the back.

Follow the Rule of Thirds

For more visually pleasing photographs, use the rule of thirds; divide the frame into three horizontally and vertically (your camera should have a setting to do this for you), then position your subject at or near the intersection of any two lines.

Move Around

Think a picture of your pooch will look good from your angle? Of course it will, but you can improve your snaps by moving around to ensure that you’re always at the best angle for capturing your subject.

Capture the Moment

The best moments aren’t choreographed, so have your camera on hand at all times when you’re out and about to ensure that you capture the moments that matter.

If you love taking pictures, have a play with your camera’s settings. Adjusting ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed can transform samey snaps into genuinely great photos that you’ll be proud to show to your friends and family. Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

ISO

If your subject is still and there’s plenty of light, lower your ISO.

If your subject is moving, it’s dark or you don’t have a tripod, use a higher ISO.

Aperture

The larger the opening of the lens, the more light gets in, the blurrier the background.

The smaller the opening of the lens, the less light gets in, the sharper the background.

Shutter Speed

Slow shutter speed: Use a slow shutter speed to give a sense of movement, like capturing the flow of water

Fast shutter speed: Use a fast shutter speed to freeze movement, to make a moving object appear still.

Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Outdoor Activities for Children This Summer

July 30th, 2014
Pin It

The summer holidays have just started and with over four weeks of summer activities to organise, keeping the kids entertained is no easy task! Here at Sykes Cottages, we want to help you out so have come up with a delightful selection of outdoor activities that your children are sure to love. The following activities are suitable for individuals or groups and have been selected to suit all budgets.

Lawn art

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Encourage your child’s inner artist this summer with a spot of lawn art; all you need is an old bed sheet, a few items to weigh the corners down and a selection of paints to create a giant floor canvas. Ideal for making colourful footprints children of all ages are sure to enjoy this activity.

Hopscotch

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Hopscotch is a classic British game which never fails to entertain children. Simple to set up, all you will require is a hard surface and a piece of chalk. You can have hours of fun creating funky hopscotch designs before getting a good dose of exercise as you jump from square to square.

Build a den

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Building a den this summer is not only a fantastic activity for the children but also a welcome hideaway to shelter sensitive skin from the sun. From blanket forts in the back garden to twiggy dens in the local woodlands, you can build a den almost anywhere from almost anything!

Treasure hunt

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Become part of Jake’s crew as you lead the children around the garden in search of gold doubloons on a “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” themed treasure hunt! Create a simple treasure map and hide small sweets or toys around the garden to create an exciting activity for children this summer.

Teddy Bears picnic

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

The iconic Teddy Bears picnic is a fantastic way to liven up the average lunch time this summer. Along with the usual afternoon treats, why not introduce a few new tastes? Children who normally dislike trying new things will feel more inclined to join in if Teddy is eating them too.

Garden camping

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Make the most of our crystal clear skies this summer with a garden camp out. Safe in the back yard, your children can enjoy sleeping under the stars, roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories as you keep a watchful eye from the comfort of the sofa!

If you decide to try out any of these activities then we would love to hear about it; you can connect with us via Facebook and Twitter, so please do not hesitate to share your summer fun with us!

nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.

Sykes Cottages’ Changeover Checklist

July 29th, 2014
Pin It

Nothing beats a first impression right? Well we’re more than aware of the fact that the same thing goes for a holiday cottage! You want to make a good impression when the guests arrive at the property and have their very first look around, and there is nothing more important for doing this than making sure that you get everything sorted out during the changeover. Having said this, at the peak periods things can get a bit hectic and this can occasionally lead to the odd little job slipping the mind. And this is why we’ve put together a checklist of the jobs that when done will make any holiday cottage feel like a true home from home!

Kitchen

Kitchen of Stable Cottage

Stable Cottage, East Anglia, ref. 3505

  • Check inside the dishwasher in case any dishes have been left in there, if so put them away.
  • Clean the fridge and freezer inside and out, removing any items left behind. The freezer may need defrosting and so it is worth doing this early on in the clean.
  • Give the counters (including under any work-top appliances) and cupboard doors a good wipe down.
  • Clean both the microwave and oven inside and out. Empty any crumbs out of the toaster.
  • Vacuum and mop the floors.

Living Areas

Living room of Grove Cottage

Grove Cottage, North Yorkshire Moors, ref. 12465

  • Clean and vacuum/mop the floors, make sure to do under the furniture as well.
  • Give the surfaces, window sills,  the TV, e.t.c. a dust.
  • Remove any magazines, newspapers that might have been left behind.
  • Make sure that things like fuel for fires e.t.c. are stocked up.

Bedrooms

Bedroom of Willow Garth

Willow Garth, North Yorkshire Moors, ref. 27571

  • Remove all of the bedding from the used beds, check the mattresses.
  • Dust the surfaces and check all of the wardrobes and drawers for any personal items that might have been left behind.
  • Clean all of the mirrors.
  • Give the floors a good vacuum, making sure to get right under the beds and behind any furniture.
  • Make all of the beds up with clean bedding.

Bathrooms

Bathroom of The Paddock

The Paddock, The Lake District, ref. 11219

  • Vacuum and then mop the floors.
  • Clean the showers, bath tubs and sinks, throwing away any soaps, shampoos, etc. left behind by guests.
  • Clean the toilets thoroughly.
  • Clean the mirrors.

We hope that you all find this to be a handy little resource, but you should also remember that there are plenty of little touches around the house that you can do to make your guests feel more at home. From just checking the light bulbs to replacing any dud batteries, they might not seem that important but guests will definitely notice if they’re left undone! But if you do any changeover jobs that seem to go down well and aren’t on our checklist then do let us know, either over Twitter or via Facebook and we’ll pass the tips on!

Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Sykes’ Guide to UK Theme Parks

July 28th, 2014
Pin It

If you’re looking for a fun filled family day out this summer then why not visit one of the UK’s many theme parks? With dizzying highs and terrifying lows, UK theme parks have been entertaining families for generations and with numerous parks dotted about the country, you’re never too far from one of these marvellous attractions. For the best theme park in your region keep reading and discover the Sykes’ guide to UK theme parks

M and D’s in Scotland

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

M and D’s in Scotland offers a fantastic day out for the whole family and has well and truly earned its title as ‘Scotland’s Theme Park’.  The park boasts five white knuckle rides and no less than twenty children’s rides and attractions. M and D’s is a must for thrill seeks but makes sure to include a number of activities for those among us that prefer to keep are feet on the ground; these activities include a miniature golf course, indoor bowling alley and a gigantic soft play centre.

Flamingo Land in North England

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Not content with being simply a theme park, Flamingo Land in North Yorkshire has the added bonus of housing over 140 species of birds, mammals and reptiles in their very own zoo! Children love to see all the animals at the zoo and learn about their natural habitats before whizzing through the air on one of the parks eight extreme rides. With so much to do at this incredible attraction, you may find yourself making several trips there this summer.

Alton Towers in Mid England

Picture provided by Holly Magoolagan.

Picture provided by Holly Magoolagan.

With ten rides designed to thrill, nine rides devised for laughs and frights and six rides especially for children, it’s no wonder that Alton Towers in Staffordshire is regularly voted the best theme park in Britain! A trip to Alton Towers can see you spiralling through 14 loops on ‘The Smiler’ or making a splash as you twist and turn around their marvellous waterpark on ‘The Master Blaster Water Coaster’. However you decide to spend your time at Alton Towers, it is sure to be unforgettable!

Oakwood in Wales

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

For a fabulous family day out  this summer head for the second star to the right and continue straight on to morning; that’s right, we’re off to Neverland! Neverland in Oakwood theme park that is. During 2013, Oakwood built a number of rides and attractions based on the adventures of Peter Pan in Neverland, now children can enjoy a number of themed rides which include Skull Rock, Crocodile Coaster and of course, the Jolly Roger.

Flambards in South England

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

If you’re heading down south this summer make sure visit Flambards in Cornwall. This stunning theme park offers a winning combination of both high energy thrill rides and exciting family rides, making it the ideal location for a family day out. If the south west is unfortunately hit by a spell of bad weather then there is no need to worry as Flambards offers two award winning exhibitions, Britain in the Blitz and their Victorian village, where children can learn all about Britain’s history!

Whether you’re staying at home this summer or touring the UK on a family holiday, make sure to to visit one of these top theme parks. If you’re still unsure on your summer plans then why not visit our summer cottages page? With hundreds of cottages still available throughout the UK it’s never too late to book a holiday the whole family will enjoy!

nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.