Top Five Reasons to Love Sykes’ Short Flexible Breaks

May 27th, 2015
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Found a cottage you’d like to stay in this June but the Friday start day doesn’t quite fit? How about you want to go away, but just for two nights? Not a problem – this weekend sees the beginning of our flexible June breaks, where a selection of holiday properties are able to book from any day of the week for a minimum of two nights, applicable for stays between the 30th May and the 18th June.

The 30th of May might be just around the corner, but there is still time to take advantage of these flexible breaks. Not convinced? Read on to discover five reasons why our flexible, short breaks are brilliant.

Skip the crowds

With flexible start days, you can holiday mid-week and avoid the peak time weekend crowds. This is particularly handy if you’re planning on visiting a popular area such as Cornwall or the Lake District, where it can get particularly busy during the weekend.

Less to Pack

Saving you time frantically packing everything and anything ‘just in case’, fewer nights away from home means less packing is needed – ideal for if you’re travelling by public transport or just want a little less weight in the car!

Use Less Holiday Days

Our flexible breaks allow you to use less of that all important annual leave. Whilst you would need to take five days from work for a week away, for a flexible short break you can make the most of the weekend and only use one or two days annual leave. Meaning you can save some holiday days for the next time you feel like getting away!

Explore New Places

Being in a new place for a short amount of time makes you want to fit more in; you can spend an intense day seeing all of the typical tourist spots of a destination, before retiring to your holiday cottage to mull over the day and plan what tomorrow will bring.

More Getaways

With short, flexible breaks, long gone are the days of just one, long holiday per year. By taking shorter breaks throughout the year, you can have multiple holidays, ensuring that you always have something to look forward to!

Book a Flexible Short Break

If you’d like to book one of our flexible short breaks, click here to see the properties available. Flexible breaks are currently available for stays between the dates of May 30th – June 18th for stays of two nights or longer.

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Sykes’ Guide to a Family Barbecue

May 26th, 2015
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Well summer is finally just around the corner! We were lucky enough to have a bit of good weather over the bank holiday and for me, it seemed to signal one thing – the start of the Barbecue season! Now you can’t beat a proper barbie in the back garden; good food, good company and a little bit of sunshine, it’s quite the mix! So we’ve come up with some handy hints and tips for the next time you have all the family round, take a look and see what you think!

Getting Prepped

Now you don’t need me to tell you that the most important part of any barbecue is the food, but with the right preparation it can reach a whole new level. First things first, make sure that any frozen meats that you’re thinking of using are fully defrosted before you put them on the barbie – you’d be surprised at how many people think they can defrost their food and cook it at the same time!

Next we’ve got marinades. These are really important for meats like chicken or fish that have a tendency to dry out when being barbecued, as they’ll keep them nice and juicy whilst giving an extra bit of flavour. You can either buy your marinades pre-made at the supermarket, or there are plenty of recipes available online if you fancy making them yourself.

Fire up the Barbie

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Why not fire up the Barbie in a Sykes holiday cottage?

Then we’ve got the actual cooking. One of the most common mistakes made when barbecuing food is throwing the food on before the barbie is ready for it. Make sure that you light it up well in advance so that there is plenty of time for it to reach the necessary temperature – normally a barbecue isn’t ready until the coals have stopped smoking and are covered in a fine layer of white ash. You can also throw a couple of sprigs of rosemary onto the coals at this point to add an extra layer of flavour!

You should also make sure that the grill is properly oiled before you start to put the food on, after all, you don’t want it sticking to the barbecue! If you want to get that lovely, crispy and caramelised finish, make sure that you hold back from poking and prodding the food too much. You should only flip the food a couple of times as doing it any more will encourage the juices to escape and the meat to dry out.

Time to Tuck in!

Then it’s time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour! If you’re serving up burgers, make sure that you put out a variety of buns, relishes and toppings so that everybody can customise theirs to their heart’s content! If you want to save yourself a bit of effort down the line, you could always give everyone paper plates and cut down on the washing up that needs to be done at the end of the evening!

So there you go, some hints and tips from the Sykes team on hosting the perfect family BBQ! Hopefully we’ll have another cracking summer this year and we’ll be able to get out and enjoy some proper al fresco dining. But if you really want to make the most of the summer have a look here and find yourself a holiday cottage complete with a stunning garden where you can rustle up a feast for the family!

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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’ Famous Properties

May 24th, 2015
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If you fancy something a little bit special from your next cottage break- something you can write home about- then we would suggest booking a stay at one of our famous cottages. It may be hard to imagine a famous cottage but here at Sykes, we have a selection of properties that have either been featured in, or are located close to areas used in popular films, TV shows, novels and magazines! As well as offering comfortable, stylish accommodation, this extra special collection of cottages earn you added bragging rights when sending your friends and family the obligatory holiday postcard. Keep reading to discover some of the highlights in our collection or head on over to our famous cottages page now to start planning your next UK getaway!

Whytings in Uplyme, Devon

The dinning area at Whytings (Ref. 2581) is perfect for entertaining.

The dinning area at Whytings (Ref. 2581) is perfect for entertaining.

Located on the downs overlooking the popular seaside resort of Lyme Regis, Whytings offers spacious accommodation on the borders of Devon and Dorset, making it the ideal spot for visiting both regions. After a day of exploring the coast and country, we’d suggest a visit to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ at the nearby Park Farm. Here you can attend one of their many dining events or take part in a cookery course before trying out your new-found skills in one of Whytings’ two interconnecting kitchens!

Flushing House in Rye, South of England

One of the two bedrooms at Flushing House (Ref. 21914).

One of the two bedrooms at Flushing House (Ref. 21914).

Flushing House is a fabulous Grade II listed building located in the popular town of Rye. The corner cottage was built around 1520 and still possesses many of its original features including exposed beams, a Tudor turning staircase and bread oven. In 2014, the village of Rye was used as the back drop in the BBC’s version of Mapp & Lucia; the programme showcased many of the town’s buildings and Flushing House was used as the estate agents, giving the property quite the claim to fame!

The Barn in Cromford, Peak District

Found on a picturesque hillside high above the village of Cromford, The Barn not only offers visitors cosy country accommodation but also spectacular views across the valley. This property is the ideal touring base for the Peak District with the popular towns of Bakewell and Ashover just a short drive away. When visiting the town of Ashover some guests may find it familiar, this is more than likely because the town featured in TV’s Peak Practice as the fictional town of Cardale.

Bookilber Barn in Settle, Yorkshire Dales

Open plan living area at Bookilber Barn (Ref. 2986).

Open plan living area at Bookilber Barn (Ref. 2986).

If you’re looking for luxurious accommodation with an open fire and hot tub, breath-taking views, fabulous walks and loads of character then Bookilber Barn is the place for you! This charming, detached barn conversion has been renovated to an extremely high quality and its chic décor and prime location has gained Brookilber Barn coverage on The Sunday Times ‘Top 100 Cool Cottages’ list and in Concept Living magazine. The property sleeps up to 12 people so it’s the perfect cottage for special occasions and family get-togethers.

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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.

Owner Guides: Make your Property Fit for an A-Lister

May 22nd, 2015
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At Sykes Cottages, we want all of our customers to feel like A-Listers. Whether they’re looking to book a cosy log cabin for two on the edge of a forest or a luxurious manor house in the countryside, we want all of our customers to feel like royalty from the moment they begin their search to the final moments of leaving feedback. As holiday home owners, we’re sure you want your guests to feel like a celebrity whilst they enjoy their stay, so we’ve compiled a short list of some things – suitable for all budgets – that you can do to make your property fit for an A-Lister and make them feel like a celebrity during their stay at your property.

Living Room

Whether in a self catering holiday rental or in your permanent home, the living room is a hugely important family space, so making it both homely and opulent is a sure fire way to make guests feel like royalty! Starting off with a muted colour palette in terms of decoration gives a great base for any little extras you feel like adding to increase the luxury of the room.

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It’s not all about the big things when it comes to making your holiday cottage guests feel like the rich and famous; little touches such as opulent light shades, high quality pillows and fresh flowers can really make a difference and they don’t have to cost the earth!

Spend

Perhaps one of the most asked for amenities from customers, particularly in the chillier months, is that there is an open fire in the property. They create atmosphere in a room, provide heat and provide a wonderful backdrop for enjoying quality family time together!

Splurge

It’s not only celebs who can have their own cinemas, with a big enough living space and a bit of tech know-how, you can create a personal at home cinema for your holiday guests. Put up a projector and a screen so everyone can watch their favourite TV programmes and films together – mixing both luxury and family fun.

Bedroom

image from The Hall

image from The Hall

If there is anything more luxurious than enjoying a late lie in whilst snuggled up in the comfort of a huge bed wrapped in high quality sheets, I’m not sure what it is! Bearing this in mind, when making your guests feel like an A-lister, make sure that you don’t forget the bedroom.

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Sometimes, giving that A-list style luxury feel to your guests needn’t cost the earth, it’s much more about the little things that they may not have at home. This is where clap/sound responsive lights come in – fancy not even having to get out bed to turn the light on or off, talk about relaxation!

Spend

Ensure that your guests sleep tight by investing in some bed sets made from Egyptian cotton. Your guests will leave their holiday feeling revived from sleeping in the lap of A-list style luxury!

Splurge

Really treat your guests to the ultimate in bedroom luxury and allow them to wake up feeling like princes and princesses with a king-sized four poster bed!

Bathroom

The Malthouse

image from The Malthouse

 

Perhaps not the most prestigious room in the house, but a celebrity-style bathroom can make guests feel a million dollars! Start off with a well-lit room, big fluffy towels and a large mirror and you’re well on your way to making to making your guests feel like royalty, even when they’re in the tub.

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Pop in some luxurious toiletries such as hand wash and hand cream when you’re doing your changeover. Brands such as Molton Brown and Jo Malone just scream luxury and will give your guests a bit of a celebrity style treat.

Spend

If you have the space then a freestanding, claw foot bath will leave your guests feeling as opulent as your bathroom will look!

Splurge

If there’s one thing the rich and famous don’t do (I imagine) it’s standing out of a warm bubble bath straight onto a cold floor and your A-list guests shouldn’t have to, either! Combat this by installing underfloor heating in your bathroom. Not only is this an energy efficient way of heating the room, but it’s one of the little touches that can make your property sky rocket on the luxury scale!

The Paddock

image from The Paddock

Kitchen/Dining

It can be difficult to imagine the rich and famous rolling their sleeves up in the kitchen, but with huge celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow sharing their love of cooking with the world, we can’t think of a better room to turn into a celebrity paradise.

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Why not fill the cupboards of your holiday cottage kitchen with some nice essentials. Things such as infused oils, balsamic vinegar and a salt/pepper grinder are an example of some inexpensive  additions to help make your property’s kitchen feel fit for an A-lister.

Spend

All self catering kitchens provide the usual; a fridge, oven and basic cookware – why not go a little bit further and provide a smoothie maker or even bread maker? This way your guests can have the ultimate in at-home comforts.

Splurge

If you have the capability to, why not provide a chef to guests in your holiday cottage by arrangement? Your guests can take the night off from cooking and enjoy a delicious home cooked meal and get a true taste of the celebrity experience.

Garden/External

Eden Lodge

image from Eden Lodge

The A-list luxury need not end at the door; you can continue the opulence right out into the garden. If your property has outside space, it would be a shame to waste it but don’t worry as there are a couple of easy additions you can make to your cottage’s outside space, to ensure that the celebrity experience begins from outside your holiday home.

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Some good quality furniture is a brilliant yet inexpensive way to ensure that your guests can bask in any sunshine or enjoy an al fresco lunch. Don’t forget to include a BBQ (or if budget allows, an outdoor stone oven) so that your guests can enjoy delicious food, both cooked and served outside.

Spend

Providing shelter from any rain or place to get shade on sunny afternoons, if you have the space and funds, why not treat your property’s external to an internal feel with a summer house? Children will love having somewhere to play, teenagers will love having somewhere to have a bit of time for themselves and the whole family will love being able to spend time together outside whatever the weather!

Splurge

A worthwhile investment to increase how attractive your property is to potential renters who are looking to treat themselves, is a heated swimming pool or hot tub. If your property has far reaching views, why not place a hot tub facing them, so at night your guests can unwind and talk about the day’s events whilst enjoying their wonderful surroundings.

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Sykes’ Famous Places: Kirklees, Yorkshire

May 20th, 2015
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We’re starting a new feature here at Sykes Cottages, one which looks at areas around the UK with famous connections. From famous playwrights to award winning novelists and stars of the stage and screen, the UK is home to many famous faces. This new series will be looking at where these stars originated and the places that inspired them on their way to the top!

To help kick start this new feature, we’ve decided to focus on one of the UK’s most loved actors and their home region of Kirklees in West Yorkshire. Sir Patrick Stewart, famous for his roles in Star Trek and X-Men, was born in Mirfield and although he is extremely well-travelled, the actor always feels at home when he returns to Yorkshire. Keep reading to discover some of the areas in Kirklees which have been made famous by the actor.

Mirfield

Sir Patrick Stewart was born in the small village of Mirfield in July of 1940. The town remained his home for a number of years and was where, thanks to the efforts of teacher Cecil Dormand, he discovered his passion for acting! After finishing school, the actor took a job as a journalist for the local paper, Mirfield & District Reporter, but eventually decided to leave journalism behind to pursue his love of acting.

This small, picturesque town is ideal for a day trip or weekend away with a historic 13th century church tower and a pleasant marina. For an extra special day out, we would suggest visiting during the Mirfield show, an annual agricultural fair held every August with entertaining events including dog, rabbit and horse shows, build a scare-crow competition, international stunt show and much more.

Emley Moor

In an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post, Sir Patrick famously said “For a long time my way of getting to sleep was to have a virtual walk through my virtual home in England.” Perhaps this walk took place through the Emley Moor, the location of a recent shoot where Sir Patrick was photographed for a book celebrating Yorkshire. The area was chosen as the actor said he was able to see his whole home region from the moor.

The Emley Moor is a wonderful location for a family walk or stroll with the dog, offering plenty of open space and spectacular views over God’s own country. The area allows you to do as little or as much exercise as you like and on a warm summer evening it’s the ideal spot for a picnic.

Huddersfield

In more recent times, Sir Patrick has shared close ties with Huddersfield and the town’s university. Acting as the University Chancellor for over ten years, the actor has played a pivotal role in the progress of the university. Huddersfield University is sorry to see Sir Patrick leave his role this summer but have awarded him the honorary title of Emeritus Chancellor and hope to remain in close contact with him.

Huddersfield is a fantastic area for a family holiday, with the architecture, restaurants and scenery attracting thousands of visitors each year. Children will love exploring the Kirklees Light Railway with its four small steam engines and two miniature diesel engines, whilst the grown-ups can dwindle the day away at one of the area’s many spas.

Book a Yorkshire Cottage

With such a diverse region to explore it’s no wonder that Sir Patrick Stewart loves coming home to Yorkshire or that it’s one of the nation’s favourite UK holiday destinations!

If you want to discover Yorkshire for yourself, delve into the county’s history or simply visit one of the areas made famous by Sir Patrick, then why not book a stay in one of our Yorkshire holiday cottages? Our selection of over 500 Yorkshire properties are comfortably furnished, stylishly decorated and act as a fantastic base for exploring this exciting region.

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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.