World Book Day 2015: Properties for Bookworms

March 5th, 2015
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Whether its right before bed, snuggled up in an arm chair or lounging in the sun, there is nothing like a good book! As you may know today is World Book Day, a day marked by over 100 countries around the world to celebrate books and reading. Whilst we can’t dress up to celebrate the day as we would have done as nippers* we can still appreciate the joy of books! So, if you are the kind of person who loves to find a new book to read when going on holiday then you’re in the right place, as we’re putting the spotlight on some of our properties with full bookshelves that you can delve into whilst you’re away.

*Although do read on if you would like to see what some members of the Sykes team would dress up as this World Book Day.

Properties Perfect For Bookworms

This wonderful property is located in Killarney, County Kerry and is located ideally for exploring all that the local area has to offer. Although, you will have to drag yourself away from all those books first!

This unique and quirky property is a book lover’s paradise, with three large bookshelves covering the walls in the living area and comfortable sofas so that you can really get stuck into one of those books!

With a wall full of books, you will be spoilt for choice of what to get stuck into during your stay at Manor Farmhouse! If the weather is sunny, why not take your book outside to lounge by the pool? Although, if it is a little chilly there is no need to worry, as you will be spoilt for choice of comfy places to sit indoors!

Our World Book Day Costumes

Whilst we can’t wear a costume for World Book Day, that hasn’t stopped us from wishing that we could! Bearing this in mind, I had a quick ask around the team to see what costumes they would be wearing today if we could turn back the clocks to when we were back in school. Nicole would dress up as the eccentric and well-dressed Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games Trilogy; Jamie would go for Captain Pugwash as he loved the books as a child; our king of suave Jonathan would be dressed up as Fantastic Mr Fox; Louise would go for the spellbinding Hermione Grainger; and I would go for The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland – what a nice excuse to drink copious amounts of tea!

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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.

Devon’s Best Beaches

March 4th, 2015
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Devon has long been renowned for its beautiful coastline, a fact that was cemented earlier this year when TripAdvisor listed Woolacombe as the fourth best beach in Europe. To coincide with Woolacombe’s new title we have decided to put together a list of our favourite beaches in Devon, but be warned; this fantastic selection of beaches may see you booking a holiday to Devon sooner than expected!


Naturally Woolacombe has made it to the top of our list; with its rolling surf, unbroken Atlantic breakers, golden sands and spectacular views over the Woolacombe Downs, it’s easy to see why TripAdvisor chose this award winning beach! I’ve fallen off my surfboard more times than I would care to admit in Woolacombe, but for those of you more experienced at ‘hanging ten’, this beach is the ideal spot for a summer spent on the waves.

Slapton Sands

Slapton Sands is the type of beach you’d expect to see plastered across the front of a post card, but that’s not a bad thing! This idyllic shoreline makes for the perfect family holiday; with soft dense sands for constructing sandcastles, a gentle current for swimming or canoeing and of course plenty of room for sun bathing. This beach is also a great spot for animal lovers as it’s open to dogs all year round.

East Portlemouth

Okay, so we’ve cheated a little with this beach, as East Portlemouth isn’t just one long stretch of coast but actually several small beaches, coves and bays. Each of the small independent beaches have won Safe Bathing status and with so many to choose from you’re pretty much guaranteed your own secluded spot, making this beach perfect for couples.

Bigbury on Sea

This particular beach has a number of award winning qualities, but possibly it’s most noticeable feature is its beautiful scenery. Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Bigbury on Sea is a photographer’s dream, with shallow waters, soft clean sand and wonderful views towards Burgh Island. For views back towards Bigbury on Sea, cross to Burgh Island at low tide or grab a ride on the ever popular sea tracker during high tide.

Blackpool Sands

Blackpool Sands brings a little slice of the Mediterranean to Devon with its clear waters, clean beach and fragrant backdrop of scented pines and evergreens. This picturesque stretch of coast is not only perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon spent relaxing on the shore but with fantastic water sports available and the delicious Venues Café within striking distance, it’s easy to see why this beach has been awarded Blue Flag status.

So there you have it, our choice of Doven’s best beaches. If this list has left you longing for a trip to the south coast then why not book one of our holiday cottages in Devon? Full of character and style, these cottages are the perfect addition to any beach break!

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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.

Try something different: Adventure breaks on Dartmoor

March 3rd, 2015
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Dartmoor National Park in Devon is well known for its dramatic landscape and its ability to combine four seasons worth of weather into one day, but did you know that it’s also the perfect place to plan your next adventure break? This ruggedly beautiful corner of England is a haven for all things adventure, from walking to cycling and climbing to watersports; here are just a few of the fantastic activities you can do on Dartmoor.


If you’re thinking of heading on a climbing or bouldering holiday, Dartmoor is a fantastic place to visit. Famous for its towering granite tors, Dartmoor is ideal for both solo climbers and groups, providing the perfect playground for climbing enthusiasts in one of the wildest parts of the country. The unspoilt and striking landscape offers climbing and bouldering opportunities for all abilities and some of the most popular tors to climb include: Dewerstone, Haytor, Hound Tor, Leigh Tor and Foggintor Quarry. There is a climbing code of conduct in place at Dartmoor so if you’re planning a visit then please make sure you have a good read first – you can see it on the Dartmoor National Park website here.


During the winter months, Dartmoor is a magnet for canoeists and kayakers, with some of the best mid-grade white water in the country. Canoeing and kayaking offer a different view of Dartmoor’s unique wildlife from a perspective that’s not available to those on foot. It doesn’t matter whether you’re after a gentle paddle whilst taking in the stunning scenery or something a little more challenging and adrenaline-fuelled, the waters of Dartmoor provide something for everyone. If you’re a beginner, there are also plenty of accredited activity centres in the area that will enable you to find your feet in a safe environment led by expert instructors.


With its natural beauty and vast, rolling landscape, Dartmoor is also a popular destination for cyclists. There are over 368 square miles to explore and the routes are varied; quiet, country lanes to wind through at your own leisurely pace, designated cycle routes with panoramic views across the moorlands, and over 350km of bridleways and byways that are perfect for mountain biking. For a great weekend cycling break, why not take on the 95 mile Dartmoor Way which opened in 2013? The route is suitable for cyclists of all abilities and passes through many pretty Devon villages including Bovey Tracey and Tavistock, so there’s plenty of opportunity to stop for nice pub lunch!

Book a holiday cottage on Dartmoor

If you’re thinking of heading for an adventure break on Dartmoor then don’t forget to check out some of the fantastic holiday cottages that we have available in the area. Our dedicated reservations team are on hand 7 days a week from 9am until 9.30pm; give them a call on 01244 356 695 or you can send us an email.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Sunny Delight: Top 5 Destinations in Devon

March 2nd, 2015
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Did you know: Devon is the fourth largest county in England? Well, it is. Stretching from the Bristol Channel to the English Channel and from Plymouth to Lyme Regis, this south-west county takes up a sizeable chunk of our fair isle. For those planning a trip, it can be tough to decide where to stay: Do you opt for the north with its big Atlantic swells? How about the south whose fishing villages are ever-so-pretty? Or, perhaps the dramatic heaths of Dartmoor will draw you near?

To help make choosing a holiday home in Devon easier, we’ve shortlisted five of our favourite Devonshire villages that we think would make the ideal holiday destination.


Clovelly by Barney Moss is licensed under CC 2.0

Clovelly by Barney Moss is licensed under CC 2.0

From its steep, cobbled streets to its ancient harbour, it’s clear Clovelly is no run of the mill English village. This is a place where cars are prohibited; a place where goods are carried on makeshift sledges from shop to shop; a place hemmed by woodland and ocean; a place to be cherished, loved and respected. Unusually, Clovelly is still privately owned, just as it has been for over 800 years, and perhaps more unusually, the majority of its buildings are architecturally listed. Put plainly, Clovelly is an extraordinary destination – don’t miss it.


Amid the wild grandeur of Dartmoor, the peaceful, unobtrusive village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor seems strangely tame. A string of quaint cottages, hearth-warmed pubs and a pretty church provide visitors with a charming respite from the untamed heathlands which encircle the village. Despite being back-o-beyond, Widecombe attracts many visitors; it’s home to the Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre, and many of the moorland’s walks begin and end in the village. Those staying in and around the village should expect a quiet, tranquil and stimulating getaway.


Beer Beach by Claire Dickson is licensed under CC 2.0

Beer Beach by Claire Dickson is licensed under CC 2.0

Head south to Devon’s Dorset-esque Jurassic Coast and you’d be wise to stay in Beer, one of Devon’s best loved coastal villages. Despite its name, Beer has no associations with drink; instead, the village’s title is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for “grove” which refers to the nearby woodland. Beer was once one of the south west’s most notorious smugglers’ coves, and this is something celebrated by villagers to this day. Come summer, Beer’s beach is a haven for sun worshippers thanks to its luxuriously soft sand and sheltered aspect – book a break in Beer this summer and you’ll be in seventh heaven.


Lydford Castle by TempusVolat is licensed under CC 2.0

Lydford Castle by TempusVolat is licensed under CC 2.0

Looking to discover Devon’s history? There’s no better place than Lydford. This small, sleepy village was once an economic powerhouse, until Viking raiders put an end to the region’s prosperity in the 6th century. Now, Lydford has a drowsy, bucolic feel, and is easily the most peaceful place on our shortlist. Despite its sleepy vibe, Lydford proves a superb holiday base; the village is in a prime location for exploring Dartmoor and is within daytrip distance of the Devonshire coast as well as the Cornish border.


Mortehoe Beach by Chris Frewin is licensed under CC 2.0

Mortehoe Beach by Chris Frewin is licensed under CC 2.0

Sand dunes and sea cliffs await in the coastal village of Mortehoe on Devon’s enriching north coast. The village and its encompassing landscape are typical of North Devon; think rugged tors, heathland and of course, breaker beaten beaches. Mortehoe itself is very popular with tourists, and has enough amenities – including pubs, cafes and restaurants – to keep travellers fed and watered. Strike out from Mortehoe and you’ll stumble upon some of Devon’s other, larger towns, including Barnstaple and Woolacombe, making the village a superb base for touring the county.

Book a break in Devon this summer with Sykes Cottages

Sun, sea and sand – add dramatic countryside, ancient history and friendly locals to this list, and you’re one step closer to describing Devon. If you’re looking for a sunny, fun and interesting destination for this year’s summer break, book a cottage holiday in Devon this summer with Sykes Cottages. We have hundreds of holiday rentals from coast to country throughout the county, so you’re sure to find a Devonshire holiday home that’s perfect for you.

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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.

Our top 10 responses to “What does the beach mean to you?”

March 1st, 2015
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Last week, we were inspired by to ask what the beach means to you. Manonabeach has conducted over 988 interviews all around the UK, asking people this very question – you can read last week’s blog post all about manonabeach and his work by clicking here. This week, we’ve compiled a top ten of some the answers we received when we asked this question. The responses are from our customers on social media and also from members of staff here at Sykes. So sit back, relax and prepare to be transported to the beach…

“Peace, relaxing, makes me happy”

Beach in Scotland

Clachtoll, Scottish Highlands. Image via

“Sunny days lying in the sun and swimming in the sea…heaven”

Beach in Cornwall

Roseland, Cornwall. Image via

“Beautiful, tranquil – most of all, at peace”

Beach in Cornwall

Pendower, Cornwall. Image via

“Afternoons in the sun and plenty of happy memories”

Beach in Cornwall

Little Fistral, Cornwall. Image via


Beach in Cornwall

Great Lantic, Cornwall. Image via

“Beautiful and sunbathing”

Beach in Devon

Mill Bay, Devon. Image via

“Peace and nostalgia; the beach is timeless”

Beach in Cornwall

Godrevy, Cornwall. Image via

“Durdle Door, happy holiday and Dave’s first boat”

Beach in Dorset

Durdle Door, Dorset. Image via

“Childhood memories, playing in the rock pools with my little sister”

Beach in Cornwall

Falmouth, Cornwall. Image via

“To me, the beach means freedom, relaxation, fun and beauty”

Beach in Dorset

Ringstead Bay, Dorset. Image via

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this blog post. We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing what the beach means to some of the Sykes Cottages staff and customers and we hope that we’ve inspired you to head to the beach in the not too distant future!

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.