Historical Days out in Norfolk this Summer

April 18th, 2014
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You may have noticed that here at Sykes, we’re big fans of the picturesque county of Norfolk. From the stunning landscape of the Broads to the traditional seaside towns with their beach huts, we love talking and hearing about the places and attractions that make this county so special. Today, we want to share with you some of Norfolk’s best historical days outs and why you should visit them this summer.

Bircham Windmill

Bircham Windmill, near King’s Lynn, is a great day out for all the family. Built in 1846, the windmill’s appearance hasn’t really changed and it still looks very much like it would have done 100 years ago. Visitors to this popular attraction can climb the five floors to see all the machinery, experience the beautiful views and read more information about the history of the windmill. There are also plenty of other interesting and fun activities on offer including bread making at the adjoining bakery; a tea room serving a delicious selection of home-made light meals, scones, cakes and clotted cream teas; sheep milking every day at 2pm and petting days with the windmill’s animals. There is also a wonderful gift shop and bake shop where you can purchase souvenirs and treats to take home for friends and family.

Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral

Norwich Cathedral, Norfolk

Via Flickr

This summer, Norwich’s Shakespeare Festival is returning to the Norwich Cathedral once more to thrill and entertain audiences with performances of two of the Bard’s most famous plays, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet. Presented by Shakespearean touring companies and running for four nights from 16th-19th July, this is a truly unique chance to see masterpieces of English literature performed against the spectacular backdrop of the cathedral. This is a fantastic opportunity that should not be missed! The refectory team at Norwich Cathedral will also be on hand to provide a BBQ and bar for guests.

Blickling Estate

Blickling Estate, Norfolk

Via Flickr

Blickling Estate is a stunning Jacobean mansion house just north of Aylsham and is one of Norfolk’s top tourist attractions. Once home to Sir John Falstof and later, the Boleyn family, Blickling Estate is also widely thought to be the birthplace of Anne Boleyn and her statue and portrait can still be found in Blickling Hall today. Aside from being steeped in history, this magnificent estate is a fantastic day out for holiday-makers in Norfolk this summer. Visitors are able to explore the house with its opulent décor and view one of the nation’s most historically important collections of books, and with nearly 5000 acres of gardens and woodland to discover, there’s no better place to head for a walk. Now owned by the National Trust, Blickling Estate has a lot to offer children too with family activities and quizzes on offer throughout the season.

Rent a holiday cottage in Norfolk

Holiday cottage in Norfolk

Kath’s Cottage, Heacham, Ref 4040

If you’re heading to Norfolk this summer then why not consider booking one of our fantastic holiday cottages for your trip. We’ve over 120 cottages in Norfolk for you to choose from and a diverse range of locations, from coast to countryside and city centre to the Broads.

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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.

Benefits of Letting Your Property with Sykes Cottages

April 17th, 2014
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Whether you’re new to the world of holiday lettings, or you have been renting out properties on your own for years, making the choice of whether or not to join an agency is a big decision. It may come as no surprise that at Sykes Cottages we think that joining a dedicated holiday lettings agency is the best way to go whether you’re a veteran at holiday lettings or you’re just starting out! We work with owners from all lettings related backgrounds; from those who have a number of properties and have been working full time letting out holiday cottages for years, to those whom have just recently got a second property through investing or inheriting. Read on to find out the benefits of joining our other fantastic owners at Sykes Cottages.

Twenty Five Years’ Experience

Some early Sykes Cottages brochures, including hand drawn images of properties.

Whether it is your first time renting out a property, or you have been doing it for years, there can often be a lot to research and a lot to sort out. It’s always great to know that you have help and advice on the other end of the phone should you need it. This is where Sykes Cottages can come in to help; with over twenty five years’ experience working alongside holiday home owners, there is nothing that Sykes Cottages doesn’t know about the world of holiday lets. So you can be safe in the knowledge that there is an experienced and well trained team behind you, making sure that you get as many bookings as you can!

We won’t let you miss a booking

The team here at Sykes Cottages celebrating having made 100,000 bookings for our owners in 2013

If you’re working full time alongside managing your holiday let, or you’re just a busy person, there may be times when you can’t answer the phone or reply to an email enquiry quick enough. A customer may be enquiring to a number of different cottages at once, and if they don’t get a reply you may lose their custom for good. We realise this and at Sykes Cottages we have a friendly, knowledgeable and dedicated reservations team who work from 9am until 9.30pm seven days a week answering enquiries and taking bookings from customers. This gives you piece of mind that even if you’re not available to take a booking, we are!

Personalised, Easy to Find, Property Page

Property shown here is The Dairy. Reference 3700.

Perhaps you’re not the most skilled wordsmith, or your hands are a little shaky with a camera and you’re concerned about how you can describe and photograph your property to present its full potential on a webpage or in a brochure. Well no need to fret as at Sykes Cottages we have a talented editorial team who will create fantastic copy to describe your property and our regional managers will be happy to take photos of your property to show it off in its best light!

We do the marketing for you

Our 2014 selection of holiday brochures

In order to attract potential customers you need to be seen, and with all the varieties of marketing channels available, ensuring you reach potential customers can be timely and costly when doing it alone. At Sykes Cottages, we have a dedicated and talented marketing teams for both online and direct marketing, covering everything from sending out printed brochures to keeping up with social media. We’re not afraid to invest money in our marketing channels and have one of the biggest in-house marketing teams in the industry. We’re always working to ensure that potential customers find us and therefore, find you!

Your cottage stays your cottage

Image via Flickr

At Sykes Cottages we never forget that your cottage is just that; yours. We work together with our owners and whilst giving help and advice we will never tell you what to do and we will always respect your wishes. Whilst we will work hard to ensure we get you bookings, you can still make your own so that family and friends or even your own existing guests can book through you.

Apply for an Owners Information Pack

These are just some of the benefits to joining Sykes Cottages as one of our owners, if you’d like to hear more then why not apply for one of our free owners’ information packs or give us a call on 01244 356695 and someone from our friendly owner care team will help you get the ball rolling with letting your cottage with Sykes!

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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.

Cottages in The Heart of England

April 16th, 2014
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Centrally situated, with historic cities and quintessentially English towns and villages there is no surprise that The Heart of England is a popular holiday destination. Whether you’re a history buff, a Shakespeare fanatic or you just want to spend some quality time with the family you will be spoilt for choice of places to go in The Heart of England. We have over 350 self catering cottages in ideal locations for exploring this wonderful part of England. Whether you’re having a romantic weekend, a family holiday or a get together with friends at Sykes Cottages you’re bound to find the ideal self catering cottage for you.

Delightful Cottages in the Forest of Dean

Brookbank Folly. Reference 6733

This delightfully unique cottage in Gloucestershire is not only on the edge of the Royal Forest of Dean but was also hand built with timber from the forest itself. This cottage has a wealth of character features including stained glass windows and wooden beams, as well as all of the modern conveniences you would expect from a self catering holiday cottage. Not only is the inside of this property impressive, but the outside is too. Brookbank Folly’s location on the edge of The Forest of Dean means that there is a variety of walks and cycle routes right from the doorstep. It is also in the perfect location for a day trip to Gloucester.

Spend time with Shakespeare in Stratford

9 Bancroft Place. Reference 24856

This well furnished ground floor apartment is in the perfect location for visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, being just a two minute walk away from the centre of town. Sleeping four, this modern apartment would be perfect for a family getaway. Visit the house where the Bard was born and grew up, go on a Stratford town ghost walk or take an open air bus tour before taking the short stroll back to your apartment. In warm weather, you can head out onto the apartment’s rear patio that overlooks the canal and just watch the world go by!

Have a Holiday in Herefordshire

Durstone Cottage. Reference 12372

Durstone Cottage in Herefordshire sleeping 22 is one of our largest properties and perfect for a get together with extended family. The property used to be two cottages however they have now been connected, with a large dining room joining them both together. This cottage is in a perfect location for getting out and about in the countryside or for a day trip to Hereford. Although if being out and about isn’t your thing don’t worry as this property has loads to do inside, boasting a pool table and table tennis in its games room.

These are just a small example of some of the amazing cottages that we have available to rent in The Heart of England. Take a look at our Pinterest board for more cottages in this beautiful area of England, or head over to our Heart of England cottages page to book your holiday today!

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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.

Le Tour de France- Coming to a country lane near you!

April 15th, 2014
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Two years has passed since the Olympic Games brought passion and excitement to our shores and now the UK is set for yet another sizzling summer of sport. From the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to the ever-popular Wimbledon Championships, 2014 is chock-a-block with thrilling sporting events. Yet none are causing quite as much fuss as a certain cycle race, which will be coming to the UK this July.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

You guessed it; we’re talking the Tour De France, the world’s biggest and best cycle race. Since 1903, this multi-stage contest has seen riders from all corners of the world compete for the coveted yellow jersey and a place on the podium at the finish line in Paris.

In recent years, us Brits have become increasingly fond of the Tour De France, due in part to the popularity of British riders like Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish. But this year’s Tour looks set to take the UK by storm, as the contest’s Grand Départ will begin in Yorkshire.

Setting out from the city of Leeds on 5th July, the Tour takes the scenic route through the Yorkshire Dales, skirting Skipton, Grassington and Ripon before entering the spa town of Harrogate- and that’s just the first stage! Stage Two sees the peloton (posh name for a pack of cyclists) pass through parts of the Peak District National Park before landing in Sheffield; then it’s onward from Cambridge, through the pastoral Essex countryside before the Tour comes to the end of its UK leg in the capital.

For your chance to get up close and personal to the peloton, take a look at our guide to the best places to see the Tour De France below.

Buttertubs Pass

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

A spectacular panorama and a leg-torturing ascent make Buttertubs pass one of the most rewarding and challenging sections of the Grand Départ.  Named after a series of potholes which farmers used to cool their pails of butter, Buttertubs offers spectator and rider exquisite views across the Dales- decamp here with a picnic to watch the peloton pass amid wonderful surroundings.


Via Flickr

Via Flickr

If you’re holidaying in Harrogate during the Grand Départ, lucky you! The Tour will be tearing through this pretty spa town twice during its stint in God’s Own County, so you’re twice as likely to catch a glimpse of the riders as they blast on by. For information on when and where to see the cyclists as they hasten through Harrogate, visit the Grand Départ website.

Cragg Vale

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Traditional terraces make way for austere heathlands above the village of Cragg Vale in the uplands of Calderdale. Here, the peloton will face the longest continuous uphill gradient in England, which rises 970ft over a gruelling five and a half mile ascent. The moorland ascent poses a challenging hike for spectators too, so pack a lunch and lace up on the walking boots if you think Cragg Vale looks like the place to spectate.

Yorkshire Holiday Accommodation near the Tour De France route

Here at Sykes Cottages, we’re prolific cycling fans, and it seems our owners are too! During the Tour De France, a handful of our holiday cottages near the Tour De France route are offering great discounts on seven night stays, making a self-catering cottage an affordable option for a cycling holiday when the Tour comes to town. Here are three of our properties which are currently available to rent near the Tour De France route.

11 Hardy Grange, Grassington

A stone-built period cottage located close to the centre of Grassington. The peloton passes through this village on the first day of the Tour, making 11 Hardy Grange ideal for spectators. Plus, the owners are currently offering £1,000 off the property price for a 7 night break between 4th-11th July, so book soon to avoid disappointment!

Monkholme Cottage, Threshfield

Monkholme Cottage is a wonderfully romantic retreat in Threshfield near Grassington. This charming Yorkshire Dales holiday home offers spectacular views and is close to the pubs and shops of the village, making it a great place to await the arrival of the racers. You’ll receive a 35% discount on stays between 27th June to the 4th July, so book today to make the most of this great offer.

The Thyme House, Haworth

The Thyme House is a first-class luxury holiday home in Haworth, ideally located for watching the riders zip by en-route to Skipton. This palatial Yorkshire Dales holiday rental sleeps 10 people and comes fully-equipped with a wealth of great self-catering facilities, making it the perfect base for a Tour De France themed get together with family and friends.

So there you have it, our definitive guide to where to watch and where to stay during the Tour De France. For our complete range of self-catering accommodation near the Tour De France route, visit our Tour De France cottages page today.

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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.

Celebrate Easter with Spring’s Baby Animals

April 14th, 2014
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Easter comes at a fantastic time of year when the trees are budding, new flowers are sprouting and baby animals fill our fields! Children of all ages love to be surrounded by these adorable creatures and here at Sykes we believe that there is no better way to celebrate Easter than with a cute bunny on your lap. To help you make the most of the Easter holidays with the children we have come up with a few tips that will see you encompassed by all your farm yard favourites this spring, so keep reading for our guide on where to find the UK’s most delightful baby animals.

Local Petting Farm

There are a number of petting farms scattered across the British countryside each ideal for a day out with the family. These petting farms allow you to get up close and personal with animals of all shapes and sizes, from a tiny bunny rabbit to a large cow, you’ll be able to see it all. Visiting a petting farm during the Easter holidays gives you and the children the opportunity to see many of the animals commonly associated with Easter including chicks, rabbits, ducklings and lambs. To find your nearest petting farm simply visit www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk.

Country Walks

Hear at Sykes we’ve been running an exciting blog series entitled Walk of the Month which could be of great use to you over the Easter holidays! Our specially selected walks make for excellent sightseeing trips with the children where they will be thrilled to encounter lambs in the fields, “Kids” on the mountains and even small ducklings in the river. A spring walk really is a fun filled day out for the whole family, so make sure to pack a healthy picnic and of course a camera to capture all the fun memories you’ll be making!

Farm Cottages

What better way to see spring’s baby animals then by booking a stay on a farm? Here at Sykes we have a selection of farm cottages that would be perfect for an Easter vacation. Imagine waking up in the morning to the sounds of lambs bleating and hens clucking, the children will just love taking part in the farm yard activities and exploring the nearby fields. If you are lucky you may even be able to see a lambing, where you will have the opportunity to ask the farmer all your sheep related question.  

We hope this blog has motivated you to take the children to see spring’s baby animals this year. We would love for you to share your spring animal pictures with us so please send them via facebook or twitter because we can’t wait to see them!

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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.