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.


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!


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!


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.


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.


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!


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!


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!


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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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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’ UK Filming Locations – Harry Potter

May 19th, 2015
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Calling all wizards and witches, muggles and squibs! Today, the Sykes Cottages blog is getting a bit magical as we delve into the wonderful world of witchcraft and wizardry with a Harry Potter themed tour of the United Kingdom. Sadly, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to track down Hogwarts itself so we’ve had to make do with the next best thing. That’s right, we’re going to be taking a look at the places that were used as sets in the Potter films, finding out a little bit about them and what you can do there, so read on and see what you think.

Alnwick Castle

Remember all the way back in the very first film when Harry first tried his hand at a broomstick during Madame Hooch’s flying lesson? Well this, amongst many other scenes, was filmed at the glorious Alnwick Castle in Northumberland! One of the true treasures of the North East, the castle has resplendent gardens that are opened to the public during the summer months and offer a true Potter extravaganza. Not only can the little ones put themselves at the helm of a broomstick during a flying lesson, they can also meet many famous face from the series, from Dumbledore to Hagrid and even Harry himself!

Lacock Abbey

The glorious cloisters and corridors of Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire are featured several times throughout the Potter series. Perhaps the most recognisable section of the Abbey is the Sacristy, which hosted the Potions lessons in the dungeons with Professor Snape.  The Abbey’s warming room doubled in the films as Professor Quirrell’s Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom and the particularly keen-eyed of you might also recognise the Chapter House as the hiding place of the Mirror of Erised in the Philosopher’s Stone.

Bodleian Library

Then it’s down to Oxford and the stunning Bodleian Library in particular. Established way back in 1602, it’s the second largest library in the country and the main research library for the University of Oxford, housing treasures such as four copies of the Magna Carta and Shakespeare’s first folio. However the Bodleian is also quite an important spot for the Hogwarts students! Duke Humfrey’s Library doubled as the Hogwarts library in the films, whilst the Divinity School was the setting for the infirmary!

Warner Bros Studios

Or if you want to get the full Hogwarts experience, head down to the Warner Bros studios in Leavesden! Featuring countless props, sets and costumes that were used by the cast and crew during the filming of the series, the studio tour is a paradise for all Potter fans. Whether it’s trying out a tankard of Butterbeer, exploring the Hogwarts Express and platform 9¾ or even having nose around Professor Dumbledore’s office!

So there you go, the Sykes wizarding tour of the United Kingdom, hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading but do let us know if there are any spots that we’ve missed out! You can get in touch either over Twitter or Facebook and we’ll be sure to include them in our next blog!

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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.

Book a romantic getaway with our new Flexible Breaks

May 18th, 2015
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We all love a romantic getaway. Whether you’ve been with your partner for 4 months or 40 years, they’re a nice way to spend some quality time together away from everyday distractions. That’s why at Sykes Cottages, we think you take advantage of our new Flexible Breaks to treat your loved one to a romantic short break; you can earn some major brownie points and get a great value holiday in the process! Here are just some of the romantic holiday cottages which are taking part in our Flexible Breaks offer:

The White House, Yorkshire

Fancy getting away to a romantic holiday cottage with a hot tub? Look no further than The White House in East Riding of Yorkshire. This pretty, whitewashed cottage is nestled in a picturesque village, perfectly placed for exploring all that this part of Yorkshire has to offer. With characterful features including traditional beams and an exposed brick fireplace, this holiday cottage is ideal for a cosy couples getaway. Outside, there’s a sheltered patio for alfresco dining and a bubbling hot tub to while the evening away in.

Trevenna Cabin, Cornwall

For a coastal short break, Trevenna Cabin is the perfect choice. This Cornwall log cabin is located in almost an acre of gardens and woodland, guaranteeing couples total privacy and a relaxing, peaceful holiday. The south coast of Cornwall is within easy reach with its beautiful beaches and charming seaside villages- St Austell Bay is just 3 miles away. Trevenna Cabin is also just a 5 minute walk from an award-winning pub which serves delicious food and boasts an impressive selection of local ales.

Berwyn Cottage, Powys

A weekend away in the Welsh countryside is a wonderful way to spend some quality time with your partner. From Berwyn Cottage, you’re well placed to explore the beautiful Powys countryside with plenty of cycle trails and walking routes right from the doorstep, including the Offa’s Dyke path. This holiday home makes the most of its stunning location with a balcony offering spectacular views across the valley- the perfect place to relax and enjoy the evening sun after a long day exploring the landscape. If you fancy a nice cold drink then you won’t have to walk far either as the owner’s lovely pub is just next door!

Beechlands Cottage, Cheshire

Beechlands Cottage is a unique holiday rental combining the best of both worlds. Set in the historic Cheshire market town of Frodsham, this cosy cottage is perfect for getting away from it all with many rural walking opportunities nearby including the Sandstone Trail and North Cheshire Way. The property is just a short walk away from the town’s restaurants, bakeries and pubs, as well as the popular weekly market which is held on a Thursday. However, if you fancy heading out for the day, there are plenty of lively cities within easy reach including Chester, Liverpool and Manchester.

Book a 2 night cottage break with Sykes Cottages

If we’ve inspired you to take advantage of our Flexible Breaks to book a romantic two night getaway with your loved one, then please click to see the full list of cottages that offer Flexible Breaks. If you need any help in finding the perfect property for you, our reservations specialists are on hand to help 7 days a week. We’re open from 9am until 9.30pm- you can get in touch by giving us a call on 01244 356 695 or by sending 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.

Sykes’ Guide to South East Beaches

May 16th, 2015
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With hundreds of award winning UK beaches to choose from, picking the right destination for your next coastal getaway can be rather difficult. Whether you decide to visit Gruinard beach in the Scottish Highlands or the iconic Land’s End in Cornwall all depends on your holiday preferences; who you’re travelling with, the length of your stay and of course what you plan on getting up to during your beach break. To help make things a little easier for you, Sykes Cottages have decided to take a look at each section of the UK individually and give you a run down on the best beaches in that area.

On today’s blog we’re going to be taking a look at the South East of England and its classic coastline; with numerous beaches to choose from, compiling a list of the best was certainly not easy! After hours of deliberation, we have chosen our top four beaches, one to fit into each of our star categories. Keep reading to discover our winners and see if your favourite South East beach gets a mention.

Margate Main Sands, Kent

Best Beach for Families

If you’re looking for a traditional, family friendly holiday then Margate Main Sands is for you; with its tidal pool, children’s rides and amusement arcades, it provides hours of fun along the sea shore. The beach’s golden sands are ideal for building sandcastles, even during high tide and with a lifeguard patrolling the beach from May to September, your children are free to splash around in the surf all summer long.

Hastings, Sussex

Best Beach for Couples 

Full of history and maritime charm, Hastings is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Dwindle the day away by relaxing along the coast or getting lost amongst the town’s many winding streets and narrow passageways, before spending the evening at a candlelit meal for two in one of the many restaurants. For some quality quiet time with your other half, we would highly suggest a romantic stroll along the coastline, walking hand in hand as you admire the spectacular ocean views.

Reculver, Kent

Best Beach for dogs

The beach at Reculver in Kent is great for both dog and owner, with your four-legged friend welcome all year round. As well as playing amongst the surf and scurrying over the rocks, this area also allows your dog plenty of open space to explore with a country park close by. Offering both coastal paths and circular walking routes, this area has everything you need for a dog friendly day out!

Camber Sands, Sussex

Best Beach for Water Sports

Camber Sands offers an exciting array of water sports with something to suit all ages, from kitesurfing and windsurfing to paddle boarding and dinghy sailing. If you’re a water sporting regular then make your way down to the coast and straight into the water or if you’re a beginner why not try a few lessons from the local experts at Rye Watersports? Whatever your skill set, Camber Sands is the ideal beach to practice your skills.

Rent a Cottage in the South East with Sykes Cottages

Now you’ve seen exactly what the South East coast has to offer, why not experience it for yourself? Our selection of cottages on the South coast are perfectly located for a beach getaway with many properties just a short walk from the coast! So whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, family holiday or just some time away from the everyday, we’re sure to have something to suit your needs!

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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.