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Book Your Easter Holiday Today!

Saturday, January 24th, 2015
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Come March you can pretty much guarantee that here at Sykes we’ll get absolutely bombarded by requests for a last minute Easter break. As much as we’d love to be able to help everyone the sad truth is that quite often the requests come in too late and that one cottage that people have had their eye on has already been booked up. This all means that in order to get your dream Easter holiday you’ll have to beat the rush and get in early! Handily we’ve put together a page that lists all of our cottages still available for Easter so take a look and see if one catches your eye. Or, if you still need convincing as to why you should book yourself a break, read on as we’ve listed some of the fantastic things that you could do on your Easter cottage holiday!

Celebrate Spring

Easter always seems to be a bit of a watershed moment in the year. The winter chills have vanished, summer is inching its way closer and of course there are signs of new life everywhere that you look. Here at Sykes we’re lucky enough to have a wide range of properties situated right on the owners farmlands! And if you want, many of our owners will happily take guests out on the rounds with them, something that always goes down a treat with the little ones as it let’s them get closer than ever to all of the baby animals!

Fantastic Easter Events

There are so many things that you could get up to come Easter time. Pretty much every attraction will put on a special event that the whole family will love, and surprise surprise the vast majority of them involve copious amounts of chocolate! In recent years the National Trust and Cadburys have worked together to put on a series of Easter Egg Hunts throughout many of the beautiful Trust owned properties around the country. Or maybe you fancy having a go at making chocolate yourself? If so have a look at our guide on the best chocolate workshops around the UK and you’ll be a master chocolatier before you know it!

Kick Back and Relax

Or maybe you’d just like a little R&R? Well who can blame you, by that time Christmas is a distant memory and it seems like a long time since you’ve had a decent break. Our cottages come in all shapes and sizes from cosy bolt-holes perfect for couples to properties big enough to house the whole extended family. And with features ranging from open fires to swimming pools and even hot tubs you’d be forgiven for just wanting to take it easy.

So if you want to enjoy this Easter in one of our cottages you’d better get booking! You can either do it online from the Sykes website or if you’d rather do it over the phone our Holiday Cottage Advisors are on hand 7 days a week, all you have to do is give us a call on 01244 356695!

 

 

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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.

Best Places for a Winter Break

Saturday, January 17th, 2015
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What is it that makes a good winter holiday for you? Is it the blustery walks or the frosty mornings? What about getting stuck into your favourite book in front of a roaring fire? Well today we’re looking at some of the best places for all of these things, from the South Coast of Wales all the way up to the Scottish Highlands. So take a look and see if we can tempt you into book yourself a winter holiday in one of these spots; just remember to keep an eye out for properties that offer Winter Short Breaks – you’ll be able to get yourself a three night break at a discounted price, what more could you want?

Northumberland

If you’re the kind of person who would include bracing walks and stunning scenery as prerequisites of their ideal winter break then Northumberland is just the spot for you. Its famous coastal path provides many a beautiful walk and when you add in the idyllic Northumberland National Park, you can see why the county is the perfect place for those who love nothing more than to strap on their walking boots. No matter where you go you’ll be blown away by the views, from the imposing Dunstanburgh Castle through to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Or if the weather gets a bit too much you can always head into one of Northumberland’s cosy towns and villages. Take Alnwick for example, not only did it set the scene for portions of the Harry Potter films, it’s also home to Barter Books, one of the biggest second hand bookshops in Europe, where the Keep Calm and Carry On phenomenon all started!

The Highlands

Alternatively you might want to take a look at heading north of the border for your winter break. If so then you should definitely pay a visit to the Highlands! There are few places around the United Kingdom that can match the area for its peace and quiet, and then there’s the scenery! Crisp sunrises out and about on the glens reveal the eerie, mist covered mountains and the silvery lochs. Or maybe you fancy a change of pace? Well the highlands can offer an adrenaline filled break too! The Cairngorms are the only place in the UK that can boast natural ski slopes and there are countless companies offering you the chance to get stuck into a wide variety of adventure sports!

Pembrokeshire

I don’t think that anyone would blame you if you were of the opinion that Pembrokeshire in South Wales should only be considered as a summer destination. What with its seemingly endless sandy beaches it does seem like the perfect place to spend a summer, but Pembrokeshire also makes for a fantastic winter break! Sand castles and sunbathing are probably out of the question (unless you’re a particularly hardy soul!) but there are plenty of other things you can do to pass the time. For example, you could pay a visit to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, home to almost 600 miles of footpaths and bridle ways. Or you could always take a step back in time; Pembrokeshire is home to over fifty fortresses and castles, ranging from the imposing Pembroke Castle right the way through to Castell Henllys, a replica of the recently excavated Iron Age fort from over 2000 years ago!

So there you go, a few of our favourite places for a break over the winter months. But don’t let us cloud your judgement, we’ve got properties all around the United Kingdom and Ireland that would make for a dream winter holiday, from the beaches of Cornwall right the way through to the rolling hills of County Donegal. Or maybe you know of somewhere that you think people should be visiting? If so, do let us know either over Facebook or Twitter and we’ll spread the word!

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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.

Give a Bird a Home

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
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Here at Sykes, we read about the struggle that is facing the country’s bird-life. Some of the figures involved made pretty grim reading: for example, the RSPB has noted that the number of House Sparrows in the UK has dropped by an estimated 71% since the late 1970’s, and this is by no means the worst. To be honest we were pretty shocked and thought we’d see if there was anything we could do to help out Britain’s birds. However when we came to it we weren’t too sure where to start, after all we’re more used to finding homes for people than birds!

So we called in for a bit of help from our friends at the North Wales Wildlife Trust. We picked their brains to find out what ordinary people could do to make a difference and lend our feathered friends a hand. And as it turns out, just by making a couple of tiny changes you can transform your garden into a bird’s paradise, providing them with shelter, food and water – the things that make all the difference when the going gets tough! We’ve put all of these hints and tips together and created a handy guide that you can use when doing your bit for Britain’s birds, so take a look below and see what you can do to help out.

Give a Bird a Home

If you want to show your readers how to give a bird a home copy and paste the below code into your website:

Give a Bird a Home

Due to a loss of habitat and shortage of food, birds have struggled in recent years, with several species seeing a decline in numbers. Thankfully, there are a few things we can do to help. Working together, Sykes Cottages and the North Wales Wildlife Trust have gathered information on two common types of nest box you can use to give a bird a home, as well as some hints and tips on transforming your garden into a haven for our feathered friends.

Open Fronted Nest Boxes

Ideal for Robins and Pied Wagtails

Specific Tips

Place low down, no more than 2 metres off the ground.

They need to be hidden under some cover; ivy or other climbing plants are ideal for this.

Small Holed Nest Box

Ideal for Blue Tits and the House Sparrow

Hole Sizes

Different birds use different sized holes

Blue Tit – 25mm

Great Tit – 28mm

House Sparrow – 32mm

Starling – 45mm

Specific Tips

Place 2 metres or more off the ground.

Attach to a wall, tree or fence. Make sure it’s out of reach of cats.

Make a Bird-Friendly Garden

Feeder

Place feeders in the garden so birds have plenty to eat. Remember to put them in sight of your windows so you can keep an eye on the visitors.

Birdbath

Birds use birdbaths to drink and clean themselves, just be sure to keep it topped up with fresh water.

Planting

Create a safe and sustainable habitat for birdlife in your garden by growing a wide variety of plants, including fruit trees, evergreens, climbers and spiny shrubs.

For More Information

Your local Wildlife Trust can offer further information on how to help birds in your garden.  Alternatively, visit the RSPB website.

nesting_R3 - thumbnail for blog

Are you on Twitter? If so click below to share this infographic and show your followers what they can do to make a difference!

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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.

Some Different Sports to Try in 2015

Thursday, January 8th, 2015
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Well it’s that time of year once more. I don’t know how many of you have made New Year’s resolutions (and how many of you have already broken them) but I’ve decided to try and get a bit fitter in 2015. However it’s proving a bit difficult, it’s a bit nippy to head out for a jog or a walk, the gym is full to bursting point and to be completely honest all I want to do when I get home from work on a January evening is help myself to a hearty portion of comfort food! So I’ve been having a look to see if I could find some different ways to get out and about and burn off a few calories along the way, so take a look and see if you fancy giving any of these a go.

Get in the Saddle

via Flickr

via Flickr

Cycling has seen something of a renaissance these past few years. With numerous gold medals at the Olympics, Tour de France winners in Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, and of course the Grand Depart taking place in Yorkshire last year, the sport is fast becoming one of the most popular in the country. There are countless local clubs and societies that you can get in touch with and join up for a weekly ride, and here at Sykes, we even offer a wide array of cottages that are perfect for cycling holidays with features such as secure bike storage and fantastic local routes, click here to have a look!

Head to the Seaside

via Flickr

via Flickr

One of the best things about being an island nation is that you’re hardly ever short of a good beach to visit and they make the perfect outdoor playground. The choice of water sports these days just seems to be growing and growing; there’s the old classics like surfing and wind surfing, or you could have a shot at one of the lesser known activities such as stand up paddle boarding or kite surfing. And don’t worry if you don’t fancy getting wet as there are plenty of beach sports that you can have a crack at, from volleyball to beach soccer and even Ultimate Frisbee.

Something a Little Different

via Flickr

via Flickr

Or maybe you want to try your hand at something a bit off the wall. I’ve spent the past couple of hours learning all about some of the most bizarre sporting events in the UK, whether it’s the Bognor Regis Birdman Competion, the World Conkers Championships, or my personal favourite, the World Bog Snorkelling Championships! Held every year in Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales, it sees the competitors compete to see who can complete the 120 yard course the fastest and what’s more, traditional swimming strokes are banned!

So there you go, some different sports for you to try out this year, although I won’t blame you if you decide to give bog snorkelling a miss! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading but if you have any suggestions of sports that you love and think others should try their hand at then do get in touch, either on Facebook or over Twitter and we’ll help to spread the word!

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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 with Sykes to Beat the January Blues

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015
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Well I’m afraid that everything seems to be getting back to normal now. The kids are back in school, we’re back in work, the new year’s resolutions are in effect (let’s see how long they last this year) and the festivities have been replaced by Blue Monday. What’s Blue Monday I hear you ask? Well apparently it’s the most depressing day of the year and it’s meant to fall on the Monday of the final week in January which this year just so happens to be my birthday – lucky me! Well whether you believe in Blue Monday or not I don’t think that you’ll disagree with me when I say that January can get you down a little bit. The nights are still closing in early, the weather isn’t fantastic and you’ve got to deal with that post festive period hangover. But we think that we’ve got the perfect way for you to banish those blues: booking yourself a cottage break!

Where to go

For me there are few things in winter that can beat a bracing winter walk, especially if the route leads you past a cosy country pub for a refuel! If this sounds like your kind of thing then you might want to take a look at places like the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales where you’ll find walks galore. Or maybe you’d prefer to kick back and relax on a Sykes city break? If so then take a look here where you’ll find all of our city based cottages, from Bath to Edinburgh and many places in between!

What to look for in the Cottage

Well where else is there to start but with an open fire? There really is nothing better for welcoming you back into your cottage after a long day out and about, or if you’re planning a cosy night in what else could you wish for than putting your feet up in front of a roaring fire? And if you feel like really spoiling yourself then why not take a look at our cottages with hot tubs, after all they’re the perfect way to beat the winter chill!

How to book

Well that’s the easiest part! All you have to do is give us a quick call on 01244 356695 and we’ll happily talk you through the process. And what’s more, we’re right into the Sykes Winter Short Break season! So if you’re looking to take a few days away this winter make sure you take a look here so that you can get the best value!

So are you tempted to book yourself a winter break this January? If so then just follow the instructions above and before you know it you’ll be settling in to your dream holiday cottage!

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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.