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Sykes’ New Eco-Friendly Cottages

Friday, June 26th, 2015
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Here at Sykes Cottages, we’re delighted to have a wide range of eco-friendly properties that allow people to take green breaks all around the United Kingdom! Whether it’s through an environmentally friendly heating or hot water system or maybe a bank of solar panels, the owners of all of these cottages have made some sort of effort to substantially reduce the carbon footprint of their properties. So we thought we’d try and showcase a few examples and have picked out a selection of our newer green cottages, so take a look and see what you think.

Miller’s Cottage ref. 923183

Once the residence of the miller in charge of (what is now a Grade II listed) corn grinding water mill, this property has been sympathetically converted into a delightful holiday cottage. With four bedrooms that are spread over the three floors of the cottage, this property has more than enough space to comfortably sleep up to six people. Located right by the River Lemon, Miller’s Cottage is surrounded by wide ranging water meadows that are perfect for a stroll in the afternoon sun and then you can retire back to the cottage for a relaxing evening in front of the cosy woodburner. However,where this property comes into its own is with its air-source heat pump central heating system, that provides plenty of green energy for the underfloor heating system.

Rectory Coach House (921681)

Straddling the Dorset and Somerset border, this stunning little cottage lived its past life serving as the coach house for the old Victorian Rectory of Buckhorn Weston. Now however, it has been converted into a stunning, carbon neutral holiday home. Sleeping four people, it’s absolutely perfect for a family break down to the South West and with the private, enclosed patio and luxurious interior, any break there is certain to be a relaxing one! But that’s not all, the Rectory Coach House comes complete with a bank of solar panels that provide all of the power for the holiday cottage, making it absolutely ideal for those looking to book an eco-friendly week away.

Nethergill Farm Byre (22132)

Dating all the way back to 1871, Nethergill Farm Byre is a stunning barn conversion that’s tucked away in the Dales countryside, just outside the quaint hamlet of Oughtershaw. The owners of Nethergill have transformed the property into a luxury, modern holiday cottage complete with all the mod-cons that you’d need for a relaxing week away, whilst managing to retain much of its original character thanks to features such as the original ceiling beams and exposed stone work. And then there’s the biomass central heating system that keeps the property cosy as well as environmentally friendly!

So hopefully reading this has tempted you into taking a look at booking yourself an eco-friendly break with Sykes Cottages! If that’s the case then you’ll want to take a look at this page which lists all of our green properties and see which one catches your eye!

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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.

How to Make Your Garden More Eco-Friendly

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
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Well I think that it’s safe to say that summer is well and truly here! The temperatures are on the rise, there’s been some glorious weather of late and we’ve even indulged in a couple of ice creams over lunchtime here at Sykes HQ! But for me, one of the best things about summer is spending some time out in the garden, whether it’s soaking up some sun, tucking into an alfresco meal or even doing a spot of gardening. One thing that I’m hoping to get done this year is looking into how I can make the garden a little bit more eco-friendly, so I’ve been doing a bit of research and found some hints that might be of use. So if you’re a cottage owner looking to reduce your property’s footprint, or you’re just after a few tips, take a look below and see what you think.

Harvesting Rainwater

One thing that surprised me was how much water we use in our gardens. For most of the year, we’re ok to rely on the rainfall to get the job done but there’s usually a short period between July and September where nature needs a hand. But rather than just taking water out of the mains, you could try investing in a rainwater harvesting system. These can range from a simple butt collecting water from a drainpipe, all the way through to a complex system that can feed water back into the plumbing in your house, but they all get the job done! You can easily get your hands on a butt from your local council or a garden centre and fitting is a simple task, but the best thing – you don’t need to follow any hosepipe bans!

Attracting Wildlife

One of the easiest and most successful ways that you can make your garden more eco-friendly is by encouraging more wildlife to move in. Whether it’s choosing the right kind of plants, providing food or creating a shelter, every little thing helps and your garden will soon start to reap the rewards! Here at Sykes Cottages we worked alongside the North Wales Wildlife Trust to create a resource that shows you how to turn your garden into a bird’s paradise which you can see here, or you can take a look at the RSPB’s latest initiative Make a Home for Wildlife which features loads of information on the subject.

Going Native

One further change that can be made is to really put the emphasis on native plants when your doing your gardening. Not only do these plants provide a plentiful food source for the local wildlife, but using them also reduces the risk of invasive exotic alternatives from gaining a foothold in your garden. If you need any more convincing, the native plants are more accustomed to the climate here meaning that you have to put in far less work to look after them!

So hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading and have managed to pick up a couple of hints and tips that will help you make your garden a little greener! Maybe you’d like a little more inspiration? If so then you should have a look at some of our cottage gardens for some ideas or if you have any hints or tips then get in touch over Twitter or Facebook 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.

Try a Real Ale Trail this Father’s Day

Monday, June 15th, 2015
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Not only is it National Beer Day today but we’ve got Father’s Day just around the corner from us! So here at Sykes HQ, we thought it was only sensible to try and combine to two and come up with the perfect gift for all of those beer aficionado dads out there and settled on the Real Ale Trail! After all, what better way is there to spend a sunny afternoon than journeying between a selection of delightful country pubs and sampling some locally brewed real ales along the way? So if you’re still struggling to think of what to do this Father’s Day, take a look and see if we can tempt you into trying a Real Ale Trail!

The Tarka Rail Ale Trail

When it comes to a real ale trail, you can’t do much better than the Tarka Rail Ale Trail! This popular route goes along the famous Tarka railway line running between Barnstaple and Exeter in Devon, and features the possibility of enjoying a tipple in up to nine stop-offs – you can even stretch it out to eighteen pubs if you visit every single one on the route, so you might want to spread it out over a few days!  Off peak day return tickets from Barnstaple through to Exeter prove to be the best value for money when it comes to making your way along the line and if you manage to collect ten stamps, you’ll be able to claim your Tarka Rail Ale Trail t-shirt!

Transpennine Real Ale Trail

Alternatively, you could head up north and try out some of the best local ale pubs that Lancashire and Yorkshire have to offer with a trip on the Transpennine Real Ale Trail. Featuring on the BBC’s Oz and James Drink to Britain back in 2009, the trail starts off in the town of Stalybridge and runs all the way through to Batley in West Yorkshire. Along the trail, you’ll be able to enjoy a drink in one of the few remaining Victorian Station Buffet Bars, in amongst some quaint country pubs such as The West Riding in Dewsbury and Marsden’s Riverhead Brewery Tap and Dining Room.

But don’t forget these are just a couple of the fantastic real ale trails scattered all over the country so there’s no need to worry if you’re not in the area. Or if you wanted, you could even plot out your own trail by using CAMRA’s What Pub guide to track down the best establishments around. And one final option, if you feel like really spoiling Dad this year, would be to take a look at our wide range of holiday cottages near to pubs so you can enjoy a relaxing break and a couple of pints together!

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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.

Large Properties Offering Flexible Breaks

Friday, June 12th, 2015
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You can’t beat a break with a group, whether it’s getting the all of the family together for a week away or spending some time with friends, however when it comes to larger parties it can be difficult to arrange dates. Some people might struggle to get time off work, whereas others might have to leave early because they have to get back for some sort of engagement, and this is where our Flexible Breaks come in! You won’t have to worry about changeover days or having the property for too long, as with a Flexi Break you can start your holiday on any day of the week and book for as little as two nights! So to give you an idea of where you could be staying, we’ve decided to showcase some of the cottages offering Flexible Breaks that would be perfect for larger parties, take a look and see what you think.

The Malthouse – 17888

The Malthouse is a Grade II listed former corn mill, found in the Derbyshire village of Cromford. With nine bedrooms that sleep eighteen between them, two kitchens and two living rooms, it could well be the perfect place for a large group to take a break together! The owners have managed to maintain much of the character of this old mill with exposed beams throughout. The old mill pond still has its waterfall cascading down and there’s even a window through to the inner workings of the mill from one of the kitchens. All this has been married with countless, luxurious features from American style fridge/freezers through to slipper baths and rainfall showers, meaning that any stay in The Malthouse will be enjoyed.

Capel Dinorwig – 919390

Tucked away in the peaceful village of Llanberis, just on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, is the stunning Capel Dinorwig. Formerly a chapel, the property has been fully converted and designed by an architect into a luxury holiday property fantastic for larger groups.  There’s more than enough room for sixteen people with eight bedrooms as well as a stunning open plan living area on the first floor, complete with a feature wall and double sided wood burner, there’s plenty of space for all of the family. Add in the vaulted roof and exposed beams- pointing back to the buildings heritage- and also the full height windows offering stunning views out over the mountains, and you can see why Capel Dinorwig is such a popular cottage!

Capel Jerusalem – 918082

Finally we have another converted chapel, this time the Capel Jerusalem. A former Methodist chapel from the 1860s, it’s now a luxury property capable of sleeping up to ten people. The accommodation itself contains a deluxe open plan living area which sees all of the contemporary mod cons blended perfectly with traditional details, from the lancet windows through to the feature ceiling. Add to this a baby grand piano, zoned underfloor heating and a comfortable sitting area with room enough for all of the guests and you’ll never want to leave!

Hopefully they will have caught your eye; if so, don’t forget to click on the links below the photographs to find out more and maybe even book a sneaky break for you and your friends. Or if you’d like to take a look at all of the properties that are available to book on a Flexible Break then you can click here to see them all.

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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.

What you need to know when visiting the Isle of Wight

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
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Thinking about visiting the Isle of Wight? Not too sure on how to get there or what transportation to use once you’re actually on the island? Well you’re in the right place! In this most recent post on the Sykes Cottages blog, we’ve tracked down all of the need-to-know information about holidaying there, from ferry crossings to bus companies on the island. So go on, take a look!

How to get to the Isle of Wight

As you might expect, the Isle of Wight has great transport links over to the mainland. Ferries run regularly over to the island from a variety of terminals on the South coast. Wightlink have two car ferries, which both take less than an hour, from Portsmouth across to Fishbourne and from Lymington to Yarmouth, which can transport all manners of vehicles. Red Funnel also provides crossings, this time from Southampton to East Cowes.

There are also options open to people looking to cross without a car. Wightlink can offer crossings via a high speed catamaran that takes just 22 minutes, whilst Hovertravel services take only 10 minutes!

Getting around the island

Of course if you’ve taken the car over on the ferry, getting around the island shouldn’t be too much bother as all of the major towns on the island are connected by “A” roads. But don’t worry if you’re going to be using public transport on your break! Southern Vectis are responsible for the Isle of Wight’s buses and offer regular services between all of the main towns and the majority of the villages. They also offer open-top bus tours during the summer months that will allow you to experience all that the island has to offer.

Finding somewhere to stay

Well that’s the easy bit! Here at Sykes we have a wide selection of stunning holiday cottages situated all over the island! So whether you’re after a somewhere tucked away amongst the green hills of the Isle of Wight or a beachside retreat, we’ll be able to help! Just take a look at our full portfolio of Isle of Wight properties where I’m sure you’ll be able to find your dream cottage!

Do you still need some convincing to visit the Isle of Wight? Well you should take a look here at our 10 reasons why you should have a break there!

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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.