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Sykes’ Spotlight on New Luxury Cottages

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
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Here at Sykes HQ, one of our favourite pastimes is having a  nosey at some of the properties that have recently joined. That’s why, we’ve got a whole section of our blog dedicated to doing just that, and today’s post is its latest entry!  We’re going to have a look at some of the more luxurious properties that have signed up in the past few weeks, from a first class barn conversion in Yorkshire to a beautiful manor house in Norfolk.

The Granary, Harrogate

The Granary, ref. 915427

The Granary, ref. 915427

Just four miles down the road from the delightful spa town of Harrogate is The Granary, a stunning first floor barn conversion on the owner’s working farm. The cottage retains many original features such as exposed beams and external stone steps. If you go, you’ll also have your own private, formal garden where you can enjoy an afternoon in the sun, and maybe even a cheeky tipple! And with the endless walks in the country – not to mention the original Betty’s Tearoom just down the road – you won’t find yourself wondering what to do!

Priory Cottage, Saundersfoot

Priory Cottage, ref. 915079

Priory Cottage, ref. 915079

Next up is Priory Cottage in the small village of Saundersfoot, South Wales. Exquisitely furnished throughout, Priory Cottage features two bedrooms, one with a super king-size double bed and the other a twin, although that one can be made into another super king-size too. There’s also the feature glass sided stairway, surround sound system and underfloor heating. Perfect for those sunny summer afternoons is the beautiful garden where you can lie back and enjoy a spot of sunshine, and the raised terrace that’s perfect for an alfresco meal. What’s more, if there’s a crowd of you going, you can also book out the Priory, which is next door, as they sleep sixteen people between them.

The Manor House, Gorleston-on-Sea

The Manor House, ref. 913919

The Manor House, ref. 913919

Finally, we’ve the perfect cottage for a large family get together, as it sleeps up to ten people. The grade II listed Manor House has been furnished to a high standard throughout with features such as an AGA in the kitchen-diner, and two comfortable reception rooms, one of which is complete with a cosy wood burner. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a six seater hot tub in the back garden! The kids will be happy too, between the Playstation 3, the expansive gardens and the nearby beaches, you’ll never struggle to keep them occupied!

So that’s that, some of our newest luxury cottages. But don’t forget to take a look at the other new properties; they’re coming in thick and fast so you’re bound to find something for you. Or, if you’re the owner of a holiday cottage, have a read about why you should let your property with Sykes and you may well end up on our next round up of new cottages!

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.

Weird and Wonderful Attractions around the UK

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
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For today’s instalment of the Sykes Cottages blog, we’re having a look at some of the unusual yet wonderful places to visit around the UK and Ireland. You should be warned, it’s a truly eclectic mix that you probably wouldn’t find in any tour guide around the world; but don’t let that put you off. All of these attractions are well worth a visit, they just don’t seem to get the attention they deserve. So if you fancy taking a tour around some of the more off the wall places you can go when you’re stuck for something to do, have a look and see what catches your eye!

Museum of Witchcraft

museum of witchcraft

via Flickr

First up we’ve got one of the spookiest spots in Cornwall, the Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft. Featuring one of the world’s largest collections of magic related bits and pieces and telling the tales of witchcraft through the ages, it certainly makes for a different experience to your standard museum!

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

llanfair

via Flickr

Or what about a stop off in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch?  Unsurprisingly, it’s the longest place name in the UK and translated it means ‘Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave’, so either way, it’s a bit of a mouthful!

Colmans Mustard Shop and Museum

colmans mustard museum

via Flickr

Or if you’re a bit of a foodie then you might want to head down to the Colman’s Mustard Shop and Museum in Norwich. As one of Britain’s best loved brands, Colman’s have been doing their best to spice up ham butties and roast dinners around the country for 200 years now. Whilst you’re there, be sure to get yourself on the outside of a few of the samples that are laid on for you!

The Forbidden Corner

via Flickr

via Flickr

Then there’s the Forbidden Corner in North Yorkshire. Featuring a temple of the underworld, the eye of the needle and countless other oddities. You’ll have to find your way through the labyrinth of twists and turns and dead ends to try and find all that this truly bizarre spot has to offer!

The Gnome Reserve

gnome reserve

via Flickr

Next up we’ve got one of the stranger attractions that you could possibly think of. If you head down to West Putford in Devon you’ll find what could be you’re typical nature reserve, except there’s one key difference – all of the inhabitants are garden gnomes! But it’s not just the thousand gnomes, there’s also a wild flower garden to have a wander in as well as the option of tucking into a delicious Devon Cream tea!

Wharram Percy

wharram percy

via Flickr

Or if you fancy something a little less novelty there’s the village of Wharram Percy in Yorkshire. It’s pretty much like any typical English countryside village except for one thing; nobody has lived there for hundreds of years! Deserted way back in the 15th century, Wharram Percy now makes for an ideal spot to get away from it all with a quiet afternoon stroll and a picnic.

Puzzlewood

puzzlewood

via Flickr

Next up we’ve got Puzzlewood down in the Forest of Dean. This particular spot was one of the main inspirations behind J.R.R. Tolkien’s middle earth, and with its mysterious pathways and gullies you can certainly see why! There’s also a small petting zoo not to mention the willow maze made up of over 4,000 willow trees!

Bekonscot

bekonscot

via Flickr

Finally we’ve got Bekonscot, the oldest model village in the world. Dating back to the 1930′s, Bekonscot has grown over the years and has become a miniature metropolis sprawling over two acres of the Buckinghamshire countryside. It features 6 separate towns, a race course, castle and even a fully functioning railway!

So there we have it, a truly bizarre mix that encapsulates some of the weird yet wonderful attractions that can be found around Britain and Ireland, and if you’ve seen anything that you fancy be sure to take a look at our list of unusual cottages so that you have somewhere to stay at the end of the day!

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.

Sykes’ Take on the Ironman Triathlon

Sunday, September 14th, 2014
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Today saw one of the most challenging events in the UK sporting calendar the Ironman Triathlon in South Wales. Consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a 26.2 mile run and a 112 mile bike ride and with a strict time limit of 17 hours it’s not one for the faint hearted. Now here at Sykes we know that this kind of undertaking isn’t everybody’s cup of tea and so we’ve decided to put together our own, admittedly more sedate, version of the triathlon featuring some of the best places around the UK for swimming, cycling and running. So take a look at it and see if we can tempt you into giving our triathlon a go.

Swimming

swimming llyn gwynant

via Flickr

There are so many places in the UK where you can pop out for a dip, we’re absolutely spoilt for choice. From the Lake District through to the Lochs of Scotland, the options are seemingly endless. However we’ve picked out Llyn Gwynant, a beautiful lake in the shadows of Snowdon. Both ends of the lake are nice and shallow meaning that you’ll never be out of your comfort zone, but unless your heading down in the height of summer make sure that take along a wetsuit as the water can get rather chilly, and a thermos of tea certainly wouldn’t go amiss!

Running

running new forest

via Flickr

For the running section of the Sykes triathlon we’re going to head down to the New Forest National Park in Southern England. With it’s unspoilt natural beauty there’s nowhere better to enjoy a brisk morning jog and if you time it right you can witness some of the most beautiful sunrises around, what more could you want?

Cycling

cycle lake district

via Flickr

For the final leg, the bike ride, we’re heading up to one of the most beautiful parts of the country, the Lake District. This particular route was voted the best in the UK by the Telegraph last year, and that comes as little surprise. With the stunning scenery up in the Lakes you’ll never struggle to find something to look at whilst pedalling away. The route is a 40 mile loop starting and ending a the quaint little village of Broughton in Furness and along the way you’ll find yourself coasting along the shores of Coniston Water.

So there we have it, Sykes’ very own triathlon. It might not be anything on the Ironman in terms of the difficulty however I’m almost positive that you’d have more fun taking part in ours! And if you manage to complete it you could always reward yourself with a week of R & R in one of our holiday cottages!

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.

Sykes’ Horrible Histories: The Romans

Monday, September 8th, 2014
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So the kids are back in school and the learning will have begun. Back in the day my favourite lesson was always history but far too often the classes seemed to be made up of reading boring passages from old textbooks, and there’s no reason why learning about history should be anything like this! Here in the UK we’re lucky enough to have easy access to some brilliant and interesting attractions and museums. And so we’re going to be having a look at some of the most exciting periods in British History and where you can go to get a taste of it, starting with the Romans!

Veni, Vidi, Vici

4123999205_20b7fccda8_z

via Flickr

To start with we’re going to have to go all the way back to 55 BC when the most famous Roman of all, Julius Caesar decided he fancied adding Britain to his long list of conquests. However things didn’t quite go to plan and two invasions later he headed back to Rome. However around a hundred years later, in 43 AD to be precise, the Romans finally managed to seize the islands. They were in charge for the next 350 years, until in 410 AD they officially left the Britons to fend for themselves in a period known as the Dark Ages.

What Have the Romans Ever Done for us?

hadrians wall

Hadrian’s Wall, via Flickr

Quite a lot as it turns out! It might have been over 1500 years since the Romans left Britain but you can still see many of the things that they left behind them. You might not know it but every city with ‘chester’ in its name was founded by the Romans, from Manchester through to Colchester and even the home of Sykes Cottages – Chester! They also built the first roads in the country, many of which form the base for the ones that we use today. And then there’s the small manner of a wall built all the way from one side of the country to the other, all to keep the pesky Picts up and out of the way!

Where Can You Go?

chester amphitheatre

Chester Amphitheatre’s Mural, via Flickr

There are still plenty of spots in the UK where you can get a glimpse of some Roman handiwork. Hadrian’s wall is the obvious one, many sections of the wall are still standing so you can walk in the footsteps of soldiers from almost 2000 years ago. Whilst you’re there make sure that you pop into Vindolanda, one of the old forts along the wall that is now home to a fantastic museum filled to the rafters with fascinating exhibits. Or you could always swing by Chester where you’ll find the biggest amphitheatre in the country and will have the chance to be given a tour of the city by a Roman soldier!

Hopefully you’ll have enjoyed our whistle stop tour of the Romans in Britain, if so make sure that you keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment and if you have any ideas for something that would make a good blog then please let us know, either over Facebook or Twitter and we’ll do our best!

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.

Sykes’ Spotlight on Farm Cottages

Sunday, September 7th, 2014
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Well it seems as though the summer holidays have flown past in a flash and the kids are already back in school. It might seem as though from now on evenings will consist of washing uniforms, helping out with homework and the like but as it happens there’s no better time for booking a holiday, and here at Sykes we have just the thing to keep the kids happy; our holiday cottages on farms. With all the space to play in and animals to see, never mind the fact that a lot of our owners will be more than happy to take people with them on the rounds, farm cottages are perfect for keeping the kids occupied when on holiday. Because of this, we’ve decided to have a closer look at a few of our favourites to see what they offer.

The Milking Parlour

The Milking Parlour

The Milking Parlour, ref. 12658

The Milking Parlour is tucked away on the owner’s 250 acre working farm together with the four other cottages that make up the Westhope Country Retreats. There’s plenty to do around the Milking Parlour with the Severn Valley Railway, Stokesay Castle and the Roman City of Wroxeter all within reach, not to mention the Acton Scott Working Farm which you might recognize from the BBC’s Victorian Farm. Or if you would rather just hang around the cottage itself then there are plenty of options with a private hot tub, a shared games room and even a gym!

Emma’s Dairy

Emma's Dairy

Emma’s Dairy, ref. 14922

Then there’s Emma’s Dairy, part of the Alkington Grange Barns group just a few miles from Whitchurch. All of these properties share access to an indoor heated swimming pool,a multi-use games area for football, tennis or badminton, a toddler’s play area and even a fishing pond, what more could you ask for? Or if you fancy a day out then there’s the Cheshire Ice Cream Farm, RAF Cosford, Ironbridge, Chester Zoo, all just a short drive from the property, not to mention the pub just 1 mile away!

Turnip House

Turnip House

Turnip House, ref. 1020

Or there’s Turnip House, one of the Grade II listed barn conversions that make up the Plaish Park Farm Cottages which sleep 31 people! The cottage shares access to a full sized tennis court, children’s play area and even go-karts! If that’s not enough, the owners will happily take you along to feed the chickens or even have a ride on the donkeys! Then there’s also stabling for any horse riders with hacks and cross country jumps; Turnip House really has it all!

So that’s that, our spotlight on some of our favourite farm cottages. But remember we do have others and you can browse the full selection on our Farm Cottages page where you’re sure to find one that is just right for you!

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.