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Some of the UK’s Top Road Trips

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014
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Here at Sykes we love a good road trip.  Once you’ve gone through all the hassle of packing the car up, making sure that nothing has been left behind and of course sorting out some snacks for the journey there’s nothing better than finally hitting the open road. In fact you might have noticed that recently we did a round-up of some of the most scenic drives in the United Kingdom. Well whilst we were having a good old think about some of our favourite spots we stumbled across an infographic put together by ATS Euromaster on some of the UK’s best roadtrips. We thought that some of the drives looked fantastic, with stunning scenery and some brilliant stop off points along the way and so we decided to pick out a few of our favourites to share with you!

Caernarfon – Port Meirion

caernarfon - portmeirion

Caernarfon to Portmeirion – 46.3 miles

The first of the drives takes in some of the best views that North Wales has to offer. Starting outside the walls of Caernarfon Castle, the route takes you to Snowdon, the highest peak of the Snowdonia National Park. You’ll then find yourself cruising along to Portmeirion, where you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were on a road trip through the Italian Riviera rather than the Llyn Peninsula. Then, after a refuel in one of Portmeirion’s cafes, you head along to the rather ominously named Hell’s Mouth, otherwise known as Porth Neigwl, a haven for all of the surfers out there.

Glencoe – Inverness

glencoe - inverness

Glencoe to Inverness – 106 miles

For the second drive, we’ll be heading north of the border. Starting at the dramatic Glencoe, which you may recognise from either the Harry Potter films or the most recent instalment of the Bond franchise, Skyfall, where it featured as the childhood home of everybody’s favourite superspy. From there you’ll pop up to the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis, before heading on to Fort William. The final leg will take you to the home of one of Scotland’s more famous, albeit lesser spotted attractions, Nessie!

Kings Lynn – Cromer

kings lynn - cromer

Kings Lynn to Cromer – 54.3 miles

The last of our favourites leads you along the beautiful North Norfolk coastline, one of the most picturesque sections of coast in the country. Starting down at Kings Lynn you’ll find yourself heading over towards the pristine sands of Brancaster before moving on to Wells-next-the-Sea which is well known for its countless colourful beach huts. You’ll finally find yourself down at the Holkham National Nature, an eleven mile long stretch of protected coastline that serves as a home for many of the UK’s endangered species.

Hopefully you enjoyed having a read of that, and found it as interesting as we did, but if you want to see a little more you can find the full infographic here with some more brilliant road trips. And if you fancy having a stop off at the end of your road trip make sure that you check out our selection of holiday cottages, they’re perfect for kicking back and relaxing after a long day behind the wheel.

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.

Discount Days Out With The Kids

Monday, August 11th, 2014
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Well we’ve had a few weeks of the summer holidays now and no doubt the kids have already been treated to several days out. Now we know that the cost of these can start to mount up, and so we’ve had a look to see if we could lend a hand when it comes to finding a few ways to save a bit of money.

Check the Internet

computer

via. Flickr

Nowadays there are plenty of sites that you can go onto and find some of the best value trips in a matter of clicks. Day Out With the Kids is one of the easiest as it breaks them down area by area, allowing you to compare various attractions for their costs. Alternatively, you could pop over to a website like Money Saving Expert which will often post which places have got good deals on, allowing you to track down the best value for money.

Collect Vouchers

vouchers

via. Flickr

Or you can always collect vouchers and coupons which will help you get a bargain price on your day. Normally, cereal boxes are a good place to start for this, or you can also use those saved up Clubcard or Nectar points. Over the summer, Tesco have been running the voucher exchange which lets you trade your hard-earned points for tickets to attractions, and there are some cracking deals available. For example, you can trade just £4.50 worth of points for a child’s ticket to the Eden Project!

Save Money on the Day

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Finally, there are plenty of things that you can do to save money when you actually arrive. A big one for doing this is taking food along with you rather than paying for it from the various stalls and restaurants; most of the time they tend to be a touch expensive. Also if there is a gift shop where you’re heading, you might find it quite useful to set a budget before you let the little ones head in, as they tend to have a habit of picking out the biggest or the most expensive thing that they can get their hands on!

So there we have it, a few hints and tips for saving a bit of cash whilst keeping the kids entertained. Hopefully you’ll have picked up a couple of ideas but if there’s anything that you do which we might have missed out then do let us know, either over Facebook or Twitter, so that we can pass it on!

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’ Seaside Activities

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
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Lets be honest, nothing says a summer holiday quite like a day at the beach. Whether it’s tucking into an ice cream, settling down with your favourite book or just catching some rays, it’s easy for us adults to while away a few hours not doing very much but for the kids things can get a bit boring. So we’ve put together a list of some classic seaside activities to keep them entertained!

Make a sandcastle

sandcastles

via. Flickr

In my eyes, nothing says an archetypal beach holiday quite like building a sandcastle. Whether it’s a one bucket job or something that wouldn’t be out of place on an episode of Grand Designs, I think near enough everybody has built themselves a sandcastle at one point in time. If the kids are planning on building big, remember to tell them to use the wet sand but not to get too close to the sea as you don’t want their handiwork to be swept away by a rogue wave!

Go rock-pooling

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Another thing that will be sure to keep the kids occupied is a spot of rock-pooling. This is best done at low tide to make sure that the rock pools will be exposed. All you need to take with you is a bucket, preferably a clear one so that you can see all of the critters that you catch and a small net. Be sure to fill the bucket up with water from the pool and be careful not to put more than one creature in the bucket at a time. You’ll have to be gentle with them and remember to take a few photos for the kids before putting them back into the rock pool when you’re done!

Have a Seaside Scavenger Hunt

Or you could take a walk down the beach with the little ones and see how many seashells you can find. If you time it right and the tide is on its way out, there should be plenty of beautiful shells scattered around. Whether you run a little competition to see who can find the most shells or the prettiest, or you just use them to decorate those painstakingly-built sandcastles, the kids will be sure to have a good time and they can even take them home as a little keepsake at the end of the day!

So there we have it, Sykes’ seaside activities, hopefully you’ll find it useful and the whole family will enjoy a little trip down to the beach. But don’t worry if you haven’t got anything organised, you can always take a look at our collection of coastal cottages where you’re sure to find one 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.

Sykes Cottages’ Changeover Checklist

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
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Nothing beats a first impression right? Well we’re more than aware of the fact that the same thing goes for a holiday cottage! You want to make a good impression when the guests arrive at the property and have their very first look around, and there is nothing more important for doing this than making sure that you get everything sorted out during the changeover. Having said this, at the peak periods things can get a bit hectic and this can occasionally lead to the odd little job slipping the mind. And this is why we’ve put together a checklist of the jobs that when done will make any holiday cottage feel like a true home from home!

Kitchen

Kitchen of Stable Cottage

Stable Cottage, East Anglia, ref. 3505

  • Check inside the dishwasher in case any dishes have been left in there, if so put them away.
  • Clean the fridge and freezer inside and out, removing any items left behind. The freezer may need defrosting and so it is worth doing this early on in the clean.
  • Give the counters (including under any work-top appliances) and cupboard doors a good wipe down.
  • Clean both the microwave and oven inside and out. Empty any crumbs out of the toaster.
  • Vacuum and mop the floors.

Living Areas

Living room of Grove Cottage

Grove Cottage, North Yorkshire Moors, ref. 12465

  • Clean and vacuum/mop the floors, make sure to do under the furniture as well.
  • Give the surfaces, window sills,  the TV, e.t.c. a dust.
  • Remove any magazines, newspapers that might have been left behind.
  • Make sure that things like fuel for fires e.t.c. are stocked up.

Bedrooms

Bedroom of Willow Garth

Willow Garth, North Yorkshire Moors, ref. 27571

  • Remove all of the bedding from the used beds, check the mattresses.
  • Dust the surfaces and check all of the wardrobes and drawers for any personal items that might have been left behind.
  • Clean all of the mirrors.
  • Give the floors a good vacuum, making sure to get right under the beds and behind any furniture.
  • Make all of the beds up with clean bedding.

Bathrooms

Bathroom of The Paddock

The Paddock, The Lake District, ref. 11219

  • Vacuum and then mop the floors.
  • Clean the showers, bath tubs and sinks, throwing away any soaps, shampoos, etc. left behind by guests.
  • Clean the toilets thoroughly.
  • Clean the mirrors.

We hope that you all find this to be a handy little resource, but you should also remember that there are plenty of little touches around the house that you can do to make your guests feel more at home. From just checking the light bulbs to replacing any dud batteries, they might not seem that important but guests will definitely notice if they’re left undone! But if you do any changeover jobs that seem to go down well and aren’t on our checklist then do let us know, either over Twitter or via Facebook and we’ll pass the tips on!

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.

Scottish Sport This Summer

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
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I think it’s safe to say that the eyes of the sporting world will have well and truly descended on Scotland as the Commonwealth Games finally get up and running. Over the next ten days, thousands of athletes will be competing across seventeen different sporting events from cycling right the way through to squash. However, it’s well worth remembering that it’s not just about the Commonwealth Games up in Scotland, in fact there are plenty of other sporting activities that you could try your hand at, so read on and see if there’s anything that you fancy.

Extreme Sports

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie then Scotland is most definitely where you want to be, after all there are so many options open to you! For example you could have a go at the ultimate thrill, a Bungee Jump! Bungee Jump Scotland offer you two options, the Highland Fling up in the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie or the Urban Bungee which will have you leaping off the cantilever of the Titan Crane in Glasgow. Or, alternatively, you could always take in some of the beautiful countryside with a spot of mountain biking. If you’re a fan of cycling then Scotland is the place for you! No matter where you are you’ll be able to find a cycling paradise, from the borders right up to the Highlands, there’s always somewhere for you!

Water Sports

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Then there’s the water sports! With over 10,000 miles of coastline it comes as little surprise that Scotland is a haven for all types of water sports enthusiasts, from surfers to sailors, paddleboarders to canoeists, the list goes on. The rougher seas of the North coast have put places like Thurso well and truly on the surfing map, however if you’re a beginner you might be better suited to the slightly calmer waters further down the coastline. Or if you’re inland you can take a advantage of some of the fantastic white water rapids dotted around the country and have a go at one of the latest crazes, river bugging!

The Highland Games

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Or if you don’t fancy either of them then, why don’t you pop down to one of the Highland Games! Truly showcasing Scottish heritage at its finest from traditional sports such as the caber toss and the hammer throw, to bagpipe playing and highland dancing, the games make for a spectacle like no other! With events ranging from smaller, local affairs right the way through to the massive Cowal Gathering which brings together three and a half thousand competitors from all over the world, as well as countless spectators you’ll surely be able to find one for you!

So there we have it, some of the fantastic sports and events taking place around Scotland! If any of them have piqued your interest why not take a look at our Scottish cottages so that you have somewhere to put your feet up after a long day, or if you have any suggestions of activities that people should try out north of the border then let us know either over Twitter of Facebook!

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.