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Flexible Short Breaks with Sykes Cottages

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
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Here at Sykes Cottages, we’re always trying to find different ways in which we can make it easier for our customers to book themselves a holiday cottage break. One problem that we noticed was that people were finding it difficult to get the dates that they wanted, and so we’re delighted to announce our new short break scheme that is aimed at solving just that: our Flexible Short Breaks!

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Spend a weekend in luxury in the Corwen Old Police Station

Flexible Short Breaks offer you more choice than ever before when it comes to booking your holiday! Unusual arrival date? Only wanting to stay a few nights? Not a problem, all of these issues can be solved through the scheme! There is a minimum stay of just two nights so they’re perfect for that weekend away that you’ve been lining up. There’s no need to stick to the classic changeover days meaning you can escape it all with a midweek break if you want; after all, breakfast in bed followed by a long countryside walk definitely sounds better than the 9-5 doesn’t it?

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Escape to the Seaside for a couple of days at Berlin House

There is a wide variety of properties that offer Flexible Short Breaks, from the North of Scotland right the way down to the Cornish coast, and they come in all shapes and sizes. So whether you’re looking for the perfect spot for a romantic break or you’re planning a get together with friends, you’re bound to find something for you.

Our Flexible Short Breaks are bookable from now onwards, on breaks taking place at any time between the 30th of May and the 18th of June, offering more versatility than ever before and at a discounted price! If you want any more information on the scheme you’ll want to have a look at this page, or alternatively you can give us a call on 01244 356695 and speak to one of our holiday advisers who will be able to explain it all to you.

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Find some peace and quiet at Tan Y Graig Hall

So if you’re considering treating yourself to a cottage holiday using the Flexible Short Break, make sure you take a look at the full selection of cottages that are available to book and see which one takes your fancy.

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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.

A Day of Traditional British Food

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015
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For today’s instalment of the Sykes Cottages blog, we’ve decided to delve into the world of great British food. For some reason our neighbours over on the continent seem to look down on our cuisine, so here at Sykes we’ve decided to try and come up with a selection of traditional British dishes that we think best showcases our grub. We’ve picked out three, one for each of breakfast, lunch and dinner, in order to make up a menu for the perfect day of British nosh; why don’t you take a look and see what you think.


Smoked fish, rice, curry powder and hard boiled eggs, doesn’t exactly sound like your typical breakfast dish now does it? Well that’s exactly what kedgeree is! Starting off life on the Indian subcontinent as the rice and lentil dish of Khichari, it quickly became a favourite of the British living in colonial India. Over the years they gradually added ingredients that were a bit more familiar to the British palate and the name was eventually Anglicised into the kedgeree that we know today. The dish was so popular with those serving in the Raj that it was brought back when they returned home and became a breakfast staple in Victorian Britain.

Welsh Rarebit

For lunch we’re heading over to Wales and the classic dish of Welsh Rarebit. Although the name might suggest otherwise to the unknowing, there isn’t actually any rabbit present in the dish. Instead, a proper Rarebit is made up of a savoury, cheese-based sauce and toasted bread. Various additional ingredients are often added to the sauce to give that little bit extra, from mustard to cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce to paprika and even a bit of beer!


Now we couldn’t really write a piece about classic British dishes without taking a trip north of the border for a spot of haggis! This archetypal Scottish dish is mainly reserved for special occasions such as Burns Night (where it even has a poem read for it), although in recent times it has seen something of a renaissance that has put it back on the everyday dining table. Made using minced sheep’s pluck (I wouldn’t read too much into this if I were you!) packed into casing, a haggis is normally either simmered or cooked in an oven until piping hot and served up with “neeps and tatties”. However, if you’re looking to try out something different you’ll want to take a look at this collection of recipes.

So there you have it, the perfect selection of dishes for you to rustle up in order to celebrate some of the best British grub. We’d love to know if you decided to try and put together any of the dishes, just make sure that you send us a picture over Facebook or Twitter so that we can have a little nosey!


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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.

6 of Scotland’s Best Castles

Sunday, April 26th, 2015
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Today on the Sykes blog, we’re going to be taking a trip north of the border in order to investigate some of the biggest and best castles on offer. With its turbulent and colourful history, Scotland has been a breeding ground for countless examples of castles, from the medieval peel towers in the Borders, right the way through to the stunning feats of architecture such as Edinburgh and Balmoral. Now as you can probably imagine, it’s been quite the task narrowing it down to just the six castles but we’ve done our best, so take a look and see which one would get your vote.


Where else could we have started this list but with the world famous Edinburgh Castle? The centrepiece of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site, Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline up above the city and is one of Scotland’s most visited tourist attractions with people flocking there in their droves. With the celebrated 1 o’clock gun and events such as the annual Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle is definitely worth paying a visit to.


With at least eight sieges, a few ghosts and a couple of famous murders, I think it’s safe enough to say that Stirling Castle has had a pretty eventful history. Most of the buildings on show these days date back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, although a few earlier examples still remain. Not only is it a Scheduled Ancient Monument but Stirling Castle has played a major role in Scottish history with many of the most prominent figures being strongly linked to it, from Robert the Bruce through to King James I, the first ruler of both England and Scotland.

Eilean Donan

With stunning views out over the Isle of Skye, Eilean Donan is found right at the juncture of three of the Highland lochs. It’s easily one of the most recognisable points, not just in the Highlands but in Scotland! Over the centuries, Eilean Donan has had a somewhat colourful past, whether it’s clan uprisings, the War of Independence or being partially destroyed during the Jacobite Uprising of the 18th Century. Happily though, the castle was rebuilt in the early 1900’s and under the guidance of the Conchra Charitable Trust remains one of the Highlands’ gems.


Next up, we’re heading to Caerlaverock Castle in Dumfries. Sitting just the other side of the Solway Firth from England, Caerlaverock has watched over the Borders for centuries and played a key role in Scottish history. Over the years, Caerlaverock was attacked countless times, including when Edward I of England besieged it with the entire English Army in 1300. Although one of its walls may have been destroyed following it’s capture in 1640, the castle remains one of the finest on offer and its unique triangular design still pulls in visitors right to this day.


Then we’re going to head up north to the Ayrshire Coast where you’ll be able to find Culzean Castle. Some version of the castle may have standing since the 1300’s but it wasn’t until Sir Thomas Kennedy inherited the building in the mid-18th century that it started to take the form that we see today. With stunning gardens and extravagant interiors, including a famous oval staircase, Culzean really is one of the gems of the north of Scotland, so much so that since 1987 it has featured on the back of the Scottish £5 notes.


Apparently the oldest continually inhabited castle in the whole of Scotland, Dunvegan has been the seat of the chiefs of Clan Macleod for over 800 years. Throughout the many generations that have called it home, the Macleods have managed to amass a veritable treasure trove of Scottish artefacts, from a lock of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hair through to the famous fairy flag, which according to legend brings victory to the Macleods whenever it is unfurled.


We’re going to finish with another of the most famous castles in Scotland – Balmoral. Well known for being one of Queen Elizabeth II’s favoured retreats, Balmoral has been in the possession of the Royal family since 1852 when it was purchased by Prince Albert. Over the years, the estate has steadily expanded and these days covers and area of around 50,000 acres with woodlands, Munros and of course the stunning gardens that were opened to public access back in 1931.

Well there you have it. Hopefully you’ll agree with our choices. There are so many more that we just couldn’t fit into our list but let us know if you have any favourites that you think should have been included! If you fancy paying one of them a visit, make sure you take a look at this page where you’ll find our full range of Scottish properties perfect for putting your feet up in after a long day out and about.

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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.

Seaside Cottages for the Bank Holiday

Friday, April 24th, 2015
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Are you still not 100% sure about how you’re going to be spending the upcoming bank holiday weekend? How about a trip to the seaside? Just think about it, when the weather’s good there’s not much better. Well what about a good old fashioned trip to the seaside? Just think about it, heading for a walk, settling down on the beach with a good book, building a sandcastle, or even tucking into an ice cream – sounds good doesn’t it? Well if it’s taken your fancy you might want to read on as we’ve tracked down some of our seaside cottages that still have some availability over the bank holiday weekend, so take a look and see if you fancy booking a break in any of them.

Pulrose, Bull Bay, Anglesey (ref. 3967)

Overlooking the rocky headlands around the delightful little village of Bull Bay on the north coast of Anglesey, Pulrose is the ideal spot for a family break over the bank holiday weekend. The spacious open plan living area comes complete with its own balcony that gives stunning views out over the coastline; to the rear of the cottage there is a sun-trap of a garden where you can enjoy any good weather that happens to come along.

Gwylanod, Goodwick near Fishguard (ref. 912929)

When you see Gwylanod it comes as little surprise to learn that it was the recipient of an architectural design award back in 2013. With fantastic sea views out over Fishguard Bay from both the sitting area and the balcony of the property, you’ll never be lacking for some good scenery. Gwylanod is the perfect base to explore the stunning coastline around Fishguard and the owners even provide you with a photo guide of the best beaches and hidden coves for you to visit.

Beachside Hideaway, Donaghmore, County Wexford (ref. 16335)

Or if you’re looking to take a trip over to Ireland, you’ll want to take a look at the Beachside Hideaway- the perfect spot for a couple’s break on the Irish coast. An airy, open plan design and high quality furnishings mean that any break in Beachside Hideaway will be one spent in comfort. If you’re rewarded with a spot of good weather, there are walks aplenty right from the doorstep and the chance to pay a visit to the resident colony of seals just down the road at Roney Point.

4 Coastguard Cottages, Coverack, Cornwall (ref. 922062)

I think it’s safe to say that there aren’t too many places around the UK where you’ll be able to find beaches quite as beautiful as those on show in Cornwall, so where better is there to spend the bank holiday weekend? 4 Coastguard Cottages is a picturesque end-terrace property in the quaint fishing village of Coverack on the Lizard Peninsula, that’s perfect for the whole family. With the beach just a short stroll away and fantastic water-sports on offer in the area, you’ll never struggle for something to do.

Scylla View Cottage, Tregonhawke Cliff (ref. 4466)

Finally, we’ve got something a bit special! You can’t get much more coastal than Scylla View Cottage! Perched just a few metres above the beach at Tregonhawke in Whitsand Bay, it really is a unique property. The beach itself will be patrolled by lifeguards over the bank holiday making it the ideal spot to try your hand at a wide variety of water-sports, from kite surfing through to kayaking, and after a long day out on the waves you can return to your cosy little cottage and enjoy the views out over the Eddystone Lighthouse.

So there you go, a small sample of some of the great cottages that still have some availability over the bank holiday, but they’ll book up fast so make sure that you get in there quick! Or if you want to see the full list take a look here – you’re bound to find something that will catch 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.

Get Out and About in the Lake District

Saturday, April 18th, 2015
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Today we’re going to be continuing with this week’s Lake District theme as we take a look at some of the best outdoor activities that you can try your hand at in the area. Let’s be honest, when you’re somewhere with the stunning scenery of the Lakes, which ranges from the towering Scafell Pike through to the tranquil beauty of spots such as Wastwater and the Langdale Valley, you don’t want to be locked up indoors. So we’ve trawled through the options available to visitors to the area in order to try and find a few activities that you can do to get a taste of the great outdoors!

Get out on the Lakes

What better way is there to explore the Lake District than actually heading out on the Lakes themselves? As you’d expect, there are a multitude of providers who can offer all sorts of options, whether it’s a gentle paddle on calm waters or an overnight expedition complete with bushcraft and camping out under the stars, it turns out that the Lakes are the perfect playground for all of the water sports enthusiasts! The options seem endless, whether it’s kayaking on Derwentwater or sailing on Windermere, and you can even try out one of the latest crazes, Stand Up Paddle Boarding!

Jump in the Saddle

Or if you want a different way in which to take in the beautiful scenery of the Lake District, you could always try out a horseback tour. There are several companies in the area who specialise in this and can offer a wide variety of options from gallops down the beach to long ranges across the fells. There’s no need to worry if you aren’t an expert rider- nearly all of the providers will be able to offer sufficient support and tutelage to make even first time riders feel at home in the saddle.

Test Yourself With the Via Ferrata

Then there’s something a little special for the real daredevils out there! How do you fancy crossing a wire bridge strung around 1,200 feet above the ground? Well with the Via Ferrata at Honister Pass you can do just that. Via Ferratas were first used in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy and consist of a set of pathways, ladders and bridges accompanied by a continuous wire that allow people to easily reach areas that were previously inaccessible to all but the most hardened climbers. The Via Ferratas at Honister were the UK’s first ever and they allow you to reach the very top of Fleetwith Pike which at 2,126 feet above the valley floor is well over twice the height of the UK’s tallest building, the Shard!

There you have it, some of the best ways in which you can experience the great outdoors in the Lake District. Hopefully we’ll have tempted you into taking a trip there to try them out! If that is the case you should have a glimpse at our wide selection of Lake District cottages so that you have a cosy little retreat where you can put your feet up after a long day. Or maybe you can think of an alternative activity? If so do let us know over Facebook or Twitter and we’ll try to pass the message on as best we can!

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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.