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Book a 2015 summer break in Norfolk or Suffolk

Friday, January 16th, 2015
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Planning a family holiday this summer but not sure where to travel? How about East Anglia, where sun, sea, sand and – not forgetting – wonderful countryside awaits. This corner of England is ideal for those travelling with kids because its proximity to other parts of the country ensures you won’t have to endure an overly long car journey. Plus, the region’s beaches are some of the safest and cleanest in the UK, making it perfect for sun-seekers both young and old.

Norfolk or Suffolk? The choice is yours! But wherever you choose, rest assured that you’ll be within a stone’s throw of great beaches, fabulous food and no-end of family friendly attractions. To make your decision easier, here’s a guide to some of the things to look out for on your cottage break in Norfolk or Suffolk.

Norfolk

Arguably the UK’s best-loved family holiday destination, Norfolk welcomes thousands of visitors each year who’ve heard about the county’s remarkable beaches and charming, time forgotten Broads.

The main appeal of a holiday in Norfolk is its mixture of distinctive holiday destinations: whether you’re after a classic family beach holiday in Greath Yarmouth; a tranquil walking holiday amid the lush Norfolk Broads; or a romantic sojourn to the dramatic north coast, there really is a holiday to suit everyone in this idyllic English county.

Coast

Let’s start at the coast, where mighty stretches of sand and surf are interrupted by charming coastal resorts. Head north, and discover the stunning beaches of Norfolk’s northern seaboard. Sights not to be missed here include the beaches of Hunstanton, Holkham and Snettisham.

Norfolk & Suffolk 2

Cromer Pier by Judith is licensed by CC 2.0

To the north-east, be sure to visit Cromer, a timeless seaside resort which was a favourite among wealthy Victorian’s travelling from London to the seaside. The town is famed for its distinctive tasting crab, which has been caught off the coast for hundreds of years. Other coastal towns well worth visiting include Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton and Gorleston-on-Sea.

Country

Couples and families looking for a rural break in Norfolk will love the Norfolk Broads. Commonly mistaken as a natural feature, The Broads are actually flooded peat fields dug by monasteries in the Middle Ages. Today, the landscape of The Broads is characterised by its reed beds and wet woodlands, not to mention its recognisable black and white windmills.

Image by Paul Appleyard is licensed by

Image by Paul Appleyard is licensed by CC 2.0

A holiday in the Norfolk Broads really does feel like an escape from the present day. Think long walks beside quiet, babbling brooks; fascinating boat trips along one or more of The Broads 120 miles of navigable waterways; pike and Perch fishing on a quiet, wooded stream; not to mention a wonderful array of charming villages teeming with things to see and do.

Suffolk

Image by Peter Mello is licensed under CC 2.0

Image by Peter Mello is licensed under CC 2.0

Suffolk may be less popular than Norfolk, but we have no idea why! Like its neighbour, this is a county rich in rural beauty and enticing, sandy beaches, peppered here and there with delightful towns and villages where a warm welcome is virtually guaranteed.

Whether you choose a family holiday in one of Suffolk’s traditional coastal resorts – Aldeburgh, Dunwich or Southwold to name but a few – or a romantic, rural retreat in the midst of the county’s charming, pastoral countryside, you’ll be swept off your feet by this timeless English holiday destination.

Coast

If you’re looking for the nostalgic fun of a seaside break, a coastal holiday rental in Suffolk is a great choice. The county is awash with soft, sandy beaches where adults and children alike can enjoy some fun in the sun. Suffolk is also famed for its colourful beach huts, which line the seashore in towns like Felixstowe and Southwold.

Norfolk & Suffolk 6

Image by Blue Square Thing is licensed under CC 2.0

For the classic family beach holiday, be sure to check out our cottage rentals in Felixstowe, Aldeburgh and Southwold, where there are plenty of facilities and a wonderful sandy beach on which to lay your towel. For quieter trips to the coast, head for Denes Beach or Corton Sands.

Country

If there’s one thing Suffolk isn’t short of, it’s pretty countryside. The county is home to the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB; 155 square miles of wildlife wetlands, heather moorlands and windswept beaches, as well as the Thetford Forest Park, a huge, wild woodland traversing the borders of Suffolk and Norfolk.

Image by Nick Ford is licensed under CC 2.0

Image by Nick Ford is licensed under CC 2.0

Birdwatcher? Kite flyer? Mountain Bike Rider? Whatever your pursuit, Suffolk is a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts. If you prefer the quieter side of life, the county proves perfect, with an array of country pubs, interesting villages and heritage towns for you to discover.

Sun, sea & sand: Book a summer break in East Anglia today

So, what’s it to be: Norfolk or Suffolk? If you can’t decide, why not browse our East Anglia holiday homes and see what we can offer you. From contemporary coastal cottages to traditional country holiday homes, our holiday rentals in East Anglia offer a great base for a summer holiday in Norfolk or Suffolk – browse our range and choose your summer holiday destination today!

 

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Weird & Wonderful: 10 things you didn’t know about the Isle of Wight

Sunday, January 11th, 2015
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To most mainland folk, not much is known of the Isle of Wight, a relatively tiny island lying twenty or so miles off the Hampshire Coast. They’ve probably heard about its annual music festival, which has drawn some of the world’s biggest performing artists. They might have heard that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert used to spend their summers there, or that it’s a haven for the endangered red squirrel. But apart from these few things, what’s really known about the island of the Solent?

To illuminate you mainlanders of the joys of this remarkable little isle, we scoured the web to bring you ten weird and wonderful facts about the Isle of Wight. So let’s get to it.

  1. The Isle of Wight is the sunniest place in the UK, with 1,800-2,000 hours of sunshine each year – more than some parts of Spain! Why not rent a cottage on the Isle of Wight for a sunny summer break?
Via Flickr

Via Flickr

  1. Garlic has been produced on the island for centuries and is one of its most important exports. Islanders are so besotted with their crop of this wonderful superfood, they created the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival, a celebration of all things garlicky.
Via Flickr

Via Flickr

  1. In Victorian times, the Isle of Wight was home to several high-profile “celebrities”, including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria. Other famous faces who’ve graced the isle include Winston Churchill and Karl Marx.
Via Flickr

Via Flickr

  1. Despite its size, the Isle of Wight is said to be the most haunted island in the world, with an assortment of spectres lingering among the living. Supernatural sightings include phantom monks, marching Romans and grey ladies.
Via Flickr

Via Flickr

  1. Speaking of Romans: during their occupation, the Isle of Wight was known as Vectis. Surprisingly, this name is still used widely to this day, despite being dropped after the Romans left in the 5th century.
Via Flickr

Via Flickr

  1. At high tide, the Isle of Wight becomes England’s smallest county. When the tide is low, the historic county of Rutland near Leicestershire reclaims this title.
Via Flickr

Via Flickr

  1. The Isle of Wight is home to what is thought to be the world’s oldest amusement park: Blackgang Chine. Built in 1843, the park was named after a former chine (coastal ravine), and provided entertainment for Victorian holidaymakers.
Via Flickr

Via Flickr

  1. Throughout the year, the Isle of Wight receives over twenty times more overseas visitors than its permanent population. In 2011, the population of the Isle of Wight was around 140,000, but the island received over two million visitors.
Via Flickr

Via Flickr

  1. Due to its location, the Isle of Wight was considered an excellent location for housing some of the UK’s most infamous prisoners. Notorious names incarcerated on the isle include the Kray Twins, the Richardson Brothers, and king of England, George I.
Via Flickr

Via Flickr

  1. In 1896, Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi established the world’s first radio on the Isle of Wight. His invention was placed near the Needles, and went on to be distributed throughout the world.
Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Whether you’re interested in renting a holiday cottage on the Isle of Wight, or are just swatting for Friday’s pub quiz, we hope this has shed some light on this fascinating little isle. The Isle of Wight is a timeless destination for both young and old, with great beaches, charming countryside, and a warm, island welcome – why not give it a go on your next getaway?

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Book a 2015 summer break in Cornwall, Devon or Dorset

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015
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If you love holidaying in the UK but want to turn up the heat on your next summer break, the South West of England is a great place to book a self-catering getaway. On average, temperatures here can be five degrees warmer than other parts of the UK, making this corner of the country perfect for sun-seekers and adventurers alike.

Whether you choose Cornwall, Devon or Dorset, a self-catering summer holiday in the South West of England offers long sunlight hours, stunning beaches, invigorating countryside, fabulous food, and lots of things to see and do. Here’s a quick look at each of the South West’s unique counties, and what you can look forward to when you arrive.

Cornwall

St Ives – Via Flickr

St Ives – Via Flickr

Cornwall is arguably the most popular summer holiday destination in the British Isles, with millions travelling there each year. The county can be divided into four main areas – North, South, West, Bodmin Moor & Tamar Valley – with each region having its own unique character.

Rent a holiday home in North Cornwall, and look forward to exploring the dramatic Atlantic Seaboard; where breaker-battered beaches attract surfers from around the globe. Places not to be missed in this region include Newquay, Padstow, Boscastle and Watergate Bay.

The Eden Project - Via Flickr

The Eden Project – Via Flickr

Opt for a cottage in West Cornwall and you’ll find yourself hip-deep in myth, legend and Cornish folklore. The region is strewn with ancient Iron Age sites and medieval castles, not to mention some of the county’s most sought-after beauty spots. Don’t miss Penzance, St Ives and Marazion.

Head to South Cornwall on your summer break and explore wonderful fishing villages as well as numerous world-class visitor attractions, including the renowned Eden Project. There’s plenty of wonderful destinations to choose from too: try Looe, Falmouth, Polperro or St Austell.

Adventurers, thrill-seekers and fans of the great outdoors should make for Bodmin Moor & Tamar Valley on their Cornish cottage holiday. Bodmin Moor is renowned for its walking and adventure trails, not to mention its dramatic natural beauty. Don’t miss a daytrip to Bodmin, Launceston and Saltash.

Click here to view self-catering holiday cottages in Cornwall

Devon

Dartmoor - Via Flickr

Dartmoor – Via Flickr

Like its neighbour, Devon is a popular choice among summer sun-seekers thanks to its stunning beaches and popular coastal resorts. Yet, go inland, and you’ll quickly realise the county has more to offer than sun, sea and sand. With two national parks – Exmoor and Dartmoor – and several historic towns and cities including Plymouth, Exeter and Torbay, Devon is the ideal destination for all manner of self-catering breaks.

Torquay - Via Flickr

Torquay – Via Flickr

Outdoor enthusiast? A self-catering getaway to North Devon could be just what you’re looking for! Thanks to the Atlantic Ocean, Devon’s north coast is impressively rugged, with a number of world-renowned surf beaches and a plethora of gnarly clifftops. Then of course, there’s the Exmoor National Park, whose craggy landscape offers a playground for walkers, climbers and mountain bikers alike.

Elsewhere in Devon, things are a little more serene. Unlike the north, the south coast gives way to imposing cliffs and big surf in favour of long, golden beaches and family friendly resorts like Paignton, Sidmouth, and Torquay. Head inland, and you’ll find rolling, green countryside, as well as the spectacular natural beauty of the Dartmoor National Park, famed for its pony treks, walking trails, and fabulous scenic picnic spots.

Click here to view self-catering holiday cottages in Devon

Dorset

Durdle Door - Via Flickr

Durdle Door – Via Flickr

Peace and quiet awaits on a 2015 summer holiday in Dorset. This rural county, with its serene landscapes and breath-taking heritage coast, offers a quiet retreat for holiday-ready families or couples in search of much needed alone time together.

Like other counties in the South West of England, tourists travel to Dorset to experience its wonderful blend of both coast and country. Whether you want to walk with dinosaurs on Dorset’s dramatic Jurassic Coast or explore its myriad of time-forgotten villages and towns, there’s a wealth of things to see and do in this sun-drenched and quintessentially English county.

Gold Hill - Via Flickr

Gold Hill – Via Flickr

Families in search of the classic seaside summer holiday will love Dorset’s coastal resorts, which include Weymouth, Lyme Regis, Christchurch and Swanage. Though all distinct in their own unique way, each offers great facilities, amenities, and most of all, a stunning beach on which to lay your towel. Other, less-known attractions on the Dorset coast include Arne, a pretty village in the Purbeck District, as well as Chapman’s Pool, whose secluded cove is perfect for couples.

Travel inland during your summer trip to Dorset, and expect delightful villages and charming countryside at every turn. Many of the county’s rural areas are protected due to their rare flora and fauna, making it the ideal destination for wildlife lovers. Don’t miss a trip to Sherbourne, Milton Abbas and Evershot.

Click here to view self-catering holiday cottages in Dorset

Get-set for a summer holiday in the sunny South West

Wherever you choose to stay in England’s sunny South West, Sykes Cottages offer a wonderful array of self-catering holiday cottages for any party size. Whether you’re planning the quintessential seaside getaway with your kids or a romantic, rural break with your other half, our cottage rentals in South West England are the perfect choice for a memorable summer holiday in 2015.

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Book a city break with Sykes this January

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015
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Christmas may be over, but for many, the shopping continues. With its legendary sales, January is the month of choice for many a big spender. If you’re planning to shop ‘til you drop this New Year, why not make a weekend of it with a short break from Sykes? We’ve got self-catering cottages to rent in some of the UK’s best loved cities, including Chester, Edinburgh and Norwich, giving you plenty of options for the annual bargain hunt. Here’s an in-depth look at the towns and cities you should consider taking a break in this January.

Chester

Chester City Centre – Via Flickr

Chester City Centre – Via Flickr

Get your spend on within the historic walls of Chester this January, and you’ll find more than just the usual hum-drum high-street. This remarkable heritage city is brimming with retail opportunities, with big name stores and independent retailers jostled together in the city’s distinctive town centre. Aside from its timber-framed shop fronts and olde-worlde cobbles, Chester has another stand-out feature: The Rows, a series of medieval walkways which effectively create a second high-street. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in town, make for Cheshire Oaks, where you’re bound to find a bargain or two.

Click here to view our Chester holiday cottages.

Norwich

Norwich Lanes – Via Flickr

Norwich Lanes – Via Flickr

From the Romans to the Saxons, we bring you the wonderful city of Norwich. Once England’s second largest city, Norwich has all the trappings of a proper ‘ye olde’ English city; think narrow streets, cobbles and oak fronted shop fronts. For shoppers, the city doesn’t disappoint. First, there’s the Norwich Lanes, a series of cobblestoned byways brimming with independent stores. Next is the Royal Arcade, whose elegant façade has attracted a number of luxury retailers. Then of course there’s the city’s two inner-city shopping centres, which each house an impressive array of shops.

Click here to view our Norwich holiday cottages.

Dublin

Grafton Street, Dublin – Via Flickr

Grafton Street, Dublin – Via Flickr

Shopping aficionado? Forget London and travel to the Irish capital instead. Dublin is not only a great place to spend your hard-earned, it’s a wonderful destination in its own right, with pubs, eateries and attractions aplenty. But enough about that; we have business to attend. As you’d expect from a capital city, Dublin is a real gem when it comes to retail therapy. The city boasts a number of famous shopping districts, including Grafton Street, which was dubbed the fifth most expensive shopping street in the world in 2008. Take a tour of the city and who knows what treasures you’ll unearth.

Click here to view our Dublin holiday cottages.

Edinburgh

Grassmarket, Edinburgh – Via Flickr

Grassmarket, Edinburgh – Via Flickr

From one capital to another; Edinburgh is the undisputed king of retail north of the border. High street stores, independent retailers, speciality markets – you name it, Edinburgh has it. For all your high street essentials, make for Princes Street or St Andrews Square. You’ll find luxury, high-end items on George Street, whilst the city’s historic Grassmarket is home to no-end of independent boutiques. Jenners is also well worth a visit. This unique department store was first opened in 1838, and features an eye-catching interior far-removed from the bright, white aesthetic of other department stores.

Click here to view our Edinburgh holiday cottages.

Book a 3-night city break today with Sykes Cottages!

A self-catering holiday home may not be the first thing that springs to mind when planning a city break, but they offer a flexible and affordable alternative to a hotel. Whether you opt for one of our inner city cottages, or rent one on the outskirts and catch the bus, a January short break in a Sykes’ holiday home could be just what you’ve been looking for.

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Walk of the Month: Burnham Overy Staithe to Stiffkey, Norfolk

Thursday, January 1st, 2015
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Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to 2015. Sore head? (Me too) But don’t fret, as I have the perfect remedy for the perennial New Year’s Day hangover: a ten mile walk along Norfolk’s beautiful northern seaboard.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Think buckets of bracing, North Sea air. Stunning natural backdrops. Deserted beaches where Fido can run amuck; not to mention an assortment of coastal villages where a friendly Norfolk welcome is never far away. On a hangover, a ten miler may sound a daunting prospect, but wrap up warm, have a big breakfast, and this stunning stroll will sort you right out – trust me.

The Walk

Just shy of 10 miles (9.8 to be precise) this walk is suitable for experienced walkers or those up for a challenge. Despite the reasonably long distance, the terrain is easy, with few hills and reassuring surfaces underfoot. If you have a dog, take it, as the wide expanses of sand are perfect for hyper pooches.

The Route

Walk of the Month - Norfolk B

Via Flickr

As you’re following the Norfolk Coast path, this route is ideal for those with a poor sense of direction as it’s almost impossible to get lost. Start the walk in Burnham Overy Staithe – a hamlet separated from the North Sea by 2km of sand and marshes – and head for the flood wall. Follow this path, heading in the direction of the sand dunes.

Keep your eyes peeled for adders, toads and butterflies as you enter the dunes. This part of Norfolk is teeming with life, on land, air and sea. Spend a moment atop the dunes, taking in the fantastic views of the sea beyond and the marshes behind. On a clear day, you can see the Lincolnshire coastline.

Look for the Norfolk Coast Path signpost and follow the arrive which directs you down onto the sand. At this time of year it’s likely you’ll have the beach all to yourself – unless of course this blog goes viral…

Dogs are welcome here, so if you have your pooch with you, set them free so they can burn off some energy. The beach seems endless in all directions.

Continue east until you reach Holkham Meals and Holkham Gap. Here, you could go off-piste to explore the nearby Holkham Hall, a palatial 18th-century country house. If not, continue en-route.

Take the board walk towards Holkham Gap before joining the path which skirts between the woodlands and the dunes. Soon, the path enters a pleasant woodland, where you’ll find a number of picnic benches that mark a good place to stop for lunch.

Soon, you’ll come to the delightful village of Wells-next-the-Sea, famous for its historic buildings and amusements. Spend some time exploring this village before resuming the walk.

Take the sea wall out of Wells and continue east. Terrain can become muddy here, so watch your step. Continue on this path, passing numerous salt marshes, until you arrive at the delightful village of Stiffkey.

Download the comprehensive map and route for this walk here.

Rent a cottage in Norfolk with Sykes Cottages

Fancy a getaway to Norfolk in the New Year? Then take a look at our wonderful selection of Norfolk holiday rentals! We have a great range of cottages to rent in Norfolk, from the pretty Broads to the dramatic coast. Click the link above to find your perfect Norfolk holiday home today.

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.