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Sykes’ Autumnal Best Bits

Friday, October 17th, 2014
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We’re having a bit of an autumnal moment here at Sykes Cottages. Perhaps it’s the chill in the air, the view from our window or our Autumn’s Best Bits competition, but we’ve been talking constantly about the best things of the season. Not ones to be left out of the fun, we thought we’d share what our favourite bits of autumn right here on the blog.

Jacket Potatoes

A picture of Jonathan's delicious jackets; made with potatoes straight from his father's farm - yum!

A picture of Jonathan’s delicious jackets; made with potatoes straight from his father’s farm – yum!

Spuds: aren’t they good. Fried, mashed, boiled – even sautéed – the humble tatie’ is our most versatile veg. At this time of year, there’s only one way to serve this starchy superfood: jackets. As a farmer’s son, I spent many an autumn day picking spuds, and learnt a thing or two about them in the process. For the perfect jacket potato, opt for a King Edward. When cooked, this variety develop a fluffy middle, making them the ideal candidate for a jacket. On a nippy night, nothing will warm you faster than a steaming spud loaded with your favourite filling – and don’t skimp on the cheddar, it’s autumn after all. – Jonathan

 Autumn Picnics

Autumn Trees

A picture of the view from Nicole’s favourite autumnal picnic spot.

You may think I’m mad but one of my favourite things to do in autumn is to go on a picnic. I wrap up warm, make some sandwiches, a flask of tea and head off into the Cheshire countryside. I love the slight chill in the air, the animals preparing for hibernation or migration, and of course the amazing array of autumn colours. This time of year really inspires me, so with a steaming hot tea and a pen in hand I get a lot of writing done and tons of ideas for my upcoming wedding. - Nicole

Seasonal Drinks

Autumnal Drinks

Leanne’s favourite way to enjoy a seasonal drink… with a side of biscuits!

Perhaps it stems from spending my university days working at a certain well-known coffee house, but my favourite thing about the autumn season is warming up with a sweet, seasonal drink. Adding cinnamon and pumpkin spice syrup to a coffee may not ring in the bells of autumn to everyone, but to me the season doesn’t truly begin until I have sipped my first pumpkin spiced latte. Plus there is nothing quite like stopping to pick up a takeaway coffee in the middle of a chilly dog walk! - Leanne

Wrapping up Warm

Wrapping Up Warm at Autumn

A picture of Louise getting all snug in her autumn scarf.

There are so many things to love about autumn but my personal favourite is the clothes. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding rooting out the cold-weather clothing from the depths of my wardrobe! It’s fun to re-discover the old favourites that I’ve not worn since last winter and for me, there’s no greater comfort than wrapping up warm. Think winter coats, cosy jumpers, huge scarves, ankle boots and bobble hats! – Louise

Homemade Soup

A bowl of warming soup is Jamie's best bit of autumn.

A bowl of warming soup is Jamie’s best bit of autumn.

I’d have to say, my favourite thing about autumn is soup. Think about it: the nights are drawing in ever earlier and the temperature is starting to drop, so what more could you want than a piping hot bowl of soup? I absolutely love the stuff, from leek and potato through to Scotch broth, there’s nothing better. And there’s the best type in the world: my Grandma’s homemade chicken soup, you just can’t beat it! – Jamie

So, there we have some of our favourite bits of autumn as inspired by our latest competition. Unfortunately we can’t enter, but you can, so if you’re a fan of autumn, have a camera and write a blog, take a look at all the details on the competition page.

Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Properties with Delightful Dining Rooms

Friday, October 10th, 2014
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As you may have noticed, this week on the Sykes Cottages blog we’ve been getting a little gastronomic. We’ve been talking about the best places to go out to eat, the best local food to cook and we have a seriously indulgent recipe post coming up for you on Sunday (spoiler: it involves hot chocolate!) Once you’ve made or purchased all of this delicious food you need somewhere to eat it, which is why we’re putting the spotlight on some of the most delightful dining rooms that our properties have to offer. Whether you want enough table space for 20 guests to dine in comfort, or just a cosy corner where two can enjoy a romantic meal, with over 5,000 properties we have every style of dining area you can imagine at Sykes Cottages. Here are just a few of them.

The Hall, Northumbria

The Hall

Property reference 903958

This ornate dining room seats twenty four people comfortably and boasts both an open fire place and lovely views over the lake and the property’s grounds.

Beckside Barn, The Lake District

Beckside Barn

Property reference 914337

The dining room in Beckside Barn is beautifully decorated in a modern style which provides diners with a bright and airy feel. The room also opens out to a secluded patio area, providing the ideal location for after dinner drinks.

The Gaolhouse, East Anglia

The Gaolhouse

Property reference 4496

This unique property in East Anglia holds many original features including a dungeon! It also has a fantastic dining room with brickwork and beams to add character and patio doors adding a touch of brightness to this lovely dining area.

Three Peaks Barn, Yorkshire Dales

Property reference 10024

Property reference 10024

This lovely dining area nestles perfectly in the midst of the open plan living area. The dining space is comfortably modern, yet beams and bricks keep the character of the property.

Abbey Dore Court, Heart of England

Property reference 10024

Property reference 10024

Nestled in the kitchen area is one of Abbey Dore Court’s dining areas. The modern appliances mix with the kitsch traditional elements making this dining area the perfect place to enjoy brunch or an afternoon snack.

For more dining inspiration, take a look at our delightful dining pinterest board.

Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Competition: Discovering Autumn’s Best Bits

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
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AutumnBB_Large

Photo Blogging Competition: Autumn’s Best Bits

Whether you like crunching through leaves, wrapping up warm or sipping on one of the season’s popular hot drinks we want to know about it! Show off your autumnal photography skills in our newest competition to be in with your chance of winning £400 to spend at John Lewis!

To enter this competition, take a picture of what you think is autumn’s best bit, put it into a blog post and tell us why it’s your favourite thing about autumn! Once you’ve published your post, tweet the link to us @SykesCottages or send us an email including a link to your entry. Don’t forget to include a link back to this page in your post, so that your readers can enter, too!

Autumnal Bench

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

 Terms and Conditions:

Eligibility

  1. This competition is open to any blogger located in the United Kingdom or Ireland and aged 18 and over.
  2. The competition is not open to employees of Sykes Cottages or any agencies or group companies related to Sykes Cottages.
  3. The promoter and Host of this competition is Sykes Cottages and can be reached via email at autumncomp@sykescottages.co.uk
  4. Using a false name or address for this competition will lead to the entry being disqualified.

Entry

  1. Entries to the competition can be made by emailing the blog post entry to autumncomp@sykescottages.co.uk or by tweeting the blog post @sykescottages
  2. All entries will be acknowledged within one working day of their submission.
  3. All entrants must include instructions on how to enter the competition, or a link to instructions, at the end of their blog post. Eg. “If you would like to enter Sykes Cottages competition to win £400 worth of John Lewis vouchers then simply head over to…”
  4. Only one entry per blog, multiple entries will not be counted.
  5. Entries made using methods generated by a script, macro or the use of automated devices will be disqualified.
  6. By entering the competition entrants accept that their entries will be shared across Sykes Cottages’ social media platforms including, but not limited to, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, The Sykes Cottages Blog and Instagram.

The Prize

  1. There will be seven winners in this competition. With the first place prize being £400 of John Lewis Vouchers, second place being £100 of John Lewis vouchers and five further prizes of smart phone camera lenses
  2. This competition is in no way affiliated with John Lewis, the John Lewis Partnership or it’s subsidiaries
  3. Prizes are non-transferable, non-refundable and there is no cash alternative available.
  4. Prizes will be sent to the winners home addresses

Timing

  1. Competition opens at 12 noon GMT on the 7th of October 2014.
  2. Competition closes at midnight GMT on the 17th November 2014, any entries sent after this time won’t be counted

The Winner

  1. The winner of the competition will be chosen by a panel of judges at Sykes Cottages and this decision is final.
  2. The winner will be chosen and notified on or before Friday the 21st of November 2014.
  3. Once we have heard back from the winners we will then post their names on the Sykes Cottages Facebook and Twitter account.
  4. Details of the winner can be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the following address; Sykes Cottages, Lime Tree House, Hoole Lane, Chester, Cheshire, CH2 3EG
  5. The winner may be required for promotional activities and by entering the competition accepts that their name may be provided or published as per the terms and conditions.

Data protection and privacy

  1. Any personal data relating to entrants will not be disclosed to a third party without the individual’s consent (other than the winning entry). Data relating to entrants will be retained by the Promoter and Competition host for a reasonable period after the Competition closes to assist in operating competitions in a consistent manner and to deal with any queries on the Competition.
  2. Information provided to enter the competition may be used, shared or published or used for publicity in a digital format and includes your name, your location and/or profile picture.
  1. By providing the Competition host with your personal data you consent to the Competition host sending you marketing emails.
  2. If an Entrant does not wish for their personal information to be used for marketing purposes, a request to remove consent for personal information to be used for marketing purposes should be submitted in writing to the Competition host.

Liability

  1. Nothing in these terms and conditions shall exclude the liability of the Promoter or the Competition host for death, personal injury, fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation as a result of its negligence.
  2. The Promoter and Competition host accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by you as a result of entering the Competition or accepting the prize. The Promoter further disclaims liability for any injury or damage to your or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participation in or downloading any materials in connection with the Competition.
  3. The Promoter reserves the right at any time and from time to time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, this Competition with or without prior notice due to reasons outside its control (including, without limitation, in the case of anticipated, suspected or actual fraud). The decision of the Promoter in all matters under its control is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.
  4. The Promoter shall not be liable for any failure to comply with its obligations where the failure is caused by something outside its reasonable control. Such circumstances shall include, but not be limited to, weather conditions, fire, flood, hurricane, strike, industrial dispute, war, hostilities, political unrest, riots, civil commotion, inevitable accidents, supervening legislation or any other circumstances amounting to force majeure.
  5. The entrant completely releases Facebook from any involvement in this competition.
  1. The competition is not sponsored, associated, organised, endorsed or administered in any way by Facebook.
  2. Information provided as part of the competition is not provided to Facebook.
  3. The Competition will be governed by English law.

 

Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Sykes’ Favourite Tea Rooms

Monday, October 6th, 2014
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If there’s one thing we’re known for in Britain it’s our love of a cup of tea. If that tea comes in a pot beside a slice of a homemade cake and finger sandwiches then all the better. Wherever you find yourself on these isles of ours you won’t be too far away from a delightful tea room and – as anyone who follows Sykes Cottages on Instagram will know – we aren’t shy of indulging in a good brew and slice of cake every now and again. As we’re the sharing sort, we’d like to share with you some of the best tea rooms we have enjoyed during our travels.

The Stirrup Eating House, Haworth

TheStirrup

The Stirrup Eating House is the perfect location for replenishing your batteries when exploring Haworth. Whether you’re just stopping by for cream tea, or want to relax with their afternoon tea you won’t be disappointed!

Bettys, various locations in Yorkshire

Bettys

The world famous Bettys is at the top of many an afternoon tea fan’s list of tea rooms to visit – and for good reason. From delicious chocolates and cakes, to biscuits and, of course, scones, anyone who walks into a Bettys’ tea room is greeted with the delightful aroma of high quality, home made goods.

Harrods, London

Harrods

Afternoon tea at Harrods in The Georgian Restaurant is the ultimate indulgence. Choose from a selection of tea inspired cocktails and mocktails, or treat yourself to the more traditional Georgian Afternoon Tea.

Baldry’s Tearoom, The Lake District

Baldrys (1)

With homemade bread and cakes baked fresh every day and a huge selection of gluten free options available, there’s something delicious for everyone to enjoy at Baldry’s Tearoom in Grasmere. These delicious treats are enjoyed in the tea room’s vintage style on mismatched plates and cups, providing a wonderful atmosphere.

York Cocoa House, York

York Cocoa House

For chocolate fans and those looking for something a little different, York Cocoa House cannot be missed. The aptly named Afternoon Chocolate includes all the usual components of afternoon tea; scones, finger sandwiches and petit fours but with a chocolatey twist. Everything is homemade and served in their chic café right in the centre of York.

Llanfair Caereinion, Wales

Llanfair (2)

Serving a selection of sandwiches, cakes and drinks, the tea room at Llanfair Caereinion is highly recommended by members of the team here at Sykes Cottages. Everything is homemade, delicious and well-priced, making it the perfect tea room!

The Devonshire Arms, Skipton

Bolton

Surrounded by the beautiful grounds of the Bolton Abbey Estate is The Devonshire Arms in Skipton. Their full afternoon tea includes homemade sandwiches, pastries and of course, tea or coffee but with the added benefit of beautiful views and comfortable sofas so that you can lounge away the afternoon!

Wherever The Feeling Takes You

Scone

Cream tea is such a delight that it seems a shame to only indulge in it whilst at a tea room. Whenever the feeling takes you why not make yourself a pot of tea and indulge in a slice of your favourite cake? It really does perk up the afternoon!

Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Beautiful British Autumn Walks

Saturday, October 4th, 2014
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There is a distinct chill in the air, a crunch under the feet and a definite brown hue has taken over what was once green. That’s right, autumn is here and whilst it may mean goodbye to summer for another year, it also means a big hello to all of the beauty that the season brings. There is no better way to see the beautiful colours and textures of autumn than by heading out on a walk. So grab yourself a warming beverage of choice and read on to discover a few of the most beautiful places to see colour this autumn.

Grizedale Forest – The Lake District

Grizedale Forest in The Lake District

Image via Flickr

Positioned between Coniston and Windermere, Grizedale Forest is in an ideal location for seeing the beautiful colours of  autumn. The forest has a number of walking and cycling routes suitable for all abilities, all of which having stunning views of the lakes and mountains, to provide an idyllic backdrop to the autumnal leaves.

Castell Coch – Cardiff

Castell Coch, Cardiff

Image via Flickr

The fairy tale-esque castle, Castell Coch, in Cardiff and the woods that surround it provide the perfect backdrop for an autumnal stroll. See brown, orange and red leaves mix with evergreens to create wonderful scenery to compliment the changing season. Whilst Castell Coch provides walkers with a beautiful autumnal exterior, don’t forget to head inside the small, but perfectly formed, castle to see its ornate décor.

Stourhead – Wiltshire

Stourhead Wiltshire

Image via Flickr

With a world-famous landscape garden, i’s no surprise that Stourhead in Wiltshire would be on a list of where to see seasonal colours this autumn. Crunch through fallen leaves on an estate walk, learn more about the castle on a story walk or join one of Stourhead’s qualified tree climbers to get a birds-eye-view of the stunning surroundings.

Sheffield Park and Garden – Sussex

Sheffield Park and Gardens

Image via Flickr

With varying landscapes, lakes and a number of tree species, Sheffield Park and Garden provides a stunning backdrop in autumn. With leaves changing throughout late September and October there is always a plethora of autumnal tones in the park and reflected in the four lakes. Stunning!

See autumn colour for yourself

At Sykes Cottages we have a huge number of properties that are in ideal locations for seeing seasonal colour changes. If you fancy taking your own wanders through beautiful autumn backdrops why not book a stay in one of our properties located in the countryside and see autumn colours for yourself!

Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.