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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.

Booking a Surprise Holiday: The Ultimate Guide

Saturday, September 27th, 2014
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Whether it’s for a birthday, anniversary or just because, nothing says you care like booking a surprise holiday for your loved one. Whether you want a relaxing break or something to let out your adventurous side, we have a huge choice of properties that will suit your every need and are happy to help keep your booking a surprise. Take a look below at our latest infographic for hints and tips on booking – and keeping – that holiday a surprise!

The Ultimate Guide to Booking a Surprise Holiday

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Booking a Surprise Holiday… The Ultimate Guide!

There is nothing  like a luxury, romantic break for two and they’re even sweeter when it’s a surprise. Booking a getaway whilst keeping your partner in the dark can seem like a logistical nightmare but read on to learn a few tips on how to make your surprise a success!

Making a Surprise Booking

When making your booking, ensure that all correspondence goes to an address that your loved one doesn’t have access to. Book using your work email and ask whether they will be sending you anything in the post – if so, use your work address for that, too!

If you have a shared bank account, make sure that you don’t use it to pay for your surprise holiday. Use your personal bank account to avoid raising suspicions!

If you make your booking using a shared computer, or a computer that your loved one has access to, be sure to delete your browsing history and cookies afterwards.

Is there a series that your partner never misses or a TV show they’ve been longing to watch? Then be sure to record them if they’re scheduled for whilst you are away.

Things to Keep in Mind

Make sure that both you and the recipient of the surprise have booked holidays from work on the dates that you would like to go away.

If you’re leaving it until last minute to unveil your surprise, you can take some of the strain from your loved one by doing some of their packing for them.

If you aren’t staying in the UK think about any identification that you both might need and check that any identification is up to date before embarking on your journey.

Don’t forget that if you or your partner have a four legged friend, make sure to book pet friendly accommodation or arrange for a friend or family member to look after them.

Let their friends and family know about the surprise, to ensure that they do not make plans with your loved one over the time you will be going away.

Extra Touches

While You’re Away

Think about whether you want to have a relaxing or an action packed getaway. Does your loved one need to unwind or would an energising holiday full of activities suit them better?

If romance and relaxation is on the cards, then why not book a meal at a local restaurant whilst you’re away? Or even better, order a food shop from an organic delivery service and cook up a romantic meal for two.

If you’re looking for something a little more action packed then take a look at what activities are available in the local area and plan your days accordingly. If you’re near the coast then why not surprise your lucky holiday companion with surfing lessons, or if they’d rather stay on dry land, book a segway tour through a local forest.

Back at Home

If you’re keeping the getaway a complete surprise and not telling your loved one until last minute, there are a few thoughtful things you can sort out back at home so that they don’t have to!

Postpone any deliveries that they may have. Do they have milk or the newspaper delivered? Perhaps they receive a health snack food box through the post. If so, then put these deliveries on hold until you return from your getaway.

 

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.

The UK’s Best Service Stations

Sunday, September 21st, 2014
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When I initially suggested the idea of a blog post about service stations, it took quite a bit of convincing the rest of the team! ‘Who would want to read that?’ they asked. Eventually, with the promise that I would give my findings a bit of the Sykes Cottages treatment (think heritage, stunning views and picnics), my colleagues agreed to a post about service stations being written and I was more than happy to take the reins. Service stations aren’t known for their charm, and making a visit to one is often a necessity rather than a choice, but there are a few gems around; read on to see where you can find them.

Motorway Service Station with the Best Views

Tebay Service Station View

The view from Tebay Service Station Image via Flickr

Tebay services in the Lake District is the ideal rest stop for stunning views that are a change from the continuous tarmac and brake lights of the motorway. The building of the station backs on to a lake, which gives an amazing view that even the weariest of travellers will appreciate!

Motorway Service Station with the Best Loos

Cleanest Loo

Image via Flickr

Perhaps not the most glamorous of topics discussed on the Sykes Cottages blog, but nevertheless a clean loo can make or break a service station – or anywhere really. To discover the best service station loo in the UK I headed straight to the source, so to speak, the Loo of the Year awards website. The current holder of the best motorway loo accolade is Cambridge Extra Services on the M11 who show a high quality of cleanliness. Well done!

Motorway Service Station with the Best Food Choices

Bread

Image via Flickr

When you think of motorway service station food you instantly think of food that is greasy, fast and quite overpriced. That is often still the case, but there are a few service stations that are looking to change this and provide hungry travellers with local, wholesome food! Gloucester Services on the M5 is one of these service stations, which tantalises travellers taste buds with artisan breads, seasonal fruit juices and homemade pies amongst others.

Motorway Service Station with the most Unique Aspect

Happendon Services

Image via Flickr

Not only is Happendon service station in Cairn Lodge one of the cheapest motorway stop-offs around, it was also once the location of Douglas Castle. If you head around the back of the service station you will find the fantastic remains of the castle which used to house the powerful medieval family, the Douglases. More recently, the remains of the castle stand proudly at the service station, giving a nice backdrop for tired drivers to replenish their batteries.

Motorway Service Station with the Best Place to Stop for a Picnic

Picnic

Image via Flickr

Mostly due to its incredible views, Killington Lake service station on the M6 southbound is arguably the best UK service station to stop off for a picnic. With picnic tables placed alongside the lake you can take in the views whilst you have a break from driving. Perfect!

So there we have it, five of the best service stations that our motorways have to offer! Do you have a particular service station that you always stop off at? Have you ever visited one of the above? Let us know via twitter or facebook, we’d love to know!

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.

The Scottish Referendum: How The UK’s Landscape Could Have Changed

Friday, September 19th, 2014
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The polls are closed, the votes have been tallied and it has been confirmed: Scotland is staying in the United Kingdom! There was a lot of talk during the run up to the referendum regarding politics and how various policies would change, which is rightfully so, however we thought that we would take a look at the more geographical changes and how statistically the UK’s physical landscape would have changed if the vote were a yes. Take a look at our nifty, easy to read graphic to see how the UK would have changed if it had lost it’s highland crown.

United-UK-Geography

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How The UK’s Landscape Could Have Changed

The campaigning is over, the polls have closed, the votes have been counted and Scotland is still a part of the United Kingdom! We were all told about the possible changes to the political landscape of the UK but what about the statistical, geographic ones? Here are a few of the things we would have lost here in the United Kingdom had Scotland become an independent country.

We could have been shorter

Without Ben Nevis, the UK would have been 854 foot shorter…

This is equivalent to 366 Shetland Ponies stood on top of each other.

We could have been shallower

If we would have lost the deepest body of water, Loch Morar, which is 310 metres at its deepest point, the UK would have been a little shallower… Even The Shard, the highest building in the European Union is smaller than this, standing at 306 metres.

We could have lost most of our coast

The UK coastline stretches for 19,895 miles however 11,550 of those miles are from the coast of Scotland…

This is equivalent to travelling from London to New York, a 3452 mile journey, three times with some miles left to spare!

We could have had fewer national parks

The UK would have had two less national parks with the potential loss of Cairngorms and Loch Lomond. These two national parks have a combined area of 2468.4m2 ….

This would have been an area loss twice the size of Luxembourg!

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.