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Visit the Northumberland Coast this Summer

Saturday, July 4th, 2015
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Renowned for its unspoilt beaches and dramatic coastlines, the Northumberland coast is one of the most striking and spectacular parts of the UK. As a coastal destination it can sometimes receive less attention than others, for example those in the South West, but this is a real shame as Northumberland has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country and deserves to spend more time in the spotlight. It’s a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and covers over 39 miles of coastline but below are just some of the highlights of the Northumberland coast.

Bamburgh Castle

One of Northumberland’s most iconic landmarks, Bamburgh Castle stands proudly on the coastline at Bamburgh looking out across the North Sea. Although the castle itself is a relatively new structure, restored during the Victorian era, there has been a defensive structure here since the 11th century. It’s certainly an impressive sight to behold and definitely worth a visit.

Seahouses

This bustling and colourful fishing village is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Northumberland coastline. Well known for its pretty harbour and retro seaside atmosphere, Seahouses is perfect for a holiday with family or friends. Seahouses boasts an Aladdin’s cave of interesting shops, an abundance of real ale pubs offering nearby Farne Island Ale and plenty of opportunity to experience nature with boat trips out to the Farne Islands to see seabirds and seals.

Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Holy Island Northumberland coast

Holy Island of Lindisfarne

A real treasure in the part of the country, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne is like entering another world. Cut off from the Northumberland coast by the tide twice a day, this serene island is a place of pilgrimage for over 650,000 visitors a year. Although it’s not just religion that brings people here, but nature too as here you can see rare plants, birds and also seals; the tranquillity and spectacular views might also add to its popularity! Visitors can either walk the ‘Pilgrim Path’ at low tide or take the ferry across during high tide. Please plan your visit carefully and check the tide times before you set off.

Newton-by-the-Sea

Newton-by-the-Sea, or Low Newton as it’s known to locals, is considered by many to be one of the prettiest places in Northumberland. The National Trust owns most of the village, which consists of picturesque white-washed cottages located around an open-ended square, looking out onto the delightful sandy beach and the sea. In the middle of the square is The Ship Inn, which offers delicious food and real ales from its own microbrewery. Tucked away from the main tourist hotspots, Newton-by-the-Sea is a real hidden gem of the Northumberland’s Heritage Coast.

Cottages on the Northumberland Coast

At Sykes Cottages, we have a large number of holiday cottages along the Northumberland coastline for you to choose from. From cosy hideaways for a romantic getaway, to spacious and homely cottages for a family break, we’ll endeavour to find the perfect self-catering cottage in Northumberland to suit you. To get in touch with our holiday advisors today, please call 01244 356 695 or send us an email.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Britain’s Best Coastal Views

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
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In the UK, we’re incredibly lucky to be blessed with an abundance of stunning sea views; there’s no denying that as an island nation, our views are hard to beat.  So if you’re in need of a pick-me-up this Wednesday evening, grab a brew and settle down to discover Britain’s top 10 coastal views.

Seven Sisters, East Sussex

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Durdle Door, Dorset

Antony Gormley’s Another Place, Merseyside

Three Cliffs Bay, Gower

Lundy Island, Devon

Seilebost, Outer Hebrides

St Ives Harbour, Cornwall

Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire

Robin Hood's Bay

Robin Hood’s Bay

Neist Point, Isle of Skye

If our blog on Britain’s best coastal views has whet your appetite for a seaside holiday in the UK then make sure you visit our page on coastal holiday cottages, there are plenty of incredible views out there for you to explore!

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Britain’s Best Eco-Friendly Restaurants

Monday, June 22nd, 2015
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We all like to do our bit to help the environment- whether it’s recycling, using energy-efficient appliances or buying organic food to cook at home- but have you ever wondered about how you can be more eco-friendly when you’re eating out? Here in the UK, we have a large number of fantastic eco-friendly restaurants; we’ve done some research and come up with our favourite eco-friendly restaurants in the UK, for the next time you want to enjoy a meal out, safe in the knowledge that the food you’re eating is as environmentally friendly as possible.

Blas Burgerworks, St Ives, Cornwall

As someone who will always choose the burger on the menu, Blas Burgerworks is right up my street. This restaurant prides itself on being eco-friendly and still providing delicious food. All of their furniture is made from reclaimed timber or sustainable sources, they use 100% green electricity, recycle as much as they possibly can and use recycled boxes and napkins in the restaurant itself. Their burgers are made using Cornish meat which is free range, and their other produce is fresh and locally sourced where possible. Described on Trip Advisor as “a real hidden gem”, you don’t want to miss it!

Contact info: 01736 797272; www.blasburgerworks.co.uk

ODE dining, Shaldon, Devon

If you’re looking for a dining experience with ethics, ODE dining is ideal. ODE dining provide high quality regional food, with their seasonal menu currently offering dishes such as ‘Torched Lyme bay mackeral’ and ‘Duckaller farm pork fillet’. They have a strong sustainability policy supporting local farms that have high standards of animal welfare; they will never use factory-farmed fish or poultry in their menu, or use GMO products. However it’s not just the food that’s eco-friendly, the kitchen uses low energy equipment, organic napkins and soya candles.

Contact info: 01626 873977; www.odetruefood.com/ode-dining

Bordeaux Quay, Bristol, Somerset

This sophisticated converted warehouse on Bristol’s beautiful waterfront is one of the UK’s most acclaimed sustainable restaurants. In 2011, it was recognised as a Three Star Sustainability Champion by the Sustainable Restaurant Association- the highest possible national award for general sustainability. Bordeaux Quay have a broad recycling and composting system, use sustainably sourced resources and also boast their own rainwater harvesting system. With the Restaurant, the Brasserie and even a Cooking School to choose from, Bordeaux Quay is the perfect place to head to whatever the occasion.

Contact info:  0117 943 1200; www.bordeaux-quay.co.uk

The Traddock, Austwick, Yorkshire

This family-run restaurant near Settle has two AA Rosette chefs, who make some of the finest food around using Yorkshire Dales produce, usually from within a 50 mile radius of the restaurant. The Traddock uses organic, seasonal produce where possible and is totally upfront about where it gets its ingredients, with a whole page on their website dedicated to their food provenance. The menu itself is enough to make anyone’s mouth water, featuring the likes of ‘Roast rack of Mansergh Hall lamb’, ‘Yorkshire smoked rainbow trout’ and ‘Traddock summer pudding’.

Contact info: 01524 251224; www.thetraddock.co.uk/restaurant-menus

If you do get the chance to visit any of these fantastic restaurants then do let us know what you think! You can do so via our Facebook or Twitter pages. If you’re planning an eco-friendly holiday then you can check out our eco-friendly holiday cottages on our website.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Spotlight on: Bike Friendly Cottages

Friday, June 19th, 2015
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The popularity of cycling in the UK has soared over the past decade and it’s now estimated to be one of our favourite sports, alongside the likes of football, cricket and rugby. The National Cycle Network now passes within a mile of half of all UK homes and covers around 14,000 miles across the UK. Here at Sykes, we want to celebrate our love of cycling and we encourage you to do so too! So today, we’re shining our spotlight on some of our most bike-friendly cottages that are perfect for cycling holidays.

Alpine Cottages No. 4, Yorkshire Dales

This charming 4* self-catering apartment sleeps 5 in Reeth, at the very heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Alpine Cottages No. 4 boasts luxury features including a claw-footed slipper bath and cosy woodburner, as well as delightful views across the surrounding heather and grouse moors. This property has its own secure bike storage area and also facilities to wash your bike. There’s also a wood-fired hot tub, perfect for cyclists to soothe tired limbs in after a long day cycling! There are plenty of challenging cycling opportunities nearby including the Swaledale Circular and Yorkshire Dales Cycleway. You can see more information here.

Wroxton House, Oxfordshire

Oxford is one of the UK’s few ‘Cycling Cities’ and is an absolute joy to cycle in. There are cycle lanes aplenty, designated cycle parking throughout the city and the council are in the midst of trying to make Oxford even more cycle friendly. The surrounding countryside is perfect for cycling too with beautiful scenery, softly undulating countryside and a network of traffic-free bridle and cycle paths. Wroxton House is the perfect base from which to explore Oxfordshire’s cycling possibilities. Sleeping 6, this unique 1930’s cottage boasts lots of charming features including beams from the original Wroxton Abbey Estate and interior furnishings from a typical 1930’s house. The property also offers secure bike storage for cyclists. For cycle routes in the area, please visit this website.

Browside, Lake District

If you’re planning a group cycling holiday then Browside, just 2 miles from Coniston, is perfect. This spectacular holiday cottage sleeps 12 guests with 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, ensuring that everyone has plenty of space to enjoy their stay! Mountain biking opportunities in the area are excellent, with Coniston Old Man, Grizedale Forest and Walna Scar nearby, with shorter routes for beginners and longer, more challenging routes for the more experienced. Browside has its own bike storage available, as well as wash facilities to get rid of any mud your bike has accumulated. The outdoor hot tub is sure to go down a treat too! You’ll find some cycle route ideas to start you off here.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Why a break in the UK is perfect for inspiring your writing

Sunday, June 14th, 2015
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If you’ve got writing that you’re struggling to get done- no matter whether you’re an author, a journalist, a student or a hobbyist- then we have the perfect solution for you.  Have you ever thought of taking a short break in the UK to kick-start your brain and provide you with some inspiration? Here’s why we think that our holiday cottages are perfect for providing a little writing inspiration:

Peace and quiet

It’s a cliché but planning a little quality alone-time is the perfect way to get your writing head on; getting away from it all and escaping the distractions of your friends and family could be just what you need. The tranquillity of the British countryside will make your brain forget about the things you’ve left behind at home and focus on your work instead. So stock up on supplies, book yourself a remote little cottage in the middle of nowhere and get down to some serious writing.

New surroundings

It’s no secret that new surroundings and new experiences can often help the brain along with some new-found inspiration. By stepping outside of your ordinary life with its routine, you’ll allow yourself the space to think and gather some great inspiration for your writing. Live in a busy city and struggling to focus? Head out to the countryside for a change of perspective. If you’re bored of the same views every day, head for the coast for a different vista to admire and inspire.

Follow in the footsteps of your favourite writers

From Hardy to Wordsworth, there’s an abundance of British writers that have been inspired to write their masterpieces by the UK’s landscape. Did you know for example, that Virginia Woolf’s inspiration for To The Lighthouse is thought to be the view from her holiday home in St Ives, across to the lighthouse on Godrevy Island? Or that Charles Dickens holidayed every year in the Victorian resort of Broadstairs, where he would write in the morning before heading down to the sea for a dip? Clearly, holidaying in the UK is a proven way of creating masterpieces!

Book a cottage and get writing!

We have over 5,800 holiday cottages across the UK and Ireland and we’re confident that we’ll be able to find the perfect cottage to inspire your writing. Our dedicated holiday advisors are on hand to help seven days a week, from 9.00am until 9.30pm. You can get in touch by giving us a call on 01244 356 695 or by sending us an email.

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.