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Wales 2016: The Year Of Adventure

Saturday, February 6th, 2016
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This year, Visit Wales are encouraging you to embrace adventure on your next Welsh getaway. As a country bursting with sweeping valleys, imposing mountains and fast-flowing rivers, there’s no better place to experience a bit of adventure. Feel the adrenaline pulse through your veins as you try your hand at extreme sports, water sports or bush craft activities amongst some of Britain’s most spectacular scenery. Below, you’ll find just some of the activities that you can get involved in to help celebrate Wales’ Year of Adventure.

Mountain Biking

When it comes to mountain biking, there aren’t many better places to go than Wales. With everything from wild natural trails escaping into the wilderness, to purpose built tracks designed for beginners and families, there’s something to cater to every level of mountain bike enthusiast. If you’re new to mountain biking, take a look at the fantastic centres available throughout Wales like Bike Park Wales or Afan Forest Park to get you on your feet before you start tackling the wilderness on your own!


Less acknowledged than fellow surfing spot Cornwall, many people don’t realise that Wales is actually home to some of the UK’s best surfing beaches. Glamorgan, Gower and Pembrokeshire are all brilliant places to hit the waves and there are plenty of well-respected surf schools in the area to lend a helping hand if you’re new to the sport. Further north, areas such as Anglesey and the Llyn Peninsula also offer some great surfing spots. If you’re not sure about braving the outdoors, you can always try Surf Snowdonia, the world’s first inland surf lagoon. Re-opening in the spring, this surf centre offers impressive two-metre waves that peel for 150 metres.

Survival Courses

For the ultimate adventure in Wales this year, why not try your hand at one of Bear Grylls’ Survival Courses? One of the most recognisable faces in the world of outdoor adventure and survival, Bear launched his own Survival Academy in 2012 and there are now centres across the UK. Take part in a 24 hour family survival course in the Brecon Beacons or an adult day course in Criccieth, where you’ll learn how to light fires, rope skills, how to build emergency shelters and how to forage for grub and rodents.

White Water Rafting

Explore Wales from an exciting new perspective and have a go at white water rafting this year. There are places all across the country where you can get involved in white water rafting amongst beautiful scenery. In North Wales, try White Water Active in Llangollen or for Mid Wales, try Black Mountain Rafting on the River Wye. For a completely new experience in South Wales, visit Cardiff International White Water where you can enjoy the thrills of white water rafting in a purpose-built water centre.

If you’re tempted to book an adventurous break in Wales then don’t forget to take a look at our large collection of cottages in Wales. We’ve over 1,400 holiday cottages across Wales for you to choose from that would make the perfect bases for all of your adventures!

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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.

10 Romantic Getaways For Valentine’s Day

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016
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Still wondering how you could treat your other half this Valentine’s Day? Why not book a romantic weekend getaway in a cosy cottage? We’ve lots of stunning cottages still available over the Valentine’s Day weekend that are sure to impress your loved one and earn you some brownie points. For inspiration and ideas on where to book, take a look at these ten romantic cottages with availability.

Carn Cottage, Yorkshire Dales

Carn Cottage is a tranquil bolthole for any couple wanting to get away from it all this Valentine’s Day. Set in the heart of the Yorkshire countryside with spectacular walks from the doorstep, two lovely pubs within walking distance and a cosy open fire to cuddle up in front of, it’s the ideal romantic retreat.

Dundonald Landing, West Highlands

Views don’t come much better than those at Dundonald Landing. This secluded wooden chalet is located on the shore of Loch Etive, offering uninterrupted views across the loch and mountains in the distance. Hole up here with your loved one and spend Valentine’s Day enjoying each other’s company amongst breath-taking surroundings.

The Fold, Warwickshire

If you want to impress your loved one this Valentine’s Day, whisk them away on a surprise getaway to Stratford upon Avon. As the birthplace of one of Britain’s most romantic men, William Shakespeare, it’s a wonderful place to make a grand gesture. While you’re in the area, The Fold will make for a lovely, cosy base with a charming balcony overlooking the 2.5 acres of grounds in which the cottage is located.

The Shippen, Lake District

This traditional Lakeland cottage makes a fantastic base for exploring the Lake District this Valentine’s weekend. Grizedale Forest is just two miles away and the shore of Lake Windermere is a mere six miles. The Shippen is attached to the owner’s 17th century farmhouse, nestled in a peaceful hamlet in the Lake District National Park. There are endless walking and cycling opportunities here and a delightful woodburner to warm up in front of after a long day exploring.

The Lilacs, Cotswolds

If your dream is to spend Valentine’s Day in a cute Cotswolds cottage with a hot tub then look no further than The Lilacs. This lovely stone cottage is perfect for a Valentine’s break with its king-size bed, luxurious furnishings and bubbling outdoor hot tub. A few minutes’ walk will take you to the beautiful village of Broadway, often known as the ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds’, where there are plenty of charming pubs, shops and restaurants to explore.

Owl Cottage, Yorkshire Dales

This cottage is perfect for romantics. Where better to spend Valentine’s Day than amongst the surroundings that inspired one of Britain’s most famous love stories, Wuthering Heights? In the centre of Haworth, Owl Cottage is a delightful terraced property with charming original features, stunning countryside views and is just a short walk from the footpaths that take you across Top Withens, the place said to have inspired Emily Brontë’s famous novel.

Rosie Cottage, Dorset

Rosie Cottage is a picturesque barn conversion in North Dorset and the perfect place for a rural romantic retreat in the South West. This cottage has been thoughtfully decorated and furnished with hand-crafted wooden furniture made by the owner. It’s dog friendly too so you can bring your furry friend along with you! There are lots of scenic walks straight from the doorstep and historic market towns such as Blandford Forum and Sherborne within driving distance.

Bloom Barn, Co. Tipperary

This charming studio barn conversion is wonderful place for a peaceful, romantic break in the Irish countryside. Bloom Barn is full of characterful features including wooden beams, charming shabby-chic décor and there are even some friendly donkeys you can visit in the field next door. The pretty village of Terryglass is just four miles away if you can tear yourself away from the cottage, offering traditional pubs and a shop for all your essentials.

At The Races, Cheshire

For a romantic city break, take a look at this luxury apartment in historic Chester.  At The Races is located in the heart of Chester city centre with its fantastic shops, restaurants and bars just a minute’s walk away. You’ll be spoilt for choice on where to try for a romantic meal! Walk the Roman walls, wander through the famous Rows or take a day trip to Chester Zoo, which is easily reachable by car or public transport.

Hafan Deg, Llyn Peninsula

Hafan Deg is a modern first floor apartment located on a 200 acre livestock farm, close to the stunning North Wales coastline. This property offers every modern convenience you could need for a weekend away and the views are breath-taking. Spend your weekend here on bracing, romantic walks along the beach before heading to a nearby pub to warm your cockles with some good pub grub and a couple of drinks!

To see all of our cottages still available for Valentine’s Day, please visit 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.

UK TV Shows To Look Out For In 2016

Thursday, January 21st, 2016
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If you’re looking for a new TV series to watch in 2016, then why not take a look at one of these fantastic TV shows starting this year that were filmed in stunning locations across UK. From the breath-taking Cornish coastline to the brooding Northern Irish countryside, spectacular British landscapes are ready and waiting to steal the show in all of these upcoming programmes.

Victoria, ITV

This eight-part period drama follows the early life of Queen Victoria, starring Jenna Coleman as the young Queen herself. Made by the people behind Poldark, Victoria is sure to make an impression when it airs in the autumn. Filming has taken place across Yorkshire, with locations such as Whitby, Beverley, York and Knaresborough set to grace our TV screens.

The Night Manager, BBC

Based on the John le Carré novel, this six-part spy drama is based in the Cold War and follows a former British soldier who’s recruited to infiltrate the inner circle of a notorious arms dealer. Set to be shown some time before Easter, the series boasts a star-packed cast including Tim Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman. Although most of the series has been filmed in Mallorca and Switzerland, keep an eye out for the scenes filmed in beautiful Devon at Hartland village and Blackpool Mill Cottage on the Hartland Abbey Estate.

Game of Thrones, Sky Atlantic

Let’s face it, Game of Thrones needs no introduction and the dramatic return of season six is scheduled to hit our screens in April, ending the agonising wait of fans desperate to find out the real fate of Jon Snow. Many of the spectacular Northern Ireland film locations you’ve seen before will be returning for season six, including the rugged and wild Murlough Bay in County Antrim, which doubles as the Iron Islands.

Poldark, BBC

Another that needs no introduction, Poldark was one of the biggest TV shows of last year with millions of viewers tuning in each week. Yet the real shining star of Poldark was its Cornish backdrop, which amazed viewers with its raw, natural beauty and dramatically increased tourism to the area- Visit Cornwall found that 26% of visitors to the area in summer 2015 had been inspired by the Poldark series. Series two is due to air later this year and promises more heartbreak, more drama and more beautiful Cornish scenery. To see the filming locations from series one of Poldark, take a look at our Discover Cornwall hub.

Jericho, ITV

We’re a little late to the party here as Jericho started on ITV at the beginning of the month, but if you haven’t seen it yet, you can still find the episodes you’ve missed on ITV Player. Jericho has been described as the “first British Western” and is based on real life events of the building of a Victorian viaduct in Yorkshire. Expect lots of beautiful Yorkshire scenery with filming shot in Huddersfield, Heptonstall, Marsden and Meltham Moor.

Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses, BBC

In a continuation of 2012’s Hollow Crown series, Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses returns in 2016 to tie in with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Starring the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Gambon and Judi Dench, four of Shakespeare’s historical plays (Henry VI Part I, Henry VI Part II, Henry VI Part III and Richard III) will be condensed into three films for the silver screen. Look out for appearances from Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, where many of the bloody battle scenes take place.

We’re really excited to watch all of the above programmes and hope you’ll join in the discussion on our social media channels when these shows hit the silver screen later this year. To do so, you can follow our Twitter account or like our Facebook page.

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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.

Cottage Accommodation for the 2016 Six Nations

Thursday, January 14th, 2016
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Looking for accommodation for the 2016 RBS 6 Nations? We’ve got you covered. These stunning holiday rentals are all within easy access of the grounds and still have availability for at least one of the match dates. Act quickly though as they’re sure to book up soon.

BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

Dates of fixtures: 6th February, 13th March

5 Bellevue Crescent, Edinburgh

Holiday cottage near Murrayfield Edinburgh

This Georgian apartment in Edinburgh’s New Town is in an ideal location for rugby fans travelling for the RBS 6 Nations. Sleeping four in two bedrooms, this elegant property is within walking distance of all Edinburgh’s shops, pubs, restaurants and attractions. 5 Bellevue Crescent is just an 11 minute drive from Murrayfield or you can easily catch a bus from the city centre.

The Courtyard, Aberdour

Holiday cottage near Millennium Stadium Cardiff

If you’re looking for somewhere outside of the hustle and bustle but still within easy reach of Murrayfield, this apartment in historic Aberdour is perfect. The Courtyard sleeps four and is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the town’s cafes, bar and beach and the railway station is also close by, offering excellent links into Edinburgh city centre and Murrayfield.


Aviva Stadium, Dublin

Dates of fixtures:  7th February, 12th March, 19th March

Coolville, Dublin

Holiday cottage near Aviva Stadium Dublin

Coolville is a charming terraced cottage in the pretty Dublin suburb of Portobello, just a 10 minute walk from the city centre. The property sleeps four and is bright and airy with lovely views of the canal- ideal for a family travelling to see the rugby. The Aviva Stadium is just a 10 minute drive away or is easily reachable by public transport; Dublin’s LUAS, DART or buses are all frequent and easy to use.

Brooklands, Malahide

Holiday cottage near Aviva Stadium Dublin

Just 9 miles outside of Dublin is the trendy coastal town of Malahide. This affluent area boasts plenty to do with gourmet restaurants, cosy taverns and artisan cafes to explore, making it the perfect place to stay if you’re travelling with a friend or partner who’s not going to the game. Take the DART straight into Dublin city centre while your other half soaks up the delights of Malahide. Brooklands itself has been carefully renovated to provide stylish, high quality accommodation for up to three guests.


Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Dates of fixtures:  13th February, 26th February, 19th March

The Old Bakehouse, Llantwit Major

Holiday cottage near Millennium Stadium Cardiff

This detached holiday home would suit a group of family or friends travelling to watch the rugby at the Millennium Stadium. With flexible sleeping arrangements, a well-equipped kitchen for self-catering and an outdoor courtyard perfect for BBQs, The Old Bakehouse is a fantastic choice for a rugby weekend away. You can easily catch the train to Cardiff from Llantwit Major or you can drive in which should take around 30-40 minutes.

Wood Bank, Llanhennock

Holiday cottage near Millennium Stadium Cardiff

If you’re travelling to the rugby as part of a large group then Wood Bank is perfect for you. This enormous house sleeps up to 20 guests and boasts features such as a full-size snooker table, Wii console with games, a well-equipped gym and a 50” TV with surround sound. Cardiff and the Millennium Stadium are just a short drive away.

To view our full range of holiday cottages across the UK and Ireland, please visit our website. We’ve over 6,000 cottages for you to choose from!

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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.

10 New Cottages for 2016

Monday, January 4th, 2016
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At Sykes, we’re adding new holiday cottages to our collection every day- at the moment, we’ve got over 6,200 wonderful properties to choose from. So to kick start the New Year, we’re taking a look at some of the newest cottages to come on board with us, all ready and waiting to accept your bookings for 2016!

Porth View, Cornwall

See it here: Ref. 921577

Porth View is the perfect place for a summer holiday this year, just a short walk from one of North Cornwall’s most family-friendly beaches, Porth Beach. The property has a delightful balcony where you can enjoy uninterrupted sea views and there are plenty of lovely pubs and restaurants just a few minutes’ walk away.

Bluebell Cottage, County Clare

See it here: Ref. 11397

This charming cottage with period features is nestled on the egde of the popular Clare seaside village of Spanish Point. Ideal for a family, Bluebell Cottage is just a 12 minute walk from the sandy beach and the spectacular Cliffs of Moher are within half an hour’s drive.

Orchard Cottage, Forest of Dean

See it here: Ref. 930735

Looking for a romantic getaway in 2016? They don’t come much cuter than Orchard Cottage, a cosy bolthole overlooking a cider orchard on the edge of the Forest of Dean. With an outdoor hot tub, forest walks from the doorstep and a delightful village pub within walking distance, what more could you want?

Tower House, Highlands

See it here: Ref. 930271

This stylish church conversion overlooking the Moray Firth is a great choice for a getaway with friends. This quirky holiday let has an impressive central spiral staircase connecting all the floors, four bedrooms each with en-suite facilities and its very own turret snug room!

Hawthorn Cottage, Carmarthenshire

See it here: Ref. 930004

For a tranquil holiday in the countryside, take a look at Hawthorn Cottage, situated on the edge of the owner’s woodland. The perfect base for exploring South Wales and the Cardigan Bay area, guests will love cuddling up in front of the cottage’s cosy woodburner after spending the day rambling along the Welsh countryside and coastline.

Smithy Cottage on the Mill Pond, Peak District

See it here: Ref. 930701

Smithy Cottage on the Mill Pond makes for a very special holiday experience, situated next to the picturesque mill pond in Cromford village. Everything you’ll need is right on your doorstep as here, you’re no more than 400 yards from a deli serving delicious cake and coffee, a charming bookshop, restaurants, real ale pubs and a tapas bar. Perfect for a weekend break!

Sea Lodge, Kent

See it here: Ref. 930992

If you’re looking for a seaside retreat in the South East, look no further than Sea Lodge in Westgate-on-Sea. This lovely Victorian holiday home offers delightful period features, panoramic coastal views and a short walk into the heart of Westgate-on-Sea with its Blue Flag beach and charming cafes, shops and pubs.

The Meal House, Dorset

See it here: Ref. 927143

Located in the idyllic rural village of Dewlish, this cosy cottage is at the very heart of Thomas Hardy country. The Meal House has been lovingly converted by the owners but still retains its beautiful original features; from March, the cottage will also have a stunning wood-fired hot tub to soak in. Book a holiday here to explore the natural beauty of the Dorset countryside and indulge in some good pub grub and real ales.

Thatchings, Cornwall

See it here: Ref. 928534

This delightful thatched cottage in the historic market town of Stratton is a truly special place to stay on your next trip to Cornwall. Thatchings is pet friendly and full of character with a lovely, cosy atmosphere and a large fireplace with multi-fuel stove to curl up in front of at night. The North Cornwall coastline is close by with the attractive seaside town of Bude just over 2 miles away.

Curlew Lodge, Shropshire

See it here: Ref. 918243

Fancy a holiday in a luxury log cabin with a hot tub? Then Curlew Lodge is the property for you! This modern lodge is located on a working dairy farm in the Shropshire countryside, boasting its own private hot tub, outdoor decking overlooking the fields, as well as the option to use the owner’s tennis courts and fishing facilities. The local area is ideal for walking and cycling and there’s a Michelin starred restaurant just a 20 minute walk away.

To see all of the latest additions to the Sykes Cottages portfolio, please visit the new cottages page on our website. We’re adding new cottages every day to make sure that we have the best selection of holiday cottages possible for our customers.

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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.