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Britain’s Best Christmas Trees

Thursday, December 18th, 2014
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We’re probably all a little biased but when it comes to Christmas trees, I think everyone is inclined to think that their own is by far the best. We all spend hours choosing our decorations, decorating our trees and of course, uploading the obligatory pictures to social media. However, there are some trees in the UK that are slightly more distinguished than others. Read on to find out about some of Britain’s best Christmas trees!

Europe’s Largest Walk in Tree – Cheshire Oaks, Cheshire

Cheshire Oaks Christmas Tree

Via Flickr

Cheshire Oaks is a favourite haunt of many of us here at Sykes Cottages as it’s just a short drive from our offices. However, the McArthur Glen designer outlet is also home to the Europe’s largest walk-in tree, which stands at over 90 foot high and 32 foot wide. The tree itself has over 5 miles of fairy lights, weighs 18 tons and boasts 100,000 baubles. Visitors to Cheshire Oaks this Christmas can pay an optional donation to step inside this one-of-a-kind twinkling tree for a look around and a fantastic photo opportunity!

UK’s Oldest Christmas Tree – Wrest Park, Bedfordshire

Wrest Park Christmas Tree

Via Flickr

This year, for the first time in a century, the UK’s oldest Christmas tree will be decorated for the festive season. The Wellingtonia stands at around 98 foot and dates back to 1856, when it was planted by Thomas de Grey in Wrest Park, which is now an English Heritage country estate and gardens. When it was first planted, the tree was brought into the property every year, decorated for Christmas, and then re-planted once the festivities were over. During this period, Christmas trees were all the rage as the Royal Family had recently embraced them as part of their own Christmas celebrations – the tree at Wrest Park is believed to be ones of the earliest examples of a Christmas tree grown in the UK.

UK’s Tallest Christmas Tree- Ballatar, Aberdeenshire

Ballatar Christmas Tree

Via Flickr

The title of the UK’s tallest Christmas tree is believed to be held by a 125 foot tall tree in Ballatar, Aberdeenshire. The tree is located at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club in the Victorian village of Ballatar, and has been decorated with 2,100 lights and a 5 foot star at the top. Previously, the claim for the UK’s tallest Christmas tree lay with a redwood tree at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex, which stood at 118 foot.

Think you know of a better Christmas tree? We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions – you can let us know by leaving a message on our Facebook page or by sending us a tweet.

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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.

Christmas Events: National Trust and English Heritage

Thursday, December 11th, 2014
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If you’re looking for days out during December that will help you get into the Christmas spirit, then look no further as we’ve rounded up some of the best Christmas events taking place at National Trust and English Heritage properties over the festive season. From illuminated walks to ghost stories, there’s something to suit everyone!

Festive Guided Tours at Osborne House

Osborne House, Isle of Wight

Via Flickr

Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight, was once home to Queen Victoria and her family and it’s said that she thought it was “impossible to imagine a prettier spot”. This Christmas, you can take guided tours around Osborne House and see how Queen Victoria would have celebrated the festive season. Visit the principal royal ground floor rooms of Osborne House as they would have been decorated for Christmas, and you can also see Queen Victoria’s own private rooms too. Visitors to Osborne House can also enjoy the festive fare on offer in the café and indulge in a little Christmas shopping in the gift shop. These tours are taking place every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from now until 31st December, minus a few exceptions that you can see on the English Heritage website.

Illuminated Christmas Walk at Kingston Lacy

Kingston Lacy

Via Flickr

Every day from now until 21st December, Kingston Lacy in Dorset, is hosting an Illuminated Christmas Walk. This stunning country house was built to resemble an Italian palace in 1665 and is now owned by the National Trust. Its Illuminated Christmas Walk takes place from 4pm to 6pm and follows a trail based on the twelve days of Christmas. In Kingston Lacy’s rose garden, children will also have the opportunity to help decorate Christmas trees and afterwards, everyone can enjoy a warming treat from the property’s restaurant. For more information on the Illuminated Christmas Walk, please visit the National Trust website.

Ghost Stories for Christmas at Brodsworth Hall

Brodsworth Hall

Via Flickr

For something a little bit different this Christmas, why not head to Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire for a unique storytelling event. Brodsworth Hall itself is a spectacular sight, where time seems to have stood still since the Victorian era; almost everything inside this country house has been left as it was 130 years ago when it was a family home. The Ghost Stories event takes place here on 19th December at both 7pm and 9.30pm and guests will be treated to a series of spooky Victorian ghost stories by the Lady and Gentleman of the house. This event will take place by candlelight and is unsuitable for children under the age of 14. For more information, please see the English Heritage website.

If you’re heading to any of the National Trust or English Heritage events taking place over the festive period then we’d love to know how they were! You can tweet or message us with your thoughts on the events via our Facebook and Twitter profiles.

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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.

Sykes’ Best Living Rooms

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
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When choosing a holiday cottage, what’s the first room you look at to decide if it’s for you? For me, it’s the living room. In my opinion, it’s the most important room in the house as it’s probably the room you’ll spend the most time in, along with your holiday companions. With that in mind, we’re taking a look at some of the best living rooms in the Sykes Cottages’ portfolio. There’s something to suit every taste – let us know which one is your favourite!

House on the Hill, Charnwood Forest

Holiday cottage in Charnwood Forest

House on the Hill, Charnwood Forest, Ref. 916619

This luxurious living room is on the first floor of House on the Hill, a large holiday home set in two acres of grounds near Charnwood Forest. This property sleeps up to 15 guests and the living room is spacious enough to accommodate everyone! It’s light and airy with glass doors leading to the stone terrace outside, and it also offers a warming woodburner for cooler times of year.

Beckside Barn, Cumbria

Holiday cottage in Cumbria

Beckside Barn, Cumbria, Ref. 914337

This charming Kirkby Stephen cottage combines modern luxuries with traditional features and the living room is no exception! The stylish furniture and sleek gas fire-bowl at Beckside Barn are blended seamlessly with the original oak beams, creating an attractive, cosy place for all of the family to snuggle up.

Grove Cottage, North Yorkshire

Holiday cottage in Yorkshire

Grove Cottage, North Yorkshire, Ref. 12465

Grove Cottage is home to one of the sweetest living rooms we’ve ever seen; the cosy woodburner and feature fireplace, along with the pretty décor and thoughtful finishing touches make this holiday cottage the perfect place for a romantic getaway with your loved one.

The Malthouse, Peak District

Holiday cottage in Peak District

The Malthouse, Peak District, Ref. 17888

With its exposed stone walls, beams and wooden floors, the living room of this Peak District holiday cottage is every inch the country retreat. From this spectacular sitting room, you can also enjoy delightful views across the mill pond and maybe even catch a glimpse of The Malthouse’s resident kingfisher and heron.

Seashell Cottage, Northumberland

Holiday cottage in Northumberland

Seashell Cottage, Northumberland, Ref. 31213

For those who like their holiday cottages a little more quirky, Seashell Cottage is perfect. The living room is spacious, boasting characterful furnishings and plenty of books to keep you entertained. This cosy little cottage is just yards from the shore at Amble-on-Sea and its nautical associations are nicely reflected in the décor.

If you’re looking for a holiday cottage with a lovely living room but haven’t quite found the one for you yet, you can visit our website to see our full range of holiday cottages by clicking 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.

Sykes’ Spotlight on New Scottish Cottages

Friday, November 28th, 2014
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At Sykes, we add new holiday cottages to our expanding portfolio every day, and today we thought we’d take the time to showcase some of our fantastic new properties. As it’s St. Andrews Day this weekend, we’re taking a look at just some of the latest holiday cottages in Scotland to join the Sykes Cottages family – just a warning, they are absolutely stunning and may make you want to book a holiday to Scotland as soon as possible!

Askival, Isle of Skye

Holiday cottage in Scotland

Askival, Isle of Skye, Ref. 906098

Askival is a stunning detached property located in an enviable position on the Isle of Skye. This cottage takes advantage of its superb location with a large balcony, making the most of its beautiful views across the sea towards the Inner Hebrides. The property itself is bright and airy, and the sitting room is spectacular, boasting large windows, a high-beamed ceiling and a woodburning stove to keep you warm on cooler nights. There are two bedrooms, both of which have en-suites, and the master bedroom even has its own walk-in-wardrobe! It’s a short stroll to Elgol Harbour, where you can enjoy boat trips to other nearby islands and also Loch Coruisk, a very popular destination for seeing whales, dolphins and basking sharks!

34 Low Shore, Moray Firth Coastline

Holiday cottage in Scotland

34 Low Shore, Moray Firth Coastline, Ref. 14243

This characterful fisherman’s cottage is located just yards from the Moray Firth shoreline in the pretty village of Whitehills. 34 Low Shore offers spectacular sea views and cosy, traditional accommodation for up to 5 guests. Inside, you’ll find a cosy living area with woodburning stove and original wood-lined walls, spacious kitchen with dining area, and three airy bedrooms. Outside, the private patio to the rear of the cottage boasts unobstructed views across the coastline, making it the perfect place for guests to sit and relax as they watch the waves roll in. The local pub, shops and the charming Whitehills harbour are all within 5 minutes’ walk.

Ardgour House, Ardnamurchan Peninsula

Holiday cottage in Scotland

Ardgour House, Ardmurchan Peninsula, Ref. 918078

If you’re looking for a holiday home with a touch of grandeur then look no further than Ardgour House on the stunning Ardnamurchan Peninsula. This Georgian Grade B listed property is located in 6 acres of woodland and was the former seat of the Clan Maclean, one of the oldest clans in the Highlands. Sleeping 22 guests, Ardgour House is the perfect place to enjoy a getaway with all of your family and friends, and boasts features such as a dining table to seat all 22 guests, indoor heated swimming pool and sauna, games room with table tennis table, and a billiards room with full-size snooker table.

Please click on the links to find out more about our newest additions to the Sykes Cottages portfolio and our range of holiday cottages in Scotland. If you need any help booking a cottage, our dedicated reservations team are on hand from 9.00am until 9.30pm, 7 days a week. You can give them a call on 01244 356 695 or send them an email by clicking 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.

Your Guide to the UK’s Best Christmas Events

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
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It might be a little early, but here at Sykes Cottages we’re already getting into the Christmas spirit. Lucky for you, this means we’ve already scouted out some of the best Christmas events taking place across the UK this festive season, so you don’t have to! We’ve listed three of our favourites below for you to have a look at..

Lantern Magic, Chester Zoo

Christmas at Chester Zoo

Via Flickr

Chester Zoo’s Lantern Magic event is one of the most unique and interesting events taking place in the run up to Christmas this year, and it promises to be fun for all the family. Lantern Magic is running from Thursday 4th December until Tuesday 23rd December but places are limited and tickets are selling out fast so make sure you visit their website to secure yourself a spot. After dark, you can embark on an ‘enchanted’ illuminated trail around the zoo, which leads to a spectacular display of animal lanterns. Children can also get involved in writing a letter to Santa, taking part in a lantern-making workshop, making a wish on the Giant Wishing Tree, and even visit some of the animals.

Christmas at Chatsworth

Christmas at Chatsworth

Via Flickr

Christmas at Chatsworth is always one of the most wonderful events of the year with lots of activities and events to get you in the Christmas spirit. The festivities started on 8th November and will run through until 4th January. Chatsworth’s theme this year is Alice’s Wonderland; visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the vibrant, fantastical world brought to life by Lewis Carroll. You can attend the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, meet characters such as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and play games of croquet. There’s even ‘drink me’ and ‘eat me’ refreshments!  Other Christmas events taking place at Chatsworth include wreath making, a Christmas market and Christmas twilight evenings.

Santa’s Grotto at Bounce Below

Christmas grotto

Via Flickr

Bounce Below is the world’s first underground playground of its kind and is one of the UK’s best new days out. Located in a disused slate cavern in North Wales, Bounce Below consists of large bouncy nets hung between the caverns, linked together with walkways and giant slides. It’s incredible fun for all the family and this December, Bounce Below will be hosting a magical Christmas grotto where children will get the chance to bounce about amongst a spectacular light display and festive decorations, before meeting Father Christmas himself. It is recommended that you pre-book for this event.

We’d love to hear about the events you’re going to this Christmas! You can let us know where you’re off to by leaving us a comment on Facebook or by sending us a tweet.

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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.