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Discover: BFG UK Filming Locations

Sunday, July 24th, 2016
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2016 marks 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl, one of the greatest storytellers Britain has ever seen. There are events happening across the world this year to celebrate and one of the biggest celebrations is Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of one of Dahl’s most famous stories, The BFG, which was released earlier this week. The BFG tells the story of a Big Friendly Giant who is different to all the other human-eating giants. He lives in Giant Country and captures dreams in bottles for children to enjoy while they’re asleep. Roald Dahl revealed in several interviews before he died that the BFG was one of his favourite stories that he’d written.

Filmed in Scotland, Spielberg’s adaptation brings the magic of Giant Country to life using spectacular locations across the country. If you want to experience Giant Country for yourself, then here’s where you need to head:

The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye

One of the most iconic features of the Isle of Skye, the Old Man of Storr has its own place in giant mythology, making it the perfect location to portray Giant Country. Legend has it that the Isle of Skye was once overrun by giants, of which the Old Man of Storr was one. When he died, he is said to have been buried with his finger sticking out of the ground pointing at the sky.

The Quiraing, Isle of Skye

Located on the Trotternish peninsula, the Quiraing is arguably one of the most striking landscapes in Scotland. It also plays host to its own mythology and folklore as it’s said to be a meeting place for fairies, as well as once being home to the dragons that used to guard the island from invaders.

Shiant Islands, Outer Hebrides

Also known as the Enchanted Isles, the Shiant Islands are well known for being one of the biggest bird stations in the northern hemisphere. These remote and rugged isles are something of a hidden gem and well worth the trip. However take care, in the nineteenth century, the strait next to the Shiant Isles was said to be inhabited by strange creatures and was referred to as ‘the stream of the Blue Men’.

Fairy Glen, Isle of Skye

With no road signs to direct visitors here, this part of the Isle of Skye isn’t particularly well known. This unspoilt landscape is strikingly different to others surrounding it with lush emerald mounds, twisted moss-coloured trees and cool, clear waters. It’s a truly stunning place to visit.

Old Man of Hoy, Orkney Islands

The Old Man of Hoy is one of Orkney’s most famous landmarks. This 449 foot sea stack is one of the tallest in Britain although at a few hundred years old, it’s possible that this stack may collapse relatively soon so make sure you visit before it does!

If you’re thinking of visiting these filming locations, don’t forget to take a look at our wide range of holiday cottages in Scotland. We’ve over 750 cottages across this beautiful country that make perfect bases for exploring.

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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.

British Travel Awards 2016: We need your vote!

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016
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Dear Sykes Cottages customers, owners, staff and friends,

We are absolutely delighted to announce that for the fourth year running, we’ve been nominated for a British Travel Award. In fact, this year we’ve been nominated for two British Travel Awards! The first category we’re up for is Best Large Holiday Cottage Booking Company- a title we’ve been honoured to win for the past three years in a row- and the second is Best Large Holiday Company for Customer Service. You can read about our win last year here.

British Travel Awards

We’re so proud to have been recognised by the British Travel Awards again this year. They are often known as the Oscars of the UK travel industry and are highly coveted. What means the most to us though is that they’re voted for by the public- by our customers and our owners and those who’ve come into contact with Sykes Cottages. We’ve been humbled by your support for the last three years and are hoping we can count on you to help us make it four years in a row!

To vote for Sykes Cottages for either of these awards, please click here and fill in the short form.

British Travel Awards

Every person who submits a vote (for any of the nominees in any of the categories) will be entered into a prize draw with a chance to win fabulous prizes including a seven day tour of China, a seven night ski holiday in Puy St Vincent and of course, £500 Sykes Cottages vouchers!

Thank you in advance to anyone who’s taken the time to vote for us. From everyone at Sykes, we’re so grateful for your support.

Sykes Cottages staff

 

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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.

Iced Tea Recipes for Summer

Sunday, July 10th, 2016
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Now that summer is officially here, it’s time to take your tea with a refreshing, summery twist. Perfect for picnics, barbecues and days spent in the garden, here’s a selection of the best iced tea recipes around to keep you nice and cool over the summer months.

Lemon Iced TeaIced Tea

Serves 10. Recipe via Good Housekeeping

Ingredients

  • 4 tea bags
  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 litre boiling water
  • 3 litre still lemonade
  • Mint sprigs
  • Lemon slices

Method

  1. In a large bowl, add tea bags and 6tbsp of caster sugar. Then add a litre of boiling water.
  2. Steep for 2 minutes, take the tea bags out then leave to cool completely.
  3. Fill a large jug with ice, pour in the tea then add 1.3 litre still lemonade.
  4. Garnish individual glasses with mint sprigs and lemon slices.

 

Pimm’s Iced TeaIced Tea

Serves 4-6. Recipe via BBC Good Food.

Ingredients

  • 4 tea bags
  • 20g mint
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large oranges, juiced, plus extra slices to serve
  • 2 lemons, juiced, plus extra slices to serve
  • 400ml Pimm’s No. 1
  • Several strawberries, sliced
  • Plenty of ice to serve

Method

  1. In a large jug, add tea bags and half the mint. Then pour in 1.2 litre of boiling water.
  2. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes before removing the tea bags, stirring and adding the sugar.
  3. Once cool, remove the mint. Add orange juice, lemon juice and Pimm’s.
  4. Chill thoroughly- this can be made up to one day in advance.
  5. Serve over ice with slices of lemon, orange, strawberry and mint sprigs.

 

Raspberry and Mint Iced TeaIced Tea

Serves 4. Recipe via Goodtoknow.co.uk.

Ingredients

  • 500g raspberries
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • 2 mint sprigs
  • Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tea bag
  • Half lemon, sliced
  • Ice to serve

Method

  1. In a large bowl, crush raspberries and sugar together using a potato masher. Add the mint sprigs and bicarbonate of soda.
  2. Pour ½ litre of boiling water into a jug containing the tea bag and leave for 4-5 minutes before removing the tea bag.
  3. Pour the hot tea over the raspberries. Stir then leave to cool for 1 hour.
  4. Strain the mixture through muslin and into a sieve to make about 600ml of liquid then add 300ml cold water.
  5. Serve over ice with lemon slices and a sprig of mint.

If like us, you love tea in all of its forms, then make sure you check out our Great British Brew campaign which includes tea reviews, stats on how people like their tea, and a fantastic infographic which will tell you all you’ve ever wanted to know about the humble brew. For more delicious recipes and meal inspiration, head to the food section of our blog.

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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: Unusual Holiday Cottages

Sunday, June 26th, 2016
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At Sykes, we love all types of holiday cottages; whether they’re traditional and cosy or offer something a bit quirky.  If you’re the kind of person who likes to do things a little differently, then we have the perfect selection of holiday cottages for you. Our unusual properties make for a unique getaway you’ll never forget- take a look at some examples below.

Peat Gate Shepherd’s Hut

Quirky holiday cottage

How’s this for something different! This charming hand-made shepherd’s hut is built from timber and offers beautiful views across the Northumberland countryside. Ideal for a peaceful, romantic break, Peat Gate Shepherd’s Hut comprises of open plan studio accommodation with a separate bathroom and small but perfectly formed kitchen with a double hob, fridge and woodburning stove with integrated oven. The surrounding area is perfect for walking and cycling, close to both Hadrian’s Wall and the North Pennines, and this property even has its own bike storage facilities.

The Gatehouse

Quirky holiday cottage

The Gatehouse is one of our most quirky holiday homes with a variety of fascinating features such as a corrugated tin wall and a reclaimed Georgian staircase housing children’s bunk beds underneath. The property sleeps up to 4 guests and has a spacious open plan layout with galleried bedroom overlooking the living area complete with grand piano, a library of books and unusual décor. Situated in Cumbria, this eccentric property is surrounded by lush countryside with the Settle-Carlisle Railway running close by and the Cumbrian fells within easy reach.

The Water Tower

Quirky holiday cottage

This luxurious holiday rental on the Isle of Anglesey has been converted from a former water tower. Nestled in a tranquil location with idyllic woodland views, The Water Tower offers a luxury holiday with a quirky twist. The beautiful beaches of Pentraeth and Benllech are on your doorstep whilst the mountains of Snowdonia are also just a short drive away. The property itself is bright and airy with features including an atrium ceiling in the master bedroom and bi-fold doors opening out onto the patio from the dining area.

Book a quirky holiday cottage

If you like the look of the properties above, there’s certainly more where that came from! We’ve hundreds of charmingly eccentric holiday homes for you to choose from; you can browse the full range by visiting 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.

Sykes Cottages Hits 7,000 Properties Milestone

Thursday, June 16th, 2016
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Here at Sykes Cottages, we’re delighted to announce that this week, we’ve reached a milestone 7,000 holiday cottages across the UK and Ireland!

We started off as an ambitious family business run from the kitchen table and with the help of our fantastic staff, owners and customers, we’ve grown into the UK’s biggest and fastest-growing independent cottage agency- a fact we’re very proud of.

Sykes Cottages staff

Miles Hill, our Chief Executive Officer has congratulated staff and owners on this wonderful achievement saying: “We’re delighted to have hit this milestone. We’ve worked hard over the past 12 months and brought on board over 1,000 holiday rentals during this period alone, including many in new areas where we’ve not previously had properties before. This is the icing on top of the cake after a record-breaking year. Congratulations to everyone involved”.

The past 12 months have seen other big achievements from Sykes Cottages including winning the British Travel Award for ‘Best Large Holiday Cottage Booking Company’ for the third year in a row, as well as being named in the London Stock Exchange’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’. We’ve got plenty more exciting things in store for the rest of the year so be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

Our 7,000th property: Rhodewood Lodge, Pembrokeshire

We may have grown significantly over the years but one thing has always remained the same and that’s our commitment to providing our customers with the best holiday experience. With that in mind, we’re very proud to introduce you to our 7,000th property: Rhodewood Lodge in Pembrokeshire.

Living room in holiday cottage    Bedroom in holiday cottage

Kitchen in holiday cottage     Hot tub at holiday cottage

This stunning Gothic house in Saundersfoot sleeps up to 11 guests in pure luxury. The property has been lovingly restored by the owners, flawlessly combining beautiful original features such as mosaic tiles and arched windows with lavish modern comforts. With six bedrooms and four bathrooms, there’s plenty of space for an extended family or group of friends to relax and outside, there’s a large tiered patio and garden perfect for lazing in the sun. This exquisite property even has its own hot tub with back massager!

Look out of the windows and you’ll find far-reaching sea views, whilst a sandy Blue Flag beach is just five minutes’ walk. The centre of the friendly seaside village of Saundersfoot is also within walking distance with a variety of charming shops, pubs and restaurants. If you fancy heading further afield, there are plenty of fantastic attractions nearby including Folly Farm, Oakwood Theme Park and Blue Stone, as well as the spectacular views of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

You can read more about Rhodewood Lodge or browse all 7,000 of our wonderful holiday homes by visiting our website. From everyone at Sykes Cottages, thank you for your support!

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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.