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Book a romantic getaway with our new Flexible Breaks

Monday, May 18th, 2015
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We all love a romantic getaway. Whether you’ve been with your partner for 4 months or 40 years, they’re a nice way to spend some quality time together away from everyday distractions. That’s why at Sykes Cottages, we think you take advantage of our new Flexible Breaks to treat your loved one to a romantic short break; you can earn some major brownie points and get a great value holiday in the process! Here are just some of the romantic holiday cottages which are taking part in our Flexible Breaks offer:

The White House, Yorkshire

Fancy getting away to a romantic holiday cottage with a hot tub? Look no further than The White House in East Riding of Yorkshire. This pretty, whitewashed cottage is nestled in a picturesque village, perfectly placed for exploring all that this part of Yorkshire has to offer. With characterful features including traditional beams and an exposed brick fireplace, this holiday cottage is ideal for a cosy couples getaway. Outside, there’s a sheltered patio for alfresco dining and a bubbling hot tub to while the evening away in.

Trevenna Cabin, Cornwall

For a coastal short break, Trevenna Cabin is the perfect choice. This Cornwall log cabin is located in almost an acre of gardens and woodland, guaranteeing couples total privacy and a relaxing, peaceful holiday. The south coast of Cornwall is within easy reach with its beautiful beaches and charming seaside villages- St Austell Bay is just 3 miles away. Trevenna Cabin is also just a 5 minute walk from an award-winning pub which serves delicious food and boasts an impressive selection of local ales.

Berwyn Cottage, Powys

A weekend away in the Welsh countryside is a wonderful way to spend some quality time with your partner. From Berwyn Cottage, you’re well placed to explore the beautiful Powys countryside with plenty of cycle trails and walking routes right from the doorstep, including the Offa’s Dyke path. This holiday home makes the most of its stunning location with a balcony offering spectacular views across the valley- the perfect place to relax and enjoy the evening sun after a long day exploring the landscape. If you fancy a nice cold drink then you won’t have to walk far either as the owner’s lovely pub is just next door!

Beechlands Cottage, Cheshire

Beechlands Cottage is a unique holiday rental combining the best of both worlds. Set in the historic Cheshire market town of Frodsham, this cosy cottage is perfect for getting away from it all with many rural walking opportunities nearby including the Sandstone Trail and North Cheshire Way. The property is just a short walk away from the town’s restaurants, bakeries and pubs, as well as the popular weekly market which is held on a Thursday. However, if you fancy heading out for the day, there are plenty of lively cities within easy reach including Chester, Liverpool and Manchester.

Book a 2 night cottage break with Sykes Cottages

If we’ve inspired you to take advantage of our Flexible Breaks to book a romantic two night getaway with your loved one, then please click to see the full list of cottages that offer Flexible Breaks. If you need any help in finding the perfect property for you, our reservations specialists are on hand to help 7 days a week. We’re open from 9am 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.

Family Friendly Cottages in South East England

Thursday, May 14th, 2015
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This week on the Sykes Cottages blog, we’ve been focusing on South East England- a fantastic place for a memorable family holiday with plenty of stunning beaches and exciting days out! Whether you fancy a break in the glorious ‘Garden of England’, a getaway in the rolling countryside of Sussex or a holiday by the sea on the picturesque South East coastline, Sykes Cottages will have a holiday home to suit you. To get you feeling inspired, here are just a few of the wonderful cottages in South East England that we have to offer:

The Barn, East Farleigh, Kent

Holiday cottage in Kent

The Barn, East Farleigh, Kent. Ref 920096

This spectacular holiday home is a child’s paradise with its own heated outdoor swimming pool, children’s play area, trampoline and bouncy castle, which is available through prior arrangement with the owner. The property itself is a picturesque barn conversion which dates back to Cromwell’s times. Full of character and original features, with a lovely pub just 5 minutes’ walk, The Barn is an excellent choice for both adults and children. East Farleigh is a great base to explore all the Kent has to offer with family days out close by such as Go Ape Leeds Castle and The Hop Farm Family Park.

Flushing House, Rye, East Sussex

Holiday cottage in East Sussex

Flushing House, Rye, East Sussex. Ref. 21914

Flushing House is a unique Tudor cottage built around 1520 and is now a Grade II listed building. The cottage itself is beautiful with a weather-boarded exterior and original features including exposed beams and a bread oven. Tucked into the heart of Rye’s historic Citadel, this lovely cottage is just a minute’s walk from everything that the town has to offer and there are plenty of family attractions nearby including Rye Castle Museum, Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings and Smuggler’s Adventure.

90 Regent Street, Whitstable, Kent

Holiday cottage in Kent

90 Regent Street, Whitstable, Kent, Ref. 920619

This charming Victorian fisherman’s cottage in the lively seaside town of Whitstable is ideal for a coastal getaway. Bright, airy and spacious, 90 Regent Street comfortably sleeps a family of 6 in 3 bedrooms and has its own lovely garden for playing and dining alfresco. The town’s pretty harbour and many restaurants and pubs are less than 5 minutes’ walk, and the shoreline surrounding Whitstable is perfect for swimming, sunbathing and making sandcastles! Nearby family-friendly attractions include Wildwood and The Canterbury Tales.

Bixley, Beckley, East Sussex

Holiday cottage in East Sussex

Bixley, Beckley, East Sussex. Ref. 904938

Nestled at the heart of Beckley Woods, this former woodman’s home will take the whole family back to nature. Beckley Woods is a Forestry Commission conservation site and guests at Bixley will benefit from fantastic woodland walks from the doorstep, as well as birdwatching opportunities and half an acre of mature gardens to explore. If you feel the need to head out for the day, Rye with its cobbled streets, tea rooms and castle is just a short drive away. For fun-filled family days out, you could try the Shipwreck Museum or the Rare Breeds Centre.

You can see our full collection of holiday cottages in South East England here. If you need any help in picking the perfect property for you then please give us a call on 01244 356 695 and one of our reservations specialists will be more than happy to help!

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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.

Far From the Madding Crowd: Thomas Hardy’s Dorset

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
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As the newest re-make of Thomas Hardy’s ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ hit the cinemas this Bank Holiday weekend, audiences across the country have been captivated by its tragedy, its romance- the novel was described by the Guardian as one of the greatest love stories of all time- and its evocative account of rural life in nineteenth century England.

Far From the Madding Crowd was Thomas Hardy’s first major literary success and like many of his novels, it’s set within one of the most picturesque (but often also one of the most overlooked) parts of the UK- West Dorset. Hardy used Dorset’s ancient Saxon name, Wessex, in his work and described it as a “partly real, partly dream country”. For a long time, Dorset has been in the shadow of its honeypot neighbours but thanks to the likes of the new film release of Far From the Madding Crowd and ITV’s Broadchurch, Dorset is deservedly taking its place in the limelight. Much of rural Dorset has remained unspoilt and unchanged over the years, making it the perfect place to step back in time and visit some of the places that inspired Hardy’s masterpiece.


The pretty Dorset village of Puddletown, just 5 miles from Dorchester, was Hardy’s inspiration for Far From the Madding Crowd’s setting, Weatherbury. Many of Hardy’s family came from this village, including his grandfather and great-grandfather. St Mary’s Church in Puddletown is where his grandfather played cello in the gallery and where his uncle is buried. The church features regularly in Far From the Madding Crowd; Fanny Robin was buried in St Mary’s churchyard and Troy sleeps in the church porch overlooking her grave.


The county town of Dorchester is the centre of Hardy’s Wessex and it features in many of his novels, though throughout he refers to it as Casterbridge. Many of the town’s buildings are associated with Thomas Hardy’s characters including the Corn Exchange, (pictured above) where Bathsheba shocks everyone by selling her own wheat and where she meets William Boldwood. There are also plenty of buildings here that are associated with Hardy himself such as Max Gate, a house that he designed and his brother built, where he lived from 1885 onwards. The Dorset County Museum also holds a fantastic collection of Hardy memorabilia including the original furnishings of the study in which he wrote Jude the Obscure and Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

Higher Bockhampton

Although not featured in Far From the Madding Crowd itself, it was in Higher Bockhampton that Hardy was born and lived for the first 22 years of his life. The cottage in which he lived was built by his great grandfather; now owned by the National Trust, it remains largely unchanged since the family left. It was at this cottage that he wrote his first five novels, including Far From the Madding Crowd, in his bedroom. You can still visit the cottage today and look out of the right hand dormer window of his bedroom to see Hardy’s view while he wrote his first literary masterpiece.

You can read more about locations in Dorset associated with Thomas Hardy and his other novels in the Hardy Trail guide created by Visit Dorset. If you’re visiting on holiday then make sure you also check out our fantastic collection of holiday cottages in Dorset. Sykes Cottages have a dedicated team of reservations specialists that are on hand to help seven days a week, from 9am until 9.30pm.

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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 Reasons to Stay in the UK this Summer

Monday, May 4th, 2015
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We may be a little biased, but here at Sykes Cottages, we’re of the opinion that nothing beats a summer holiday in the UK. I personally spent many a happy childhood holiday playing on the beaches of Cornwall and South Wales. Now, I know that not everyone shares this positive view of British holidays so, to change your mind, here are our top ten reasons why you should stay in the UK this summer.

1. Save money. Plain and simple, choosing a staycation instead of heading abroad will save you money on everything from airport transfers to roaming charges on your mobile.


2. You won’t waste time waiting in long queues to change your currency, and there’s no risk your card will be swallowed because you haven’t informed your bank that you’re heading abroad!


3. There’s no need to fly so you’re safe from jet lag ruining the first couple of days of your holiday.


4. No passport needed! Passports can be expensive, especially when you’re travelling as a family.


5. Holidaying in the UK means that you have the choice to take your pets on holiday with you.


6. We may moan about the weather sometimes but we’ve actually had 4 years in a row of glorious, British summer heatwaves.


7. Aside from all the practical reasons, the UK is actually also a really beautiful place to holiday.


8. There’s some spectacular scenery that you won’t see anywhere else.


9. Our traditional seaside towns are like nowhere else in the world.


10. Finally, when you beaches like this, why would you want to be anywhere else?

If you’re planning a summer holiday in the UK this year then make sure you take a look at our fantastic collection of holiday cottages. With over 5,500 cottages to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect holiday home for your summer getaway!

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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.

How to: Revive your Holiday Home Exterior

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015
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For holiday home owners, summer is both a busy and exciting time with back-to-back bookings and lots of guests to look after. Once you get into the peak summer season, it can be hard to get the time to do odd jobs on your property as well as the basic maintenance needed to turn it around for your next guest. That’s why here at Sykes, we’ve come up with a checklist of things for cottage owners to do before the summer to revive and refresh the exterior of your holiday cottage in order to make a great first impression for your guests and help ensure that their stay runs smoothly!

Ways to spring-clean your cottage exterior

Holiday cottage in Shropshire

The Old Schoolhouse, Shropshire, Ref. 903636

  • Give the windows a good clean. Obvious maybe, but a great way to help make a good first impression.
  • Don’t forget to give window sills a clean too. Cleaning your window sills gives you the chance to check that they’re still in good nick- you’ll be able to see if any need repairing or replacing. If your window sills are painted and aren’t in good condition, you may also need to re-paint them after cleaning.
  • Wash any other exterior paintwork on your property. This will instantly brighten up your cottage and again, help create a good first impression for your guests.
  • Polish any house numbers, name plates, or any brass on the door.

How to revive your holiday cottage’s garden

Holiday cottage in Yorkshire

Monks Cottage, Yorkshire Dales, Ref. 21352

  • Start by clearing any leaves or plant debris that has collected over the colder months from any lawns, flower beds and ponds. You’ll want to pull up any weeds that have appeared- don’t forget that this isn’t just limited to the garden. Make sure to check your patios and driveways for any strays!
  • Prune back any shrubs and bushes that are starting to look a little overgrown, particularly those that may slightly obscure the windows. If your property boasts nice views then you certainly don’t want a plant getting in the way of them!
  • Buy some season-appropriate bedding plants for your garden to brighten it up a little. Plant pots and hanging baskets can also be nice ideas if you have the space.
  • Outdoor lighting can really add to the ambience in a garden, especially when the weather’s warm and your guests fancy sitting out of an evening. Why not invest in some pretty solar lights- they’re very affordable and look really pretty when the sun’s gone down.
  • Give your patio furniture a wipe down and if you have toys or a BBQ in the garden then make sure you give them a clean too and check that they’re all in good condition.

Other things to remember:

Holiday cottage in Yorkshire

Blacksmith’s Cottage, Yorkshire Dales, Ref. 29398

  • Make sure that you check everything is working. Test out any outdoor lighting, doorbells, intercoms, key safes etc.
  • If you have access to one, a pressure-washer is great for cleaning driveways, patios and decks.

Whether you’re one of our holiday cottage owners or even a potential guest looking for some tips for your own home, we really hope that you found these tips useful. If you have any tips of your own that you’d like to share with us then we’d love to hear them! You can do so via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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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.