Author Archive

Sykes’ Spotlight on the English Riviera

Monday, September 15th, 2014
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Yesterday marked the beginning of Agatha Christie Week and the International Agatha Christie Festival. Agatha Christie, or the Queen of Crime as she’s often known, wrote 80 books during her lifetime and sold over 2 billion copies worldwide, outsold only by the Bible and William Shakespeare. Born in Torquay in 1890, Christie spent some of the most important chapters of her life in the English Riviera, so here at Sykes Cottages, we’re taking a look at this picturesque corner of the country, which influenced and inspired her writing for 85 years.

Agatha Christie’s Torquay

Torquay, English Riviera

Via Flickr

No fan of Agatha Christie can head to the English Riviera without paying a visit to Torquay, the pretty seaside town where Christie grew up. Torquay has long been considered one of the jewels of the south coast with its rows of palm trees, bustling marina and vibrant promenade. However, one of the reasons it’s most well-known is as the setting and inspiration for many of Christie’s novels; over 20 of her novels were set in and around Torquay. Christie also bought a holiday home here, which you can still visit today. Now owned by the National Trust, Greenway is open to visitors, who can experience it as it would have been in 1950s when Christie holidayed there.

Relaxed Coastal Towns & Café Culture

Brixham, English Riviera

Via Flickr

With its clear blue seas, palm trees and mild climate, you might be forgiven for thinking that you were abroad when holidaying in the English Riviera. The quaint harbours, cosmopolitan cafés and stunning beaches give this part of Devon an almost Mediterranean feel. Head to Torquay for fabulous Victorian architecture and waterside restaurants, whilst Brixham is ideal for lovers of all things marine-related; this bustling fishing town has been described as the “home of British fishing”, boasting a traditional harbour and many outstanding sea-food restaurants. If you’re looking for somewhere with a vibrant nightlife, then Paignton is a must-visit, with plenty of bars, restaurants and pubs for you to enjoy.

Days Out for Kids

Dartmouth Steam Railway

Via Flickr

It’s not just adults that will enjoy a holiday in the English Riviera as there are plenty of fantastic activities and events to keep the kids entertained too! Paignton Zoo is one of the south-west’s best days out and children will love discovering all of the animals they have to offer which include crocodiles, gorillas, elephants, lions and tigers. Another idea that’s sure to be popular with the kids is a trip on the Dartmouth Steam Railway, which runs for seven miles from Paignton along the coastline to Kingswear; the journey can also be combined with a boat trip. Adults will enjoy the spectacular views and the old-fashioned steam train is sure to fascinate younger visitors.

Book a holiday cottage in the English Riviera

Holiday cottage in English Riviera

Bay View, Paignton, Ref. 30926

If you’re looking to holiday in this wonderful part of the country, or you’re visiting for the International Agatha Christie Festival, then make sure you take a look at our selection of self-catering cottages in the English Riviera. We have something to suit every budget so please get in touch by sending us an email or giving us a call on 01244 356 695.

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.

Visit Heritage Open Days this Weekend!

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
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From 11th- 14th September, Heritage Open Days are offering culture lovers the opportunity to visit interesting sites which are normally not accessible to the public, or that normally charge for admission, for free! This annual event, which is funded by the English Heritage, aims to celebrate the wealth of architecture and culture on offer in England and encourage us to discover what’s on our doorstep.

Young Explorers Heritage Fun Trail, Yorkshire

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Via Flickr

Taking place at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield, the Young Explorers Heritage Fun Trail is a great way to spend an afternoon with the kids! The whole family will enjoy this self-guided trail around the park, taking in the wildlife, lakes and woodlands and learning more about the history surrounding them. The event is totally free and there’s no need to book, just grab a leaflet from the YSP Centre to take part and there’s also a chance to win a Young Explorer’s Goody Bag. This event is taking place on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September, from 10am until 4pm. For more information, see the Heritage Open Days website for more information.

Guided Tour of Three Tuns Brewery, Shropshire

Pints of beer

Via Flickr

This weekend, you can take a tour of England’s oldest licensed brewery for free! Established in 1642, the Three Tuns Brewery in Bishops Castle is offering free guided tours on Saturday 13th September as part of Heritage Open Days 2014. This brewery offers a unique tour experience as it’s housed in a building steeped with history, including a miniature Victorian tower which was built around 1890. Tours take around an hour and a half and afterwards, why not visit the brewery’s own pub for a couple of pints and a bite to eat? Visit the Heritage Open Days website.

Four Castles Guided Walk, Northumberland

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland

Via Flickr

On Friday 12th September, you can take part in a guided walk with David Barker around four of Northumberland’s most impressive structures. This 7.5 mile route will take all day and covers Chillingham Castle, Ros Castle, Hepburn Bastle and Hepburn Fort. This walk is not suitable for children and attendees are advised that it can be hilly and muddy in places. For more information about the event, click here.

Heritage Tours of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Warwickshire

Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company

Via Flickr

This Sunday 14th September, Shakespeare fans can explore over 150 years of theatre heritage in Stratford-upon-Avon for free! Visitors to this event can learn more about the theatre techniques introduced to the RSC over 100 years ago, that are still used today; they can also discover more about the people behind the project and theatre architecture, from the local Georgian theatre to the Victorian Gothic Shakespeare Memorial theatre. Tours must be pre-booked, please see here for more information.

To find out more about all of the events taking place as part of Heritage Open Days, you can visit their website here. If you’re planning to travel to visit one of the Heritage Open Days then why not check out our cottages near English Heritage properties for a cosy, comfortable place to stay while you explore England’s impressive architecture and culture.

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.

A Look Back at the Highlights of Summer 2014

Monday, September 1st, 2014
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On the first day of September, here at Sykes Cottages, we’d just like to take the time to appreciate what a wonderful summer Britain has had this year. We’ve had our downs (Roy Hodgson and co, I’m looking at you) but all in all, the summer of 2014 has been fantastic; full of sporting success, cultural events and good weather! In celebration of this, we’ve put together a few of our top highlights of the summer.

Le Tour de France: Yorkshire Grand Départ

Le Tour de France Grand Depart

Via Flickr

One of the summer’s most anticipated events was the Tour de France’s visit to Yorkshire. The atmosphere across the country was electric as world-famous cyclists took to the roads of the Yorkshire Dales with thousands turning out to cheer them on along the route.

WW1 Centenary Events

World War One Memorial

Via Flickr

This year also marks 100 years since the beginning of World War One. Up and down the nation, there have been spectacular events, memorials and activities taking place to commemorate the anniversary and remember those who died in the war.

Glasgow Commonwealth Games

Glasgow Commonwealth Games

Via Flickr

The Glasgow Commonwealth Games have been one of our favourite events over the summer, not least because all of the home nations did so well! From the dancing tea cakes at the opening ceremony to Erraid Davies becoming the youngest ever Commonwealth medallist, we enjoyed every moment!

Hottest July on Record

Beach

Via Flickr

Although the weather hasn’t always been perfect this summer, we have had some beautiful weather and July was even declared to be one of the hottest months of July on record! Here at Sykes Cottages, we’ve also got our fingers crossed for  an Indian Summer!

The Open Championship

Rory McIlroy

Via Flickr

This year’s Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake was a huge success and even resulted in a British winner! With his win at the Open, Rory McIlroy joined the likes of Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as one of the only golfers to win three majors by the age of 25.

UK Festivals

UK festival

Via Flickr

They may happen every year but the summer of 2014 has been a great time for festivals with some particularly memorable performances! From Dolly Parton at Glastonbury to Justin Timberlake at V Festival, there was a wide variety of artists showcasing their talents on the British festival scene this summer.

Summer 2014 has been full of highlights and if you can think of any that we’ve missed then we’d love to hear them! Get in touch and let us know via our Facebook page or via our Twitter.

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.

Book your 2015 summer holiday today!

Sunday, August 31st, 2014
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As the summer of 2014 is drawing to a close, you’re probably starting to think more about Christmas than you are about next summer. But here at Sykes Cottages, we know that now is the perfect time to book your 2015 summer holiday and we’ve come up with a few reasons to show you why!

More choice

Holiday cottage with a swimming pool

Plas Newydd, Llyn Peninsula, Ref. 903963

The simple fact is that the earlier you book, the more cottages you’ll have to choose from. Many of our cottages, in particular our coastal properties or our cottages with hot tubs/swimming pools, book up extremely quickly, especially for dates during the school holidays. If you want a spectacular sea view or a bubbling hot tub overlooking the countryside, you’ll need to act fast! Alternatively, if you’re tied to certain dates due to work commitments then the earlier you book, the more cottages will be available for your dates. There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect cottage for your holiday but then finding out that it’s not available for the dates you need; avoid this by booking your 2015 holiday now and choose from the cream of the crop!

More time to save money

Beach in England

Via Flickr

It’s always handy to know what you need to pay out in the coming months; if you book your 2015 holiday now then you’ll have the upper hand on your finances and be in a better position to save for, and consequently enjoy, your holiday next year. At Sykes Cottages, you only need to pay a 30% deposit plus a £35.00 booking fee when you book your holiday. The remaining balance doesn’t need to be paid until 6 weeks before you travel.

Book now, pay later!

Beach in England

Via Flickr

Alternatively, we also offer a book now and pay later scheme. Customers can book any holiday commencing from 27th March 2015 onwards and not pay a thing until February! All you need to do is give our reservations team a call on 01244 356 695 to book your preferred cottage and then send us a cheque post-dated to 10th February 2015.

Something to look forward to

Beach in England

Via Flickr

Finally, booking next year’s summer holiday is sure to help you beat those end-of-summer blues! Yes, the nights might begin to draw in and the temperature might start to dip, but by booking early, you’ll ensure that your spirits aren’t too dampened as you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you already have a fantastic holiday to look forward to next summer!

Book next year’s holiday now!

Coastal holiday cottage

West Sea View No 4, Isle of Wight, Ref. 905106

If you’re thinking of getting ahead of the crowd and booking your 2015 summer holiday soon then let us help. You can get in touch with our reservations specialists to find out more about our holiday cottages, either by calling 01244 356 695 or by emailing us.

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.

Off the Beaten Track: Destinations for Couples

Thursday, August 21st, 2014
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Deciding on a destination for a romantic getaway in summer can be hard. You want to go somewhere pretty and where there’s a lot to do, but you also want to pick somewhere where you’re not surrounded by tourists so that you can fully enjoy each other’s company. Here at Sykes Cottages, we’ve come up with some ideas for off the beaten track destinations in the UK, which are perfect for lovebirds who want to spend some quality time together away from the usual tourist hotspots.

Exmoor National Park

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Exmoor National Park, on the West-Somerset/Dorset border, is one of the lesser-visited National Parks in the UK but is nevertheless, one of the most beautiful. This peaceful part of the country is ideal for couples who want to take advantage of the warm temperatures and stunning coastline of the South-West of England without the crowded beaches of the usual tourist hotspots. The romantic heather-covered moorlands, shaded wooded valleys, plunging cliffs and secluded beaches of Exmoor are truly special and recently, Exmoor has been named the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe. The park is home to some of the darkest skies in the country, making it the perfect place to gaze at the stars.

Llyn Peninsula

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

For an off the beaten track holiday in Wales, take a look at the Llyn Peninsula in the North-West corner of the country. Although still a popular tourist destination, this picturesque peninsula remains unspoilt and is considered less ‘touristy’ than other areas; around a quarter of the peninsula is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Couples can stroll along the beaches of the laid-back coastal towns with clear blue waters, experience the delights of the charming fishing villages and visit the ancient pilgrimage site of Bardsey Island, which also includes the chance to spot dolphins and grey seals in the surrounding waters.

Eden Valley

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Nestled in between the tourist hotspots of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, the stunning Eden Valley is often overlooked and has long been regarded as one of Cumbria’s best kept secrets. The charming traditional villages and sprawling countryside encompass one of the UK’s most unspoilt landscapes. Couples should head to the ancient market town of Kirkby Stephen for a touch of history. This bustling town also has a station on the picturesque Settle to Carlisle railway line or if you’re so inclined, the areas surrounding the town are ideal for cycling and walking. The valley also offers a wide range of attractions for couples to visit, including historical houses, gardens, museums restaurants and pubs.

If you’re looking for a romantic holiday away from crowds of tourists, then why not let us help! We have a wonderful selection of romantic cottages across the UK and Ireland and a dedicated reservations team, who are on hand to help you 7 days a week, from 9.00am- 9.30pm. Get in touch today!

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.