Author Archive

Walk of the Month: Clatteringshaws Loch View Trail

Sunday, November 27th, 2016
Pin It

For November’s edition of Walk of the Month, we’re heading to Clatteringshaws in Dumfries and Galloway for a trail named by Visit Scotland as one of the ten most spectacular winter walks in the country. Located in the heart of the Galloway Forest Park, Clatteringshaws Loch is a tranquil haven that’s perfect for a frosty winter stroll.

The walk:

This 3.5 mile walk is suitable for most people with waymarked paths and only a gentle uphill climb. It should take around two hours to complete and there’s plenty of parking if you want to drive to the route. Whilst you’re in the area, visit the interactive wildlife exhibition in the Clatteringshaws visitor centre to see the wide variety of wildlife you could encounter on your walk.

The route:

The walk begins in the car park at the Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre. Before you begin, make sure you take a lochside detour to Bruce’s Stone. This is said to be the site where Robert the Bruce rested after his victory against the English in the Battle of Trool in 1307.

After your detour, head back to the car park. Walk along to the main road, cross it and take the track opposite to walk across the open field. Climb the style at the beginning of the forestry.

Continue along the forest track with a felled area on your right. At the first junction, continue straight ahead but at the second junction, turn right following the white marker post heading uphill. This route continues to climb Benniguinea but before you reach the summit, take a right onto a marked path. Head down through the trees and you will eventually emerge at a turning area on a forestry track. Head to the right down the forestry track.

Soon, this track will reach the track you took earlier. Turn left here to return to the stile and retrace the route back over the open field to the road and the visitor centre. There’s a lovely café at the visitor centre which boasts spectacular loch views and serves delicious food- the perfect reward for after your walk!

To view the full route map, click here.

Book a holiday cottage in Dumfries and Galloway

Sykes Cottages has a wide range of holiday cottages in Dumfries and Galloway, perfect for your winter walking holiday. Whether you’re looking for a cosy retreat with your loved one or a fresh air family break, we’ve something to suit you. Visit our website to find out more.

Pin It
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.

Introducing: An Elf For Christmas

Thursday, November 17th, 2016
Pin It

This year, Sykes Cottages is delighted to be partnering with An Elf For Christmas, a magical family tradition that can grow through the ages with your children. Inspiring creativity, encouraging kindness and good behaviour, and most of all creating wonderful memories for your children, these adorable Elf toys are suitable for any age.

Sent from the North Pole on December 1st, Elf has been sent on a special mission from Santa to report on good behaviour and let him know if children are on the Naughty or Nice List. However, at night while everyone is asleep, Elf gets up to all kinds of funny mischief which children are sure to delight in.

A lovely tradition, An Elf For Christmas helps keep excited children on track with good behaviour. Elf is sent with a Magical Reward Kit including motivational notes and certificates for good behaviour.

Elf For Christmas

Claim your free Elf Book with Sykes Cottages

This year, we’re offering an exclusive discount for our customers wanting to join in the fun. Choose your Elf from just £17.50 and get a FREE Elf’s First Adventure Book (RRP £5.99) – this is exclusive to Sykes to bring a little festive cheer! Click here to order your very own Elf and don’t forget to quote ELFSTORYSYKES to claim your free book (one free book per order, offer ends on Christmas Eve). You’ll need to add the book to your basket first then apply the code.

To get you started and give you some ideas on mischief your Elf could get up to, we’ve listed some suggestions below. A little planning means you don’t have to be creative each night, simply print out an Elf Antics Planner and fill in with some or all of our ideas below. Don’t forget to schedule the ideas that require a little more effort on weekends or when you know you have more time.

We know it’s not easy being a super parent, so whether you feel a little frazzled with the Elf Antics or you want to celebrate being ever so clever, we’re also offering our customers a saving of over £60 on 12 stunning Christmas wines including an award-winning Prosecco with Virgin Wines. Click here to get your wine supply ready for Christmas- yours for just £4.99 a bottle.

An Elf For Christmas Ideas

1st Dec- Elf Arrives. Elf arrives with a letter to explain who he is, box to fill with unwanted toys and “snow” covered doughnutsAn Elf For Christmas

2nd Dec- Elf on the Shelf. Elf is tucked up on a shelf with a book or knick knack

3rd Dec– Bathroom Mischief. Elf is somewhere in the bathroom, perhaps making a mess with toothpaste

4th Dec– Hot Chocolate Party. Elf brings all the supplies and sets up for a family hot chocolate party

5th Dec– Making a Mess. Elf has made a mess – maybe in the kitchen with sprinkles or flour, or in the living room with toys

6th Dec– Family Time.  Elf has made a list of his favourite Christmas activities (you can download one from An Elf for Christmas here or make your own) and ticked one to do today.

7th Dec– Storytime. Elf gathers round his favourite toys to read them a story

8th Dec– Snow Angel. Elf makes a snow angel out of flour on the kitchen counter

9th Dec– Toasted Marshmallows. Elf has toasted a mini marshmallow on a tea light

10th Dec– Christmas Tree. Elf has pulled out the Christmas Tree and is sat in the baubles and tinsel ready to decorate

11th Dec– Writing to Santa. Elf has started a letter to Santa and brought some special stationary for the kids to write theirs tooAn Elf For Christmas

12th Dec– Ziplining. Elf has made a zip line across the room and (using a candy cane and his velcro hands) he’s ready to enjoy the ride

13th Dec– Building a Snowman. Elf is found building a snowman out of 3 stacked toilet rolls with some card buttons to make their face and a hat

14th Dec– Hanging Lights. Elf is tangled in the Christmas lights

15th Dec– Rudolph Noses. Elf has used red dot stickers to turn himself and everyone in a family picture into Rudolph

16th Dec– Movie Madness. With a bowl of popcorn, Elf is in the living room ready to watch a Christmas film

17th Dec– Stocking Fun. Elf replaces the Christmas stockings with the children’s small socks

18th Dec– North Pole Breakfast. Elf brings all the supplies for a special North Pole Breakfast. We love pancakes!

19th Dec– Letter from Santa. Elf returns with a letter from Santa. Perhaps with a little flour or fake snow on the fireplaceAn Elf For Christmas

20th Dec– Marshmallows. Elf is hiding in a bowl of mini marshmallows or is maybe having a “snowball” fight with their favourite toy

21st Dec– Paper Airplanes. Elf can be found making paper airplanes – tiny for himself and big for the kids

22nd Dec– Toy Parade. Elf and friends are having fun in a parade

23rd Dec- Craft Time. Elf is doing a craft and has supplies for the kids to make a craft too! We love making Christmas scented brown paint (just mix paint with some dried spice like ginger or cinnamon) to make ginger bread men pictures. Or if you’re short on time with Christmas in onlya few days, simply print some colouring pages and activity sheets

24th Dec– Special Delivery. Elf brings all the ingredients for Santa’s favourite cookies to make with the children

Have you thought of a fantastic idea for Elf for Christmas? Let us know by sharing your ideas and pictures on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages. We can’t wait to see the creative activities you come up with!


Pin It
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.

Last Minute Cottages for October Half Term

Sunday, October 16th, 2016
Pin It

Still not made plans for October half term yet? Luckily for you, Sykes Cottages still has some beautiful properties available across the UK and Ireland that are just perfect for a family getaway during the school holidays. Take a look below at a few handpicked cottages still available over October half term.

Hayloft Cottage, Cumbria

Holiday cottage in Yorkshire

This peaceful cottage is located on a family-run farm in the Cumbrian countryside. Hayloft Cottage has been carefully created from an old farm building, retaining its character; the upside down style of the accommodation takes full advantage of the lovely views of the surrounding countryside. The property enjoys shared use of all the lawned and terraced areas on the farm which includes a fantastic children’s play area. The real pull for families is that the owners offer guided tours around the farm and are full of fascinating stories about what it’s like to be a farmer in the countryside.

The Dovecote, North Wales

Holiday cottage in Wales

The Dovecote is a pretty first floor apartment in the charming harbour village of Abersoch. Set in a Grade II listed house surrounded by -tropical Italianate gardens, this spacious holiday home also offers panoramic sea views. Abersoch’s harbour, shops and restaurants are just a short stroll away and the property benefits from private access to the beach- it may not be sunbathing weather but beaches in autumn are beautiful places to walk and play family games of football. Other brilliant half term activities nearby include the The Children’s Farm Park, Criccieth Castle and Llanfair Slate Caverns.

44 Lower Lake, Sussex

Holiday cottage in Sussex

For a historical half term holiday, why not pay a visit to 44 Lower Lake. This traditional, Grade II listed 17 century cottage is located in the medieval town of Battle, where the Battle of Hastings took place. This quaint town with its cobbled streets and narrow alleys is bursting with history. Visit Battle Abbey, indulge an a high tea at Mrs Burton’s or step back in time and explore mysterious tunnels and caves at Smugglers Adventure. The property itself is charming with a cosy woodburning stove, beamed ceilings and plenty of space for a family to spread out in.

To see our full range of holiday cottages for October half term, you can visit our website or give our expert reservations team a call. They’re on hand to help seven days a week from 9am until 8pm and will be more than happy to help you find the right property for your family holiday.

Pin It
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.

Introducing: The West Bay Club & Spa, Isle of Wight

Friday, October 7th, 2016
Pin It

Sykes Cottages is delighted to introduce you to The West Bay Club & Spa on the beautiful Isle of Wight. As of today, you will now be able to book their stunning holiday homes through the Sykes Cottages website.

The West Bay Club & Spa provides family friendly self-catering accommodation set within 15 acres of landscaped grounds, just outside the picturesque village of Yarmouth. As soon as you set foot in these picture-perfect surroundings, you’ll feel your mind clear and your body unwind as you embark on your exploration of Island life.

Designed with comfort and relaxation in mind

Sleeping between two and nine guests, their New England-style houses have been designed with comfort and relaxation in mind. The West Bay Club & Spa is the perfect place from which to discover all that the exquisite Isle of Wight has to offer, whether you’re looking for a weekend escape from the city or a family holiday by the sea.

West Bay holiday homes

Something to suit everyone

Guests will enjoy access to the indulgent Island Wellness Spa which offers natural and holistic therapies to help you feel relaxed, rested and restored. You can also make the most of the Club with its 20 metre swimming pool, top-of-the-range gym and fitness suite, tennis coaching and over 60 studio classes.

Families will love the bespoke activity programme on offer for children, as well as the on-site play area and splash pool, which ensures that there’s something to suit even the youngest members of your party. Membership to The Club, its facilities and many of the activities at West Bay are included in the price of your stay as is the ferry transfer, making a holiday to The West Bay Club & Spa as carefree as possible.

Family on walking route

Explore the spectacular Isle of Wight

The Island itself is full of history and has over 50 miles of spectacular unspoilt coastline with more Blue Flag beaches than any other destination in England. Though it’s famous for its traditional seaside towns, you’ll also find sprawling sandy shorelines, rugged cliffs and hidden coves just waiting to be explored. For the more adventurous, the Isle of Wight is also a brilliant choice for an action-packed holiday. Whether you fancy sailing, cycling or surfing, there’s something for everyone and there are plenty of scenic walking opportunities that the whole family can get involved in.

To book your holiday at The West Bay Club & Spa, please visit our website where you’ll find a wide variety of properties to choose from. If you need help finding the perfect property for your getaway then you can give us a call on 01244356695 and our friendly reservations experts will be able to advise on the right property for you. Our phone lines are open seven days a week from 9am until 8pm.

Isle of Wight

Sykes Cottages staff recommendations

Some of the Sykes Cottages team recently had the opportunity to visit The West Bay Club & Spa where they stayed for two nights, trying their hand at the activities on offer and being pampered at the Island Wellness Spa. Here are just a few testimonials from our team about their stay:

“I thought The West Bay Club & Spa was a serene, relaxing and friendly place. The grounds and facilities were extremely well-kept and the staff were incredibly welcoming and helpful- nothing was too much trouble for them. I loved the spa, it was beautifully designed and the treatments on offer were really unique, I chose the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage which was amazing! ”- Alice Barnett, Revenue Management Team

What struck me most was the chilled out atmosphere. It’s such a relaxing haven and the ferry crossing was quick and simple. My tennis lesson was with an enthusiastic and friendly coach who improved my game immensely”- Max Bailey, Key Account Manager

I had a wonderful time at West Bay. I found the staff to be warm and attentive and I would recommend this to family and friends in a shot”- Leanne Cotton, Reservations Agent

“What a welcoming place. Love an active holiday. Love being pampered. Love food. Just a few reasons why I enjoyed, and would happily recommend The West Bay Club to my closest friends. But experiences aside, what really made West Bay for me was the wonderful staff who were genuinely friendly. I look forward to heading back to the beautiful Isle of Wight, with a group of friends and road bikes in tow”- Laura Champion, CRM Marketing Manager

Sykes staff on Isle of Wight

Sykes staff on their visit to The West Bay Club & Spa


Pin It
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.

Walk of the Month: Tom Gill to Tarn Hows

Sunday, September 18th, 2016
Pin It

For September’s edition of Walk of the Month, we’re heading to the mesmerising landscape of the Lake District to one of the most-visited beauty spots in the area, Tarn Hows. Many holidaymakers drive to Tarn Hows but if you’re a seasoned walker and fancy a bit of a challenge, this route will reward you with spectacular scenery and views across Wetherlam and Coniston Old Man too.

The walk:

This dog-friendly 1.6 mile route will take around an hour to complete. Although don’t be fooled by the short length of time it takes- this route is demanding with steep terrain, some uneven paths and rock scrambling required. It is not suitable for those with limited mobility or novice fell-walkers but it is well worth the challenge for the more experienced.

The route:

The route begins at the car park at Tom Gill, Mary Glen Bridge. From here, head past the ticket machine and cross the wooden bridge. Go through the gate and follow the narrow path alongside the gill. Here, the path climbs up a rocky section before crossing the gill-side with the beck below. The Tom Gill waterfall is best viewed from the path as it ascends on the left-hand side.

Stay on the left-hand side of the gill, passing a gate and following the path. Make sure you take due care on the rocky sections as you approach Tarn Hows. Then take a right on the main track through the gates.

As you reach this majestic lake, stop in front of the bench at the three-way junction and take the path on the far left along the edge of the tarn. Follow the path as it ascends uphill and past some trees on your left. When you reach a T junction, head right continuing uphill towards the road. Follow the path alongside the road, bearing left until you reach the junction with the road, opposite the car park.

Here, turn right and head along the road towards Coniston, passing a cattle grid. Follow this round for a quarter of a mile as it winds its way down, offering stunning views across Yewdale. At the junction, take the track on the right through the gates marked ‘Tarn Hows Cottage’. With the wall on your left and the views on your right, continue to follow the track towards the cottage.

As the track bends to the right, go through the gate past the front of the cottage and out through another gate into the fields. Turn left and follow the wall downhill. At the end of the wall, go through the small gate and continue down the slope keeping the hedge to your right. You’ll then need to go through another small gate in the hedgerow and turn left downhill.

Once you’ve reached the bottom of the hill, turn right along the edge of the field with Yew Tree Farm (which was used in the film, Miss Potter) on the opposite side of the road. Head out of the field, through the gate and over the wooden bridge back into the car park.

To view the full route map, please click here.

Book a holiday cottage in the Lake District

If you’re planning your own trip to Tarn Hows, make sure you take a look at our handpicked collection of holiday cottages in the Lake District. We’ve over 850 cottages to choose from and we’d be delighted to help you find the perfect property for your holiday.

Pin It
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.