Author Archive

How We’ve Improved In The Past Year

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015
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As you’ll probably already know, here at Sykes Cottages we’ve been nominated for a prestigious British Travel award for the third year running! We’ve been nominated for Best UK Holiday Cottage/ Self Catering Booking Company and to help convince you to vote for us, we wanted to show you what we’ve done to improve in the last year in order to deserve your vote this time around.

We’ve moved to a bigger and better office

Sykes Cottages Staff with Awards

Some of our staff in the new Sykes Cottages garden terrace

In March 2015, we completed our move to our new office in Chester city centre. Aside from the obvious danger to my bank balance that comes with having a wealth of shops and restaurants on the doorstep, the move spells great things for Sykes as it gives us the opportunity to keep growing and expanding the company to be better than we’ve ever been before.

We’ve won awards

Sykes Cottages' Awards

Our most recent awards

It’s not just the British Travel Awards we’ve been successful in; in the past year, we’ve been delighted to have continued our status as an award-winning company outside of the British Travel Awards too! In December 2014, we won the prestigious Travolution Award for the ‘Best Use of Search Engine Marketing’ and in March 2015, we were named one of the Top 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain by the London Stock Exchange Group. Here at Sykes, we always strive to ensure that we’re the best that we can be for our customers, owners and staff and so we were over the moon that our achievements and hard work have been recognised by such respected brands. Here’s hoping for more success in the coming months!

We now have over 6,000 cottages to book

Our cottage portfolio is expanding every day and we’re working hard to make sure that we have a fantastic selection of holiday cottages for you to choose from. Currently, the count stands at over 6,000 cottages! All of our cottages are equally wonderful but there are some that have joined our ranks in the past year that really stand out; for example, The Abbey in Penzance which is a beautiful luxury property and one of Cornwall’s most important listed buildings; The Rowan Yurt in Hepworth- this gorgeous, romantic yurt has proved to be one of our most popular properties this year; and Dome House in Bowness-on-Windermere, which is a stunning architect-designed property recently featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs.

Vote for us in the British Travel Awards

British Travel Awards

If you haven’t voted for us yet in the British Travel Awards and you’d like to, you can do so by clicking on the above button. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has voted so far; we’re absolutely thrilled that you’ve taken the time to vote for us and we’ll be keeping everything crossed that we can win this for you for the third year in a row!

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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: Quirky Holiday Cottages, Part II

Sunday, August 16th, 2015
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Looking for something a little different on your next holiday? Whether you fancy relaxing in a former water tank or getting away to a converted chapel, here at Sykes Cottages we have a wide collection of unusual holiday lets that are sure to make your holiday stand out! If you want to read Quirky Holiday Cottages Part I, please click here.

Riverside, Lake District

The spectacular views from this quirky holiday cottage are guaranteed to take your breath away. Situated on the shoes of Ullswater, the views from Riverside are some of the best in the Lake District. To make the most of these views, Riverside has huge picture windows and outside, there’s a private hot tub and alfresco cooking & dining facilities. There are beautiful walks on the doorstep and there’s a lovely pub just two minutes’ walk away.

The Old Fire Station, Kent

This fabulous holiday home was the former St Margaret’s at Cliffe fire station. The building was converted in 2012 to create this unique holiday rental which is ideal for a holiday with friends or family. The stand-out feature of the Old Fire Station is its original frontage, which it has retained and which now makes up one wall of the living area- the ceiling of which is high enough to accommodate a fire engine. This property is bright, airy and spacious with four bedrooms, and is close to beaches, pubs and stunning coastal walks.

1 Church House, Isle of Wight

1 Church House is a stunning church conversion on the coast of the Isle of Wight. The property manages to seamlessly combine luxurious and contemporary furnishings with beautiful original features, which include magnificent stained glass windows, timber high ceilings and a galleried balcony. 1 Church House is perfectly located for a relaxing break with a shop, lovely pub and beach all within eight minutes’ walk.

Cambridge Lodge, Peak District

Cambridge Lodge is an extraordinary property that offers a wonderfully unique holiday experience. Expertly converted from a water tank dating back to 1909, it took the owners 10 years of renovation but it’s been more than worth it! The property is now a modern and luxurious holiday home- half of which is underground- with facilities including Smart TVs, Netflix and a lovely outdoor garden with panoramic views across to nearby Chatsworth House.

Southover, Norfolk

This unusual part-thatched cottage on the edge of the River Bure in the Norfolk Broads makes for a holiday that you’ll never forget. With high ceilings, exposed timbers and full-length windows leading on to a decked balcony, making the most of the beautiful river views, Southover exudes luxury. There’s also a hot tub, Sky TV and in addition, the property offers private mooring and use of a 5-seater boat and canoe for guests to use on the water.

To see our full collection of unusual holiday cottages, you can visit our website or take a peek at our previous blog post focusing on other quirky cottages. We’ve everything from yurts to converted chapels so if you’re looking for a holiday let with a difference, you’re in the right place!

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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.

Walk of the Month: Garinish Loop

Saturday, August 8th, 2015
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For August’s edition of Walk of Month, we’re taking a trip across the Irish Sea to the Emerald Isle itself. The Beara Peninsula in County Cork is one of the most ruggedly stunning landscapes in the whole of Ireland, dominated by mountain ranges but decorated with picture-perfect fishing villages all along the shoreline bordering the wild Atlantic Ocean.

It’s a popular destination for walkers with the 196km Beara Way a fantastic choice for long-distance walkers. However, today we’re looking at the shorter Garinish Loop, which can easily be done in an afternoon before heading to one of the lovely traditional taverns nearby for some well-deserved pub grub!

The Walk

The Garinish Loop is a 4km coastal walk that starts and finishes at the boarding point for the only cable car in Ireland- the Dursey Island Cable Car. It’s described as a ‘moderate’ walk and can be quite challenging in places where it ascents so it’s probably more suitable for adults. It should take around an hour and a half to complete; wearing walking boots and drinking plenty of water is always advised.

The Route

Begin your walk in the car park of the Dursey Island Cable Car. Cross over the stile and follow the purple arrows towards the west of the Beara Peninsula. At this point, the route ascends quite quickly to its highest point (150m). It can be a little tiring on the legs but the view at the top, looking out across the Sound to Dursey Island, is more than worth it!

The next section takes you downhill and out across open countryside towards Garinish Point. From here, you’ll be rewarded with fine views of the open sea and both Garinish Island and Long Island. Here you’ll need to exit the open land via a small gate and follow the route to the quay at Garinish. You’ll need to turn right at the quay on a roadway.

Follow the roadway for around 500 metres and you’ll reach a narrow laneway, which will be on your right-hand side. Follow the purple arrow signs and turn right up the laneway. Eventually, the laneway reaches a roadway, where it turns left and joins a tarred road.

Turn right at the tarred road. Note that the long-distance route turns left here but you need to make sure that you turn right to make the 1km return to the cable car.

To view the route map, please click here.

Rent a cottage in the Beara Peninsula with Sykes Cottages

If you want to tackle the Garinish Loop then why not make a weekend of it and book a holiday cottage in the Beara Peninsula? Situated on the Wild Atlantic Way, the Beara Peninsula is a delightful part of West Cork that’s famous for its stunning scenery and as home to one of Ireland’s best ports for whitefish, it would be a crying shame to miss out on trying its wonderful seafood restaurants! Sykes Cottages have a wide range of self-catering holiday lets in the area that would make perfect bases to explore West Cork.

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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.

Off the Beaten Path: Isolated Cottages

Friday, July 31st, 2015
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Sometimes there’s nothing better than a holiday where you can get away from it all; taking a well-deserved break from the crowds, noises and distractions of everyday life is many people’s idea of heaven. So if you’re tempted, here are a few of our stunning, isolated holiday cottages in the UK for you to take a look through.

Coppa Hill Barn, Yorkshire Dales

This beautiful barn conversion is located next to the owner’s sheep farm, amongst the rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Dales. The setting is picturesque, yet the pretty village of Ingleton is just over a mile away should you want to venture out to a pub or restaurant. The owners of Coppa Hill Barn have put great care into making sure that the property feels and looks luxurious, with bespoke oak beams, a feature woodburner and super king-size bedrooms, making this lovely, tranquil cottage the perfect place to get away from it all.

Pen Y Bont, Snowdonia

Pen Y Bont is a real hidden gem in a serene and peaceful location, nestled between the Welsh hills and mountains of the Snowdonia National Park. Sitting on the banks of the River Dovey, Pen Y Bont offers stunning views, which you can admire from the windows whilst relaxing in a comfy chair with a good book and listening to the sounds of the river outside. The cottage itself is charming, cosy and traditional with features including exposed beams, an Inglenook fireplace and an original bread oven. If you’re looking for a quiet bolthole where you can unwind, then Pen Y Bont is ideal.

Sunset Cottage, Isle of Mull

Perched on a hillside, this stunning Isle of Mull cottage offers dramatic, panoramic views across the Sound of Mull. The cottage has its own garden with uninterrupted views out across the water- the perfect place for dining alfresco or relaxing with a drink as the sun goes down. Sunset Cottage is ideal for family or friends with flexible sleeping accommodation and bright, airy rooms. There’s even a woodburner to curl up in front of when the temperatures dip. The Isle of Mull itself is spectacular and enjoys a slower pace of life; perfect for a get away from everything type of holiday.

Higher Croasdale Farmhouse, Yorkshire Dales

This idyllic farmhouse is situated in a secluded location with sweeping views of the Yorkshire countryside and is only accessible via a mile-long farm track. The views at Higher Croasdale Farmhouse carry for miles across the open moorlands, inducing a feeling of complete tranquillity. Yet if you do want to head out for the day, nearby Bentham is just 3 miles away with some lovely pubs, restaurants and shops to choose from. The Yorkshire Three Peaks and the Forest of Bowland are also close by and are perfect spots for getting active with walking and cycling routes on offer.

To see our full collection of remote holiday cottages then please visit our website! Or alternatively, you can give our specialist holiday advisors a call on 01244 356 695 and they’d be more than happy to help you find the perfect cottage for your holiday.

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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.

Alternative Holiday Destinations in the UK

Saturday, July 25th, 2015
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At this time of year, it can be hard to find a holiday in the location you want. The most popular destinations get booked up early on in the year and if you’ve had to leave it until the last minute, it can be frustrating when you can’t find what you’re looking for. Here at Sykes, we know everything there is to know about holidaying in the UK. If there isn’t an available holiday in the area you wanted, we’ll use our expert knowledge to provide you with some alternative options in an area that will match all of your holiday requirements but that you may not have previously considered. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Instead of Cornwall… try Dorset

Cornwall is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK but with popularity comes a shortage of last-minute options. We do still have some fantastic cottages in Cornwall with availability for this summer but if you can’t find what you’re looking for in Cornwall, have you thought about Dorset instead? Like Cornwall, Dorset also offers spectacular coastline (think Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove), sweeping countryside, charming villages and plenty of walking and cycling opportunities. There are family attractions aplenty here and there’s lots of history and heritage to discover. Don’t miss out on a fantastic holiday spot just because you weren’t as familiar with it as other South West destinations!

Instead of the Lake District… try the Eden Valley

We’ve all heard of the Lake District, but have you heard about Cumbria’s best kept secret, the Eden Valley? The Eden Valley is a real hidden gem, situated between the Lakes and the Yorkshire Dales. It has all the sweeping valleys, lush green countryside and characterful villages of the Lakes, as well as being located along Britain’s most scenic railway line, from Carlisle to Settle. Its quieter status means that you’re more likely to find some availability here and what’s more, the Eden Valley offers the best of both worlds as you’re still within driving distance of the Lakes if you had your heart set on venturing there.

Instead of the North Cotswolds… try the South Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are one of the most charming places in the country with picturesque, quintessentially English villages, quaint country pubs and bags of history. Most visitors to this area flock to the North Cotswolds, where you’ll find villages such as Broadway, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water. However, last year, the Lonely Planet listed the South Cotswolds as one of the Top 50 ‘secret’ holiday destinations in Europe. The South Cotswolds are just as beautiful as the North and don’t come with the same level of tourist footfall, offering a slower pace of life and often a more authentic feel. Villages such as Castle Combe, Malmesbury and Lacock are perfect spots for a South Cotswolds holiday.

To see our full range of holiday cottages, please visit our website. We have over 5,500 fantastic self-catering cottages for you to choose from across the UK and Ireland and we’ll do our very best to find you the perfect holiday for your trip.

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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.