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Favourite Films for Halloween

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
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Here at Sykes Cottages, we love Halloween. When the wind is rattling at your door and the rain is pounding against your window, we know there is no better feeling then snuggling up on the sofa with a warm blanket and a cauldron of sweets. If you’re planning to stay home this Halloween, the team here at Sykes HQ have some great suggestions for your viewing pleasure; from family friendly movies to horror films, our selection is sure to offer plenty of inspiration this Halloween.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Image provided by Leanne

A heart-warming story with a loveable protagonist may not be your first thought when it comes to Halloween, but it’s exactly what you get with The Nightmare Before Christmas. The film follows the Pumpkin King Jack Skellington and his dog Zero as they try to spread Christmas cheer across Halloweentown with disastrous consequences. The spectacular storyline and characterisation combined with the incredible soundtrack and stunning visuals of the film is what makes it not only my favourite Halloween watch, but also a favourite to watch throughout the year! – Leanne

Labyrinth

Image via Flickr.

Image via Flickr.

As one of my favourite fantasy films, Labyrinth takes top spot on my Halloween movie playlist. Not only is the film filled with fantasy creatures, magic and adventure, but with the added bonus of musical numbers – many involving the legendary David Bowie – there really is something for the whole family to enjoy.  The film follows Sarah’s adventures in an otherworldly maze as she overcomes the Goblin King’s challenges to save her baby brother Toby. This is a classic film and one you won’t regret watching even if you’re stuck singing the tunes until next Halloween. – Nicole

Casper

Image taken from IMDb.

Image taken from IMDb.

If I’m honest, I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to watching horror films! This meant picking my favourite Halloween film was always going to be a struggle, but after some thought I picked Casper. It tells the tale of a young ghost who – along with his three ghoulish uncles Fatso, Stretch and Stinkie – lives in a rickety mansion called Whipstaff Manor. The film is about Casper moving on to “the other side” whilst dealing with a greedy heiress, the affections of a young girl, and even attempted exorcisms – not to mention all sorts of mischief from his uncles. All in all, Casper makes the perfect alternative to the usual Halloween fare, and is definitely a film that the whole family will enjoy over the Halloween period! – Jamie

Hocus Pocus

Image via Flickr.

Image via Flickr.

For me, it’s not Halloween unless I’ve watched the early 90′s gem that is Hocus Pocus. The obsession started as a kid, when my sister and I would sit down and watch it on Disney Channel every year; it’s a tradition that I’ve never quite grown out of. You can put my love affair with this film largely down to Winifred, Sarah and Mary Sanderson who are evil witches raised from the dead. They are comedy genius and I’ll never get tired of their hilarious catchphrases, withering glares and of course, their rendition of ‘I Put a Spell on You’. Throw in a talking cat, a zombie who constantly loses his head and a trio of unlikely heroes, and you have everything you could ever want from a Halloween cult classic. – Lousie

Sleepy Hollow

Image via IMDb.

Image via IMDb.

The tagline ‘Heads will roll’ tells you all you need to know about Sleepy Hollow, a 1999 horror film directed by Tim Burton. Sleepy Hollow was the first film that frightened me; I spent weeks – nay, months – after watching it scurrying down the stairs, afraid that a headless, axe-wielding Hessian was hot on my tail. Though damn-scary, the eccentricity of Johnny Depp’s character, Ichabod Crane, adds some comic relief, whilst Tim Burton’s enchanting creations will feel familiar to anyone who’s seen The Nightmare Before Christmas. In short, Sleepy Hollow is a great introduction to horror for younger viewers – just be sure to have hide-cushions at hand! – Jonathan.

So what do you think? Will you be adding our frightful list of movies to your Halloween night viewing, or do you have your own ‘must watch’ movie for All Hallows Eve? Either way, we would love to know which films you’ll be watching this weekend, so make sure to let us know via our Facebook or Twitter page.

nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.

The UK’s Best Halloween Attractions for 2014

Monday, October 27th, 2014
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Throughout the UK people are getting ready for the scariest day of the year. That’s right, Halloween is almost upon us and whether you love it or hate it, there is no escaping the things that go bump in the night! Here at Sykes HQ, we love a good scare and can’t wait for the arrival of All Hallows’ Eve when we’ll be visiting some of Britain’s scariest attractions. To help inspire you on a frightful outing this Halloween, we’ve put together a selection of the five best attractions to visit on Friday 31st.

The York Dungeon

Picture provided by Leanne

Picture provided by Leanne

With dark corridors, sinister characters and a severely creepy atmosphere, York Dungeon is the place to be this Halloween. As well as the usual villains and suspicious personalities, the dungeons are introducing an all new menace: The Master of Tricks himself, who – armed with his Wheel of Misfortune – will be baffling guests with his despicable deceptions and dares.

Tulleys Pumpkin Patch and Scare Fest

Image from Flickr.

Image via Flickr.

Tulleys Farm has catered for everyone this Halloween by putting on an eerie but not-so-scary show for children during the day before going all out with their adult scare fest. Voted the UK’s number one attraction at the Scream Awards, Schocktober Fest at Tulleys Farm is sure to scare your pants off with no less than seven haunted attractions!

Edinburgh Ghost Walks

Image from Flickr.

Image via Flickr.

With victims of the plague roaming the streets of old town and the Mackenzie Poltergeist terrorizing Greyfriars Kirkyard, it’s no wonder Edinburgh is known as the world’s most haunted city. Book your ghost walk with City of the Dead, who not only provide world class story tellers, but are the only tour in town with access to Edinburgh’s Covenanter’s Prison.

The Big Sheep Halloween Festival

Image via Flickr.

Image via Flickr.

By offering children a haunted hay ride and daylight haunted house, The Big Sheep in north Devon is really pulling out all the stops for kiddies this Halloween. Not content with tricking little witches and wizards, The Big Sheep also offers an evening party where adults are invited to join in a live haunt in their zombie zone before heading into the most haunted house in Devon.

Alton Towers

Image via Flickr.

Image via Flickr.

Known for its intense white knuckle rides, Alton Towers is the ultimate UK destination for thrill seekers. Combining their world famous rides with late night openings and terrifying scare mazes, Alton Towers is reaching out with cold icy fingers hoping to draw in lost souls for a spine-tingling family day out.

We hope this list of British attractions has encouraged you to take your ghoulish family on a scary day out this Halloween. We would love to hear all about your scary adventures so be sure to keep us up-to-date through Facebook or Twitter.

nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.

Picture Perfect – The UK’s City Landmarks

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
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Every year, thousands of visitors flock to British towns on a city break. And with so much on offer, who could blame them? From fine dining to rich historic culture, our towns and cities really do have a lot to offer. Regardless of the food we eat or the people we encounter, there is one holiday experience that every tourist shares; visiting the city landmarks.

That’s right, landmarks – like Edinburgh Castle and Big Ben – pop up in just about everyone’s holiday photographs whether you’re a first time visitor to the area or a proud local. If you’re planning a city break in the UK then keep reading for our choice of the best city landmarks to visit and photograph.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Image taken from Princess Street Gardens

Arguably the capital’s most famous attraction, Edinburgh Castle sits high on Castle Rock surveying the city below. Watching over the city of Edinburgh for hundreds of years, this impressive landmark has seen it all; from witch trials and drownings in the Nor Loch to modern events like the Fringe. Edinburgh Castle can receive up to 8,000 visitors a day with many flooding the drawbridge for pictures. For an alternative look at the castle, head to Princess Street Gardens where it’s a little quieter but the view is just as impressive.

York Minster

Image of York Minster via Flickr.

Image of York Minster via Flickr.

No matter where you are in York, gaze up and you’ll be greeted with the familiar sight of York Minster.  The cathedral opened its doors in 637AD and has dominated the city skyline ever since. Welcoming over 490,000 visitors a year, it’s no wonder York Minster graces the front of almost every postcard in town. There’s a variety of locations in York where you can capture an impressive picture of the cathedral but our favourite is from the city streets where you can really highlight its contrast in size from York’s other buildings.

Big Ben

Image of Big Ben via Flickr.

Image of Big Ben via Flickr.

As one of the most photographed landmarks in the world, Big Ben is not only London’s star attraction but one of the key images you picture when thinking of the English capital. From the bustling streets of Westminster, thousands of visitors ogle this iconic structure everyday, but only a few take the time to tour The Elizabeth Tower. That’s right, you can also tour this impressive building, although you’ll have to contact your local MP to arrange it (more information here). To make the most of your Big Ben holiday snaps, stand back and incorporate the Houses of Parliament too.

 The Roman Baths

Image of The Roman Baths via Flickr.

Image of The Roman Baths via Flickr.

It’s impossible to visit the City of Bath without taking a picture of the fascinating Roman Baths. People have visited these baths for thousands of years and the attraction draws in over one million visitors a year. You can capture some amazing images of the Baths from outside the attraction but for a really impressive image, head inside. Although visitors aren’t allowed to take a dip in the Great Bath, you’re welcome to capture its beauty through your camera lens, and who knows, you may be able to feature one of the costumed characters in your picture too.

Caernarfon Castle

Image of Carenarfon Castle via Flickr.

Image of Caernarfon Castle via Flickr.

As one of Wales’ top tourist attractions, Caernarfon Castle attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year. The castle’s creator, Kind Edward the 1st, wanted to show Wales that he meant business and Caernarfon castle was definitely the right way to do it with its impressive octagonal towers and unusual hourglass shaped design.  Boasting fantastic views over Caernarfon, this formidable fortress is sure to add drama to your holiday album. Make the most of the historic features and grab a picture with one of the giant cannons, or from atop of the castle walls.

This is just a small selection of the fantastic landmarks UK cities have to offer. If you’re dreaming of a city getaway, be sure to check out our City Breaks page. With fashionable city properties located throughout the UK, your holiday scrap book will be filled in no time!

nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.

Sykes’ Spotlight on New Irish Cottages

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
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Our portfolio of properties is constantly expanding not only here in the UK but across the sea in Ireland too. As we frequently blog about our recently acquired UK cottages, we thought it’s about time we highlighted some of our new Irish holiday homes. From stylish modern properties to cottages filled with character, and idyllic coastal getaways to cosy country retreats, our new cottages offer something to suit all tastes.

Cherrymount Farm

Cherrymount Farm | Youghal, County Cork | Ref:  914203

Cherrymount Farm | Youghal, County Cork | Ref: 914203

Cherrymount Farm is the perfect example of a modern Irish cottage, offering WiFi, underfloor central heating and solar panels. This immaculately presented five bedroom property is located on the border between Waterford and Cork so it’s ideal for exploring both counties and making the most of your holiday.

Coachman’s House

Coachman's House | Lorrha, County Tipperary | Ref: 915464

Coachman’s House | Lorrha, County Tipperary | Ref: 915464

Packed full of character, Coachman’s House in County Tipperary provides everything you need for a traditional Irish break. This stunning stone cottage offers homely accommodation which is ideal for a cosy family holiday or a romantic getaway with an open fire, large grounds and convenient local amenities all adding to its charm.

Watch House Cottage

Watch House Cottage | Valentia Island, County Kerry | Ref: 915397

Watch House Cottage | Valentia Island, County Kerry | Ref: 915397

If you’re looking to explore the Irish coastline in style then this adorable coastal cottage on Valentia Island is the property for you. Step out the front door of Watch House Cottage to find the vibrant Knightstown harbour with its pier and a range of water activities perfect for children or a family dog who just loves the water!

Ard Boula

Ard Boula | Tulla, County Clare | Ref: 912160

Ard Boula | Tulla, County Clare | Ref: 912160

Nestled in the Irish countryside, Ard Boula’s tranquil surroundings and rural setting is sure to encourage lots of rest and relaxation on your next Irish getaway. This property offers plenty of space to accommodate eight people and two well-behaved pets with four bedrooms, two sitting areas and large gardens one of which includes a plot where seasonal produce is grown.

This is just a small selection of the fabulous Irish Cottages we have on offer. If you’re planning a holiday to Ireland then please visit our Irish Cottages page or contact our team for more information.

nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.

The UK’s Pet Friendly Pubs

Saturday, October 11th, 2014
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For many of us, considering a holiday without our four-legged friend is not an option. There is an ample choice of pet-friendly accommodation on offer, but I find myself thinking is that enough? A comfy bed for the night and a garden to run around in provide a great starting point for a dog friendly holiday, but our canine chums need more!

Along with great walks and other dogs to interact with, our pups need somewhere safe and warm for a break from the day’s activities. To give your dog a rest and to experience the regional delicacies why not try a local pub? Sites like Doggie Pubs and Pet Friendly Britain give great suggestions for pet friendly pubs throughout the United Kingdom and, after searching both sites, we’ve put together a selection of three pet friendly pubs which are a must.

The Ship Inn in Irvine, Scotland

Dogs playing on Irvine beach - image via Flickr.

Dogs playing on Irvine beach – image via Flickr.

Built in 1567, The Ship Inn is the oldest pub in Irvine. Obtaining its license in 1754, the pub still retains its heritage, with traditional folk music and seasonal fish dishes. In August last year, the pub updated its status to ‘Dog Friendly’ and they haven’t looked back since. Now you can treat yourself and the pup to a well-deserved drink and a slap up meal after an exhilarating walk along the shores of Irvine beach, which happens to be dog friendly too!

The White Eagle in Rhoscolyn, Anglesey

Dog walking the Anglesey Coastal Path - image via Flickr.

Dog walking the Anglesey Coastal Path – image via Flickr.

After undergoing a complete rebuild in 2007, The White Eagle is now a favourite stopping point along the Anglesey Coast Path, attracting tourists and locals alike with amazing food and fantastic views. The warm Welsh welcome offered by staff and the comfortable atmosphere makes this pub the ideal stop off for you and your dog. With dogs welcome in the sung area of the bar, you can chow down on great food as your four-legged-friend is treated to a biscuit or two.

The Treguth Inn in Holywell, Cornwall

Holywell Bay - image via Flickr.

Holywell Bay – image via Flickr.

When we think of Cornwall we picture rolling green hills, beautiful sandy beaches and peaceful villages filled with thatched cottages. The Treguth Inn matches our vision of Cornwall perfectly; full of character and charm, Treguth Inn is located in the attractive village of Holywell just back from the picturesque beach at Holywell Bay. Here the friendly proprietors offer home cooked food which has been prepared with locally sourced ingredients, award winning cask ales and even complimentary biscuits for the pooch – perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

We hope that this selection of pubs has shown you that the UK is a fantastic destination for doggy holidays and that there is no need to leave your furry pal behind. For assistance with planning your next dog friendly getaway please feel free to contact us or browse our selection of pet friendly cottages for inspiration.

nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.