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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.

Four Seasons of Scotland

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
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It may only be October but here at Sykes Cottages we are already taking a large number of bookings for 2015. In a former post, my colleague Louise explained why it’s important to book your 2015 summer holiday early, and she wasn’t wrong; booking in advance allows you more choice, more time to save and of course something to look forward to.

If you’re thinking of planning your 2015 holiday early and you’re having difficulties finding the ideal destination then we suggest a trip to bonnie Scotland. Scotland is beautiful all year round and offers a number of fantastic activities in every season.

To help you discover Scotland and what it can offer you throughout the year take a look at the following infographic which highlights some of our favourite Scottish activities.

Scotland_Infographic_Final

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Four Seasons of Scotland

Most people wouldn’t think of Scotland as a year-round holiday destination but here at Sykes Cottages, we want to show you that it’s possible to enjoy a fantastic holiday in this beautiful country, whatever the season! Here’s our handy guide on what to do in Scotland, come rain or shine.

Summer 21C

During the summer, make the most of the warm weather and head to one of Scotland’s unspoilt white sand beaches such as Luskentyre, with its turquoise waters and mountain views. Scotland
has more than double the length of coastline than England and Wales combined so you’ll never run out of picture-perfect beaches to explore!

Spring 18C

At the beginning of May, the Highland Games are kicked off with a bang at Gourock Park in Inverclyde. The Gourock Highland Games are the first games to take place after the winter and are a
great opportunity to experience the essence of Scottish culture with bagpipes, highland dancing, caber tossing, the Scottish hammer throw and even children’s entertainment!

Autumn 10C

Beat the autumn chill and put a fire in your belly with a trip to the Isle of Islay, which is home to no fewer than 8 whisky distilleries. The island is said to offer some of the most distinctive and flavourful whiskies in the world and competition between the distilleries is fierce. They’re always striving to produce the best dram on the island, ensuring that they are all sensational!

Winter 3C

Over New Year, there’s no better place to be than Edinburgh for its legendary Hogmanay celebrations. Take part in the torchlight procession down the Royal Mile, gaze in awe at the famous firework displays, dance the night away at the official street party and sing your heart out at the Concert in the Gardens beneath Edinburgh Castle.

Book your 2015 holiday

If you’ve decided that Scotland is the perfect location for your 2015 holiday then why not check out our Scottish cottages page? With over 600 properties located throughout Scotland we are sure to have the ideal cottage to suit your needs. For more information on our Scottish cottages and booking a holiday up North contact our reservations team today!

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.

UK Michelin Starred Restaurants – Where to Indulge this Autumn

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
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Of the four seasons, autumn is my favourite. Warm woollen jumpers, colourful forest walks and early nights all add to this season’s charm, but possibly its best feature is the abundance of seasonal produce on offer. For me autumn is all about food and for a real treat during these chilly months I like nothing better than indulging in a luxury meal cooked by some of the UK’s finest chefs.

To help whet your appetite for autumn we’ve put together a selection of four Michelin starred restaurants offering a delectable selection of seasonal produce.

Mr Underhill’s Restaurant, Ludlow

Image taken from Mr Underhill's website.

Image taken from Mr Underhill’s website.

Mr Underhill’s has been serving award-winning food for over 32 years and with courses like ‘White fish veloute, marmalade ice cream and shellfish wafer’ it’s no wonder people keep coming back to this delightful venue. Set at the foot of Ludlow castle, overlooking a beautiful courtyard garden with views of the River Teme beyond, this really is a magical spot.

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Dublin

Image via Flickr.

Image via Flickr.

The Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is the only two star Michelin restaurant in Ireland and has been at the centre of Dublin’s fine dining scene for 33 years. Reading through this venue’s menu is sure to make your mouth water with courses like ‘Mellow Spiced Wicklow Lamb with Avacado Mousseline, Piquillos Pepper, Olive Crumble and Pearle Jus’.

The Bath Priory, Bath

Image taken from The Bath Priory website.

Image taken from The Bath Priory website.

From Michelin starred dining to award winning gardens, The Bath Priory offers an outstanding dining experience. Their executive chef, Sam Moody, has created a fantastic reputation for flavour and their current menu doesn’t disappoint with an indulgent selection of autumnal flavours available in their mid-week lunch menu.

Castle Terrace, Edinburgh

Image provided by Castle Terrace.

Image provided by Castle Terrace.

The Castle Terrace Restaurant in Edinburgh specialises in using the finest produce Scotland has to offer and delivering it in a neat and tasty package to their customers. Their ‘Celebration of The Season’ menu is a must and for me it’s all about the fish! Freshly caught from the North Sea there is a choice of Squid, Skate and a selection of shellfish.

We hope this tantalising selection of restaurants hasn’t left you feeling too hungry but that it has inspired you to get out there and taste all the delights autumn has to offer. If you come across some scrumptious autumn food then be sure to let us know either by Facebook or on 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.