Author Archive

Sykes’ Famous Places: Roald Dahl

Sunday, September 11th, 2016
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Roald Dahl Day is fast approaching and to help celebrate 100 years since the birth of this extraordinary author, we’re taking a look at some of the places he made famous. From James and the Giant Peach to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, join us as we discover some of the locations that helped inspire Roald Dahl’s magical tales.

Llandaff

Image of Llandaff Cathedral by Archangel12 - CC 2.0

Image of Llandaff Cathedral by Archangel12CC 2.0

Roald Dahl was born at Villa Marie, now known as Ty Gwyn, in Llandaff on September 13th 1916. His parents were Norwegian and his father was in the Shipbroker business. The family moved away from the city for some time but moved back after the loss of his father and sister. During his time in Llandaff, Roald attended the Llandaff Cathedral School and spent afternoons gazing through the window of the sweetshop. The owner of this sweetshop is said to have inspired the character of Mrs Pratchett from Roald Dahl’s ‘Boy’.

The historic city of Llandaff lies to the north of Cardiff city centre and offers a perfect base for exploring the city. Visitors to Llandaff can make the most of the village atmosphere whilst exploring the area’s many historic features, including the magnificent cathedral and welcoming high street. Whilst in the city why not stop by the site of the old sweetshop, now a Chinese takeaway? Outside you will find a lovely blue plaque which was unveiled in September 2009 to commemorate the life and work of Roald Dahl.

Repton

Image of Repton School by Paul Buckingham - CC 2.0

Image of Repton School by Paul BuckinghamCC 2.0

Roald Dahl came to Repton in January 1930 to study at Repton School. He stayed in Repton as a boarder for four and a half years before moving on to live with his family in Bexley in July 1934. Whilst at school in Repton, Roald lived at the Priory on High Street and took part in blind tasting events for Cadbury. Repton School alumni like to think that memories of these blind tastings inspired the author when writing his famous story, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.

Repton is a wonderful village to visit with plenty to see and do in the local area. Located on the Trent Valley in Derbyshire, this village is not only home to beautiful scenery and architecture but a fascinating history too. The village dates back to Anglo-Saxon times and is known for being the place where Christianity was first preached in the midlands. When visiting the village, guests are advised to visit the village church and the remains of the old Repton Priory.

Great Missenden

Image of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre by David Hillas - CC 2.0

Image of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre by David HillasCC 2.0

In July 1954, Roald Dahl and his wife Pat bought Little Whitefield Cottage in Great Missenden. The couple moved in and spent the duration of their married life here. It was from Great Missenden that Roald Dahl wrote many of his famous stories including ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’, ‘The BFG’ and ‘Danny Champion of the World’. In 1990, when Roald Dahl passed away, he was buried at the Church of St Peter and Paul in Great Missenden. His grave can be found near the memorial bench under the tree.

Great Missenden is a must visit for all Roald Dahl Fans. The village is home to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre where visitors can explore three interactive galleries and put their imagination to the test with the range of activities on offer. When the sun is shining, there are also a number of wonderful walks and trails available from the village. Whilst out walking, visitors will pass many iconic buildings and places that inspired Roald Dahl’s stories.

If you fancy exploring any of the places made famous by Roald Dahl then be sure to visit the Sykes Cottages website where you will find a selection of fantastic self-catering properties to choose from.

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

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 husband.

Walk of the Month: Marloes Peninsula Coastal Walk

Sunday, August 28th, 2016
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As another month comes to a close, we’ve decided to celebrate the great British weather and get out and about with August’s edition of Walk of the Month. This month, we’re heading to South Wales for a walk that takes in some of the best scenery that the Pembrokeshire coast has to offer. From the captivating sea views to the playful wildlife, this walk is ideal for an afternoon outing this summer.

The Walk:

This four mile circular route can take up to two hours to complete but we would advise allowing extra time to make the most of the views and fresh sea air. The terrain is relatively easy going with some rugged paths, gradients and steps, so please wear sensible footwear. There is a car park at the start of the walk for those travelling by car, and toilet facilities so you can freshen up before heading off.

The Route:

Begin your walk from the Marloes Sands car park. Make your way to the south end of the car park then turn right by the emergency phone and follow the signs for the toilets. Continue past the toilets, along the lane passing Marloes Mere; be sure to keep an eye out here for a glimpse of the wetland birds. Once you have passed the Mere, turn left and head for the coast path.

When you reach the coast path you will see Marloes Sands but turn right and head towards Gateholm Islands instead. You’ll soon come level with Gateholm, Skokholm should be ahead of you with Skomer coming into view on your right very soon, making this a perfect place to stop for a family photo.

Continue along the coastal path through an Iron Age fort. Make sure to stop here and admire the dramatic sedimentary rock formations that can be found along the coast. As you follow the coast path round, keep an eye out for Skomer Island and Midland Isle which will shortly come into view before reaching a footbridge.

At the footbridge take the right fork down the valley, towards Martin’s Haven. Go through the gate which leads to the road and turn left towards Martin’s Haven and the Skomer embarkation point. Before reaching the beach, follow the coast post right and up the steps. The path will continue east and you can enjoy views across St Bride’s Bay towards Newgale, the Solva Coast, St David’s Peninsula and Ramsey Island.

When you’ve walked just over a mile, leave the coastal path and turn right through a self-closing gate at a West Hook Farm National Trust omega sign. Cross the fields here and head towards the road. Once you’ve reached the road, turn left and follow it past the farm turning right by two semi-detached cottages. Walk down the track which leads back to the car park.

To view the full route map, please click here.

Book a holiday cottage in Pembrokeshire

Priory Cottage (Ref. 915079), in Saundersfoot

Priory Cottage (Ref. 915079), in Saundersfoot

Whether you’re looking for a cosy escape for two or a large group getaway for up to 21, our selection of over 300 Pembrokeshire cottages are ideal for walking holidays. As well as the wonderful Welsh scenery and atmosphere, many of our cottages also boast extra features such as WiFi, hot tubs and swimming pools. For more information on these spectacular cottages simply visit our Pembrokeshire cottages page or call our reservations team on 01244 356695.

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

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 husband.

Cottages to Rent near Theme Parks

Sunday, August 14th, 2016
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For many families planning a UK getaway it’s all about the location. Some prefer to be near the beach, others would opt for a quiet country escape and some would rather spend their time getting lost in one of the UK’s fantastic theme parks. If you prefer the latter then you’ve come to the right place as Sykes Cottages have an extensive selection of self-catering holiday rentals located close to UK theme parks.  We’ve included a selection of these properties below but for more information please feel free to call our team on 01244 500570.

Alton Towers

As one of the UK’s biggest tourist attractions, Alton Towers attracts millions of visitors each year. The theme park is located within the grounds of a historic country house and as well as its vast selection of white knuckle rides the park also caters for families and children with its popular CBeebies Land and gardens.

Ash House (Ref. 922587), in Alton

Ash House (Ref. 922587) near Alton Towers

Ash House is located just a stone’s throw from Alton Towers, 1.2 miles away to be exact! This property comfortably sleeps a party of six in three bedrooms and with all the amenities of Alton on your doorstep there is plenty to see and do from this holiday let.

Bunbury (Ref. 4301), in Farley

Bunbury (Ref. 4301) near Alton Towers

There’s no need for early alarms when staying at Bunbury as this 10 person holiday let is just five minutes’ walk from Alton Towers. When not exploring the famous theme park guests can enjoy the property’s outdoor space which is ideal for BBQs and entertaining.

For more cottages located near Alton Towers please click here.

Chessington World of Adventures

Advertised as Britain’s Wildest Adventure, Chessington World of Adventures combines a theme park, zoo, sea life centre, live shows and events and a new Go Ape experience! With so much to do at this attraction you’ll need more than a day or two in the area and that’s where our cottages come in handy.

Rushmore Lodge (Ref. 16629) in Knockholt

Rushmore Lodge (Ref. 16229) near Chessington World of Adventures

After a long day of exploring Chessington World of Adventures, Rushmore Lodge is the ideal property to relax in. With three bedrooms, a stylish open plan living area and heated outdoor swimming pool, Rushmore Lodge can comfortably sleep up to eight people.

For more cottages located near Chessington World of Adventures please click here.

Drayton Manor

Home to Britain’s first stand up rollercoaster and some of the UK’s fastest and scariest rides, Drayton Manor is a fantastic day out for families. Some of the park’s main attractions include Thomas Land, Drayton Manor Zoo, the Dino Trail and rides such as Shockwave, Air Race and Apocalypse.

Gatehouse Croft (Ref. 27120) in Polesworth

Gate House (Ref. 27120) near Drayton Manor

Located in the idyllic village of Polesworth in North Warwickshire, Gatehouse Croft is just five miles from Drayton Manor. This historic property is the perfect base for exploring the theme park and surrounding area and as the cottage sleeps four people it would be ideal for a small family.

For more cottages located near Drayton Manor please click here

Flambards

No matter what the weather, Flambards makes for a fantastic day out. This family friendly attraction combines wet and wild rides with a number of educational indoor attractions. From highflying adventures on Thunderbolt and Skyraker to exploring the Jurassic and Victorian era this theme park has plenty to keep the whole family entertained!

Poldark Cottage (Ref. 911585) in Helston

Poldark Cottage (Ref. 911858) near Flambards

Just five miles from Flambards, Poldark Cottage is a wonderful base for exploring this area of Cornwall. Guests to this property can spend their days exploring the theme park, coastline and National Seal Sanctuary before heading back to the cosy property for a good night’s sleep.

Tinners Way (Ref. 932804) in Porthleven

Tinners Way (Ref. 932804) near Flambards

If you plan on visiting Cornwall with a larger party then Tinners Way could provide you with the space you need. Sleeping up to eight people this stylish property is just five miles from Flambards and other well-known attractions.

For more cottages located near Flambards please click here

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

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 husband.

Walk of the Month: Castle Acre

Sunday, July 31st, 2016
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For July’s edition of Walk of the Month, we are heading to the rural village of Castle Acre in Norfolk. This tranquil village takes its name from the 12th-century walled Norman castle and is one of the best preserved examples of a Norman planned settlement in the UK. From its parish church to the charming village and Castle Acre Priory, there is plenty to see along this route.

The walk:

This is a great circular route and at 6.5 miles long, it should take just under two hours to complete. Ideal for families, the route covers an even terrain mainly made up of footpaths and tracks, with just a little road-walking along quiet lanes. Please take note that the path alongside Castle Acre Common can be wet at times. On the route you will find shops, pubs and eateries so we highly suggest stopping off for a bite to eat and a refreshing drink along the way.

The route:

Begin your route from the impressive Norman castle in Castle Acre, heading southwest towards the small village of South Acre. Once you reach the River Nar, cross to the other side using the footbridge adjacent to the ford and continue the route to South Acre.

Once you reach South Acre, make your way past the village church and South Acre Hall before following the tracks across the farmland above the Nar Valley. Once through the farmland you should be just east of West Arce.

From West Acre follow the route east along the Nar Valley Way and back towards Castle Acre. Cross the footbridge close to where the West Arce Mill used to stand, and continue through the peaceful woodlands before arriving at Castle Acre Commons which sits beside the River Nar.

After taking some time to explore the Castle Acre Commons, continue along the route passing to the north of the Cluniac priory entrance. You will soon arrive at Castle Acre Village and after skirting St James’ Church and the 13th-century stone Bailey Gate, you will soon find yourself back at the castle.

To view the full route map and PDF, please click here.

Book a holiday cottage in Norfolk:

Walk of the Month - Castle Acre

Sleepeezy (Ref. 15264) in Norfolk

Here at Sykes Cottages, we love Norfolk and think it’s the ideal location for a self-catering getaway at any time of year, but don’t just take our word for it. We asked over 1,000 visitors and residents of Norfolk why they love the area and compiled the answers into our fantastic Visitor’s Guide to Norfolk. In the guide you will find plenty of information on things to do, places to go and what to eat whilst in Norfolk along with a number of charming comments from the people that know Norfolk best.

Once you’ve finished reading through our guide why not check out our selection of over 200 Norfolk cottages? From the impressive Norfolk Broads to the dramatic coastline, our self-catering holiday lets offer something for everyone.

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

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 husband.

Properties Still Available For the Summer Holidays

Sunday, July 17th, 2016
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The summer holidays are just around the corner and if like me, the date has snuck up on you, you’ll be frantically looking for a last minute getaway. Here at Sykes Cottages, we have a fantastic selection of last minute properties still available for a summer break so there’s no need to panic. From the Scottish Highlands to the coast of Cornwall, we still have plenty of cottages to choose from! We’ve listed a selection of holiday lets still available for the summer below but to see our full collection simply head on over to the Sykes Cottages main site now.

Rathnure Cottage

Rathnure near Enniscorthy, County Wexford

Rathnure Cottage

Rathnure Cottage (Ref. 4343)

Located on a working stud, cattle and sheep farm, Rathnure Cottage is surrounded by 300 acres of rural Irish countryside. This property is a big hit with families as children love to collect eggs in the morning or visit the owners’ pet pot-belly pig. With lovely mountain walks and the coast not too far away, there is plenty to do from this two bed holiday let, making it the ideal choice for your next Irish adventure.

Rathnure Cottage is currently available for seven nights from August 13th at a total cost of £510 or from August 20th at a total cost of £407*

Warren House

Nether Burrow near Kirkby Lonsdale, The Lake District

Warren House

Warren House (Ref. 18211)

The stylish Warren House is perfect for a big family or group of friends who wish to escape to the country this summer. The property boasts four bedrooms, three bathrooms, kitchen with dining area, cosy sitting room and a charming lawned garden. Just a short walk away from this Nether Burrow cottage, guests will find the famous Highwayman Inn, known far and wide for its wonderful menu – a must for anyone staying in the area.

Warren House is currently available for seven nights from either July 29th or August 12th at a total cost of £1149*

Keeper’s Cottage

Kinloch Rannoch, Scotland

Keeper's Cottage

Keeper’s Cottage (Ref. 922218)

Keeper’s Cottage is the ideal Scottish escape. Located in the grounds of a beautiful estate, this property not only offers fantastic views but also has strong ties to the hit TV series Outlander, with some of the show’s scenes being filmed on the estate. Sleeping eight people in four bedrooms with three bathrooms and large open plan living area, this property has plenty of room both inside and out.

Keeper’s Cottage is currently available for seven nights from either July 29th or August 5th at a total cost of £1639 and from August 12th at a total cost of £1499*

1 Belle Vue

Osmothereley near Northallerton and Thirsk, North York Moors and Coast

1 Belle View

1 Belle Vue (Ref. 934987)

This wonderful period cottage comfortably sleeps six people in three bedrooms with two bathrooms, cosy kitchen with dining area, living area with wood burning stove and a lovely garden perfect for relaxing in the summer sun. The local area is also ideal for explorers with the Cleveland Hills and Yorkshire Dales on your doorstep.

1 Belle Vue is currently available for seven nights from either August 5th or August 12th at a total cost of £839*

Kean’s Cottage

Rothesay, Isle of Bute, Scotland

Kean's Cottage

Kean’s Cottage (Ref. 929958)

If you’re looking for something a little bigger this summer, then you can’t go wrong with Kean’s Cottage. Located on the shores of Loch Fad, this holiday let is full of character and style. This property can accommodate up to 12 people with two well-behaved dogs. The surrounding area is perfect for long walks and exploring the Loch, whilst the property’s cosy sitting room with wood burner is ideal for snuggling up with the family and playing board games.

Kean’s Cottage is currently available for seven nights from August 12th at a total cost of £1869 or seven nights from August 19th at a total cost of £1653*

*Pricing up to date as of July 15th 2016.

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

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 husband.