Author Archive

Walk of the Month: Catbells

Sunday, July 5th, 2015
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July has really snuck up on us here in the Sykes Cottages office, it feels like only yesterday I sat down to write June’s edition of Walk of the Month on Aber Falls and now I find myself here again, ready to suggest another exciting UK walking route. You’ll be pleased to hear that we’re sticking with the water theme for July and heading north to the Lake District, where we’ve stumbled across an exciting trail at Catbells.

Catbells is an idyllic fell located in the Lake District National Park overlooking Derwentwater; at 1,481 feet tall, the fell offers spectacular views over the surrounding countryside, Keswick, Derwentwater and Borrowdale. The Catbells route is extremely popular with walkers and has received high praise on TripAdvisor with a certificate of excellence and hundreds of positive comments.

The Walk

Catbells is a 3.7 mile walk with a steep climb and although the route does include some scrambling, it shouldn’t take any longer than two and a half hours to complete. The walk looks harder than it is in places but as long as you have good walking shoes and plenty of water, you’ll do just fine. This route is great for families and with plenty of open space, it’s even suitable for the dog!

The Route

Start your journey from the small parking area near Hawse End and follow the signposts marked “Cat Bells 1 Mile”. Continue along the narrow path across the hillside and round to the north ridge,before bearing right onto the steep zigzag path that takes you up the nose of the ridge. Once you get to the memorial stone to Thomas Arthur Leonard, the scrambly bit begins.

Continue over Skelgill Bank and make your way up, it may appear a little steep and difficult but don’t worry, just take care and use three points of contact when pulling yourself up. When you reach an obstacle that looks like a piece of overhanging rock you are best to go straight over. As you near the top of the fell there are many routes to choose from, we would suggest taking the loose path to your right as it’s less difficult. Once over this section you will soon come to the summit, with its breath-taking views we highly recommend taking a picture or two!

Follow the path over the summit and down to the col at House Gate where four paths join together. Turn left and follow the steep steps down the hillside. Once you have reached the bottom, turn left and follow the wide track back to the foot of the north ridge.

Once you reach the road you can return to the car park by turning left and then left again.

To view the route map please click here.

Rent a cottage in Keswick with Sykes Cottages

The Hayloft Reference 9031

The Hayloft Reference 9031

If you’re looking for an idyllic lake side retreat where you can spend your mornings walking over Catbells fell, then our Keswick cottages are for you! Filled with character, these cottages are perfect for those looking to explore the Lake District’s many walking routes and cycle paths and with cottages sleeping up to 11 people, there is plenty of room for the whole family!

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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.

Cottages near Blue Flag Beaches

Sunday, June 28th, 2015
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The British Isles are home to a wonderful selection of beaches, 169 of which have been awarded Blue Flag status. So from the shores of Achmelvich Bay in the Scottish Highlands to the waves at Polzeath Beach in Cornwall, you’re never too far from one of these spectacular beaches! If you’re planning a relaxing getaway to one of the UK’s many Blue Flag beaches then keep reading as we list a selection of cottages located near Blue Flag beaches; perfect for a family holiday, group get together or romantic escape.

Appledore Cottage, Skinners in Cornwall

Two miles from Porthtowan Beach

Appledore Cottage (Reference 904671), in Skinners Bottom

Appledore Cottage (Reference 904671), in Skinners Bottom

The charming Appledore Cottage is located just two miles from the award winning Porthtowan Beach. The cottage boasts three spacious bedrooms- two doubles and one twin- as well as two bathrooms, a stylish country kitchen, cosy sitting area with wood burner, and an enclosed lawned garden perfect for relaxing in the summer sun. This property is ideal for groups and as Appledore Cottage also accepts two well-behaved dogs, there really is room for the whole family!

Just two miles from the cosy Appledore Cottage is the wonderful Porthtowan beach. This beach is great for surfing and spending some time with the family. If you plan on taking your four-legged friends with you on holiday then please be aware that this beach is closed to dogs between Easter and October; however there are many other dog-friendly beaches in the area.

Priory Cottage, Saundersfoot in Wales

Three minutes’ walk from Saundersfoot Beach

Priory Cottage (Reference 915079), in Saundersfoot

Priory Cottage (Reference 915079), in Saundersfoot

This sensational Saundersfoot cottage is perfect for those looking for a luxury getaway; with two spacious bedrooms, two bathrooms, a superb kitchen and dining area, wonderful sitting room and beautiful garden, this property is ideal for a group of four friends. Imagine an evening spent relaxing in the garden, nursing a glass of wine whilst you tend to the BBQ, or how about a romantic night in, curled up with your other half in the cosy sitting room? Whatever your plans, Priory Cottage makes the perfect setting for an indulgent Welsh holiday.

Just a short stroll from Priory Cottage is the idyllic Saundersfoot beach, with plenty of golden sand and shallow, clear water. This beach is great for bathing and working on your tan but if you do fancy a splash about then don’t worry as Saundersfoot is great for swimming with a life guard on duty during the peak summer season.

Prospect House, Whitby in Yorkshire

Five minute walk from Whitby Beach

Prospect House (Reference 912895), in Whitby

Prospect House (Reference 912895), in Whitby

Tucked into one of Whitby’s side streets, Prospect House offers fantastic panoramic views over Whitby and the harbour below. This cosy cottage is perfectly suited to a family of five with three bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen with dining area and a second floor sitting room, there is plenty of room for everyone, including your pet dog! From the doorstep of this cottage you can experience all the Whitby has to offer; the fantastic attractions, bustling harbour, numerous eateries and beautiful beach.

Whitby Beach is great for families and as long as you avoid the south end of the beach, you can even take your four legged friend with you. The soft sand on this beach is ideal for building sandcastles or soaking up the sun and with plenty of ice-cream parlours and cafes dotted about, you can really make the most of this traditional seaside resort.

The Beach House, Trearddur Bay in Wales

Five minute walk from Trearddur Bay Beach

The Beach House (Reference 914927), in Trearddur Bay

The Beach House (Reference 914927), in Trearddur Bay

The Beach House is a beautiful coastal cottage which looks out over the pebbled beach of Porth Yr Afon, with the sheltered Blue Flag beach in Trearddur Bay just a five minute walk away. This fantastic detached property is big enough to sleep ten people with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen, stylish sitting room and an impressive garden with hot tub, chiminea, BBQ and wooden playground. The cottage’s spacious accommodation and fantastic location make it the perfect base for families looking to explore Anglesey.

Trearddur Bay Beach is one of Anglesey’s finest beaches with sloping sands, numerous rock pools and great facilities. This beach offers plenty of space for families looking to spread out and enjoy some sporting activities like volleyball and rounders. Once you’ve finished playing on land you can head into the sea and try out some of the area’s favourite water sports like surfboarding, and water-skiing.

Albert Villas, Broadstairs in Kent

One mile from Stone Bay

Albert Villas (Reference 905330), in Broadstairs

Albert Villas (Reference 905330), in Broadstairs

This delightful Broadstairs cottage is quietly nestled into a historic courtyard, less than a minute from the town’s local amenities. Albert Villas comfortably accommodates six people with two bedrooms, a bathroom, sitting area and stylish open plan living area, which includes a kitchen, dining area and second sitting area. With easy access to the town, this cottage is perfect for small families or a group of friends looking to explore the area without using a car.

Journey out from Albert Villas and you’ll soon come across the Broadstairs harbour and beach, perfect for an afternoon spent along the coast sipping cocktails and tasting the local cuisine. Venture a little further and within around 15 minutes, you should stumble upon Stone Bay, one of the area’s two Blue Flag beaches. With soft sands, beautiful views and stunning white chalk cliffs that not only look wonderful but also protect bathers from the cool breeze, it’s the perfect beach for safe swimming and bathing.

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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.

Walk of the Month: Aber Falls

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015
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Summer is finally here so for our June addition of Walk of the Month, we have decided to explore the Welsh countryside by visiting one of the country’s most iconic landmarks, Aber Falls in Gwynedd.

Aber Falls, or Rhaeadr Fawr as it’s known in Welsh, is a stunning waterfall located in the Aber Valley, just outside the village of Abergwyngregyn in Gwynedd, North Wales. The waterfall is surrounded by a rich array of plants and wildlife, making the whole area perfect for photographers and with the water itself falling a massive 120 feet, it’s no wonder the area is so popular.

However this walk is not all about the waterfall as the route up to Aber Falls is just as interesting. Several Bronze Age settlements line the route, making the path an important historic area. With so much to see, it’s well worth taking a picnic and the family camera so you can sit back and take it all in!

The Walk

This is a relatively easy 4.5 mile walk and although there are some steep descents, the route should take no longer than three hours to complete. Our advice would be to take strong footwear, plenty of water and don’t forget that all important picnic.

The Route

Park in the village of Abergwyngregyn, in the free cark park and make your way south through the village, passing an information centre with disabled toilet, following the lane. Follow the lane as it comes alongside the river for half a mile and cross the old stone bridge following way markers for North Wales Path in to the valley. The path continues up to the falls but make sure to stop and take note of the information boards along the route which note the management of Alder trees and wildlife in the valley. There is also a very interesting pile of stones on the route with an information board, explaining that they are actually the remains of an Iron Age round house dating back 2000-2700 years.

After passing the Iron Age round house, you will shortly come across a magnificent view of the waterfalls and the surrounding hills. After stopping to enjoy the views and a healthy picnic, continue the circular walk by crossing the river to its west bank and following the way markers for the North Wales Path. The route will continue west across the valley and cross another small river before coming to sheep-filled fields. Here the outlook will change and you’ll get a fantastic view over the Irish sea.

Follow the brow of the hill and you will soon see your starting point. Head back through the small village of Abergwyngregyn until you reach the carpark for some much needed rest.

To view the route map please click here.

Rent a cottage in Gwynedd with Sykes Cottages

Garth Mortin The Barn (Reference 27046), in Morfa Bychan

Garth Mortin The Barn (Reference 27046), in Morfa Bychan

Gwynedd offers something for everyone, with the stunning mountain ranges of Snowdonia National Park, beautiful sandy beaches at Abersoch and Portmeirion, and an array of impressive historic structures like Penrhyn Castle and Cymer Abbey, you’re sure to find something to entertain you on your next UK holiday. Here at Sykes Cottages we offer over 250 Gwynedd cottages to choose from, so along with the variety of attractions on offer you’ll also have your pick of some of the county’s best holiday homes!

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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.

Books to Read Whilst On a Cottage Holiday

Saturday, June 13th, 2015
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No cottage holiday is complete without a good book; long car rides, lazy afternoons, country picnics and evenings spent curled up in front of an open fire are all perfect opportunities for reading.  Having been on many cottage holidays, the team here at Sykes Cottages know exactly what type of book is required; not too long, easily digestible and very entertaining. So if you’re looking to add a few good books to your collection, keep reading as we suggest a few of the best books to read whilst on a cottage holiday.

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on The Train | Image from Waterstones

Image from Waterstones

Louise – “My choice would be The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins. This psychological thriller is probably one of the most talked about books of the year and for very good reason- even Stephen King tweeted about how much he enjoyed it! Taking inspiration from Hitchcock and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (to which it has been heavily compared, but to which it is different and brilliant in its own right); it’s a page-turning masterpiece that I couldn’t put down from start to finish and that I would thoroughly recommend.”

The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson

The Rose Petal Beach | Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

Leanne – “I’ve been a Dorothy Koomson fan ever since reading her second novel The Chocolate Run; a light hearted, chocolate fuelled romantic comedy that is certainly worth a read. Dorothy’s latest novels, however, are all more serious in nature with The Rose Petal Beach being no different. With the novel having various narrators, Dorothy takes you on a journey where you’re never too sure who to believe. The twists, turns and incredible narration of this novel make it the ideal summer holiday read. In fact, if you’re looking for a book to take with you on your summer holiday this year, or are just looking for a new author to fall in love with – I urge you to pick up something written by Dorothy Koomson. You won’t be disappointed!”

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil | Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

Nicole – “My favourite stories are those involving magic, mystery, mythical creatures and danger, which is why my choice for a good cottage holiday read is The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. The story follows two friends as they are taken from their homes and enrolled into the School for Good and Evil, but the girls find their fortunes twisted as beautiful Sophie is dumped at the School for Evil and dark, quiet Agatha finds herself at the School for Good. Offering something for all ages, from love and heartache to friendship and rivalry; this book is suitable for both children and adults making it a must for your suitcase.”

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared

Image from Amazon

Jamie – “The Hundred Year Old Man was my favourite book of last summer so it’s only right that I should recommend it for this year! It tells the tale of Allan Karlsson who, on his 100th birthday, makes a break for freedom from his nursing home and manages to get himself caught up in in a series of bizarre and unfortunate events involving a few criminals, a suitcase full of money and an elephant. Throughout the book you also get a taste of Allan’s colourful past ranging from helping create the atom bomb to dalliances with historical figures such as Stalin, Mao and Harry Truman. All in all, the Hundred Year Old Man makes for the perfect summer book, easy to read, light and entertaining – what more could you want?”

So what do you think? Will you be adding these best sellers to your lists of holiday must reads, or perhaps you have some suggestions for us? Let us know what you think, you can reach us through both Facebook and Twitter.

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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 Literary Days Out

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015
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The UK is home to a number of famous authors, from the legendary Charles Dickens to the magical J. K. Rowling. With so many of the world’s favourite writers originating in Britain, it’s hard not to come across an attraction dedicated to one of these famous authors. Here at Sykes Cottages we love to read, so a day out to one of the UK’s literary attractions is right up our street. If you’re thinking of taking a literary day out this year then keep reading as we suggest three of our favourite attractions to visit.

Follow the White Rabbit

Llandudno, North Wales

This year, Lewis Carroll’s extraordinary book ‘Alice in Wonderland’ reaches its 150th anniversary and as big fans of Alice and her journey down the rabbit hole, we can think of nowhere better to celebrate than Llandudno, in North Wales. The curious little girl Alice Liddell, who inspired Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland stories, spent many of her holidays at her family’s seaside home in Llandudno, giving the area a wonderful connection with the books. In 2014, a new traill was introduced to Llandudno; one that sees visitors using either an interactive app or printed map to follow 55 bronze cast rabbit footprints around the town and surrounding areas. Not only is this a great day out but with a number of statues and fantastic views, it’s great for family photos.

Brontë Parsonage Museum

Haworth, West Yorkshire

Visit the charming village of Haworth in West Yorkshire and spend your day exploring the historic home of the Brontë sisters at the Brontë Parsonage Museum. The three sisters are known worldwide for their poems and novels including Jane Eyre, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Wuthering Heights. The museum, which is home to a number of letters, manuscripts and early additions of the Brontë’s books, offers a wonderful day out for the whole family with a small souvenir shop on site. After exploring the museum, we would highly suggest a spot of lunch in the picturesque town of Haworth and a trip down to the exciting Heritage Steam Railway.

The World of Beatrix Potter

Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria

Now translated into 35 different languages, The Tale of Peter Rabbit is one of the world’s favourite children’s stories and has sold over 40 million copies, making the author, Beatrix Potter, extremely famous. The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere, allows guests to step into the enchanted world created by the author and learn all about Beatrix and the characters in her much loved books.  The attraction has eight fantastic areas to explore, including Peter Rabbit’s garden and Jemima Puddle-Duck’s woodland glad. Once you’ve finished exploring the attractions, there is even a fantastic tea room to explore, with locally sourced ingredients and home-grown vegetables from the attraction’s own kitchen garden.

And there you have it our top three attractions for a literary day out in the UK. Has your favourite attraction made the list? If not let us know via our Facebook or Twitter page, we are always looking for new places to explore!

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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.