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Sykes’ Guide to Isle of Wight Beaches

Saturday, June 6th, 2015
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This week on the Sykes Cottages Blog, our posts have been focusing on the enchanting Isle of Wight and to make sure we finish the week in style, we’ve put together a post dedicated to the Isle of Wight’s fabulous coastline! Keep reading as we walk you through some of the island’s best beaches, but get ready to pack your bags as these tempting bays are sure to persuade you to visit the Isle of Wight on your next beach break.

Sandown

Best Beach for Families

Located on the southern coast, Sandown is a popular family retreat; with golden sands, inviting cafes and sea-front stores, it’s the ideal spot for a traditional seaside getaway with your bucket and spade. As well as extensive golden sands and calm swimming waters, Sandown also has a fantastic pleasure pier. This pier is great for hiding away on a rainy day, with its indoor golf course, bowling lanes and soft play area, the kids can have a fun-packed day at the beach no matter the weather.

Lake Beach

Best Beach for Couples

If you’re in search of a quiet cove with tonnes of character where you can spend the morning relaxing with your better half on the sand, or the afternoon walking hand in hand along some great coastal paths or even on bike rides, then Lake is the beach for you! Ideal for couples, this picture-perfect beach is a little harder to get to, making it quieter than other bays on the island. With its dramatic cliffs, gentle sloping sands and crystal clear waters, it’s more than worth the journey.

Yaverland

Best Beach for Dogs

The Isle of Wight is an extremely popular holiday destination and because of this many of the beaches don’t allow dogs during the peak summer season. For a beach that allows dogs all year round, we would suggest packing the frisbee and heading to Yaverland. This lengthy stretch of coast not only offers safe swimming waters and soft sand, but as one of the Isle of Wight’s Dinosaur beaches you’ll also be able to join one of the many guided fossil walks.

Freshwater Bay

Best Beach for Water Sports

With beautiful chalk cliffs and stunning coastal views, Freshwater Bay is one of the Isle of Wight’s most picturesque beaches. Along with the wonderful scenery, the bay also has a fantastic history as smugglers once used the chalk cliff caves to stash their loot. Kayakers can explore these caves and the small bays at Freshwater Bay on a flat day, but for those more interested in hitting the waves, the beach is also great for surfing and kite surfing.

Rent a Cottage on the Isle of Wight with Sykes Cottages

As you can see, the Isle of Wight boasts some pretty impressive beaches but don’t forget along with this amazing coastline, there are also parks, attractions and restaurants, not to mention the culture and history of the Island! If you fancy escaping to the Isle of Wight this year then take a look at our selection of Isle of Wight cottages; full of charm, these cottages are the perfect accompaniment to your island getaway.

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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.

Five Reasons Self-Catering is Best for Families

Saturday, May 30th, 2015
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With thousands of self-catering cottages located throughout the UK, we can be a little biased when it comes to choosing our favourite type of holiday. We know of several reasons why cottage breaks are better than an overnight stay in a hotel or B&B, especially when it comes to family getaways. If you’re yet to be convinced that a self-catering holiday is the best option for you and your family this year, then keep reading as we list five reasons that are sure to change your mind!

Food and drink

Food on display at Thalassa (Reference 8726) in Cemaes Bay.

Food on display at Thalassa (Reference 8726) in Cemaes Bay.

Booking a holiday cottage allows you complete catering freedom as you chose and prepare the food and drink best suited to your family. So, whether you want to sample some of the local delicacies or have special dietary requirements, self-catering properties allow you the flexibility to eat what you want, when you want. For families with fussy eaters or young children, a self-catering holiday let provides all the tools you need to make your little ones the meals they like and that they’re used to, preventing any dinner time tantrums or poorly tummies.

Working to your own schedule

The tennis court at The Old Cow House (Reference 3591) in Plaish.

The tennis court at The Old Cow House (Reference 3591) in Plaish.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and for me, it’s also my favourite meal of the day, that’s why I’m often disappointed when I have to choose between a relaxing lie in and a full English! Luckily with a self-catering holiday you set the meal times; so if you want to sleep in until 11am and eat breakfast for elevenses then there’s no one to stop you. Along with flexible eating times, you also have complete control over the entertainment schedule meaning 2pm discos, 6pm party games and an early bedtime for tired children so the adults can wind down with a good movie and bottle of wine.

Space

Brookway Lodge (Reference 27085) in Lloc offers spacious gardens and meadows beyond.

Brookway Lodge (Reference 27085) in Lloc offers spacious gardens and meadows beyond.

With properties sleeping up to 32 people, space is not a problem here at Sykes Cottages. Rather than booking a single room, our guests take charge of the whole cottage making use of bedrooms, bathrooms, the living and kitchen area as well as any outside space like gardens and patios. So whether you want a country kitchen with large dining table so the whole family can eat together, or a warren of rooms so the children and adults can have their own space, a self-catering cottage lets you chose the right accommodation to suit your needs.

Location

 

Spectacular views across the bay from Solway Cottages (Reference 911744) in Bowness-on-Solway.

Spectacular views across the bay from Solway Cottages (Reference 911744) in Bowness-on-Solway.

Self-catering properties can be found all over the UK, from the stunning British countryside to the bustling cities; you can travel hours to reach new destinations or simply venture down the road for a change of scenery. Finding a spot that appeals to you is extremely easy with a range of locations and property types available; explore the UK’s history and award-winning architecture from a stylish city apartment, build sand castles and run through the surf at a coastal cottage or relax in the country with a family BBQ at a log cabin.

Save Money

Swimming pool available at Bridge House (Reference 915721) in Lower Mill Cotswolds Estate.

Swimming pool available at Bridge House (Reference 915721) in Lower Mill Cotswolds Estate.

When on a self-catering holiday, you can spend as much or as little as you like but for those on a budget it’s the perfect way to have a memorable family holiday without blowing the bank. Shop around for the best deals on food and drink or try visiting a local market; spend your afternoons exploring the local park, woodland or coast before heading back for a night in with films, books and board games; or simply book a cottage with a swimming pool and spend your getaway teaching the children to swim.

There you have it, our top five reasons why self-catering is the best choice for families. If this post has left you longing for a family getaway then make sure to visit our family cottages page for more information on a self-catering holiday with Sykes Cottages.

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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.

Sykes’ Famous Properties

Sunday, May 24th, 2015
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If you fancy something a little bit special from your next cottage break- something you can write home about- then we would suggest booking a stay at one of our famous cottages. It may be hard to imagine a famous cottage but here at Sykes, we have a selection of properties that have either been featured in, or are located close to areas used in popular films, TV shows, novels and magazines! As well as offering comfortable, stylish accommodation, this extra special collection of cottages earn you added bragging rights when sending your friends and family the obligatory holiday postcard. Keep reading to discover some of the highlights in our collection or head on over to our famous cottages page now to start planning your next UK getaway!

Whytings in Uplyme, Devon

The dinning area at Whytings (Ref. 2581) is perfect for entertaining.

The dinning area at Whytings (Ref. 2581) is perfect for entertaining.

Located on the downs overlooking the popular seaside resort of Lyme Regis, Whytings offers spacious accommodation on the borders of Devon and Dorset, making it the ideal spot for visiting both regions. After a day of exploring the coast and country, we’d suggest a visit to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ at the nearby Park Farm. Here you can attend one of their many dining events or take part in a cookery course before trying out your new-found skills in one of Whytings’ two interconnecting kitchens!

Flushing House in Rye, South of England

One of the two bedrooms at Flushing House (Ref. 21914).

One of the two bedrooms at Flushing House (Ref. 21914).

Flushing House is a fabulous Grade II listed building located in the popular town of Rye. The corner cottage was built around 1520 and still possesses many of its original features including exposed beams, a Tudor turning staircase and bread oven. In 2014, the village of Rye was used as the back drop in the BBC’s version of Mapp & Lucia; the programme showcased many of the town’s buildings and Flushing House was used as the estate agents, giving the property quite the claim to fame!

The Barn in Cromford, Peak District

Found on a picturesque hillside high above the village of Cromford, The Barn not only offers visitors cosy country accommodation but also spectacular views across the valley. This property is the ideal touring base for the Peak District with the popular towns of Bakewell and Ashover just a short drive away. When visiting the town of Ashover some guests may find it familiar, this is more than likely because the town featured in TV’s Peak Practice as the fictional town of Cardale.

Bookilber Barn in Settle, Yorkshire Dales

Open plan living area at Bookilber Barn (Ref. 2986).

Open plan living area at Bookilber Barn (Ref. 2986).

If you’re looking for luxurious accommodation with an open fire and hot tub, breath-taking views, fabulous walks and loads of character then Bookilber Barn is the place for you! This charming, detached barn conversion has been renovated to an extremely high quality and its chic décor and prime location has gained Brookilber Barn coverage on The Sunday Times ‘Top 100 Cool Cottages’ list and in Concept Living magazine. The property sleeps up to 12 people so it’s the perfect cottage for special occasions and family get-togethers.

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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.

Sykes’ Famous Places: Kirklees, Yorkshire

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
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We’re starting a new feature here at Sykes Cottages, one which looks at areas around the UK with famous connections. From famous playwrights to award winning novelists and stars of the stage and screen, the UK is home to many famous faces. This new series will be looking at where these stars originated and the places that inspired them on their way to the top!

To help kick start this new feature, we’ve decided to focus on one of the UK’s most loved actors and their home region of Kirklees in West Yorkshire. Sir Patrick Stewart, famous for his roles in Star Trek and X-Men, was born in Mirfield and although he is extremely well-travelled, the actor always feels at home when he returns to Yorkshire. Keep reading to discover some of the areas in Kirklees which have been made famous by the actor.

Mirfield

Sir Patrick Stewart was born in the small village of Mirfield in July of 1940. The town remained his home for a number of years and was where, thanks to the efforts of teacher Cecil Dormand, he discovered his passion for acting! After finishing school, the actor took a job as a journalist for the local paper, Mirfield & District Reporter, but eventually decided to leave journalism behind to pursue his love of acting.

This small, picturesque town is ideal for a day trip or weekend away with a historic 13th century church tower and a pleasant marina. For an extra special day out, we would suggest visiting during the Mirfield show, an annual agricultural fair held every August with entertaining events including dog, rabbit and horse shows, build a scare-crow competition, international stunt show and much more.

Emley Moor

In an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post, Sir Patrick famously said “For a long time my way of getting to sleep was to have a virtual walk through my virtual home in England.” Perhaps this walk took place through the Emley Moor, the location of a recent shoot where Sir Patrick was photographed for a book celebrating Yorkshire. The area was chosen as the actor said he was able to see his whole home region from the moor.

The Emley Moor is a wonderful location for a family walk or stroll with the dog, offering plenty of open space and spectacular views over God’s own country. The area allows you to do as little or as much exercise as you like and on a warm summer evening it’s the ideal spot for a picnic.

Huddersfield

In more recent times, Sir Patrick has shared close ties with Huddersfield and the town’s university. Acting as the University Chancellor for over ten years, the actor has played a pivotal role in the progress of the university. Huddersfield University is sorry to see Sir Patrick leave his role this summer but have awarded him the honorary title of Emeritus Chancellor and hope to remain in close contact with him.

Huddersfield is a fantastic area for a family holiday, with the architecture, restaurants and scenery attracting thousands of visitors each year. Children will love exploring the Kirklees Light Railway with its four small steam engines and two miniature diesel engines, whilst the grown-ups can dwindle the day away at one of the area’s many spas.

Book a Yorkshire Cottage

With such a diverse region to explore it’s no wonder that Sir Patrick Stewart loves coming home to Yorkshire or that it’s one of the nation’s favourite UK holiday destinations!

If you want to discover Yorkshire for yourself, delve into the county’s history or simply visit one of the areas made famous by Sir Patrick, then why not book a stay in one of our Yorkshire holiday cottages? Our selection of over 500 Yorkshire properties are comfortably furnished, stylishly decorated and act as a fantastic base for exploring this exciting region.

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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.

Sykes’ Guide to South East Beaches

Saturday, May 16th, 2015
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With hundreds of award winning UK beaches to choose from, picking the right destination for your next coastal getaway can be rather difficult. Whether you decide to visit Gruinard beach in the Scottish Highlands or the iconic Land’s End in Cornwall all depends on your holiday preferences; who you’re travelling with, the length of your stay and of course what you plan on getting up to during your beach break. To help make things a little easier for you, Sykes Cottages have decided to take a look at each section of the UK individually and give you a run down on the best beaches in that area.

On today’s blog we’re going to be taking a look at the South East of England and its classic coastline; with numerous beaches to choose from, compiling a list of the best was certainly not easy! After hours of deliberation, we have chosen our top four beaches, one to fit into each of our star categories. Keep reading to discover our winners and see if your favourite South East beach gets a mention.

Margate Main Sands, Kent

Best Beach for Families

If you’re looking for a traditional, family friendly holiday then Margate Main Sands is for you; with its tidal pool, children’s rides and amusement arcades, it provides hours of fun along the sea shore. The beach’s golden sands are ideal for building sandcastles, even during high tide and with a lifeguard patrolling the beach from May to September, your children are free to splash around in the surf all summer long.

Hastings, Sussex

Best Beach for Couples 

Full of history and maritime charm, Hastings is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Dwindle the day away by relaxing along the coast or getting lost amongst the town’s many winding streets and narrow passageways, before spending the evening at a candlelit meal for two in one of the many restaurants. For some quality quiet time with your other half, we would highly suggest a romantic stroll along the coastline, walking hand in hand as you admire the spectacular ocean views.

Reculver, Kent

Best Beach for dogs

The beach at Reculver in Kent is great for both dog and owner, with your four-legged friend welcome all year round. As well as playing amongst the surf and scurrying over the rocks, this area also allows your dog plenty of open space to explore with a country park close by. Offering both coastal paths and circular walking routes, this area has everything you need for a dog friendly day out!

Camber Sands, Sussex

Best Beach for Water Sports

Camber Sands offers an exciting array of water sports with something to suit all ages, from kitesurfing and windsurfing to paddle boarding and dinghy sailing. If you’re a water sporting regular then make your way down to the coast and straight into the water or if you’re a beginner why not try a few lessons from the local experts at Rye Watersports? Whatever your skill set, Camber Sands is the ideal beach to practice your skills.

Rent a Cottage in the South East with Sykes Cottages

Now you’ve seen exactly what the South East coast has to offer, why not experience it for yourself? Our selection of cottages on the South coast are perfectly located for a beach getaway with many properties just a short walk from the coast! So whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, family holiday or just some time away from the everyday, we’re sure to have something to suit your needs!

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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.