Author Archive

Activity Cottages

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
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People often associate holiday cottages with rest and relaxation, plush furnishings and comfortable surroundings and they wouldn’t be wrong. However there are two sides to every story and in this addition of the Sykes Cottages blog we will be focusing on the opposite side of the spectrum, looking at ways in which a relaxing cottage holiday can be transformed into an active and exciting adventure! Below you will find an alluring selection of cottage ideas perfect for energetic couples, families and friends whilst on holiday in the UK and Ireland.

Score an Ace on the Tennis Court


Tennis Court at Greystead Old Church in Bellingham, Ref 23575

Tennis is a fascinating sport, eagerly played by people of all ages and a remarkably enjoyable pastime whilst on holiday. There are a range of cottages with tennis courts here at Sykes which are excellent for practising your backhand, perfecting your serve or even enjoying a friendly game whilst indulging on a punnet of strawberries. Many of our tennis courts will be shared use with other holiday makers or the cottage owners so you should never be short of a competitor or doubles partner!

Practice Your Swing on the Fairway


View of the golf course from Storws Wen in Benllech, Ref 1161

Golf is a winning sport which sees you out in the fresh air, socialising with friends and keeping both the body and mind active with new challenges- no wonder the game is loved by all generations!  We have a gorgeous range of holiday cottages near golf courses which are excellent for keen golfers on a sporting holiday. Within easy proximity to all your golfing needs these cottages allow you to practise your putting on a new and challenging course.

Explore On Foot or By Bike


Pengwern Cottage in Llangynog, Ref 903598

The British countryside is a walker’s paradise, with its rocky hills and wide open planes there is a trail to suit everyone. Combine that with our wonderful cycle routes and exciting mountain bike tracks and you have an outdoor enthusiast’s dream location! Both our walking cottages and cycling cottages offer an array of extra facilities for those partaking in outdoor activities; from lockable bike storage and outdoor cleaning facilities to stunning scenery with walks and bike paths right from the doorstep!

Indoor Activities for a Rainy Day


The games room at Brookway Lodge in Lloc, Ref 27085

The UK’s temperamental weather usually means our holidays are highly dependable on the weatherman’s questionable predictions. If you are promised sun and instead met with a downpour the lack of excitement can leave your spirits dampened. To avoid this dilemma we suggest booking a cottage with a games room. These cottages come equipped with pool tables, dart boards and even table tennis; with such an array of activities these unique cottages are sure to quench your thirst for excitement.

We hope this appealing selection of cottage holidays has left you with an appetite for an active holiday this year. For more holiday inspiration don’t forget to visit the holiday ideas section of the blog, where you will find a variety of suggestions designed to help you make the most of your next cottage get away!

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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.

Top 10 reasons to visit Ireland

Monday, March 17th, 2014
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Happy St. Patrick’s day from the team here at Sykes Cottages! In honour of this spirited day we have compiled a list of the top 10 reasons you should visit Ireland in 2014

1.Top of our list is the world famous Guinness which has been brewed on the Emerald Isle for over 250 years!


2. As well as this famed Irish stout, Ireland is known for its delectable seafood which is showcased in all its fishy glory at the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival.


3. Whilst chowing down, take a look around and you’re are sure to see just how beautiful Ireland is- from its unforgettable hills and lakes…


4. …to its wild and majestic oceans.


5. And although the Irish weather has a bad reputation we know that when the sun shines, it is truly glorious.


6. If you’re a keen fisher then Ireland is the place for you as this angling paradise has some of the world’s best fishing spots.


7. And it’s the perfect place to practise your swing… FORE!


8. The Irish culture is so rich that you’re never far from the local legends


9. And with many famous songs and dances it’s no wonder the county has a lively reputation.


10. But let’s not forget, the main reason to visit Ireland is simply to hang out with the Irish! The locals are incredibly welcoming, and always willing to share the craic!

But don’t just take our word for it; get yourself over to Ireland for an extraordinary holiday which is sure to leave you with life long memories. Whilst you’re there why not stay at one of our Irish holiday cottages? From the most animated towns to the peaceful Irish countryside our cottages can be found throughout the Republic of Ireland, so there is something for everyone!

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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.

A Romantic Guide to Edinburgh

Saturday, March 15th, 2014
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The ancient city of Edinburgh with its winding avenues, classic architecture and captivating history is one of the nation’s most loved destinations for a romantic getaway. I have often found myself gazing up at Edinburgh Castle or lost among the remarkable buildings of old town wondering why I haven’t brought my other half along to bask in the amorous atmosphere that encases the city. To help you avoid a lonely visit to this charming city, we’ve come up with a romantic guide to Edinburgh where you will find an array of handy tips for places to go and things to see when you next visit Edinburgh with your partner for a romantic holiday.

Arthur’s Seat

Edinburgh is famed as one of the UK’s most beautiful cities and with its mixture of classic and modern architecture encompassed by Scotland’s stunning natural scenery, it’s not hard to see why. For the best view of the city and its amazing buildings we would suggest climbing the ever popular Arthur’s Seat.  This dormant volcano offers extraordinary views of the city below and is a real treat in the evenings when the city lights cast a romantic and dreamy glow over the rooftops.

The Royal Mile

The famous Royal Mile is a succession of streets through Edinburgh’s old town known for being the historic heart of the city.  Every step taken here is surrounded by history and culture; Daniel Defoe described the area as not only being the finest street for buildings in Briton but in the world! At one end of The Royal Mile you have the majestic Edinburgh Castle and at the other the Palace of Holyrood House, a perfect stopping point for a picnic in front of the marvellous Holyrood Abbey.

Scottish Whisky Experience

The Scottish Whisky Experience is a swirling tour through a replica distillery which allows you to become part of the whisky making process. During the tour you’ll hear wonderful stories about the craft of whisky making and discover tantalising flavours which will help you unearth the perfect single malt whisky to suit your pallet. This tour is sure to leave you and your companion feeling very merry so why not end the evening on a high by visiting their award winning restaurant and tasting the delectable Scottish produce?

The Witchery

Notorious for being one of Edinburgh’s most atmospheric and romantic restaurants, treating your partner to a fine dining experience at The Witchery is sure to put you in their good books. Visit during a summer’s afternoon and dine alfresco on the Secret Garden’s terrace or during the evening for a Theatre Supper. This stunning and historic venue has won several awards, including a 5 Gold Star rating from VisitScotland, making it the perfect restaurant for a romantic meal together.

City of the Dead

I admit that City of the Dead doesn’t sound like the most romantic outing, but can you possibly think of a better reason to huddle up close to your partner and have them protect you from the dark night? The City of the Dead tours not only bring to light the paranormal activities of many famous Edinburgh ghosts (including the world famous Mackenzie Poltergeist) but also provides a wonderful account of the city’s history.

For a truly memorable trip to Edinburgh why not pair your exhilarating days activities with a cosy nights stay at one of our central Scotland cottages? Our stylish holiday cottages are sure to offer you and your partner a comfortable and relaxing nights stay in a private and peaceful setting. For more information on our Scottish cottages please feel free to contact the reservations team.

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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.

Pancake Recipes for Kids

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
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The Sykes Cottages office is a buzz with conversation, as we can’t stop talking about Pancake Day! Which toppings we’ll be having, the best flipping technique (it’s all in the wrists) and of course how many scrumptious pancakes we can consume. Children love pancakes, whether they’re sweet and sticky or warm and savoury so here at Sykes Cottages we have decided to share with you our favourite pancake recipes for kids, in hopes that you’ll be joining in on the Pancake Day celebrations. Keep reading for two mouth-watering recipes including both traditional crepes and American style pancakes.

Via. Flickr

Via. Flickr

For a lunch time treat try making the children our delicious savoury ham and cheese pancakes. When paired with a healthy salad this combo is sure to impress children and adults alike as a fun alternative to the common sandwich. The following recipe takes less than 30 minutes to complete and will serve 2 -3 hungry mouths.

Savoury Ham and Cheese Pancakes


  • Ingredients for the pancakes
  • 55g plain flour
  • 140ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • Oil for frying
  • A pinch of salt
  • Ingredients for the cheese sauce
  • 25g plain flour
  • 225ml milk
  • 100g Emmental, grated
  • 25g butter
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Ingredients to top
  • 80g/3oz of smoked ham
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced


  1. For the pancake mix, sift both the flour and salt into a large bowl leaving a well in the middle.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the egg and milk.
  3. Slowly add the mixed egg and milk to the well in the flour and whisk together until the batter is smooth (set to one side).
  4. For the cheese sauce start by melting the butter in a small pan, once the butter has melted whisk in the flour.
  5. Leave the mixture to cook for 1 minute, then gradually add the milk whilst consistently stirring. Bring the ingredients to the boil before reducing the heat to a light simmer for 1 minute until the sauce is smooth and thick.
  6. Stir in half of the cheese and season to taste with black pepper.
  7. Back to the pancake mix; Pre-heat an omelette pan until very hot and add a small amount of oil. Ladle in around 2 tablespoons of pancake mix and tilt the pan from side to side until the mix covers the pan in a smooth thin layer. Cook for 30 seconds before flipping.
  8. When the pancakes are turned scatter the ham and spring onions on top of the mix. Spoon over some cheese sauce and top with a sprinkling of the remaining cheese.
  9. Your pancake is now ready for serving! Fold the pancake in half and slide out of the pan onto a waiting plate ready for greedy hands to get tucked in.
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Via. Flickr

Via. Flickr

For an extra special breakfast which will set the kids up with bags of energy for the day ahead, try treating them to our banana and blueberry pancakes. These delicious American style pancakes are not only healthy but fun too as the left over fruit is perfect for making funny faces! Our American style pancake recipe will serve 4 people and takes around 40 minutes to make.

Banana and Blueberry American Style Pancakes


  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 200ml of semi-skinned milk
  • 130g Greek or plain yoghurt
  • 55g butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 100g blueberries
  • Oil for frying
  • A pinch of Salt
  • Extra blueberries to decorate
  • 1 banana, sliced to decorate
  • Maple syrup to drizzle


  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt before stirring in the sugar, leaving a well in the middle.
  2. In a separate blow whisk together the yoghurt, vanilla extract, eggs and mashed banana, then slowly whisk in the milk.
  3. Slowly add the yoghurt mixture to the flour whilst whisking, when mixed add the melted butter and blueberries stirring all together.
  4. Pre-heat an omelette pan until very hot and add a small amount of oil. Add 1 tablespoon of batter in to the pan (you should have enough room to cook 3 pancakes at a time).
  5. Fry at a medium heat until little bubbles start to rise on the surface, once this happens turn the pancakes over until the same happens on the other side.
  6. When the pancakes are cooked through slide them onto a waiting plate and have the children decorate with blueberries, chopped bananas and maple syrup.
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We hope that these delicious sweet and savoury recipes have inspired you to try your hand at flipping a few crepes this pancake day! Just remember safety first; be sure to wear your apron and keep the children back when the pancakes start flying as what goes up must come down!

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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.

Top Welsh Beaches

Thursday, February 27th, 2014
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In honour of the fast approaching St David’s Day, we’d like to celebrate one of Wales’ best loved features: the fabulous Welsh coast line. The beautiful Welsh coast stretches for over 850 miles, housing some of the UK’s most beloved beaches, coves and bays. With this ample selection of beaches on offer it can be hard to decide which seaside town is right for you, so to help you make this difficult decision a little easier, we’ve comprised a list of the best beaches to suit a whole range of summer activities.

Swimming at Porthmynawyd

Dinas Fach and Porthmynawyd: Picture by  Richard Law, CC.

Dinas Fach and Porthmynawyd: Picture by Richard Law, CC License.

The wonderfully clear channels and tempting hidden caves that surround Porthmynawyd make it the perfect location for swimmers; couple that with the lush green backdrop supplied by the surrounding Welsh valleys and you can’t go wrong! As Porthmynawyd is protected from the strong currents that run between the mainland and Ramsey Island, the waters make for easy swimming at any time of year.

Surfing around Llangennith

Llangennith Beach, Via. Flickr

Llangennith Beach. Via Flickr

Llangennith beach is one of the UK’s most popular surf spots. With reliable surf throughout the year and favourable winds you are sure to catch a few good waves on a day’s outing. There are a number of surf schools dotted about the area, so whether you’re looking to try something new or polish off your existing surf skills, Llangennith is the place for you!

Dog Walking on Cwmtydu

Cwmtydu Beach. Via Flickr

Cwmtydu Beach. Via Flickr

Our four legged friends love to run along pebbled shores, slide down towering sand dunes and basically get filthy in the salty surf! For a walk to remember we would suggest taking your doggy pal to Cwmtydu beach. This wonderful stretch of coast is open to dogs all year round and is perfect for photos, especially if you can catch the seals and dolphins playing in the background.

Family fun in Llandudno

Llandudno Beach. Via Flickr

Llandudno Beach. Via Flickr

I personally spent many summer days along the Llandudno coastline; watching Punch and Judy, riding the donkeys and exploring the pier. There is so much to do for children in this fantastic area that you’ll be spoilt for choice! If you’re looking for an extra special day out then visit Llandudno during the Victorian Extravaganza in May where you’ll find colourful characters and fantastic fairground rides!

Welsh Culture on Llanddwyn Island

Llanddwyn Island. Via Flickr

Llanddwyn Island. Via Flickr

Famous for being the home of St. Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers, Llanddwyn Island is a fantastic location for discovering Welsh culture. Along with the tragic tale of St. Dwynwen the island also plays an important role in Wales’ maritime history as it was used for the shipping of Welsh slate. This is a fantastic area to visit for Welsh culture and if you head down to the beach you’ll find glorious sand and maybe even a seal or two!

A little privacy at Watwick Bay

Watwick Bay. Via Flickr

Watwick Bay. Via Flickr

This wonderfully remote bay in south Wales is perfect for a romantic stroll along the sands or even a full day relaxing in the sunshine with your favourite book as you observe the little boats bobbing along the shore. The hours will simply tick away at this secluded sanctuary and as the area is so quiet you can even try your hand at fishing during the early morning or mind evening.

This fantastic selection of beaches are easily accessible from anywhere in the UK so there is really no reason not to visit the Welsh coast this summer. If you’re looking for a picturesque place to stay whilst you explore the dazzling coastline then take a look at out Welsh coastal cottages. This wonderful selection of cottages are available for booking now and offer a fantastic alternative to a stuffy hotel room, with plenty of space for your bucket, spade and trusty surfboard!

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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.