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Best Waterfalls in Britain

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
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When I was asked to write a post on Britain’s best waterfalls, I jumped at the opportunity, though it wasn’t until after I accepted the challenge that I realised the sheer abundance of beautiful waterfalls the UK has to offer and just how difficult my task was going to be. On its own, the flowing water is dazzling but there is much more to consider when you are looking for the best in Britain; the height and width of each fall, the surrounding environment and the history of the site all need to be taken into consideration. The five waterfalls listed below really stood out in these categories making them perfect candidates for Britain’s best, but impossible to choose between for the title. So take a look at our top five and see if you can help us narrow down the search for Britain’s best waterfall.

Ingleton Falls, North Yorkshire

Picture via Flickr

Picture via Flickr.

Surrounded by ancient woodland, the glorious Ingleton Falls is a famous trail that takes you through an enchanted forest and past a selection of breath-taking waterfalls. The area surrounding the falls is filled with a rich array of plants and wildlife making it a photographers dream location. Open to the public seven days a week the whole year round (closed only at Christmas), this pet friendly trail is a must for anyone in the area.

High Force, Durham

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

The water flowing through High Force in County Durham faces a terrifying drop of 70 feet before reaching the plunge pool at the bottom, making it the highest uninterrupted drop of water in England! This extravagant waterfall captures your attention with both its beauty and power, making it impossible not to add it to the list of Britain’s best waterfalls. On the site, you will find a gift shop, parking and picnic area so it’s ideal for a family day out.

Falls of Bruar, Scotland

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

The falls of Bruar are a series of waterfalls in Scotland made famous by Robert Burns in his poem titled “The Humble Petition of Bruar Water to the noble Duke of Athole”.  This inspiring selection of waterfalls has been a key tourist attraction in Scotland since the 18th century and shows no sign of losing its popularity any time soon. With both a low energy and high energy walk available through the falls, this attraction is perfect for people of all ages.

Aber Falls, Gwynedd

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Surrounded by history, Aber Falls is one of the most beautiful natural attractions Gwynedd has to offer. The tallest of our list, Aber Falls plunges a staggering 120 feet over igneous rock and can be heard from far and wide as the water crashes to the ground. The Aber Valley is a National Trust reserve and an import historic area with several small bronze age settlements lining the path up to the falls; because of this, you will often find small groups of school children investigating the area.

Aysgarth Falls, Yorkshire

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

If you’re a fan of Robin Hood then the picture above may look familiar to you; featured in the film “Robin Hood – Price of thieves”, Aysgarth Falls has become synonymous with the film for hosting the fight scene between Robin and Little John. The Aysgarth Falls made our list not only because of their movie appearance, but for the beautiful stepping stone appearance which is created when the River Ure tumbles over several sandstone drops.

And there you have it, our selection of Britain’s best waterfalls! If you think you can narrow down the selection and pick one of these stunning waterfalls to be crowned Britain’s best then let us know, we would love to hear your opinion so please feel free to connect with us via Facebook or 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.

Dolphin Watching in Scotland

Sunday, June 8th, 2014
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Here in the UK, we’re extremely fortunate to be surrounded by such a vast array of wildlife; from tiny butterflies to large whales, we have our fair share of extraordinary creatures. One of the UK’s most charismatic critters can be found in the northern tip of Scotland, in Moray Firth. Playing in the bays and amazing tourists and locals alike is the resident population of Bottlenosed dolphin. These charming creatures attract thousands of tourists each year and with their cheeky smiles and playful attitude, it’s not hard to see why! If you fancy a trip up north to visit these adorable dolphins then here’s everything you’ll need to know about the area and its most famous residents.

Moray Firth

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Rich in animal and plant life, the Moray Firth is a vast inlet of the Northern Sea located in the Scottish Highlands. The Moray Firth offers the people of Scotland more than 500 miles of coast line and is the ideal location for a coastal getaway. There are many fascinating places to visit along this vast stretch of coastline but if you’re looking for a memorable day of dolphin watching followed by a slap up meal then we would suggest a trip to Chanonry Point. This fantastic narrow peninsula is the perfect location to spot Bottlenose dolphins as they feed along the channel just off shore and with the sensational Crofter’s Bistro just a short coastal walk away, you are sure to feel extremely satisfied come the end of the day.

Resident Bottlenose dolphins

With an estimated population of over 160 dolphins, the Moray Firth is one of the best places in Europe to catch a glimpse of this graceful animals. Growing up to 4 meters in length, the Moray Firth dolphins are unique as they are the largest Bottlenose dolphins you will see anywhere in the world. For your best chance to spot these inquisitive creatures, we would suggest a boat trip across the Moray Firth. Drawn to the boats by their extreme curiosity, you’re far more likely to spot a dolphin on the sea then you would be on land. For a fantastic wildlife experience we would suggest taking a boat trip with EcoVentures, this committed troop are dedicated to providing you with a memorable experience as well as preserving the local marine environment.

Other wildlife favourites

Dolphins are not the only creatures to be found in the Moray Firth; in fact the area is rich with a vast array of wildlife. Another favourite amongst visitors to the area is the Harbour Porpoise; smaller and shier than the dolphin, they are a little harder to spot but well worth the wait. The local sea life also includes seals, Minke whales, otters and occasionally pilot whales. Also common to this area is a wide selection of incredible sea birds. There are two RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) reserves in the Moray Firth making it a bird watchers paradise and well worth the trip for a budding wildlife photographer.

Holiday cottages in Moray Firth

Lilac Cottage, Ref: 30495 is just a short journey from Moray Firth.

Lilac Cottage, Ref: 30495 is just a short journey from Moray Firth.

When visiting the Moray Firth, you’ll need somewhere to stay and here at Sykes Cottagesm, we have a wonderful selection of high quality self-catering holiday cottages which are ideal for such an occasion. So whether you are visiting friends and family, on a wildlife adventure, romantic getaway or family vacation, we will have the perfect cottage to meet your needs. Visit our Moray Firth cottages page or call our holiday specialists 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.

Going Green: A Guide for Cottage Owners

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
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“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints”

Here at Sykes Cottages, we’ve found that this saying has started to hold more and more meaning for our customers; customers who are now actively seeking eco-friendly accommodation. There are a number of fantastic cottages advertised with Sykes as eco-friendly, but we would like to do more and I’m sure you would too! In this guide, you’ll find a number of suggestions that will start you on the path to greener accommodation, not only attracting more customers but saving yourself a few pounds along the way.

Saving Energy

There are a number of ways a cottage owner can save on the energy they are putting into their property or convert their existing energy supplies into a greener alternative. Solar panels are the obvious choice for green accommodation and many of our owners with this facility have already seen the benefit on their electricity bill; but there are other energy saving options available to you. Did you know that underfloor heating was first introduced by the Romans? This alternative heating option is a great way of warming both your holiday cottage’s rooms and hot water. It works by pumping warm water through plastic tubing embedded in the floor, not only saving on your heating bill but also increasing your usable floor space by eliminating bulky radiators.

If you’re looking at saving energy on a smaller scale then we would suggest introducing low-energy light bulbs. Usually the most expensive bulbs on the shelf, these energy-saving alternatives will definitely save you money in the long run, up to £45 a year! Where ever possible, you should make sure your windows are fitted with double glazing to help prevent heat loss. For older cottages that are not able to fit double glazing, make sure you hang heavy curtains to keep in the warmth and supply a draft excluder for the doors.

Water Usage

Here in the UK, there’s an increasing pressure being placed on our water supply, with the average Brit using around 150 litres of water a day! As an individual cottage owner you may think that there’s not much you can do to lessen the strain on the water supply, but by making just a few minor adjustments you could really help our environment.

Did you know that you could save 60 litres of water per week by simply fixing a dripping tap? This can be easily done by replacing the washer and takes no more than five minutes of your time; keeping your existing equipment well maintained is the easiest and probably the cheapest way to save water. You’ll find that many of our owners here at Sykes Cottages harvest their rainwater. By collecting the fallen rain, they are able to water the plants, wash down the paving and even fill up the bird bath – it’s a simple adjustment which makes a big difference in the long run. Another simple yet effective method of saving water is to collect all your bedding, towels and blankets to have them all washed together. Making sure you do all your washing at once rather than in several small loads will help lower your water usage and save you money on both the water and electricity bills!

Recycling

With the government introducing an array of colourful bins to cope with every kind of waste, from left over food to glass and clothing, it has never been easier to recycle. There are many simply changes you can make to your everyday life that will aid you on your quest to greener accommodation, for example stopping your unwanted mail. We all get unwanted mail and within two minutes of opening it, it’s put straight in the bin. This mail can of course be put into your paper recycling bin, but wouldn’t it be better to save a tree and not receive the unwanted mail in the first place? By contacting the Mailing Preference Service and Royal Mail you’ll stop receiving unsolicited advertising and by being more aware when giving out your name and address, you can usually indicate that you do not want your details passed on for further promotion.

We have all heard the phrase “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and with a number of charity shops up and down our high streets, this phrase is extremely relevant in today’s society.  When owning a self-catering holiday cottage, it’s important to have comfortable furnishing for your guests; but what happens when this furniture is no longer needed? We would suggest contacting a second hand furniture store; they would be glad to take your old furniture off your hands and can even suggest a range of second hand furniture which you could use instead of buying new.

I hope this guide has helped you see that making the change to eco-friendly accommodation is very simple and that in the long run, it could save you a lot of money as well as increasing your bookings. For more inspiration, make sure to check out our existing eco-friendly cottages or give our owners department a call for further advise on converting your property!

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 Best of British Cheese

Sunday, June 1st, 2014
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From the humble Cheddar to the majestic Stilton, Britain is famed for its wide selection of delicious cheese products. As the French look on with jealousy, British cheese makers continue to strengthen our cheese heritage with a vast range of traditional and modern flavours. Travelling through Britain’s various regions you’ll find that the taste, texture and smell of cheese varies but the exceptional quality remains. If you’re in search of a new addition to your cheese board or a secret ingredient for your cheese sauce, then keep reading as Sykes Cottages gives you a guide to the best of British cheeses.

Blacksticks Blue

Blacksticks Blue from Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses

Blacksticks Blue from Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses

Described as the daddy of all blue cheeses, Blacksticks Blue is a multi-award winning blue cheese from Lancashire produced by the good people at Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses. This unique, blue veined cheese has its own distinctive amber hue and the extremely creamy flavour is the perfect accompaniment to a thick slice of bread or salty cracker. Ideal for cooking, this scrumptious cheese is also a firm favourite with chefs and wonderful when stirred into hot mash potato!

Caboc

Caboc supplied by International

Caboc supplied by International Cheese

The oldest cheese in Scotland, Caboc is made using a double cream and is coated with toasted oatmeal. This unique cheese is extremely creamy with a slight sour note finished off beautifully with its chewy, nutty edge. This cheese is completely different to most others you’ll find on your average cheese board, so when serving, we would suggest small slices teamed with a lightly peppered cracker and a glass of single malt Scottish whisky.

Cheddar

Cheese from the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company maturing in Gough's Cave

Cheese from the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company maturing in Gough’s Cave

The earliest reference to Cheddar cheese in Britain dates back to 1170 and the village of Cheddar has been synonymous with cheese since the 15th century. It’s no wonder then, that Cheddar is home to one of the nation’s most loved cheeses. With their cheeses maturing in cloth for up to 18 months, the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company has won several awards over the years and with its new cave matured cheeses, we’re sure it will be winning competitions for years to come.

Stichelton

Stichelton

Picture via Flickr.

This very special blue cheese is made in a brick built dairy located on the northern edge of Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire.  Stichelton is one of the very few British blue cheeses which are made using unpasteurised milk; this traditional technique adds to the cheeses sweet and creamy flavour. Instead of piercing the cheese by hand, the cheese makers at Stichelton use a specialised machine which speeds the bluing evenly throughout the cheese giving it a rich, gentle blue note.

Yarg

Cornish Yarg

Picture via Flickr.

Wrapped in a natural rind of wild nettle leaves, the fresh and creamy Cornish Yarg is extremely popular here in Britain and over at Lynher Dairies they are experts at brushing the nettle leaves onto the cheese in concentric circles. After five weeks of maturing, the cheese takes on a unique mushroom taste which works perfectly in a creamy cheese sauce. The clever cheese makers at Lynher Dairies have even come up with a wild garlic yarg, which uses Ramson leaves instead of the traditional nettle coating; a real talking point for any cheese board!

We hope you have enjoyed our choice of the best cheeses Britain has to offer. For more information on the cheeses mentioned, please follow the appropriate links to their suppliers.

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.

Reasons to Visit the Republic Of Ireland This Half Term

Saturday, May 24th, 2014
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Known as the Emerald Isle, Ireland is a land soaked in culture, rich with history and loved by people worldwide. As an international treasure it’s not hard to see why people fall in love with this enchanting island; from its towering mountains and charming coastline to the memorable cities and picturesque villages there is something for everyone to enjoy! With the children now ready to begin their May half term holiday, why not take the time to explore all that Ireland has to offer? To help convince you that a trip across the water is the right thing to do, here are our top reasons to visit the Republic of Ireland this year!

Impressive travel time

Via Flickr.

Via Flickr.

Whether you make the journey by air or by sea, reaching the Emerald Isle couldn’t be easier. Far enough away to feel like a foreign adventure but close enough for everyone to enjoy a peaceful stress-free journey, transportation to Ireland is both quick and easy. On the Sykes website you’ll find a number of handy tools to help plan your travel to Ireland. We can assist you with all aspects of the journey including ferries, flights and car hire; we even have special package holidays available where you can book both cottage and ferry together making a great saving on your ferry crossing! For more information simply call us on 01244 356695.

Golden sandy beaches

Lahinch Beach

Lahinch Beach

As an island, Ireland has a number of amazing beaches which are ideal for a family break. For active families we would suggest a trip to Lahinch in County Clare where you can try your hand at surfing; with a number of longboard competitions taking place annually, this is one of Ireland’s top surf locations. If you’re looking for a more relaxing location where mum can rest with a good book whilst the kids build sandcastles and run through the surf then make sure to visit Ballymastocker Bay in County Donegal. This is a stunning blue flag beach with beautiful sandy beaches and breath taking views towards the Inishowen Peninsula.

Family Friendly Attractions

Via Flickr.

Via Flickr.

If you manage to pull yourself away from the gorgeous beaches on offer then you’ll want to treat the children, and yourself, with a visit to one of Ireland’s many family friendly attractions. Ireland is packed with an array of attractions suitable for the whole family from go-kart racing to petting zoos- the island even boasts a travelling circus! For a memorable day out, make sure to visit Galway Aquarium where you’ll get the chance to get up close and personal with some of the ocean’s most mysterious creatures! The aquarium has a staggering collection of fish including rays, sharks, crabs, eels and even cute little starfish.

Stylish Holiday Homes

The Humble Daisy in Woodford, County Galway, Ref 30577.

The Humble Daisy in Woodford, County Galway, Ref 30577.

There are a number of fantastic holiday homes located throughout Ireland, from cosy cottages on the sea front to spectacular town houses in the heart of big cities. What better way to immerse yourself in a culture then to stay right in the thick of it, where you can make the most of your Irish experience by eating locally sourced produce, hitting the town’s favourite pub and taking part in traditional Irish games! For a full list of our Irish cottages please click here.

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.