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Walk of the Month: Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail

Thursday, June 30th, 2016
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For June’s edition of Walk of the Month, we’ve decided to feature a family favourite perfect for older children looking to develop their navigation skills. The Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail is a relatively short walk through the Scottish Highlands with fantastic views of Loch Shiel, the Glenfinnan Viaduct and the Glenfinnan monument.

Walk of the Month: Glenginnan Viaduct

Image of Glenfinnan Viaduct by Peter WeemeeuwCC 2.0

The walk:

This route should take walkers no longer than 2 hours to complete, making it perfect for an afternoon outing. You can leave the car in the car park at the north side of the bridge or catch a bus or train to Glenfinnan before starting the walk. The trail can be boggy in patches so good waking shoes or boots are advised.

The route:

From the car park follow the tarred track, ignore the turn off on the right and continue straight passing a barn and heading towards the viaduct.

When you reach the foot of the viaduct, you’ll see a sign post for the Station Museum and Sleeping car, turn left here and keep right at the upcoming junction. You will soon pass under the arches of the viaduct before beginning your climb on the other side.

Walk of the Month: Glenfinnan Monument

Image of Glenfinnan Monument by Mike SearleCC 2.0

The route will continue to get higher as you move across the hillside.  When you see the parked railway carriages near Glenfinnan station, the path will turn to the left and continue downhill towards the railway and through a tunnel.

Once through the tunnel the path will fork, you want to take the path on the right and continue across a little bridge. Follow the path up the steps that lead to the station then turn left when you reach the station and follow the lane down to the main road.

When you reach the pavement of the A830 turn right and follow the road for a short period until you come across a sharp left just before the hotel, follow this path on the left down a track past some houses. When you reach the last house just continue along the path which starts between two mental handrails.

Follow this path downhill until you come to a tarmac road with a T-junction. Turn left at the junction and continue along the road which passes close by the Glenfinnan House Hotel. The path will eventually come out on the A830 again, opposite the start of the walk. From here you can either head back to the car park or take the time to explore the Glenfinnan monument.

To view the full route map, please click here.

Book a holiday cottage in the Scottish Highlands:

The Laggan Drey (Ref. 1525) in Laggan, Scotland

The Laggan Drey (Ref. 1525) in Laggan, Scotland

If you would like to explore the Scottish Highlands on a walking holiday then make sure to check out our extensive selection of holiday cottages in the Scottish Highlands. From charming eco-friendly cottages set in natural woodland to cosy log cabins we have a cottage to suit all tastes and budgets. For more information on walking holidays in Scotland visit our website or give our team a call 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.

Sykes Cottages Cycling Breaks

Sunday, June 19th, 2016
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With over a million people turning up to watch this year’s Tour de Yorkshire, it’s no wonder hundreds of holiday makers have been inspired to dust off the saddle and take their bike on holiday with them. Here at Sykes Cottages, we encourage cycling holidays and even have a selection of over 2,700 cycling cottages to choose from. You can take a cycling break just about anywhere in the UK but with Yorkshire quickly becoming the home of UK cycling, it would be a hard task to find a better location for your getaway. With that being said, we’ve listed some of our best Yorkshire cycling cottages below to help get you in the mood for your next cycling break.

Padley Barn

Hurst near Reeth, Yorkshire Dales

 Padley Barn, Ref. 20841

Padley Barn, Ref. 20841

This wonderful detached stone barn conversion is perfect for a group of cyclists looking to explore Yorkshire. The property sleeps up to six people in six comfortable bedrooms and even offers lockable bike storage. Not too far from this cottage, cyclists will find the 2014 Tour de Yorkshire route and there is even a bike hire and repair shop close by in case of emergencies.

 Weekly stays at Padley Barn start from £364

Red Rose Cottage

Wadsworth near Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire Dales

Red Rose Cottage, Ref. 912594

Red Rose Cottage, Ref. 912594

Located just outside Hebden Bridge, Red Rose Cottage provides two bedrooms, sitting room with wood burning stove, bike storage and a beautiful garden with long-distance views across the countryside and relaxing hot tub. From Red Rose Cottage, cyclists can enjoy a fantastic ride along the area’s cycling routes which featured in the 2014 Tour de France and 2015 Tour de Yorkshire.

Weekly stays at Red Rose Cottage start from £372

Holmdale Cottage

Netherton near Holmfirth, Yorkshire Dales

Holmdale Cottage, Ref. 29640

Holmdale Cottage, Ref. 29640

This charming Netherton cottage is ideal for cyclists who like to take things slow. The area has numerous cycling routes, including some used in the 2014 Tour de France, as well as fantastic walks and family friendly attractions. Visitors to this property are encouraged to spend time in the pretty garden where its two patio levels offer spectacular views over the Yorkshire countryside.

Weekly stays at Holmdale Cottage start from £313

Lavender Cottage

Threshfield near Grassington, Yorkshire Dales

Lavender Cottage, Ref. 918240

Lavender Cottage, Ref. 918240

Lavender Cottage is a delightful stone built cottage located in the heart of Threshfield, alongside the village green. This property is just a stone’s throw from Grassington where cyclists will find a great selection of cycle routes including the Grassington to Hawes cycle route and Kettlewell to Grassington route.

Weekly stays at Lavender Cottage start from £323

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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.

5 Places You Won’t Believe Are In Scotland

Sunday, June 5th, 2016
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Planning your next holiday but dreading the long check-in queues and frantic search for the passports? If so no need to worry, the UK offers some of the best scenery in the world and with this summer predicted to be the hottest on record, there is no better time to book a UK break. But where to go? Well for white sandy beaches, iconic wild swimming spots and fantastic architecture, we suggest heading north to Scotland. It may not be your first choice for a summer holiday but keep reading and you’ll discover some amazing location you just won’t believe can be found in Scotland!

Achmelvich Beach

Scotland. Achmelvich Beach

Image of Achmelvich Beach by Lucy ChapmanCC 2.0

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway then forget the Maldives or Mexico, sunsets at Achmelvich Beach are just as spectacular! This picturesque beach not only provides incredible scenery in every direction but with its turquoise waters and white sandy beach, it’s the perfect spot for a couples retreat.

Dunrobin Castle

Scotland. Dunrobin Castle

Image of Dunrobin Castle by John HaslamCC 2.0

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this fairy-tale castle is a chateau in France, or even the castle from Disney’s classic ‘Beauty and the Beast’, but in reality it’s the iconic Dunrobin Castle in Sutherland, Scotland. Visitors to this castle can spend the day exploring the grounds and the castle as well as attending one of the venue’s summer falconry displays!

Northern Lights at Bute

Scotland. Bute

Image of the Northern Lights over the Isle of Bute by MarkCC 2.0

With many of us travelling to Iceland and as far as Canada to see the Northern Lights, you may be surprised to hear that the Aurora Borealis can be seen in your own back yard. Simply travel to the Isle of Bute and you’ll be able to see the beautiful lights dance across the Scottish sky.

Smoo Cave

Scotland. Smoo cave

Image of Smoo Cave by Dwilkinson08CC 2.0

When you think about British caves, our minds are instantly taken to Devon and Cornwall but let’s not forget about the rugged northern caves in Scotland. The dramatic Smoo Cave is a perfect example of a Scottish cave and at 200 feet long and 130 feet wide, this large cave is perfect for discovering local wildlife, geology, archaeology and legends.

Fairy Pools

Scotland. fairy Pools

Image of the Fairy Pools by Daniel StockmanCC 2.0

With the Fairy Pools in Australia more than half the world away, it would be far easier to head up north to the Isle of Skye and take a dip in the Scottish Fairy Pools. The beautiful crystal clear pools are great for wild swimming, but if you don’t fancy getting wet then the magical atmosphere is perfect for day trips and picnics.

If you feel like exploring Scotland’s hidden treasures for yourself then make sure to visit our Cottages in Scotland page for a fantastic selection of over 700 self-catering holiday lets located across Scotland.

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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.

Last Minute Half Term Cottages

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016
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Half term is just around the corner and with the summer weather finally making an appearance, it’s the perfect time to book a cottage getaway. Here at Sykes Cottages we still have a fantastic range of holiday rentals available for the half term, so to help whet your appetite for a family getaway, we’ve listed just a few of the stunning properties still available for next week below.

Five Bells Cottage, Ref. 929287

Shorwell, South of England

Five Bells Cottage, Ref. 929287, in Shorwell.

Five Bells Cottage, Ref. 929287, in Shorwell.

Located in the picturesque rural village of Shorwell on the Isle of Wight, this charming holiday cottage is perfect for a week by the sea. The property’s quality interiors and stylish décor offer a much needed break from everyday life, and with the local amenities right on your doorstep, there’s no need to take the car out every day.

A weeks stay at Five Bells Cottage from Friday May 27th (2016) will cost you a total of £939.

The Coach House, Ref. 923082

Middleton Hall near Belford, Northumbria

The Coash House, Ref. 923082, in Middleton.

The Coach House, Ref. 923082, in Middleton.

Sleeping up to ten people, this large, stylish property is perfect for larger families or friends sharing. At The Coach House you can spend your days exploring the nearby woodland walks and boating lake, before heading back to the cottage for a home cooked meal around the large dining table and an evening of fun in the games room.

The Coach House is available for a mid-week break, from Monday May 30th (2016) for four nights, at a total cost of £1466.

Golden Slack Cottage, Ref. 18506

Wincle near Macclesfield, Peak District

Golden Slack Cottage, Ref. 18506, in Wincle.

Golden Slack Cottage, Ref. 18506, in Wincle.

If you’re a family who love to be outdoors then Golden Slack Cottage’s scenic location on a working livestock farm could be just what the doctor ordered. Not only does this property have a welcome interior but the surrounding area is perfect for walking, cycling and exploring the Peak District’s wonderful array of wildlife.

You can book a week’s stay at Golden Slack Cottage from Saturday May 18th (2016) for a total cost of £788.

7 Mariners Point, Ref. 935729

Hartlepool, North York Moors and Coast

7 Mariners Point, Ref. 935729, in Hartlepool.

7 Mariners Point, Ref. 935729, in Hartlepool.

With breath-taking, panoramic views of the harbour, 7 Mariners Point offers the perfect coastal getaway for a family of four this half term. Visitors to this holiday cottage can really make the most of their time at the seaside by taking the short trip to the RSPB reserve at Saltholme Park, where they can see watch grey seals play in the water.

7 Mariners Point is available for a seven night stay from Friday May 27th (2016) for a total cost of £524.

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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.

Making Your Cottage Guests Feel Welcome

Thursday, May 5th, 2016
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First impressions count and here at Sykes Cottages, we want to help you make the best first impression possible when new customers arrive at your holiday let. From a friendly welcome to a cup of tea, we’ve listed some basics below that are sure to make your guest feel welcome on arrival.

A warm welcome awaits guests at Springle Barn (Ref. 5469) in Monyash

A warm welcome awaits guests at Springle Barn (Ref. 5469) in Monyash

Provide a warm welcome

If you’re around to greet your guests in person then this is a great opportunity to make them feel welcome – a smile and friendly handshake can go a long way! If you’re not able to greet your guests in person then never underestimate the power of a handwritten note. Providing a small handwritten welcome in your cottage is a lovely touch and lets your guests know that you care about their stay.

Introduce the property

Make sure your guests get the most from their stay by providing them with a little back ground information on the property, how long you’ve had it and its best features – this works especially well if your holiday let is older or has an interesting history. The property’s introduction can be done in person when your guests arrive or as part of your welcome pack in the cottage.

Welcome basket at Yate Cottage (Ref. 913883) in Oxenhope

Welcome basket at Yate Cottage (Ref. 913883) in Oxenhope

Stock up on the basics

An easy way to make your guests feel welcome is to provide a few basics like tea bags, milk and sugar so your guests can have a nice cup of tea after their journey. Cooking essentials like salt, pepper and cooking oil are common items you’d find in your own home but may forget to take to a holiday let, so don’t forget to provide these for your guests. These homely touches will go a long way in making your guests feel comfortable.

Little extras

As well as the basics, you may want to look at included some little extras to make your guests feel special on arrival. A bunch of fresh flowers in the property or a nice cake can really impress your visitors and encourage them to share their experience at your cottage with others, increasing word of mouth and encouraging new potential customers.

A little dog made feel very welcome at Greenway (Ref. 930748) in Kilve.

A little dog made feel very welcome at Greenway (Ref. 930748) in Kilve.

Consider the whole party

Children and pets can often be overlooked as we try to please the adults, but taking the time to point out any child friendly attractions or good dog walking routes can really help your guests feel welcome. For an extra special touch, try leaving out some games for children or a dog toy ready for your guests’ arrival.

A guide to the local area

Providing your guests with expert knowledge of the area like where to eat and local days out will let your guests know that you care about their stay. Try to including include this information in your welcome pack or let your visitors know that they can contact you for advice on places to visit and restaurants to eat at during their stay. Make sure to avoid telling your guests what they can’t do in the area and focus on the things they can do.

And there you have it, our guide to making your guests feel welcome. Have you tried any of these tips? If so did they work? Let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook or Twitter page.

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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.