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UK Adrenaline Rushes To Put A Spring In Your Step

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
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For many of us, a quiet holiday spent relaxing on the sands or walking the hills is just what the doctor ordered, but for others the simple things just don’t cut it. These adrenaline junkies need something more; something that will push them to the edge and satisfy their need for adventure. If you’re an active soul who’s expecting more from your family holiday this year then keep reading as we list the UK’s best adrenaline filled activities.

Bounce Below

As the first of its kind, Bounce Below allows you to jump, climb and slide along giant trampolines, tunnels, slides and walkways all suspended in an underground slate cavern in North Wales. Fast becoming one of Wales’s top attractions, Bounce Below is a must for anyone holidaying in the area, and now with the addition of Junior Bounce the whole family can get involved!

Sky Diving

Here at Sykes Cottages, we’re always telling you how beautiful the UK is. From the coast to the country, we encourage our customers to see all that they can. Well, what better way to see what the UK has to offer than from the air? When Sky Diving you can achieve a bird’s eye view of the UK whilst diving head first towards it; the thrill is unbeatable and you’re sure to make lasting memories.

Go Ape

Go Ape is one of the nation’s favourite family days out, with kids as young as 10 being able to swing from the canopy on a tree top adventure. Go Ape have over 25 of these tree top adventures located throughout the UK, so no matter where you are you’ll be able to let loose and connect with your inner Tarzan.

Car Racing

Fancy going from 0-60mph in less than five seconds? If so then you should head down to Silverstone race track where you can take out one of their two formula Silverstone racing cars for a lap around the world-famous Stowe circuit. This experience day is not for the faint-hearted, but those willing to give it a go will be well rewarded with speed, adrenaline and a stylish windswept hairstyle!

White Water Rafting


Image provided by Charlotte

Wales is possibly the best place in the UK for white water rafting; an ideal activity for nature lovers who love to feel an adrenaline high. Whether you’re new to this activity or a seasoned expert, there is something to suit all skill levels in Wales. Explore the River Teifi in Carmarthenshire and take in the spectacular scenery, or experience the rapids at Afon Tryweryn.

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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.

The Best of Sykes’ Spring Sale

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
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The Sykes Cottages Spring Sale is now in full bloom with over 900 properties offering discounts of up to 25%. These reduced spring weeks are booking up fast so to make sure you don’t miss out head on over to our Spring Sale page straight away! If you’re still not sure whether or not to take advantage of this fantastic offer then keep reading and let us convince you with a selection of some of the best cottages in this year’s sale.

The High Field

Cahersiveen, County Kerry

As one of the larger properties in this year’s spring sale, The High Field is ideal for a large group or family holiday. Inside the property you will find spacious, modern accommodation with room enough for 11 people, whilst outside there is plenty of parking, a lovely patio and spectacular views across the bay to Valentia Island.

Y Cartws

Newport, Wales

Nestled in the Welsh countryside, Y Cartws is a fantastic holiday home for anyone who enjoys walking. Located on a family-run working farm, this cottage has wonderful walks right from the doorstep, or if you really want to stretch your legs then make your way down to the nearby coastal town of Newport and join the famous Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

Lunedale Cottage

Mickleton near Middleton-in-Teesdale, Yorkshire Dales

If you’re looking to get away from it all this spring and just relax then Lunedale Cottage is for you. This charming stone-built cottage is quietly located just one mile from the rural village of Mickleton-in-Teesdale and boasts incredible views of the surrounding countryside. Inside the cottage you’ll find two double bedrooms and an open plan living area complete with woodburner.

The Farmhouse

Coverack near Helston, Cornwall      

The Farmhouse is a wonderful semi-detached cottage located in one of Cornwall’s finest areas. This property has everything you would need for the perfect spring getaway; with tons of character, comfortable decor and a large garden for observing wildlife, we would suggest a stay at The Farmhouse to just about 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.

Mother’s Day Recipes

Thursday, March 12th, 2015
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Mother’s Day is just around the corner and if like me you’ve left planning to the last minute, you’ll be starting to feel the pressure of finding your mum the perfect gift. I’ve searched high and low for the ideal present but keep coming up short; longing for the days where a hand crafted card or painting would pass as an acceptable offering. Unfortunately I’m no longer eight years old and those types of gifts just don’t cut it with my mum, but I’m still able to make her something homemade that will bring a big smile to her face – food!

This Mother’s Day, I’ll be heading to the kitchen to make my mum and family some of her favourite treats. If you plan on cooking for your mum this year but need a little inspiration, keep reading as we list three of our favourite Mother’s Day recipes!

Eggs Benedict

Whether you live at home with your mum or you turn up early to cook her a surprise breakfast in bed, you can never go wrong with eggs. Try something different this year with an indulgent helping of Eggs Benedict; this recipe takes 10-30 minutes and will serve 3-6 people.


  • 6 large eggs
  • 12 slices of pancetta
  • 3 English muffins
  • 6 tbsp of hollandaise sauce


  1. Cut the English muffins in half and lightly toast whilst grilling the pancetta until crispy.
  2. Once toasted, butter the muffins and leave to one side. Remove the pancetta from the grill and keep warm whilst you poach the eggs.
  3. Poach the eggs in boiling water and heat the hollandaise sauce.
  4. Assemble the Eggs Benedict by placing a slice of pancetta onto the buttered half muffin and then top with a poached egg. Finish with a drizzle of hollandaise sauce and place under the grill for 30 seconds (keep your eye on this, you want the heat to glaze the surface of the hollandaise, not burn it).

For more wonderful breakfast recipes to share with your mum check out our previous blog post ‘The Perfect Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed’

Chocolate and Raspberry Cupcakes

Not only do these cupcakes sound amazing but they taste incredible; delicately topped with a shiny raspberry, they are sure to impress your mum this Sunday. The recipe below takes around an hour (plus extra time for cooling) and will serve 12.


For the cupcakes

  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 95g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 120ml butter milk
  • 80ml vegetable oil

For the icing

  • 420g icing sugar
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 165g thick raspberry jam
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Raspberries for decoration


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C (gas mark 4) and line a muffin tray with cupcake cases.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and vegetable oil together until you achieve a smooth mixture.
  4. Pour half of the egg mixture into the flour mixture along with half the butter milk – gently stir together. Repeat this step with the remaining egg mixture and butter milk. Do not over mix; you don’t want the cake mix to be too thick.
  5. Fill the cupcake cases with the cake mix (about half way) and bake for 15-20 minutes. Test the cupcakes are ready by inserting a toothpick – if it comes out clean you’re good to go.
  6. Leave the cupcakes to completely cool before frosting; this can take up to an hour.
  7. For the icing, beat the softened butter for around 5 minutes until smooth and pale.
  8. Whilst continuously mixing add the icing sugar, double cream, vanilla extract and salt to the butter. Beat at a high speed for around 1 minute.
  9. Add the raspberry jam to the mixture and beat for a further 2 minutes until thick and creamy. If the mixture is too thin simply add more icing sugar.
  10. Decorate your cooled cupcakes with the raspberry icing and fresh raspberries before serving.


Celebrate in style this Mother’s Day by treating your dear old mum to this fabulous cocktail. This recipe takes around ten minutes to prepare and will serve up to four people.


  • 240ml vodka
  • 90ml cranberry juice
  • 4 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp triple sec
  • Ice
  • 1 lime for decoration


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with the ice, vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice and triple sec. Shake for around 30 seconds before straining into a Martini glass.
  2. Decorate the glass with a slice of lemon before serving.

And there you have it, three of our favourite recipes to treat your mum with this Mother’s Day. If you’re not a fan of cooking then why not treat your mum to an afternoon tea at one of these fantastic team rooms instead?

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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.

Devon’s Best Beaches

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
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Devon has long been renowned for its beautiful coastline, a fact that was cemented earlier this year when TripAdvisor listed Woolacombe as the fourth best beach in Europe. To coincide with Woolacombe’s new title we have decided to put together a list of our favourite beaches in Devon, but be warned; this fantastic selection of beaches may see you booking a holiday to Devon sooner than expected!


Naturally Woolacombe has made it to the top of our list; with its rolling surf, unbroken Atlantic breakers, golden sands and spectacular views over the Woolacombe Downs, it’s easy to see why TripAdvisor chose this award winning beach! I’ve fallen off my surfboard more times than I would care to admit in Woolacombe, but for those of you more experienced at ‘hanging ten’, this beach is the ideal spot for a summer spent on the waves.

Slapton Sands

Slapton Sands is the type of beach you’d expect to see plastered across the front of a post card, but that’s not a bad thing! This idyllic shoreline makes for the perfect family holiday; with soft dense sands for constructing sandcastles, a gentle current for swimming or canoeing and of course plenty of room for sun bathing. This beach is also a great spot for animal lovers as it’s open to dogs all year round.

East Portlemouth

Okay, so we’ve cheated a little with this beach, as East Portlemouth isn’t just one long stretch of coast but actually several small beaches, coves and bays. Each of the small independent beaches have won Safe Bathing status and with so many to choose from you’re pretty much guaranteed your own secluded spot, making this beach perfect for couples.

Bigbury on Sea

This particular beach has a number of award winning qualities, but possibly it’s most noticeable feature is its beautiful scenery. Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Bigbury on Sea is a photographer’s dream, with shallow waters, soft clean sand and wonderful views towards Burgh Island. For views back towards Bigbury on Sea, cross to Burgh Island at low tide or grab a ride on the ever popular sea tracker during high tide.

Blackpool Sands

Blackpool Sands brings a little slice of the Mediterranean to Devon with its clear waters, clean beach and fragrant backdrop of scented pines and evergreens. This picturesque stretch of coast is not only perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon spent relaxing on the shore but with fantastic water sports available and the delicious Venues Café within striking distance, it’s easy to see why this beach has been awarded Blue Flag status.

So there you have it, our choice of Doven’s best beaches. If this list has left you longing for a trip to the south coast then why not book one of our holiday cottages in Devon? Full of character and style, these cottages are the perfect addition to any beach break!

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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.

Best Summer Destinations for Couples

Thursday, February 26th, 2015
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For many childless couples, booking a summer holiday during peak season is a big no no; the overcrowded beaches piled high with sandcastles and packed country parks littered with picnic blankets can be extremely off putting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of sandcastles and family picnics but too much of a good thing can be bad for you! So if like me and my other half you’d prefer to spend your summer vacation in a peaceful, stress-free location then keep reading as we suggest some secluded destinations perfect for couples looking to escape the crowds.

Ennerdale Water

The Lake District is one of the UK’s most popular summer escapes but instead of heading to the tourist hot spots of Windermere and Coniston Water head west to the parks most isolated lake, Ennerdale Water. This picturesque lake has crystal clear waters, spectacular scenery and best of all an undisturbed, tranquil atmosphere! As the only lake not to have a road running alongside it the journey to Ennerdale Water can deter families with young children from visiting making it the ideal spot for a romantic picnic.


Located on the south west tip of Ireland, Barleycove is a hidden gem nestled between two headlands in West Cork. Made up of an extensive dune system, this idyllic beach offers breath-taking scenery and plenty of space to relax along the sandy shore. When you’re not relaxing on the shore why not try a spot of surfing? Barleycove is a great spot for beginners and with a surf school located in the area and a lifeguard on hand it’s a wonderful opportunity to try something new with your partner.

Loch Enoch

Camping out under the stars is on everyone’s to-do list this summer and as a Dark Skies Park, Galway Forest Park in Scotland maybe one of the most popular spots for star gazers. If you would rather watch the skies in peace this year then journey to the centre of the park and visit its most secluded Loch, Loch Enoch. This beautiful loch is located in a granite basin and as well as the clear skies above you’ll be treated with glistening waters below, dazzling views and an extremely romantic atmosphere.


Snowdonia’s towering peaks, vast open countryside and extensive coast make it the perfect summer getaway and just about everyone knows it! But quietly fringing the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary with its inviting golden sands and steep bank of pebbles is the little known village of Fairbourne. This charming village and its beach boast excellent water sports, fascinating history, quaint cafes and the charming narrow-gauge Fairboune Railway – a real treat for any couple this summer.

I hope this post has encouraged you to make the most of your summer holidays this year and discover some of the UK’s hidden destinations. If you fancy teaming your adventures with a cosy cottage stay then make sure to visit our ‘Romantic Cottages For Couples’ page.

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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.