Archive for the ‘Autumn Holidays’ Category

Sykes’ Spooky Cities

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
Pin It

You can tell that Halloween is upon us, the pumpkins are being carved and the costumes are being created. All of the talk is about plans for the big night, whether it’s a Halloween party, a night in with your favourite horror films or maybe just terrifying the neighbours with a bit of trick or treating. However one option that people might not have thought about is the Ghost Walk. They may be a more recent Halloween phenomenon but they are growing in popularity year on year and are the perfect option for the particularly fearless out there. Not only will you be scared out of your wits but you’ll also learn many of your favourite city’s hidden secrets from terrifying tales to ghastly ghosts; what more could you ask for on Halloween?


Where else to start but at the very home of the Ghost Walk? Way back in 1973 York saw the first ever Ghost Walk and they’ve been getting bigger and better ever since. It is the perfect way to soak up the folklore and culture of this fantastic city, not to mention see many of its famous landmarks in a whole new light from the majestic Minster right the way through to the ever popular Shambles.

Via. Flickr


That’s right, Sykes Cottages’ home-town is the location of one of the country’s creepiest Ghost Walks, however it comes as little surprise when you think about it. Two thousand years of history have given the city every opportunity to amass a collection of scary stories and terrifying tales. Chester may well be characterised by its ancient walls, cobbled streets and the world-famous rows so you would probably be excused for thinking of the city as being quaint and quiet. However under this exterior Chester hides many dark secrets; from ghosts to ghouls, spectres to poltergeists this spooky city claims to have them all!

Chester Clock Tower

Via. Flickr


If you’re north of the border then why not pay a visit to Edinburgh for Mercat Tours’ All Hallows Eve Special? You’ll see iconic landmarks such as the Castle and the Royal Mile, and if you’re feeling particularly fearless, you can also head down into the Blair Street Underground Vaults. Throughout the Halloween period there are walks running from the afternoon all the way through to the middle of the night so you’re sure to find a walk to suit you.

Edinburgh Castle

Via. Flickr

Hopefully you’ll be feeling inspired to get out and about this Halloween, but don’t forget that the Ghost Walks run all year round, so why not book yourself a City Break with Sykes Cottages and join in the fun!


Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Freaky Family Fun this Autumn!

Thursday, October 24th, 2013
Pin It

Spine-chilling winds, misty streets and the orange glow from the jack-o-lanterns; that’s right, Halloween is almost upon us and here at Sykes Cottages we are ready to release our inner child, hit the streets and fill up on sweet treats! Halloween is an occasion that the whole family can get involved in, from your old zombie dad to your witchy mum; even cousin Itt will be joining in on the festive fun! To celebrate this hair-raising holiday we’ve come up with a spectacular selection of family attractions to visit this October half term.

Pennywell Farms Jollyween

Windmill + scare crow

Via. Flickr

Take the trick out of Halloween this year and enjoy the treat with Pennywell Farm. During this October half-term your family can enjoy all the fun of Halloween in a carefree and furry environment! Pennywell Farm are offering a vast selection of activities to keep the kids entertained, from fancy dress competitions to craft activities; there’s even a flying-pig race! The week’s main attraction can be found at the Pennywell Theatre on October 31st when Batty Bat and her friends take part in an all singing all dancing production, which is sure to delight young children who may find the late night antics a little too scary.

Twinlakes Family Scream Park

Halloween Pumpkin Patch 2012

Via. Flickr

Twinlakes in Leicestershire offers a fantastic Halloween experience that was voted the UK’s best Daytime Halloween Attraction at the Scare Awards in 2011. You can join in the Halloween happenings at Twinlakes from the 19th of October until the 1st of November and be dazzled by the scary treats that they have on offer. There is a straw bale maze, a ‘not-so-scary’ tale in the farmhouse of fear and creepy creatures that are sure to make Mum’s skin crawl! The park has grown 20,000 free pumpkins which are waiting to be carved up or painted into ghosts and ghouls, making this scream park a frightfully fun day out for the whole family!

The Crocky Horror show

Candy corn in a jar

Via. Flickr

The Crocky trail in Chester has come up with some ghastly activities sure to scare your socks off this Halloween! Dare to be brave and make your way through the Crocky dungeon where professional actors will shock and excite you. When you’ve fled the dungeons, you’ll be amazed by the wall of Death, a sensational motorbike stunt show with gravity-defying tricks. The horrific evening comes to a dramatic conclusion with a fantastic Fireworks display! The Fireworks will light up the sky on the last two days of the event, scaring the monsters away for another year!

Whether you’re looking for a horrifying evening full of all the things that go bump in the night or just want to barricade yourself in the house away from the onslaught of trick or treaters, we’ve a fabulous selection of holiday cottages for the October Half-term that will suit everyone’s needs. So go online or call our reservations team today and make this a half term the children will never forget.


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.

Get Back to Nature this October

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
Pin It

Here in Britain, we have an abundance of natural beauty and wildlife that we often take for granted. Wherever you are in the UK, you are sure to never be more than a short drive away from nature. It could be the local park with creepy crawlies galore or you may be lucky enough to live near a forest or beach where you can find nature thriving. At Sykes Cottages, we think there’s nothing better than getting back to nature.  If you agree, then take a look at our pick of some of the best nature activities taking place this month.

Go Rockpooling on the Jurassic Coast

Jurassic Coast, Dorset

Via Flickr

The spectacular Jurassic Coast, a recognised World Heritage Site, lies along the coastline of Devon and Dorset, covering over 95 miles. The site is home to rocks dating back over 180 million years and at Lyme Regis Museum you can spend an afternoon exploring these rocks in the company of experts.  On Thursday 24th October at 2.30pm, the museum is holding a guided rockpooling walk with Museum Geologist, Paddy Howe and Marine Biologist, Chris Andrew. Visitors will be investigating the rockpools of Broad Ledge and when surrounded by so much history, who knows what you might find! These walks fill up very quickly and places must be booked in advance. Tickets also include free entry to the museum where you will be able to see displays of rare fossils and find out more about Mary Anning, the famous palaeontologist.  The Jurassic Coast is in a truly stunning corner of the UK and is the perfect destination for a family holiday this autumn.

Help a Hedgehog in Yorkshire

Sleeping Hedgehog

Via Flickr

On 28th October, the North York Moors National Park is holding a ‘Help a Hedgehog’ event starting at 10.30am. Hedgehogs are very vulnerable at this time of the year as they begin to start the process of hibernation. They need to have enough fat reserves to survive through the winter and they’ll need a warm, safe place to stay. Some hedgehogs also have a second litter in late September/October and with a lack of food and warmth available so late in the year, baby hedgehogs born at this time struggle to make it through the winter. Visitors to the National Park in Danby, Yorkshire can help by taking part in building special homes for hedgehogs to keep them comfortable and cosy during the colder months, hopefully ensuring that they survive.

Experience the Goose Breakfast at Montrose

Geese at Sunrise

Via Flickr

Every year, Montrose Basin on the North East coast of Scotland, plays host to one the country’s most spectacular natural phenomena, the arrival of over 65,000 Pink Footed Geese who have flown over 700 miles from their homes in Iceland and Greenland to roost in Britain’s milder climate. The geese start arriving in September and don’t leave until March, so if you have some time spare, it is well worth making the trip to Montrose to see this incredible vision. One of the best ways to experience the Pink Footed Geese is at the ‘Goose Breakfast’ run by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The next breakfast is taking place on Sunday 27th October at 6.30am and places must be booked in advance. At this event, you will witness the geese take off over the water to feed in the nearby fields. The sight of 65,000 geese flying against a beautiful pink sunrise is a truly unforgettable experience and afterwards, visitors are even treated to a breakfast in the Visitor Centre with a question and answer session. If you’re planning to visit Montrose Basin this autumn, why not book one of our holiday cottages in Scotland and allow yourself time to explore the coast with a cosy Scottish cottage as your base.

Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Get Creative this Autumn!

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
Pin It

With magical colours, crisp air and crunchy leaves underfoot, autumn is one of the most attractive times of year but as the hours of sunshine dwindle, there’s a gaping hole left in our evenings that was once dedicated to summer sports, gardening and barbecues. If you don’t want to spend every evening of autumn watching TV then a great idea is to get creative. Autumn is the ideal time to let your inner artist out and with so many beautiful colours surrounding you, if autumn doesn’t inspire you to get creative then nothing will!

Whether you’re looking to dabble in some arts and crafts yourself or whether you’d prefer to admire what others have already done, Sykes Cottages have put together a few of our top picks for arts and crafts days out this autumn.

Walford Mill Crafts, Wimborne Minster

Photos of Walford Mill Crafts, Wimborne
This photo of Walford Mill Crafts is courtesy of TripAdvisor

This contemporary arts and crafts centre is situated in a beautiful listed mill building on the outskirts of the Dorset market town. Here you can enjoy a stunning display of both local and national artists and a regularly changing programme of exhibitions. The current exhibition runs until October 27th and is a collection of work exploring of the concept of ‘mending’. The collection aims to influence attitudes towards repair and show that mended items can be just as attractive as new ones. Walford Mill also has its own bistro and delivers crafts workshops for both adults and children.

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, Manchester

Craft Fair

Via Flickr

The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is being held in Spinningfields, Manchester for the sixth year in a row this weekend, running from 10th- 13th October. Widely recognised as a leading retail event in the craft calendar, this fair is a brilliant idea for those who are wondering what to do this weekend. There are over 150 designers exhibiting at the fair and visitors will be able to browse jewellery, textiles, ceramics and much more. If you’re organised, you could even pick up a few of your Christmas presents! The atmosphere is very relaxed and the makers are more than happy to have a chat about their work and offer tips. If you can’t make this weekend, don’t worry, there is a mini version of the event, with around 40 designers, taking place on 8th December at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, so you won’t miss out.

St Ives Society of Artists, St Ives

St. Ives, Cornwall

Via Flickr

The St Ives Society of Artists was founded in 1927 and is one of the oldest of its kind in Cornwall. The society works tirelessly to promote the work of artists in the St Ives area and has two large public galleries situated in the former Mariners Church. The Main Gallery houses the society’s annual exhibition of local artists and is open from the beginning of March until early January. The second gallery is located in the former crypt of the church and is available to rent by artists who want to showcase their work.  The Crypt Gallery is currently showcasing its Members Festival Show until 26th November and is well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

The Donkey Sanctuary’s Autumn Craft Fair, Sidmouth

Donkey Sanctuary

Via Flickr

This Sunday, The Donkey Sanctuary is hosting an Autumn Craft Fair starting from 10am in Sidmouth, Devon. Costing just £2.00 for adults and with under 12s going free, this event will make a great day out for all the family with a wide range of crafts on sale and the added bonus of meeting some very cute donkeys! The Donkey Sanctuary has helped over 14,000 donkeys since its opening its gates and is a very worthy cause.

If you’re travelling to visit a craft fair or planning to visit any of the attractions and galleries mentioned, why not consider making a long weekend of it and book a holiday cottage? Our dedicated holiday advisers are on hand to help until 9.30pm tonight!

Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Sunday Snapshots: Westonbirt Arboretum

Sunday, September 29th, 2013
Pin It

With the smell of autumn in the air, there’s no better way to embrace the new season than with a walk in the great outdoors. As a child, I spent numerous happy hours at Westonbirt, home to the National Arboretum and some 16,000 trees! Planting began here during the 1850s and today the site has gained international importance not to mention the fact that it is home to 80 champion trees! There are 17 miles of accessible paths to discover at Westonbirt as well as numerous ways to explore the forest with guided walks, photography workshops and arts and crafts suitable for all ages. Westonbirt is a feast for the senses throughout the year but never more so than during the autumn when leaves of every hue imaginable provide a backdrop to the stunning vistas at every turn. This week’s Sunday Snapshot is best enjoyed with a cup of tea and, for me, at least, a dose of nostalgia. Don’t forget to explore the charming market town of Tetbury, located just three miles from Westonbirt. With numerous antique shops, delis and cafes to linger over, I can’t think of a better way to while away a Sunday afternoon. If this has got you thinking about an autumn holiday, why not take a look at our Cotswolds cottages and experience the colours of the season for yourself?

Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt Arboretum

Cracking Up

Autumn Walk