Archive for the ‘Autumn Holidays’ Category

Autumn Wildlife Watch

Monday, September 29th, 2014
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Unlike us Homo sapiens – who batten down the hatches at the first sign of the impending winter – wildlife flourishes when the mercury drops and the leaves turn amber. Whether fattening up on seasonal fruits, nuts and berries, or fleeing the imminent chill, there’s loads of critters to spot during the autumn months. Here’s a quick guide on what you’re likely to see should you stray into the country this fall.

Spot seal pups at Farne Islands

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Not only are the Farne Islands home to one of the UK’s largest seabird colonies – there’s 23 species here, including 37,000 pairs of puffins – they’re also home to a large grey seal colony. On average, around 1,000 seal pups are born on the Farne Islands every autumn, so it’s the perfect place to spot these enchanting aquatic beasts. Historically, these North Sea islets were renowned for their ties to Celtic Christianity, though in recent times, high tides mean they’re now only accessible by boat. To see these cuties though, a boat trip seems a small price to pay.

Bottlenose Dolphins, The Lizard, Cornwall

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

You know that bit of land in Cornwall that sticks out into the Atlantic? That’s called the Lizard Peninsula, or ‘The Lizard’ for short. Why it’s called the Lizard Peninsula I have no clue, but one thing’s for sure; there’s aquatic wildlife aplenty off the coast of this un-reptilian shaped headland. Basking sharks, seals and harbour porpoises are among the sea dwellers you’re likely to spot off the Lizard coast, as well as everyone’s favourite, the bottlenose dolphin. Autumn is a great time to see dolphins wherever you are in the UK, but the beauty of the Lizard Peninsula is sure to make a sighting that extra bit special.

Black Grouse, Durham Dales

For bumpkins, the grouse is commonplace on any country lane commute. For city slickers however, the closest you may have come to one of these handsome birds is the animated one that appears on TV at Christmastime advertising Scotch. Head to the very lovely Durham Dales during the months of autumn and chances are you’ll spot one or two Black Grouse, a globally threatened variety of the Grouse. Though twitching may not be on everyone’s holiday agenda, an afternoon searching for Black Grouse won’t feel wasted when you see Durham’s charming landscapes.

Red Deer, Beecrags Country Park, West Lothian

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Although Red Deer are synonymous with the British countryside, how many of us have actually laid eyes on one in the wild? Growing up on the fringes of the Yorkshire Dales, I was lucky enough to see plenty of deer, though none – to my knowledge – were red. For those of you who’d like to see the majestic red deer in the flesh, now’s the perfect time to do so. The Beecrags Country Park in West Lothian is home to a large herd of deer, and it’s around this time that the male bucks go head to head to impress females.

Puffins, South Stack Cliffs, Anglesey

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Just look at ‘em – aren’t they a delight? Needless to say, I’m a big fan of the humble puffin. These comical cliff dwellers are one of the UK’s most beloved seabirds, and for good reason. Though the largest colony of puffins can be found at RSPB Bempton Cliffs in North Yorkshire, there’s plenty of other places around the British Isles where you can find these multi-coloured wonders, including here, at the South Stack Cliffs in Anglesey. This spectacular headland is teeming with puffins at this time of year, and it’s also the perfect place to blow out the cobwebs with a blustery coastal walk.

Watch wildlife on an autumn cottage break

If your other half’s not keen on devoting a day to wildlife watching, then you could always bribe them with a weekend cottage break from Sykes. We’ve got hundreds of cottages with availability this autumn in many of the UK’s favourite wildlife hotspots, so grab the binoculars and book yours today.

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Autumn Sale Now On!

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014
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The Sykes Cottages fantastic Autumn Sale has now begun! Save up to 20% on participating cottages for a holiday between 29th August and 25th October 2014! Autumn is a great time to take a holiday; the kids are back in school, the evenings are still light and the temperatures are still warm, so why not make the most of it?! Book your cottage in our Autumn Sale today for a great value holiday to remember! On today’s blog, we’re taking a look at some of the fabulous cottages participating in the sale and highlighting the savings you could make! Make sure you book your favourite cottage as soon as possible as our Autumn Sale is very popular and you don’t want someone else to get there first!

Mountain View, Lake District

Holiday cottage in Lake District

Mountain View, Lake District, Ref. 20672

This beautiful self-catering holiday home is situated in the heart of the picturesque village of Arnside, at the southernmost tip of the Lake District. Offering panoramic views over the estuary and Coniston Fells, Mountain View is the perfect retreat for a relaxing getaway with family or friends. From the apartment, you can easily reach the Lake District National Park and hot spots such as Windermere; or if you prefer to stay a little closer to home, the charming café culture of Arnside is more than enough to keep you occupied. Mountain View is offering a discount of 10% off the rental price for weeks between Friday 29th August to Friday 26th September 2014 and 20% off the rental price for weeks between Friday 26th September and Monday 27th October 2014.

Yate Cottage, Yorkshire Dales

Holiday cottage in Yorkshire

Yate Cottage, Yorkshire Dales, Ref. 913883

If you’re thinking of booking a romantic break with your loved one this autumn, then look no further than Yate Cottage in Oxenhope. This Grade II listed cottage is nestled in a stunning countryside location but still within 5 minutes’ walk of the nearest shop and pub. This characterful holiday cottage boasts plenty of original features and there are many scenic walks that you can embark on from your doorstep. Guests can also explore the spacious formal gardens belonging to the owners and roam their woodland, where you can often see red deer. Yate Cottage is also close to the historic town of Haworth, which was once home to the Brontë sisters and was where they wrote their most celebrated novels. This lovely cottage is offering a discount of 10% off the rental price for weeks between Saturday 27th September and Tuesday 28th October 2014.

Bay View, Devon

Holiday cottage in Devon

Bay View, Devon, Ref. 30926

Ensure that you make the most of the autumn sunshine and book a stay in this fabulous holiday cottage on the English Riviera. Sleeping 6, Bay View is a bright and airy holiday home that’s ideal for a family or group of friends looking to enjoy the delights of the south coast of Devon. Bay View has sea views from most of its rooms and a wide veranda which overlooks the coastline; perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine on a balmy autumn evening! This seaside cottage is offering 10% off the rental price for weeks between Saturday 30th August and Tuesday 28th October 2014.

To see the full selection of cottages taking part in our Autumn Sale, please visit our website. Alternatively, you can give our reservations specialists a call on 01244 356 695. They’re on hand 7 days a week from 9am until 9.30pm and will be only too happy to help you find your perfect cottage in this year’s Autumn Sale.

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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.

Sykes’ Spooky Cities

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
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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!


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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
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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.

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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.

Get Back to Nature this October

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
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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.

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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.