Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Sykes’ Guide to UK Christmas Markets

Friday, November 22nd, 2013
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If you are looking for a fun and festive day out that the whole family can enjoy then we at Sykes Cottages would definitely suggest a visit to your local Christmas market. The UK has a wonderful reputation for creating classic Christmas markets which will delight the whole family; the streets are lined with colourful stalls, decorative lights are hung and laughter fills the air! Here at Sykes Cottages, we’ve been braving the cold to enjoy our own local markets and have decided to give you a run down of all the fabulous festive treats that are in store for you this winter at your local Christmas market!

Festive Food and Drink

Christmas market, Strasbourg

Via. Flickr

At Sykes Cottages we are very fond of local Christmas markets and one of the main reasons for this is the wide array of food and drink on offer, allowing us to get fat and jolly, just like Mr Claus himself! No matter which market you’re attending this year, you’re sure to find an ample choice of your favourite festive food and drink, such as roasted chestnuts, wild boar burgers, fruity crepes, fantastic strudels and plenty of hot chocolate and mulled wine to wash it all down! For all the foodies out there we would definitely suggest visiting the Manchester Christmas market; with a large number of food stalls and free entry this market is a must on our Christmas check list!

Christmas Parades

Chester Christmas Parade

For me the best accompaniment to a cheery Christmas market is a colourful Christmas parade! These festive marches will normally pass right in front of you whilst you are browsing the local produce at the market stalls. To experience one of the UK’s best parades, why not head to the romantic city of Chester? Here you will find classic Chester parades, like the Saturnalia Parade, when the roman legion lights up the streets on December 19th. Alternatively, there’s the Winter Watch parade, where the musicians will dance along the cobbles on December 5th and 12th. The city has some fantastic festive treats this year so we would suggest renting a Chester cottage and taking some time out for a festive family weekend.


Nuremberg Christmas Market

Via. Flickr

Christmas markets are the perfect place to get lost amongst the hustle and bustle of the stalls, be dazzled by the bright colours and shop till you drop! Good Christmas markets will offer you a wonderful supply of local craftsmanship and produce, making it easy to find that special someone the perfect one of a kind gift they deserve.  For a fantastic shopping experience head to Bath’s Christmas market; they have more than earned their title of ‘Christmas Capital of the West’, with their extravagant collection of independent stalls and high-street brands.


ballagio christmas garden 2011 toy soldier

Via. Flickr

Christmas markets are all about the experience, and there is no better way to provide the perfect Christmas atmosphere than with vast amounts of entertainment! Christmas markets tend to cater for the whole family; grandparents will be in ore as the local choir sing, parents will be dazzled by the street performers and the children will delight in seeing Santa and his elves.  The Edinburgh Christmas fair kicks off this evening (December 22nd) with a buzz of excitement! They have the most wonderful entertainment with their Star Flyer, Big Wheel and Carousel making this a market you don’t want to miss!

Your local Christmas market is the best place for a festive day out with the whole family, but if you are looking at getting away for a few days, you could always take a winter short break! Take a few days off and explore a new town and a new market perfect for getting you in a Christmassy mood!


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.

Feel Festive this Christmas with Sykes Cottages

Monday, November 11th, 2013
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As the Christmas snowball begins to gather momentum and hurtle towards us out of the tinsel festooned pages of catalogues and websites, you’d be excused for thinking, “IT’S ONLY NOVEMBER 11th AND CHRISTMAS CAN KEEP ITSELF TO ITSELF FOR A LITTLE WHILE LONGER- thank you kindly!”. But before you toddle off back to your grindstone to be all Bah Humbug, why not take a few minutes to read today’s Christmas themed blog! Like the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, Sykes Cottages are here to impart some festive cheer onto all you budding Scrooges. So sit back, don your Dickensian nightcap and prepare yourself for a look at four of the more alternative ways to get in the festive spirit this holiday season!

Ice Skate at the Eden Project

Outdoor Ice Rink

Via Flickr

A romantic ritual for some and a brave new world for others, ice skating is a great way to lighten the mood and add a dash of fun to your Christmas holiday plans. You’ll find a selection of outdoor rinks up and down the UK which offer the chance to spend an evening gliding about (or falling on your face) beneath a web of sparkling Christmas lights. One of our favourite winter rinks can be found at the Eden Project in Cornwall. This large rink is bordered by seasonal winter plants beneath the enchanting canopy of one of the centres Biomes, and offers one of the more affordable skating sessions in the UK. Plus, there’s plenty of warming winter fare on offer for you courageous ice-goers, so come and have a go during your next cottage holiday in Cornwall.

Ramble after Rudolph in the Cairngorms


Via Flickr

Think Santa’s the only one nifty enough to own a herd of reindeer? Think again! You’ll find these amiable beasts throughout the UK come Christmas time, and although they might not be able to get around the world in one night, they’re certain to put a smile on your face. Go the whole hog on your Christmas odyssey and take a guided hike up the Cairngorms, where you’ll be able to hand feed Rudolph and his buddies as they graze on the grasslands of this beautiful region of Scotland; what could be more magical?

Deck the halls at a Dickensian Christmas Market

Trento, Christmas Market

Via Flickr

For three Saturdays before Christmas (30th November, 7th and 14th December), the Yorkshire Dales village of Grassington is plunged into the pages of some of Dickens most beloved Christmas stories as part of its annual Dickensian Festival. Visitors to this enchanting event can look forward to a wonderfully immersive experience, where shopkeepers turn out in Victorian costume, and the village’s charming narrow streets are strung with twinkling lights and festive decorations reminiscent of Christmases long gone by. The event is a great way for big kids to reconnect with the spirit of Christmas, so don’t delay; book a winter short break in the Yorkshire Dales today!

Go Cross-Country Skiing in Yorkshire

We are Cross Country Skiing Nation

Via Flickr

That’s right, now you can go cross-country skiing in Yorkshire! Combining centuries of Nordic tradition with the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, the Christmas Adventure has created a synthetic ski trail traversing the magical woodlands of Stockheld Park near Wetherby, West Yorkshire. Using traditional Nordic skiing equipment, visitors can spend a fun afternoon slipping and sliding their way around this enchanting Yorkshire Park, before stopping off for a well-earned brew at the Woodland Café. What’s more, cross-country skiing is great form of aerobic exercise, so you won’t have to worry about those extra Christmas kilos; bring on the mince pies!

Feeling festive? We thought so! Well why not whisk the family away on a winter short break brimming with Christmas cheer? Go on, make this Christmas one to remember with a magical holiday cottage from Sykes.

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.

What to do on an Irish holiday this winter

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
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Winter is well and truly here; the temperatures have dropped right down and the nights are closing in ever earlier. However there is still plenty for you to do on a holiday to Ireland, from wintry walks to festive delights. So read on for some of our favourite winter activities for you to try out during your stay in the Emerald Isle.

Irish Christmas Markets

What would winter be without Christmas Markets? Without a doubt they are the best way to warm a chilly night with plentiful attractions and treats, not to mention the odd tipple of mulled wine! Needless to say, Ireland has some cracking Christmas Markets this year. Glow, a Cork Christmas Celebration, promises to be special with its fantastic lights display and the grand opening of Tir na Nollaig, a magical faery village hidden away in the city centre. There is also the Galway Continental Christmas Market that offers something for both parent and child with its children’s workshops and the ever-popular German Bierkeller.

christmas market

Via. Flickr

Irish Winter Walks

What better way to blow away the winter cobwebs than to lace up the walking boots and brave the great outdoors? Ireland’s stunning scenery seems ever more beautiful in the winter months, so you’ll never tire of the views, and with the countless teashops and cafes dotted around, you’re bound to find somewhere to treat yourself at the end of your walk. Options range from the mysterious Burren in County Clare to the ever popular Ring of Kerry, not to mention the countless beaches around the country. The choice is yours on a winter walking holiday in Ireland; just don’t forget the woolly hat and gloves!

Burren Landscape

Via. Flickr

Indoor Activities

Don’t worry if the cold gets a bit too much or the rain starts to fall, there are still plenty of options open to you! Major indoor events taking place this winter include the famous Dublin Book Festival and the Sneem Folklore and Story Telling Festival where you can get to grips with true Irish heritage. Alternatively you could always head into town where you can get a bit of Christmas shopping done or take advantage of Ireland’s celebrated hospitality and head down to the local for an afternoon in the warmth!

Dublin Book Festival

Via. Flickr

Hopefully this will have given you a few ideas of what you can get up to in Ireland this winter, just be sure to remember that if you book an Irish holiday cottage with Sykes you’ll always have a cosy retreat where you can warm yourself up after a long day out and about!

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.

Christmas is Coming!

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
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That’s right ladies and gents; everybody’s favourite time of the year is fast approaching! The signs are all there, shops are rolling out the Christmas goods, children are writing their lists for Santa and no doubt that perennial debate of whose turn it is to host the big day is taking place amongst families around the country. However here’s an idea; why not spend Christmas in a Sykes Cottage? After all, we still have a wide range of properties that are available for the holiday period, from cosy little cottages right the way through to ones big enough to house the whole extended family.

There is still a wide variety of Christmas Cottages to choose from

Christmas at a Sykes Cottage

Rushmore Lodge, Kent – Ref 16229

All of our Christmas cottages come with features like spacious kitchens, large dining tables and more than enough crockery, so that (in theory…) the big day should go without a hitch! However if you are looking for a little bit extra, why not choose a cottage with an open fire, hot tub or swimming pool to enjoy Christmas in luxury. Also, be sure to remember that many of our fantastic owners will decorate the cottages themselves, so there is no need to root around in the attic for the missing fairy- and think of all that extra space for presents in the car! Speaking of which, don’t forget to check out our handy list of hints and tips for packing for Christmas in a Sykes Cottage!

Check out our Cracking Christmas Offers!

christmas tree

Via. Flickr

There are plenty of options available if you do choose to spend Christmas with Sykes; you can book right the way through to the New Year to enjoy the whole holiday period in a fantastic self-catering holiday cottage. Or alternatively, you can take advantage of our Christmas Short Break offer, which lets you book a cottage for a five night stay starting from the 23rd of December at just 85% of the typical booking price. So what are you waiting for? Book online or get in touch with one of our holiday cottage advisors to make Christmas 2013 one to remember!

Christmas Decorations

Via. Flickr

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.

It’s never too early to book a cottage for Christmas!

Monday, July 1st, 2013
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Here at Sykes Cottages we’re all looking forward to the summer holidays and the beach trips, music festivals and barbeques that we have planned. Believe it or not, we’re also thinking about Christmas and how we’re going to celebrate. With only 25 weeks until Santa Claus and Rudolph take to the skies, there’s never been a better time to plan a Christmas getaway!
Christmas cake 06

Enjoy a cosy Christmas in a cottage

Choosing a self-catering cottage is a great choice for whatever type of Christmas you have planned.  Choose one of our large cottages and get the whole family together for a holiday to remember.  Why not take a look at our luxury cottages for a Christmas holiday you won’t want to end?  Or, if you want to escape your everyday life and enjoy a quiet break in the country, we can help with that too!

Booking a holiday cottage makes sense!

Let us find you a holiday cottage this Christmas and you’ll be able to look forward to a more relaxing break.  Many of our cottages are decorated for Christmas meaning you can forget about digging out your decorations from the attic and just enjoy the festive season.  Order your groceries online and have them delivered to your holiday cottage where you’ll be able to cook up a storm.  If the whole family are celebrating at the cottage, there’ll be plenty of willing volunteers for the washing up, I’m sure!

Christmas short breaks available

We understand that many families have lots of friends and family to see during the Christmas holidays which is why many of our cottages offer five day Christmas short breaks.  Starting on 23rd December and charged at 85% of the weekly rent, our holiday cottages are the perfect place to celebrate this Christmas.  You can find our Christmas cottages by visiting our website or by calling our helpful team of Santa’s little helpers on 01244 356695.

We’ve already taken bookings for some of our most popular cottages so it’s never too early to book a cottage for Christmas.  Why not visit our website and start planning your perfect Christmas getaway today?