Archive for the ‘Cottage Owners’ Category

How to Make Your Garden More Eco-Friendly

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
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Well I think that it’s safe to say that summer is well and truly here! The temperatures are on the rise, there’s been some glorious weather of late and we’ve even indulged in a couple of ice creams over lunchtime here at Sykes HQ! But for me, one of the best things about summer is spending some time out in the garden, whether it’s soaking up some sun, tucking into an alfresco meal or even doing a spot of gardening. One thing that I’m hoping to get done this year is looking into how I can make the garden a little bit more eco-friendly, so I’ve been doing a bit of research and found some hints that might be of use. So if you’re a cottage owner looking to reduce your property’s footprint, or you’re just after a few tips, take a look below and see what you think.

Harvesting Rainwater

One thing that surprised me was how much water we use in our gardens. For most of the year, we’re ok to rely on the rainfall to get the job done but there’s usually a short period between July and September where nature needs a hand. But rather than just taking water out of the mains, you could try investing in a rainwater harvesting system. These can range from a simple butt collecting water from a drainpipe, all the way through to a complex system that can feed water back into the plumbing in your house, but they all get the job done! You can easily get your hands on a butt from your local council or a garden centre and fitting is a simple task, but the best thing – you don’t need to follow any hosepipe bans!

Attracting Wildlife

One of the easiest and most successful ways that you can make your garden more eco-friendly is by encouraging more wildlife to move in. Whether it’s choosing the right kind of plants, providing food or creating a shelter, every little thing helps and your garden will soon start to reap the rewards! Here at Sykes Cottages we worked alongside the North Wales Wildlife Trust to create a resource that shows you how to turn your garden into a bird’s paradise which you can see here, or you can take a look at the RSPB’s latest initiative Make a Home for Wildlife which features loads of information on the subject.

Going Native

One further change that can be made is to really put the emphasis on native plants when your doing your gardening. Not only do these plants provide a plentiful food source for the local wildlife, but using them also reduces the risk of invasive exotic alternatives from gaining a foothold in your garden. If you need any more convincing, the native plants are more accustomed to the climate here meaning that you have to put in far less work to look after them!

So hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading and have managed to pick up a couple of hints and tips that will help you make your garden a little greener! Maybe you’d like a little more inspiration? If so then you should have a look at some of our cottage gardens for some ideas or if you have any hints or tips then get in touch over Twitter or Facebook and we’ll help to spread the word!

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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.

Owner Guides: Make your Property Fit for an A-Lister

Friday, May 22nd, 2015
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At Sykes Cottages, we want all of our customers to feel like A-Listers. Whether they’re looking to book a cosy log cabin for two on the edge of a forest or a luxurious manor house in the countryside, we want all of our customers to feel like royalty from the moment they begin their search to the final moments of leaving feedback. As holiday home owners, we’re sure you want your guests to feel like a celebrity whilst they enjoy their stay, so we’ve compiled a short list of some things – suitable for all budgets – that you can do to make your property fit for an A-Lister and make them feel like a celebrity during their stay at your property.

Living Room

Whether in a self catering holiday rental or in your permanent home, the living room is a hugely important family space, so making it both homely and opulent is a sure fire way to make guests feel like royalty! Starting off with a muted colour palette in terms of decoration gives a great base for any little extras you feel like adding to increase the luxury of the room.


It’s not all about the big things when it comes to making your holiday cottage guests feel like the rich and famous; little touches such as opulent light shades, high quality pillows and fresh flowers can really make a difference and they don’t have to cost the earth!


Perhaps one of the most asked for amenities from customers, particularly in the chillier months, is that there is an open fire in the property. They create atmosphere in a room, provide heat and provide a wonderful backdrop for enjoying quality family time together!


It’s not only celebs who can have their own cinemas, with a big enough living space and a bit of tech know-how, you can create a personal at home cinema for your holiday guests. Put up a projector and a screen so everyone can watch their favourite TV programmes and films together – mixing both luxury and family fun.


image from The Hall

image from The Hall

If there is anything more luxurious than enjoying a late lie in whilst snuggled up in the comfort of a huge bed wrapped in high quality sheets, I’m not sure what it is! Bearing this in mind, when making your guests feel like an A-lister, make sure that you don’t forget the bedroom.


Sometimes, giving that A-list style luxury feel to your guests needn’t cost the earth, it’s much more about the little things that they may not have at home. This is where clap/sound responsive lights come in – fancy not even having to get out bed to turn the light on or off, talk about relaxation!


Ensure that your guests sleep tight by investing in some bed sets made from Egyptian cotton. Your guests will leave their holiday feeling revived from sleeping in the lap of A-list style luxury!


Really treat your guests to the ultimate in bedroom luxury and allow them to wake up feeling like princes and princesses with a king-sized four poster bed!


The Malthouse

image from The Malthouse


Perhaps not the most prestigious room in the house, but a celebrity-style bathroom can make guests feel a million dollars! Start off with a well-lit room, big fluffy towels and a large mirror and you’re well on your way to making to making your guests feel like royalty, even when they’re in the tub.


Pop in some luxurious toiletries such as hand wash and hand cream when you’re doing your changeover. Brands such as Molton Brown and Jo Malone just scream luxury and will give your guests a bit of a celebrity style treat.


If you have the space then a freestanding, claw foot bath will leave your guests feeling as opulent as your bathroom will look!


If there’s one thing the rich and famous don’t do (I imagine) it’s standing out of a warm bubble bath straight onto a cold floor and your A-list guests shouldn’t have to, either! Combat this by installing underfloor heating in your bathroom. Not only is this an energy efficient way of heating the room, but it’s one of the little touches that can make your property sky rocket on the luxury scale!

The Paddock

image from The Paddock


It can be difficult to imagine the rich and famous rolling their sleeves up in the kitchen, but with huge celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow sharing their love of cooking with the world, we can’t think of a better room to turn into a celebrity paradise.


Why not fill the cupboards of your holiday cottage kitchen with some nice essentials. Things such as infused oils, balsamic vinegar and a salt/pepper grinder are an example of some inexpensive  additions to help make your property’s kitchen feel fit for an A-lister.


All self catering kitchens provide the usual; a fridge, oven and basic cookware – why not go a little bit further and provide a smoothie maker or even bread maker? This way your guests can have the ultimate in at-home comforts.


If you have the capability to, why not provide a chef to guests in your holiday cottage by arrangement? Your guests can take the night off from cooking and enjoy a delicious home cooked meal and get a true taste of the celebrity experience.


Eden Lodge

image from Eden Lodge

The A-list luxury need not end at the door; you can continue the opulence right out into the garden. If your property has outside space, it would be a shame to waste it but don’t worry as there are a couple of easy additions you can make to your cottage’s outside space, to ensure that the celebrity experience begins from outside your holiday home.


Some good quality furniture is a brilliant yet inexpensive way to ensure that your guests can bask in any sunshine or enjoy an al fresco lunch. Don’t forget to include a BBQ (or if budget allows, an outdoor stone oven) so that your guests can enjoy delicious food, both cooked and served outside.


Providing shelter from any rain or place to get shade on sunny afternoons, if you have the space and funds, why not treat your property’s external to an internal feel with a summer house? Children will love having somewhere to play, teenagers will love having somewhere to have a bit of time for themselves and the whole family will love being able to spend time together outside whatever the weather!


A worthwhile investment to increase how attractive your property is to potential renters who are looking to treat themselves, is a heated swimming pool or hot tub. If your property has far reaching views, why not place a hot tub facing them, so at night your guests can unwind and talk about the day’s events whilst enjoying their wonderful surroundings.

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

How to: Revive your Holiday Home Exterior

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015
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For holiday home owners, summer is both a busy and exciting time with back-to-back bookings and lots of guests to look after. Once you get into the peak summer season, it can be hard to get the time to do odd jobs on your property as well as the basic maintenance needed to turn it around for your next guest. That’s why here at Sykes, we’ve come up with a checklist of things for cottage owners to do before the summer to revive and refresh the exterior of your holiday cottage in order to make a great first impression for your guests and help ensure that their stay runs smoothly!

Ways to spring-clean your cottage exterior

Holiday cottage in Shropshire

The Old Schoolhouse, Shropshire, Ref. 903636

  • Give the windows a good clean. Obvious maybe, but a great way to help make a good first impression.
  • Don’t forget to give window sills a clean too. Cleaning your window sills gives you the chance to check that they’re still in good nick- you’ll be able to see if any need repairing or replacing. If your window sills are painted and aren’t in good condition, you may also need to re-paint them after cleaning.
  • Wash any other exterior paintwork on your property. This will instantly brighten up your cottage and again, help create a good first impression for your guests.
  • Polish any house numbers, name plates, or any brass on the door.

How to revive your holiday cottage’s garden

Holiday cottage in Yorkshire

Monks Cottage, Yorkshire Dales, Ref. 21352

  • Start by clearing any leaves or plant debris that has collected over the colder months from any lawns, flower beds and ponds. You’ll want to pull up any weeds that have appeared- don’t forget that this isn’t just limited to the garden. Make sure to check your patios and driveways for any strays!
  • Prune back any shrubs and bushes that are starting to look a little overgrown, particularly those that may slightly obscure the windows. If your property boasts nice views then you certainly don’t want a plant getting in the way of them!
  • Buy some season-appropriate bedding plants for your garden to brighten it up a little. Plant pots and hanging baskets can also be nice ideas if you have the space.
  • Outdoor lighting can really add to the ambience in a garden, especially when the weather’s warm and your guests fancy sitting out of an evening. Why not invest in some pretty solar lights- they’re very affordable and look really pretty when the sun’s gone down.
  • Give your patio furniture a wipe down and if you have toys or a BBQ in the garden then make sure you give them a clean too and check that they’re all in good condition.

Other things to remember:

Holiday cottage in Yorkshire

Blacksmith’s Cottage, Yorkshire Dales, Ref. 29398

  • Make sure that you check everything is working. Test out any outdoor lighting, doorbells, intercoms, key safes etc.
  • If you have access to one, a pressure-washer is great for cleaning driveways, patios and decks.

Whether you’re one of our holiday cottage owners or even a potential guest looking for some tips for your own home, we really hope that you found these tips useful. If you have any tips of your own that you’d like to share with us then we’d love to hear them! You can do so via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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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.

10 Ways to Make Your Cottage Walker Friendly

Thursday, March 26th, 2015
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Whether you’re an experienced rambler or just enjoy a casual stroll, we all know one of the best ways to see the UK is by foot; climbing the hills for aerial views of the countryside or hiking one of the many coastal paths for spectacular seaside scenery. With so much of Britain to explore, it’s no wonder one of our top requests here at Sykes Cottages is for walking holidays.

If you think your holiday home would make a welcome heaven for tired boots then why not advertise as walker friendly? To make sure you’re providing everything a walker requires from their holiday, keep reading as we suggest ten things you can supply to make your cottage more walker friendly.

1. Outdoor hose. Every seasoned walker knows it’s important to keep your boots clean as mud and dirt can be surprisingly abrasive. By installing an outdoor hose, guests can wash down their boots after every outing.

2. Boot scraper and/or brush. Whether you’re able to supply an outdoor hose or not, a good boot scraper and brush can go a long way in keeping your visitors’ walking boots clean.

3. Drying area. The British weather is never that reliable so after a long hike in the rain, walkers require a warm area where they can dry their cloths and boots – preferably somewhere that’s not too hot.

4. First aid kit. When stocking your first aid kit, make sure to consider any additional supplies a walker may need like Vaseline for chafing, tweezers for pulling out thorns and small sachets of Dioralyte for dehydration.

5. Local walking routes. Does your cottage offer fantastic walks from the doorstep? If so, make sure to leave a guide or map for your guests along with the routes difficulty level and timing.

6. Public transport information. When on a walking holiday, many people leave the car at home. Because of this, a list of local taxi providers and a bus time table can come in handy.

7. Local information. Chances are your guests are new to the area, so details on local eateries, pubs, tourist information centres and attractions will help them get a feel for the area and what’s available.

8. Emergency contacts. If your guests become ill or get injured, they’ll need to know who to contact. We advise supplying details of the local doctor, dentist and, if your property is pet friendly, vet.

9. Internet access. Having internet access at your property will allow your visitors to check weather conditions, discover new walking routes and even order food without leaving the cottage.

10. Country code. Most walkers will know the country code but by displaying it at your cottage, you can gently remind your guests of the rules and keep your neighbours happy at the same time.

And there you have it, 10 ways to make your holiday home walker friendly. If you need more information on kitting out your holiday cottage for walkers or if you have a new holiday rental you’d like to advertise through Sykes Cottages then either visit our website or give our owner team a call on 01244 356 695.

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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.

6 essentials to include in a guest information pack

Friday, February 13th, 2015
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Your cottage may feel like home to you, but to arriving guests it’ll be as unfamiliar as a hotel room. Luckily, there are number of things you can do to make your guests feel comfortable from the moment they arrive, and one of those is it to create a welcome pack.

Owner BA good welcome pack will contain information about the property and its owner. It’ll have a section about local amenities such as restaurants, pubs and shops. It will have emergency contact information, need-to-know appliance advice, and up to date information on local transport. Personal recommendations are a good idea too, as well as guest-book where holidaymakers can leave their own feedback.

Creating a welcome pack from scratch may sound a daunting task, but with our useful guide, you’ll have one put together in no time.

Things to include in your welcome pack

Your welcome pack needs to be as comprehensive as possible, so before you start, have a good think about what your guests might need to know when staying in your holiday let. Below, we’ve attached a few essentials we think every guest information pack should contain.


A friendly welcome

Don’t dive in with the dos and donts; instead, welcome guests to your property with a friendly note that lets them know a little about you and your property. Most people that stay at your property will love to hear about its history, and are more likely to look after the place if they’ve received a friendly and personal ‘Hello’ from its owner.

Emergency Contact Information

One of the best ways to put your guests’ mind at rest is to include emergency contact information in your welcome pack. Be sure to include your own contact telephone or that of your caretaker or handyman, as well as phone numbers for local doctors, hospitals and dentists. If your property is pet friendly, including the number for the local vets is a nice touch too.

Appliance Information

Operating the appliances in your cottage might be second to nature for you, but for others, it can cause a real headache. That’s why it’s important to include detailed operating instructions on all of the appliances in your holiday home that guests will be using including ovens, TVs and the central heating. Although including all this information might sound unnecessary, it’ll save you time and inconvenience in the long run. After all, you don’t want to be woken in the middle of the night by a guest who can’t switch the tele on.

Lutra lutraDos and donts

Although nine out of ten guests will treat your holiday home with the respect it deserves, it’s important to include a few dos and donts to reduce the chance of something going awry. If your property is in a built up area, remind guests of this to avoid unwanted noise complaints. If your property is pet friendly, reiterate that pets should be kept off furnishings. Provide clear parking instructions to ensure guests don’t park on your neighbour’s property. And most importantly, remind guests that any problems should be reported to you as quickly as possible.

Local transport

Even if most guests travel to your cottage by car, it’s a great idea to include local transport information in your welcome pack. From taxi numbers to bus timetables, providing up to date transport information will be a godsend for some of your guests, especially if you live in an area with poor mobile reception. It’s also a good idea to provide brief instructions on how to get to the bus/ train station from your property as it may not be obvious to your guests.

Attractions and Amenities

One of the most obvious things to include in a welcome pack is a list of nearby attractions and amenities. Though most property owners will leave flyers and leaflets in their cottage, it’s a good idea to list a variety of attractions that cater for all ages, such as family days out and adult activities. If you have time, create a map of where the attractions are in relation to the cottage and include any attractions that you can personally recommend.

Get expert advice on letting your holiday home with Sykes

At Sykes, we pride ourselves on our service, and that service extends to our cottage owners. We have a dedicated team of property experts working day in day out to provide support and advice for our owners, with whatever queries they have. From pricing enquiries to interior design advice, our owners team are here for you. If you’re interested in letting your holiday home with Sykes Cottages, visit our Let Your Cottage page for further information.

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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.