Archive for the ‘Easter’ Category

Easter Baking With The Kids

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016
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Who can believe that Easter is just around the corner? Besides this signalling how quickly 2016 seems to be flying by, it also means that in a few days the kids will be off school and there will probably be an abundance of chocolate lying around the house. Well we’ve decided to combine these two things and have found some recipes for some brilliant Easter themed treats that you’ll be able to rustle up with the help of the little ones, take a look and see which one you fancy trying out.

Easter Fairy Cakes

Where else could we start but with a classic fairy cake topped by one of the best Easter themed sweets? These gorgeous little fairy cakes courtesy of AllRecipes should only take around half an hour from start to finish and there are plenty of jobs for the little ones to help out with!


For the cakes

  • 120g of butter
  • 140g of self raising flour
  • 85g of caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbspns of cocoa powder

For the icing

  • 100g of milk chocolate
  • 120g of butter
  • 120g of icing sugar

For the decoration

  • Large bag of mini eggs
  • A couple of flake bars


  1. First of all preheat your oven to 190 degrees centigrade and line 3 muffin trays with paper cases.
  2. Using a electric hand beater you’ll then want to mix together all of the cake ingredients in a large bowl until it makes a nice, smooth batter.
  3. Then spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for around 10 minutes, remove when the cakes feel fairly firm and leave to cool.
  4. Whilst they’re baking you’ll want to make the icing mixture. To do this you should melt the chocolate. Add this to the butter and icing sugar and beat them together.
  5. When the cakes are cool, spread the icing over the top and decorate with a couple of mini eggs and some crumbled flake.

Jam Tarts

And of course we’ve got the classic Jam Tart. Quick, easy and yet delicious – what more could you want? This recipe from BBC Goodfood will show you how you can make your own pastry from scratch, or you can always buy some pre-made (don’t worry we won’t tell anyone!) Again it should only take you half an hour and will produce some tasty and colourful delights.


  • 170g of self raising flour
  • 85g of unsalted butter
  • An assortment of jams for the fillings


  1. To start off you should preheat your oven to 200 degrees centigrade.
  2. To make your pastry you’ll want to rub the butter and flour together in a large bowl, eventually it will start to look like breadcrumbs. When you’ve reached this stage you should then mix in a few tablespoons of water until it forms a dough.
  3. Roll this dough out until it is relatively thin and using a pastry cutter cut out 15 or so circles of pastry.
  4. Add these circles into cupcake trays and then put a teaspoon of your jam on top.
  5. Put them in the oven and bake for around half an hour or until the pastry is a good golden-brown colour.

Rocky Road

Ok we realise that this recipe is bake free, but we couldn’t really leave out a rocky road could we? Taking an Easter twist with some good old mini eggs – or of course you could use some leftover Easter eggs – this BBC Goodfood recipe will be ready to eat in about an hour and a half and keeps for about 10 days – perfect for the school holidays!


  • 225g of dark chocolate
  • 100g of unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp of golden syrup
  • 100g of rich tea biscuits
  • 50g of marshmallows
  • 50g of dried cranberries
  • 200g of mini eggs.


  1. First of all you should melt your chocolate and butter together in a large bowl over the top of a saucepan of boiling water. Whilst they are melting you should line a baking tin using clingfilm.
  2. Once the chocolate/butter mixture is melted and glossy, remove from the heat and mix in the syrup and cocoa then allow to cool slightly.
  3. Break up your rich tea biscuits (putting them in a freezer bag and hitting them with a rolling pin is a good way to do this) then stir into the chocolate mix along with the the marshmallows, cranberries and about three quarters of the mini eggs.
  4. Pour the mixture into the lined dish and smooth out. Put the remaining eggs on top and put in the fridge to set – this should only take an hour or so.

So there are three recipes perfect for when you’re struggling to find something that will keep the kids occupied whilst they’re off school over the next couple of weeks. We hope they’re as tasty as they look but do let us know how it goes if you’re going to try any of them out!

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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.

Book a Last Minute Easter Holiday

Sunday, March 20th, 2016
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Now there might only be a few days to go but, believe it or not, there’s still time for you to treat yourself to an Easter break! Whilst a lot of our cottages have been booking up fast, we still have availability in some fantastic properties all around the UK and Ireland, from the Cornish coast all the way through to County Donegal. We’ve picked out a few of our favourite holiday homes that are still available to book over Easter so take a look and see if you fancy any of them.

Warbrook (ref. 931691), Bradworthy in Devon

A detached barn conversion found in the midst of the Devonshire countryside, Warbrook is a great option for those looking to take a few days away with the kids over Easter. Being located on the owner’s working smallholding means that there’s plenty of outdoor space for the children to take advantage of and there’s even a fully enclosed garden complete with its own play area that promises hours of entertainment. The cottage itself is beautifully decorated throughout with an open plan living area, a modern kitchen and two superbly finished bedrooms. And if that wasn’t enough, the South West Coastal path is just a short drive away should you fancy a scenic walk during your break.

Jet Cottage (ref. 5268), Whitby in North Yorkshire

Or alternatively there’s Jet Cottage in Whitby. The property is located right in the town centre meaning that you’d have easy access to all of the hustle and bustle but you’ll still get plenty of peace and quiet due to the fact that it’s set back in a quaint yard away from the roads. Jet Cottage is full to the rafters with characterful features, from the original exposed beams through to the winding staircase and these are all married in beautifully with the modern décor. With Whitby’s harbour, shops and of course Abbey all right on the doorstep, there’s no chance of guests running out of things to do, so what are you waiting for?

Loistin Coimin (ref. 913526), Comeen in County Donegal

But what if you’re thinking of taking a trip over to Ireland over Easter? Well that’s where Loisin Coimin in County Donegal comes into it! Situated in the foothills of the Bluestacks, it offers stunning views out over the local countryside with both the Reelin River and the mountains taking starring roles. The interior of the cottage is bright and airy and comes with a lovely modern finish that really caps it all off, especially in the fully equipped kitchen that’s perfect for rustling up a good old roast on Easter Sunday!

Chestnut Cottage (ref. 2846), near Aberystwyth in Mid Wales

Part of a Grade II listed former dairy barn in the Welsh countryside, around 8 miles from Aberystwyth, Chestnut Cottage has been sympathetically converted by the owners into a luxury holiday let. With three bedrooms that comfortably sleep six people between them, there’s plenty of space if you’re looking to take a break with the family over Easter. What’s more you’ll be spoilt for choice in terms of things to do, with the Welsh coast and the Ystwyth trail just down the road, there’s walks galore and the seaside town of Aberystwyth offers countless attractions.

Home Farm Cottage (ref. 920461), Boscastle in Cornwall

And finally we’ve got Home Farm Cottage, another great family cottage. Just a short distance from the beautiful village of Boscastle, the property is situated on the owner’s working National Trust farm and enjoys phenomenal views out over the nearby Cornish Coastline. But that’s not it! Home Farm Cottage also boasts character features ranging from the exposed beams to the classic slate floors and a woodburner, as well as a fully enclosed garden for the little ones to play in.

So there you go, just a few of the superb cottages still available to book for Easter. If you’re interested in booking any of them make sure you click on the links below the photos to find some more information, but don’t worry if none of them have caught your eye – there are plenty of other properties still free over Easter, take a look here to find them!

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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.

Book A Holiday Cottage This Easter

Friday, February 26th, 2016
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It’s not too late to book a break over the Easter weekend! Whether you fancy a long weekend holed up with your loved one or a family getaway during the school holidays, Sykes Cottages still have some fantastic cottages available. We’ve listed some of these wonderful holiday lets with availability over Easter below but you’ll need to move quickly before someone else snaps them up!

Brecon Cottages- Clywd (No.4), Brecon Beacons

See it here: Brecon Cottages

Holiday cottage in Brecon Beacons

This lovely family cottage in the Brecon Beacons really is one of a kind. The property is situated on the same site as the Dan-yr-Ogof National Showcaves and an award-winning dinosaur park with over 220 life-size dinosaur models, so you’ll never be short of things to do! Immaculately presented and deceptively spacious, this cottage is ideal for a family of four looking to enjoy all that the Brecon Beacons has to offer this Easter. The site boasts fantastic family-friendly facilities including a heated indoor swimming pool, dry-ski slope, games room and crazy golf course, whilst the surrounding countryside of one of the UK’s most beautiful National Parks is within easy reach too.


3 Quay Court, Cornwall

See it here: 3 Quay Court

Holiday cottage in Cornwall

Sea views don’t come much better than those at 3 Quay Court! This stunning four bedroom townhouse is situated at the heart of Newquay, less than five minutes’ walk from all of the town’s shops, pubs and restaurants. Contemporary and open plan, 3 Quay Court offers spectacular views out across the coastline along to Trevose Head from many of its rooms and its impressive private roof terrace. The world-famous Fistral Beach is just a 10 minute walk away making this townhouse a haven for families wanting to spend Easter on the beach. There’s even storage space downstairs to keep all your surf boards and wetsuits in a safe place!


Stallington Hall Farm, Staffordshire

See it here: Stallington Hall Farm

Holiday cottage in Staffordshire

Cottages don’t come much prettier than this chocolate box Tudor-built property in the Staffordshire Moorlands. With stunning original features including the original Tudor beams, this property offers a fascinating insight into the life and history of the Tudor period. The cottage sleeps six in three bedrooms and there’s a lovely enclosed garden perfect for the dog to run about in. Blythe Bridge itself is surrounded by beautiful countryside and there are some lovely towns to visit close by such as Cheadle and Uttoxter. Alton Towers is also within driving distance.


Jura, Ardnamurchan Peninsula

See it here: Jura

Holiday cottage in Scotland

Jura is a cosy Scandinavian-style log cabin in a hillside position on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, offering stunning views of Loch Sunart from the living area and bedrooms. The perfect place for a relaxing getaway with friends or family this Easter! The cabin is a five minute walk to the loch and also to the village of Strontian with its pubs, shops and restaurants. Pay a visit Ardnamurchan Point and Lighthouse at the most westerly point on the British mainland and enjoy the peace and spectacular scenery from the top of the tower.


Wayside Cottage, County Durham

See it here: Wayside Cottage

Holiday cottage in County Durham

Fancy a romantic break this Easter? This cosy Grade II listed cottage in Staindrop is ideal for a peaceful holiday with your loved one. Full of character and charm, Wayside Cottage offers the perfect base for exploring County Durham with lots of walking and sightseeing opportunities nearby. Visit Raby Castle and Eggleston Hall, take a walk along the Teesdale Way or wander around the pretty market town of Barnard Castle with its quaint tea rooms and quirky shops. Wayside Cottage is dog friendly too so you won’t have to leave your beloved pets at home!

To see all of our holiday cottages available over Easter please visit our website or you can give our friendly reservations specialists a call. They’re on hand to help seven days a week from 9am until 9.30pm and will be able to offer expert help and advice on booking an Easter getaway in the UK and Ireland.

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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.

5 of the best Easter events for families

Friday, April 3rd, 2015
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Here at Sykes Cottages, we’ve scoured all the events taking place over Easter weekend and come up with five fun-filled days out that the whole family will enjoy. From Easter egg hunts to pirate treasure trails, these family events will help you to invest in some real quality time with your family this Easter.

English Heritage Adventure Quest

English Heritage are piling on the fun this Easter with their adventure quests located at historical places all across the country. Children will need to crack clues with the help of historical characters from the past in order to complete the quest and receive their chocolate reward! Prices and locations can be found at the English Heritage website:

National Trust Cadbury Easter Egg Trails

For the eighth year in a row, the National Trust and National Trust Scotland have partnered with Cadbury to give families the ultimate Easter day out. Across the UK, there are over 300 locations hosting adventure Easter egg trails. Children will receive a Trail Journal with plenty of clues to help them on their way and on completing the trail, they’ll receive a Cadbury’s Egghead as a reward. You can see more information on the National Trust website here or to find the nearest trail to you, visit

Easter Bonnet Parade at Claremont Landscape Garden

A traditional Easter Bonnet Parade at Surrey’s Claremont Landscape Garden is being held on Saturday 4th April from 3pm. Put on your best bonnet and head down to the garden for a fun afternoon; there are even prizes for the best entries! Normal admission charges apply- £7.25 for adults and £3.60 for children. For more information see

Chester Food and Drink Festival

One Easter event that many of us here at Sykes HQ are planning to indulge in this weekend is the Chester Food and Drink Festival. Taking place from 4th-6th April at Chester Racecourse, the Food and Drink Festival promises to be a fun event for all the family. As well as delicious foodie exhibitors, there are demonstrations from top chefs including Gregg Wallace and free kids’ cooking workshops! On the door prices are charged at £8 for adults and children 12 go free. For more information see

Pirate’s Quest Easter Treasure Trail

Kids are bound to love this swash-buckling visitor attraction in Newquay where you can travel back in time to eighteenth century Cornwall. Using real actors, intricate sets and incredible special effects, visitors can experience the Golden Age of Piracy in an hour-long tour packed full of legends, adventure and story-telling. This Easter, you can also take part in their Easter Treasure Trail- pick up a treasure map on your way in and follow the clues to help find your prize! Prices are £9.95 for adults, £6.95 for children and those under 3 go free! For more information see

Will you be attending any of these events over the Easter holidays? Let us know how much fun you had via our Facebook or Twitter– we always love to hear about our customers’ days out and holidays!

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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.

5 fun-filled family days out this Easter

Saturday, March 28th, 2015
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Believe it or not, the Easter holidays are fast approaching. For the parents taking time off to spend with the kids, keeping to an itinerary is key to ensuring a tedium free break. To help fill your diary with boredom-busting day out ideas, we’ve come up with a to-do list of ten fun-filled family days out. Let’s get to it.

Discover the Second World War at Eden Camp

Whoever said history was dull forgot to tell that to the creators of Eden Camp. This fascinating visitor centre tells the story of the Second World War through a series of life-like attractions, many of which certain to scare the bejesus out of your little ones. The centre itself is housed in an original WW2 prisoner of war camp, with all thirty-two of the former prison huts incorporated into the site. Of these, The U-Boat Menace and The Blitz are particularly harrowing.

Opening times: 10am – 5pm, Monday to Sunday

Admission fees: Adults £6.50; children £5.50


Contact: 01653 698243;

Take the plunge at Bude Sea pool

Sea Pool, Bude by Lee is licensed under CC 2.0

Sea Pool, Bude by Lee is licensed under CC 2.0

With forecasters predicting higher than average temperatures for the Easter weekend and beyond, you and the kids might need somewhere to cool off during the holidays. And where better to do so than at the Bude Sea pool, a salt water swimming pool topped up twice daily by the refreshing Atlantic swell. This unusual part natural, part manmade lido is situated beneath the cliffs of Summerleaze Beach, providing a safe place for sunbathers to cool off without straying into North Cornwall’s choppy seas.

Opening times: Open all year round; best times to swim are one hour before or after high tide

Admission fees: Free to all

Address: Bude Sea Pool, Summerleaze Beach, Cornwall


Walk with T-Rex in Tenby

Image by Dan Thornton is licensed under CC 2.0

Image by Dan Thornton is licensed under CC 2.0

Like Spielberg’s Jurassic Park but with less death and no Jeff (Goldblum), The Dinosaur Park is every youngster’s dream day out. With a cornucopia of bad-ass dinosaurs nestled among the trees, as well as several rides and attractions including pint-sized 4×4 Off Roaders, Super Bouncer Trampolines and Disco Boats, The Dinosaur Park is a top day out for those holidaying in Pembrokeshire. But be warned: some of the exhibits are animatronic, so naturally they’re quite scary – isn’t that right, Mum?

Opening times: 10am – 5pm, Monday to Sunday

Admission fees: Adults £9.95; children £9.25

Address: Great Wedlock Dinosaur Experience, Gumfreston, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, SA70 8RB

Contact: 01834 845272;

Visit the witch of Wookey Hole

Image by M is licensed under CC 2.0

Image by M is licensed under CC 2.0

Witches, caverns and a Victorian Penny Arcade – what more could you want from a family day out? Wookey Hole is the UK’s most popular show cave, with thousands disappearing below Somerset’s surface each year. Aside from being a popular tourist attraction, Wookey Hole is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and features a number of rare geological features. But enough about that, let’s talk attractions. From the subterranean wonders of the cave itself to the crazy golf course, fairy garden and handmade paper mill, there’s a world of things to do at Wookey Hole.

Opening times: 10am – 4pm, Monday to Sunday (Winter); 10am – 5pm, Monday to Sunday

Admission fees: Adults £18.00; Children £12.00

Address: Wookey Hole Caves, The Mill, Wells, Somerset, BA5 1BB

Contact: 01749 677749;

Take flight at the Yorkshire Dales Falconry Centre

Image by Paul Pierce is licensed under CC 2.0

Image by Paul Pierce is licensed under CC 2.0

Get up close and personal to some of the nation’s most beautiful, albeit deadly, birds at the Yorkshire Dales Falconry Centre. Established in 1991, the centre offers up close experiences with a number of magnificent birds of prey, and is also part of an international bird conservation programme. Visitors can take a walk among the birds before seeing them in-flight at one of three falconry displays taking place throughout the day. Personal falconry experiences are also available for those looking for a more immersive experience.

Opening times: 10am – 4pm, Monday to Sunday; Displays at 12pm, 2pm, 3.30pm

Admission fees: Adults £7; Children £5

Address: The Yorkshire Dales Falconry Centre, Crows Nest Road, Nr. Giggleswick, Settle, North Yorkshire, LA2 8AS

Contact: 01729 822832;

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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.