Archive for the ‘Easter’ Category

There’s a heatwave forecast for Easter weekend!

Monday, March 23rd, 2015
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Great news for anyone planning an Easter getaway this year: we’ve been forecast an Easter heatwave! According to some forecasters, we’re in for one of the warmest Easters ever, with some even predicting temperatures to tip the 26C mark. So dust off your barbeques as fingers crossed, the four day weekend is going to be perfect BBQ weather! If the promise of some sunshine is enough to tempt you into booking a last-minute Easter break, here are the top 3 best places to book a getaway where you’ll be best placed to enjoy the heatwave!

Isle of Wight

Well-known for being one of the warmest and sunniest places in the UK, the Isle of Wight is a good bet if you want to soak up the sun this Easter. The south of the island in particular sees the best weather, with the picturesque seaside village of Shanklin seeing over 2,018.7 hours of sunshine in 2012 – significantly more than the UK average of 1492.7! Much of the southern areas of the island even have their own microclimate with milder temperatures, more sunshine hours and sub-tropical vegetation.


The south coast of England will always come up on lists of the warmest places in the UK but we’re looking specifically at Kent, which is the current record holder for the hottest temperature ever recorded in Britain. Brogdale, near Faversham, holds the record at a staggering 38.5C on 10th August 2003. To put this in perspective, the average August temperature in Spain is 25C! This part of the country consistently registers some of the highest British temperatures throughout the year and so if we’re in for a heatwave, Kent is a good place to make the most of it!


Statistically, Cornwall has the mildest climate in the UK as a result of the Gulf Stream bringing with it warm, moist air from the Caribbean. The average annual temperature here ranges from 11.6C to 9.8C, so when the rest of the country is shivering, Cornwall is still usually quite mild, making it the perfect place to visit on a break to take advantage of a heatwave. Cornwall is sure to be just that little bit hotter than the rest of the country!

We still have some lovely holiday cottages available over Easter if you’re looking for accommodation for your getaway; you can see the full list of available cottages on our website. In the meantime, we’re keeping everything crossed that this wonderful heatwave comes into fruition!

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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.

Escape the holiday hubbub this Easter

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
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With the promise of a school-free fortnight for the kids and a cheeky four day weekend for us grownups, it’s little wonder Easter has become one of the most popular times of year for UK holidays.

But before you make the queue-strewn journey to the coast like every other holiday-ready family in Britain, consider this: are you ready to spend five hours cramped in the car only to realise thousands of others have the same idea as you?

If the answer’s no, take a look at our shortlist of the destinations you could try this Easter that’ll help you beat the crowds and ensure queuing for a 99 is a thing of the past.

Have the coast to yourself in Cumbria

Most of the time when we use the term ‘hidden gem’, little is meant by it; when it comes to the Cumbrian Coast however, we mean it. Overshadowed quite literally by the Lake District National Pack, the Cumbrian Coast remains one of the least-frequented seaboards in the country. It’s not that it’s ugly (quite the opposite in fact) or that there are no good beaches (there’s loads); it’s just people tend to get distracted by the beauty of the Lakes and forget to look what’s over the next fen.

Travel to the Cumbrian Coast this Easter, then, and look forward to having the beach all to yourself (well, almost). Although you’ll find great beaches up and down the coast, the best are St Bees, Roan Head and Allonby.

Go to Scotland, and then keep going

Even the remotest enclaves of the Scottish Highlands can’t escape the Easter hordes, but if you’re dead set on a holiday north of the border, travel a little further and debunk on the Isle of Skye. This far-flung isle is dominated by a gorgeous mountain-range called the Cuillins, providing the perfect backdrop to a relaxed and queue-free getaway. If you’d prefer a slither of civilisation during your trip, a cottage in Portree is your best bet. This colourful coastal town is the largest on Skye, and is a great base for exploration.

Alternatively, opt for a holiday home in Dunvegan, Glendale or Carbost, or go thoroughly off-piste with an isolated cottage slap bang in the middle of Skye’s famously pretty outback.

Warm up in Sunny South East Ireland

The North Atlantic Drift provides the south east coast of Ireland with unseasonably warm weather, making it a great choice for the sun seekers who can’t wait ‘til summer for their next dose of Vitamin-D. Pack your beach towel if you plan to visit this corner of the Emerald Isle; the region is scattered with incredibly beautiful beaches, some of which have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award for their cleanliness and amenities. Some of our favourite ribbons of Irish sand include Curracloe, Brittas Bay and Portmarnock, but there are a lot more besides.

If surfing and sunbathing aren’t on your to do list, there’s plenty to partake in inland. Choose a cottage in County Wicklow and explore the Wicklow Mountains National Park, or take a daytrip to Dublin and soak up some Irish culture and hospitality.

The Wye Valley awaits

Whilst most wind their way down the A48 en route to South Wales, you’d be wise to stop short and enjoy a holiday in the supremely pretty Wye Valley. Labelled the “valley of the Romantics” because of its ties to 17th century poet Wiliam Wordsworth, the Wye Valley is charming, peaceful and challenging in equal measure. For a small AONB, this picturesque vale contains plenty to keep outdoorsy types amused: think canoeing, climbing, hiking, mountain biking and everything in between.

Those who prefer a more sedate pace will feel just as at home here; the Wye Valley is awash with fascinating historic sites that hark back to the border region’s bloody past, and the mystical and enchanting Tintern Abbey – which features in a poem by Wordsworth – is well worth a visit.

Book a break this Easter with Sykes Cottages

Wherever you wish to travel this Easter, a self-catering holiday home from Sykes provides a comfortable and affordable place to stay. Unlike hotels and guesthouses, a self-catering cottage gives you the freedom to holiday your way; take a look at our wide range of cottages that are still available to rent this Easter, and get set for an unforgettable holiday.

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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.

Book Your Easter Holiday Today!

Saturday, January 24th, 2015
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Come March you can pretty much guarantee that here at Sykes we’ll get absolutely bombarded by requests for a last minute Easter break. As much as we’d love to be able to help everyone the sad truth is that quite often the requests come in too late and that one cottage that people have had their eye on has already been booked up. This all means that in order to get your dream Easter holiday you’ll have to beat the rush and get in early! Handily we’ve put together a page that lists all of our cottages still available for Easter so take a look and see if one catches your eye. Or, if you still need convincing as to why you should book yourself a break, read on as we’ve listed some of the fantastic things that you could do on your Easter cottage holiday!

Celebrate Spring

Easter always seems to be a bit of a watershed moment in the year. The winter chills have vanished, summer is inching its way closer and of course there are signs of new life everywhere that you look. Here at Sykes we’re lucky enough to have a wide range of properties situated right on the owners farmlands! And if you want, many of our owners will happily take guests out on the rounds with them, something that always goes down a treat with the little ones as it let’s them get closer than ever to all of the baby animals!

Fantastic Easter Events

There are so many things that you could get up to come Easter time. Pretty much every attraction will put on a special event that the whole family will love, and surprise surprise the vast majority of them involve copious amounts of chocolate! In recent years the National Trust and Cadburys have worked together to put on a series of Easter Egg Hunts throughout many of the beautiful Trust owned properties around the country. Or maybe you fancy having a go at making chocolate yourself? If so have a look at our guide on the best chocolate workshops around the UK and you’ll be a master chocolatier before you know it!

Kick Back and Relax

Or maybe you’d just like a little R&R? Well who can blame you, by that time Christmas is a distant memory and it seems like a long time since you’ve had a decent break. Our cottages come in all shapes and sizes from cosy bolt-holes perfect for couples to properties big enough to house the whole extended family. And with features ranging from open fires to swimming pools and even hot tubs you’d be forgiven for just wanting to take it easy.

So if you want to enjoy this Easter in one of our cottages you’d better get booking! You can either do it online from the Sykes website or if you’d rather do it over the phone our Holiday Cottage Advisors are on hand 7 days a week, all you have to do is give us a call on 01244 356695!



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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.

Easter Egg Hunting With Sykes Cottages

Sunday, April 20th, 2014
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Seeing as Easter weekend has finally arrived, we thought that we should do a little Easter themed special about the best way to keep the kids occupied. Forget about sticking on a DVD and leaving them to it, why not try out the old family favourite, the Easter Egg Hunt. They may seem like a bit of a logistical nightmare especially if the whole family is coming round, however we’ve come up with a few hints and tips that should keep everyone happy.

The Hunt

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

This obviously depends upon the age of the children. If they are a bit older then you can start to think of giving them more cryptic clues, things like riddles and little poems work well and certainly get those mental cogs whirring. Or if the hunt is for younger kids then you could think about using more visual clues, maybe drawing pictures of the locations or just making sure that they are in more easily visible places will make it more accessible, and more fun for them! For when there are a variety of ages it might be worth separating them out so there is a designated area for both the older and the younger groups so that everybody gets a fair shot at finding the eggs and that any little squabbles are avoided.

The Prizes

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Of course the obvious choice would be the classic chocolate egg, however we know that it is likely that you’ll already be up to your ears in them over the Easter period and so we’ve had a think to see if we could come up with some alternatives. One option would be to hide some sort of token (maybe some plastic coins or even the little chick shaped decorations that you see in the supermarkets at this time of year) rather than eggs. These can then be exchanged at the end of the hunt for some sort of treat or present, things like colouring books or maybe a little toy always go down well and they also allow you to limit the chocolate intake.

Some Fun Alternatives

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Even though the kids are sure to love the hunt they might get a bit of overkill, especially if they have already done some in school or pre-school so we’ve come up with a couple of ideas to keep them interested. You could always let them turn the tables and hide some eggs for the adults to find with a prize going to the person who thought of the best hiding place. Or you could add in a few extra challenges midway through the hunt, things like a classic egg and spoon race always works well and help to tire out the little tykes.

Hopefully the little ones will enjoy some of our ideas but if you’re thinking of making the hunt extra special why not think about going away and holding it in one of our big cottages, you’re sure to be able to find plenty of nooks and crannies to tuck away those eggs.

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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.

The UK’s Best Chocolate Workshops

Saturday, April 19th, 2014
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Here in Britain we love our chocolate; in fact we love it so much that, according to BBC News, we are the third largest consumer of chocolate in the world! That being said we here at Sykes have been on a chocolate finding mission to discover the UK’s tastiest chocolate workshops, why just eat chocolate when you could master making it? So if you fancy becoming a chocolate artisan, master chocolatier or simply picking up a new skill then keep reading for our choice of the UK’s best chocolate workshops.

Coco Chocolate

The exclusive Coco Chocolate School in Edinburgh offers two classes during one Saturday of every month so we would suggest booking in advance as these sought after classes fill up fast! During your time with Coco Chocolate you will learn how to temper chocolate on marble and make moulded chocolate, fruit filled broken chocolate and hand tempered, hand flaked hot chocolate. The class lasts two hours and sees its pupils leaving with Coco hampers containing a selection of the delectable chocolates made on the day.

Chocolate Delight


Chocolate delight offer their services nationwide which means you’re never too far from a chocolate workshop! On arrival you’ll be treated to a shimmering chocolate fountain before learning the secretes of processing chocolate, from the bean to the bar. This fun filled workshop will see you creating handmade Belgium truffles and mastering new skills in piping, mixing and shaping. On departure each pupil will take with them between 30 and 50 truffles as a souvenir of the day, to share with friends and family – that is if there are any left after the drive home!

The Chocolate Tart


Whether you’re looking for a chocolate workshop, children’s party, hen party or a team building exercise then The Chocolate Tart is the place for you! Located in Bristol this fabulous cookery school is home to Lisa Clarke and her signature handmade chocolate cup pudding. With a variety of workshops available throughout the year these seasonal workshops allow you to make personalised gifts for your loved ones; from Christmas trees to Easter eggs you’ll be a master chocolatier in no time.

York’s Chocolate Story

York’s Chocolate Story is a fascinating guide through York’s Chocolate making history, with highlights that include the “Chocolate Orange” and “KitKat”! This interactive experience teaches you how to become an expert chocolate taster, homing your new skills at their renowned Chocolate Bar Café. For a more hands on experience treat yourself and the family to a chocolate master class.  Here you’ll be able to make personalised bars, rochers and mediants, perfect for sharing or keeping all to yourself!

If this blog post has left you hungry for more then why not team your chocolate adventures with a stay in one of our chocolate box cottages? Perfect for relaxing in front of the fire whilst consuming all your hand made chocolaty delights, these cottages are sure to appeal to all the chocoholics out there!

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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.