Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Why You Should Book a Coastal Break in the UK

Friday, July 3rd, 2015
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I think it’s safe to say that we’re a nation of beach lovers! As soon as there’s a bit of good weather, we all seem to flock to the nearest beach and set up shop for the day, but have you thought about taking your next holiday on the British coast? That’s right you can forget all about the Costa del Sol, we’ve got plenty of spots on the UK coast that can more than stand up for themselves! So take a look here to find out why you should spend your next holiday on the UK coast!

The Beaches

We might as well start with the obvious answer mightn’t we? If there’s one thing you can bank on for a UK coastal break, it’s the fantastic beaches! There are well over 150 Blue Flag beaches dotted all around the UK, from the Cornish Coast right up to the North of Scotland, so you’re bound to be spoilt for choice no matter where you go, just remember to pack the bucket and spade!

The Food

Then there’s the seaside food! Ice creams on the beach, seafood fresh from the boat and of course some proper fish and chips, what else could you want? Or maybe you fancy something a little more fancier? Well in Cornwall alone you’ve got Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant and Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, all just a stone’s throw away from the sea!

The Walks

Whether it’s a gentle stroll along the beach, a cliff top wander or a hike along a section of one of the fantastic coastal paths on offer, you just can’t beat going for a walk when you’re on a UK coastal break. There are stunning sections of coastal path all around the UK just waiting for you to explore them and in fact, plans have been put in motion to open up an uninterrupted path right around the whole of the English coast, which should be completed by 2020. But don’t worry if you can’t wait that long, just take a look at The Guardian’s top 10 coastal walks where you’re sure to find one that you fancy.

The Seaside Towns

If there’s one thing that we do well here in the UK it’s definitely the seaside towns. Arcades, donkey rides, Punch and Judy shows – need I say any more? Then there’s the good old fashioned piers; the ultimate sign of a proper British seaside town! A visit to any seaside resort will help you relive some old memories and experience the nostalgia of childhood breaks, so what are you waiting for?

The Wildlife


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If you need any more convincing then there’s also the fantastic array of wildlife that calls the UK coast home. From the puffins up at John O’Groats, all the way through to the dolphins frolicking off the South Coast- they’re all a sight to behold! And it’s no problem if you want to get even closer to the action! There are countless companies offering boat trips out to the wildlife hotspots letting you get up close and take a few snaps for the holiday albums.

So hopefully you won’t need any more convincing, maybe you’re even packing already? If so, you’ll definitely want to take a look at our selection of coastal cottages so that you have the perfect place to retreat to after a long day at the seaside.

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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.

Large Properties Offering Flexible Breaks

Friday, June 12th, 2015
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You can’t beat a break with a group, whether it’s getting the all of the family together for a week away or spending some time with friends, however when it comes to larger parties it can be difficult to arrange dates. Some people might struggle to get time off work, whereas others might have to leave early because they have to get back for some sort of engagement, and this is where our Flexible Breaks come in! You won’t have to worry about changeover days or having the property for too long, as with a Flexi Break you can start your holiday on any day of the week and book for as little as two nights! So to give you an idea of where you could be staying, we’ve decided to showcase some of the cottages offering Flexible Breaks that would be perfect for larger parties, take a look and see what you think.

The Malthouse – 17888

The Malthouse is a Grade II listed former corn mill, found in the Derbyshire village of Cromford. With nine bedrooms that sleep eighteen between them, two kitchens and two living rooms, it could well be the perfect place for a large group to take a break together! The owners have managed to maintain much of the character of this old mill with exposed beams throughout. The old mill pond still has its waterfall cascading down and there’s even a window through to the inner workings of the mill from one of the kitchens. All this has been married with countless, luxurious features from American style fridge/freezers through to slipper baths and rainfall showers, meaning that any stay in The Malthouse will be enjoyed.

Capel Dinorwig – 919390

Tucked away in the peaceful village of Llanberis, just on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, is the stunning Capel Dinorwig. Formerly a chapel, the property has been fully converted and designed by an architect into a luxury holiday property fantastic for larger groups.  There’s more than enough room for sixteen people with eight bedrooms as well as a stunning open plan living area on the first floor, complete with a feature wall and double sided wood burner, there’s plenty of space for all of the family. Add in the vaulted roof and exposed beams- pointing back to the buildings heritage- and also the full height windows offering stunning views out over the mountains, and you can see why Capel Dinorwig is such a popular cottage!

Capel Jerusalem – 918082

Finally we have another converted chapel, this time the Capel Jerusalem. A former Methodist chapel from the 1860s, it’s now a luxury property capable of sleeping up to ten people. The accommodation itself contains a deluxe open plan living area which sees all of the contemporary mod cons blended perfectly with traditional details, from the lancet windows through to the feature ceiling. Add to this a baby grand piano, zoned underfloor heating and a comfortable sitting area with room enough for all of the guests and you’ll never want to leave!

Hopefully they will have caught your eye; if so, don’t forget to click on the links below the photographs to find out more and maybe even book a sneaky break for you and your friends. Or if you’d like to take a look at all of the properties that are available to book on a Flexible Break then you can click here to see them all.

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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.

Sykes’ UK Filming Locations – Harry Potter

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
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Calling all wizards and witches, muggles and squibs! Today, the Sykes Cottages blog is getting a bit magical as we delve into the wonderful world of witchcraft and wizardry with a Harry Potter themed tour of the United Kingdom. Sadly, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to track down Hogwarts itself so we’ve had to make do with the next best thing. That’s right, we’re going to be taking a look at the places that were used as sets in the Potter films, finding out a little bit about them and what you can do there, so read on and see what you think.

Alnwick Castle

Remember all the way back in the very first film when Harry first tried his hand at a broomstick during Madame Hooch’s flying lesson? Well this, amongst many other scenes, was filmed at the glorious Alnwick Castle in Northumberland! One of the true treasures of the North East, the castle has resplendent gardens that are opened to the public during the summer months and offer a true Potter extravaganza. Not only can the little ones put themselves at the helm of a broomstick during a flying lesson, they can also meet many famous face from the series, from Dumbledore to Hagrid and even Harry himself!

Lacock Abbey

The glorious cloisters and corridors of Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire are featured several times throughout the Potter series. Perhaps the most recognisable section of the Abbey is the Sacristy, which hosted the Potions lessons in the dungeons with Professor Snape.  The Abbey’s warming room doubled in the films as Professor Quirrell’s Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom and the particularly keen-eyed of you might also recognise the Chapter House as the hiding place of the Mirror of Erised in the Philosopher’s Stone.

Bodleian Library

Then it’s down to Oxford and the stunning Bodleian Library in particular. Established way back in 1602, it’s the second largest library in the country and the main research library for the University of Oxford, housing treasures such as four copies of the Magna Carta and Shakespeare’s first folio. However the Bodleian is also quite an important spot for the Hogwarts students! Duke Humfrey’s Library doubled as the Hogwarts library in the films, whilst the Divinity School was the setting for the infirmary!

Warner Bros Studios

Or if you want to get the full Hogwarts experience, head down to the Warner Bros studios in Leavesden! Featuring countless props, sets and costumes that were used by the cast and crew during the filming of the series, the studio tour is a paradise for all Potter fans. Whether it’s trying out a tankard of Butterbeer, exploring the Hogwarts Express and platform 9¾ or even having nose around Professor Dumbledore’s office!

So there you go, the Sykes wizarding tour of the United Kingdom, hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading but do let us know if there are any spots that we’ve missed out! You can get in touch either over Twitter or Facebook and we’ll be sure to include them in our next blog!

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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.

Flexible Short Breaks with Sykes Cottages

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
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Here at Sykes Cottages, we’re always trying to find different ways in which we can make it easier for our customers to book themselves a holiday cottage break. One problem that we noticed was that people were finding it difficult to get the dates that they wanted, and so we’re delighted to announce our new short break scheme that is aimed at solving just that: our Flexible Short Breaks!

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Spend a weekend in luxury in the Corwen Old Police Station

Flexible Short Breaks offer you more choice than ever before when it comes to booking your holiday! Unusual arrival date? Only wanting to stay a few nights? Not a problem, all of these issues can be solved through the scheme! There is a minimum stay of just two nights so they’re perfect for that weekend away that you’ve been lining up. There’s no need to stick to the classic changeover days meaning you can escape it all with a midweek break if you want; after all, breakfast in bed followed by a long countryside walk definitely sounds better than the 9-5 doesn’t it?

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Escape to the Seaside for a couple of days at Berlin House

There is a wide variety of properties that offer Flexible Short Breaks, from the North of Scotland right the way down to the Cornish coast, and they come in all shapes and sizes. So whether you’re looking for the perfect spot for a romantic break or you’re planning a get together with friends, you’re bound to find something for you.

Our Flexible Short Breaks are bookable from now onwards, on breaks taking place at any time between the 30th of May and the 18th of June, offering more versatility than ever before and at a discounted price! If you want any more information on the scheme you’ll want to have a look at this page, or alternatively you can give us a call on 01244 356695 and speak to one of our holiday advisers who will be able to explain it all to you.

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Find some peace and quiet at Tan Y Graig Hall

So if you’re considering treating yourself to a cottage holiday using the Flexible Short Break, make sure you take a look at the full selection of cottages that are available to book and see which one takes your fancy.

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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.

Britain’s Best Bridges

Sunday, April 5th, 2015
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You may well have noticed over the last few weeks that Royal Mail have been celebrating some of Britain’s finest bridges through a limited edition of stamps. All in all, there are ten bridges from all around the country that were selected to be commemorated. They came in all shapes and sizes, from footbridges in the Cumbrian countryside to record-breaking structures big enough to carry thousands of people everyday. Here at Sykes, we thought we’d do our bit to celebrate the best bridges in the land and so we’ve taken a look at each of the chosen few to try and learn a bit about them; take a look and see if you learn anything new.

Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge in Bath was built in the second half of the eighteenth century in order to connect the city to Bathwick, just on the over side of the River Avon. It is one of just four bridges in the whole world that has a row of shops running down each side of it, something that the designers first saw in their trips to Venice and Florence with the world famous Rialto and Ponte Vecchio.

Craigellachie Bridge

Designed by the renowned engineer and architect, Thomas Telford over two hundred years ago, the Craigellachie Bridge is one of the most famous spots throughout the whole of Moray. Found just outside of the famous whisky producing village in Abelour, Craigellachie is the oldest remaining cast iron bridge in the whole of Scotland.

Menai Suspension Bridge

We’ve got another of Telford’s bridges for the next in the list!  The Menai Suspension Bridge was the first fixed crossing of the fast flowing waters of the Menai Straits and it provided a much needed lifeline to the inhabitants of Anglesey. It was later joined by the Britannia Bridge and together they form two of the most photographed spots of the island.

Tees Transporter Bridge

The fourth bridge to have been commemorated was the Tees Transporter. It’s the furthest downstream crossing of the River Tees and connects Middlesbrough to Port Clarence. It carries a gondola large enough to fit around 200 people or nine cars.

Humber Bridge

We’re staying in the North East for the next of the bridges. At its point of completion, the Humber Bridge was the longest of its kind in the whole world, although since then it has slipped down to 7th in the list. It’s estimated that over 100,000 cars cross the bridge every single week, thereby opening up a previously remote area of the country both socially and economically.

Peace Bridge

Crossing the River Foyle, Peace Bridge forms part of the regeneration programme of Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland. It crosses from the city centre through to Ebrington Square, and brings together communities that were traditionally seen as being on different sides of the Northern Irish conflicts.

Tarr Steps

Tucked away in the Exmoor National Park is Tarr Steps. A traditional clapper bridge, Tarr Steps is made up of 17 stone slabs, each weighing between one and two tonnes. It had previously been suggested that Tarr Steps was a few thousand years old however more recent studies date it to sometime in the 15th or 16th centuries.

Row Bridge

It might not match up to some of the other bridges in the list in terms of its size but Row Bridge certainly makes up for it in scenery. Situated not too far from the Wasdale Head Inn in Gosforth, the bridge is one of the most scenic spots in the area. A traditionally made packhorse bridge, constructed from local slate and rocks in the mid 18th century, to cross the babbling Mosedale Beck Row Bridge now forms a part of one of the most popular Fell Walking spots in the area.

High Level Bridge

For the next bridge we’re going to be heading back up to the North East and Newcastle in particular this time. The High Level Bridge was built by Robert Stephenson to connect the main city to Gateshead, just on the other side of the Tyne. The bridge’s main claim to fame lies in it being the first in the world to combine both road and rail traffic.

Royal Border Bridge

For the final bridge we’ve got another Stephenson creation. Spanning the River Tweed in Northumberland, the Royal Borders Bridge was built for the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway in the middle of the 19th century. As part of the bridge’s 160th birthday celebrations back in 2010, it saw a bit of a makeover and, as you can see above is now illuminated each evening by multi-coloured lights.

So there you have it, the Sykes Cottages round-up of the most iconic bridges in the country and I think you’ll agree that they’re all worthy of celebrating! Maybe you have a favourite, or have been to see one of them? If that’s the case we’d love to know! Or maybe you’re interested in getting the stamps yourself? If you are make sure that you head over to the Royal Mail website where you’ll be able to find some more information.

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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.