Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Museums Commemorating The World War One Centenary

Monday, July 14th, 2014
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This year marks the beginning of the Centenary of World War One that began in 1914 and continued until 1918. It will come as no surprise that across the UK there are a number of events and exhibitions commemorating not only those who fought in the war but also those who helped the war effort at home and of course, for remembering those who gave their lives. We’re taking a look at just a small number of the upcoming exhibitions taking place in museums where curators have brought together both new items and ones from existing collections to create interesting, emotive and also educational exhibitions to commemorate the centenary of World War One.

Bath Fashion Museum

The Great War in Costume: Family & Fashion on the Home Front

Running from Saturday the 19th July until the 31st August 2014, The Great War in Costume, will show how women’s lives changed on the home front during World War One and the effect that this had on women’s fashion. As women were now required to do jobs that traditionally men would have, women’s fashion altered; corsets were loosened and some women wore working trousers for the first time. As well as following the changing lives of women and their clothing during the war, the exhibition will feature costumes from Downton Abbey, propaganda, memorabilia and examples of uniforms and civilian dress.

York Castle Museum

1914: When The World Changed

Marking the centenary of the First World War at York Castle Museum is the new exhibition 1914: When The World Changed Forever. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey from pre-war Britain, full of peWW1_1Loan (1)ace and prosperity, to the frontline during the war. Once at the frontline, visitors will see the horrors that soldiers would have faced such as rats, shell shock and gas warfare. The exhibition will combine new research and technology with the museum’s extensive social history, military and costume collections to tell visitors the story of the Yorkshire people who lived and died during the war.

Bank of England Museum

The First World War and the Bank of England
Marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is this new exhibition which opens at the Bank of England Museum on the 21st July 2014 and will run until spring 2015. The exhibition will show how the Bank of England helped to maintain the flow of funds during the war. The display will follow stories of some of the male and female Bank of England staff throughout the war – both those who worked at the Bank and those who served in the armed forces. The exhibition ends by showing how the bank commemorated the 71 bank staff that lost their lives during the war, and how it remembers them today.

People’s History Museum

A Land Fit For Heroes: War and the Working Class 1914-1918
Already open in Manchester’s People’s History Museum and marking the centenary of World War One is their newest exhibition, A Land Fit For Heroes. The exhibition looks at tWW1_Poster (1)he people who supported the war at home and how home life radically changed throughout. A Land Fit for Heroes looks to examine how the war changed society by altering the social, cultural, economic and political outlook of Britons. Whilst the horrors of war are not ignored, this exhibition shows how from those horrors a new social and political confidence was created amongst the working classes that helped to define Britain in the lat
e 20th century.

Other Ways to Commemorate

We have focused here on a few of the museum exhibitions taking place in the near future however these are just some of the many upcoming events that will be taking place to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. There will be local, regional and national events as well as television and radio broadcasts taking place to remember those who risked their lives, those who lost their lives and also those  who worked hard on the home front. For more information and to keep up to date on events take a look at

Images for this blog post were found on the Library of Congress website.

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.

Sykes’ Quintessential British Towns

Friday, July 11th, 2014
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For this blog post, we wanted to find the most quintessentially British places in the country and share them with you. However, this was no easy task, after all, what actually makes a place quintessentially British? Is it quaint little streets or rolling hills? Red telephone boxes or cosy tea rooms? Seafront piers or fish and chips? See it’s not all that easy, but here’s what we’ve come up with.

Rye, East Sussex


via. Flickr

First up we’ve got Rye in East Sussex. A sleepy little town right down by the south coast, Rye is famous for its cobbled streets and the Mermaid Inn, once the haunt of highwaymen and notorious smuggling group, the Hawkshead Gang. If you plan to visit Rye, make sure you go up the tower of the Church of St Mary in order to experience the stunning panoramas over the town and its neighbouring nature reserve.

Bibury, Gloucestershire


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It would have been impossible to put this list together without including at least one of the Cotswolds charming villages, and so here we have Bibury, an ancient village situated on the River Coln. Dubbed “the most beautiful village in England” by famous  19th Century Artist William Morris,  if you’re ever in Bibury, remember to have a look at Arlington Row, a group of beautiful cottages dating back hundreds of years.

Polperro, Cornwall


via. Flickr

Polperro is one of the gems of the Cornish coast. Made up almost exclusively of cottages built by the fisherman of days gone by, the town retains much of its old charm in spite of the large number of people who flock there each year. Be sure to pay a visit to the Polperro Heritage Museum where you can learn all about Polperro’s past, from the humble fishermen to the infamous smugglers

Clevedon, Somerset

If you’re after a traditional seaside town, Clevedon is the spot for you. With the oldest surviving example of a Victorian pier (it was opened way back in 1869), ornamental gardens, a bandstand and even donkey rides, you can’t get much more quintessentially British! If you think you recognise the town then it will most likely be from the hit ITV show Broadchurch, where it featured as one of the main filming locations.

Haworth, West Yorkshire


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Alternatively, if you’re holidaying up north, then Howarth is the place for you! Tucked away amongst the South Pennines, Haworth is best known for its affiliation with the Brontes, who used to call the town home. Make sure you have a look at our very own guide to the perfect day trip if you’re ever planning an excursion there!

Edale, Derbyshire


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Finally we’ve got Edale, a traditional escape from the industrial centres of Manchester and Sheffield. Edale is situated at the starting point of the famous Pennine Way, making it a haven for walkers, cyclists and other folk with a penchant for the great outdoors. Couple this with Edale’s  plentiful choice of pubs and eateries, and there are few places better for enjoying a taste of the British countryside.

Hopefully you agree with our choices but if you have any suggestions then do let us know, either on Twitter or Facebook.  Alternatively, if reading this has got you in the mood for a little break in a quiet British town, have a look at our traditional cottages- I’m sure you’ll be able to find something to your liking!

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’ Summer of British Sport 2014

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
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Ok, so far 2014′s great summer of sport hasn’t exactly gone to plan. Roy’s boys bombed out of the group stages of the World Cup, the cricketers got beaten by Sri Lanka, and the rugby team were on the receiving end of a whitewash by the All Blacks. But fear not, there’s plenty of other sporting events taking place around the country to help take your mind off it.

Commonwealth Games

Mo Farah

via. Flickr

There’s now less than a month to go until the Commonwealth Games finally get underway. That’s right, for 10 days from the 23rd of July onwards, Glasgow will be home to some of the greatest athletes in the world. So, will Mo Farah be able to carry on with his Olympic form? Will Usain Bolt be fit enough in time to race, and if so, how fast will he run the 100 metres this time round? All will be answered come the 3rd of August!

Henley Regatta


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Alternatively, if you prefer a slightly more laidback sporting experience then the Henley Regatta may well be the thing for you! A true mix of sport and social occasion, Henley has been running ever since 1839 and had around 200,000 visitors show up last year. You can expect over 200 races throughout the five day long regatta with some famous faces from the London Olympics and many future stars of the sport.

The British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton

via. Flickr

Then there’s always the British Grand Prix as Silverstone plays host to one of the biggest events of the Motorsport calendar. In terms of the home interest, Lewis Hamilton has sadly slipped into second place, 29 points behind his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, despite winning four races on the bounce earlier on in the season, so make sure you tune in to see if he can close the gap this time around!

Tour de France

Tour de France Logo

via. Flickr

Finally, there’s the Tour de France, which this year starts off in our very own Yorkshire! This means that you’ll be able to see the world’s greatest cyclists from Chris Froome to Mark Cavendish and many, many more as they vie for the famous coloured jerseys. With stages running between Leeds and Harrogate, York and Sheffield  and also Cambridge and London you’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch some of the action before the tour heads back over the channel to its spiritual home!

So there we have it, a brief guide from Sykes to some of this summer’s great sport but don’t forget there are plenty of other options, from Wimbledon to the British Open, and of course the final of the World Cup, provided that you’ve managed to get over England’s performance! Hopefully you’ll all have enjoyed reading it and are now planning your schedules, but make sure to let us know if we’ve missed anything out, either over Twitter or Facebook!

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.

Pin the UK: Could you be the Brain of Britain?

Thursday, June 19th, 2014
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Reckon you could pick out Peterborough on a map of the UK? What about Watford? Whitby? St Albans? Or Porthmadog? If so, why not try your hand at our brilliant new game, Pin the UK. Designed to put your navigational skills to the test, this addictive quiz requires you to pin place names to a map of the UK as quickly as possible to establish whether you’re the brain of Britain or simply a lost cause. Fancy having a go? Click the banner below to find out how well you really know the land of hope & glory!

Play Pin the UK today!

Pin the UK


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.

Sykes’ Guide to British Butterflies

Saturday, June 7th, 2014
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You might not know it but today sees the national Butterfly Education and Awareness Day (BEAD). Now it might be one of the lesser known events in the national wildlife calendar, but that doesn’t make it any less important, after all a 2011 report run by Butterfly Conservation found that just under three quarters of the UK’s butterfly species have “decreased in abundance” and that butterflies remain one of the UK’s most threatened wildlife groups. So in order to do our bit for BEAD we’ve decided to put together some information on butterflies in the UK, with some great places to go to find them and even some pointers on what you can do to lend a hand to the cause.

Where to see some Butterflies

Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterflies

via. Flickr

Sadly, thanks to their recent decline, butterflies are a bit harder to come by out in the great outdoors. However, there are still a few areas where you can go to catch a glimpse of them. You could pay a visit to Arnside Knott in Cumbria, known for hosting to some of the UK’s best species such as the Scotch Argus and Grayling, or there’s also the Caedari Butterfly Reserve in Herefordshire which is the perfect spot to catch a glimpse of the beautiful pearl-bordered Fritillary.

Stratford Butterfly Farm

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Alternatively you could plan a trip to somewhere like the Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm. With hundreds of the world’s most beautiful species of butterflies as well as countless types of creepy crawlies, not to mention some great educational activities for the little ones, it’s definitely worth a visit. Or there’s also Pili Palas, Anglesey’s top family attraction. With one of the UK’s premier butterfly collections, plenty of cute animals (including John, Paul, George and Ringo the meerkats), and even an adventure playground for the kids to burn off a little bit of excess energy, you’re sure to have a good time. Just remember to check out our Stratford-upon-Avon and Anglesey holiday cottages for a home away from home on these trips!

What you can do to help out

Monarch Butterfly

via. Flickr

Luckily there are still plenty of things that everybody can to help out Britain’s butterflies. One of the major contributors to their decline is the disappearance of their natural habitat, so why don’t you give them a little hand? It’s a lot easier than you would think to make a butterfly haven in your own garden, all you need to remember is to get plenty of flowers for the nectar. A good variety of suitable plants that flower throughout the butterfly season (from March until October-November time) would be perfect, and you can also leave out any over-ripe fruit that you might have lying around the house for the Red Admirals and Painted Ladies to tuck into; they’re particularly keen on pears, plums and apples. Or, if you fancy you could always try breeding your own butterflies, it’s relatively straightforward and when they’re fully grown you can release them into the wild to help bolster the dwindling population.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this and you might even be doing something in honour of BEAD. If that’s case, or even if you have any suggestions on what others can do to help, we’d love to hear from you. Or maybe you’ve got some great snaps of butterflies lying around the house, if so feel free to send them in over Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to see them!

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.