Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Teenage Survival Guide: Keep the kids entertained in the UK

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
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Teens, we’ve all been there. The social awkwardness, the weird haircuts, the endless backchat- or perhaps that was just me. Without making too many sweeping generalisations, I’d say your teenage years are some of the weirdest, and nothing was weirder as a teen than having to holiday with your parents.

If you’ve got a sullen youngster in your brood that won’t put down the smartphone, why not coerce them with a cottage holiday in the UK? Britain offers plenty to occupy the grumpy adolescent, and there’s no chance of getting stung with a nasty phone bill should they refuse to log out of Facebook.

Not convinced? Then check out our shortlist of teen friendly attractions below.

Scare them senseless in York

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Do your teens love horror flicks? Then treat them to a city break in York, reputably Europe’s most haunted city. Here, amongst the ancient, gabled streets, over 500 restless spirits are said to wander. For predetermined terror, make for the York Dungeon, a blood curdling house of horrors complete with a resident plague doctor and murderous Viking bloke. Alternatively, if you’re feeling really brave, head to 35 Stonegate, a 700 year old haunted house where a ghastly ghoul is said to have put Derek Acorah in a strangle hold.

Surf’s up in the South West

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Even if they’re useless at it, we guarantee that surfing will put a smile on their face. One of the best places to try this invigorating water sport is in the south west, where the wave battered beaches of Cornwall and Devon await. If they’re wave riding newbies, we’d recommend enrolling them in a surf school at least for a day. The South West is home to loads of affordable surf training centres, so they could be hanging ten before you know it! To find out more about surfing in the UK, check out our blog on the UK’s best surf spots.

Treat them to a day of retail therapy in Chester

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

One thing that’s certain to rouse the attention of your teen is the prospect of a shopping trip and where better to spend some dollar than in the fabulous city of Chester. Home to a dazzling array of historic architecture, this picturesque city is the perfect place to treat the kids to some new threads. One of the city’s most interesting features is its Rows, a series of medieval walkways which effectively create an upper and lower level to the High Street, doubling the amount of space for all those lovely shops and eateries.

Scare them senseless in Snowdonia

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

The Snowdonia National Park is home to a plethora of teen friendly attractions including a massive mountain, lots of extreme sports and of course, plenty of good looking Welsh folk. And, as of 2013, it’s also home to the longest zip line in the northern hemisphere- cool, they will mutter. Stretching for over a mile, this record breaking zip will carry riders over the dizzying heights of Penrhyn Quarry at speeds of over 100mph, providing a bird’s eye view of the spectacular North Wales coastline. To find out more about Snowdonia’s Zip World, click here.

Rent a teen friendly holiday home

Here at Sykes Cottages, we’re convinced that we’ve got a holiday cottage to suit everyone, including cantankerous teenagers. If you’re planning a UK holiday with your young adults, why not take a look at our cottages with a games room, which feature a pool, snooker or foosball table? Or, try our cottages with swimming pools or hot tubs; they’re sure to keep the kids content for hours!

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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.

Sykes Cottages’ Changeover Checklist

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
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Nothing beats a first impression right? Well we’re more than aware of the fact that the same thing goes for a holiday cottage! You want to make a good impression when the guests arrive at the property and have their very first look around, and there is nothing more important for doing this than making sure that you get everything sorted out during the changeover. Having said this, at the peak periods things can get a bit hectic and this can occasionally lead to the odd little job slipping the mind. And this is why we’ve put together a checklist of the jobs that when done will make any holiday cottage feel like a true home from home!


Kitchen of Stable Cottage

Stable Cottage, East Anglia, ref. 3505

  • Check inside the dishwasher in case any dishes have been left in there, if so put them away.
  • Clean the fridge and freezer inside and out, removing any items left behind. The freezer may need defrosting and so it is worth doing this early on in the clean.
  • Give the counters (including under any work-top appliances) and cupboard doors a good wipe down.
  • Clean both the microwave and oven inside and out. Empty any crumbs out of the toaster.
  • Vacuum and mop the floors.

Living Areas

Living room of Grove Cottage

Grove Cottage, North Yorkshire Moors, ref. 12465

  • Clean and vacuum/mop the floors, make sure to do under the furniture as well.
  • Give the surfaces, window sills,  the TV, e.t.c. a dust.
  • Remove any magazines, newspapers that might have been left behind.
  • Make sure that things like fuel for fires e.t.c. are stocked up.


Bedroom of Willow Garth

Willow Garth, North Yorkshire Moors, ref. 27571

  • Remove all of the bedding from the used beds, check the mattresses.
  • Dust the surfaces and check all of the wardrobes and drawers for any personal items that might have been left behind.
  • Clean all of the mirrors.
  • Give the floors a good vacuum, making sure to get right under the beds and behind any furniture.
  • Make all of the beds up with clean bedding.


Bathroom of The Paddock

The Paddock, The Lake District, ref. 11219

  • Vacuum and then mop the floors.
  • Clean the showers, bath tubs and sinks, throwing away any soaps, shampoos, etc. left behind by guests.
  • Clean the toilets thoroughly.
  • Clean the mirrors.

We hope that you all find this to be a handy little resource, but you should also remember that there are plenty of little touches around the house that you can do to make your guests feel more at home. From just checking the light bulbs to replacing any dud batteries, they might not seem that important but guests will definitely notice if they’re left undone! But if you do any changeover jobs that seem to go down well and aren’t on our checklist then do let us know, either over Twitter or via Facebook and we’ll pass the tips on!

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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.

Top 10 UK Conservation Sites

Sunday, July 27th, 2014
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Today is World Nature Conservation Day, a global event dedicated to highlighting the importance of protecting and safeguarding our natural world. Here in Britain, we’re blessed with some truly remarkable pockets of countryside that are protected by the government to safeguard them for future generations- here’s a pick of our favourites from around the UK.

Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire

Flamborough Head- Via Flickr

Flamborough Head- Via Flickr

With its 19th century lighthouse and majestic white chalk cliffs, Flamborough Head is a remarkable area for a stroll both day and night. The government first designated this headland a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1952 due to the 189 habitats and 788 species which call this picturesque promontory home.

The Lizard, Cornwall

The Lizard- Via Flickr

The Lizard- Via Flickr

Stunning good looks aren’t the only thing that Cornwall’s The Lizard has to shout about. Along with its award-winning beaches and wonderful time-forgotten hamlets, this evocative finger of land is also a Special Area of Conservation thanks to the diversity of its flora.

Solway Firth, Dumfries & Galloway

Solway Firth- Via Flickr

Solway Firth- Via Flickr

Lagoons, mud flats and tidal rivers are just a handful of the natural features which await in Solway Firth, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty famous for its frequent dolphin sightings. Solway is one of Scotland’s most stunning bodies of water, and there has been talk of the region becoming the UK’s second marine national park.

North Norfolk Coast, Norfolk

Hunstanton Beach- Via Flickr

Hunstanton Beach- Via Flickr

Ribbons of soft sand and miles of undulating shingle dunes make the North Norfolk coast one of the best in the UK. Coastal highlights in the region include Holkham Beach and nature reserve, as well as Hunstanton Beach, a sandy stretch of coast renowned for its unusual red and white cliffs.

The New Forest, Wiltshire

The New Forest- Via Flickr

The New Forest- Via Flickr

Take coniferous woodlands and water fringed fens and what do you get? The New Forest of course! A designated Special Area of Conservation, the New Forest is an ever popular base for tourists thanks to its numerous walking, cycling and adventure trails, which criss-cross for miles across the woodland.

Simonside Hills, Northumberland

Simonside Hills- Via Flickr

Simonside Hills- Via Flickr

Located in the nether regions of Northumberland lie the Simonside Hills, a band of uplands protected for their biodiversity and wild, untamed landscapes. From atop these rugged hills, hikers are granted a panoramic view of the neighbouring Cheviots, making the 430m ascent well worth the effort.

Peak District Dales, Peak District

Peak District- Via Flickr

Peak District- Via Flickr

Perhaps the most famous protected land mass in the UK, the Peak District is by far the most popular designated Special Area of Conservation on this shortlist. For decades, people have flocked to the region to indulge in any number of the outdoor pursuits on offer, yet the Peak District’s main appeal comes from the sheer beauty of its natural backdrop.

Quantock Hills, Somerset

Quantock Hills- Via Flickr

Quantock Hills- Via Flickr

As England’s first designated Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty, the Quantocks have a lot to prove. Thankfully, the area’s spellbinding vistas and rare flora more than live up to this prestigious mantel, and to top it off, the area’s been designated a Special Area of Conservation too- what more could you want?

Dartmoor, Devon

Dartmoor- Via Flickr

Dartmoor- Via Flickr

Synonymous with sturdy mares and rich moorlands, Dartmoor is the ideal place to escape the daily grind and venture out into nature. Walkers will love cherry-picking their favourite routes from over 450 miles of public footpaths in Dartmoor, whilst mountain biking, horse riding and geocaching provide fun alternatives for the more adventurous.

Tennyson Down, Isle of Wight

Tennyson Down- Via Flickr

Tennyson Down- Via Flickr

Named after Britain’s late poet laureate, Lord Tennyson, the Tennyson Down is a chalk ridge forming part of what has come to be known as the ‘backbone’ of the Isle of Wight. Here, rare seabirds nest in the shingle sea cliffs and cows and rabbits graze on rich, emerald grasslands that extend right to the very edge of the headland.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our shortlist of Britain’s best conservation sites. Of course, this is but a sample of all the protected areas that are publicly accessible here in the UK. To find out more about Britain’s special areas of conservation, please visit the JNCC website. Alternatively, if you’d like to get involved in World Nature Conservation Day, click here.

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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.

Sykes’ Shortlist of Bizarre British Sayings

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
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For a small series of islands, Britain contains some ludicrous lingo. From Yorkshire to the West Country, Southend to Saltney, our weird and wonderful language takes many unusual forms. Us Brits often struggle to understand our native tongue when it’s uttered in a different dialect, so just imagine how difficult it must be for overseas travellers to get to grips with.

To help put things into perspective for us Brits and our friends over the sea, we’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the stranger sayings that you may come across when travelling in the UK and Ireland.

Yorkshire Sayings

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

As a Yorkshireman, I’ll be the first to admit that the accent of my native county can be quite baffling. Here are a few nuggets of brilliance that you may hear should you pay a visit to God’s own county.

‘Daft as a brush’

Meaning: Foolish, stupid or silly.

Example: ‘That lad’s as daft as a brush!’

‘Put wood int’ ‘ole’

Meaning: Close the door.

Example: ‘Ee by gum, it’s parky in here. Put wood int’ ole’

‘I’ll go to’t  foot of’t stairs’

Meaning: Expression of utter disbelief and amazement

Example: ‘Well, I’ll go to’t foot oft’t stairs!’

‘Lowence time’

Meaning: It’s time for a snack (Usually whilst working)

Example: ‘Ey up, it’s lowence time’

‘Monk on’

Meaning: To be grumpy or sulky

Example: ‘They’ve got a right monk on’

Norfolk Sayings

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Brimming with some serious linguistic oddities, the Norfolk accent is about as unusual as the English dialect gets. Here’s five of our favourite phrases from this lovable East Anglian county.

‘Bishy Barney Bee’

Meaning: A ladybird

Example: ‘We’ve bin’ invaded by Bishy Barney Bees’

‘Hold yew hard’

Meaning: Wait a minute

Example: ‘Oi, hold yew hard!’


Meaning: Seesaw

Example: ‘The kids want to go on the Tittermatorter’


Meaning: Fun and games

Example: ‘Join us for the jollificearshuns’


Meaning: In a bad temper

Example: ‘They’re in a right old puckaterry’

Scottish Sayings

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Personally, the Scottish accent is one I’ve struggled to understand in the past, so researching these Scottish sayings was a real eye opener. Here’s our choice of phrases from north of the border.

‘Yer bum’s oot the windae!’

Meaning: You’re not making any sense

Example: Erm…

‘Lang may yer lum reek’

Meaning: Long may your chimney smoke, which implies, long may you live

Example: ‘Lang may yer lum reek!’ (A Hogmanay festive greeting)

‘Many a mickle makes a muckle’

Meaning: A lot of small amounts become a large amount

Example: Again, erm…

‘It’s a dreich day’

Meaning: The weather is cold, wet and miserable

Example: ‘Ach, it’s a dreich day’

‘We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns’

Meaning: We’re all equal

Example: ‘Just yew remember, we’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns’

Welsh Sayings

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

The Welsh certainly come out with some magnificent turns of phrase in their native tongue, but what about in English? Let’s investigate.

‘Under the doctor’

Meaning: To feel unwell

Example: ‘I’m feeling under the doctor’

‘Tidy darts’

Meaning: Good

Example: ‘That’s tidy darts!’


Meaning: Of low quality

Example: ‘Oh, that’s shonky that is’


Meaning: Arguing

Example: ‘They’ve been chopsing’


Meaning: Nasty or unpleasant

Example: ’That’s gomping!’

So there you have it, a shortlist of some of the weird, wonderful and downright peculiar phrases from across the British Isles. If you have any regional sayings that you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you on Facebook or Twitter.

For now: ta-ra, cheerio the nou and take ‘er ‘andy!

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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.

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.

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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.