Archive for the ‘Half term holidays’ Category

Book Now for the February Half Term

Friday, December 19th, 2014
Pin It

Believe it or not Christmas is just around the corner, in fact it’s less than a week away – where did all that time go? But get the festivities out of the way and the time will start to fly by yet again; before you know it it will be February and the schools will have broken up once more. The February half term always seemed like a bit of an anti-climax for me when I was growing up, with it being wedged in between Christmas and Easter it always seemed to be a bit overshadowed, but book yourself holiday cottage for the break and you’ll never find this to be the case!

Why book in December?

It may seem strange to be talking about booking yourself a February break during the Christmas holidays, but there’s no better time. It tends to get a touch hectic here at Sykes HQ just before the schools break up with people trying to snap something up at the last minute, and sadly a lot of our properties have already been booked by that point. So why don’t you beat the crowds and get in there early? Also, if you book in December you can take advantage of the time off from work and get the family together to make sure that you pick the right cottage for everybody!

Where to go?

Well it’s entirely up to you! We’ve got cottages throughout Britain and Ireland, from the Scottish Highlands right the way down to the Cornish Coast, so it all depends on what you’re after. Lovers of the great outdoors will be right at home in places like the Lake District with stunning scenery and bracing walks. Or alternatively you might fancy a city break where the culture vultures will be able to get their fill, not to mention the option to sneak in a touch of retail therapy!

What to get up to on your cottage break

You’ll never be short of something to do when you go away to your holiday cottage. From rustling up warming winter meals in the kitchen to settling down in front of the fire to watch a film. And then there’s all of the fantastic days out and activities that you can try out whilst you’re away! Websites like the National Trust and Day Out With the Kids are usually very good for finding out what’s on in the area, and many of our owners will leave various leaflets and information packs in the cottage listing some of the local attractions.

So there we have it, just a few of the reasons that you should book yourself a cottage break for the February Half Term this Christmas time. It’ll be less hassle, you’ll have a wider choice and there’ll be no mad rush come February; what more could you want?

Pin It
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.

Reasons to Visit the Republic Of Ireland This Half Term

Saturday, May 24th, 2014
Pin It

Known as the Emerald Isle, Ireland is a land soaked in culture, rich with history and loved by people worldwide. As an international treasure it’s not hard to see why people fall in love with this enchanting island; from its towering mountains and charming coastline to the memorable cities and picturesque villages there is something for everyone to enjoy! With the children now ready to begin their May half term holiday, why not take the time to explore all that Ireland has to offer? To help convince you that a trip across the water is the right thing to do, here are our top reasons to visit the Republic of Ireland this year!

Impressive travel time

Via Flickr.

Via Flickr.

Whether you make the journey by air or by sea, reaching the Emerald Isle couldn’t be easier. Far enough away to feel like a foreign adventure but close enough for everyone to enjoy a peaceful stress-free journey, transportation to Ireland is both quick and easy. On the Sykes website you’ll find a number of handy tools to help plan your travel to Ireland. We can assist you with all aspects of the journey including ferries, flights and car hire; we even have special package holidays available where you can book both cottage and ferry together making a great saving on your ferry crossing! For more information simply call us on 01244 356695.

Golden sandy beaches

Lahinch Beach

Lahinch Beach

As an island, Ireland has a number of amazing beaches which are ideal for a family break. For active families we would suggest a trip to Lahinch in County Clare where you can try your hand at surfing; with a number of longboard competitions taking place annually, this is one of Ireland’s top surf locations. If you’re looking for a more relaxing location where mum can rest with a good book whilst the kids build sandcastles and run through the surf then make sure to visit Ballymastocker Bay in County Donegal. This is a stunning blue flag beach with beautiful sandy beaches and breath taking views towards the Inishowen Peninsula.

Family Friendly Attractions

Via Flickr.

Via Flickr.

If you manage to pull yourself away from the gorgeous beaches on offer then you’ll want to treat the children, and yourself, with a visit to one of Ireland’s many family friendly attractions. Ireland is packed with an array of attractions suitable for the whole family from go-kart racing to petting zoos- the island even boasts a travelling circus! For a memorable day out, make sure to visit Galway Aquarium where you’ll get the chance to get up close and personal with some of the ocean’s most mysterious creatures! The aquarium has a staggering collection of fish including rays, sharks, crabs, eels and even cute little starfish.

Stylish Holiday Homes

The Humble Daisy in Woodford, County Galway, Ref 30577.

The Humble Daisy in Woodford, County Galway, Ref 30577.

There are a number of fantastic holiday homes located throughout Ireland, from cosy cottages on the sea front to spectacular town houses in the heart of big cities. What better way to immerse yourself in a culture then to stay right in the thick of it, where you can make the most of your Irish experience by eating locally sourced produce, hitting the town’s favourite pub and taking part in traditional Irish games! For a full list of our Irish cottages please click here.

Pin It
nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

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 fiancé.

The UK and Ireland’s Best Indoor Play Centres

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
Pin It

During the February half term we should be outside enjoying the fresh air with our children, but with the constant wind, chilly temperatures and pouring rain it’s hard to imagine a day out in the country! As an alternative to splashing in puddles and sliding down muddy banks we suggest keeping the children dry and active at an indoor soft play centre. There’s a wide selection of these centres scattered across the UK and Ireland so keep reading for our choice of the best play centres to visit this February half term

Aztec Soft Play

Aztec Soft Play in Carlisle

Aztec Soft Play in Carlisle

Our Cumbria cottages are extremely popular and it’s not hard to see why; with fantastic walks, lakeside views and an array of outdoor activities, families are queuing up for their chance to book. But let’s not overlook the fantastic indoor facilities that Cumbria has to offer. Your children will get hours of fun from a day spent at the Aztec Soft Play Centre in Carlisle. Not only can they enjoy the soft play area but with the chance to be an Aztec raider in a laser gun party or make a friend for life with the build a bear programme you’ll have plenty of time to relax in the fully-licensed café!

Bonkerz Fun Centre

Bonkerz in Llandudno

Bonkerz Fun Centre in Llandudno

Here at Sykes we love visiting our North Wales holiday cottages; the scenery is fantastic, and there are plenty of walks and fantastic activities available all year round. During this rather wet half-term we would advise a visit to Bonkerz Fun Centre in Llandudno. This medieval themed play centre opened in September 2011 and is already beating the local competition with some fantastic reviews on trip advisor; and with its stylish café and brilliant soft play equipment, it’s not hard to see why!

Monster Mania

Monster Mania in Falkirk

Monster Mania in Falkirk

Central Scotland isn’t known for its sunny weather so it should come as no surprise that the Scott’s offer a wealth of exciting indoor play areas. If you’re dreaming of a relaxing afternoon watching your little monster run wild then we would suggest a visit to Monster Mania soft play in Falkirk. Whilst you enjoy a nice cup of coffee at the café, your little ones can run themselves ragged with the soft play equipment and go-karts- they can even show off their skills on the football pitch!

Chuckies

Chuckies Play Zone in County Cork

Chuckies Play Zone in County Cork

If you’re lucky enough to be in Ireland during the half-term then why not allocate a day to Chuckies Play Zone in county Cork? This family run soft play centre is sure to give the kids a good workout with its three tiered play structure, giant Lego, rodeo bull and disco. The play centre even has a wide variety of coffee mornings and parent-toddler activities so you can meet new people and enjoy a chat over a cup of tea whilst the children make new friends in the ball pit.

No matter what you decide to do this half-term, whether it’s jumping in puddles or climbing to new heights in a soft play centre, we know that you’ll be making the most of your time with the kids. Keep an eye on the Sykes blog for our “Walk of the Month” which will be posted later this week, as it’s sure to provide another great day out for the kids this half-term.

Pin It
nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

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 fiancé.

Indoor Activities for February Half Term

Monday, February 17th, 2014
Pin It

The UK has been having some awful weather of late and with February half term upon us, you could be forgiven for panicking a little about how to keep the kids entertained without subjecting them to the outdoors. That’s why here at Sykes Cottages, we’ve come up with a handy list of suggestions for indoor activities to try this half term.

Discover life under the sea at an aquarium

Aquarium

Via Flickr

Aquariums make fantastic days out for inquisitive children and are a great rainy day alternative to the zoo. Your children will jump at the chance to see the hundreds of brightly coloured fish, rays and crabs and with all of the educational and interactive exhibitions on offer, they’ll be kept occupied for hours. Try the Blue Planet Aquarium near Chester to experience one of the longest underwater tunnels in the world, where you’ll find one of Europe’s biggest collections of large sharks. Or how about The Deep in Hull, which is the world’s only submarium and home to over 3,500 fish. Here, children can take part in touchpool sessions where they will be able to see guides handle some of the smaller creatures on offer including starfish, crabs and sea urchins.

Learn through play at a children’s museum

Eureka! Museum, Halifax, Yorkshire

Via Flickr

Museums can often be dismissed as boring for children but did you know that there is a museum in Yorkshire dedicated to providing an entertaining, educational and interesting experience, just for children? Eureka! in Halifax, is an interactive children’s museum with a focus on learning through play. At Eureka! children will have the opportunity to explore hundreds of exhibits including ‘All About Me’, where kids can learn about how their bodies work and how to look after them; ‘Living and Working Together’, where they can play in a miniature town square and role-play the world of work in the square’s bank, post office and garage; and ‘SoundSpace’, a gallery dedicated to discovering the science of sound and music. Currently, Eureka! is also offering a free annual pass with the standard admission fee , which means that you can visit as many times as you want over the next 12 months for free!

Keep active with indoor sports activities

Climbing wall

Via Flickr

For more energetic kids, bad weather is the ultimate downer during half term; visions of playing football in fields and running about outside slowly slide down the drain, along with the rain water. But there are plenty of ways in which you can keep your kids active without braving the weather; how about taking them down to your local swimming pool? Or indoor play centres? Another great idea is to let your children loose on indoor climbing walls. There are hundreds of indoor climbing centres across the UK and many will be offering special sessions over half term, allowing children get a taster for climbing in a fun and safe environment.

Book a holiday cottage for February half term

5188_03

Shepherd’s Hut, Dorset, Ref 5188

We still have some fantastic holiday cottages available for February half term so if you’re looking to get away with the kids then why not consider our range of affordable cottages. We have a dedicated team of holiday advisors on hand 7 days a week, waiting to help you plan your perfect half term holiday, so why not give them a call?

Pin It
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.

Child Friendly Cottages for February Half Term

Friday, December 13th, 2013
Pin It

We are currently filled with excitement and anticipation for this Christmas and all thoughts are heavily focused on the brightly coloured gifts that are waiting patiently under the tree for us to tear into on Christmas Day. Yet, here at Sykes Cottages we know all too well the last minute stress that is associated with forgetting the up and coming February half term, so with that in mind we would like to remind you of the benefits of renting a self-catering holiday cottage this February and that booking early could help you relax into the festive spirit a little more.

Space and Comfort

Troopers Barn, Westhope, Shropshire: Ref. 26471

Arguably the biggest benefit of a self-catering holiday cottage this February is the extra space it allows you and your family; the children can have run of the house with plenty of sofa space for video games, a wealth of new and exciting hiding places for a game of hide and seek and an ample number of bedrooms so everyone can sleep soundly without Dad’s snoring keeping you up. The February half term gives you the chance to see family members that you might have missed during the festive season, with large properties sleeping up to 32 people there is plenty of space for the whole family and with a number of pet friendly cottages no one needs to be left behind.

Flexibility

Ewelands House, Sleight, North York Moors & Coast: Ref. 7315

No one wants to be dragged out of their beds whilst on holiday, so one of the main advantages of a holiday cottage is the flexibility it gives you. There are no cleaners knocking at your door to disturb your lie-in and no set meal times so you can wake up at your leisure. There is no need to select your dinner from a prearranged menu; with conveniently located shops you have the choice of what to eat, which can be a life saver for those families who have a few fussy eaters. Variety is the spice of life, so mix things up on your holiday, have a day exploring the local attractions or have an evening at the theatre with the family, you don’t have to fret about getting up early or arriving home late as you have the house to yourself and won’t be disturbing anyone!

Parents free time

The Hay Barn, Gilling Wes, Yorkshire Dales: Ref. 2286

“When the children are asleep we sit and dream” Rodgers and Hammerstein had the right idea here, after the children have gone to bed and are safely in the land of nod it gives the adults some much needed free time. Now this time can be spent in a number of ways and doesn’t have to focus on tidying up after the kids. We have an ample supply of cosy cottages which are perfect for relaxing on the sofa and watching your favourite films; you could also unwind in front of a beautiful open fire and catch up with the latest bestselling novel. Or if you’re feeling romantic you could always rent a cottage with a hot tub, treating your other half with the calming bubbly waters and allowing all their stress to just melt away.

We hope this list of benefits has left you feeling excited for the February half term, we know that Christmas is the main priority for families right now but please keep in mind that these properties are booking up fast! For a present with a difference why not get the family a Sykes Gift Voucher this year? Just imagine the joy on your loved ones face when they realise that they can get away with the children this half term and have some of if not all of the cost covered for them, priceless!

Pin It
nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

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 fiancé.