Archive for the ‘Half term holidays’ Category

Last Minute Cottages for February Half Term

Thursday, February 4th, 2016
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How would you like to escape it all for a few days during the February half term? Well the good news is that it’s not too late to book! We’ve still got a wide array of properties that are available to book during the school holidays so you’ll be spoilt for choice, but to give you a hand we’ve picked out a few of our favourites – take a look and see what you think of them:

Warbrook, Bradworthy near Bude in Devon

We’re starting off with Warbrook, a delightful barn conversion in the quaint Devonshire village of Bradworthy. Sleeping 5 people, it’s great for a family looking to enjoy a few days away during the half term with features such as a children’s play area in the garden. But that’s not it, guests to Warbrook will be just a short way from the glorious beaches that dot the coasts of Devon and North Cornwall and there’s also countless pretty fishing villages just waiting to be explored.

Old Coach House, Church Leigh in the Peak District

Or, alternatively, we’ve got the Old Coach House in the village of Church Leigh, just outside of the Peak District National Park. It sleeps six people through three bedrooms so there’s plenty of space for a family escaping it all for a bit of peace and quiet. With the enclosed garden overlooked by the French windows, parents can keep an eye on the little ones whilst they’re at play. Or if you’re after an adventurous break, you’ll be happy to hear that Alton Towers is just 9 miles down the road.

The Wagtail, Mundford near Thetford in Norfolk

And finally we’ve got The Wagtail, one of the Lynford Cottages group in Norfolk. Tucked away in the countryside, just out from the village of Mundford, The Wagtail offers stunning scenery in abundance. There are countless woodland walks on offer right from the cottage doorstep, where you’ll be able to explore seemingly limitless pathways and trails teeming with all sorts of wildlife. Add to this the varied cycle paths criss-crossing their way around the region and families will never be stuck for options if they want to explore the great outdoors.

So there you go, just a few of the cottages that are still available to be booked during the February half term. We do hope that you like them but remember there are plenty of alternatives! If you click here you’ll be able to find the full selection, or you could always give us a call on 01244 356695 and we’ll be happy to help find you the perfect cottage for you and your family.

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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.

Book your October Half Term Holiday now!

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015
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Now the kids are heading back to school and you have a spare minute to relax, why not turn your thoughts to October Half Term? October is a great time for families to get away and spend some time in the outdoors before the full onset of winter takes hold with its chilly weather and dark evenings. Our cottages do get booked up quickly for half term week so to inspire you to get organised and book your family holiday today, here are a few cottages that still have availability!

Upper Greenhills Farm, Staffordshire

This charming barn conversion with its idyllic setting in the Staffordshire countryside is perfect for a family break this October. Upper Greenhills Farm is spacious enough for all the family with bright, open plan living space and three large bedrooms, as well as a lovely outdoor area from which you can admire the surrounding views. There are numerous walking and cycling trails nearby for bracing autumn jaunts in the Peak District and the pretty market towns of Leek and Ashbourne are both close by. Other nearby family-friendly attractions include Alton Towers and Chatsworth House.

Handbridge Cottage, Cheshire

One of our newest properties, this delightful cottage is just a short stroll from the centre of Chester and is a brilliant choice for a holiday with children this half term. From Handbridge Cottage, you are perfectly placed to explore all that Chester has to offer for families including parks, family-friendly restaurants and shops. The fantastic Chester Zoo is easily reachable by car or bus, as is the Welsh coast and Go Ape at Delamere Forest. The cottage itself blends contemporary furnishing with period features to create a light and airy holiday home where you can relax in comfort after a long day exploring.

Lake View Cottage, Lake District

You couldn’t ask for a better location than this lovely ground floor cottage on the edge of Lake Windermere; with stunning lake views and access to the lake via a private lane, Lake View Cottage is a truly special holiday home. The cottage sleeps up to four guests in two bedrooms and so is ideal for a small family looking for a Lake District holiday this half term. Take advantage of the setting and pack a picnic to eat on the shoreline or if you fancy heading further afield, the Lake District’s many attractions are all within easy reach.

Badger’s Lodge, Cotswolds

With plenty of activities and facilities on offer, Badger’s Lodge in the Cotswold Water Park is fantastic for families who want to make sure that they can keep their kids entertained. Located in a picturesque gated village on a 450 acre nature reserve, this charming cottage is perfect for a relaxing family break in a beautiful setting. Badger’s Lodge also offers free, unrestricted use of the on-site facilities include a tennis court, children’s play area, sailing lake, sauna and steam room, as well as the opportunity to undertake further watersports for an additional cost.

To see our full collection of family holiday cottages still available for October Half Term, please visit our website. We’ve a fantastic team of reservations specialists who’d be happy to help find you the perfect self-catering cottage for your getaway; to get in touch please give us a call on 01244 356 695 or email us by clicking here.

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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.

Sykes’ Half Term Hit List

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
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We are now half way through February and that can only mean one thing; it’s time for the February half term! This school holiday has certainly snuck up on us as it seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating the New Year. If this half term has surprised you too and you’re struggling to come up with ways to entertain the kids next week, then keep reading as we suggest ten fantastic ideas that will get the whole family involved.

1. Explore the coast

One of the many benefits of living on an island is that we are surrounded by coastline, with beautiful golden sands, magnificent cliffs and welcoming pebble beaches all on our doorstep. This half term take the time to explore the coast; visit a new beach, take a walk along one of the many coastal paths or simply relax on the shore as the children run around with the dog at their heels. It’s a great way to use up their excess energy and get some fresh air!

2. Get to know your city

City tours are offered almost everywhere, in fact here in Chester we regularly see crowds of people following a Roman centurion round the city walls and learning all about Chester’s rich history. No matter how long you’ve lived in an area there is always something new to discover, so seek out an individual tour guide or join a group this half term and pick up some new and interesting facts that you can share with your friends and family on their next visit!

3. Try a new craft

Learning a new craft is not only a fun activity but it teaches children something new and if they really enjoy it the crafts can make wonderful birthday and Christmas presents for family members. If you’re new to crafts and are having trouble getting started then check out our recent craft guide. This guide is perfect for beginners and has some wonderful crafts for children including a penguin finger puppet and a cool upcycled phone cosy.

 4. Child friendly baking

Sticking with the “homemade” theme, another great activity for the kids is baking. They love to get involved and when properly supervised, the results of a long day baking are simply delicious! Try not to over complicate your baking-keeping things simple is always the best way to go because everyone loves a good rice crispy cake. We would highly suggest a visit to BBC Good Food for inspiration and child-friendly recipes.

5. Day trip to the zoo

Asking a child if they want to go to the zoo is like asking a chocoholic if they want to visit Cadbury World, the answer will always be yes! The zoo is a fantastic place for children, not only will they discover new animals but they’ll also learn about critical conservation work. To make the most of your time at the zoo make sure to visit their website before you go, it will have lots of useful information regarding special half term events and feeding/display times.

6. Historic day out

The kids don’t have to be in school to learn something new; this half term hundreds of National Trust properties throughout the UK are open and hosting special events. These attractions will help inspire your children as they discover hidden passages in an ancient fort, walk the footsteps of royalty in a historic house or even discover a secret garden in the grounds of a castle. For more information on half term events visit the National Trust website.

7. Nature safari

Visit your local park or garden and take time to appreciate nature as it works its way from winter to spring. Look out for the first budding snowdrops and keep your eyes open for squirrels, birds and bugs. If you haven’t got a park nearby why not invite nature into your own back yard by putting up a bird box or feeder? We recently put together a fabulous graphic which will allow you to “Give a Bird a Home”, so make sure to check it out for ideas.

8. See a movie

This half term there are a number of fantastic films coming to your local cinema like Big Hero 6 and Into The Woods. If your cinema’s a little too difficult to get to then why not have a home cinema day? Draw the curtains, grab a bowl of popcorn and some snacks and watch all your favourite films from the comfort of the sofa. If you want to make things extra special then why not serve up the tasty dishes made in your child-friendly baking session?

9. Get active

It’s incredibly important to keep your kids active and the half term gives you the perfect opportunity to do this. To encourage the little ones why not try something new like canoeing or rock climbing? You never know, this new activity could turn into a hobby for life! Alternatively, pack the kids into the car and venture off on a family walk; we have lots of great walking ideas here at Sykes so make sure to check out our ‘Walk of the Month’ blog posts for inspiration.

10. Spend time with the family

Sandy Harbour (Ref. 7510)

Sandy Harbour (Ref. 7510)

For me, spending time with the family is the best part of half term; you get some quality time with the kids and the more family members involved the better! So invite Nan round and arrange a play date with the cousins, or better yet book a Sykes Cottage to bring everyone together. We have a great selection of cottages still available for the February half term so take a look and make this a holiday the kids will never forget.

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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.

Book Now for the February Half Term

Friday, December 19th, 2014
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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?

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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.

Reasons to Visit the Republic Of Ireland This Half Term

Saturday, May 24th, 2014
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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.

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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.