Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

Macbeth: Filming Locations

Thursday, October 8th, 2015
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Justin Kurzel’s spectacular adaptation of Shakespeare’s revered tragedy, Macbeth, hit cinemas on 2nd October and true to form, Scotland plays a starring role. Its dramatic, moody landscapes help bring this timeless classic to life on screen in a dark and powerful film that is already being hailed a success. If you enjoyed the film then here are the filming locations you won’t want to miss:

Quiraing, Isle of Skye

It is the Isle of Skye that takes on the protagonist role in this adaptation. Filmed in the depths of winter during its most wild and unforgiving hour, the shots of the island reflect perfectly the merciless nature of the play. The Quiraing, with its distinctive rock formations, is a spectacular sight. It is here that Macbeth returns from battle and is awarded the title, Thane of Cawdor. Lady Macbeth also passes through on her journey back to Inverness.

Glen Brittle Forest & the Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

Another Isle of Skye location, it is here in the woodland, overlooking Cuillin Ridge, that Banquo is killed on Macbeth’s orders- a pivotal scene in the film. The crystal clear waters at the Fairy Pools are close by; their sparkling blue waters and waterfalls are mesmerising and well worth the visit.

Sligachan Glen, Isle of Skye

This extraordinary Skye landscape is where Lady Macduff and her children are murdered on Macbeth’s orders. Sligachan Glen is a magnificent spectacle to behold and though beautiful, its imposing, isolated position does offer a sense of foreboding befitting of the play and the events that take place here in the film.

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Just outside Scotland, the magnificent Bamburgh Castle lies on the rugged Northumberland coastline and appears in the film as Macbeth’s stronghold at Dunsinane. It is here that Macbeth is eventually defeated by Malcolm who takes his place as King. In real life, the castle is a fantastic tourist attraction with 14 rooms open to the public and over 2,000 artefacts to discover.

To embark on your own Macbeth-themed getaway, take a look at our cottages in the Isle of Skye, Northumberland and Angus.

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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.

Luxury Days Out

Friday, October 2nd, 2015
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Here at Sykes Cottages, we have a wonderful selection of luxury properties ideal for special occasions, family events and romantic escapes. If you’re planning on renting one of these high-end properties for your next getaway then why not combine your stay with a luxury day out? From horse riding to day spas, the UK has a great choice of luxury activities sure to make your holiday extra special. Keep reading for a selection of these luxury days which will hopefully inspire your next getaway.

Horse riding in the New Forest

With spectacular views, open pastures and beautiful forests, the New Forest is one of Britain’s most spectacular National Parks. To make the most of this impressive park, we would suggest exploring the area on horseback.  Ride out over the open heathland at a pace that suits your skill level before your instructor guides you through leafy glades and past wild ponies and foals.

The Burley Villa School of Riding offers fantastic forest hacks for beginners and experienced riders, as well as private hacks and a variety of Western Style riding experiences. Prices start from just £40 and are suitable for riders aged seven and over.

Afternoon tea at the Barmoral

As a country obsessed with a good brew, it should come as no surprise that we’ve turned the humble cup of tea into a lavish affair. A good afternoon tea is a highly social event where friends and family can get together to have a good catch up over a pot of tea and a selection of delicious sandwiches, cakes and scones.

The Palm Court restaurant at the Barmoral in Edinburgh provides an award-winning cream tea daily, between noon and 5.30pm, with prices starting from just £35. The restaurant’s lavish interior and vintage Champagne create a wonderful atmosphere for any occasion.

Falconry in Cheshire

Falconry is a historic sport, one that takes a lot of time, knowledge and money to keep up full time. Because of this it’s not suitable for everyone but if you really love birds and want to spend the day getting to know some of nature’s most skilled hunters, then why not try a falconry experience? Learn all about birds as you come face to face with popular birds of prey used for the sport and have a go at flying them as they soar high above the wonderful Cheshire countryside.

Cheshire Falconry offer a fantastic selection of flying experiences from raptor encounters to walks through the Cheshire countryside with a team of hawks. Experiences start from just £39 and there are special junior experiences available for children aged 4-14 for just £29.

Day spa in Wales

Image provided by Tre-Ysgawen Hall

Image provided by Tre-Ysgawen Hall

With its wide open spaces, inspiring mountains and peaceful lakes, Wales really is the perfect place for a relaxing holiday. To help you unwind on your next Welsh getaway, we suggest taking a trip to one of the region’s many day spas. Indulge in a soothing back massage that targets areas prone to stress and anxiety, or simply relax in the sauna or at the pool side with a glass of bubbly; whatever you need to feel at ease, a Welsh day spa is sure to cater to your needs.

Tre-Ysgawen Hall on Anglesey has a range of day spa packages to choose from so whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or looking to escape the everyday, you’re sure to find a package to suit you. Prices start from as little as £49 and treatments are available throughout the week.

To take a look at our selection of high-end properties and start planning your next luxury getaway please click here.

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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.

Large Properties Where You Can ‘Live Like A Lord’

Thursday, September 17th, 2015
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With the return (and the beginning of the end!) of Downton Abbey taking place this weekend, we thought you might all need some cheering up. With that in mind, we’re taking a look at some of our large properties where you can continue to get your Downton fix by becoming lord or lady of your own manor for the week!

The Hall, Northumberland

Nothing quite says aristocracy like a 17th century mansion in the heart of the countryside. This spectacular property sleeps 24 guests with 10 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms and has been lovingly converted back to its former glory. It offers all the grand features you could want from a ‘live like a lord’ getaway, including ornate ceilings, an Italian open fireplace, hand-carved oak staircase and a full-size snooker table. To add to the experience, the owners of The Hall can even organise catering and staff to tend to your every need.

Winster Hall, Peak District

Winster Hall sleeps 16 and was built in 1628 by Francis Moore, nestled in its own grounds in the conservation village of Winster. Full of history and character, Winster Hall could almost be mistaken for a miniature version of nearby Chatsworth House as it boasts many similarities in both design and date; at only a 20 minute drive away, Chatsworth is definitely a must-visit while you’re in the area. This wonderful Peak District holiday home also offers additional services including a private chef, daily housekeeping and outdoor activities, by arrangement with the owner.

Oughtershaw Hall, Yorkshire Dales

Large holiday homes don’t come more luxurious than Oughtershaw Hall, making it perfect for a ‘live like a lord’ getaway. The property is steeped in history with stained glass windows featuring families’ coats of arms, as well as other notable features including former servant’s bells; you’re sure to feel like the lord or lady of the manor as soon as you step inside. With luxurious facilities including a heated indoor swimming pool, games room and library, Oughtershaw Hall manages to perfectly combine traditional with contemporary, resulting in an extraordinary property to holiday in.

If you fancy living like a lord on your next holiday then you can browse our collection of large holiday cottages on our website- our largest cottage sleeps up to 59 people! If you need any help finding a property then please give us a call on 01244 356 695 or email us and we’d be more than happy to help.

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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.

Make the Most of the Late Summer Sun

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015
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Summer is almost at a close, the children are back at school, the nights are getting longer and the weather is growing colder. Here at Sykes Cottages we can’t bear to say goodbye to summer just yet so in order to make the most of the late summer sunshine, we suggest packing your bags and heading off on a UK short break. We’ve listed some of our favourite short break destinations below which are perfect for late summer getaways to see if we can convince you to make the most of the late summer sun this year.


The beautiful harbour town and traditional seaside resort of Tenby offers a picturesque escape from everyday living. The town’s cobbled streets are full of cafes, shops, pubs and restaurants, making the area ideal for a romantic getaway. The Mooring Restaurant is particularly good and after a day of exploring Tenby’s streets we can think of nothing better than a healthy helping of their summer vegetable risotto.


Commonly referred to as Shakespeare Country, Stratford-upon-Avon is an ancient market town with over 800 years of history. Those interested in Shakespeare can visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace, a restored 16th century house which was once home to the man himself, before catching one of his plays at the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre. The theatre is located in a Grade II listed building alongside the River Avon with shows being performed all year round .


The Isle of Wight is a fantastic destination for short breaks with the family and there is no better island base than Shanklin. This wonderful seaside village is perfect for long days spent at the beach, relaxing in the traditional beach huts, building sandcastles and enjoying an ice-cream or two. It’s also a great spot for exploring the Isle of Wight’s other attractions like the zoo, model village, petting zoos and steam railway.


With a variety of stores and independent boutiques, Truro is the retail capital of Cornwall and the county’s only city. Walking through the streets of Truro, you can’t help but be impressed by the beautiful Georgian architecture, numerous museums and galleries and of course the spectacular cathedral. We would suggest a trip to Truro for anyone who is looking for a city break with a difference.

We hope this list of locations has given you some inspiration for a last minute getaway in the sun. If you do fancy a short break then make sure to check out our flexible cottage breaks page – bookable from now until October 23rd, these cottages are offering short stays for two nights or more starting on any day of the week!

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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.

Spotlight On: Quirky Holiday Cottages, Part II

Sunday, August 16th, 2015
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Looking for something a little different on your next holiday? Whether you fancy relaxing in a former water tank or getting away to a converted chapel, here at Sykes Cottages we have a wide collection of unusual holiday lets that are sure to make your holiday stand out! If you want to read Quirky Holiday Cottages Part I, please click here.

Riverside, Lake District

The spectacular views from this quirky holiday cottage are guaranteed to take your breath away. Situated on the shoes of Ullswater, the views from Riverside are some of the best in the Lake District. To make the most of these views, Riverside has huge picture windows and outside, there’s a private hot tub and alfresco cooking & dining facilities. There are beautiful walks on the doorstep and there’s a lovely pub just two minutes’ walk away.

The Old Fire Station, Kent

This fabulous holiday home was the former St Margaret’s at Cliffe fire station. The building was converted in 2012 to create this unique holiday rental which is ideal for a holiday with friends or family. The stand-out feature of the Old Fire Station is its original frontage, which it has retained and which now makes up one wall of the living area- the ceiling of which is high enough to accommodate a fire engine. This property is bright, airy and spacious with four bedrooms, and is close to beaches, pubs and stunning coastal walks.

1 Church House, Isle of Wight

1 Church House is a stunning church conversion on the coast of the Isle of Wight. The property manages to seamlessly combine luxurious and contemporary furnishings with beautiful original features, which include magnificent stained glass windows, timber high ceilings and a galleried balcony. 1 Church House is perfectly located for a relaxing break with a shop, lovely pub and beach all within eight minutes’ walk.

Cambridge Lodge, Peak District

Cambridge Lodge is an extraordinary property that offers a wonderfully unique holiday experience. Expertly converted from a water tank dating back to 1909, it took the owners 10 years of renovation but it’s been more than worth it! The property is now a modern and luxurious holiday home- half of which is underground- with facilities including Smart TVs, Netflix and a lovely outdoor garden with panoramic views across to nearby Chatsworth House.

Southover, Norfolk

This unusual part-thatched cottage on the edge of the River Bure in the Norfolk Broads makes for a holiday that you’ll never forget. With high ceilings, exposed timbers and full-length windows leading on to a decked balcony, making the most of the beautiful river views, Southover exudes luxury. There’s also a hot tub, Sky TV and in addition, the property offers private mooring and use of a 5-seater boat and canoe for guests to use on the water.

To see our full collection of unusual holiday cottages, you can visit our website or take a peek at our previous blog post focusing on other quirky cottages. We’ve everything from yurts to converted chapels so if you’re looking for a holiday let with a difference, you’re in the right place!

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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.