Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

Outdoor Activities for Children This Summer

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
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The summer holidays have just started and with over four weeks of summer activities to organise, keeping the kids entertained is no easy task! Here at Sykes Cottages, we want to help you out so have come up with a delightful selection of outdoor activities that your children are sure to love. The following activities are suitable for individuals or groups and have been selected to suit all budgets.

Lawn art

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Encourage your child’s inner artist this summer with a spot of lawn art; all you need is an old bed sheet, a few items to weigh the corners down and a selection of paints to create a giant floor canvas. Ideal for making colourful footprints children of all ages are sure to enjoy this activity.

Hopscotch

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Hopscotch is a classic British game which never fails to entertain children. Simple to set up, all you will require is a hard surface and a piece of chalk. You can have hours of fun creating funky hopscotch designs before getting a good dose of exercise as you jump from square to square.

Build a den

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Building a den this summer is not only a fantastic activity for the children but also a welcome hideaway to shelter sensitive skin from the sun. From blanket forts in the back garden to twiggy dens in the local woodlands, you can build a den almost anywhere from almost anything!

Treasure hunt

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Become part of Jake’s crew as you lead the children around the garden in search of gold doubloons on a “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” themed treasure hunt! Create a simple treasure map and hide small sweets or toys around the garden to create an exciting activity for children this summer.

Teddy Bears picnic

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

The iconic Teddy Bears picnic is a fantastic way to liven up the average lunch time this summer. Along with the usual afternoon treats, why not introduce a few new tastes? Children who normally dislike trying new things will feel more inclined to join in if Teddy is eating them too.

Garden camping

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Make the most of our crystal clear skies this summer with a garden camp out. Safe in the back yard, your children can enjoy sleeping under the stars, roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories as you keep a watchful eye from the comfort of the sofa!

If you decide to try out any of these activities then we would love to hear about it; you can connect with us via Facebook and Twitter, so please do not hesitate to share your summer fun with us!

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.

Sykes’ Guide to UK Theme Parks

Monday, July 28th, 2014
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If you’re looking for a fun filled family day out this summer then why not visit one of the UK’s many theme parks? With dizzying highs and terrifying lows, UK theme parks have been entertaining families for generations and with numerous parks dotted about the country, you’re never too far from one of these marvellous attractions. For the best theme park in your region keep reading and discover the Sykes’ guide to UK theme parks

M and D’s in Scotland

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

M and D’s in Scotland offers a fantastic day out for the whole family and has well and truly earned its title as ‘Scotland’s Theme Park’.  The park boasts five white knuckle rides and no less than twenty children’s rides and attractions. M and D’s is a must for thrill seeks but makes sure to include a number of activities for those among us that prefer to keep are feet on the ground; these activities include a miniature golf course, indoor bowling alley and a gigantic soft play centre.

Flamingo Land in North England

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Not content with being simply a theme park, Flamingo Land in North Yorkshire has the added bonus of housing over 140 species of birds, mammals and reptiles in their very own zoo! Children love to see all the animals at the zoo and learn about their natural habitats before whizzing through the air on one of the parks eight extreme rides. With so much to do at this incredible attraction, you may find yourself making several trips there this summer.

Alton Towers in Mid England

Picture provided by Holly Magoolagan.

Picture provided by Holly Magoolagan.

With ten rides designed to thrill, nine rides devised for laughs and frights and six rides especially for children, it’s no wonder that Alton Towers in Staffordshire is regularly voted the best theme park in Britain! A trip to Alton Towers can see you spiralling through 14 loops on ‘The Smiler’ or making a splash as you twist and turn around their marvellous waterpark on ‘The Master Blaster Water Coaster’. However you decide to spend your time at Alton Towers, it is sure to be unforgettable!

Oakwood in Wales

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

For a fabulous family day out  this summer head for the second star to the right and continue straight on to morning; that’s right, we’re off to Neverland! Neverland in Oakwood theme park that is. During 2013, Oakwood built a number of rides and attractions based on the adventures of Peter Pan in Neverland, now children can enjoy a number of themed rides which include Skull Rock, Crocodile Coaster and of course, the Jolly Roger.

Flambards in South England

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

If you’re heading down south this summer make sure visit Flambards in Cornwall. This stunning theme park offers a winning combination of both high energy thrill rides and exciting family rides, making it the ideal location for a family day out. If the south west is unfortunately hit by a spell of bad weather then there is no need to worry as Flambards offers two award winning exhibitions, Britain in the Blitz and their Victorian village, where children can learn all about Britain’s history!

Whether you’re staying at home this summer or touring the UK on a family holiday, make sure to to visit one of these top theme parks. If you’re still unsure on your summer plans then why not visit our summer cottages page? With hundreds of cottages still available throughout the UK it’s never too late to book a holiday the whole family will enjoy!

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.

British Marine Life: Where to Find it?

Saturday, July 26th, 2014
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From 26th July to 10th August 2014, the Wildlife Trust is celebrating the fascinating sea animals and plants that live in the UK’s marine environment for National Marine Week. This event takes place annually, taking on a different theme every year. The theme for 2014 is centred on five of the most common types of starfish found in the UK: the cushion, the bloody Henry, the common, the spiny and the brittle. Here at Sykes Cottages, we’re huge lovers of all things nature so we’ve decided to write a guide to some of the best places in the UK to see marine wildlife.

Where to find the best rock pools

Wembury Beach in Devon

Via Flickr

If there’s one thing kids love to do on a beach holiday, it’s explore the rock pools; there’s nothing more exciting when you’re a child than spotting a crab or finding a particularly pretty shell. Our pick of the best rock pools in Britain is Wembury on the south coast of Devon. Wembury is renowned for its fantastic rockpooling opportunities. Here, you can find a wide array of wildlife including Cornish Sucker Fish, Velvet Swimming Crabs, Long-Spined Sea Scorpions and both cushion and spiny starfish. There are many safety considerations to bear in mind when you’re rockpooling (both for yourself and the wildlife) so be sure to read the Devon Wildlife’s Trust Seashore Code before you head out.

Where to see seals

Seals at Blakeney Point, Norfolk

Via Flickr

Seals are one of the most popular forms of marine wildlife for tourists to seek out and luckily, they can be found in lots of places along the British coastline. One of our favourite spots to go looking for seals is Blakeney in Norfolk. From the quay, you can catch a boat out to Blakeney Point where you will find around 500 Common and Grey seals basking on the sandbanks. The peak seal-watching period lasts from April until October so make sure you bear this in mind when you book your trip!

Where to discover whales and dolphins

Dolphins

Picture provided by Holly Magoolagan

Scotland is one of the best places in the UK to see whales and dolphins. If you’re looking to catch a glimpse of a Minke Whale then head to the east coast of the Shetland Islands between May and September, or to experience the majestic Sperm Whale, you can catch a boat from the Outer Hebrides to just west of the continental shelf edge. Scotland also offers one of the most iconic colonies of dolphins in the UK, the bottlenose pods in the Moray Firth. The best place in the Moray Firth to see dolphins is at Chanonry Point, Cromarty, which is where the highest number of sightings have been reported.

Where to encounter birds

Puffin At Skomer Island

Via Flickr

Skomer Island is home to one of the largest colonies of sea-birds in the UK and is just 15 minutes off the stunning Pembrokeshire coastline. Skomer boasts the world’s largest population of Manx Shearwaters, a cousin of the wandering albatross, with an estimated 120,000 breeding pairs inhabiting the island. However, these birds only leave and return to the island under cover of darkness so in order to get the chance to fully experience these incredible birds, you will need to book one of the guided night walks organised by the Wildlife Trust. Skomer is also home to a large number of puffins, razorbills, guillemots and short-eared owls, to name just a few!

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.

Some of Britain’s Best Quiet Beaches

Sunday, July 20th, 2014
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When the sun is shining, there aren’t many things better than heading down to the seaside for an afternoon at the beach. However, more often than not, near enough everybody seems to have the same idea. So, we’ve scoured the shores of dear old Blighty in search of quieter beaches for you to go and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet beside the sea.

Druridge Bay, Northumberland

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Druridge Bay is a delightful 7 mile long sweeping beach on the Northumberland Coast. Often overshadowed by it’s local rivals such as Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh, Druridge Bay is often seen as a haven for bird watchers thanks to the several nature reserves hidden away behind its dunes. Then there’s also the vast country park complete with a hundred acre lake all within walking distance of the beach itself; perfect for when you fancy a change of scenery.

Luskentyre Sands, Isle of Harris

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

With its seemingly endless white sands and beautiful turquoise waters you’d be forgive if you didn’t believe that Luskentyre was tucked away on the Atlantic coast of Scotland. It’s often voted as one of the best beaches in the world, let alone in the UK, but Luskentyre remains relatively quiet although this could be due to the fact that it is quite off the beaten track. However don’t let this stop you from heading up there as Luskentyre is well worth a visit!

Roanhead Beach, Cumbria

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Another of our favourites is Roanhead Beach. Now the old industrial hub of Barrow probably isn’t the type of place that you’d imagine on a shortlist of the UK’s best beaches, but the huge tidal ranges expose a hidden gem daily. Roanhead is the home of massive sandy expanses that are perfect for stretching the legs, and what’s more it’s right on the doorstep of the Lake District!

Oxwich Bay, Swansea County

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Then there’s always Oxwich Bay, one of the beautiful beaches that make up the stunning Gower Peninsula in South Wales. It’s absolutely perfect for walkers and water-sport enthusiasts, and the beach is more than large enough to accommodate all of the visitors comfortable. Also be sure to remember that dogs are welcome all year round which makes Oxwich a top destination for the whole family.

Hopefully you’ll have enjoyed reading this, and if it’s made you pine for a taste of the seaside then why don’t you take a look at our wide selection of beach cottages? Or if you’ve got any ideas of some other beaches that should be on this list then do let us know!

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.

Where should you stay in the British Isles?

Friday, July 18th, 2014
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For overseas travellers or Brits taking their first holiday in the British Isles, choosing where to stay can cause quite a headache. For a relatively small series of islands, the British Isles have a rich array of different cultures, traditions and attractions, so where you choose really does depend on your personality and taste.

To make your decision easier, we’ve come up with a whistle-stop guide to the UK to give you a better sense of the type of holiday you can enjoy in specific countries, so let’s get to it!

England

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Best for: Beach holidays, sightseeing tours and historic daytrips

Best bits: Overseas travellers will love exploring England’s world-renowned historic cities, which include London, Liverpool, York and Chester. Sun seekers should head south during the summer, where the golden sands of Cornwall, Dorset and the Isle of Wight await.

Don’t miss: A visit to the holy island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland, North East England. Since the 6th century, this imposing tidal island has been at the centre of Celtic Christianity, and truly is a sight to behold.

Scotland

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Best for: Outdoor sport and historic daytrips

Best bits: Although Scotland has some wonderful cities, including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, the real charm of the country comes from its dramatic scenery, which lends itself perfectly to the pursuit of outdoor sport including mountain biking, climbing and surfing.

Don’t miss: A hike in the Cairngorms. This famous mountain range is home to some of Scotland’s most beloved wildlife, including the Red Deer and the Golden Eagle, as well as Caledonian Forest, one of the UK’s oldest woodlands.

Wales

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Best for: Beach holidays and outdoor sport

Best bits: Boasting 33 Blue Flag beaches, the Welsh coastline is one of the cleanest and safest in the British Isles, with highlights including Tenby and Newport in Pembrokeshire and Caswell Bay on the Gower Peninsula.

Don’t miss: A ride on Europe’s longest zip line, which stretches for over a mile across Penrhyn Quarry in North Wales. Riders will reach speeds of up to 100mph as they hurtle 500m metres above the ground, so it’s certainly not one for the fainthearted.

Ireland

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Best for: Beach holidays and scenic walking

Best bits: Home to the world’s longest coastal touring route, the Wild Atlantic Way, the west coast of Ireland features a wonderful blend of golden sand and dramatic seacliffs, making it a must for both beachcombing adventurers and committed sun worshippers.

Don’t miss: A blustery walk atop the Slieve League Cliffs in County Donegal. At 601m, these are some of the tallest coastal cliffs in Europe, and three times larger than the much more famou Cliffs of Moher.

Here endeth our whirlwind tour of the British Isles. If you’d like more information on where to travel in the British Isles, please visit the Sykes Cottages website, where you’ll find lots of information on the UK’s favourite holiday destinations.

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.