Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

Sykes’ Famous Places: Roald Dahl

Sunday, September 11th, 2016
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Roald Dahl Day is fast approaching and to help celebrate 100 years since the birth of this extraordinary author, we’re taking a look at some of the places he made famous. From James and the Giant Peach to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, join us as we discover some of the locations that helped inspire Roald Dahl’s magical tales.


Image of Llandaff Cathedral by Archangel12 - CC 2.0

Image of Llandaff Cathedral by Archangel12CC 2.0

Roald Dahl was born at Villa Marie, now known as Ty Gwyn, in Llandaff on September 13th 1916. His parents were Norwegian and his father was in the Shipbroker business. The family moved away from the city for some time but moved back after the loss of his father and sister. During his time in Llandaff, Roald attended the Llandaff Cathedral School and spent afternoons gazing through the window of the sweetshop. The owner of this sweetshop is said to have inspired the character of Mrs Pratchett from Roald Dahl’s ‘Boy’.

The historic city of Llandaff lies to the north of Cardiff city centre and offers a perfect base for exploring the city. Visitors to Llandaff can make the most of the village atmosphere whilst exploring the area’s many historic features, including the magnificent cathedral and welcoming high street. Whilst in the city why not stop by the site of the old sweetshop, now a Chinese takeaway? Outside you will find a lovely blue plaque which was unveiled in September 2009 to commemorate the life and work of Roald Dahl.


Image of Repton School by Paul Buckingham - CC 2.0

Image of Repton School by Paul BuckinghamCC 2.0

Roald Dahl came to Repton in January 1930 to study at Repton School. He stayed in Repton as a boarder for four and a half years before moving on to live with his family in Bexley in July 1934. Whilst at school in Repton, Roald lived at the Priory on High Street and took part in blind tasting events for Cadbury. Repton School alumni like to think that memories of these blind tastings inspired the author when writing his famous story, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.

Repton is a wonderful village to visit with plenty to see and do in the local area. Located on the Trent Valley in Derbyshire, this village is not only home to beautiful scenery and architecture but a fascinating history too. The village dates back to Anglo-Saxon times and is known for being the place where Christianity was first preached in the midlands. When visiting the village, guests are advised to visit the village church and the remains of the old Repton Priory.

Great Missenden

Image of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre by David Hillas - CC 2.0

Image of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre by David HillasCC 2.0

In July 1954, Roald Dahl and his wife Pat bought Little Whitefield Cottage in Great Missenden. The couple moved in and spent the duration of their married life here. It was from Great Missenden that Roald Dahl wrote many of his famous stories including ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’, ‘The BFG’ and ‘Danny Champion of the World’. In 1990, when Roald Dahl passed away, he was buried at the Church of St Peter and Paul in Great Missenden. His grave can be found near the memorial bench under the tree.

Great Missenden is a must visit for all Roald Dahl Fans. The village is home to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre where visitors can explore three interactive galleries and put their imagination to the test with the range of activities on offer. When the sun is shining, there are also a number of wonderful walks and trails available from the village. Whilst out walking, visitors will pass many iconic buildings and places that inspired Roald Dahl’s stories.

If you fancy exploring any of the places made famous by Roald Dahl then be sure to visit the Sykes Cottages website where you will find a selection of fantastic self-catering properties to choose from.

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

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 husband.

Cottages to Rent near Theme Parks

Sunday, August 14th, 2016
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For many families planning a UK getaway it’s all about the location. Some prefer to be near the beach, others would opt for a quiet country escape and some would rather spend their time getting lost in one of the UK’s fantastic theme parks. If you prefer the latter then you’ve come to the right place as Sykes Cottages have an extensive selection of self-catering holiday rentals located close to UK theme parks.  We’ve included a selection of these properties below but for more information please feel free to call our team on 01244 500570.

Alton Towers

As one of the UK’s biggest tourist attractions, Alton Towers attracts millions of visitors each year. The theme park is located within the grounds of a historic country house and as well as its vast selection of white knuckle rides the park also caters for families and children with its popular CBeebies Land and gardens.

Ash House (Ref. 922587), in Alton

Ash House (Ref. 922587) near Alton Towers

Ash House is located just a stone’s throw from Alton Towers, 1.2 miles away to be exact! This property comfortably sleeps a party of six in three bedrooms and with all the amenities of Alton on your doorstep there is plenty to see and do from this holiday let.

Bunbury (Ref. 4301), in Farley

Bunbury (Ref. 4301) near Alton Towers

There’s no need for early alarms when staying at Bunbury as this 10 person holiday let is just five minutes’ walk from Alton Towers. When not exploring the famous theme park guests can enjoy the property’s outdoor space which is ideal for BBQs and entertaining.

For more cottages located near Alton Towers please click here.

Chessington World of Adventures

Advertised as Britain’s Wildest Adventure, Chessington World of Adventures combines a theme park, zoo, sea life centre, live shows and events and a new Go Ape experience! With so much to do at this attraction you’ll need more than a day or two in the area and that’s where our cottages come in handy.

Rushmore Lodge (Ref. 16629) in Knockholt

Rushmore Lodge (Ref. 16229) near Chessington World of Adventures

After a long day of exploring Chessington World of Adventures, Rushmore Lodge is the ideal property to relax in. With three bedrooms, a stylish open plan living area and heated outdoor swimming pool, Rushmore Lodge can comfortably sleep up to eight people.

For more cottages located near Chessington World of Adventures please click here.

Drayton Manor

Home to Britain’s first stand up rollercoaster and some of the UK’s fastest and scariest rides, Drayton Manor is a fantastic day out for families. Some of the park’s main attractions include Thomas Land, Drayton Manor Zoo, the Dino Trail and rides such as Shockwave, Air Race and Apocalypse.

Gatehouse Croft (Ref. 27120) in Polesworth

Gate House (Ref. 27120) near Drayton Manor

Located in the idyllic village of Polesworth in North Warwickshire, Gatehouse Croft is just five miles from Drayton Manor. This historic property is the perfect base for exploring the theme park and surrounding area and as the cottage sleeps four people it would be ideal for a small family.

For more cottages located near Drayton Manor please click here


No matter what the weather, Flambards makes for a fantastic day out. This family friendly attraction combines wet and wild rides with a number of educational indoor attractions. From highflying adventures on Thunderbolt and Skyraker to exploring the Jurassic and Victorian era this theme park has plenty to keep the whole family entertained!

Poldark Cottage (Ref. 911585) in Helston

Poldark Cottage (Ref. 911858) near Flambards

Just five miles from Flambards, Poldark Cottage is a wonderful base for exploring this area of Cornwall. Guests to this property can spend their days exploring the theme park, coastline and National Seal Sanctuary before heading back to the cosy property for a good night’s sleep.

Tinners Way (Ref. 932804) in Porthleven

Tinners Way (Ref. 932804) near Flambards

If you plan on visiting Cornwall with a larger party then Tinners Way could provide you with the space you need. Sleeping up to eight people this stylish property is just five miles from Flambards and other well-known attractions.

For more cottages located near Flambards please click here

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

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 husband.

Discover: BFG UK Filming Locations

Sunday, July 24th, 2016
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2016 marks 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl, one of the greatest storytellers Britain has ever seen. There are events happening across the world this year to celebrate and one of the biggest celebrations is Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of one of Dahl’s most famous stories, The BFG, which was released earlier this week. The BFG tells the story of a Big Friendly Giant who is different to all the other human-eating giants. He lives in Giant Country and captures dreams in bottles for children to enjoy while they’re asleep. Roald Dahl revealed in several interviews before he died that the BFG was one of his favourite stories that he’d written.

Filmed in Scotland, Spielberg’s adaptation brings the magic of Giant Country to life using spectacular locations across the country. If you want to experience Giant Country for yourself, then here’s where you need to head:

The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye

One of the most iconic features of the Isle of Skye, the Old Man of Storr has its own place in giant mythology, making it the perfect location to portray Giant Country. Legend has it that the Isle of Skye was once overrun by giants, of which the Old Man of Storr was one. When he died, he is said to have been buried with his finger sticking out of the ground pointing at the sky.

The Quiraing, Isle of Skye

Located on the Trotternish peninsula, the Quiraing is arguably one of the most striking landscapes in Scotland. It also plays host to its own mythology and folklore as it’s said to be a meeting place for fairies, as well as once being home to the dragons that used to guard the island from invaders.

Shiant Islands, Outer Hebrides

Also known as the Enchanted Isles, the Shiant Islands are well known for being one of the biggest bird stations in the northern hemisphere. These remote and rugged isles are something of a hidden gem and well worth the trip. However take care, in the nineteenth century, the strait next to the Shiant Isles was said to be inhabited by strange creatures and was referred to as ‘the stream of the Blue Men’.

Fairy Glen, Isle of Skye

With no road signs to direct visitors here, this part of the Isle of Skye isn’t particularly well known. This unspoilt landscape is strikingly different to others surrounding it with lush emerald mounds, twisted moss-coloured trees and cool, clear waters. It’s a truly stunning place to visit.

Old Man of Hoy, Orkney Islands

The Old Man of Hoy is one of Orkney’s most famous landmarks. This 449 foot sea stack is one of the tallest in Britain although at a few hundred years old, it’s possible that this stack may collapse relatively soon so make sure you visit before it does!

If you’re thinking of visiting these filming locations, don’t forget to take a look at our wide range of holiday cottages in Scotland. We’ve over 750 cottages across this beautiful country that make perfect bases for exploring.

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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.

Spotlight On: Unusual Holiday Cottages

Sunday, June 26th, 2016
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At Sykes, we love all types of holiday cottages; whether they’re traditional and cosy or offer something a bit quirky.  If you’re the kind of person who likes to do things a little differently, then we have the perfect selection of holiday cottages for you. Our unusual properties make for a unique getaway you’ll never forget- take a look at some examples below.

Peat Gate Shepherd’s Hut

Quirky holiday cottage

How’s this for something different! This charming hand-made shepherd’s hut is built from timber and offers beautiful views across the Northumberland countryside. Ideal for a peaceful, romantic break, Peat Gate Shepherd’s Hut comprises of open plan studio accommodation with a separate bathroom and small but perfectly formed kitchen with a double hob, fridge and woodburning stove with integrated oven. The surrounding area is perfect for walking and cycling, close to both Hadrian’s Wall and the North Pennines, and this property even has its own bike storage facilities.

The Gatehouse

Quirky holiday cottage

The Gatehouse is one of our most quirky holiday homes with a variety of fascinating features such as a corrugated tin wall and a reclaimed Georgian staircase housing children’s bunk beds underneath. The property sleeps up to 4 guests and has a spacious open plan layout with galleried bedroom overlooking the living area complete with grand piano, a library of books and unusual décor. Situated in Cumbria, this eccentric property is surrounded by lush countryside with the Settle-Carlisle Railway running close by and the Cumbrian fells within easy reach.

The Water Tower

Quirky holiday cottage

This luxurious holiday rental on the Isle of Anglesey has been converted from a former water tower. Nestled in a tranquil location with idyllic woodland views, The Water Tower offers a luxury holiday with a quirky twist. The beautiful beaches of Pentraeth and Benllech are on your doorstep whilst the mountains of Snowdonia are also just a short drive away. The property itself is bright and airy with features including an atrium ceiling in the master bedroom and bi-fold doors opening out onto the patio from the dining area.

Book a quirky holiday cottage

If you like the look of the properties above, there’s certainly more where that came from! We’ve hundreds of charmingly eccentric holiday homes for you to choose from; you can browse the full range by visiting our website.

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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 Cottages Cycling Breaks

Sunday, June 19th, 2016
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With over a million people turning up to watch this year’s Tour de Yorkshire, it’s no wonder hundreds of holiday makers have been inspired to dust off the saddle and take their bike on holiday with them. Here at Sykes Cottages, we encourage cycling holidays and even have a selection of over 2,700 cycling cottages to choose from. You can take a cycling break just about anywhere in the UK but with Yorkshire quickly becoming the home of UK cycling, it would be a hard task to find a better location for your getaway. With that being said, we’ve listed some of our best Yorkshire cycling cottages below to help get you in the mood for your next cycling break.

Padley Barn

Hurst near Reeth, Yorkshire Dales

 Padley Barn, Ref. 20841

Padley Barn, Ref. 20841

This wonderful detached stone barn conversion is perfect for a group of cyclists looking to explore Yorkshire. The property sleeps up to six people in six comfortable bedrooms and even offers lockable bike storage. Not too far from this cottage, cyclists will find the 2014 Tour de Yorkshire route and there is even a bike hire and repair shop close by in case of emergencies.

 Weekly stays at Padley Barn start from £364

Red Rose Cottage

Wadsworth near Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire Dales

Red Rose Cottage, Ref. 912594

Red Rose Cottage, Ref. 912594

Located just outside Hebden Bridge, Red Rose Cottage provides two bedrooms, sitting room with wood burning stove, bike storage and a beautiful garden with long-distance views across the countryside and relaxing hot tub. From Red Rose Cottage, cyclists can enjoy a fantastic ride along the area’s cycling routes which featured in the 2014 Tour de France and 2015 Tour de Yorkshire.

Weekly stays at Red Rose Cottage start from £372

Holmdale Cottage

Netherton near Holmfirth, Yorkshire Dales

Holmdale Cottage, Ref. 29640

Holmdale Cottage, Ref. 29640

This charming Netherton cottage is ideal for cyclists who like to take things slow. The area has numerous cycling routes, including some used in the 2014 Tour de France, as well as fantastic walks and family friendly attractions. Visitors to this property are encouraged to spend time in the pretty garden where its two patio levels offer spectacular views over the Yorkshire countryside.

Weekly stays at Holmdale Cottage start from £313

Lavender Cottage

Threshfield near Grassington, Yorkshire Dales

Lavender Cottage, Ref. 918240

Lavender Cottage, Ref. 918240

Lavender Cottage is a delightful stone built cottage located in the heart of Threshfield, alongside the village green. This property is just a stone’s throw from Grassington where cyclists will find a great selection of cycle routes including the Grassington to Hawes cycle route and Kettlewell to Grassington route.

Weekly stays at Lavender Cottage start from £323

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

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 husband.