Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

Five Of Britain’s Scariest Mythical Creatures

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
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There are a few things we’re not short of here in Britain; coastline, forests and motorways are a few that spring to mind. With so much history and folklore, we’re also not short of a mythical creature or two! We’ve all heard of friendly pixies and elves, but what about the not-so-friendly creatures? In honour of Halloween, we’ve put together a short list of some of the scariest, creepiest and downright spooky mythical creatures that are sure to leave your blood curdled and your spine chilled.

Gwyllgi

Lonely Road

Image via Flickr

The Gwyllgi is a Welsh mythical creature also known as ‘The Dog of Darkness’. The Gwyllgi appears in the form of a large, black mastiff with red eyes and accounts of the creature suggest that it haunts lonely lanes and roads during twilight. Some have described the Gwyllgi as having the head of a man but the body of a large dog.

Nuckelavee

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

Nuckelavee is a horse-like demon that inhabited parts of Northern Scotland and lived in the sea, only coming on-land to feast on humans. When on-land the Nuckelavee rode a horse, however it was indistinguishable from its own body.

Screaming Skull

Screaming Skulls

Image via Flickr

Most counties in England have at least one tale of a skull which resides within a stately home or other ancient building and that causes storms, poltergeist activity and screams when it is removed from its position within the home. It is thought these screaming skulls are entrapped spirits although the origin of these spirits is often unknown.

The Bean Nighe

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

The Bean Nighe was a small washerwoman who always wore green and had webbed feet. She resided beside empty pools and streams, washing the blood-stained clothes of those about to ‘meet their maker’.

The Lantern Man

Lantern Man

Image via Flickr

A myth based in Norfolk, The Lantern Man is a visualisation of a man holding a lantern, who used the light to lure in travellers to his vicinity. He was believed to be dangerous and would attack anyone who came near him, however this belief varies throughout Britain.

Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Big Gang? Book a Group of Holiday Cottages!

Saturday, October 25th, 2014
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Families feud. So do friends. That’s why a large cottage doesn’t always cut the mustard. Sometimes, you need space, freedom; a chance to cool-off and get out of one another’s hair.group

That’s where our ‘group’ properties come in. Unlike large holiday cottages where the party is stuck under the same roof, our group properties offer two or more cottages close to each other that can be booked simultaneously.

Not only is this great for those that don’t get on with their Great Aunt Muriel, group properties have lots of other advantages. First and foremost, you get more loos – music to the ears for some. Secondly, they offer flexible accommodation for up to eighty-two guests, so you can bring everyman and his dog. Speaking of pups, you can bring more of those too. Unlike a single cottage which accepts two to three dogs, with a group of properties, you’re free to bring as many pooches as each cottage permits – good eh?

With over 400 group properties across the UK and Ireland, we’re convinced whatever your party size, you’ll find a cluster of cottages to suit you. Here’s a pick of our most popular group properties from across the UK.

Dunvegan Castle Cottages, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Cross the Skye Bridge and encounter Scotland’s most dramatic scenery. The Isle of Skye is a mystical, affecting place, where mountains dominate the horizon. Now, thanks to our Dunvegan Castle cottages, you can share an invigorating cottage break on the Isle of Skye with your friends and family. Located in the grounds of the imposing Dunvegan Castle, Gardens Cottage and Rose Valley Cottage can accommodate up to ten guests when booked together. Each cottage features a range of self-catering amenities, and both are set within the picturesque grounds of the castle – the perfect place for an Isle of Skye cottage break.

Find out more about the Dunvegan Castle Cottages, here.

Iken Barns, Snape, Suffolk

Located in the depths of Suffolk’s Heritage Coast, Iken Barns are a series of eight barn conversions which, when booked together, can accommodate up to 32 guests, making them ideal for large families. Each barn has been sympathetically restored and decorated, with rustic furnishings blending with contemporary amenities to offer a timeless base for a Suffolk cottage break. All of the cottages are dog friendly and in total, sixteen dogs could be brought to Iken Barns should the party wish it. With lavish features such as underfloor heating and open fires, these Suffolk cottages offer a luxurious base for a family holiday.

Find out more about the Iken Barns, here.

Glan Morfa Lodges, Newborough, Wales

Nestled in the Welsh countryside near Newborough Forest, the Glan Morfa Lodges are a superb development of six holiday cottages that can accommodate up to 23 guests. Each cottage features a wealth of self-catering amenities, and there are also several communal areas including an indoor games room, library and shared laundry room. Each of the Glan Morfa cottages is partially eco-powered, and the owners, who are members of Green Tourism, are striving to obtain zero carbon emission status. The cottages benefit from direct access to two nature lakes, making them perfect for birdwatchers and those interested in spotting local wildlife.

Find out more about the Glan Morfa Lodges, here.

Graythwaite Estate, Hawkshead, The Lake District and Cumbria

The crème de la crème of group cottages can be found in the magnificent Graythwaite Estate, a 5,000 acre country estate on the banks of Windermere in the Lake District. Dotted throughout the site, all thirteen of our Graythwaite Estate cottages can be booked together to accommodate up to 82 guests in a range of luxury holiday homes. With picturesque surroundings and a communal swimming pool, fitness suite, table tennis room and children’s play area, you and your guests will feel right at home in the heart of this idyllic Cumbrian estate.

Find out more about the Graythwaite Estate cottages, here.

Book a holiday in one of our flexible group cottages today!

If you’re interested in renting our group cottages for a getaway with friends or family, please contact us via phone or e-mail to find out which group properties are available in the area of your choice. Currently, we don’t have a page on our website which displays group properties, but our helpful reservations team, who are on hand until 9.30pm daily, will be able to find the perfect group property for you and your party.

 

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.

Ten of the UK’s Cosiest Country Pubs

Sunday, September 28th, 2014
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Does your local have a warming wood burner? What about charming country views? A terrace leading to a sandy bay? Or locally sourced ales crafted down the road? No? Well fear not, because we’re here to let you know about Britain’s best country pubs and where you can find them.

The Kirkstile Inn, Cockermouth

The Kirkstile Inn – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

The Kirkstile Inn – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

The word ‘enchanting’ doesn’t do The Kirkstile Inn justice. Neither does ‘magical’, or ‘amazing’ for that matter. Don’t fret, I haven’t gone soft. It’s just the location of this Lake District boozer is extraordinary. Seated beneath the fells of the north west Lakes, Kirkstile offers good food and great beer. It’s said to have been frequented since Tudor times – we can definitely see why.

The Berkeley Arms, Melton Mowbray

The Berkeley Arms

The Berkeley Arms – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

From the village that brought you the pork pie comes a country pub offering culinary treats and a great choice of liquid refreshment; The Berkeley Arms. This Melton Mowbray public house offers well-appointed dining and a cosy bar from which to enjoy a pint or two. The food here has earned quite a reputation, so be sure to book in advance.

Groes Inn, Conwy

Groes Inn – Via Flickr

Groes Inn – Via Flickr

As one of Wales’ oldest taverns, the proprietors of The Groes Inn have quite the reputation to maintain. Thankfully, they’re doing a damn good job of it. With a roster of local ales and a top notch menu brimming with responsibly sourced fare, this ivy-clad watering hole is arguably one of Wales’ best.

The Gurnard’s Head, Cornwall

The Gurnard's Head – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

The Gurnard’s Head – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

Sink a pint on the edge of the world – there’s a slogan for you. Joking aside, you can do just that at The Gurnard’s Head, a friendly pub on Cornwall’s magical north coast. A strip of land yay big is all that separates you and your Cornish IPA from the Atlantic, making Gurnard’s Head one of the most invigorating places to enjoy a pint in Blighty.

Battlesteads, Northumberland

Battlesteads – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

Battlesteads – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

Nestled amid the castle-strewn landscape of Northumberland’s border region – just down the road from Hadrian’s famous wall no less – is Battlesteads, a lovable pub offering a friendly and oh-so-warm-welcome on a bitter winter’s day. If it wasn’t for the inn’s proper grub and distinctive ales, the amber glow radiating through its windows would surely be enough to entice the weary traveller.

The Bull’s Head, Herefordshire

The Bull's Head –  Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

The Bull’s Head – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

Eat, drink and be merry in the shadow of The Black Mountains; that’s what’s on the menu at The Bull’s Head, a former drover’s inn hidden in the Herefordshire countryside. If not for the contemporary – and equally indulgent – menu, you’d think time had forgotten The Bull’s Head; it’s stone walkways, hole-in-the-wall-bar and traditional furnishings do hark to yesteryear.

Lathkil, Bakewell, Derbyshire

Lathkil Hotel – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

Lathkil Hotel – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

Panoramic views of the Peak District beckon at the Lathkil Hotel, a whitewashed tavern perched atop a peak two miles from the town of Bakewell. Lathkil serves wholesome food and locally sourced ales, but enough about all that; if their bitter had the consistency of dishwater, you’d still enjoy it, happy to spend another moment in the midst of its striking vistas.

Shieldaig Bar & Coastal Kitchen, Shieldaig

Loch Shieldaig – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

Loch Shieldaig – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

Fresh seafood? Check. Great views? Check. Friendly staff? Check. The best pizza in the Highlands? Supposedly. Yes, this is the Shieldaig Bar & Coastal Kitchen, a delightful seafood joint overlooking Loch Shieldaig. Though not your classic country pub, this contemporary coastal bar and restaurant is well worth a visit if you’re touring the Scottish Highlands.

The Royal Oak, Chipping Norton

The Royal Oak – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

The Royal Oak – Via Google Images – Labelled for reuse

From contemporary coast to charming country, The Royal Oak in Chipping Norton is dripping with traditional pub panache. Though it shares its name with over 400 other pubs around Britain, this stone-built tavern has welcomed travellers for centuries, and happens to be one of the prettiest places to plant your bum and enjoy a pint in the Cotswolds.

Take a trip to the country on a cottage break

Country pubs and autumn go hand in hand, so if you’re in the market for a seasonal excursion, why not rent a cottage near one of these rural taverns? We’ve got plenty of cottages to rent near pubs in the UK that offer a great base for a holiday; why not take a look at our selection today.

Know of a picturesque pub in the country? We want to hear about it! Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.

Looking for more interesting taverns to visit? Check out our definitive guide to the UK’s best pubs.

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.

Avast me hearties! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day

Friday, September 19th, 2014
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Ahoy land lubber, Blogbeard here. Today be Talk Like a Pirate Day, and to mark the occasion, the scurvy dogs at Sykes Cottages have been busy dishin’ the dirt on Blighty’s most notorious pirate haunts.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

As a humble gentlemen of fortune, I don’t claim to be an expert in all things swashbuckler. But what I do know is that England was birthplace to more morally-questionable buccaneers than any other country in Europe. The question is, where did these roguish sea-goers drop anchor on their return to Britain? We’ve been finding out with a little help from our resident pirate, Blogbeard.

Bristol

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

With its ancient harbour and favourable location on England’s west coast, Bristol was popular with pirates. Take a walk near the city’s historic harbour, and it’s easy to imagine galleon sails blowing in the breeze. Not only was Bristol a popular port for illicit activities, it was birthplace to one of the most notorious pirates in history; Blackbeard. Murderous, evil and down-right bad-ass, Blackbeard was no Jack Sparrow, choosing to murder, steal and trade slaves rather than prance about with a bottle of rum. Although by no means a nice chap, Blackbeard’s legacy is one of the most romanticised versions of piracy that exists today – god only knows why.

London

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

As a rule, pirates were probably glad to see the back of London. The 18th century saw an increase in security around England’s dockyards, due in part to the huge rise in smuggling along the English coast. This made the capital, as well as other large ports, a dicey place for the seafaring scally. London in particular, was home to Execution Dock, a grizzly wharf where unfortunate buccaneers were put to death. After being publically disposed of, the corpses were coated in tar, locked into cages and hung from cranes in full view of passing sailors as a warning.

Plymouth

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Birthplace to the ‘king among pirates’ Henry John Avery, Plymouth was another popular place for pirates to drop anchor and make ashore with their doubloons. Its location on the Devon coast made it accessible for voyages to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, but also made it an easy target for foreign pirates to pillage English goods. One such plucky brigand was Jean Bart, a French pirate who made a famous escape from Plymouth in a small rowing boat, and amazingly made it to the shores of France unscathed.

Whitby

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Take one look at Whitby and you’ll be daydreaming about pirates. This ancient town on the North Yorkshire coast may not have been the biggest pirate cove in England, but its residents have kept the romanticism and legacy of piracy alive to this day. Whitby and its surrounding villages were more popular with local smugglers than notorious buccaneers, but the odd one did stop by now and again to decant their exotic wares. If you’re travelling to Whitby, why not visit when the annual Pirate Festival takes place? You’ll get to dress up, eat grub, and swap a tale or two from the high seas. Plus, it’s for a good cause, so why not eh?

Avast sea-dog, here be cottages!

Abandon hope all ye who enter a Sykes holiday cottage. These beauties will have you hook, line and sinker faster than a siren from the sea. With hundreds of coastal cottages up and down ‘ar fair Isle, you’d be a bilge rat to miss out!

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.

Weird and Wonderful Attractions around the UK

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
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For today’s instalment of the Sykes Cottages blog, we’re having a look at some of the unusual yet wonderful places to visit around the UK and Ireland. You should be warned, it’s a truly eclectic mix that you probably wouldn’t find in any tour guide around the world; but don’t let that put you off. All of these attractions are well worth a visit, they just don’t seem to get the attention they deserve. So if you fancy taking a tour around some of the more off the wall places you can go when you’re stuck for something to do, have a look and see what catches your eye!

Museum of Witchcraft

museum of witchcraft

via Flickr

First up we’ve got one of the spookiest spots in Cornwall, the Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft. Featuring one of the world’s largest collections of magic related bits and pieces and telling the tales of witchcraft through the ages, it certainly makes for a different experience to your standard museum!

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

llanfair

via Flickr

Or what about a stop off in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch?  Unsurprisingly, it’s the longest place name in the UK and translated it means ‘Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave’, so either way, it’s a bit of a mouthful!

Colmans Mustard Shop and Museum

colmans mustard museum

via Flickr

Or if you’re a bit of a foodie then you might want to head down to the Colman’s Mustard Shop and Museum in Norwich. As one of Britain’s best loved brands, Colman’s have been doing their best to spice up ham butties and roast dinners around the country for 200 years now. Whilst you’re there, be sure to get yourself on the outside of a few of the samples that are laid on for you!

The Forbidden Corner

via Flickr

via Flickr

Then there’s the Forbidden Corner in North Yorkshire. Featuring a temple of the underworld, the eye of the needle and countless other oddities. You’ll have to find your way through the labyrinth of twists and turns and dead ends to try and find all that this truly bizarre spot has to offer!

The Gnome Reserve

gnome reserve

via Flickr

Next up we’ve got one of the stranger attractions that you could possibly think of. If you head down to West Putford in Devon you’ll find what could be you’re typical nature reserve, except there’s one key difference – all of the inhabitants are garden gnomes! But it’s not just the thousand gnomes, there’s also a wild flower garden to have a wander in as well as the option of tucking into a delicious Devon Cream tea!

Wharram Percy

wharram percy

via Flickr

Or if you fancy something a little less novelty there’s the village of Wharram Percy in Yorkshire. It’s pretty much like any typical English countryside village except for one thing; nobody has lived there for hundreds of years! Deserted way back in the 15th century, Wharram Percy now makes for an ideal spot to get away from it all with a quiet afternoon stroll and a picnic.

Puzzlewood

puzzlewood

via Flickr

Next up we’ve got Puzzlewood down in the Forest of Dean. This particular spot was one of the main inspirations behind J.R.R. Tolkien’s middle earth, and with its mysterious pathways and gullies you can certainly see why! There’s also a small petting zoo not to mention the willow maze made up of over 4,000 willow trees!

Bekonscot

bekonscot

via Flickr

Finally we’ve got Bekonscot, the oldest model village in the world. Dating back to the 1930′s, Bekonscot has grown over the years and has become a miniature metropolis sprawling over two acres of the Buckinghamshire countryside. It features 6 separate towns, a race course, castle and even a fully functioning railway!

So there we have it, a truly bizarre mix that encapsulates some of the weird yet wonderful attractions that can be found around Britain and Ireland, and if you’ve seen anything that you fancy be sure to take a look at our list of unusual cottages so that you have somewhere to stay at the end of the day!

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.