Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

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.

The UK and Ireland’s Best Historical Sites

Saturday, July 12th, 2014
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For such a small place, the UK is certainly brimming with history. Having said this, it can be difficult to know where to go to experience this for yourself. Of course you can always while away an afternoon in one of our fantastic  museums, but if you want to get a true taste of history, then you can’t beat a visit to one of the country’s historic sites! So that’s why, we’ve put together a checklist of some of the best spots that you can visit in order to get a sense of the history behind these islands.

Stonehenge

stonehenge

via. Flickr

OK, this one might be quite obvious, however it doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth its spot on this list. Stonehenge was built at least 4,000 years ago and still stands proudly amid the Wiltshire countryside to this day. Although no one is quite sure why or how the structure was built, we do know it would have involved the transportation of stones that weigh up to 50 tons each! With its brand new £27 million visitor centre featuring over 250 objects, it’s little wonder Stonehenge attracts over 800,000 visitors a year!

Skara Brae

Skara Brae

via. Flickr

If you want to go back even further than Stonehenge, Skara Brae is the place for you. Older than both the famous stone circle and the great pyramids of Egypt, the site was found by chance back in 1850 when a powerful storm stripped away the turf that had almost perfectly preserved the buildings for thousands of years. The level of preservation is so complete that you can still see, not only the original belongings of the site, but also much of the furniture that was used by the inhabitants over four and a half thousand years ago!

Newgrange

Newgrange

via. Flickr

Then there’s also the massive site of Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland. Again over 5,000 years old, the mound covers an area over an acre in size and appears to have been built in order to capture a beam of light at sunrise on the winter solstice every year. With over 200,00 visitors every year, Newgrange is the most popular of Ireland’s prehistoric attractions and is complemented by it’s very own visitor centre which contains a full scale replica of the mysterious central chamber of the site.

So there you have it, the Sykes checklist of the best ancient sites to visit on the British Isles. Hopefully all you history buffs out there will enjoy having  little look around, and if you manage to take any photos of the places, then we’d love to see them! Just send them over, either via Facebook or Twitter.

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.

A Literary Tour of Britain

Thursday, July 10th, 2014
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Of all British exports, our authors are some of the best known; JK Rowling, Beatrix Potter, J.R.R Tolkien and C.S Lewis are amongst some of our most famous, whose stories are enjoyed across the world. As a fan of an author’s work, there is nothing better than visiting the places that inspired them to write and in the UK, you will never be too far away from a piece of literary history.

The Lake District

The World of Beatrix Potter, Windermere

image via Flickr

Being full of rolling hills, amazing views and of course beautiful lakes, it’s no surprise that The Lake District would inspire an author. Beatrix Potter, creator of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck and Tom Kitten amongst others, was enamoured by The Lake District after spending many of her holidays there, so much so that she bought a traditional farm in 1905 called Hill Top. Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top with the money she made from her first book, the Tale of Peter Rabbit, the farmhouse and surrounding countryside subsequently inspired her future books. Fans of Beatrix Potter can visit Hill Top which is now operated by The National Trust or visit The World of Beatrix Potter; a fascinating museum where visitors really experience the world that Potter created within her books.

Edinburgh

The Elephant House Edinburgh

image via Flickr

Harry Potter is a global phenomenon. The Boy Who Lived and He Who Must Not Be Named are known the world over by children and adults alike, so it’s no surprise that Potter fans flock to the places that inspired the story or featured in the big screen adaptations. No UK literary tour would be complete without visiting Edinburgh, the place where JK Rowling wrote much of the Harry Potter series. You can visit locations that inspired Rowling on a walking tour before replenishing yourself with a good cup of coffee at The Elephant House, where JK Rowling spent much of her time writing her early novels. Perhaps an odd suggestion, but it’s certainly worth checking out the toilets in The Elephant House, where the walls are filled with messages from avid fans of Harry who have wanted to put their mark on ‘The Birthplace of Harry Potter’.

Oxford

A birds eye view of beautiful Oxford

image via Flickr

Being home to one of the most famous and prestigious universities in the world as well as one of the world’s first libraries, it’s no surprise that the beautiful city of Oxford would be on our itinerary for literary lovers. Whether you’re a fan of The Lord of The Rings, Alice in Wonderland, His Dark Materials or Harry Potter, you will be in your element in Oxford. There are official guided walking tours around Oxford that would suit any reader, no matter your genre of choice. There is a Children’s Stories Tour that adults and children alike will love which takes visitors to the places that inspired Philip Pullman, C.S Lewis and Lewis Carroll amongst others. Both wizards and muggles will love the Harry Potter tour, which takes a look at the filming locations of the films. There is also a C.S Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien Tour, where guides will show you the Oxford that these two friends will have experienced; where they studied, lived and where they spent their leisure time!

Stay in a Piece of Literary History

The Retreat Self Catering Holiday Cottage in Cornwall

The Retreat in Cornwall property reference: 1678

Once you’ve had enough of touring the length and width of the UK for literary marvels, why not stay in a piece of literary history? At Sykes Cottages we have a few properties that have literary connections. How about Penlan in North Wales which was home to Albert Bestall, writer of Rupert The Bear. Stable Cottage in Shropshire was home to the family of author Malcolm Saville and his Lone Pine books were inspired by the lovely Shropshire backdrop. The Retreat in Cornwall also featured in Daphne Du Maurier’s novel The King’s General. So even if you plan on staying in one place for your UK holiday, you can still enjoy a literary connection!

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.

7 Wonders of the British Coast

Monday, July 7th, 2014
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Here in Britain, we love to be beside the seaside. As soon as the summer sun starts to shine, we pack up our beach towels, slap on the sun lotion, and make our way to the coast.  Fortunately, the UK has some of the best stretches of coastline in the world, with stunning scenery, captivating sand dunes and fascinating history. So forget the Seven Wonders of the World and focus on the Seven Wonders of the British Coast. Below you will find our selection of the best coastal locations Britain has to offer; from towering cliffs to wide open beaches, you are sure to be amazed by the spectacles on offer.

Dover – England

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

The Dover coastline is dominated by startling white chalk cliffs that overlook the English Channel, commonly known as The White Cliffs of Dover. Best viewed from the coastal path that leads towards South Foreland Lighthouse, these iconic cliffs are wondrous to behold.

Alum Bay – Isle of White

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Located off the coast at Alum Bay is another iconic British landmark, three distinctive white chalk rocks known as The Needles. One of the most photographed groups of rock in the world, this impressive chalk feature offers an alternative image for your Isle of Wight photo gallery.

Durdle Door – Dorset

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

As well as an impressive shingle beach, Durdle Door in Dorset is home to a dramatic limestone arch. Making its home along the Jurassic Coast, this imposing arch allows your imagination to run wild when thoughts turn to dinosaurs and the incredible fossils that are embedded in the rock.

Isle of Staffa – Scotland

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Located on the Isle of Staffa is one of the UK’s best known caves, Fingal’s Cave. This impressive 227 foot cavern is made up of basaltic pillars which form an obscure walkway just above sea level. Surrounded by both history and folk law, this cave is an extraordinary part of Scotland’s culture.

Bamburgh – Northumberland

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Bamburgh beach may be one of the most dramatic stops along the British coast. With the imposing Bamburgh Castle to one side and the stunning Farne Islands on the other, Bamburgh offers visitors a wonderful mixture of both history and wildlife.

Kynance Cove – Cornwall

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Found on the West side of “The Lizard” in Cornwall, Kynance Cove is a breath-taking beach famed for its contrasting white sands, clear turquoise waters and green serpentine rock. This enticing beach, with its soft sands and numerous caves, is a favourite amongst sun seekers and explorers alike.

Freshwater West – Pembrokeshire

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Freshwater West is known for its impressive sand dunes which were made famous in the Harry Potter film “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” as the set of Shell Cottage, Dobby’s final resting place. Although the cottage has long since gone, you can still visit the scene of this iconic film.

Stay at a coastal cottage on your next holiday

Curlew in Pembrokeshire, Ref: 14393

Curlew in Pembrokeshire, Ref: 14393

With over 1,800 coastal cottages available, you are never far from a wonderful beach, stunning coastal path or an impressive cliff on a Sykes cottage holiday. If you would like to holiday along the British coast, take a look at our coastal cottages today and see if we can help you plan your perfect beach getaway.

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.