Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

Cottages near Blue Flag Beaches

Sunday, June 28th, 2015
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The British Isles are home to a wonderful selection of beaches, 169 of which have been awarded Blue Flag status. So from the shores of Achmelvich Bay in the Scottish Highlands to the waves at Polzeath Beach in Cornwall, you’re never too far from one of these spectacular beaches! If you’re planning a relaxing getaway to one of the UK’s many Blue Flag beaches then keep reading as we list a selection of cottages located near Blue Flag beaches; perfect for a family holiday, group get together or romantic escape.

Appledore Cottage, Skinners in Cornwall

Two miles from Porthtowan Beach

Appledore Cottage (Reference 904671), in Skinners Bottom

Appledore Cottage (Reference 904671), in Skinners Bottom

The charming Appledore Cottage is located just two miles from the award winning Porthtowan Beach. The cottage boasts three spacious bedrooms- two doubles and one twin- as well as two bathrooms, a stylish country kitchen, cosy sitting area with wood burner, and an enclosed lawned garden perfect for relaxing in the summer sun. This property is ideal for groups and as Appledore Cottage also accepts two well-behaved dogs, there really is room for the whole family!

Just two miles from the cosy Appledore Cottage is the wonderful Porthtowan beach. This beach is great for surfing and spending some time with the family. If you plan on taking your four-legged friends with you on holiday then please be aware that this beach is closed to dogs between Easter and October; however there are many other dog-friendly beaches in the area.

Priory Cottage, Saundersfoot in Wales

Three minutes’ walk from Saundersfoot Beach

Priory Cottage (Reference 915079), in Saundersfoot

Priory Cottage (Reference 915079), in Saundersfoot

This sensational Saundersfoot cottage is perfect for those looking for a luxury getaway; with two spacious bedrooms, two bathrooms, a superb kitchen and dining area, wonderful sitting room and beautiful garden, this property is ideal for a group of four friends. Imagine an evening spent relaxing in the garden, nursing a glass of wine whilst you tend to the BBQ, or how about a romantic night in, curled up with your other half in the cosy sitting room? Whatever your plans, Priory Cottage makes the perfect setting for an indulgent Welsh holiday.

Just a short stroll from Priory Cottage is the idyllic Saundersfoot beach, with plenty of golden sand and shallow, clear water. This beach is great for bathing and working on your tan but if you do fancy a splash about then don’t worry as Saundersfoot is great for swimming with a life guard on duty during the peak summer season.

Prospect House, Whitby in Yorkshire

Five minute walk from Whitby Beach

Prospect House (Reference 912895), in Whitby

Prospect House (Reference 912895), in Whitby

Tucked into one of Whitby’s side streets, Prospect House offers fantastic panoramic views over Whitby and the harbour below. This cosy cottage is perfectly suited to a family of five with three bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen with dining area and a second floor sitting room, there is plenty of room for everyone, including your pet dog! From the doorstep of this cottage you can experience all the Whitby has to offer; the fantastic attractions, bustling harbour, numerous eateries and beautiful beach.

Whitby Beach is great for families and as long as you avoid the south end of the beach, you can even take your four legged friend with you. The soft sand on this beach is ideal for building sandcastles or soaking up the sun and with plenty of ice-cream parlours and cafes dotted about, you can really make the most of this traditional seaside resort.

The Beach House, Trearddur Bay in Wales

Five minute walk from Trearddur Bay Beach

The Beach House (Reference 914927), in Trearddur Bay

The Beach House (Reference 914927), in Trearddur Bay

The Beach House is a beautiful coastal cottage which looks out over the pebbled beach of Porth Yr Afon, with the sheltered Blue Flag beach in Trearddur Bay just a five minute walk away. This fantastic detached property is big enough to sleep ten people with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen, stylish sitting room and an impressive garden with hot tub, chiminea, BBQ and wooden playground. The cottage’s spacious accommodation and fantastic location make it the perfect base for families looking to explore Anglesey.

Trearddur Bay Beach is one of Anglesey’s finest beaches with sloping sands, numerous rock pools and great facilities. This beach offers plenty of space for families looking to spread out and enjoy some sporting activities like volleyball and rounders. Once you’ve finished playing on land you can head into the sea and try out some of the area’s favourite water sports like surfboarding, and water-skiing.

Albert Villas, Broadstairs in Kent

One mile from Stone Bay

Albert Villas (Reference 905330), in Broadstairs

Albert Villas (Reference 905330), in Broadstairs

This delightful Broadstairs cottage is quietly nestled into a historic courtyard, less than a minute from the town’s local amenities. Albert Villas comfortably accommodates six people with two bedrooms, a bathroom, sitting area and stylish open plan living area, which includes a kitchen, dining area and second sitting area. With easy access to the town, this cottage is perfect for small families or a group of friends looking to explore the area without using a car.

Journey out from Albert Villas and you’ll soon come across the Broadstairs harbour and beach, perfect for an afternoon spent along the coast sipping cocktails and tasting the local cuisine. Venture a little further and within around 15 minutes, you should stumble upon Stone Bay, one of the area’s two Blue Flag beaches. With soft sands, beautiful views and stunning white chalk cliffs that not only look wonderful but also protect bathers from the cool breeze, it’s the perfect beach for safe swimming and bathing.

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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.

Eco-Friendly Days Out in the UK

Saturday, June 27th, 2015
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If you’re feeling green fingered, there is no reason it should be left at home! There is a growing number of eco-friendly attractions opening up across the UK and a number of already existing sites are making changes to reduce their footprints; making eco-friendly days out easier to come by. With a huge amount of choice becoming available, it can be tough to choose where to visit for an eco-friendly – and fun – day out for everyone to enjoy. So read on to discover a few of our favourite eco-friendly days out in the UK.

Greenwood Forest Park – Gwynedd

Greenwood Forest Park is a fun, eco-friendly adventure park located in North Wales that is sure to be a fun day out that all the family can enjoy. The ethos behind the company revolves around being kind to nature and as such, many of the rides and activities require human energy to make them work. Since its opening in 1993, the park has always had a focus in being environmentally friendly. With biodegradable food and drink containers, a huge number of trees planted per year and bird boxes dotted about the park, as well as a huge number of other initiatives to stay green, it is easy to see why Greenwood Forest Park has won such a huge number of awards for its eco-friendly efforts.

The Living Rainforest – Berkshire

Operated by the Trust for Sustainable Living, The Living Rainforest aims to further educate visitors on sustainable living both in the UK and abroad. The Living Rainforest is home to over 700 species of plants and animals as well as a ‘Human Impact’ space, so there is sure to be something of interest for everyone to enjoy. Choose to watch as the animals roam free in the tropical glasshouses, allow children to play in the play area or just relax in the café with a good cup of coffee. However you choose to spend your day at The Living Rainforest, you are sure to have a great time whilst also supporting the work of the Trust for Sustainable Living.

BeWILDerwood – Norfolk

If it’s a fun, eco-friendly family day out that you’re after, you really can’t go wrong with a trip to BeWILDerwood. The adventure park, which encourages parents to play alongside their children, hosts a number of fantastic attractions and activities including a zip wire, a treehouse and other magical and fun activities. Not only is the attractions list at BeWILDerwood impressive, but so is their environmental policy. From ensuring all food served on site is locally sourced where possible, helping to upgrade local footpaths, to recycling over 70% of their waste, this is one attraction with huge plans to be green!

 

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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.

Spotlight on: Bike Friendly Cottages

Friday, June 19th, 2015
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The popularity of cycling in the UK has soared over the past decade and it’s now estimated to be one of our favourite sports, alongside the likes of football, cricket and rugby. The National Cycle Network now passes within a mile of half of all UK homes and covers around 14,000 miles across the UK. Here at Sykes, we want to celebrate our love of cycling and we encourage you to do so too! So today, we’re shining our spotlight on some of our most bike-friendly cottages that are perfect for cycling holidays.

Alpine Cottages No. 4, Yorkshire Dales

This charming 4* self-catering apartment sleeps 5 in Reeth, at the very heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Alpine Cottages No. 4 boasts luxury features including a claw-footed slipper bath and cosy woodburner, as well as delightful views across the surrounding heather and grouse moors. This property has its own secure bike storage area and also facilities to wash your bike. There’s also a wood-fired hot tub, perfect for cyclists to soothe tired limbs in after a long day cycling! There are plenty of challenging cycling opportunities nearby including the Swaledale Circular and Yorkshire Dales Cycleway. You can see more information here.

Wroxton House, Oxfordshire

Oxford is one of the UK’s few ‘Cycling Cities’ and is an absolute joy to cycle in. There are cycle lanes aplenty, designated cycle parking throughout the city and the council are in the midst of trying to make Oxford even more cycle friendly. The surrounding countryside is perfect for cycling too with beautiful scenery, softly undulating countryside and a network of traffic-free bridle and cycle paths. Wroxton House is the perfect base from which to explore Oxfordshire’s cycling possibilities. Sleeping 6, this unique 1930’s cottage boasts lots of charming features including beams from the original Wroxton Abbey Estate and interior furnishings from a typical 1930’s house. The property also offers secure bike storage for cyclists. For cycle routes in the area, please visit this website.

Browside, Lake District

If you’re planning a group cycling holiday then Browside, just 2 miles from Coniston, is perfect. This spectacular holiday cottage sleeps 12 guests with 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, ensuring that everyone has plenty of space to enjoy their stay! Mountain biking opportunities in the area are excellent, with Coniston Old Man, Grizedale Forest and Walna Scar nearby, with shorter routes for beginners and longer, more challenging routes for the more experienced. Browside has its own bike storage available, as well as wash facilities to get rid of any mud your bike has accumulated. The outdoor hot tub is sure to go down a treat too! You’ll find some cycle route ideas to start you off here.

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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.

Why a break in the UK is perfect for inspiring your writing

Sunday, June 14th, 2015
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If you’ve got writing that you’re struggling to get done- no matter whether you’re an author, a journalist, a student or a hobbyist- then we have the perfect solution for you.  Have you ever thought of taking a short break in the UK to kick-start your brain and provide you with some inspiration? Here’s why we think that our holiday cottages are perfect for providing a little writing inspiration:

Peace and quiet

It’s a cliché but planning a little quality alone-time is the perfect way to get your writing head on; getting away from it all and escaping the distractions of your friends and family could be just what you need. The tranquillity of the British countryside will make your brain forget about the things you’ve left behind at home and focus on your work instead. So stock up on supplies, book yourself a remote little cottage in the middle of nowhere and get down to some serious writing.

New surroundings

It’s no secret that new surroundings and new experiences can often help the brain along with some new-found inspiration. By stepping outside of your ordinary life with its routine, you’ll allow yourself the space to think and gather some great inspiration for your writing. Live in a busy city and struggling to focus? Head out to the countryside for a change of perspective. If you’re bored of the same views every day, head for the coast for a different vista to admire and inspire.

Follow in the footsteps of your favourite writers

From Hardy to Wordsworth, there’s an abundance of British writers that have been inspired to write their masterpieces by the UK’s landscape. Did you know for example, that Virginia Woolf’s inspiration for To The Lighthouse is thought to be the view from her holiday home in St Ives, across to the lighthouse on Godrevy Island? Or that Charles Dickens holidayed every year in the Victorian resort of Broadstairs, where he would write in the morning before heading down to the sea for a dip? Clearly, holidaying in the UK is a proven way of creating masterpieces!

Book a cottage and get writing!

We have over 5,800 holiday cottages across the UK and Ireland and we’re confident that we’ll be able to find the perfect cottage to inspire your writing. Our dedicated holiday advisors are on hand to help seven days a week, from 9.00am until 9.30pm. You can get in touch by giving us a call on 01244 356 695 or by sending us an email.

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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.

Books to Read Whilst On a Cottage Holiday

Saturday, June 13th, 2015
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No cottage holiday is complete without a good book; long car rides, lazy afternoons, country picnics and evenings spent curled up in front of an open fire are all perfect opportunities for reading.  Having been on many cottage holidays, the team here at Sykes Cottages know exactly what type of book is required; not too long, easily digestible and very entertaining. So if you’re looking to add a few good books to your collection, keep reading as we suggest a few of the best books to read whilst on a cottage holiday.

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on The Train | Image from Waterstones

Image from Waterstones

Louise – “My choice would be The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins. This psychological thriller is probably one of the most talked about books of the year and for very good reason- even Stephen King tweeted about how much he enjoyed it! Taking inspiration from Hitchcock and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (to which it has been heavily compared, but to which it is different and brilliant in its own right); it’s a page-turning masterpiece that I couldn’t put down from start to finish and that I would thoroughly recommend.”

The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson

The Rose Petal Beach | Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

Leanne – “I’ve been a Dorothy Koomson fan ever since reading her second novel The Chocolate Run; a light hearted, chocolate fuelled romantic comedy that is certainly worth a read. Dorothy’s latest novels, however, are all more serious in nature with The Rose Petal Beach being no different. With the novel having various narrators, Dorothy takes you on a journey where you’re never too sure who to believe. The twists, turns and incredible narration of this novel make it the ideal summer holiday read. In fact, if you’re looking for a book to take with you on your summer holiday this year, or are just looking for a new author to fall in love with – I urge you to pick up something written by Dorothy Koomson. You won’t be disappointed!”

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil | Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

Nicole – “My favourite stories are those involving magic, mystery, mythical creatures and danger, which is why my choice for a good cottage holiday read is The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. The story follows two friends as they are taken from their homes and enrolled into the School for Good and Evil, but the girls find their fortunes twisted as beautiful Sophie is dumped at the School for Evil and dark, quiet Agatha finds herself at the School for Good. Offering something for all ages, from love and heartache to friendship and rivalry; this book is suitable for both children and adults making it a must for your suitcase.”

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared

Image from Amazon

Jamie – “The Hundred Year Old Man was my favourite book of last summer so it’s only right that I should recommend it for this year! It tells the tale of Allan Karlsson who, on his 100th birthday, makes a break for freedom from his nursing home and manages to get himself caught up in in a series of bizarre and unfortunate events involving a few criminals, a suitcase full of money and an elephant. Throughout the book you also get a taste of Allan’s colourful past ranging from helping create the atom bomb to dalliances with historical figures such as Stalin, Mao and Harry Truman. All in all, the Hundred Year Old Man makes for the perfect summer book, easy to read, light and entertaining – what more could you want?”

So what do you think? Will you be adding these best sellers to your lists of holiday must reads, or perhaps you have some suggestions for us? Let us know what you think, you can reach us through both Facebook and Twitter.

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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.