Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

Fantastic Cottages Near Theme Parks

Monday, April 11th, 2016
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With the weather starting to turn for the better, it’s only natural that people want to start spending a bit more time in the great outdoors, and there are few better things for that than a summer’s day at a theme park. Between the exhilarating rides and the fun-filled attractions, they’re one of the ultimate days out. Whilst it’s ok for those who are lucky enough to live near to a theme park and only have a short trip home afterwards, it can be a bit trickier for the rest of us. Happily however, we’ve got a wide selection of holiday cottages that are right by a theme park! We’ve picked out a few of our favourites, so take a look and see if any of them catch your eye!

Ash House  (ref. 922587). near Alton Towers

We’re starting off with Ash House, a stunning Grade II listed cottage that just so happens to be little more than a mile from the famous Alton Towers. As the biggest and most famous of all the UK’s theme parks, Alton Towers is best known for its dizzying array of adrenaline rush-inducing rides, from old favourites such as Oblivion and Nemesis, through to the newly redeveloped Galactica – the word’s first virtual reality based rollercoaster!

Ash House itself is a cosy property right in the heart of the village of Alton, that sleeps six people through three bedrooms, meaning that it’s the perfect base for a family trip. But it’s not all about Alton Towers! Ash House’s enviable position means that it’s also great for making the most of Alton’s selection of pubs, cafes and shops, as well as exploring the rest of the Peak District!

Granite House (ref. 927754), near Flambards

Next up we’re taking a trip down to the South West and an old favourite here in the Sykes Office – Flambards. Set just outside of the village of Helston, Flambards is one of Cornwall’s premier family-based theme parks and offers an unbelievable variety of attractions. You can travel back in time in the Victorian Village, or get a taste of WW2 with Britain in the Blitz, and of course there’s the selection of rides including the Hornet and SkyRaker. not to mention the brand new Jurassic Journey.

Happily, here at Sykes we’ve got a selection of properties down in Cornwall that would be perfect for staying in whilst visiting Flambards, including the picturesque Granite House. Sleeping four people, it’s the perfect size for a family trip to Cornwall and there’s only 10 miles between the front door and the entrance to Flambards!

Alpine House (ref. 912910), near Flamingo Land

Finally we’ve got Yorkshire’s finest theme park – Flamingo Land! It might have started off life as a zoo back in the late 1950’s but over the years, more than 50 rides such as Hero, Pterodactyl and Kumalie, have been added to the hundreds of animals to turn it into one of the most unique attractions in the United Kingdom. And we’re happy to say that we’ve got some great cottages that are within easy reach of Flamingo Land, such as Alpine House which is less than five miles away in Pickering. Comfortably housing four people, it’s a traditional mid-terraced cottage that offers plenty of character features including beamed ceilings and traditional wooden floors, making it the perfect place to relax after a fun-filled day out.

Hopefully that’s piqued your interest in visiting one of the UK’s fantastic theme parks in 2016 but don’t worry if you’ve still not made your mind up about which one you want to visit, we put together a guide that you might find useful. Or maybe you’ve decided but still need to find somewhere to stay? If that’s the case then feel free to give us a call on 01244 356695 and one of our holiday advisors will be able to help you find the perfect property.

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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.

10 of the Best Beaches in the UK

Thursday, April 7th, 2016
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Looking out of the window on a grey afternoon here at Sykes HQ, it does seem like I might be a touch premature in saying this, but we’re well on the way to summer! And in my eyes there are few better things than spending a day in the summer sun at the seaside! The thing is that here in the UK we’re blessed with so many fantastic beaches that it can be tough deciding which to go to. Happily however, TripAdvisor has recently decided to lend us a hand in announcing the winners of their Traveller’s Choice Awards which picked out the Top 25 beaches in the United Kingdom. Overall it was Woolacombe Beach in Devon which won the gong, however it must have been a close run thing judging by the quality of all of the entries!

So in anticipation of a (hopefully) sunny summer, we’ve been through TripAdvisor’s Top 25 beaches in the UK and picked out our favourites, so why don’t you take a look and see what you think of our choices?

Woolacombe Beach

Weymouth Beach

Barafundle Bay

Filey Beach

Luskentyre Sands

Porthgwidden Beach

Porthmeor Beach

Rhossili Bay

Wells-Next-the-Sea Beach

Whitby Beach

So there you, ten of our favourites from TripAdvisor’s 25 beaches in the United Kingdom, but which would get your vote? Let us know, either over Twitter or Facebook – we’d love to know! Or maybe seeing all of these glorious beaches might even have tempted you into booking yourself a seaside cottage? If so make sure you take a look at our wide selection of Beachside Cottages, we’re sure that you’ll be able to find something perfect!

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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.

Shakespeare 2016: What’s On

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
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2016 is a very special year for England’s most famous playwright, William Shakespeare. On 23rd April 2016, we will mark not only the Bard’s 452nd birthday, but also the 400th anniversary of his death and as you might expect, there are many plans in place to ensure that this special celebration goes off with a bang! If you haven’t yet been, 2016 is a fantastic year to make the literary pilgrimage to Stratford-upon-Avon to join in the festivities. Below, you’ll find just some of the special events, new openings and fascinating exhibitions that you can visit in Stratford upon Avon this year to celebrate the legacy of William Shakespeare.

Annual birthday celebrations

Every year, the streets of Stratford upon Avon are filled with crowds as Shakespeare-lovers from all over the world travel to celebrate his birthday on 23rd April. An extra special celebration is planned for 2016 with a grand Birthday Procession, street entertainers, theatre workshops and a Birthday Lunch.

Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall

Opening this month after major restoration work, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall is a new insight into the life and education of William Shakespeare. This fun and interactive visitor experience will allow you to discover more about the place where Shakespeare went to school- the place where he was inspired to become a playwright.

‘Shakespeare’s Stratford Friends’ at Shakespeare’s Birthplace

New for 2016, the new material for Shakespeare’s Stratford Friends will be on show at the Famous Beyond Words exhibition at his Birthplace. Shakespeare’s Stratford Friends will explore the man behind the playwright; focusing on his circle of family and friends, introducing him as a father, son, husband and grandfather, as well as exploring his social life in Stratford upon Avon.

Shakespeare’s New Place

Scheduled to open later this year, New Place was the family home of William Shakespeare for the last 19 years of his life. This unique experience is the only heritage attraction in Stratford upon Avon which will allow you to walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps at the peak of his literary success. New Place will shed light on Shakespeare as a family man with an abundance artefacts relating to his life here on display, many of which have never been displayed before.

Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2016 season will include productions of Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cymbeline and King Lear, amongst others.  Their new exhibition, The Play’s The Thing, will also open in June 2016 at The Swan Theatre. Aiming to celebrate the magic of Shakespeare and the theatre, visitors can discover the secrets and stories from 100 years of the RSC with props, costumes, set designs, digital interactives and activities to get involved in.

Shakespeare Steps

From 23rd April until 30th October, the Royal Shakespeare Company will be running a self-guided tour for families around Stratford upon Avon called Shakespeare Steps. Follow the route to find clues that work as instructions for acting out a series of miniature plays. Discover fun facts, background stories and join in the treasure hunt challenge as you visit some of Stratford upon Avon’s best known attractions.

Book a cottage break in Stratford upon Avon

Sykes Cottages have a wide range of beautiful self-catering cottages in Stratford upon Avon for you to choose from. To browse our collection of cottages in the area please visit our website or alternatively, give our friendly reservations specialists a call on 01244 356695 and they’ll be delighted to help you plan your holiday.

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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.

Dog Friendly Cottages for National Pet Month

Monday, March 28th, 2016
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April marks the start of National Pet Month, a campaign now in its 27th year that aims to celebrate the joyful impact that our pets have on our lives every day. This year is set to be focused on responsible pet ownership and how important it is for pet owners to provide the best care possible for their animals. We’re all huge animal lovers here at Sykes Cottages and that’s why we’re committed to providing good quality holidays where you can bring your furry friend along with you. From the Scottish Highlands to Cornwall, here are just some of our pet friendly cottages that you can choose from.

Looe Island View, Cornwall

See it here: Ref. 919242

Looe Island View is a stylish family holiday home on a hillside location with spectacular panoramic views of the sea, all the way out to Looe Island. It’s just a 10 minute walk to the lovely, sheltered beach at Downderry which allows dogs all year round. The property is beautifully furnished with a stunning outdoor terrace overlooking the bay.

Rosemary Cottage, Norfolk

See it here: Ref. 922964

Rosemary Cottage is located just 400 yards from the wonderful, award-winning beach at Sea Palling, where dogs are welcome all year round. This lovely dog-friendly cottage is bright, spacious and contemporary combined with beautiful traditional features including exposed wooden beams and oak flooring. The kitchen opens out into a pretty enclosed garden, perfect for dogs to play in. The nearest shops and pubs are also just less than 2 minutes’ walk.

Hope Cottage, Yorkshire Dales

See it here: Ref. 921810

Hope Cottage is a luxury barn conversion set amongst stunning Yorkshire Dales countryside. Offering uninterrupted views that stretch as far as the Three Peaks, this lovely holiday home is well suited for a relaxing break with your pets. The spacious, enclosed grounds are ideal for letting the dogs run about in and the private hot tub overlooking the lush green fields is the perfect place to unwind whilst enjoying the views. There are excellent walks straight from the doorstep so your dog will never run out of new places to explore!

Tyddyn, Snowdonia

See it here: Ref. 18501

Beautiful detached farmhouse with distant sea views on one side and mountain views on the other. Tyddyn has plenty of character with open stonework, inglenook fireplace and Welsh slate floors so if you’re looking for a traditional Welsh cottage, look no further! The farmhouse kitchen is perfect for socialising whilst cooking and you can rest easy knowing the secure, enclosed garden will keep your pets safe. Snowdonia National Park and its ample walking opportunities is just on your doorstep.

Colhay Studio, Cornwall

See it here: Ref. 928808

This former art studio in a sleepy Cornwall hamlet is surrounded by water gardens, with walkways across the ponds and waterfall; perfect for a calming break in Cornwall with your pet. Upstairs, the mezzanine bedroom has its own balcony with far reaching, uninterrupted views over Dartmoor. The Cornish coastline with its world-renowned beaches is just a short drive away.

We want to make sure that your holiday with your pet is the best that it can be so we regularly write blog posts on dog friendly activities, pubs, days out and beaches. Take a look at our Top 10 dog friendly beaches for summer or our guide to dog friendly walks around the UK.  For more information on all of our pet friendly cottages- we’ve over 3,400- please visit the pet friendly section on our website. Browse our website today or give one of our friendly reservation specialists a call to see how we can help.

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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.

Charlotte Brontë: The Places That Inspired Her

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
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This year marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth. Known for her novels, Jane Eyre, Shirley and Villette, Charlotte is one of the most celebrated English writers to have ever lived and her novels are considered classics of English literature. She’s so celebrated, in fact, that there is a whole area of the country named after her and her sisters: Brontë Country. So we thought what better way to celebrate her legacy than by paying homage to the places that informed and inspired her life and work?

Haworth, Yorkshire

Haworth needs no introduction as a place that inspired Charlotte. This quaint Yorkshire village was the hometown of the Brontë sisters and is now the heart of Brontë Country and a place of pilgrimage for literature lovers. The Brontë family lived here from 1820 until their deaths and you can still visit many of the places frequented by Charlotte and her siblings including the Brontë Parsonage, which was their family home; the Sunday school where her father, Patrick Brontë, taught; the churchyard where most of the family members, including Charlotte, are buried; and the pubs that her brother, Branwell, drank in. If you’re looking to visit Haworth, take a look at our guide to short breaks in Haworth, which includes recommendations of the things Brontë fans can’t afford to miss.

Brontë Waterfall, Yorkshire

The Brontë Waterfall is a small, picturesque waterfall just outside of Stanbury, 2 miles from Haworth itself. The waterfall and surrounding moorland was a popular walking spot for the Brontë sisters and Charlotte described it in a letter as “fine indeed; a perfect torrent racing over the rocks, white and beautiful”.  You can still reach the waterfall today by following the Brontë Trail which begins in Haworth and winds across the moors to the waterfall. If you follow the trail even further, you’ll reach Top Withens, the ruined farmhouse said to have been the inspiration for the Earnshaw family house in Wuthering Heights, the novel written by Charlotte’s sister, Emily.

Hathersage, Derbyshire

Moving away from Brontë Country, Hathersage in the Hope Valley area of the Peak District was another source of inspiration for Charlotte. Charlotte visited Hathersage in 1845 when she stayed with her friend, Ellen Nussey at the vicarage for several weeks; Ellen’s brother was the vicar of Hathersage at the time. Charlotte explored the area at great lengths whilst staying here and it’s thought that her novel, Jane Eyre, which she wrote in 1947 was set here. North Lees Hall, on the outskirts of Hathersage, was owned at the time by a Sir Robert Eyre and many believe that the property was her inspiration for Thornfield Hall. Another property that lays claim to being the real-life Thornfield Hall is Norton Conyers in Ripon. Both properties have their own myths and legends of mad women hidden in their attics hundreds of years ago, which Charlotte may have also known about.

Book a holiday cottage in Brontë Country

If you fancy booking your own trip to Brontë Country to see the places where Charlotte Brontë grew up and the places that inspired her work, you can see a wide range of holiday cottages in Haworth and the surrounding areas on our website. Or alternatively, please give our friendly holiday advisors a call on 01244 356 695 and they’ll be able to help you find the perfect cottage for your Brontë-themed getaway.

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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.