Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

Holiday Cottages for Animal Lovers

Sunday, July 12th, 2015
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If you’re an animal lover then you should definitely consider taking a holiday on one of the UK’s many farms. We have holiday cottages on everything from smallholdings to working farms and many of our properties have the option to meet the animals, take tours around the farm and even play at being a farmer for a day! Read on to discover which of our cottages are perfect for animal lovers of all ages.

Hill Top Farm Cottage, Pembrokeshire

This lovely family holiday cottage is set on the owner’s smallholding just 6 miles outside of Narbeth. The picturesque, countryside location makes Hill Top Farm Cottage perfect for a relaxing, rural getaway but it’s also just a short drive from many of Pembrokeshire’s attractions including Folly Farm, Oakwood Theme Park and the Welsh Zoo. At this property, you can really experience the smallholding way of life- everything from visiting the animals at their paddocks, to adopting your own chickens! If you want to adopt your own chickens, the owner will provide everything for you so that you can feed them and collect their eggs for the duration of your stay.

The Corn Store, Cornwall

The Corn Store is a traditional farm cottage on a working farm in Menheniot, ideally located for exploring the south coast of Cornwall. This pretty cottage offers stunning countryside views and is surrounded by woods and meadows, which guests are welcome to explore. On the farm, there are plenty of activities for children to get involved in, including collecting fresh eggs from the hens and meeting some of the smaller animals in the farm’s very own pet corner! The pet corner includes cute and cuddly animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs, as well as birds and hand-reared owls.

Turnip House, Shropshire

Turnip House is one of four wonderful, Grade II barn conversions on a 700 acre farm in Plaish, amongst the rolling countryside of south Shropshire. Guests at the cottage are able to thoroughly explore the farm with its 1.5 mile woodland walk and conservation area with natural pools, as well as a full-size tennis court, children’s play area and games rooms. Animal lovers can also get up close to some of the farm’s residents, as the owners can arrange for you to feed the chickens and also embark on a few pony rides (children only!)

Hayloft Cottage, Cumbria

At Hayloft Cottage, guests have the chance to be a farmer for the day, by prior arrangement with the owner! The friendly owners are more than happy to give you a tour around the farm, including meeting the animals, and tell stories about what it’s like to be a farmer in the countryside! This cottage itself offers lots of characterful original features including oak beams and exposed stonework; it’s perfect for a family holiday in Cumbria with easy access to both the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

At Sykes Cottages, we have over 5,500 cottages across the UK and Ireland so we’re sure to have somewhere to suit you and your holiday plans. For more information on the properties that we have available, please visit our website or give us a call on 01244 356695.

Holiday cottage with farm animals

Animals at Hayloft Cottage

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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.

Planning a Trip to the Zoo with Children

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015
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With the summer holidays fast approaching, zoos across the UK are getting ready to welcome thousands of guests as they make their way to the zoo for a family day out. But planning a trip to the zoo with children can be difficult; organising the transport, arranging the picnic, even deciding which of the animal enclosures to visit can be a challenge. To help make your next zoo visit run smoothly, we’ve put together a list of things to consider before leaving so that you and the kids can enjoy a hassle-free family day out this summer.

Weather

Family days out can often be put on hold when the weather turns grey but luckily you can visit your local zoo no matter what the weather, it’s just a case of what to take with you. For the colder days, we suggest layering up; many zoos have tropical realms to discover and wearing a heavy jumper can be rather unconformable in those tropical climates. For those hot summer days, we suggest a good hat and lots of sun tan lotion; walking around in the sun all day can take its toll so make sure to drink plenty of water too!

Transport

How do you plan on getting to the zoo? Many families will chose to drive; this is a great option as it allows you complete flexibility on arrival and departure times.  Before leaving make sure you check for any parking charges and pack plenty of change for the meter if needed. For those of us not driving, public transport makes an excellent alternative. Many zoos will offer a bus service straight to the entrance with a number of these also stopping by the local train station. Just make sure to check the train schedules and bus timetables before you go.

Food and drink

When it comes to food and drink at the zoo you have two options, bring your own or shop at the zoo. For those who choose to bring a picnic packed full of all your children’s favourite treats, make sure to consider the weather and check that the zoo has a covered eating area for greyer days. If you plan on purchasing lunch at the zoo, we’d suggest checking the zoo’s website beforehand to make sure they cater for any special dietary requirements you may have. Many zoos will offer children’s menus and facilities to heat up bottles but again, check this service is available before leaving.

Packing light

When packing your bag for the zoo think to yourself, do I really need this? Carrying around a heavy bag all day won’t do your back any good so make sure you only pack the essentials. If you do need to bring heavier items or if you’re planning a family picnic, we would advise renting a locker. Many zoos offer this locker service; all that’s required is a small charge and deposit. Once you have purchased your locker, you can leave the heavier items securely inside whilst you explore the zoo, nipping back to collect the items when needed.

Zoo Map

Walking around the zoo all day can be exhausting for adults and even worse for children, so we would advise taking a good look at a zoo map before leaving. Planning the route you take through the zoo will not only allow you to see the most animals but also to travel a lot less by ensuring that you don’t double back on yourself because you missed the giraffes. Many zoos will also have great transport facilities like a monorail or boat; these are great ways to get a new and exciting view of the zoo without consuming too much energy.

And there you have it, our top tips for planning a visit to the zoo with children. If you have any tips that you think would be of use to our customers then let us know! You can connect with us on 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.

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.