Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

Discount Days Out With The Kids

Monday, August 11th, 2014
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Well we’ve had a few weeks of the summer holidays now and no doubt the kids have already been treated to several days out. Now we know that the cost of these can start to mount up, and so we’ve had a look to see if we could lend a hand when it comes to finding a few ways to save a bit of money.

Check the Internet

computer

via. Flickr

Nowadays there are plenty of sites that you can go onto and find some of the best value trips in a matter of clicks. Day Out With the Kids is one of the easiest as it breaks them down area by area, allowing you to compare various attractions for their costs. Alternatively, you could pop over to a website like Money Saving Expert which will often post which places have got good deals on, allowing you to track down the best value for money.

Collect Vouchers

vouchers

via. Flickr

Or you can always collect vouchers and coupons which will help you get a bargain price on your day. Normally, cereal boxes are a good place to start for this, or you can also use those saved up Clubcard or Nectar points. Over the summer, Tesco have been running the voucher exchange which lets you trade your hard-earned points for tickets to attractions, and there are some cracking deals available. For example, you can trade just £4.50 worth of points for a child’s ticket to the Eden Project!

Save Money on the Day

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Finally, there are plenty of things that you can do to save money when you actually arrive. A big one for doing this is taking food along with you rather than paying for it from the various stalls and restaurants; most of the time they tend to be a touch expensive. Also if there is a gift shop where you’re heading, you might find it quite useful to set a budget before you let the little ones head in, as they tend to have a habit of picking out the biggest or the most expensive thing that they can get their hands on!

So there we have it, a few hints and tips for saving a bit of cash whilst keeping the kids entertained. Hopefully you’ll have picked up a couple of ideas but if there’s anything that you do which we might have missed out then do let us know, either over Facebook or Twitter, so that we can pass it on!

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.

Lake Vs. Beach

Sunday, August 10th, 2014
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Whether you want a rural countryside getaway or a more traditional time beside the seaside, we are lucky enough to be spoilt for choice here in the UK. From rolling countryside in the Peak District to the sandy shores of Cornwall, everyone has their favourite holiday destination. Today we’re mediating the ultimate battle between what makes Lake and Beach locations; which will win?

Sights

Tenby

image from property 913260

Just imagine you’re stepping out of your lovely holiday cottage in the morning, brew of choice in hand, there is still dew on the grass and a beautiful view of hills ahead of you. You’re thinking about the day you’re about to spend beside the lake, surrounded by stunning trees and nature. Blissful, isn’t it? Now imagine yourself stepping out of a similarly lovely holiday cottage, you can see imposing cliffs and perhaps you can make out some fairground rides in the distance. Looking towards the coast you can see the almost empty beach with stunning sand and blue sea across the horizon. Both equally as stunning and whether you’re by a lake or the beach, the surrounding views will be vastly different despite both having incredible natural beauty. At beach locations you will of course see sand, cliffs and potentially a boat or two along the horizon. At lakes you will be surrounded by lush countryside, hills and stunning forests.

Sounds

Hebden

image from property 911868

During summer, the UK coastline is full to the brim with sun seekers trying to catch the rays as well as being a popular choice for family holidays. This mixed with potential fairground rides and other activities can make the beach quite a loud location! If a bit of a quieter getaway is what you’re after then perhaps a lake location is the way to go. With holidaymakers much more spread out in comparison to how they would be on a beach, lakes are noticeably quieter but if you like a little hustle and bustle the beach may be more your scene.

Things To Do

Boats

image from property 906039

The glory of beach and lake locations is that both play host to a variety of things to do! If you’re feeling adventurous on the beach then you could try out coasteering or surfing. For a less wild day, you could build a sandcastle or search for fossils. If you fancy a chilled out day beside a lake you could go fishing or for a walk in the countryside. Alternatively, when feeling adventurous on a lake holiday you could head for the trees to partake in a Go Ape course or have a go at climbing or abseiling. The possibilities really are endless for both locations and whichever way you feel like spending your day you will be stuck for choice!

You really could go on comparing lakes and beaches forever and never come to a conclusion on which is the best place to take a holiday. Both are popular destinations due to their beautiful scenery, choices of things to do and of course their locations!

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.

Our Favourite Holiday Reads

Friday, August 8th, 2014
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There is no better way to spend a relaxing holiday afternoon than getting fully engrossed in a good book. Whether you’re a fan of crime, non-fiction or a romantic tale, any and all genres are perfect for the beach! With the Sykes blog writers being a team of book lovers, we thought that we would share some of our favourite beach reads with you.

The Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThebigsleep

Jonathan

When it comes to ‘beach reads’, for me, it has to be crime fiction. In the space of a week, I can get through any number of these pacey page-turners, but one that stands out as particularly brilliant is Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. Short, sharp and home to one the coolest narrators ever penned (Phillip Marlowe), this complex yet hugely entertaining book is about as unputdownable as any beach read can be- enjoy!

warbreakerWarbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Nicole

Brandon Sanderson is a world class fantasy novelist, he is not only able to create complicated characters but also fully immerse you in that character’s world. He has a number of books which I love to read but Warbreaker makes the ideal beach read as it is a standalone novel. Warbreaker tells the story of two Idrian princesses, Vivenna and Siri. Vivenna is contracted to marry the God King of Hallandren and has been trained her whole life to be the perfect queen, however at the last moment her farther decided that Siri is to marry the God King in her place. The book follows both princesses as Siri is transported to Hallandren to marry the God King and Vivenna follows in hopes of saving her sister from her awful fate!

One Day by David Nichollsoneday

Charlotte

With a storyline that pulls you in and characters that you can’t help but like, One Day is an ideal beach read. The book has a unique style, with one chapter covering the same day of each year in the protagonists’ lives (the 15th July, which was the date that they met in 1988) for twenty years. Whether the characters are together or apart, successful or failing, there is at least one chapter of this novel that you can relate to. The style of the chapters is what makes it the ideal beach read, totally engrossing yet easy to put down and pick up if you fancy building a sandcastle!

TWHLBThe Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson

Leanne
Being my favourite author for her fantastic characters, well thought out stories and fantastic writing, my number one choice for a beach read is anything by Dorothy Koomson. I could happily re-read all of her books at any time of year, right from The Cupid Effect to The Flavours of Love. The Woman He Loved Before is an ideal beach read. It follows the story of Libby whom, unsure of whether her husband Jack has ever loved her, comes across diaries written by Jacks late first-wife Eve. Whilst she reads the diaries she uncovers some startling truths. The story is tense, moving and a real page turner.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de BerniéresCaptain Corelli's Mandolin

Louise

A mixture of history and romance, and comedy and tragedy, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is my idea of a perfect beach read. The story is set on the Greek island of Cephalonia (Kefalonia) and follows the story of the locals as Italian officers, including the charming Captain Antonio Corelli, are posted on the island as part of occupying forces. It offers a little bit of everything and is beautifully written, which makes it very hard to put down. I think that this is the most important quality for a good beach read as there are so many distractions to contend with when you’re on holiday!

Starter For Ten by David NichollsStarter For Ten by David Nicholls

Jamie

In my eyes an ideal beach read is one that is quite easy-going and therefore makes it easy to while away a couple of hours in the sun, and that’s why I’ve chosen David Nicholls’ Starter for Ten! Set back in the mid-eighties it tells the tale of Brian Jackson, a working class Essex boy, as he struggles his way through his first year at one of the country’s most prestigious universities. It’s an entertaining coming-of-age story full to the brim with laughs, as well as the odd cringe-worthy mishap that will leave you wanting to read page after page!

 

These are just some of our favourite beach reads, we’d love to know yours! Send us a tweet or leave us a note on facebook telling us what you’ll be reading on your summer holiday this year. For more inspiration of what book to pack when you head away, take a look at our holiday reads Pinterest board

All images for this blog post were taken from the Waterstones website.

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.

Sykes’ Seaside Activities

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
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Lets be honest, nothing says a summer holiday quite like a day at the beach. Whether it’s tucking into an ice cream, settling down with your favourite book or just catching some rays, it’s easy for us adults to while away a few hours not doing very much but for the kids things can get a bit boring. So we’ve put together a list of some classic seaside activities to keep them entertained!

Make a sandcastle

sandcastles

via. Flickr

In my eyes, nothing says an archetypal beach holiday quite like building a sandcastle. Whether it’s a one bucket job or something that wouldn’t be out of place on an episode of Grand Designs, I think near enough everybody has built themselves a sandcastle at one point in time. If the kids are planning on building big, remember to tell them to use the wet sand but not to get too close to the sea as you don’t want their handiwork to be swept away by a rogue wave!

Go rock-pooling

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Another thing that will be sure to keep the kids occupied is a spot of rock-pooling. This is best done at low tide to make sure that the rock pools will be exposed. All you need to take with you is a bucket, preferably a clear one so that you can see all of the critters that you catch and a small net. Be sure to fill the bucket up with water from the pool and be careful not to put more than one creature in the bucket at a time. You’ll have to be gentle with them and remember to take a few photos for the kids before putting them back into the rock pool when you’re done!

Have a Seaside Scavenger Hunt

Or you could take a walk down the beach with the little ones and see how many seashells you can find. If you time it right and the tide is on its way out, there should be plenty of beautiful shells scattered around. Whether you run a little competition to see who can find the most shells or the prettiest, or you just use them to decorate those painstakingly-built sandcastles, the kids will be sure to have a good time and they can even take them home as a little keepsake at the end of the day!

So there we have it, Sykes’ seaside activities, hopefully you’ll find it useful and the whole family will enjoy a little trip down to the beach. But don’t worry if you haven’t got anything organised, you can always take a look at our collection of coastal cottages where you’re sure to find one for you!

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.

Outdoor Activities for Children This Summer

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
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The summer holidays have just started and with over four weeks of summer activities to organise, keeping the kids entertained is no easy task! Here at Sykes Cottages, we want to help you out so have come up with a delightful selection of outdoor activities that your children are sure to love. The following activities are suitable for individuals or groups and have been selected to suit all budgets.

Lawn art

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Encourage your child’s inner artist this summer with a spot of lawn art; all you need is an old bed sheet, a few items to weigh the corners down and a selection of paints to create a giant floor canvas. Ideal for making colourful footprints children of all ages are sure to enjoy this activity.

Hopscotch

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Hopscotch is a classic British game which never fails to entertain children. Simple to set up, all you will require is a hard surface and a piece of chalk. You can have hours of fun creating funky hopscotch designs before getting a good dose of exercise as you jump from square to square.

Build a den

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Building a den this summer is not only a fantastic activity for the children but also a welcome hideaway to shelter sensitive skin from the sun. From blanket forts in the back garden to twiggy dens in the local woodlands, you can build a den almost anywhere from almost anything!

Treasure hunt

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Become part of Jake’s crew as you lead the children around the garden in search of gold doubloons on a “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” themed treasure hunt! Create a simple treasure map and hide small sweets or toys around the garden to create an exciting activity for children this summer.

Teddy Bears picnic

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

The iconic Teddy Bears picnic is a fantastic way to liven up the average lunch time this summer. Along with the usual afternoon treats, why not introduce a few new tastes? Children who normally dislike trying new things will feel more inclined to join in if Teddy is eating them too.

Garden camping

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Make the most of our crystal clear skies this summer with a garden camp out. Safe in the back yard, your children can enjoy sleeping under the stars, roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories as you keep a watchful eye from the comfort of the sofa!

If you decide to try out any of these activities then we would love to hear about it; you can connect with us via Facebook and Twitter, so please do not hesitate to share your summer fun with us!

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.