Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

World Book Day 2015: Properties for Bookworms

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
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Whether its right before bed, snuggled up in an arm chair or lounging in the sun, there is nothing like a good book! As you may know today is World Book Day, a day marked by over 100 countries around the world to celebrate books and reading. Whilst we can’t dress up to celebrate the day as we would have done as nippers* we can still appreciate the joy of books! So, if you are the kind of person who loves to find a new book to read when going on holiday then you’re in the right place, as we’re putting the spotlight on some of our properties with full bookshelves that you can delve into whilst you’re away.

*Although do read on if you would like to see what some members of the Sykes team would dress up as this World Book Day.

Properties Perfect For Bookworms

This wonderful property is located in Killarney, County Kerry and is located ideally for exploring all that the local area has to offer. Although, you will have to drag yourself away from all those books first!

This unique and quirky property is a book lover’s paradise, with three large bookshelves covering the walls in the living area and comfortable sofas so that you can really get stuck into one of those books!

With a wall full of books, you will be spoilt for choice of what to get stuck into during your stay at Manor Farmhouse! If the weather is sunny, why not take your book outside to lounge by the pool? Although, if it is a little chilly there is no need to worry, as you will be spoilt for choice of comfy places to sit indoors!

Our World Book Day Costumes

Whilst we can’t wear a costume for World Book Day, that hasn’t stopped us from wishing that we could! Bearing this in mind, I had a quick ask around the team to see what costumes they would be wearing today if we could turn back the clocks to when we were back in school. Nicole would dress up as the eccentric and well-dressed Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games Trilogy; Jamie would go for Captain Pugwash as he loved the books as a child; our king of suave Jonathan would be dressed up as Fantastic Mr Fox; Louise would go for the spellbinding Hermione Grainger; and I would go for The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland – what a nice excuse to drink copious amounts of tea!

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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.

Our top 10 responses to “What does the beach mean to you?”

Sunday, March 1st, 2015
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Last week, we were inspired by to ask what the beach means to you. Manonabeach has conducted over 988 interviews all around the UK, asking people this very question – you can read last week’s blog post all about manonabeach and his work by clicking here. This week, we’ve compiled a top ten of some the answers we received when we asked this question. The responses are from our customers on social media and also from members of staff here at Sykes. So sit back, relax and prepare to be transported to the beach…

“Peace, relaxing, makes me happy”

Beach in Scotland

Clachtoll, Scottish Highlands. Image via

“Sunny days lying in the sun and swimming in the sea…heaven”

Beach in Cornwall

Roseland, Cornwall. Image via

“Beautiful, tranquil – most of all, at peace”

Beach in Cornwall

Pendower, Cornwall. Image via

“Afternoons in the sun and plenty of happy memories”

Beach in Cornwall

Little Fistral, Cornwall. Image via


Beach in Cornwall

Great Lantic, Cornwall. Image via

“Beautiful and sunbathing”

Beach in Devon

Mill Bay, Devon. Image via

“Peace and nostalgia; the beach is timeless”

Beach in Cornwall

Godrevy, Cornwall. Image via

“Durdle Door, happy holiday and Dave’s first boat”

Beach in Dorset

Durdle Door, Dorset. Image via

“Childhood memories, playing in the rock pools with my little sister”

Beach in Cornwall

Falmouth, Cornwall. Image via

“To me, the beach means freedom, relaxation, fun and beauty”

Beach in Dorset

Ringstead Bay, Dorset. Image via

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this blog post. We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing what the beach means to some of the Sykes Cottages staff and customers and we hope that we’ve inspired you to head to the beach in the not too distant future!

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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.

3 Thatched Roof Holiday Homes You’ll Love

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
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If you were asked to draw a typical English cottage, your sketch wouldn’t be complete without a characterful thatched roof. This timeless roofing technique has been used in the UK for centuries, yet its popularity has never wavered. Today, thatch is experiencing a sort of resurgence, with many choosing it for its aesthetic and ecological value. Thatched roof cottages are limited at Sykes Cottages, but we’re proud of the handful we do have; so proud in fact, that we’ve dedicated a whole blog to them. So without further ado, here’s three charming, chocolate-box thatches that’ll you’ll absolutely love.

Little Thatch

Cerne Abbas, Dorset

Feast your eyes on Little Thatch, an uber quaint and ever-so-cosy thatched roof cottage in Dorset. Built in 1813, Little Thatch is Grade II listed, with an assortment of original features harking back to days gone by; think oak beams, exposed brickwork and ludicrously low ceilings. Despite its age, the cottage contains plenty of home comforts, and has space enough for up to three guests. The village of Cerne Abbas was once voted Britain’s most desirable village, so it’s the perfect setting for this irrefutably charming holiday home.

Manor Farmhouse

Milstead, South of England

Our thatched roof cottages don’t come much more luxurious than Manor Farmhouse. First built in the 15th century, this impressive Tudor house features an original oak frame and white washed façade, all topped off with a good helping of thatch. The house is part of a complex of three individual holiday homes set around a courtyard, and together they accommodate up to eighteen guests. With a myriad of original features including inglenooks, log burners and an authentic country kitchen, this is one characterful country cottage you can’t afford to miss.

Vineyard Cottage

Winkleigh, Devon

Vineyard Cottage forms part of what is arguably the prettiest row of terrace houses in the country, tucked away in the leafy Devonshire countryside, just a few miles from the romantic heaths of Dartmoor. The cottage offers a cosy, pastoral bolthole for up to five guests and is postcard handsome; from its whitewashed walls to its toffee hued thatch, it begs to be photographed. Indoors, things are just as charming. The tall will need to mind their heads as they navigate the cottage’s tastefully furnished rooms, each of which reveals a glimmer of the property’s past.

Rent a thatched roof holiday cottage with Sykes

Our choice of thatched roof cottages may be small, but it’s perfectly formed – much like the properties themselves. In fact, their exclusivity makes them all the more special. If you’d like this year’s holiday accommodation to be a little out of the ordinary, browse our range of thatched roof holiday rentals today.

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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.

Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year in the UK

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
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Tomorrow marks the beginning of a New Year on the Chinese calendar, a year that promises peace and tranquillity according to the Chinese zodiac. 2015 is the Year of the Ram, also known as the Year of the Sheep or the Goat, and during the coming week the UK will play host to a number of special events dedicated to welcoming in the New Year.  If you would like to attend one of these spectacular events then keep reading as we suggest the best places to celebrate Chinese New Year in the UK!


Liverpool’s China Town was the first established in Europe and is home to the largest Chinese arch in the world outside of China, so it should come as no surprise that this lively destination makes it to the top of our list. Visit Liverpool’s China Town this Sunday (February 22nd) and you will be treated to a Chinese New Year Market, Dragon and Lion Street Parades and an incredible Fireworks display.


Not one to be outdone, England’s capital city holds the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia. From tomorrow until Saturday, the streets of London will be brought to life as Chinese dragons make their way through the streets and lanterns are hung from shop windows and trees. The best locations to see the displays are Trafalgar Square, China Town & Shaftsbury Avenue.


This year is the 10th anniversary of the University of Nottingham’s China campus in Ningbo, and to celebrate the occasion they’ve planned an extra special programme of events. Visit the university this year on Sunday 22nd and you’ll find Chinese crafts and workshops, brush painting, ribbon and fan dances, traditional story telling from China and much more! The day’s celebrations will end with a highly anticipated fireworks display at Highfields Park.


The Chinese Association of Southampton will be putting on a fantastic display to celebrate Chinese New Year on Sunday 22nd in the West Quay Shopping Centre. Their expertly put together programme includes a lion dance, traditional Chinese dancing, Chinese folk songs, ancient art of face changing, Chinese music recitals, Kung Fu display, and a historical costume show. The whole thing kicks off at 11 a.m. so make sure you get there early and beat the crowds!

If you know of any Chinese celebrations happening near you then be sure to let us know! You can share your images from the day with us on Facebook & Twitter.

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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.

What Does the Beach Mean to You?

Sunday, February 15th, 2015
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What does the beach mean to you? It’s a simple question but one that requires a bit of thought. The beach means many things to many people and different things to each person during different periods of their life. This is the question that manonabeach tries to answer.

Beach in Suffolk

Walberswick, Suffolk. Image via

What is manonabeach?

Manonabeach is a website dedicated to exploring and celebrating the beaches of the UK, and the significance of them to the people that visit them. It began in December 2011, starting with just Cornwall and has now gone national, covering many other areas of the UK including Devon, Norfolk, Aberdeenshire and Pembrokeshire. Manonabeach’s objective is to bring the beach to you; whether you’re 1 mile or 100 miles from the coast, you can bring the beach to life on your screen and enjoy the emotions of being there, even when you can’t be. He does this by conducting short interviews with beach-goers, filming short clips and taking pictures of the scene. Every season, he attempts to return to each region to film and take photographs so that visitors to the site can build a picture of beach life throughout the year, not just in the summer months.  What makes manonabeach interesting is his anonymity, which makes it feel like the beach-goers are talking directly to you as a viewer. There are now over 2,000 films on the website and over 988 interviews in which beach-goers are asked the question, ‘What does the beach mean to you?’

Beach in Dorset

Durdle Door, Dorset. Image via

What are his findings?

Manonabeach has had hundreds of different responses during his interviews, with the top 5 recurring themes as follows:

  1. Childhood
  2. Beauty
  3. Dog walking
  4. Family
  5. Livelihood
Beach in Angus

Lunan Bay, Angus. Image via

It’s clear from his findings that the beach has many different effects on its visitors. Many people felt an emotional connection to the beach and could recall happy memories and days spent there with friends and family, while others just enjoyed being near the sea. Interestingly, over 26% of the site’s visitors are from London suggesting that many see the website as an escape from the busy city and an opportunity to enjoy a flavour of the beach every now and then. Some respondents felt that to them, the beach meant freedom – the wide, open spaces and peaceful nature appeals to them when they want some calm or tranquillity. In contrast to this, lots of the people he asked saw the beach as a place for activities; dog-walking, swimming, fishing and walking were some of the most common answers. For others, the beach was their livelihood and connoted routine and economic benefit.

Beach in East Sussex

Birling Gap, East Sussex. Image via

What does the beach mean to Sykes Cottages’ customers?

So what we want to know, is what does the beach mean to Sykes Cottages’ customers? You can let us know either by sending us a tweet or by leaving a comment on our Facebook page. We’re conducting our own mini manonabeach project and will be compiling some of the answers into a blog post next week so keep your eyes peeled!

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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.