Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

Unleash your Inner Artist At a Sykes Cottage

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015
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Whether your tool of choice is a pencil, paintbrush or an oil pastel, even the most creative of artists gets a little uninspired every now and again. When you’re a little lacking in inspiration it can be a great idea to move yourself away from the norm and get a change of scene, which is why we think heading on a cottage holiday can be the ideal way to get those creative juices flowing again!

Whilst we think all of our properties are picture perfect, we’ve had a bit of a scour through and have found five properties that are all perfect for unleashing your inner artist. Whether you fancy getting involved in a bit of landscape painting, still life sketching or even nature sculpting, read on to see our suggestions of which of our properties may be ideal for your creative needs.

Best for Still Life

The Gatehouse

To inspire your still life art, you want a stunning property that is full of textures, bold colours and knick-knacks.  A property such as The Gatehouse with its unique décor and style is the perfect place to paint some still life.

Best for Lakeside Landscapes

Lovely Lake Image - Juniper Hayloft View

If you want to paint a watery scene, there is no better place to head than the Lake District. The stunning nature in the area inspired William Wordsworth and it can certainly inspire the budding artist in you, too. In a property like Juniper Hayloft you certainly won’t be far from stunning views like the above image.

Best for Cityscapes

Across the UK and Ireland we’re hugely lucky to never be too far from some of the greatest cities in the world! Cities are a mecca of inspiration for any artist; whether it’s the traffic, the hustle and bustle, the lights, the stunning architecture or even a city art gallery. For cityscape inspiration, a property such as Bath Garden Rooms, located in the historic city of Bath, is ideal.

Best for Countryside

Beesoni Lodge

Wherever you choose to go on your cottage holiday, you are sure not to be too far from the rolling hills and beautiful nature that this lovely isle of ours has to offer. If Beesoni Lodge doesn’t give you all of the inspiration that you need to create your next masterpiece, its location within stunning countryside certainly will.

Best for Property Painting

The thatch

With its thatched roof, colourful garden and interesting shape, The Thatch is a stunning property to paint or sketch. Whether you catch it on beautiful sunny day, or one where the weather is a little more typically British, a sketch of this attractive property will always be postcard perfect.

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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.

Book a cottage with a vegetable patch this spring!

Saturday, March 21st, 2015
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Picture this: a cosy cottage in the countryside, a pretty garden with its own vegetable patch, and a charming country kitchen to prepare meals from your freshly picked veggies. It’s a dream-like scenario that many of us will have entertained at some point but with our holiday cottages with vegetable patches, it can become a reality – if only for a week or two! We’ve selected a few of our lovely rural cottages which boast their own veggie gardens to whet your appetite.

School House, Pembrokeshire

Holiday cottage with vegetable patch

School House, Pembrokeshire, Ref. 918918

This beautiful stone cottage in the peaceful Welsh village of Spittal is the epitome of a relaxing countryside getaway; there’s a friendly pub opposite to the cottage, delightful walks from the doorstep and a village green next door. School House prides itself on being eco-friendly with green technology to heat the property and solar panels for electricity. Guests can also enjoy picking herbs, fruit and vegetables from the cottage’s plentiful veggie plot when in season.

Stables Cottage, Devon

Holiday cottage with vegetable patch

Stables Cottage, Devon, Ref. 911946

Stables Cottage is a cosy barn conversion on a working arable farm and is the ideal Devon bolthole for a couple or small family. This four star cottage is pet-friendly and offers a warming woodburning stove in the living area, beautiful countryside views and a large, enclosed garden for your dogs to run around in. The friendly farm owners are also happy to let guests collect freshly-laid eggs and home-grown vegetables for their own use from the farm gardens.

The Granary, Scottish Borders

Holiday cottage with vegetable patch

The Granary, Scottish Borders, Ref. 17400

The Granary is the perfect place for a rural retreat this spring, nestled in the Scottish hills with panoramic views over the nearby town of Jedburgh and the surrounding countryside. The well-stocked vegetable patch is not the only highlight of this stunning property, which also boasts a Jacuzzi bath, games consoles including Playstation 2 and Nintendo Wii, and a sprawling garden from which you can enjoy the beautiful views with a glass of wine!

Dessie’s Cottage, County Cork

Holiday cottage with vegetable patch

Dessie’s Cottage, County Cork, Ref. 4241

A traditional Irish cottage in a stunning rural setting, Dessie’s Cottage is a wonderful retreat surrounded by open countryside, with distant mountain views. As well as boasting its own vegetable garden from which guests can eat, this cottage also affords characterful period features including exposed beams and tiled floors, an open fire and a pretty lawned garden.

Book a holiday cottage with a vegetable patch

Holiday cottage with vegetable patch

Shortmead Cottage, Bedfordshire, Ref. 23362

At Sykes Cottages, we have lots of lovely cottages where you can pick your own veggies so if you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, head to our website or give our reservations team a call on 01244 356 695 – they’re here from 9.00am until 9.30pm 7 days a week.

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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.

Step to it: 10 of Britain’s best spring walks

Friday, March 20th, 2015
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Feared walking through the winter? You’ve no excuse but to don the booties and take a hike now spring has arrived. With cheerier temperatures and the sun’s overdue comeback, spring is the perfect time to dust down your wayfaring kit and get and about once more.

To stir you from inertia, we’ve assembled ten of the best spring walks across the UK and Ireland. So what are you waiting for? Lace-up those boots, craft the perfect curbside buttie and get set for an invigorating springtime walk. Oh, and don’t forget the pac-a-mac.

The Quiraing, Isle of Skye

Partial to a hill walk? Test those winter weary thighs with a bracing saunter around the Quiraing; a theatrical series of hillocks on the Isle of Skye. The Quiraing features a number of serrated rock spurs that rise vertically out of emerald grassland, making for a breath-catching backdrop to an invigorating Scotch walk.

Download a comprehensive map and route for this walk.

Tennyson Down, Isle of Wight

Tennyson Down by Tame Allen is licensed under CC 2.0

Tennyson Down by Tame Allen is licensed under CC 2.0

Taking its name from bearded Victorian bard, Alfred Lord Tennyson, the Needles Headland and Tennyson Down is the prettiest spot for a walk on the Isle of Wight. This majestic chalk bluff is topped with lush, buttercup laden grasslands, and the ebb of the Solent is never out of view. Take a walk at sunset if you want to be properly wooed.

Download a comprehensive map and route for this walk.

Looe, Talland & the Giant’s Hedge, Cornwall

Hulking great hedges perked your interest? Sorry to disappoint, but this particular Giant’s Hedge is actually just a big old earthwork – damn. Regardless, this wooded wander along the banks of the West Looe River is a top spot for a springtime stroll. Mixing beaches, woodland and wildlife, this is one for the little’uns.

Download a comprehensive map and route for this walk.

Upper Wharfedale Wildlife Walk, Yorkshire Dales

Upper Wharfedale by John Sargant is licensed under CC 2.0

Upper Wharfedale by John Sargant is licensed under CC 2.0

Ah the Dales, darling of long legged fell walkers the world over. But fear not average Joe, for this glorious wilderness offers easy walking too; take the Upper Wharfedale Wildlife Walk, for example. This six to nine mile walk is classified as “moderate”, so while it’s by no means a walk in the park, it shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge for amateur weekend hikers.

Download a comprehensive map and route for this walk.

Kilham Hill Trail, Northumberland

One route better suited to the seasoned billy goat is the Kilham Hill Trail, a 3.5 mile circular trail summiting Northumberland’s Kilham Hill. Despite the meagre distance, the Kilham Hill Trail gains its challenging classification from its steep climbs and daunting descents. Those bold enough to tackle the walk will be rewarded with goose bump inducing views over the Northumberland National Park.

Download a comprehensive map and route for this walk.

Torc Mountain Walking Route, County Kerry

With a name like Torc Mountain, hikers might assume they’ll be joined by a band of Shire folk on their way to the summit. But this is Ireland, and there be no dragons or Mordor nasties here – just great views and leg-cramping ascents. There’s a number of waymarked trails to the top, but our favourite is a 2.5 hr, easy going jaunt offering majestic views over the Killarney National Park.

Download a comprehensive map and route for this walk.

Paston way – Cromer to Southrepps, Norfolk

Cromer by David Allan is licensed under CC 2.0

Cromer by David Allan is licensed under CC 2.0

Norfolk’s flat, and flat is good – for those that don’t want to break a sweat, that is. Regardless of this lack of gradient, Norfolk racks up the pretty points along its coast. From timeless resorts to deserted dunes, this Anglian county boasts one of England’s loveliest seaboards. The Paston Way offers the best of coast and country – try the Cromer to Southrepps stretch.

Download a comprehensive map and route for this walk.

Holyhead Mountain, Anglesey

Sunlit Stacks by Kris Williams is licensed under CC 2.0

Sunlit Stacks by Kris Williams is licensed under CC 2.0

Feeling lethargic? Sluggish? Altogether lazy? Give yourself a slap round the chops with an invigorating mooch to the top of Holyhead Mountain. This 5 mile walk features over 300m of ascent, so prepare for aches and pains the morning after. Those up to the challenge will enjoy views of the iconic South Stack Lighthouse, not to mention a 360-degree panorama over much of Anglesey.

Download a comprehensive map and route for this walk.

Scafell Pike, Lake District

Stock up on bragging rights this weekend by summiting Scafell Pike, the biggest and best mountain in England. At 978 metres, Scafell makes a mockery of England’s wannabe mountains, and offers views stretching from Scotland to the Isle of Man. Despite the height, Scafell is reasonably accessible, but don’t tell your colleagues that; come break time Monday, they’ll be bowled over by your triumphant feat of human endeavour. Trust us.

Download a comprehensive map and route for this walk.

Matlock Bath, High Tor and Heights of Abraham, Peak District

The Peak District, like the Yorkshire Dales, is among an elite group of counties favoured by serious walkers – but what routes are there for the rest of us? One such trail is the Matlock Bath circular, a five mile tour of deciduous woodlands, lofty peaks and charming townships. The terrain offers a good ascent to descent ratio, making the route a fair challenge for the untested daytripper.

Download a comprehensive map and route for this walk.

Book a self-catering walking holiday with Sykes Cottages

Spring Walks 11

Ready to hit spring where it hurts? Then why not rent a cottage for an invigorating walking break? We’ve got loads of holiday rentals that would be perfect for a walking holiday, from log cabins in Scotland to coastal cottages in Norfolk. Plus, we’re currently offering discounts of up to 25% in the Sykes Spring Sale, so there’s never been a better time to strap on the walking boots.

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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.

UK Adrenaline Rushes To Put A Spring In Your Step

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
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For many of us, a quiet holiday spent relaxing on the sands or walking the hills is just what the doctor ordered, but for others the simple things just don’t cut it. These adrenaline junkies need something more; something that will push them to the edge and satisfy their need for adventure. If you’re an active soul who’s expecting more from your family holiday this year then keep reading as we list the UK’s best adrenaline filled activities.

Bounce Below

As the first of its kind, Bounce Below allows you to jump, climb and slide along giant trampolines, tunnels, slides and walkways all suspended in an underground slate cavern in North Wales. Fast becoming one of Wales’s top attractions, Bounce Below is a must for anyone holidaying in the area, and now with the addition of Junior Bounce the whole family can get involved!

Sky Diving

Here at Sykes Cottages, we’re always telling you how beautiful the UK is. From the coast to the country, we encourage our customers to see all that they can. Well, what better way to see what the UK has to offer than from the air? When Sky Diving you can achieve a bird’s eye view of the UK whilst diving head first towards it; the thrill is unbeatable and you’re sure to make lasting memories.

Go Ape

Go Ape is one of the nation’s favourite family days out, with kids as young as 10 being able to swing from the canopy on a tree top adventure. Go Ape have over 25 of these tree top adventures located throughout the UK, so no matter where you are you’ll be able to let loose and connect with your inner Tarzan.

Car Racing

Fancy going from 0-60mph in less than five seconds? If so then you should head down to Silverstone race track where you can take out one of their two formula Silverstone racing cars for a lap around the world-famous Stowe circuit. This experience day is not for the faint-hearted, but those willing to give it a go will be well rewarded with speed, adrenaline and a stylish windswept hairstyle!

White Water Rafting


Image provided by Charlotte

Wales is possibly the best place in the UK for white water rafting; an ideal activity for nature lovers who love to feel an adrenaline high. Whether you’re new to this activity or a seasoned expert, there is something to suit all skill levels in Wales. Explore the River Teifi in Carmarthenshire and take in the spectacular scenery, or experience the rapids at Afon Tryweryn.

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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.

The Best of Sykes’ Spring Sale

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
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The Sykes Cottages Spring Sale is now in full bloom with over 900 properties offering discounts of up to 25%. These reduced spring weeks are booking up fast so to make sure you don’t miss out head on over to our Spring Sale page straight away! If you’re still not sure whether or not to take advantage of this fantastic offer then keep reading and let us convince you with a selection of some of the best cottages in this year’s sale.

The High Field

Cahersiveen, County Kerry

As one of the larger properties in this year’s spring sale, The High Field is ideal for a large group or family holiday. Inside the property you will find spacious, modern accommodation with room enough for 11 people, whilst outside there is plenty of parking, a lovely patio and spectacular views across the bay to Valentia Island.

Y Cartws

Newport, Wales

Nestled in the Welsh countryside, Y Cartws is a fantastic holiday home for anyone who enjoys walking. Located on a family-run working farm, this cottage has wonderful walks right from the doorstep, or if you really want to stretch your legs then make your way down to the nearby coastal town of Newport and join the famous Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

Lunedale Cottage

Mickleton near Middleton-in-Teesdale, Yorkshire Dales

If you’re looking to get away from it all this spring and just relax then Lunedale Cottage is for you. This charming stone-built cottage is quietly located just one mile from the rural village of Mickleton-in-Teesdale and boasts incredible views of the surrounding countryside. Inside the cottage you’ll find two double bedrooms and an open plan living area complete with woodburner.

The Farmhouse

Coverack near Helston, Cornwall      

The Farmhouse is a wonderful semi-detached cottage located in one of Cornwall’s finest areas. This property has everything you would need for the perfect spring getaway; with tons of character, comfortable decor and a large garden for observing wildlife, we would suggest a stay at The Farmhouse to just about everyone!

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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.