Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

Days Out With Toddlers

Saturday, September 6th, 2014
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Now that the older children have gone back to school and the chaos of the summer holidays is at an end, it’s time to start planning days out with the younger children. The weather may be slightly chillier but there is still plenty of fun to be had for parents and toddlers this season but if you’re struggling to find suitable activities for your energetic preschoolers then keep reading as we suggest some of our favourite places to visit when on a day out with a toddler.


Beautiful stained glass windows at Anglesey Sea Zoo

Beautiful stained glass windows at Anglesey Sea Zoo

There are a number of aquariums located throughout the UK and Ireland each offering a unique view of life under the sea. Your little ones will love strolling around the exhibits, discovering new creatures and even learning a thing or two about the wonders of the deep blue.

Indoor Play Centres

Monster Mania in Falkirck

Monster Mania in Falkirck

With the chilly weather setting in and the regular showers determined to dampen our days out, why not head inside to a warm and dry indoor play centre? Children love running around these imaginative centres and it’s a great way to keep your toddlers active and well exercised!

Public Library

For a day out with a difference we would suggest a visit to your local library. The relaxing atmosphere at the public library is ideal for a little down time where your little one can have hours of fun flicking through the picture books and you could even get a little reading done too.

Petting Zoo

One of the best things about petting zoos is that children can get really stuck in! Spend the afternoon petting the sheep and rabbits as well as learning all about the different animals on the farm and of course the noises they make- oink oink!

Gardens and Parks

Children love to be outside and come rain or shine an afternoon spent exploring the outside world is one of their favourite pass times.  We love a relaxing walk to the local park and if we’re feeling a little more adventurous then a visit to the local botanic garden is a real treat.

I hope this blog post has offered some inspiration to you and your little one. We would love to know what days out you are planning with your toddler this year so please don’t hesitate to get in-touch and let us know via our Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus account.


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.

Wild Swimming: Top Spots For An Alfresco Dip

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
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Swimming pools, who needs ‘em. Chilly, chlorine clogged water. Screaming kids, stealthily ‘bombing’ the deep end. The old chap, who spends his towelling off time in the nud. Not to mention the price, which seems to go up year on year (I’m sure it used to cost 50p?)

Sadly, if you’re into your swimming, there’s no other option but to use the public baths. Or is there?

During my time as a writer in the world of UK holidays, I’ve come to realise that us Brits are pretty wild when it comes to swimming. What with the plucky few who race in the waters of Windermere, to the Irish who spend Boxing Day paddling in the Atlantic, it seems we’re a nation who aren’t afraid to get wet, however cold it may be.

With this in mind, we’ve come up with five places around Britain that are perfect for wild swimming. Naturally, this ‘sport’ isn’t for everyone, and we’d advise those who aren’t fans of getting wet and cold to remain firmly on dry land.

River Trent, Derbyshire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

A river may not sound the safest place to take an alfresco dip, and rightly so. But choose your spot wisely and there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a leisurely swim. The River Trent in Derbyshire is famed for its safe ‘lagoons’, which offer a tranquil place to plunge- even for little’uns. Sure, the water will be cold, but it’ll be fresh too. Plus, it’ll be quiet, so quiet in fact that 6th century hermits and saints used to inhabit the nearby rocky grottoes to avoid being seen by unsavoury types, perfect if you forgot your swimwear…

Kailpot Crag, Lake District

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Ullswater may be one of the most popular lakes in the Lake District, but stay clear of the tourist haunts and undiscovered corners remain, including Kailpot Crag. Characterised by its ancient, gnarly foliage, this west-facing outcrop has the makings of a great swimming spot, including a small cliff for fright-free diving. There’s a petite shingle beach too that’s ideal for drying off, and that westerly aspect means you can enjoy the sunset if you wish. The easiest way to access the crag is via a ferry which docks at Howton.

Loch Caoldair, Western Cairngorms

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Bring a wetsuit and thermals if you plan on swimming wild in Scotland because take it from us, it’ll be pretty chilly. Don’t let that put you off though as, thanks to Scotland’s liberal open access laws, you’re allowed to swim in pretty much all of the country’s thousands of lochs. One of our favourites is Loch Caoldair, a tree lined waterway tucked in the western Cairngorms. Home to deep, black water and a lovely wee beach, Caoldair is ideal for an invigorating swim. What’s more, the loch is only a mile from the road, so you won’t have to hike far to enjoy a quick dip.

Lower Ddwli Falls, Brecon Beacons

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Hidden in the south-west hills of the Brecon Beacons lies Waterfall Woods, an enchanting blend of natural pools and ancient woodland; prime territory for open-air swimming enthusiasts. Whilst photographers flock to the Sgws Gwladys- aka Lady Falls- intrepid bathers should make for the Ddwli Falls, where a huge, deep pool and powerful waterfall await. Revitalise in the spray, keeping your eye on the treeline for fleeting rainbows, or head downstream to horseshoe falls to make use of the jump and rope swing.

River Stour, Kent

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Those that have visited Kent’s River Stour may consider this an odd addition, but bear with me. Setting out from the town of Fordwich-reputed to be England’s smallest town- will bring you to an exposed stretch of the Stour, but keep going, and things soon become more secluded. Awash with wildlife and containing a relatively weak current, this river is ideal for a relaxing paddle on a sunny afternoon. The calmest stretch of the river is located beyond the reeds of Stodmarsh nature reserve, easily accessible by canoe.

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.

Some of the UK’s Top Road Trips

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014
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Here at Sykes we love a good road trip.  Once you’ve gone through all the hassle of packing the car up, making sure that nothing has been left behind and of course sorting out some snacks for the journey there’s nothing better than finally hitting the open road. In fact you might have noticed that recently we did a round-up of some of the most scenic drives in the United Kingdom. Well whilst we were having a good old think about some of our favourite spots we stumbled across an infographic put together by ATS Euromaster on some of the UK’s best roadtrips. We thought that some of the drives looked fantastic, with stunning scenery and some brilliant stop off points along the way and so we decided to pick out a few of our favourites to share with you!

Caernarfon – Port Meirion

caernarfon - portmeirion

Caernarfon to Portmeirion – 46.3 miles

The first of the drives takes in some of the best views that North Wales has to offer. Starting outside the walls of Caernarfon Castle, the route takes you to Snowdon, the highest peak of the Snowdonia National Park. You’ll then find yourself cruising along to Portmeirion, where you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were on a road trip through the Italian Riviera rather than the Llyn Peninsula. Then, after a refuel in one of Portmeirion’s cafes, you head along to the rather ominously named Hell’s Mouth, otherwise known as Porth Neigwl, a haven for all of the surfers out there.

Glencoe – Inverness

glencoe - inverness

Glencoe to Inverness – 106 miles

For the second drive, we’ll be heading north of the border. Starting at the dramatic Glencoe, which you may recognise from either the Harry Potter films or the most recent instalment of the Bond franchise, Skyfall, where it featured as the childhood home of everybody’s favourite superspy. From there you’ll pop up to the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis, before heading on to Fort William. The final leg will take you to the home of one of Scotland’s more famous, albeit lesser spotted attractions, Nessie!

Kings Lynn – Cromer

kings lynn - cromer

Kings Lynn to Cromer – 54.3 miles

The last of our favourites leads you along the beautiful North Norfolk coastline, one of the most picturesque sections of coast in the country. Starting down at Kings Lynn you’ll find yourself heading over towards the pristine sands of Brancaster before moving on to Wells-next-the-Sea which is well known for its countless colourful beach huts. You’ll finally find yourself down at the Holkham National Nature, an eleven mile long stretch of protected coastline that serves as a home for many of the UK’s endangered species.

Hopefully you enjoyed having a read of that, and found it as interesting as we did, but if you want to see a little more you can find the full infographic here with some more brilliant road trips. And if you fancy having a stop off at the end of your road trip make sure that you check out our selection of holiday cottages, they’re perfect for kicking back and relaxing after a long day behind the wheel.

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.

Why our holiday homes are ideal for the elderly

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
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Today in the United States, communities are coming together to celebrate Senior Citizens Day, a national event which honours the country’s elderly population. Established in 1988 by then President Ronald Reagan, the day encourages people to spend time with elderly relatives and show appreciation for the value and contribution that they have made.

Not wanting to miss out on this worthwhile event, we’ve hopped on the American bandwagon and come up with five reasons why our cottage holidays are ideal for elderly holidaymakers.

Reason 1: Choice

With over 5,000 holiday cottages to rent from coast to country throughout the UK and Ireland, the choice really is yours. Travelling with friends? Then try one of our large cottages, whose roomy interiors provide space and comfort for any party size. Or, perhaps you’re ferrying the grandkids away for a long weekend away? If so, our holiday cottages on working farms are sure to keep everyone entertained. Alternatively, if it’s just the two of you, our cottages for two provide an affordable base for a holiday without compromising on comfort.

Reason 2: Locations

Thanks to our vast array of holiday homes, we’re able to offer cottage holidays in virtually every nook and cranny of the UK, giving you an amazing choice of locations to choose from. Seaside breaks remain a popular choice, and we offer cottages to rent near many of the country’s most popular coastal resorts, including Great Yarmouth, Bridlington and Whitby. Country escapes are very popular too, particularly in areas like the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, where we offer over 1,000 self-catering holiday cottages to rent.

Reason 3: Facilities

As a rule, self-catering holiday homes offer an extra level of comfort that you simply wouldn’t find in a hotel, and often provide a better range of facilities that can potentially make them more suitable for elderly or disabled guests. Here at Sykes Cottages, we offer a good selection of holiday cottages that are equipped with facilities that may make them suitable for guests who are less mobile, including features like ground floor bedrooms, wet rooms and access ramps. If you’d like to find out more about our range of accommodation for less mobile or disabled guests, please visit our disabled friendly properties page or contact us on 01244 356695.

Reason 4: On your doorstep

For some people, one of the many factors which could prevent them from going on holiday after reaching a certain age is travelling. Thankfully, due to our impressive range of holiday homes, you don’t need to travel far to get away from it all. If you’re not one for a long car, rail or bus journey, simply search for a holiday home in your area. Our cottages are dotted across the length and breadth of Britain, so there’s sure to be one not far away. Whether you want to travel twenty five miles or two-hundred, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy a UK holiday.

Reason 5: Affordability

If you fancy a holiday but are worried about breaking the bank, don’t fret, because you can enjoy a self-catering cottage holiday in the UK for a lot less than you might think. With prices starting from just £124 for a 7 night break, it won’t cost you the earth to experience the joy of a UK holiday. What’s more, we also offer several great short break discounts, so if you’d prefer to travel for just 3 or 4 nights, you could get a great discount off the total price of your holiday. To find out more about the eligibility of our short break discounts, click here.

So there you have it, five reasons why our self-catering cottages make a great base for a holiday no matter what your age. If you’d like more information on our cottage holidays, or would like us to send you a free brochure, please contact us on 01244 356695 and our friendly and helpful reservations department will be happy to help.


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.

Spotlight on Our New Coastal Cottages

Monday, August 18th, 2014
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As summer gets into full swing, here at Sykes Cottages, we’re spending our days dreaming of lying on the beach in Cornwall, eating ice cream by the tonne on the North Yorkshire Coast and making sandcastles in Suffolk. To aid us in our British seaside daydreams, we’re taking a look at some of the fantastic new coastal cottages that have come on board with us recently; but we must warn you, it might make you want to grab your bucket and spade and book a holiday as soon as possible!

4 Croft House, Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Holiday cottage in Tenby

4 Croft House, Tenby, Ref. 913260

This delightful property in the South Wales seaside town of Tenby is just one minutes’ walk from the beach.  4 Croft House is a spacious self-catering apartment in a Georgian terrace, offering two bedrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows and WiFi. However, the real jewel in the crown of this property is the shared terraced garden located just across the road. This picturesque terrace is the perfect place to watch the sun go down and boasts one of the best views in the UK. The garden offers unrivalled views of Tenby Harbour, North Beach and Harbour Beach, which was recently voted the best beach in Europe.

Seashell Cottage, Amble-by-the-Sea, Northumberland

Holiday cottage in Amble-on-the-Sea

Seashell Cottage, Amble-by-the-Sea, Ref. 31213

Seashell Cottage is located in the picturesque fishing port of Amble, just 400 yards from the shore. This cute cottage has a quirky style and sleeps 4 people in 2 bedrooms. It boasts all the modern conveniences you could need as well as more traditional features such as an open fire and rear yard with alfresco dining area. The surrounding area is home to some wonderful beaches, restaurants and pubs where you can while away the hours on your Northumberland holiday.

The View of the Atlantic, Knightstown, County Kerry

Holiday cottage in Knightstown

The View Of The Atlantic, Knightstown, Ref. 912674

How about The View of the Atlantic for a holiday home with a view? The views from the balcony at this property look across the Atlantic towards Cahersiveen and are truly incredible. If you can tear yourself away from the balcony for long enough, then this duplex apartment is the perfect base for those who want to explore Valentia Island. The island is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Ireland and a real hidden gem with plenty of walking opportunities and the awe-inspiring Fogher Cliffs.

If you’d like to take a look at more of the latest editions to the Sykes Cottages portfolio then you can visit the new cottages page on our website; or visit our coastal cottages page to find more holiday cottages by the sea.

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.