Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

UK Wetlands In Pictures

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
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On today’s blog, we’re celebrating World Wetland Day, a fantastic event that celebrates the signing of the conservation of wetlands. The UK boasts a fantastic selection of wetlands, all of which make for a wonderful day out whatever the weather. In celebration of this special day, we’ve pulled together a selection of pictures from our favourite UK wetlands to show you just how wonderful British wetlands can be!

Whooper swan landing on the water amoungst ducks at the Slimbridge WWT

Bewick in Flight” taken by Jacob Spinks at Slimbridge WWT – CC 2.0

Close up of a Red Crested Pochard on the water at the Slimbridge WWT

Red-Crested Pochard” taken by Lauren Tucker at the Slimbridge WWT – CC 2.0

Water Volve washing in the water at Welney WWT

Water Vole” taken by Tony Court at Welney WWT – CC 2.0

Two white faced whistling duck walking along the pavement by some greenery at Arundel WWT

white faced whistling duck” taken by Jason Thompson at Arundel WWT – CC 2.0

13 swans swimming upriver near Shapwick Church in Somerset

Swans upriver” taken by Jim Champion near Shapwick Church in Somerset – CC 2.0

Close up of a crane at the Slimbridge WWT

Mr Crane” taken by Richard Cocks at Slimbridge WWT – CC 2.0

Five Ruddy shellducks chicks playing at the waters edge at Martin Mere WWT

Ruddy shellducks chicks” taken by distillated at Martin Mere WWT – CC 2.0

Wetlands at Shapwick in Somerset at dusk

05-Fkr-Somerset-Shapwick” taken by JoN in Shapwick, Somerset – CC 2.0

Two white crested ducks swimming on the water at Martin Mere WWT

Martin Mere Birds” taken by Pete Birkinshaw at Martin Mere WWT – CC 2.0

Green tree frog resting on a log at the Slimbridge WWT

Green Tree Frog” taken by Lauren Tucker at Slimbridge WWT – CC 2.0

Water Vole resting on a log amongst greenery by the side of the water near Arundel WWT

Vole on Boot Hill” taken by Peter Trimming near Arundel WWT – CC 2.0

Have you visited one of the UK’s many wetlands? If so, make sure to share your pictures with us on Facebook and Twitter, we’d love to see them!

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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.

UK TV Shows To Look Out For In 2016

Thursday, January 21st, 2016
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If you’re looking for a new TV series to watch in 2016, then why not take a look at one of these fantastic TV shows starting this year that were filmed in stunning locations across UK. From the breath-taking Cornish coastline to the brooding Northern Irish countryside, spectacular British landscapes are ready and waiting to steal the show in all of these upcoming programmes.

Victoria, ITV

This eight-part period drama follows the early life of Queen Victoria, starring Jenna Coleman as the young Queen herself. Made by the people behind Poldark, Victoria is sure to make an impression when it airs in the autumn. Filming has taken place across Yorkshire, with locations such as Whitby, Beverley, York and Knaresborough set to grace our TV screens.

The Night Manager, BBC

Based on the John le Carré novel, this six-part spy drama is based in the Cold War and follows a former British soldier who’s recruited to infiltrate the inner circle of a notorious arms dealer. Set to be shown some time before Easter, the series boasts a star-packed cast including Tim Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman. Although most of the series has been filmed in Mallorca and Switzerland, keep an eye out for the scenes filmed in beautiful Devon at Hartland village and Blackpool Mill Cottage on the Hartland Abbey Estate.

Game of Thrones, Sky Atlantic

Let’s face it, Game of Thrones needs no introduction and the dramatic return of season six is scheduled to hit our screens in April, ending the agonising wait of fans desperate to find out the real fate of Jon Snow. Many of the spectacular Northern Ireland film locations you’ve seen before will be returning for season six, including the rugged and wild Murlough Bay in County Antrim, which doubles as the Iron Islands.

Poldark, BBC

Another that needs no introduction, Poldark was one of the biggest TV shows of last year with millions of viewers tuning in each week. Yet the real shining star of Poldark was its Cornish backdrop, which amazed viewers with its raw, natural beauty and dramatically increased tourism to the area- Visit Cornwall found that 26% of visitors to the area in summer 2015 had been inspired by the Poldark series. Series two is due to air later this year and promises more heartbreak, more drama and more beautiful Cornish scenery. To see the filming locations from series one of Poldark, take a look at our Discover Cornwall hub.

Jericho, ITV

We’re a little late to the party here as Jericho started on ITV at the beginning of the month, but if you haven’t seen it yet, you can still find the episodes you’ve missed on ITV Player. Jericho has been described as the “first British Western” and is based on real life events of the building of a Victorian viaduct in Yorkshire. Expect lots of beautiful Yorkshire scenery with filming shot in Huddersfield, Heptonstall, Marsden and Meltham Moor.

Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses, BBC

In a continuation of 2012’s Hollow Crown series, Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses returns in 2016 to tie in with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Starring the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Gambon and Judi Dench, four of Shakespeare’s historical plays (Henry VI Part I, Henry VI Part II, Henry VI Part III and Richard III) will be condensed into three films for the silver screen. Look out for appearances from Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, where many of the bloody battle scenes take place.

We’re really excited to watch all of the above programmes and hope you’ll join in the discussion on our social media channels when these shows hit the silver screen later this year. To do so, you can follow our Twitter account or like our Facebook page.

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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.

How to Plan the Perfect Valentine’s Getaway

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016
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With just a few days to go until Valentine’s Day many of our cottages are being booked up by couples looking for the perfect romantic getaway. If you’re planning an idyllic escape with your other half this Valentine’s Day then we suggest you keep reading as we share our hints and tips for making your getaway perfect!

Choose the Perfect Location

Britain is beautiful. From the Scottish mountains to the Cornish beaches, it’s got to be said that our little island has a lot going for it! When choosing your dream destination we suggest thinking about what you want to see. If you picture your Valentine’s Day sat under an open sky watching the stars, then consider Snowdonia National Park which was recently granted dark sky status. Or perhaps you would rather see a little more colour? If so then sunsets over Ben Venue are sure to leave you feeling inspired.

Consider Extras

Parrs Meadow Cottage, Pitchford. Ref 904464

Parrs Meadow Cottage, Pitchford. Ref 904464

With over 6,000 holiday cottages to choose from, here at Sykes Cottages you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to romantic retreats, but to help narrow down your search for the dream cottage we suggest considering those little extras which can take a cottage stay to the next level! For example, our cottages with a home cinema are great for couples who love to watch movies, or how about our cottages with an open fire, ideal for cosying up with you other half? Alternatively you could push the boat out and rent a cottage with a hot tub, a real treat for any couple looking to relax under the stars.

Arrange a Special Day Out

We can think of nothing better than a weekend locked away in a cottage with our partner, but if you do feel like venturing out and about, make sure it’s for something extra special. There is a fantastic selection of days out available in the UK, picking the right one simply depends on what you and your partner like to do. You could spend the evening at one of the UK’s Michelin starred restaurants and dine like royalty, have a high energy day soaring over the Welsh countryside at speeds on 100mph with Zip World Velocity, or simply rent a row boat and glide over the waters in one of the UK’s most romantic cities.

Don’t Forget The Gift!

Pear Tree Cottage, Great Ouseburn. Ref 17330

Pear Tree Cottage, Great Ouseburn. Ref 17330

Whether you go for the classic flowers and chocolates or splash out on expensive jewellery, no Valentine’s Day is complete without a romantic gift. Forgetting your partner’s gift can lead to disaster, so make sure you purchase yours in advance to avoid any upset on the day. To really impress your other half this year, why not treat them to a stay at one of our romantic cottages?  We even have a guide to booking a surprise holiday, so when you turn up on Valentine’s Day, your partner is sure to be left speechless.

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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.

Why Norfolk is the Destination of Choice For 2016

Sunday, January 17th, 2016
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Last year we suggested Cornwall as the destination of choice for your 2015 holidays, and although Cornwall is still more than worth the trip down south, this year, we suggest packing your bags and heading to Norfolk! With its extensive waterways, fascinating history and brilliant coastline, Norfolk has something to offer everyone this year.

Whether you’ve been to Norfolk before or not, this incredible county is sure to inspire you. Located on the east coast of England, Norfolk not only has an amazing coastline but beautiful countryside and idyllic English villages to discover. Keep reading as we list some of Norfolk’s best qualities and see if we can convince you to visit this fantastic county in 2016.


Norfolk’s selection of beaches is sure to leave you breathless. From the spectacular sights of Wells’ colourful beach huts to the exciting pleasure beach at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk’s coast line provides hours of fun no matter what the season. Here at Sykes Cottages, we love a day trip to Cromer; situated on the edge of the Norfolk coast, this wonderful coastal town has a captivating fishing history and is well known for its succulent crabs! Alternatively, the picturesque beach at Hunstanton is perfect for your holiday snaps with its unique striped cliffs and breathtaking sun sets.


With over 125 miles of manmade waterways to discover, the Norfolk Broads offer a truly unique experience in the heart of the Norfolk countryside. The Broads are fantastic for anyone who likes boating, nature or simply being beside the water; their rustic charm and tranquil nature are especially good for those wanting a romantic escape. As well as the peaceful waterways, the Broads also connect several towns and villages where you can find independent shops, restaurants and bars, all offering a fantastic waterside experience.


As well as the dramatic coastline and peaceful Broads, Norfolk also has an array of great attractions to visit. Families will love spending time at BeWILDerwood, where they can explore the huge award winning forest on a fantasy adventure. Adults and older children will marvel at the incredible selection of castles and country homes which are dotted about the county, including Sandringham House, Norwich Castle and Felbrigg Hall. Alternatively, there are attractions suitable for visitors of all ages, like the Banham Zoo and Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre.

Food and Drink

You may have heard of Cromer crab, Brancaster mussels and delicious Norfolk turkey, but along with these traditional Norfolk foods, the county is now offering a wider selection of home grown produce. From game to beer, the best place to taste Norfolk is at one of the county’s many outdoor markets or by booking a ticket to the annual North Norfolk Food & Drink Festival. 2016 will be the festival’s eighth year and with stalls set to include artisan beer, bread, cakes, chocolates, game, seafood and much more, it’s an event you won’t want to miss!

Now that you’ve heard what we have to say about Norfolk, why not read about what others think? Our fantastic Visitor’s Guide To Norfolk not only features numerous quotes from previous Norfolk visitors but it’s also packed full of handy hints and tips about the destinations. Alternatively, if you just can’t wait to book your Norfolk getaway then simply click here to view our selection of self-catering cottages in Norfolk.

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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.

Cottage Accommodation for the 2016 Six Nations

Thursday, January 14th, 2016
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Looking for accommodation for the 2016 RBS 6 Nations? We’ve got you covered. These stunning holiday rentals are all within easy access of the grounds and still have availability for at least one of the match dates. Act quickly though as they’re sure to book up soon.

BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

Dates of fixtures: 6th February, 13th March

5 Bellevue Crescent, Edinburgh

Holiday cottage near Murrayfield Edinburgh

This Georgian apartment in Edinburgh’s New Town is in an ideal location for rugby fans travelling for the RBS 6 Nations. Sleeping four in two bedrooms, this elegant property is within walking distance of all Edinburgh’s shops, pubs, restaurants and attractions. 5 Bellevue Crescent is just an 11 minute drive from Murrayfield or you can easily catch a bus from the city centre.

The Courtyard, Aberdour

Holiday cottage near Millennium Stadium Cardiff

If you’re looking for somewhere outside of the hustle and bustle but still within easy reach of Murrayfield, this apartment in historic Aberdour is perfect. The Courtyard sleeps four and is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the town’s cafes, bar and beach and the railway station is also close by, offering excellent links into Edinburgh city centre and Murrayfield.


Aviva Stadium, Dublin

Dates of fixtures:  7th February, 12th March, 19th March

Coolville, Dublin

Holiday cottage near Aviva Stadium Dublin

Coolville is a charming terraced cottage in the pretty Dublin suburb of Portobello, just a 10 minute walk from the city centre. The property sleeps four and is bright and airy with lovely views of the canal- ideal for a family travelling to see the rugby. The Aviva Stadium is just a 10 minute drive away or is easily reachable by public transport; Dublin’s LUAS, DART or buses are all frequent and easy to use.

Brooklands, Malahide

Holiday cottage near Aviva Stadium Dublin

Just 9 miles outside of Dublin is the trendy coastal town of Malahide. This affluent area boasts plenty to do with gourmet restaurants, cosy taverns and artisan cafes to explore, making it the perfect place to stay if you’re travelling with a friend or partner who’s not going to the game. Take the DART straight into Dublin city centre while your other half soaks up the delights of Malahide. Brooklands itself has been carefully renovated to provide stylish, high quality accommodation for up to three guests.


Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Dates of fixtures:  13th February, 26th February, 19th March

The Old Bakehouse, Llantwit Major

Holiday cottage near Millennium Stadium Cardiff

This detached holiday home would suit a group of family or friends travelling to watch the rugby at the Millennium Stadium. With flexible sleeping arrangements, a well-equipped kitchen for self-catering and an outdoor courtyard perfect for BBQs, The Old Bakehouse is a fantastic choice for a rugby weekend away. You can easily catch the train to Cardiff from Llantwit Major or you can drive in which should take around 30-40 minutes.

Wood Bank, Llanhennock

Holiday cottage near Millennium Stadium Cardiff

If you’re travelling to the rugby as part of a large group then Wood Bank is perfect for you. This enormous house sleeps up to 20 guests and boasts features such as a full-size snooker table, Wii console with games, a well-equipped gym and a 50” TV with surround sound. Cardiff and the Millennium Stadium are just a short drive away.

To view our full range of holiday cottages across the UK and Ireland, please visit our website. We’ve over 6,000 cottages for you to choose from!

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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.