Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

London Vs Everywhere Else

Friday, June 27th, 2014
Pin It

Recently, the chief executive of Visit England announced that London is overshadowing the rest of the country in terms of its popularity. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as partial to a city break in the capital as the next man, but I couldn’t help but make a mental list of all the things that people are missing by not exploring other parts of England. So without further ado, here’s five reasons why you’d be mad to hang around in London when there’s a whole country to uncover!

What about the beaches?

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

From Dorset to Northumberland, the English coastline is a magnificent spectacle. For centuries, people have flocked to our shores in search of inspiration, adventure and above all, fun. Though London is situated on a pretty impressive river, it lacks the timeless quality of the coast. Overseas travellers will find a handful of glorious beaches within a couple of hours of the Big Smoke, including Brighton, Aldeburgh and Southend-on-Sea, but there are many more if you plan on travelling further afield.

Urban sprawl or serene countryside?

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Is there anything more charming than the English countryside? A place where cows graze in grassy paddocks, country lanes connect time forgotten villages and timber clad taverns provide a welcome pit stop for the weary traveller. Here in England, we’re blessed with some of the world’s most beautiful pockets of countryside, including the Lake District, the Cotswolds and the Peak District- and these are just the heavy hitters. Go off the beaten track in areas like the Yorkshire Dales, the Norfolk Broads, Northumberland and Dorset, and you can find a piece of a countryside that’ll leave you longing to quit the city for good.

Regional Food

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Although London has one of the most varied gastronomic palates in the world, it can be difficult to find regional English cuisine in the capital, especially if you’re not looking to pay through the nose to sample some. England is home to an endless supply of top nosh, the majority of which being exclusive to one region or another. In the south west, there’s the Cornish pasty, the Cream Tea and extra creamy ice cream; whilst in East Anglia, seafood reigns supreme. In the north east, Parmo, Pikelets, Stottie Cake and Yorkshire pudding provide plenty of sustenance; whilst in the north west, the Cumberland Sausage, Eccles Cake and Lancashire Hotpot are sure to fill you up.

Expense

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

It’s no secret, London is expensive. Hotels, food, drink, entertainment; it’s all considerably pricier in the capital- between 20%-50% dearer, to be exact. The cost of accommodation is particularly eye-watering, with the average price for a two night break in the city coming in at well over £200; compare that to a two night break in any other English city, and you might find yourself asking if it’s really worth it.

Peace and Quiet

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

One thing you certainly won’t find in London is peace and quiet. As one of the world’s biggest and busiest cities, it can be difficult to find a quiet corner amid the hub-bub, though they do exist. If you value your quiet time, opt for a daytrip or two to the capital instead of staying there. Kent, Essex and Cambridgeshire are on the city’s doorstep, and all have plenty of countryside for when you need to relax. Alternatively, if you’re looking for complete seclusion, try Northumberland, a large county in North East England whose population of 315,000 is but a pin drop compared to London’s 8.3 million.

London Vs Everywhere Else

Via Flickr

So there you have it, five reasons why you’d be barking mad to spend all of your time in London on a visit to the UK. Of course, London is a spectacular city, and certainly shouldn’t be missed, but if you’re planning a visit to England, be sure to spread your wings and embark on a road, train or bus trip to the nether regions of this fine country.

Alternatively, if you think I’m spouting nonsense and would prefer to stay firmly in the capital, check out our guide to things to see and do in London.

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.

Rent a Holiday Cottage with a Tennis Court

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Pin It

With Wimbledon now in full swing, the UK has been gripped by tennis fever once again! If the likes of Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams have inspired you to dust off your racket and head out to the tennis court, then why not check out some of our fantastic holiday cottages with tennis courts; the perfect place to practice your serve over the summer!

 Colly Cottage, Dorset

Holiday cottage in Dorset with tennis court

Colly Cottage, Dorset, Ref 16387

Colly Cottage is  a self-contained wing of a beautiful thatched cottage that dates back to 1780. Nestled in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Dorset, just 1.5 miles from the charming market town of Bridport, Colly Cottage offers families and friends a relaxing holiday amongst stunning rural surroundings. There are many fantastic features to this Dorset holiday cottage including two bedrooms with en-suites and off-road parking. Colly Cottage also boasts access to the owner’s tennis court; the perfect countryside retreat for a spot of tennis on a sunny morning!

Hayloft, Yorkshire Dales

Holiday cottage in Yorkshire Dales with tennis court

Hayloft, Yorkshire Dales, Ref 22460

This superb self-catering apartment is set in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, located within the grounds of a Grade II listed estate. Hayloft is the perfect retreat for loved-up couples who fancy getting away from it all and spending some quality time together in a tranquil, peaceful setting. The apartment has plenty of modern conveniences and luxurious, romantic features such as a king-size bed and free-standing bath tub. Sporty couples will enjoy the surrounding areas which boast unparalleled opportunities for walking and cycling and guests also have use of the owner’s hard tennis court within the picturesque grounds of the estate.

Greystead Old Church, Northumberland

Holiday cottage in Northumberland with tennis court

Greystead Old Church, Northumberland, Ref 23575

Greystead Old Church is a very special property in which to holiday. This superb holiday home has been lovingly converted from a nineteenth century, former Georgian church. Still containing many of the original features such as stained glass windows, exposed stonework and a Gothic archway, Greystead Old Church is steeped in history and makes for a truly memorable holiday. The charm and character of this property is cleverly balanced with contemporary and luxury fittings. With Greystead Old Church, you needn’t sacrifice character for modern conveniences and this property even comes with an all-weather tennis court and BBQ for you to enjoy.

Our holiday cottages with tennis courts

Holiday cottage with tennis court

Groom’s Rooms, Yorkshire Dales, Ref 22462

At Sykes Cottages, we have a fantastic collection of self-catering cottage with tennis courts, with properties across the UK and Ireland. If you’d like more information on our cottages with tennis facilities then please visit our website or give our reservations team a call. They’re available from 9.00am until 9.30pm, 7 days a week and will be more than happy to help you find what you’re looking for.

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.

Mud & Mountains: The UK’s Best Mountain Bike Trails

Monday, June 16th, 2014
Pin It

Thrilling, gruelling and really rather muddy, mountain biking is one of the UK’s favourite outdoor pursuits. Since the 1980’s, when the first fat-tired cycle rolled off the production line, thousands of us have headed for the nearest hills to take a ride on these tough two wheelers. But the question is, where’s the best place in the UK to go mountain biking? Seeing as it’s Bike Week, we thought we’d take a look.

Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

With its enchanting tree-hidden trails, the Forest of Dean is a mecca for off-road cyclists. Easy on little legs whilst still pretty enough for a romantic ride, the forest offers plenty of room to let loose beneath the leafy canopy. Families will love the family cycle trail, an 11 mile circular route connecting numerous villages, whilst experienced riders will enjoy the challenge of the Freeminer Trail; four miles of hairpin bends, rooty drops and switchback hill climbs.

Bewl Water, Kent

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

One of the Garden of England’s finest water features, Bewl Water is a playground for all manner of outdoor pursuits including walking, horse riding and of course, cycling. One route around the reservoir is the aptly named Round Reservoir Route, which passes through peaceful meadows, rich woodlands and quiet country lanes, making it the perfect place for a pedal on a balmy summer’s day.

Tissington Trail, The Peak District

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Skirting the remnants of an abandoned railway, the Tissington Trail is a fantastic way to take in the beauty of the Peaks on two wheels. At 13 miles long, the route is ideal for cyclists of all abilities, providing a quick jaunt for pros and a pleasant day’s ride for families. Sites to see along the trail include Tissington Hall and Hartington Village, both of which are ideal stopping off points should you need a rest.

Grizedale Forest, The Lake District

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Steep climbs and rutted terrain make Grizedale Forest the place for mountain biking in the Lake District. Trails in the forest vary from relaxing woodland paths to adrenaline pumping black runs that will test even the most experienced downhill fanatic. One of our favourites is the Hawkshead Moor Trail, a 10.5 mile undulating route offering panoramic views of Coniston, Ambleside and the Langdale Fells- just be prepared for some serious pedalling on uphill sections!

Calderdale, Yorkshire Dales

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

On the cusp of the Yorkshire Dales lies Calderdale, a picturesque pocket of wilderness that lends itself nicely to the pursuit of extreme sport. Expect fabulous views, pretty heathlands and lots of hill climbs in this area, as well as a plethora of country pubs from which to savour a proper Yorkshire pint. One of Calderdale’s best trails is Calderdale Circuit; an 18 mile loop featuring gravel tracks, exposed  moorlands and quiet dells that are just waiting to be explored by mountain bike.

Machynlleth, Wales

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Boasting a rich array of trails and a distinct alpine atmosphere, Machynlleth in Powys, Wales is the ideal place from which to embark on a mountain bike adventure in the stunning Dyfi Valley. Waymarked trails of varying difficulties lead you out of town and into a beautiful, mountainous landscape, where riders of all abilities can witness the spellbinding beauty of the Snowdonia National Park. If you’re an experienced mountain bike enthusiast, opt for the Mach 3 or Cli-machx route, man-made trails offering a series of hair-raising technical features.

Get set for a mountain bike break with Sykes Cottages!

If mud and mountains are on your holiday wishlist, why not rent a cottage for a mountain bike holiday from Sykes Cottages? We’ve got loads of self-catering holiday homes that would make a great base for a mountain bike break, so check out our cottages for cyclists page and choose your favourite today!

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.

What to pack for a UK cycling holiday

Sunday, June 15th, 2014
Pin It

Cycling holidays are great; they keep you active, enliven the senses, and enable you to see sights that you simply wouldn’t if travelling by car. Plus, they’re accessible to pretty much everyone, young and old. The only downside to a biking break however, is the equipment you’ll require to have a good time doing it. From spare inner tubes, multi-tools and crash helmets, to padded shorts, waterproofs and pannier bags, there’s loads of kit you should consider buying before hitting the open road.

In honour of Bike Week 2014, we’ve compiled a list of all the things you ought to take on an intrepid cycling break. For hardened cyclists, this list will be fairly arbitrary, but for amateurs, we hope it’ll provide a jargon-free insight into the bamboozling world of the cycling holiday. So without further ado, here’s our guide to what to pack for a UK cycling holiday.

Clothing and personal equipment

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Cycle Helmet: Though not the most stylish piece of kit you’ll carry with you, the safety benefits of a cycle helmet mean it should take pride of place at the top of your cycling shopping list. Nowadays, helmets come in a variety of styles, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one to suit you.

Padded cycling shorts: Preferably of the skin-tight variety, though loose work just as well for leisure rides. You’ll really thank that extra cushioning after a day in the saddle.

Cycling jersey or sport shirt: Choose the top to match the weather. If you have the cash, a cycling jersey will provide extra warmth in colder conditions, whilst the sweat wicking technology will keep you cool during the summer.

Cycling gloves: A good pair of cycling gloves will not only keep your hands warm, but will also provide vital protection from blisters and painful road vibration, which can become a real drag on longer rides.

Waterproof jacket: Keen cyclists will be all too aware of how useful a lightweight jacket can be, particularly in the UK. Pac-a-macs are a great option for their portability, but make sure they’re long enough to cover your lower back to avoid wind-chill.

Cycling shoes: Planning on doing some serious miles on your biking odyssey? Invest in a pair of cycle shoes that clip into your pedals to maximise efficiency- just be sure to get some practice with these before heading for the highway.

Backpack or pannier bags: From your cumbersome kit to a midday snack, carrying stuff on your bicycle can be a pain if you haven’t got the right luggage. Many cyclists plumb for pannier bags (lightweight bags that attach to pannier rack on the back of your bike) on cycling tours, but a small rucksack works just as well for shorter journeys.

Sun cream: When you’re out and about in warm weather for hours on end, it’s easy to catch too much sun, particularly on exposed areas such as your face, neck and legs, so be sure to carry a tube of sun cream with you.

First aid kit: Whether cycling with kids or not, it’s likely that one of your party will take a tumble during your trip, so make sure you’ve got a well-stocked first aid kit to deal with grazed knees, elbows and other bumps and knocks that come up along the way.

Water & snacks: From full picnics to energy drinks, you’ll need fuel to help get you up and over the next hill, so be sure to carry some snacks, as well as a bottle of water, when you’re out on the road.

Bicycle Tools and Gadgets

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Puncture Repair Kit & Spare Inner Tube: Punctures can happen anywhere at any time for all manner of reasons, so it pays to be prepared. Carrying a spare inner tube can save you time, but be sure to have a puncture repair kit too lest you fall foul of a thorn twice.

Multi-tool: If you notice a problem with your bike or start to feel uncomfortable in your riding position, it’s imperative to have a tool for making quick adjustments. That’s where the multi-tool comes in. Featuring an array of different tool options, these handy gizmos will help get you back on the move in a jiff.

Cycle Computers & GPS Devices: For many cyclists, tracking and recording information from a ride is what it’s all about. In recent years, cycle computers have come along in leaps and bounds, and now offer the rider unique insight their performance. If you have some money to burn on a cycle computer, opt for one with GPS tracking to help plan routes and ensure that getting lost is a thing of the past.

Book a UK cycling holiday with Sykes CottagesRent cyclist friendly cottages

Here at Sykes Cottages, we’ve been providing cyclist friendly holiday accommodation in the UK and Ireland for over 25 years, and consider ourselves experts in catering for the needs of the country’s two wheel enthusiasts. We feature over 1,000 self-catering cottages for cyclists across the UK and Ireland, each of which provides a comfortable and convenient place to stay at the end of a long day of pedalling. To find out more about our cyclist friendly accommodation, please visit our cottages for cycling page.

Are you a keen cyclist and think we’ve missed something essential from our list? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll happily add it in!

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.

Treat your dad to a round of golf this Father’s Day!

Saturday, June 14th, 2014
Pin It

It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that tomorrow is Father’s Day and if it has then you’re in trouble! If you’re still trying to find the perfect present for your dad then look no further as here at Sykes Cottages, we’ve found the answer. Why not treat your dad to a round of golf this Father’s Day? We’ve listed below some of the best ways that you can spoil your golf-mad dad on his special day.

Follow in the footsteps of legends

Golf course

Via Flickr

If your dad is a lover of golf then there’s no better present this Father’s Day than to book him some time at one of the UK’s most famous golf courses, The Belfry, in Warwickshire. The resort has hosted the Ryder Cup four times, which is more Ryder Cup matches than any other venue in the world and boasts 3 separate courses, The Brabazon, one of the world’s most esteemed courses; PGA National, which is the only PGA branded golf course in the UK; and The Derby, a smaller course which caters for all levels of ability. When playing at The Belfry, you’ll be following in the footsteps of famous golfers such as Tiger Woods, Steve Ballesteros and Sir Nick Faldo; playing here would be a dream for any golf fan so if you want to get your dad something truly special this Father’s Day then look no further!

Pitch and putt

Pitch and putt golf

Via Flickr

For something a little less daunting, why not head for a pitch and putt golf course. Pitch and putt is an amateur sport very similar to golf but players are only permitted to use two clubs, one being a putter. The hole lengths are also shorter than those found in regular golf, at around 80 yards to golf’s average of 400 yards. Heatherton World of Activities, near Tenby in Pembrokeshire has a fantastic pitch and putt course set in the beautiful South Wales countryside. The course is ideal for families and offers something for everyone, no matter your ability.

 Go crazy this Father’s Day

If you want to go to a place where the whole family can get involved then why not try your hand at a few rounds of crazy golf? Also known as minigolf, this pastime is great fun for all ages and abilities and would make the perfect Father’s Day treat for dads with younger families. One of the most unique crazy golf experiences in the UK is 4D Golf in Castleford, Yorkshire. Unlike other crazy golf courses, the courses here offer glow-in-the-dark, 3D themed fun with special effects throughout. There are two separate courses to explore- ‘Search for Atlantis’ and ‘The Mummy’s Curse’; both of which will be fantastic fun for all the family to enjoy this Father’s Day.

Book a holiday cottage near a golf course

Holiday cottage near a golf course

The Laggan Drey, Cairngorms National Park, Ref 1525

If you’re looking for a really special way to treat your dad this Father’s Day then why not book one of our fantastic holiday cottages near a golf course. Your dad will be able to spend his time perfecting his swing on the green before heading back to his own holiday cottage to put his feet up and relax, before doing it all again the next day! You could even go with him to learn a thing or two!

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.