Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

Cottages with Literary Connections

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016
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If you didn’t already know, tomorrow is World Book Day, so to celebrate, we’re taking a look through our cottage portfolio and bringing you the best of our holiday cottages with literary connections. From family homes of famous authors to properties that have been featured in novels, here’s our pick of Sykes Cottages’ top literary holiday homes.

Penlan (ref 6909), Snowdonia National Park

Penlan is a charming woodland cottage in the picturesque Snowdonia village of Beddgelert, famed for its historical monument to Gelert, the faithful dog of a medieval prince. According to the legend, the prince killed his dog thinking it had attacked his son, only to later discover that the dog had actually been defending his son from a violent wolf attack. The cottage itself is charismatic and traditional with exposed wooden beams and a lovely pub just 5 minutes’ walk away. It’s also affectionately known as ‘Rupert Bear’s Cottage’ in memory of Albert Bestall, the author and illustrator of the Rupert Bear stories. He lived in the cottage from 1956 to 1986 and gained inspiration from the surrounding countryside, writing his Rupert Bear stories here for many years.

Stable Cottage (ref 14117), Shropshire

This attractive stone-built cottage is situated in the rural hamlet of Cwm Head in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Perfect for a romantic getaway, Stable Cottage offers cute and cosy accommodation for two people. Children’s author, Malcom Saville, who wrote the well-known Lone Pine series, sent his family to this delightful cottage during World War Two. He was inspired to write his Lone Pine series, which were set in Shropshire, using the peaceful local countryside as his backdrop. This part of Shropshire is particularly beautiful so it’s not hard to see why he felt inspired, with lots of hill-walking and wildlife on your doorstep.

The Retreat (ref 1678), Cornwall

The Retreat is a cosy, stone-built cottage adjoining a mill house in the heart of the Cornish countryside. The tranquil village of St Keyne, where this cottage is nestled, and the surrounding areas are renowned for their rolling meadows and wooded valleys, perfect for a getaway away from the hustle and bustle of the Cornish coast yet still within easy reach. The Retreat offers open plan living for two people with its own private patio and BBQ. Pets are also allowed at this property so there’s no need to put your furry friends in the kennels! This historic cottage featured in the Daphne Du Maurier novel, The King’s General, which was published in 1946.

Church View (ref 915793), Yorkshire

Haworth needs no introduction as a literary break and this luxury self-catering apartment in the heart of Haworth is the perfect place to stay. It’s situated within a stunning period property on Haworth’s Main Street, which would have existed during the Brontë’s lifetime. Church View is less than a minute’s walk from the famous Black Bull pub where Branwell Brontë used to drink and 2 minutes’ walk from the Brontë Parsonage where the family lived. The bedrooms afford views of Haworth’s church where they are all, except Anne, buried.

Or alternatively, if you’re feeling inspired by World Book Day, why not take a look at some of the best literary destinations in the UK; wander around the Lakeland fells that inspired Wordsworth or roam through the wild moorland featured in Charlotte Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.

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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.

Last Minute Cottages for Mother’s Day

Monday, February 29th, 2016
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Mother’s Day is just around the corner and here at Sykes Cottages, we can think of no better treat for our mums than spending some quality time together. After all, isn’t that what Mother’s Day is really about? To make sure you give your mum the time and attention she deserves, we suggest booking a Mother’s Day break in one of our cottages. With under a week to go until the big day, we’ve listed a selection of stylish holiday cottages which would be perfect for your Mother’s Day celebrations, so keep reading and see if we can convince you to take your mum away this March.

Engine Room Cottage

Dinning table and chairs, set up ready for a meal with daffodils on the table.

The dinning area at Engine Room Cottage, set up ready for Mother’s Day lunch

Located in charming village of Sledmere, this idyllic cottage once acted as the fire station for the Yorkshire Wolds. The cottage has since been lovingly converted to offer stylish accommodation for up to six people and one well behaved dog. The property’s fantastic views over the Yorkshire countryside and spacious dining area create the ideal atmosphere for a Mother’s Day lunch.

Nethergill Farm Byre

Open living area with exposed beams, brick work, comfortable furnishings and an openfire

The cosy living area at Nethergill Farm Byre

Dating back to 1871, Nethergill Farm Byre can be found nestled into the Yorkshire countryside in the hamlet of Oughtershaw. This property accommodates a party of four with one dog, so it’s great for older families who enjoy walking and wildlife spotting. In the evenings, you’ll find the property’s cosy living area with wood burning stove a wonderful place to relax and enjoy a glass of red wine.

The Dairy

Hot tub view looking out over the country at sun set

The spectacular view from the hot tub at The Dairy

If you’re thinking of bringing the whole family together this Mother’s Day, then The Dairy in Llandysul will accommodate a group of eight and up to six well behaved dogs. This stylish property comes with plenty of outdoor space as well as sole use of an eight seater hot tub! This cottage is perfect for any dog lover, so if your mum refuses to holiday without her pooch then The Dairy is the cottage for you.

Croft Cottage

Open plan living area with wood burning stove and character features including exposed beams

The fantastic open plan living area at Croft Cottage

Does your mum have a stressful job, or perhaps a hectic social schedule? If so a trip to the peaceful Croft Cottage in Embleton is sure to provide her with plenty of rest and relaxation this Mother’s Day. Quietly situated in the Northumbria countryside, this property’s stylish décor and plush furnishings create a wonderfully tranquil atmosphere, but be careful your mum may never want to leave.

The Farmhouse

White country cottage surrounded by trees, greenery and a blue sky

The Farm House in Coverack, perfect for a beach getaway!

Located on the Lizard Peninsula, The Farmhouse is the perfect Mother’s Day escape for beach lovers. Just a short drive from this Coverack cottage, you’ll find a handful of amazing beaches to explore including Coverack Beach, Porthbeer Cove and Kynance Cove. When you return from your day on the sands, The Farmhouse provides a warm welcome for up to six people, with a spacious kitchen and inviting living area.

Bank House Mews

Open plan living area complete with modern kitchen, farmhouse dinning and comfy living area

The stylish décor at Bank House Mews

If your mum is a fan of the finer things in life then she’ll love Bank House Mews. Converted from a stone barn and workshop mews, this property now has everything your mum will need for a luxury getaway. Accommodating up to eight people, this property boasts three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a gorgeous open plan living area with wood burning stove and plenty of character features.

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nicole.westley

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.

10 Best Events For Kids This Half Term

Monday, February 15th, 2016
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If you’re looking for some inspiration for things to do with the kids this half term, why not take a look at the hundreds of fantastic activities and events taking place at National Trust properties across England and Wales? Many of the events are free and are sure to be great fun for children of all ages. To help, we’ve listed 10 of the best National Trust events this February half term.

Splash about on ‘Winter Welly Walks’ at Clent Hills, Worcestershire

The Winter Welly Walk at Clent Hills is a fantastic way to spend a blustery February day, squelching and splashing your way through the Worcestershire countryside. At the end of the walk, gather round a campfire to warm up and enjoy some delicious toasted marshmallows. No booking needed but please make sure you bring wellies or walking boots.

Dates: 17th February, 11am-3pm

Prices: The event costs £2 per child.

More information: nationaltrust.org.uk ; 01562 712822

 

Paint wooden decorations at Barrington Court, Somerset

Get a little creative at Barrington Court’s family art workshop where you and your children can paint hand-made wooden decorations to take home. There’s a wide range of animal shapes to choose from and no booking necessary!

Dates: 13th-21st February, 11am-3.30pm

Prices: The event costs £3 per person. Normal admission charges to the property also apply. Adults £8.30, children £4.10 or family tickets available for £20.60.

More information: nationaltrust.org.uk ; 07742 030879

 

Get crafty at ‘Art In The Stables’ at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

This free family event will give children the opportunity to make some fun horse-related crafts in Dunham Massey’s new stables. Encouraging lots of creativity and laughter, this is a lovely indoor day out for families with animal-mad youngsters!

Dates: 15th-17th February, 12pm-4pm

Prices: The event is free although a ‘garden only’ admission ticket is needed. Adults £8, children £4 or family tickets available for £20.

More information: nationaltrust.org.uk ; 0161 9411025

 

Go green at the ‘Snowdrop Days’ at Bodnant Garden, Conwy

Do something a little different this half term and take part in Bodnant Garden’s snowdrop planting days. They’ve got lots of snowdrops that need planting and they need your family’s help to get it done in time. Bring your gardening gloves if you have them and join in with the fun! This is a really special experience and you’ll be able to come back next year to visit ‘your’ snowdrops.

Dates: 13th-21st February, 1pm-3pm

Prices: The event is free although normal admission charges to the property apply. Adults £11.25, children £5.63.

More information: nationaltrust.org.uk ; 01492 650460

 

Follow the ‘Early Spring Trail’ at Arlington Court, Devon

Spring is one of the best times of year to get out and see nature so make the most of it with Arlington Court’s Early Spring Trail. Roam the grounds discovering the incredible plants and wildlife that live here as they begin to awaken from the winter. Dogs are welcome to come along but make sure you wear sensible shoes as the paths may be muddy.

Dates: 13th-21st February, 11am-4pm

Prices: The trail is free although normal admission charges to the property apply. Adults £10, children £5 or family tickets available for £25.

More information: nationaltrust.org.uk ; 01271 850296

 

Learn bushcraft skills at Cotehele, Cornwall

This event is suitable for children aged between 7 and 15 and run by an outdoor expert. Learn how to build your own shelter and how to light a controlled fire, as well as other essential outdoor survival skills in the wild. Perfect for any budding Bear Grylls’ in the family!

Dates: 16th-18th February, 10am-12pm or 1.30pm-3.30pm

Prices: Event costs £6 per child. Booking essential.

More information: nationaltrust.org.uk ; 01822 259249

 

Solve the mystery of the cat burglar at Scotney Castle, Kent

Get your detective hat on because there’s been a burglary at Scotney Castle! The castle need your family’s help in solving this mystery and in finding out exactly how much has gone missing. Follow a map around the castle to recover all the valuable items that have been stolen, including the cats, ticking them off on the inventory as you go.

Dates: 13th-21st February, 11am-4pm

Prices: The event costs £1 per person. Normal admission charges to the property also apply. Adults £13, children £6.50 or family tickets available for £32.50.

More information: nationaltrust.org.uk ; 01892 893868

 

Drop in for story time at Beningbrough Hall, North Yorkshire

Get ready to be captivated as the history of Beningbrough Hall comes alive through a professional storyteller. Using characters and events, Eden from Stories Alive will paint a vivid picture of life at Beningbrough and the portraits that reside there with his words.

Dates: 19th February, 11.45am-3.15pm

Prices: The event is free although normal winter admission charges to the property apply. Adults £6.30, children £3.15 or family tickets available for £15.75.

More information: nationaltrust.org.uk ; 01904 472027

 

Make bird boxes at Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire

This is a very popular event so make sure you book early! The gang at Fountains Abbey will be showing you how to make bird boxes for all of your feathery friends that frequent your garden. Birds will be looking for somewhere to make a nest come spring so now’s a great time to think about helping them.

Dates: 16th-18th February, 1 hour sessions at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm and 2pm.

Prices: £5 per birdbox. Normal admission charges to the property also apply. Adults £11.80, children £5.90 or family tickets available for £29.50.

More information: nationaltrust.org.uk ; 01765 643189

 

February Family Fun at Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire

Get out and about in the Nostell Priory gardens this half term where you’ll find plenty of fun things to do with the kids. From building dens to bike riding and spotting wildlife to decorating a giant rhubarb, there’s so many fantastic activities for the whole family to get involved in.

Dates: 14th-21st February, 10am-4pm

Prices: The event is free although normal admission charges to the property apply. Adults £10.50, children £5.25 or family tickets available for £26.25.

More information: nationaltrust.org.uk ; 01924 863892

If you need some more ideas of things to do with the kids this half term, why not take a look at our Half Term Hit List, full of fantastic ideas for days out and activities to entertain your children while they’re off school. Or if you’re worried about the weather, take a look at our blog post on the best indoor activities to do this February half term.

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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.

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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nicole.westley

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.