Archive for the ‘Holiday Ideas’ Category

Why a break in the UK is perfect for inspiring your writing

Sunday, June 14th, 2015
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If you’ve got writing that you’re struggling to get done- no matter whether you’re an author, a journalist, a student or a hobbyist- then we have the perfect solution for you.  Have you ever thought of taking a short break in the UK to kick-start your brain and provide you with some inspiration? Here’s why we think that our holiday cottages are perfect for providing a little writing inspiration:

Peace and quiet

It’s a cliché but planning a little quality alone-time is the perfect way to get your writing head on; getting away from it all and escaping the distractions of your friends and family could be just what you need. The tranquillity of the British countryside will make your brain forget about the things you’ve left behind at home and focus on your work instead. So stock up on supplies, book yourself a remote little cottage in the middle of nowhere and get down to some serious writing.

New surroundings

It’s no secret that new surroundings and new experiences can often help the brain along with some new-found inspiration. By stepping outside of your ordinary life with its routine, you’ll allow yourself the space to think and gather some great inspiration for your writing. Live in a busy city and struggling to focus? Head out to the countryside for a change of perspective. If you’re bored of the same views every day, head for the coast for a different vista to admire and inspire.

Follow in the footsteps of your favourite writers

From Hardy to Wordsworth, there’s an abundance of British writers that have been inspired to write their masterpieces by the UK’s landscape. Did you know for example, that Virginia Woolf’s inspiration for To The Lighthouse is thought to be the view from her holiday home in St Ives, across to the lighthouse on Godrevy Island? Or that Charles Dickens holidayed every year in the Victorian resort of Broadstairs, where he would write in the morning before heading down to the sea for a dip? Clearly, holidaying in the UK is a proven way of creating masterpieces!

Book a cottage and get writing!

We have over 5,800 holiday cottages across the UK and Ireland and we’re confident that we’ll be able to find the perfect cottage to inspire your writing. Our dedicated holiday advisors are on hand to help seven days a week, from 9.00am until 9.30pm. You can get in touch by giving us a call on 01244 356 695 or by sending us an email.

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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.

Books to Read Whilst On a Cottage Holiday

Saturday, June 13th, 2015
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No cottage holiday is complete without a good book; long car rides, lazy afternoons, country picnics and evenings spent curled up in front of an open fire are all perfect opportunities for reading.  Having been on many cottage holidays, the team here at Sykes Cottages know exactly what type of book is required; not too long, easily digestible and very entertaining. So if you’re looking to add a few good books to your collection, keep reading as we suggest a few of the best books to read whilst on a cottage holiday.

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on The Train | Image from Waterstones

Image from Waterstones

Louise – “My choice would be The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins. This psychological thriller is probably one of the most talked about books of the year and for very good reason- even Stephen King tweeted about how much he enjoyed it! Taking inspiration from Hitchcock and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (to which it has been heavily compared, but to which it is different and brilliant in its own right); it’s a page-turning masterpiece that I couldn’t put down from start to finish and that I would thoroughly recommend.”

The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson

The Rose Petal Beach | Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

Leanne – “I’ve been a Dorothy Koomson fan ever since reading her second novel The Chocolate Run; a light hearted, chocolate fuelled romantic comedy that is certainly worth a read. Dorothy’s latest novels, however, are all more serious in nature with The Rose Petal Beach being no different. With the novel having various narrators, Dorothy takes you on a journey where you’re never too sure who to believe. The twists, turns and incredible narration of this novel make it the ideal summer holiday read. In fact, if you’re looking for a book to take with you on your summer holiday this year, or are just looking for a new author to fall in love with – I urge you to pick up something written by Dorothy Koomson. You won’t be disappointed!”

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil | Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

Nicole – “My favourite stories are those involving magic, mystery, mythical creatures and danger, which is why my choice for a good cottage holiday read is The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. The story follows two friends as they are taken from their homes and enrolled into the School for Good and Evil, but the girls find their fortunes twisted as beautiful Sophie is dumped at the School for Evil and dark, quiet Agatha finds herself at the School for Good. Offering something for all ages, from love and heartache to friendship and rivalry; this book is suitable for both children and adults making it a must for your suitcase.”

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared

Image from Amazon

Jamie – “The Hundred Year Old Man was my favourite book of last summer so it’s only right that I should recommend it for this year! It tells the tale of Allan Karlsson who, on his 100th birthday, makes a break for freedom from his nursing home and manages to get himself caught up in in a series of bizarre and unfortunate events involving a few criminals, a suitcase full of money and an elephant. Throughout the book you also get a taste of Allan’s colourful past ranging from helping create the atom bomb to dalliances with historical figures such as Stalin, Mao and Harry Truman. All in all, the Hundred Year Old Man makes for the perfect summer book, easy to read, light and entertaining – what more could you want?”

So what do you think? Will you be adding these best sellers to your lists of holiday must reads, or perhaps you have some suggestions for us? Let us know what you think, you can reach us through both Facebook and Twitter.

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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.

Five Cottages with Unique Gardens

Thursday, June 11th, 2015
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From modern apartments to country homes, with over 5,000 properties we have everything here at Sykes Cottages. One of our favourite things is seeing how owners decorate their holiday homes to make them perfect for guests and gardens are no exception! Whilst browsing the Sykes’ selection of holiday cottages, I have discovered some absolute hidden gems in the gardens of our properties. I’m not talking decorative shrubs or vegetable plots, oh no, I’m talking quirky statues and impressive stonework. Read on to discover five very unique aspects you can find in the gardens of five of our properties.

1. These wire statues in Northumbria

Top Ten Unique Gardens - Grey Croft

Grey Croft in Embleton, Northumbria.

2. This canon in County Wexford

Serenity in Rosslare Harbour, County Cork

Serenity in Rosslare Harbour, County Wexford

 3. This plant pot man relaxing in Yorkshire

Gilchrist House in Settle, Yorkshire Dales

Gilchrist House in Settle, Yorkshire Dales

4. This Saturday Night Fever cut out in Cumbria

Top Ten Unique Gardens - Nuthatch

Nuthatch in Ice Valley near Penrith, Cumbria

5. This stone circle in County Kerry

Top Ten Unique Gardens - Doon East

Doon East in Ballybunion, County Kerry

Book a Unique Cottage Holiday

If you’re inspired by these five unique aspects of some of our holiday cottage gardens, or would like to try and have a go at spotting an unusual ornament yourself, why not book a self catering holiday cottage with Sykes Cottages? Take a look at our selection of unique holiday cottages to ensure you have a unique stay inside and out!

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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.

UK Literary Days Out

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015
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The UK is home to a number of famous authors, from the legendary Charles Dickens to the magical J. K. Rowling. With so many of the world’s favourite writers originating in Britain, it’s hard not to come across an attraction dedicated to one of these famous authors. Here at Sykes Cottages we love to read, so a day out to one of the UK’s literary attractions is right up our street. If you’re thinking of taking a literary day out this year then keep reading as we suggest three of our favourite attractions to visit.

Follow the White Rabbit

Llandudno, North Wales

This year, Lewis Carroll’s extraordinary book ‘Alice in Wonderland’ reaches its 150th anniversary and as big fans of Alice and her journey down the rabbit hole, we can think of nowhere better to celebrate than Llandudno, in North Wales. The curious little girl Alice Liddell, who inspired Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland stories, spent many of her holidays at her family’s seaside home in Llandudno, giving the area a wonderful connection with the books. In 2014, a new traill was introduced to Llandudno; one that sees visitors using either an interactive app or printed map to follow 55 bronze cast rabbit footprints around the town and surrounding areas. Not only is this a great day out but with a number of statues and fantastic views, it’s great for family photos.

Brontë Parsonage Museum

Haworth, West Yorkshire

Visit the charming village of Haworth in West Yorkshire and spend your day exploring the historic home of the Brontë sisters at the Brontë Parsonage Museum. The three sisters are known worldwide for their poems and novels including Jane Eyre, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Wuthering Heights. The museum, which is home to a number of letters, manuscripts and early additions of the Brontë’s books, offers a wonderful day out for the whole family with a small souvenir shop on site. After exploring the museum, we would highly suggest a spot of lunch in the picturesque town of Haworth and a trip down to the exciting Heritage Steam Railway.

The World of Beatrix Potter

Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria

Now translated into 35 different languages, The Tale of Peter Rabbit is one of the world’s favourite children’s stories and has sold over 40 million copies, making the author, Beatrix Potter, extremely famous. The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere, allows guests to step into the enchanted world created by the author and learn all about Beatrix and the characters in her much loved books.  The attraction has eight fantastic areas to explore, including Peter Rabbit’s garden and Jemima Puddle-Duck’s woodland glad. Once you’ve finished exploring the attractions, there is even a fantastic tea room to explore, with locally sourced ingredients and home-grown vegetables from the attraction’s own kitchen garden.

And there you have it our top three attractions for a literary day out in the UK. Has your favourite attraction made the list? If not let us know via our Facebook or Twitter page, we are always looking for new places to explore!

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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.

Cottages Perfect for Families with Teenagers

Sunday, May 31st, 2015
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At Sykes Cottages, we pride ourselves on being a family-friendly accommodation option, with over 4,000 holiday cottages that are perfect for families. However sometimes, family-friendly accommodation can focus more on those with young children and gloss over older kids. That’s why in today’s blog post, we’re taking a look at our holiday cottages that are ideal for families with teenagers- from keeping them entertained to making sure they don’t miss out on their social life back home, we’ve got you covered with these getaway ideas!

Bay Dream, Filey, North Yorkshire

This pretty seaside cottage in Filey is ideal for a family with teens. Bay Dream offers plenty of space for the whole family with a modern, open plan living area, as well as two comfy bedrooms, both with their own TVs and DVDs- ideal for preventing the classic ‘what to watch on TV’ argument! There’s a Nintendo Wii with good selection of games that the whole family can play together and the holiday development offers lots of activities to keep teens entertained, including snorkelling, bike hire, tennis and a heated indoor swimming pool.

Lower Lodge, Alberbury, Shropshire

Would the thought of a whole week without their games console send your teenager into a cold sweat? Here at Sykes, we have lots of wonderful holiday cottages that come complete with Xboxes, Wiis and Playstations; Lower Lodge has its own games room with wide-screen TV and Xbox, as well as a pool table and table tennis for when eyes get tired of the screen. If games consoles aren’t really your cup of tea, there’s also an outdoor hot tub which is perfect for parents to relax in whilst the children make the most of the games room.

Bunbury, Farley, Staffordshire

One of the easiest ways to keep your teenager happy on holiday is to book a holiday near an attraction they’ll enjoy. This spacious holiday cottage is just five minutes’ walk from Alton Towers- the thrilling rides at this theme park are sure to keep even the most surly of teenagers happy for the day! There are many other days out near Bunbury that are suitable for all the family, including Chatsworth House and the lovely market town of Ashbourne with its delightful cobbled alleys, pubs and tea rooms.

Valley View, Lanfihangel-ar-Arth, Carmarthenshire

If your teenager is addicted to their phone, booking a holiday cottage with WiFi is a sure-fire way to ensure there are no teenage tantrums on arrival at your destination. Valley View is a beautiful, detached property just four miles from Llandysul with its wonderful beaches and dolphin-spotting opportunities. However, what is sure to please a social media mad teen the most is the WiFi, enabling them to stay connected to their friends and keep up to date with the latest news on Twitter!

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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.