Archive for the ‘Kent/Sussex’ Category

The Sykes Cottages Guide To … Brighton (Part 2)

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
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A town dedicated to fun and partying needs a chill-out zone, and Brighton is blessed with a wealth of lovely green spaces. Preston Park, Queens Park and the Royal Pavilion Gardens all offer breathing spaces in the heart of the city, whilst further afield, there are woodland trails at Kipling Garden or great spot for picnics at St. Ann’s Well Gardens in neighbouring Hove. Try sailing or fishing down at the Marina, beach sports Californian-style on the main beach or take in a ride on the Volks electric railway, or enjoy one of the many museums. The Natural History Museum and the Fishing Museum each document a different chapter of local history, the Toy and Model Museum breathes new life into the old Railway arches with hundreds of antique toys, models and memorabilia, or make a visit to Brighton’s Sealife Centre for a day of guaranteed family fun. (more…)

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The Sykes Cottages Guide To … Brighton (Part 1)

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
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Buzzing, bold, brash, bohemian and brilliant, Brighton scarcely needs an introduction these days. Placed firmly on the map by a party-loving Prince Regent who built the wonderful Royal Pavilion as his spectacular seaside folly during the mid eighteenth century, Brighton has been drawing the fun-loving crowd ever since, and is firmly established as the place to be, and a modern day London by the sea. A South of England holiday cottage in the vicinity offers the very best of beachside city break, with all the fun of Brighton itself as well as a host of superb holiday spots and great family days out within easy reach. (more…)

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The Sykes’ Canterbury Tales! Part Two

Friday, October 22nd, 2010
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To read part one of this blog, please click here. Don’t forget, we currently have two holiday cottages near Canterbury: 1) The Old Dairy (ref. 3975) and 2) Dimity Cottage (ref 2349). If you would like to see some of the sights we mention in this two-part blog, why not take a look at these properties?

Part Two

Beyond Canterbury itself, there are plenty of great places for days out. The beaches at Herne Bay and Whitstable are within a short drive. Whitstable and neighbouring Tankerton have excellent sandy beaches; Tankerton’s is a Blue Flag beach. Whitstable, with its pretty harbour filled with gently bobbing fishing boats, is famous for its oysters, and there are plenty of places to try them, especially during the annual Oyster Festival, which provides a riot of  pomp, pageantry and family fun towards the end of July each year. There’s a vibrant arts scene here if you like a bit of culture, and also some good shops that lend themselves to browsing. Herne Bay too is a great coastal spot on your South of England cottage holiday for a spot of quintessentially British seaside fun. Brightly coloured beach huts dot the sand, against a backdrop of neatly planted gardens and the promenade, complete with traditional bandstand. For those holidaying with children, there are plenty of visitor attractions to keep little ones of all ages entertained. Discover the enchanting woodland trails and farm of Druidstone Park at Blean or take a themed boat trip courtesy of Baby Blast Marine at Herne Bay or Whitstable. Seal spotting, the Kentish flats and a Forts Tour are just some of the options on this boat trip with a purpose. Enjoy the natural world with a trip to the lakes, wetlands and woodlands of the Environmental Education Centre at Broad Oak, with pond dipping, bird hides and a comfortable Visitor Centre. For animals of the wilder variety, a trip to Howletts Wild Animal Park at Bekesbourne has gorillas, elephants and close encounters with tigers amongst ninety acres of Wildlife Park. Further afield, Richborough Castle near Sandwich has great views and Roman ruins, whilst Dover Castle, Museum and the White Cliffs Experience make for a rewarding day trip from Canterbury.

For the great outdoors, the Kent countryside offers some lovely walks and cycles. Inland, discover the deep country scattered with picturesque villages and hamlets and most English of English villages, or the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Cyclists can enjoy the relatively flat terrain on a marked ride linking Dover, Deal, Sandwich, Whitstable and Canterbury. The Crab and Winkle Way is a largely traffic-free route covering the seven or so miles between Canterbury and seaside Whitstable, passing through the ancient woodland of Blean Woods, making it a great ride or walk to do with the family, with plenty of suitable picnic stops en route. There are many varied bike rides and themed walking routes, such as the Saxon Shore Way or the Stour Valley Walk, available from the regional tourist offices.

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The Sykes’ Canterbury Tales! Part One

Thursday, October 21st, 2010
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If you’re wondering where to book your next holiday cottage, the cathedral city of Canterbury is filled with history and heritage, and enjoys an enviable location in the heart of the rolling Kent countryside. Its proximity to miles of splendid coastline and beaches, such as Herne Bay and Whitstable, the fertile, rolling hills and valley of the Kent countryside, dotted with ancient Oast Houses, and the sights, sounds and historic attractions of London just an hour or so away, makes the area an ideal choice for a South of England cottage holiday.

An ancient and historic city, Canterbury is rich in heritage visitor attractions and the jewel in the city’s sparkling crown is undoubtedly its magnificent cathedral. A site of pilgrimage since the martyrdom of Archbishop Thomas Becket, so vividly recounted in Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales, there are treasures enough here to easily consume a half-day’s visit. Guided tours are the best way to take in all the stories, tall tales and historical facts that have made the cathedral what it is today. See the ancient mediaeval crypt, the oldest in existence in the country, view the spot where Becket was murdered, climb the bell tower for panoramic views over the Kent countryside and marvel at the sheer beauty of the ancient, stained glass windows. Visit the vaulting cloisters and enjoy the abundant beauty of the cathedral’s Precinct Gardens, including a recreated herbarium, a tranquil space filled with plants grown for their healing and restorative properties. The cathedral is one of a trio of World Heritage Sites in the city; St. Martin’s Church and St. Augustine’s Abbey being the other two. The latter stands just beyond the city walls, an impressive ruin created as a final resting place for the Anglo-Saxon kings of Kent, whilst in the town there are a number of interesting museums. Of these, the Roman Museum is the most fascinating, constructed underground around the remains of a Roman villa. A large section of mosaic flooring discovered during site clearing after the destruction of the Second World War forms a centrepiece, but there are artefacts, reconstructions and recreations to give a real sense of how life would have been in ancient times. Other museums include the Canterbury Heritage Museum, the West Gate Towers Museum, in the ancient towers that have ushered visitors in and out of the city for over six centuries, and the Royal Museum and Art Gallery. A guided walk takes in the major sights of the town; visit by night and enjoy a popular Ghost Tour around the Old Town. A punt trip on the river Stour is a pleasant and relaxing way to experience the beauty of Canterbury, by day or in the evening.  Follow the city wall trail and take in the remains of Canterbury’s Norman Castle, before enjoying a little retail therapy in the varied shops of the old town. There’s everything from major high street stores to plenty of independent and specialist shops, together with a good choice of venues for eating and drinking.

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