Archive for the ‘Lake District’ Category

Lake District nominated for World Heritage status

Friday, February 7th, 2014
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The government has announced that the Lake District National Park is to be put forward as the UK’s next nomination for World Heritage Status, with the final decision expected to be announced in 2017. If successful, England’s famous national park will join some of the world’s most eminent heritage sites on UNESCO’s top heritage list, which currently includes the Taj Mahal, Great Barrier Reef, the Grand Canyon and our very own Hadrian’s Wall. But after a string of failed bids dating back to the 1980s, how likely is it that the Lake District will be successful this time around?

Here at Sykes Cottages, we can’t really think of a more fitting nominee for the World Heritage bid. Peppered with historic sites and comprising many of England’s highest peaks and deepest lakes, the Lake District is one of the UK’s most cherished holiday destinations and one which has won the hearts of Britons since the days of William Wordsworth. That said, the uncompromising folk at UNESCO will need more convincing than that if they are to accept the Lake District’s bid. So, we’ve put together a list of fun facts about that the Lake District that we hope may make UNESCO stand up and take notice- or at least, inspire our loyal readers to pay the Lake District a visit themselves! So don your hiking boots, grab a compass, leash your pup and prepare yourself for a wander into the wonders of the Lake District with Sykes Cottages.

Ten golden nuggets from the Lake District

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

  1. The Lake District is the UK’s largest national park, covering 885 square miles of untouched glens, time-forgotten hamlets and lofty peaks. Put simply, it’s a sight to behold.
  2. The national park contains the highest mountain in all of England: Scafell Pike. Forming part of the district’s Southern Fells, Scafell stands at 978 metres (3,209ft) and is ascendable by a number of straightforward pathways. At its summit, hikers are treated to a breath taking panorama- so lace up those boots!
  3. At the base of Scafell Pike lies Wastwater, England’s deepest lake. Formed by a glacier over 12,000 years ago, Wastwater is 243 feet deep, 3 miles long and half a mile wide. In 2007, ITV named the vista of Wastwater Britain’s favourite view, so you’ll want your camera at the ready as you take a stroll around its banks.
  4. Although called the ‘Lake’ District, the national park only contains one lake (Bassenthwaite). The rest are actually waters, meres, or tarns. FACT.
Via Flickr

Via Flickr

  1. The Lake District has had a huge impact on literature through the ages. From the poetry of Wordsworth, Byron and Coleridge, to the fables of Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ransome and Ernest Hemingway, the beauty of the Lakes has been rousing creativity for centuries.
  2. Here’s some BIG numbers for you: The Lake District is home to around 14,650 archaeological sites, 275 ancient monuments, 1,760 listed buildings and 23 conservation areas- Need we say more UNESCO?
  3. You’ll need your pac-a-mac and wellies for a stroll in Seathwaite, the wettest inhabited place in England. On average, 3500mm of rain fall on this soggy hamlet each year, compared to just 2060mm in nearby Ambleside.
  4. Real ale fan? You’re in luck. The Lake District and Cumbria are home to more microbreweries than any other English county.
Via Flickr

Via Flickr

  1. The Lake District is home to several ancient and rather unusual traditions. Local mutts are said to compete in ‘hound trails’- long distance races which require them to follow the scent of aniseed; and, weather hardened Lakeland gents still compete in a form of Westmorland wrestling popular amongst Vikings- so stay on their good side!
  2. One of the Lake District’s most popular foodie exports is the Cumberland Sausage, a coiled sausage up to 50cm in length. Similar to the Cornish Pasty,  the Cumberland Sausage was granted Protected Geographical Indication in 2011, so you can only enjoy this culinary treat within the Lake District’s borders.

Rent a cottage in the Lake District with Sykes Cottages

Via Flickr

Wren’s Nest, Keswick. Cottage ref. 18408

Want to wander lonely as a cloud? Book a self-catering holiday cottage in the Lake District from Sykes Cottages. We’ve over 500 cottages in the Lake District for you to choose from, so find your favourite today and discover the wonders of this future World Heritage Site for yourself.

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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.

Sykes’ Spectacular Scenes

Friday, October 18th, 2013
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Whether you are climbing to the terrifying heights of our famed mountains or trudging through the vast open fields, it is hard to deny that here in the UK we have some of the world’s most breath taking views. For a small island in the middle of the Atlantic we really hold our own when it comes to stunning scenery; but with such a diverse landscape, is it really hard to see why? In honour of Lyth Valley making the Lonely Planet list for ‘The Most Beautiful Places on Earth’  we at Sykes have come up with our own top 10 places in the UK for scenery that will leave you speechless!

The Lyth Valley

Thorneyfield Cottage, The Lyth Valley – Ref. 5523

This picturesque valley is nestled in a hidden corner of Cumbria, perfect for protecting its unspoilt natural beauty. Famed for its selection of wildlife, the Lyth Valley makes for a photographers paradise, with its vast open spaces making even the trickiest of bird shots a doddle!

Rhossili Bay

Via. Flickr

Via. Flickr

Along with the title of Britain’s best beach 2013 Trip Advisor also voted Rhossili Bay the 10th best beach in the World! Quite an achievement for this little sandy shore in South Wales! The bay’s idyllic location makes it perfect for cuddling up and enjoying a romantic sunset.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Via. Flickr

Whether you’re looking up at the impressive architecture or down over the sights of the city, Edinburgh Castle offers an array of views to suit everyone. Open 363 days a year, this iconic castle allows you to make the most of the changing views with each new season.

St Ives

St Ives

Via. Flickr

With its fantastic summer weather, warm sandy beaches and delicious seafood you would be forgiven for thinking St Ives was a reclusive tropical destination. Offering a wide selection of brightly coloured properties, crisp blue seas and golden sands, St Ives‘ views are perfect for any budding painter.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain

Via. Flickr

A real cultural and historical treat, Stonehenge is a British icon and loved by many. Surrounded by Wiltshire’s open farm land, this world heritage site offers views as far as the eye can see, disturbed only by the natural curvature of the earth!

Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge

Via. Flickr

Cheddar Gorge is famed for its impressive stalactite cavern and although the view from inside this cave is all inspiring we feel that to witness the full delights of the area you need to bask in the sunlight. From outside you can see the steep cliffs and spectacular greenery which makes this region of Somerset truly beautiful.

The Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct And Ingleborough

Via. Flickr

Located in North Yorkshire this astonishing piece of engineering really adds character to the landscape, with a sharp contrast between the lush green grass and the hard stone pillars. The views from this spot make for a flawless photo opportunity!

Ingleton Falls

Ingleton Falls 08/07/2012

Via. Flickr

Not only revered for its glorious waterfalls, Ingleton also boasts spectacular woodlands, with each coming together in a wonderful trail sure to delight the whole family on! Whether you are taking your time to admire the plunging waters or chasing the wildlife through the trees, this area of Yorkshire is sure to inspire you.

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey

Via. Flickr

Set overlooking the popular coastal town of Whitby, this extraordinary abbey makes for a great value day out. When the abbey fell into ruin it was mined for its stones, leaving only the ghostly shell we see today! Visit the abbey on your next cottage holiday- it’s the perfect place for a Halloween treat or a charming picnic with the family!

The Wye Valley

The Lower Wye Valley from Wyndcliffe

Via. Flickr

The Wye Valley, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is perfect for a photo opportunity anytime of the year. Vibrant and colourful during Autumn when the leaves start to fall, or crisp and new when emerging green buds start to reappear during Spring. This diverse area is a writers Eden!

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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.

Happy National Poetry Day!

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
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Today at Sykes Cottages, we are celebrating National Poetry Day. Poetry is a subject that can often divide opinions with most people claiming to either love or hate it. For some, it’s a way to express themselves on a level that they just can’t reach through prose and for others it’s somewhat of a mystery. National Poetry Day is a celebration of poetry in every form and an attempt to make it accessible to everyone, everywhere. It aims to encourage and inspire Britain to discuss, write about and read poetry, but most of all, enjoy it.

So in honour of National Poetry Day, we’ve decided to make our own contribution by taking a look at some of Britain’s best loved poets and their origins.

William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills

Wordsworth Country, Lake District

Via Flickr

William Wordsworth, born in 1770, is one of the most influential poets of the Romantic era. His works include ‘The Prelude’, ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ and a collaboration with fellow Romantic, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Lyrical Ballads’. Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth, an ancient market town nestled on the borders of the Lake District National Park. Although of medieval origins, the town has a heavy Georgian influence with most of the town being rebuilt during this period. Cockermouth is steeped in history and is a charming place to visit with modern day attractions including Cockermouth Castle which dates back to the Norman era and Wordsworth House, which is the birthplace of Mr Wordsworth himself. This beautiful Georgian townhouse is presented as the Wordsworth family home and is a must see for any literature fan.

Robert Burns

A fond kiss and then we sever; a farewell, and then forever!

Burns Cottage, Alloway

Via Flickr

Robert Burns is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, writing poetry and folk songs that are still commonly known today. Favourites include the traditional Hogmanay song ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and ‘A Red, Red Rose’. Born in Ayrshire in 1759, Burns was characterised by fierce national pride, radicalism, spontaneity and sincerity. So proud are the Scottish of his legacy that they dedicate a day to him each year. Burns Night is normally held on the 25th January every year, on the day that Burns was born and celebrates his life and poetry. Revellers make toasts, eat and read Burns’ ‘Address to a Haggis’. Fans of the Bard of Ayrshire can visit the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum  in the Alloway countryside which houses a awe-inspiring collection of his life and works.

Ted Hughes

Effortlessly at height hangs his still eye. His wings hold all creation in a weightless quiet

Ted Hughes country, Yorkshire

Via Flickr

Ted Hughes has long been considered to be one of the greatest writers of his generation and was Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998. Born in 1930, Hughes led a life marked by both genius and tragedy with some of his most famous works include ‘The Hawk in the Rain’ and ‘Birthday Letters’. As a child, Hughes lived in the rural Yorkshire town of Mytholmroyd, but moved to Mexborough, South Yorkshire a few years later. The harsh moor landscape of his childhood is reflected in his work, much of which is predominantly concerned with nature and the impact of man on his surroundings. Hughes’ early work in particular, is influenced by the wildlife he encountered as a child. If you’d like to experience the places and landscapes that inspired his work, you can visit the area around Mytholmroyd and immerse yourself into the life and times of one of Britain’s best poets. Hughes’ first wife, the American poet Sylvia Plath, is buried in nearby Hepponstall.

If you’ve been inspired to take a trip to discover the origins of Wordsworth, Burns, Hughes or any other British poet, why not book a self-catering cottage for the duration of your stay. After all, what could be better after a long day of exploring than heading back to your holiday cottage and relaxing in front of a roaring fire with the works of your favourite poet?

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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.

Great British Food: The Lake District

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
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While the British public laments the loss of what has been a beautiful British summer, I for one am looking forward to autumn with its crunchy leaves, damp mornings and shorter days. Why, you may ask? The simple reason is the delicious food that this season brings with it. Cosy comfort food and warm, satisfying meals are on the menu along with steaming hot drinks and freshly baked desserts, especially now that the beach season is behind us! Dining out is a favourite pastime of many here at Sykes and autumn, with its cooler temperatures, is the perfect time to indulge.

The Good Food Guide must be in agreement with this sentiment as they have recently published their new edition for 2014. The restaurant awarded the number one spot may come a surprise to many as it is nestled not in the heart of London but in the rolling countryside of the Lake District. L’Enculme, in the picturesque village of Cartmel, beat competitors such as restaurants owned by Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay to be crowned the best restaurant in the UK. Elizabeth Carter, the guide’s consultant editor, elaborated on the decision stating that their “fantastic way with seasonal ingredients from the Cumbrian land and coast brings dishes that are a joyful celebration of this county’s magnificent diversity”.

As a result of such an achievement, we’ve been inspired to share with you some of our favourite cuisine originating from the Lake District.

 

Cumberland Sausage

Cumberland Sausage with Mash and Beer and Onion Gravy

via Flickr

Perhaps the most famous of the Lake District’s produce is the Cumberland sausage which is made of spiced pork with a predominantly peppery taste.  They have a high meat content and a distinctly chunky texture as they are chopped rather than minced. A very satisfying and filling meal, these traditional sausages taste incredible in a casserole or smothered in caramelised onion gravy with mashed potatoes.

 

Seafood

Arctic Char

Via Flickr

Seafood is ever popular in the Lake District due to its abundance in the surrounding lakes and fells. One of the most common Lakes seafood dishes is potted brown shrimp caught by the local fisherman in Morecambe Bay. Served in an array of spices and butter, this dish is delicious served on warm toast. Another Lakeland delicacy is arctic char which can be found in the depths of Lake Windermere.  A special licence is needed to catch char, which is a relative of salmon, and as a result it is considered a real luxury.

 

Traditional Lakeland Desserts

Sticky toffee pudding

Via Flickr

There are so many wonderful deserts to originate from the Lakes that it’s hard to pick just one! Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread is an all-time favourite with a closely guarded recipe that has been kept a secret since the 1850s. Sticky toffee pudding is also claimed to have been born in the Lakes. This delicious dessert consists of a steamed sponge cake covered in a toffee sauce and is normally served with ice cream or custard. It is a firm favourite in households across Britain. Finally, no discussion of traditional Lake District food is complete without a mention of Kendal Mint Cake. A simple blend of sugar, glucose, water and peppermint, Kendal Mint Cake is traditionally used by mountaineers and explorers to give them energy on their expeditions but is often enjoyed (in moderation) by those with a very sweet tooth.

 

The Lake District in Autumn

via Flickr

If like me, you’re now watering at the mouth and ready to head to the Lakes at the next possible opportunity, don’t forget to take a look at our wide selection of self-catering cottages in the Lake District where you’ll be able to enjoy traditional Cumbrian food every day of your holiday!

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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.

Sunday Snapshots: Autumn in the Lake District

Sunday, September 8th, 2013
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The nights are drawing in, pavements are littered with crunchy leaves in a multitude of hues and there is the undeniable nip in the air which can only mean one thing; autumn is fast approaching. With the children back to school this week, now is a great time for a few days away.  Fewer holidaymakers, the promise of an Indian summer and lower prices to boot means you couldn’t choose a better time than autumn for a relaxing break.  So, where to enjoy a few days away?  You’ll struggle to find anywhere better than the Lake District with its simply breathtaking combination of rolling hills and mirror-like lakes to watch the seasons change.  With just too many fantastic photos to choose just one, for this week’s Sunday Snapshot, we’re treating you to a cornucopia of autumnal delights…

 
Autumn in the lakes 2
 

Once you’ve admired the scenery, you’ll find plenty more to keep you entertained whether you’re looking for an active or relaxing break.  Fans of the former should try the Glenridding Sailing Centre located on Ullswater, the area’s second largest lake, which offers a great selection of dinghies, boats, canoes and kayaks to hire.  Their experienced staff also offer training courses throughout the year and are on hand to answer our sailing-related queries!  Once on the water, I’m sure you’ll agree that the view from your boat is second to none.

 
Lake Ullswater, Glenridding
 

Foodies have been flocking to the Lakes for decades and autumn with its seasonal abundance of tasty treats is no exception to the region’s popularity.  Make sure to try the damson, in season during September and grown in Westmorland since the early 1700s, which appears in everything from jams to wines, chocolate and even beer!  To make your holiday a truly special one, why not treat yourselves to a Michelin starred meal at L’Enclume in Cartmel, recently crowned the best restaurant in the UK?

 
Course 8: Herdwick Lamb Flank, Sweetbread, Salsify, Hedge Garlic & Blewitts (3)

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