Archive for the ‘Northumberland’ Category

Robson Green’s Tales From Northumberland

Monday, February 23rd, 2015
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If you tuned into ITV last Monday night you’ll probably have noticed that Robson Green’s Tales From Northumberland returned to the small screen for a second series. The first season went down a storm here at Sykes HQ, and I think that success was mirrored all around the UK. Millions tuned in every week to see the ever enthusiastic Robson explore some of the most beautiful and interesting spots in Northumberland; from the Kielder Observatory through to Alnwick Castle and Hexham Abbey, and it seems to have had a lasting effect. The Northumberland County Council ran a survey off the back of the program and 91% of respondents were of the opinion that the county is a great place to visit whilst 85% of people had been encouraged to learn more about the area. Little wonder Robson’s back!

This series will see Robson visit some more of Northumberland’s treasures; from beautiful stately homes to hidden hermitages and as you’d expect, he’ll be finding himself waylaid by some of the fantastic activities on offer like scuba diving with rare white beaked dolphins through to Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling. One thing for sure is that the series will be well worth a watch, so make sure you tune in!

Cragside Manor

If you did watch last week’s program, you’ll be well aware of Cragside Manor in Cartington. For years it served as the home of the renowned Victorian engineer William Armstrong and although it may have started off as a relatively humble country lodge it ended up being transformed into a towering Tudor style mansion by the architect Richard Norman Shaw. As you would expect from the home of one of the most eminent engineers of the Victorian period Cragside was well ahead of its time, in fact it was the first building in the world to boast a lighting system completely powered by hydroelectricity – quite the claim!

Corbridge Roman Town

Another of the spots that Robson will pay a visit to over the course of the series is the Roman Town at Corbridge. Found just a couple of miles south of Hadrian’s wall Corbridge was actually the most northerly town in an empire that, at it’s height, stretched from Spain through to Asia and covered over 5 million square kilometres! As a garrison town it served to support the troops stationed on the wall and you can still see echoes of this from the high street that survives to this day through to the Corbridge Hoard, a veritable treasure trove of Roman artefacts that includes the most complete set of armour ever found, not bad for a sleepy Northumberland town!

The Cheviot Hills

Finally we’ve got the Cheviot Hills. Nestled right on the border between England and Scotland the Cheviots are one of Northumberland’s hidden treasures. They constitute the northern section of the Northumberland National Park, a stunning area of countryside that somehow manages to remain free of the crowds who visit the Lake District and the Peaks every year. The Cheviot Hills were the scene of many a battle between the English and Scottish raiders over the years but nowadays it’s a fair bit sleepier there, making it the perfect spot for a quiet afternoon stroll.

Well there you go, the Sykes spotlight on this newest series of Robson Green’s Tales From Northumberland, hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading, if so make sure that you turn over to ITV at 8pm where you’ll find the second episode of the series. Or maybe you know of some of Northumberland’s hidden treasures yourself? If you do we’d love to hear them, you can get in touch with us over Facebook or Twitter and we’ll be sure to pass it on! And remember it’s easy enough to visit Northumberland if the program inspires you into it – just take a look here and see which cottages catch your eye!

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Sykes Cottages- Preserving Britain’s Beauty for 25 Years

Monday, October 28th, 2013
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Over our 25 year history, we’ve donated thousands to good causes up and down the country that we believe are making a difference within local communities and throughout the natural environment of the UK. We strive to support any initiative whose goal it is to preserve and safeguard our country’s natural habitats, and are immensely proud of our contribution to some of the UK’s most important conservation charities.


Via Flickr

From helping protect the homes of dormice and otters in Northumberland, to maintaining rare eco-systems in Newquay, we’re dedicated to doing what we can to safeguard the natural beauty of the UK so that it can be enjoyed and admired by holidaymakers for years to come. After all, without the efforts of schemes like the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, the UK’s inspiring natural world would be in danger of being lost for good.

Beech Trees

Via Flickr

With this in mind, we thought we’d let you know about our latest donation to the World Land Trust. This international conservation charity aims to take direct action to save wildlife habitats across the globe, from the rainforests of Brazil to the grasslands of Kenya. Thankfully, our donation to the WLT of £1,000 will be expended a little closer to home, with the charity planning to use our contribution to help fund the preservation and protection of the Kites Hill Reserve right here in the UK.

Boreal Owl

Via Flickr

The reserve, which covers 40 acres of stunning countryside in the Cotswolds, has been designated as a “Site of Special Scientific Interest” (SSSI) because of its irreplaceable beech woodlands, and was dubbed one of the most “important nature conservation sites in Europe” by Natural England.

The reserve is under threat due to past farming practices, which degraded the quality of the woodland and led to the loss of numerous species. Now in 2013, many of the native species have returned, and the WLT aims to provide the reserve’s recovering wildlife with a sustainable home long into the future. To continue managing Kite Hill’s sustainability, the WLT called upon corporate sponsorship to help fund the preservation effort, and as a UK based company, we thought it only right to come forward and show our support to this worthwhile conservation project.

red kite

Via Flickr

Visitors to the Kites Hill Reserve can expect to find a plethora of beloved British wildlife foraging amongst the flora, including butterflies, bats, owls and rare birds like the Red Kite, Stock Dove and Kestrel. Needless to say, the reserve proves an excellent place for a walk, with its mixture of grassland meadows and dense woodlands providing an enchanting backdrop for a stroll at any time of year.

So why not experience a trip to the Kites Hill Reserve on a cottage holiday in Gloucestershire? We’ve a handful of endearing Gloucestershire holiday cottages within a short drive of the reserve, so be sure to enjoy this priceless stretch of British countryside whilst you still can! And in the meantime, Sykes will continue endeavouring to preserve the wonders of our great country for generations to come.

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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.

What to do on the Northumberland Coast

Thursday, September 19th, 2013
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The Northumberland Coastline really is one of the treasures of this country. Sweeping beaches, dramatic seas and glorious views are just some of the reasons that led to the area being designated one of Outstanding Natural Beauty way back in 1958. Here at Sykes we feel that it is only fitting that the region gets the credit that it deserves, so we’ve decided to list some of the best things to do in the area, and with a wide selection of cosy cottages on the Northumberland coast what more could you ask for?

Take a Trip to Lindisfarne 

Lindisfarne Castle HDR

Via Flickr

A trip to Lindisfarne, or Holy Island as it’s also known, should be high on the agenda for any visitor to the North East coastline, mainly thanks to the picturesque castle and the presence of one of the most important religious sites in the country. Lindisfarne Priory is known throughout the world as the site of a notorious Viking raid back in 793 and also as the place of origin of the beautiful Lindisfarne gospels. However if history isn’t your thing there are plenty of other attractions on Holy Island with an abundance of local wildlife and numerous cafes and shops. Having said this a stop off at the Barn at Beal just over the causeway from the island comes highly recommended with a wide variety of home-baked cakes and treats, stunning panoramas from Goswick sands to Lindisfarne itself and all the way down to the magnificent Bamburgh castle, not to mention a children’s play park and a gift shop to keep every member of the family occupied.

Visit the town of Alnwick 

Alnwick Castle & Garden

Via Flickr

If you’re looking to take a trip slightly inland, then Alnwick is the place to go. This lovely market town is full of things to do and sights to see.  You can lose yourself in the magic of Alnwick Castle, one of the locations for the shooting of the Harry Potter films, or while away an afternoon in the beautiful castle gardens. There is also Barter Books, one of Europe’s largest second hand book shops. Opened in the town’s old railway station, this charming shop is the perfect place spot to enjoy a good book with your feet up in front of a roaring fire.

Explore the Coastline

Dunstanburgh Castle

Via Flickr

It may sound like the obvious option, but there is so much choice in this part of the world that it suddenly becomes a lot more complicated. The Northumberland Coast path runs all the way from Creswell up to Berwick-upon-Tweed offering some of the best coastal walks in England. However the stretch running between Craster and Newton-by-the-Sea is one of the more popular, and with views like above it comes as no surprise. The walk lets you take in the stunning vistas, including the glorious backdrop of Dunstanburgh Castle, and what’s more at the end you can enjoy a home-brewed pint and some locally produced Kippers at the Ship Inn. So what’s keeping you? Book your perfect Northumberland holiday with Sykes Cottages today!

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

A self-catering break to Northumberland

Monday, October 8th, 2012
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Northumberland in the north east of England is a stunning holiday destination. Whether you are looking for a short break, a weekend away or a week’s holiday, Northumberland has so much to offer. From the historic Hadrian’s Wall, to the coast of Alnwick, the seaside town of Seahouses and beautiful city of Durham, Northumberland and the surrounding area is a fantastic place for a UK holiday.

Sykes Cottages have an excellent selection of self catering holiday cottages to rent in Northumberland, providing the perfect base for you to explore the sleepy villages, beautiful beaches and buzzing cities that that north east of England has to offer. Here are some suggestions of places to visit from your Northumberland cottage.

Traditional seaside charm at Seahouses

Seahouses is a charming traditional seaside town situated approximately 20 miles north of Alnwick. A popular holiday destination, Seahouses is a popular place for fishing making it a great place to tuck into a hearty serving of fish and chips on the beach!
Seahouses Harbour, Northumberland

The Farme Islands, a cluster of 15-20 small islands depending on the tide, just off the coast of Seahouses provide a fantastic destination for scuba diving enthusiasts.The Seahouses Festival that take place in June each year is a great place to learn more about the local area and its stunning wildlife. However you choose to spend your time in Seahouses, staying in a self catering holiday cottage in Seahouses means that you can explore the best of the area by day and when the evening comes, retreat to your charming holiday cottage.

Fact and fiction at Alnwick

Alnwick Castle

However you choose to spend your holiday in Alnwick, one thing is for sure – you will be spoilt for choice! Alnwick is arguably one of the most picturesque places in Northumbria with character filled cobbled streets and lovely little shops to wander around as well as the Alnwick Garden, one of the best contemporary gardens in the UK. Harry Potter fans will love visiting Alnwick Castle, featured heavily in the Harry Potter films as Hogwarts – a must for all Harry Potter fans!

City charm at Durham

Durham 036
Durham is a truly unique university city, situated within easy reach of your holiday accommodation in Northumberland. The potent blend of the historic cathedral, winding river and bussing shopping scene, Durham is well worth a visit.

Planning a trip to Northumberland? Visit the Official Tourism website for the area for more information about days out and local events.  Why wait? Book your next holiday to Northumberland today! Contact us to rent a holiday cottage in Northumberland!

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Why not book a trip to Durham?

Friday, September 14th, 2012
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The city of Durham in the north east of England is a truly delightful place for a holiday. As well as stunning architecture and fascinating museums, Durham has some great places for eating out. Sykes Cottages have some lovely self catering holiday cottages in Durham that will add that really special touch to your trip. So what are you waiting for? Here is my guide of some of the best things to see and do on a trip to Durham and the surrounding area.

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral dates back as far Norman times – building work began in 1093 and took nearly forty years to complete. The Cathedral’s high up position on the banks of the River Wear means that it stands tall over the rest of the city and, to many people, is one of the most iconic images of Durham. The stunning cathedral is now recognised as a UNECSO world heritage site and no trip to Durham would be complete without a trip to marvel at both its beauty and sheer scale.

Durham Cathedral - Durham

Durham Cathedral is open to the public but it is worth bearing in mind that it is still a place of worship and access can be restricted during mass times. Visitors can walk through the beautiful cathedral, climb the 300+ steps to the top of the tower and enjoy a delicious slice of homemade cake in the Undercroft cafe.

The Angel of the North

Harley & Angel of the North

Situated overlooking the A1 dual carriageway, the Angel of the North is a fantastic feet of engineering and design. It stands tall at twenty metres, with a wingspan of more than 50 metres, built in such a way to create a ‘sense of embrace’. It is well worth a little drive out of the city to see this amazing structure!

Great food in Durham

Foodie lovers will be pleased to hear that the Durham City Food Festival takes place every October on the Palace Green and Market Square in the city centre. If you are taking a trip to Durham outside of this time though, don’t worry, there are plenty of lovely restaurants and cafes to visit in Durham. One of my favourites is Bistro 21. Situated outside of the city centre, it classic food is well worth the drive or taxi ride!

Durham 036

Beamish, County Durham

Beamish, the ‘Outdoor Museum of the North’ makes a great day out, especially if you are on holiday with children. Beamish tells the story of life in the north of England over the last one hundred years, through the Victorian and Edwardian eras and right up to the modern day. A day at Beamish is just like stepping back in time!

Beamish Bus

Durham – a great shopping destination!

No holiday would be complete without indulging in a little retail therapy! Durham’s large student population means that there are lots of unusual and alternative shops, including vintage shops and a busy indoor market.

Durham Cathedral

Whet your appetite for a holiday to Durham? Durham is easy to get to from many of our cottages in Northumberland. Why not search for and book a self catering cottage near to Durham today?

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