Archive for the ‘Romantic Getaways’ Category

10 things couples should try this Valentine’s Day

Thursday, February 12th, 2015
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Sorry, singletons aren’t welcome here, for today on the Sykes’ blog, we’ve gone all soft in honour of Valentine’s Day. Before you close this page at the speed of Cupid’s bow, hold fire; we’re not here to make you spend a quarter of a month’s wages on a bouquet of roses. Instead, we want you and your lover to try something out of the ordinary this Valentine’s Day. From horse riding in the Lakes to picnicking by boat, here’s 10 things every couple ought to try during the weekend of lurve.

Be entranced by the night sky in Northumberland

When the lights go out this Valentine’s Day, don’t take it to the bedroom. Instead, layer up and head to Northumberland, where the starry night sky hanging over Kielder Water will sweep you off your tootsies. In 2013, Northumberland’s night sky was granted protected dark sky status, making it one of the best places to stargaze in Europe.

Enjoy afternoon tea at Corfe Castle

The romantic ruins of Corfe Castle are a dreamy daytrip destination for couples at the best of times, but on Valentine’s Day, this evocative Civil War relic comes into its own. After a hand-in-hand stroll around the castle, take an afternoon tea of heart-shaped shortbread, chocolate dipped strawberries and Victoria sponge cake in the castle’s cosy café.

Hire a classic car and head for the hills

Leave the Merc at home this weekend and travel in style with a retro hire car. There are lots of classic motors available to rent for a weekend jaunt to the countryside, from the chic Jaguar E-type to the Austin Healey. With the breeze in your hair, you can explore some of England’s prettiest spots; we’d recommend the Cotswolds, whose charming villages are as timeless as your chosen wheels.

Wander the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland

If you’re looking for alone time this Valentine’s Day, there’s only one place for it: the Wild Atlantic Way. Spanning the length of Ireland’s west coast, this evocative seaboard trail is about as far flung as it gets. Think soaring sea cliffs, windswept beaches, and some of the friendliest locals in Europe. If you choose, you won’t see another soul for miles – bliss.

Explore the mystical Ingleton Waterfall Trail

Does the sight of a waterfall render you all of a flutter? Then steady yourself, for the Ingleton Waterfall Trail has lots of them. Beginning in the sleepy village of Ingleton, this circular trail takes visitors on a journey through some of the most spectacular waterfall scenery in England – trust me, you’ll want the camera.

Savour a romantic rail journey in Snowdonia

Picture a steam train chugging through a leafy valley. Then, picture yourself aboard it, sipping a glass of champagne as you sit and admire the views. Sound good? Then book yourself aboard the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway, whose carriages and engines are over 150 years old. The Ffestiniog Railway has over forty miles of track, and passes some of Snowdonia’s prettiest landscapes.

Picnic on the River Fowey in Cornwall

Fowey Picnic Boat

Perused our Discover Cornwall Visitor Guide recently? Then you’ll know about the Fowey Picnic Boat. For those who haven’t: the Fowey Picnic Boat offers the chance to picnic aboard a 1930’s motor launch captained by friendly skipper, Brian. Brian will take lovebirds on a two-hour cruise of the beautiful River Fowey whilst they gorge on a delicious picnic. If you can’t make it for Valentine’s, it’s the perfect daytrip come summer.

Saddle up in the Lake District

You’ve walked, cycled, kayaked and climbed your way across the Lake District – but have you ever explored this wonderful region on horseback? With an endless supply of fells, dells and coast to explore, Cumbria and the Lake District is one of the best places in the country for four-legged discovery. Like lovers of old, you too can saddle up and feel at one with nature this Valentine’s Day.

Enjoy a snowy sled dog tour in Scotland

Or, swap ponies for pooches and enjoy an unforgettable sled dog tour in the Scottish Highlands this Valentine’s Day. With a little help from some strong-as-on-ox canines, you can see the Highlands like never before. Over the Valentine’s weekend, Scotland’s likely to be covered in a blanket of snow, which will only add to the enchantment. After your mushing sesh, head back to the warmth of a Scottish log cabin and warm your extremities beside the fire.

Book a last minute Valentine’s getaway

Just want to get away with the person you love? That’s fine too! But you’ll have to be quick, as there’s only a few days left to book a last minute getaway for cupid’s big weekend. Visit our Valentine’s cottages page today, and use the search bar on the left of the page to find the perfect cottage for your romantic getaway.

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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.

Ten Activities for Couples in The Highlands

Thursday, January 15th, 2015
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The festive period of spending time with family and friends is unfortunately over. However, now is a great time to focus on spending time with that special someone. If you and your loved one happen to find yourselves in the Scottish Highlands (we heavily recommend it!) and in need of an idea or two of a romantic activity then read on as we’ve come up with a shortlist of things to do that are perfect for couples in the Scottish Highlands.

1. Go For a Walk

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

No matter where you are in The Highlands you won’t be too far from a scenic walking route and what better way to spend an afternoon than on a wander with your loved one? If you need inspiration for your romantic Highland wander, we’re particularly fond of this route through the Truim Woods in the Cairngorms.

2. Go Shopping

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

If you’re a shopping lover you will be spoilt for choice in the Highlands, particularly in Inverness where you can find a huge number of well-known brands as well as lovely independent shops. Have a date day by taking a stroll through the shops, buy yourself some goodies before stopping off for lunch and coffee; a perfect way to spend the day!

3. Go on a Distillery Tour

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

A couple who sips whisky together, stays together. Or something like that. Either way, a trip to Scotland would not be complete without touring a distillery and indulging in a dram or two at the end. Why not visit Old Pulteney in Caithness for an hour tour or indulge in the Manager’s Masterclass that includes a two hour tour and tasting session with the Distillery Manager.

4. Catch a Show

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

Dinner and a show may sound like a cliché date but for a romantic evening there isn’t anything better! Eden Court in Inverness plays host to a variety of shows throughout the week in both the cinema and theatre.

5. Discover Wildlife

Tiger at Highland Wildlife Park

Image via Flickr

On water or on land, Scotland has a huge variety of native wildlife just waiting to be discovered! For something a little more exotic, Highland Wildlife Park makes a great day out. Learn about the animals in the park whilst spending quality time with your partner.

6. Go for a Bike Ride

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

If you want a way to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Highlands but at a bit of a faster pace than walking, why not hire a bike and get cycling? Follow a cycle path and treat yourselves to lunch in a cosy country pub to warm up in the middle of your ride.

7. Enjoy a romantic meal

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

Let’s be honest, you can have a romantic meal anywhere, but there really is nothing better than taking in the beautiful Highland views on a romantic after dinner stroll!

8. Go for a Ride on the Nevis Range Gondola

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

Nothing says romance like a beautiful view and The Mountain Gondola in The Nevis Range provides just that. The journey on the Gondola takes around 12-15 minutes and provides riders with stunning views of Ben Nevis and the surrounding areas.

9. Visit a Castle

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

Take a walk around the ruins of one of the Highlands many castles and learn about who used to live there. Urquhart Castle in particular is a great choice for a romantic day out, giving visitors a stunning view over Loch Ness from its ruins.

10. Book a Romantic Cottage

image from Cnoc Grianach reference 20748

image from Cnoc Grianach reference 20748

On the chilly nights that are particularly prominent at this time of year, there is nothing better than snuggling up in front of an open fire in your very own holiday cottage rental. Take a look at our selection of cottages in the Scottish Highlands and whisk your loved one away for a romantic getaway – you won’t be disappointed!


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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.

Book a Romantic Cottage for Valentine’s Day

Saturday, January 10th, 2015
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To gain some brownie points from your loved one this year, make Valentine’s Day extra special by booking a cosy cottage for the occasion! Here at Sykes, we’re a sucker for a love story and so we’ve come up with a few suggestions on where to go for the perfect romantic getaway this Valentine’s Day. To help make your Valentine’s break run smoothly, you can also take a look at our guide on how to organise the perfect Valentine’s getaway!

Indulge in a cottage with a hot tub

Holiday cottage with hot tub

Upper Barn Stable, Norfolk, Ref. 2428

For most of us a hot tub is the ultimate luxury, so why not spoil your partner with a getaway in a holiday cottage with a hot tub? Upper Barn Stable is a charming stable conversion in Norfolk with traditional features and a bubbling hot tub in the garden to soak yourself in! It’s still available for Valentine’s Day but act quickly to make sure that you don’t miss out as our cottages with hot tubs are extremely popular!

Warm yourselves in a cottage with a log fire

Holiday cottage with log fire

Beckside Cottage, Yorkshire Dales, Ref. 906996

Is there anything more romantic than snuggling with your partner in front of a log fire? We think not. If like me, your house is rather lacking in real log fires, then why not treat yourself to some time away in one of our gorgeous cottages with open fires. The lovely Beckside Cottage, pictured above, is still available over Valentine’s Day and boasts a beautiful wood-burning stove where you can warm yourselves after exploring the surrounding Yorkshire countryside.

Relax in a cottage with a four poster bed

Holiday cottage with four poster bed

Beesoni Lodge, Worcestershire, Ref. 1852

No first-class Valentine’s getaway is complete without a sumptuous four poster bed and luckily for you, we have a fantastic selection of luxury cottages with four poster beds for you to choose from! Four poster beds evoke an air of romance, elegance and opulence, which is definitely the feel you want to go for on the most romantic day of the year!

Book a romantic holiday cottage with Sykes Cottages

Romantic holiday cottage

Coachman’s, Cornwall, Ref. 982

If you’re planning on booking a romantic retreat for Valentine’s Day, then Sykes Cottages are here to help! Whether you’re planning a surprise getaway (don’t forget to read our handy guide to booking a surprise holiday!) or just looking for somewhere nice to spend the weekend together, we can help you find the perfect cottage for your celebrations. Our dedicated reservations specialists are on hand 7 days a week from 9.00am until 9.30pm – give us a call on 01244 356 695 or send us an email to see what we have available. Happy planning!

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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.

Win a Romantic Retreat with VisitEngland

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
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Have you entered our competition in conjunction with VisitEngland yet? With the competition end date in sight, we want to make sure that you don’t miss out on the chance to win this fantastic prize and enjoy a cosy cottage holiday in one of our stunning romantic retreats! We’re offering one lucky winner £400 worth of Sykes Cottages vouchers and a luxury hamper full of goodies; but hurry, the competition closes on October 31st. You can enter by heading to the VisitEngland website.

Here at Sykes, we think a cottage getaway is the most romantic way to take a break with your partner (not that we’re biased!) and in honour of our competition with VisitEngland, we want to share just a few of our tips on making the most of your romantic getaway!

Turn your phones off

Romantic holiday cottage in the Peak District

House on the Hill, Peak District, Ref. 916619

There is nothing that kills the mood more than looking at your phone every few minutes to flick through Twitter, check your Facebook notifications and upload pictures to Instagram. Just stop. Avoid temptation by turning your phone off and instead, focus on spending time with your loved one.

Make the most of the cottage’s facilities

Romantic holiday cottage in Shropshire

The Old Chapel, Shropshire, Ref. 30035

If you do your research before you go and read about the facilities that your cottage has to offer, you’ll ensure that you get the most out of your getaway. If your cottage has a hot tub, make sure that you pack your swim suits; if there’s an iPod dock, create a romantic playlist for your time together; if your cottage has a bath then splash out on some luxurious bath products for you both to enjoy! It’s all in the details.

Treat yourselves

Romantic holiday cottage in Yorkshire Dales

Journeyman Loft, Yorkshire Dales, Ref. 12252

As all of our cottages are self-catering, why not stop off at a local food shop or supermarket on the journey to stock up on all of your favourite snacks, drinks and ingredients for delicious home-made meals. Eating in is much more intimate than heading out to a restaurant, where you are frequently interrupted by waiters and distracted by other diners; if you’re looking for the perfect romantic meal then we recommend you cook up a storm in your holiday cottage and enjoy the privacy!

If you’ve entered the competition already and are waiting with bated breath to find out the winner, why not spend your time planning your potential romantic getaway by having a browse of our fantastic romantic cottages collection. If you haven’t entered yet and want to do so, head to the VisitEngland website now!

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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.

Win a Romantic Autumn Getaway with Visit England!

Sunday, October 5th, 2014
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This month, we’ve teamed up with VisitEngland to offer you the chance to win £400 of Sykes Cottages vouchers to spend on a romantic autumn getaway! With its beautiful array of colours; dark, cosy nights and dipping temperatures perfect for snuggling; there’s something incredibly romantic about autumn. That’s why we want to help you make the most of this wonderful season and help you to spend some quality time with your loved one in one of our snug romantic cottages. In addition to the vouchers, you and your partner will also receive a luxury hamper full of delicious treats! To enter the competition, all you need to do is head to the VisitEngland website.

Romantic holiday cottage in Cornwall

Coachman’s, Cornwall, Ref. 982

To get you in the mood, take a look at some of the romantic retreats that you could be heading to in the near future!

The Cow Byre, Cumbria

Romantic holiday cottage in Cumbria

The Cow Byre, Cumbria, Ref. 7512

If you’re looking for a luxury autumn getaway, you’d be hard pressed to find something more opulent than The Cow Byre. This stunning open plan cottage is situated amongst the beautiful Cumbrian countryside, making it ideal for bracing walks and enjoying the autumn colours. On returning from your blustery walk, warm yourself in front of the cosy woodburner in the living area or head up to the galleried bedroom where you’ll find an irresistible claw-footed bath that’s just calling out for you to take a soak!

Forester’s Inn, Forest of Dean

Romantic holiday cottage in Forest of Dean

Forester’s Inn, Forest of Dean, Ref. 28825

For the ultimate cosy cottage getaway, look no further than Forester’s Inn at the heart of the Forest of Dean. Offering a charming combination of modern furnishings and original features, this characterful little cottage is picture-perfect. Just take a look at the roaring woodburner, plush rugs and comfy sofa in the living room; I’d defy anyone not to want to grab their other half and snuggle up for a night in front of the fire!

The Loft, North Yorkshire

Romantic holiday cottage in Yorkshire

The Loft, North Yorkshire, Ref. 13557

Fancy a romantic getaway immersed in nature? This intimate bolthole in the sleepy Yorkshire village of Staintondale is situated on a 14 acre smallholding, where you can visit the farm’s friendly Shetland Ponies and Highland Cows and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a roe deer! The Loft’s exposed beams, aged timber floors and super-king sized bed, all add to the snug atmosphere of this secluded romantic retreat.

To view our full selection of romantic cottages in the UK and Ireland, please visit our website. In order to be in with a chance of winning a stay at one of our fabulous cottages, please don’t forget to enter our competition in partnership with VisitEngland by visiting their website today.


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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.