Archive for the ‘Somerset’ Category

Accessible Walks in The UK

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
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As great as cars are, sometimes there’s nothing better than putting on a pair of comfortable shoes and heading out into the great outdoors, particularly to a local wood or forest. Whether your chosen method of transport is walking, cycling or even horse riding we are spoilt in the UK for places to wander through for some fresh air. Unfortunately nothing can ruin a walking excursion like an unsafe pathway that is dangerous to cross, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the UKs best places to go for a walk where the paths are accessible and safe.

Plas Power Woods, Wrexham

Forest above Crafnant

Arguably one of the most popular woods in Wales with an estimated 27,000 visitors per year is the Plas Power Woods in Wrexham. Keep your eyes peeled when walking around this wood, as it boasts some magnificent scenery. If you go down to this wood on certain days, then you may very well be in for a big surprise as the wood sometimes plays host to a teddy bears picnic – making it perfect for a family day out!  Head back to your holiday cottage in North Wales to relax after your trip to Plas Power Woods.

The New Forest, Hampshire

New Forest, Near Fritham

The New Forest in Hampshire provides a variety of safe walking routes, perfectly accessible for dog walkers, cyclists and those with limited mobility. If you like to be prepared then you can print out information about these walks from The New Forest’s website before you go. The New Forest provides nature lovers with a variety of walkways, forest-led events and you can even attend a guided walk through the forest to discover more about the history, geology and wildlife that the forest is home to.  To extend your stay at The New Forest, and enjoy all that the surrounding area has to offer, take a look at our Hampshire holiday cottages.

The Strawberry Line, Somerset

The C&O Trail in Brunswick, MD
If safe and accessible paths are something you wish there was more of, then don’t worry as there has been campaigns created exactly for this. The Strawberry Line project, for example, was created to ensure that the disused railway between Clevedon and Cranmore in Somerset was converted into a network of safe pathways that were accessible to all, making it the perfect place to go for a walk on your Somerset cottage holiday.

If our choices of woodland walks to wander along has made you fancy pulling on your comfortable shoes and hitting the pathway, then why not take a look at our selection of holiday cottages perfect for walking holidays in the UK and book today!

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.

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, 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!


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.

Sykes’ Spotlight on Bath

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
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With lots to do for families, couples or lone travellers alike Bath is a popular destination for a UK holiday. You can shop ‘til you drop, indulge in a spa day or take in some historical sights, making Bath the perfect destination for a holiday in the UK. Here are some of our favourite things to see and do on a trip to Bath…

Historical and Modern Spas

Roman Baths 1

No trip to Bath is complete without a trip to the Roman Baths. Just walking around the Bath is an experience itself, but pick up a free audio guide to fully immerse your-self in the experience and hear from historians how the baths would have been used in Roman times. Walk along the same floors that Romans would have walked upon whilst learning how the baths were built, how they would have looked and even the technology used when building.  Unfortunately – despite how tempting it might be – modern day visitors cannot take a dip into the Roman Bath but never fear as just a short walk away from the historic baths is the modern Thermae Bath Spa. This modern spa is host to Britain’s only naturally warm water, and visitors can experience relaxation as the Romans used to. As a bonus, the spa plays host to a rooftop pool that boasts magnificent views of Bath.

Sights of Bath

Pulteney Bridge

One of the things Bath is famous for is its striking architecture. Whilst much of the city is beautiful to look at, there are a few buildings that should be top of any Bath-tourists ‘to see’ list. The Royal Crescent is a must-see, designed by John Wood the younger and built between 1767 and 1775 it is home to thirty houses. House Number 1 is  used as a museum and is open to the public, whilst another is now used as the decadent Royal Crescent Hotel. Another must see is Pulteney Bridge which was built by Robert Adams in 1769. With the River Avon running underneath and the stunning architecture of the bridge itself, it’s not hard to see why this bridge is often considered one of the most romantic in the world.


Bath Abbey

As with most major cities in the UK, Bath has a plethora of shopping opportunities. From independent shops to high street giants, chances are you’ll find what you want when shopping in Bath. For some inspiration, or just to get in the mood for a day of scouring the shops, those who are fashion conscious may enjoy a trip to the Fashion Museum. With an impressive number of fashion displays from the 16th century to the present day, a visit to this museum is sure to leave you inspired and ready to raid the rails!

If Bath is top of the list for your next UK holiday, why not have a look at our holiday cottages in Somerset and book today!

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.

Sykes’ Spotlight on Bridgwater

Friday, April 26th, 2013
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Located at the foot of the Quantock Hills, England’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the bustling market town of Bridgwater is the perfect spot for holidaymakers looking to experience the West Country. While this part of the UK may be known for being quiet, you’ll find plenty to see and do from your Somerset cottage whether you’re planning a few days away or a longer holiday with the family.


Enjoy glorious surroundings at Cannington

The beautiful walled gardens in Cannington, a small village not far from Bridgwater, lie in the grounds of a medieval priory.  As if that wasn’t enough, the gardens’ history is spectacular with the buildings undergoing many transformations over the years from nunnery to politician’s house to school.  Today the gardens provide an excellent canvas for the students of Bridgwater College and their work can be viewed throughout.  The gardens themselves are a real treat for anyone whose fingers bear the merest tinge of green.  From the sub-tropical walk to the Blue Garden and the ornamental kitchen garden, the variety of plants and flowers from across the world combine to provide a series of breathtaking vistas.  With the weather finally improving as we head towards summer, now is a perfect time to make the most of the great outdoors during your holiday in Somerset.

Cannington Walled Garden

Visit the Carnival

Bridgwater truly comes alive in November when months of hard work result in the largest illuminated carnival in Europe.  Numerous floats decorated by local carnival clubs track the two mile route which really has to be seen to be believed.  The carnival traces its history to 1605 and the unsuccessful attempt by Guy Fawkes and his band of followers to blow up the Houses of Parliament.  Bridgwater Carnival just wouldn’t be complete without the unique firework display at the end of the carnival known as squibbing.  150 squibbers stand facing each other and set off their fireworks in unison for a trail of bright light through the Bridgwater streets.  Carnival is an absolute must if you’re planning a Somerset holiday during the autumn; why not take a look at our holiday cottages with an open fire for some inspiration?



Walks from your Somerset cottage

Speaking as a former West Country resident, the best way to explore the gorgeous countryside is on two feet.  This part of Somerset is a walker’s paradise with the Mendip Hills, Somerset Levels and Quantocks all within easy reach from your self-catering cottage.  The Exmoor National Park, just a short drive from Bridgwater, with its combination of coastal and rural scenery is a great choice both for a bracing walk or gentle amble.  There are more than 1000km of footpaths and bridleways in Exmoor alone so you could easily spend a few days here and never see the same part twice.  The best bit about the numerous walks in Somerset?  You’re almost guaranteed to find a quaint tea room or rustic country pub en route; what better way to spend an afternoon in Somerset?

Views around Exmoor National Park

Thinking about a holiday in Somerset?  Visit the website to browse our range of cottages in Somerset or give one of our holiday cottage advisors a call on 01244 356695 for help finding your perfect cottage.  Our call centre is open until 9.30pm, seven days a week so we’re always on hand to help!

Happy 200th Birthday to Pride and Prejudice!

Monday, January 28th, 2013
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‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’. So begins ‘Pride and Prejudice’, regularly voted the nation’s favourite book, which celebrates its 200th birthday today. Jane Austen’s most famous work was first published on 28th January 1813 and tells the story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy. Whether you’ve read the book from cover to cover and want to bring the characters to life or are simply looking for a holiday in some of the most picturesque places in the UK, why not find a holiday cottage with Sykes?

Pride and Prejudice

The Peak District

Austen said of Derbyshire that there was “no finer county in England” and it’s little surprise given the miles of unspoilt rolling countryside dotted with picturesque towns.  Chatsworth House is often referred to in the novel and is thought to have inspired Mr Darcy’s house, Pemberley.  Why not find a cottage nearby and recreate life in Regency England or visit Bakewell and Matlock Bath, also mentioned in the novel?  Who knows, maybe you’ll find your very own Mr Darcy while you’re on holiday!

Chatsworth House, Bakewell, Derbyshire


Hampshire should be high on the list for any Austen pilgrimage as this is where the author was born and died and the county also features in Pride and Prejudice.  The Jane Austen House Museum is in Chawton, where she spent her final years, and will celebrate the anniversary with writing workshops and dramatic re-enactments of key scenes from the novel.  True ‘Janeites’ will enjoy a tour through Hampshire from her birthplace in Steventon to her final resting place at Winchester Cathedral as well as other important places in her life.  Choose one of our lovely Hampshire cottages and enjoy exploring the New Forest and the south coast.


One of our lovely Hampshire cottages.

One of our lovely Hampshire cottages.



Austen moved to Bath in 1801 and lived there for five years and even set Northanger Abbey and Persuasion in the famous Georgian city.  Visit the West Country today and you’ll find the Jane Austen Centre which is holding plenty of celebrations in honour of the bicentenary.  Join in with the Readathon which takes place today or dress up in your finest and attend the Regency Ball in June.  The Centre itself is well worth a visit while you’re on holiday in Bath which is home to a permanent exhibition of her life in Bath as well as a Regency tearoom and costumed staff.  The Jane Austen festival held every September is hugely popular and a great excuse to don a corset and gown!

Jane Austen plaque

If this has got you thinking about a short break in the UK, why not visit our website or give us a call until 9.30pm, seven days a week and start planning your next holiday?