Archive for the ‘Summer Holidays’ Category

Sykes’ UK Festival Guide 2014

Monday, June 30th, 2014
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Summer’s here, and that means one thing: the festival season has begun. From now until September, thousands will head to the countryside to indulge in a weekend of fun and frolics. But with so many festivals and events taking place, how do you pick your favourite from the bunch? Well, that’s where we come in, with our handy guide to the UK’s best festivals (in our humble opinion of course). So grab your glowsticks, dust down your wellies and start planning your summer festival getaway today.

Our Favourite Music Festivals

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Green Man Festival

When: 14-17 August

Where: Glanusk, Wales

Why we love it:

Situated in the shadow of the Black Mountain, arguably the Brecon Beacons prettiest peak, Green Man Festival offers an appealing blend of contemporary artists and stunning surroundings. The festival is renowned for its not-for-profit ethics and intimate feel, plus their website’s pretty swish.

Wilderness Festival

When: 7-11 August

Where: Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire

Why we love it:

Boasting a lake side spa, trapeze show and nightly woodland parties, Wilderness Festival isn’t your ordinary music festival. The event has a remarkably relaxed vibe making it ideal for those swapping their usual summer holiday for a music festival- and the line-up’s rather good too!

Beacons Festival

When: 7-10 August

Where: Skipton, North Yorkshire

Why we love it:

Set amid one of England’s best loved landscapes, the Yorkshire Dales, Beacons Festival offers big acts without the big price tag. The Times named Beacons the best festival in the UK for its atmosphere; couple that with its diverse line-up, and Beacons should certainly be on your festival hitlist.

Our Favourite Food & Drink Festivals

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival

When: 12-13 July

Where: Weymouth Harbour, Dorset

The Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival gives visitors the chance to sample some of our nation’s favourite seafood whilst sipping on a flute or two of French fizz. Spread around Weymouth’s picturesque harbour, the event is free to enter and is a great way to spend a summer’s day.

Richmond Food and Ale Festival

When: 23-25 August

Where: Richmond, North Yorkshire

Why we love it:

If you’re into fine food and quality real ale, you’ll be well catered for at the Richmond Food and Ale Festival, which features a line-up of top chefs, exciting street food and over 100 cask ales. There’s also Morris dancing, rides and face painting, making the event a great day out for all the family.

Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival

When: 6-7 September

Where: Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire

Why we love it:

Set on the serene shores of Loch Lomond, the Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival features a wealth of top Scotch nosh and plenty of tasty real ales. There’s live music too, as well as falconry, dancers and a continental farmer’s market, so why not get yourself down there this September.

Alternatives to try

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Port Eliot Festival

When: 24-27 July

Where: St Germans, Cornwall

Why we love it:

Nestled in the grounds of a stunning 12th century house from which it takes its name, the Port Eliot Festival offers a creative experience like no other. From music and dance, to yoga, craft, cookery and comedy, you won’t forget this unique summer festival in a hurry.

Whitby Folk Week

When: 16-22August

Where: Whitby, North Yorkshire

Why we love it:

For sea shanty sing-alongs and cosy, candlelit performances, make Whitby Folk Week your festival of choice this summer. Featuring a huge range of popular and lesser known artists, as well as a host of fascinating venues, the Whitby Folk Festival should be top of your list if you’re a fan of the coast.

Just So Festival

When: 15-17-August

Where: Scholar Green, Cheshire

Why we love it:

Marketed as a family arts festival, you and the kids will love the imaginative Just So Festival, which takes place in the leafy Cheshire village of Scholar Green. From enchanting adaptations of popular children’s stories, to an Alice in Wonderland-esque tea party, this is one festival that the whole family are sure to enjoy.

Rent a self-catering cottage near your favourite festival

If you like the idea of a festival but don’t fancy getting down and dirty with the campers, don’t worry, as our self-catering holiday cottages provide the ideal base for a comfortable and smell-free festival experience. After a day of alfresco fun, what could be better than decamping in a lovely, comfy holiday home or yurt to enjoy a good night’s sleep. To find a holiday cottage near your chosen festival, visit our homepage and use the search facility on the left to find properties that are available, or, give us a call! Our dedicated call centre team will be happy to help find accommodation for you.

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.

Summer Solstice: Where to See the Sunrise & Sunset

Friday, June 20th, 2014
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Would you believe it? It’s nearly summer solstice, and here at Sykes Cottages HQ, we’re relishing these lengthy, sunlit days. If you’re equally as fond of Britain’s longest day and are searching for ways to make the most of those extra hours of daylight, stick with us as we take you on a tour of the best places to see the sunrise and set in the British Isles.

Britain’s Best Sunrises

Snowdonia, North Wales

Snowdonia Sunrise

Via Flickr

There’s no greater sight than the sun as it appears behind the mighty Mount Snowdon in the Snowdonia National Park.  Hikers have been summiting this Welsh mountain for decades to catch a glimpse of its stunning 360 degree panorama; put a sunrise behind it, and you really are in paradise.

Saltwick Bay, North Yorkshire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

If you time it right, you can witness the sunrise and set from the slate shores of Saltwick Bay near Whitby, North Yorkshire. This fossil strewn stretch of North Sea coast is perfect for a stroll on a hazy summer’s morning, provided you check the high-tide times before you go.

Rydal Water, The Lake District

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Deciding which of the Lake District’s spellbinding vistas is the best for seeing the sunrise was tough, but we eventually plumbed for Rydal Water in the Rothay Valley. Just downstream from Grasmere, this small body of water boasts a big backdrop and is renowned for inspiring the poetry of William Wordsworth.

Glastonbury Tor, Somerset

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Rising steeply out of the pastoral Somerset landscape, Glastonbury Tor is famed for its mythology, particularly its ties to King Arthur. For history lovers or those interested in spirituality, this is an excellent spot to watch the sun as it makes its daily commute to the heavens.

Glencoe, Scottish Highlands

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Breathe in buckets of clean, Scottish air with a dawn-hike in the Highlands and see the sun rise in the shadow of Glencoe, Scotland’s most evocative peak. During the summer months, Glencoe’s snowy cap melts, revealing a mountainside that seems to will you to climb it- so why not give it a go?

Britain’s Best Sunsets

Rockland Broad, Norfolk Broads

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

As one of Norfolk’s lesser known Broads, Rockland Broad is about as peaceful as it gets. Brimming with bird and plant life, whilst also being within walking distance of the nearest country pub, Rockland is sure to be a hit with nature lovers out to see the sunset- as well as a few herons, of course.

Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Festooned with archaeological sites and thought to be the birth place of Yorkshire’s county anthem, Ilkley Moor is a fascinating place to enjoy a vigorous, summer stride. When the sun begins to set above the heath, choose a good spot for a picnic, relax and enjoy the spectacle.

Humber Bridge, Kingston Upon Hull

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

As a near Hullite, I can testify to the beauty of the sunsets over the Humber Estuary. Silhouetted against the amber sky, the river’s world famous bridge- aptly named the Humber Bridge- is a majestic sight on a summer’s evening. There’s plenty of places to sit beside the river, so start planning your visit today.

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

As UK cityscapes go, Edinburgh is hard to beat. From atop the curiously named Arthur’s Seat, you can see much of the Scottish capital in all of its historic glory. When the sun goes down, dozens take to this grassy ridge to feast their eyes on Edinburgh’s magnificent panorama- why not join them?

Lakes of Killarney, County Kerry

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Just one of the many highlights along the Ring of Kerry, the Lakes of Killarney offer uninterrupted mountain views and all of the peace and quiet you could ever need. As the sun sets behind the imposing Purple Mountain, you’ll be glad you came across this serene corner of the Emerald Isle.

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.

Increasing Bookings During the Summer

Monday, May 12th, 2014
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Whilst the dodgy tan lines have disappeared, our memories of the glorious Summer of 2013 have not and 2014 sure has a lot to live up to! If reports of yet another summer long heat wave are to be believed then holiday makers are likely to ditch their passports and holiday a little closer to home. This is of course great news for cottage owners and now is a great time to prepare your cottage for the summer, so today we’re taking a look at how you can make your property more appealing to the sun-seeking guest.

Ensure guests can cool down

Image via Flickr

As fantastic as basking in the warm sunshine is, everyone needs a little cool down every now and again so making sure that guests can make themselves comfortable if they are too warm can be a great idea. Having windows or patio doors that are safe to open wide is a great idea, as this allows a stream of fresh air to circulate around the house. If you have the budget then installing air conditioning could be a great investment, however if not then putting a fan in each bedroom can also really help your guests to cool down. Things like straws, ice cube trays and ice lolly moulds are great to have in the kitchen and will really be appreciated by your guests when they are seeking a bit of refreshment.

Think of your location

Whether your property is on the coast or a little more inland can of course alter how guests will want to spend their time. If the location is in the countryside, why not provide a picnic basket with plastic cutlery, dinnerware, a picnic blanket and let your guests know of any good picnic spots nearby? Alternatively, if your property is beside the seaside, why not provide some bits and pieces for some beach based fun? Things like buckets, spades and beach balls are family favourites and guests will really appreciate the extra space in the car by not having to bring their own.

Make a splash in your back garden

Image via Flickr

When it’s sunny your guests will want to be outside, so if you have a garden it’s a good idea to keep it looking ship shape! Whether you have a small garden and small budget, or a bigger outside space and a budget to match, you can easily transform the back garden of your property into something resembling a resort in the Seychelles. If you have the budget and space then the obvious thing to recommend would be to add a swimming pool, our properties with swimming pools are the first to be snapped up by sun worshippers for the summer months. Alternatively, if your property is suitable for families but your budget is a little lacking, a paddling pool can be an inexpensive way to add some watery fun to your back garden. Although, do remember to provide a pump!

Let your guests enjoy al fresco dining

Image via Flickr

Nothing says ‘summer is here’ louder than the smell of barbeque, which is probably why they are such an important element to many people’s self catering holidays! Having a barbeque and sufficient outside furniture is a real selling point, and the addition of both can really boost your bookings. Choose an outdoor table with a parasol so that your guests can stay cool under the shade during the day, and have a patio heater so that they can stay warm in the colder evenings.

These are just some of the things that you can add to your property to help boost your bookings when the sun comes out. If you have a property that you would like to rent out and you’re looking to join a designated holiday lettings agency, why not take a look at why Sykes Cottages can help increase your bookings in the summer and all year round on our cottage owners page.

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.

What to Pack to Stay Safe in the Sun

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
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How to stay safe in the sun is one of the most important things to remember when on your summer holiday. Whether you’re holidaying in the UK or abroad, the sun can be very dangerous if you haven’t taken the proper precautions, especially when this summer is predicted to be the hottest on record! As a very fair-skinned individual, I know all too well the struggles of trying to stay safe in the sun and as this week is National Sun Awareness Week, we’ve put together a handy guide to what you should pack for your summer holiday in order to protect yourself against the sun.

You can never have too much sunscreen!

Sunscreen

Via Flickr

Without a shadow of a doubt, top of every list when packing for a summer holiday should be sunscreen. Make sure you bring plenty of it and higher factors for young children and those with fair skin. If you’re going on a beach holiday or to a holiday cottage with a swimming pool, you should also consider buying waterproof sunscreen. Think about bringing a protection spray for hard-to-reach places such as the part-line of your hair, or lip balms with SPF; both places are easy to forget but will be very uncomfortable and unsightly if burnt! If you do manage to catch the sun a little too much, you’ll also be glad of having packed a cooling after-sun cream to sooth and moisturise your burnt skin.

Think about your choice of clothes

Sunglasses

Via Flickr

Another obvious choice is to pack light, cotton clothes that will not only keep you cool but will also help protect you from the sun, although it is still recommended that you wear sunscreen underneath. Tops that cover your shoulders and hats are great ways to help you stay safe and sunglasses are also essential for protecting your eyes.

How to protect yourself on the beach

UK beach parasol

Via Flickr

If you’re heading to the beach, you should always bring something with you to cover up with; perhaps an old t-shirt for men or a kaftan for women.  Bringing a couple of old t-shirts with you will also be ideal for children to cover up with when they’re in the sea as the water reflects sunlight, making you more susceptible to burning. A great tip is to always bring flip flops to the beach with you if you’re planning on sunbathing as they’ll prevent the soles of your feet getting burnt- ouch! It’s also nice to have access to shade when you’re on the beach so bringing a parasol or wind-breaker with you is a good idea.

Keep hydrated

Glass of water

Via Flickr

One piece of advice that is always circulated concerning staying safe in the sun is that you should drink lots of water. Rather than buying expensive bottles of water every day, bring flasks with you that will keep liquids cool. You can re-fill these as often as you need to and carry them around with you during the day, ensuring that you and your family are always kept hydrated.

If you still haven’t booked your summer holiday, why not check out Sykes Cottages’ fantastic range of self-catering holiday cottages in the UK and Ireland? If you’d like some help on deciding where to go or on picking a cottage, you can visit our website and get in touch with our dedicated reservations team, who are on hand to help from 9.00am to 9.30pm, 7 days a week.

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.

Summer 2014 predicted to be the hottest on record!

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014
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It’s the news that we’ve all been waiting for; scientists have predicted that the summer of 2014 will be one of the hottest summers on record. With last year’s heatwave still fresh in our minds, here at Sykes we’re delighted to hear that the summer of 2014 will be just as wonderful, if not better! Our daydreaming about the upcoming warm weather has led us to thinking about ways that we can make the most of this heatwave, so we’ve come up with a few summery activties to inspire us!

 Head down to the beach

British beach

Via Flickr

Like many people, my favourite sunny day activity is a trip to the beach. I love nothing more than a day filled with games of Frisbee, sandcastle competitions, sunbathing and paddling in the sea. It goes without saying that a day at the beach is best enjoyed when the weather is good, so one of the best ways to make the most of this predicted heatwave is by planning lots of outings to some of the fantastic beaches that Britain has to offer. If you don’t live within easy driving distance of a beach, then why not check out our selection of coastal holiday cottages?

Break out the BBQ

Barbecue in summer

Via Flickr

On a perfect summer’s afternoon, there’s nothing better than dusting off your barbecue and cooking up a storm. Everyone loves barbecues and they’re always one of the best social activities of the season, so why not invite all your friends and family around for the occasion. Ask them to each bring a plate of something for you to barbecue and you have yourself a fantastically fun, cheap way to spend a sunny day!

Get active

Bike ride in the countryside

Via Flickr

Gone are the warm, forgiving clothes of winter and in their place are swimwear, shorts and sandals; making summer the perfect time to start thinking about being a little more health conscious. Whether it’s a stroll in the sunshine, a bike ride or a kick about in your local park, the warm temperatures and the dry skies of summer mean that there’s no better time to get outdoors and get active.

Pay a visit to the beer garden

Beer garden

Via Flickr

Sometimes there’s nothing more relaxing than spending a summer’s afternoon sitting in the beer garden of your favourite pub, soaking up the sun and having a drink with friends. If you’re looking for a challenge this summer, then why not make your way through our guide to Britain’s Best Pubs? You’ll discover some of the best places in the country to drink and experience Britain’s beautiful scenery along the way!

Rent a holiday cottage

Holiday cottage in Isle of Wight

The Springs, Isle of Wight, Ref 2906

We may be biased, but booking a holiday cottage in the UK is surely one of the best ways to make the most of the sunshine this summer. There’s nothing worse than flying abroad for a holiday, only to hear that there’s a heatwave happening back home; so why not spend your summer holiday in good old Blighty this year and make the most of what has been predicted to be our hottest summer on record.

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.