Archive for the ‘Summer Holidays’ Category

Best Summer Destinations for Couples

Thursday, February 26th, 2015
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For many childless couples, booking a summer holiday during peak season is a big no no; the overcrowded beaches piled high with sandcastles and packed country parks littered with picnic blankets can be extremely off putting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of sandcastles and family picnics but too much of a good thing can be bad for you! So if like me and my other half you’d prefer to spend your summer vacation in a peaceful, stress-free location then keep reading as we suggest some secluded destinations perfect for couples looking to escape the crowds.

Ennerdale Water

The Lake District is one of the UK’s most popular summer escapes but instead of heading to the tourist hot spots of Windermere and Coniston Water head west to the parks most isolated lake, Ennerdale Water. This picturesque lake has crystal clear waters, spectacular scenery and best of all an undisturbed, tranquil atmosphere! As the only lake not to have a road running alongside it the journey to Ennerdale Water can deter families with young children from visiting making it the ideal spot for a romantic picnic.


Located on the south west tip of Ireland, Barleycove is a hidden gem nestled between two headlands in West Cork. Made up of an extensive dune system, this idyllic beach offers breath-taking scenery and plenty of space to relax along the sandy shore. When you’re not relaxing on the shore why not try a spot of surfing? Barleycove is a great spot for beginners and with a surf school located in the area and a lifeguard on hand it’s a wonderful opportunity to try something new with your partner.

Loch Enoch

Camping out under the stars is on everyone’s to-do list this summer and as a Dark Skies Park, Galway Forest Park in Scotland maybe one of the most popular spots for star gazers. If you would rather watch the skies in peace this year then journey to the centre of the park and visit its most secluded Loch, Loch Enoch. This beautiful loch is located in a granite basin and as well as the clear skies above you’ll be treated with glistening waters below, dazzling views and an extremely romantic atmosphere.


Snowdonia’s towering peaks, vast open countryside and extensive coast make it the perfect summer getaway and just about everyone knows it! But quietly fringing the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary with its inviting golden sands and steep bank of pebbles is the little known village of Fairbourne. This charming village and its beach boast excellent water sports, fascinating history, quaint cafes and the charming narrow-gauge Fairboune Railway – a real treat for any couple this summer.

I hope this post has encouraged you to make the most of your summer holidays this year and discover some of the UK’s hidden destinations. If you fancy teaming your adventures with a cosy cottage stay then make sure to visit our ‘Romantic Cottages For Couples’ page.

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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.

Spotlight on Summer in South Wales

Saturday, January 31st, 2015
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For today’s blog post we’re going to be putting the Sykes spotlight on one of our favourite places when it comes to a UK summer holiday, South Wales! As a region it has it all! Stunning beaches, National Parks, fantastic events, you’ll be able to find them all and more in South Wales. So if you fancy learning a bit more about this fantastic region read on as we’ll be looking at some of the highlights of Summer 2015 and what you could be getting up to if you decide to go.

Fantastic Food

Pembrokeshire Fish Week

Image courtesy of the Pembrokeshire Fish Week Festival

Fancy yourself as a bit of a foodie? Well you’ll feel right at home in South Wales! Pub grub, afternoon tea and of course the fresh sea food – the region has just about anything you could ask for! And if you plan it right you’ll be able to stop off at one of the fantastic events that are put on as part of the Pembrokeshire Fish Week from the 27th of June through to the 5th of July. Showcasing the best of the area’s local produce, pretty seaside villages and fishing heritage it promises to be quite the event, especially if last year is anything to go by!

Stunning Walks

Alternatively, you might be the kind of person who can’t think of anything better than getting out and about in the great outdoors and making the most of the good weather. If that’s the case, then you’d be hard pushed to find a better place than South Wales. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Trail consists of over 185 miles of breathtaking coastal path. Handily, it’s been broken down into 15 short walks, all of which can be easily be completed in a day – take a look here to find the routes.

Something a Little Different

Or maybe you see yourself as something of a culture vulture? If so then there’s only one place for you this summer: the Hay Festival of Literature. This celebration of the written word features some of the greatest minds from many different fields, from poetry to science, comedy to green issues as they come together to share some of their favourite stories and pieces of work. But it’s not just about writing! Hay is also a nod to things such as good food, music and simply having a great time.

South Wales sounds pretty good for summer holidays doesn’t it? So why don’t you take a look at our wide selection of holiday cottages in South Wales? We’ve got something to suit all sorts of parties, from cosy cottages for two to luxurious mansions fit for the whole family – have a browse and see what you think.

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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.

Book a 2015 summer break in Norfolk or Suffolk

Friday, January 16th, 2015
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Planning a family holiday this summer but not sure where to travel? How about East Anglia, where sun, sea, sand and – not forgetting – wonderful countryside awaits. This corner of England is ideal for those travelling with kids because its proximity to other parts of the country ensures you won’t have to endure an overly long car journey. Plus, the region’s beaches are some of the safest and cleanest in the UK, making it perfect for sun-seekers both young and old.

Norfolk or Suffolk? The choice is yours! But wherever you choose, rest assured that you’ll be within a stone’s throw of great beaches, fabulous food and no-end of family friendly attractions. To make your decision easier, here’s a guide to some of the things to look out for on your cottage break in Norfolk or Suffolk.


Arguably the UK’s best-loved family holiday destination, Norfolk welcomes thousands of visitors each year who’ve heard about the county’s remarkable beaches and charming, time forgotten Broads.

The main appeal of a holiday in Norfolk is its mixture of distinctive holiday destinations: whether you’re after a classic family beach holiday in Greath Yarmouth; a tranquil walking holiday amid the lush Norfolk Broads; or a romantic sojourn to the dramatic north coast, there really is a holiday to suit everyone in this idyllic English county.


Let’s start at the coast, where mighty stretches of sand and surf are interrupted by charming coastal resorts. Head north, and discover the stunning beaches of Norfolk’s northern seaboard. Sights not to be missed here include the beaches of Hunstanton, Holkham and Snettisham.

Norfolk & Suffolk 2

Cromer Pier by Judith is licensed by CC 2.0

To the north-east, be sure to visit Cromer, a timeless seaside resort which was a favourite among wealthy Victorian’s travelling from London to the seaside. The town is famed for its distinctive tasting crab, which has been caught off the coast for hundreds of years. Other coastal towns well worth visiting include Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton and Gorleston-on-Sea.


Couples and families looking for a rural break in Norfolk will love the Norfolk Broads. Commonly mistaken as a natural feature, The Broads are actually flooded peat fields dug by monasteries in the Middle Ages. Today, the landscape of The Broads is characterised by its reed beds and wet woodlands, not to mention its recognisable black and white windmills.

Image by Paul Appleyard is licensed by

Image by Paul Appleyard is licensed by CC 2.0

A holiday in the Norfolk Broads really does feel like an escape from the present day. Think long walks beside quiet, babbling brooks; fascinating boat trips along one or more of The Broads 120 miles of navigable waterways; pike and Perch fishing on a quiet, wooded stream; not to mention a wonderful array of charming villages teeming with things to see and do.


Image by Peter Mello is licensed under CC 2.0

Image by Peter Mello is licensed under CC 2.0

Suffolk may be less popular than Norfolk, but we have no idea why! Like its neighbour, this is a county rich in rural beauty and enticing, sandy beaches, peppered here and there with delightful towns and villages where a warm welcome is virtually guaranteed.

Whether you choose a family holiday in one of Suffolk’s traditional coastal resorts – Aldeburgh, Dunwich or Southwold to name but a few – or a romantic, rural retreat in the midst of the county’s charming, pastoral countryside, you’ll be swept off your feet by this timeless English holiday destination.


If you’re looking for the nostalgic fun of a seaside break, a coastal holiday rental in Suffolk is a great choice. The county is awash with soft, sandy beaches where adults and children alike can enjoy some fun in the sun. Suffolk is also famed for its colourful beach huts, which line the seashore in towns like Felixstowe and Southwold.

Norfolk & Suffolk 6

Image by Blue Square Thing is licensed under CC 2.0

For the classic family beach holiday, be sure to check out our cottage rentals in Felixstowe, Aldeburgh and Southwold, where there are plenty of facilities and a wonderful sandy beach on which to lay your towel. For quieter trips to the coast, head for Denes Beach or Corton Sands.


If there’s one thing Suffolk isn’t short of, it’s pretty countryside. The county is home to the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB; 155 square miles of wildlife wetlands, heather moorlands and windswept beaches, as well as the Thetford Forest Park, a huge, wild woodland traversing the borders of Suffolk and Norfolk.

Image by Nick Ford is licensed under CC 2.0

Image by Nick Ford is licensed under CC 2.0

Birdwatcher? Kite flyer? Mountain Bike Rider? Whatever your pursuit, Suffolk is a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts. If you prefer the quieter side of life, the county proves perfect, with an array of country pubs, interesting villages and heritage towns for you to discover.

Sun, sea & sand: Book a summer break in East Anglia today

So, what’s it to be: Norfolk or Suffolk? If you can’t decide, why not browse our East Anglia holiday homes and see what we can offer you. From contemporary coastal cottages to traditional country holiday homes, our holiday rentals in East Anglia offer a great base for a summer holiday in Norfolk or Suffolk – browse our range and choose your summer holiday destination today!


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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’ Favourite Summer Destinations

Monday, January 12th, 2015
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With a plethora of stunning places on offer, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to choose a holiday destination in the UK and Ireland. With that in mind, I asked the team who contribute to the Sykes Cottages blog to let us in on their favourite holiday destinations in the UK and Ireland, and why, to give you a bit of inspiration before you start planning!


You can’t write a summer holiday guide without including Cornwall; it’s one of Britain’s favourite holiday destinations and for good reason! With stunning stretches of sandy beaches, beautiful rolling countryside and picturesque villages, there’s nowhere quite like it. The temperatures in Cornwall are also generally some of the best in the country so if you’re looking for a sunny UK getaway, Cornwall is your best bet! – Louise


When describing a summer holiday on Anglesey, it’s hard to know where to start! Admire the breath-taking Welsh scenery as you undertake the Anglesey Coastal Path; relax on the golden sand dunes and dip your toes in the crystal clear water at Newborough beach; taste the ocean’s delicacies at the Menai Sea Food festival; discover Wales’ exciting history at Beaumaris Castle – the list is endless but no matter what you do you are guaranteed a fantastic holiday! – Nicole

Whitby, North Yorkshire

The North Sea might not sound the most exotic place for a summer trip, but book a cottage break in Whitby and you really won’t care. This wonderful, ye olde seaside town offers a unique blend of sun, sea and history; with its evocative 10th century abbey and golden, sandy beach. If the town gets too busy for you during the summer, take a walk along the chalk headland and visit the charming village of Robin Hood’s Bay, where pubs, cafes and cobbles await. – Jonathan

County Waterford

Anything that mixes a beach with local culture and history is fine by me, which is why County Waterford is my ideal summer destination. Okay, so Ireland may not be synonymous with high temperatures, but when in Waterford if it isn’t exactly beach weather there is always the option to head more inland to Waterford City (Ireland’s oldest!) and take in the historic attractions. – Leanne

Isle of Wight

As an active kind of person, my top pick for a summer holiday destination is the Isle of Wight. The vast coastline is ideal for sailing, windsurfing and jet-skiing, while the lush countryside and downs are perfect for walkers and cyclists. Some of the pathways that are popular for walking and cycling also boast some of the most incredible panoramic views, so it’s definitely worth the effort to seek them out! When you’re tired of trying out all of the activities on offer, the traditional seaside towns are havens for cafes, pubs and restaurants. – Jamie

If you’re looking to book a summer holiday in the UK or Ireland this year, make sure you take a look at our large selection of holiday cottages. With over 5,000 cottages for you to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect cottage for your holiday this summer.

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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.

Book a 2015 summer break in Cornwall, Devon or Dorset

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015
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If you love holidaying in the UK but want to turn up the heat on your next summer break, the South West of England is a great place to book a self-catering getaway. On average, temperatures here can be five degrees warmer than other parts of the UK, making this corner of the country perfect for sun-seekers and adventurers alike.

Whether you choose Cornwall, Devon or Dorset, a self-catering summer holiday in the South West of England offers long sunlight hours, stunning beaches, invigorating countryside, fabulous food, and lots of things to see and do. Here’s a quick look at each of the South West’s unique counties, and what you can look forward to when you arrive.


St Ives – Via Flickr

St Ives – Via Flickr

Cornwall is arguably the most popular summer holiday destination in the British Isles, with millions travelling there each year. The county can be divided into four main areas – North, South, West, Bodmin Moor & Tamar Valley – with each region having its own unique character.

Rent a holiday home in North Cornwall, and look forward to exploring the dramatic Atlantic Seaboard; where breaker-battered beaches attract surfers from around the globe. Places not to be missed in this region include Newquay, Padstow, Boscastle and Watergate Bay.

The Eden Project - Via Flickr

The Eden Project – Via Flickr

Opt for a cottage in West Cornwall and you’ll find yourself hip-deep in myth, legend and Cornish folklore. The region is strewn with ancient Iron Age sites and medieval castles, not to mention some of the county’s most sought-after beauty spots. Don’t miss Penzance, St Ives and Marazion.

Head to South Cornwall on your summer break and explore wonderful fishing villages as well as numerous world-class visitor attractions, including the renowned Eden Project. There’s plenty of wonderful destinations to choose from too: try Looe, Falmouth, Polperro or St Austell.

Adventurers, thrill-seekers and fans of the great outdoors should make for Bodmin Moor & Tamar Valley on their Cornish cottage holiday. Bodmin Moor is renowned for its walking and adventure trails, not to mention its dramatic natural beauty. Don’t miss a daytrip to Bodmin, Launceston and Saltash.

Click here to view self-catering holiday cottages in Cornwall


Dartmoor - Via Flickr

Dartmoor – Via Flickr

Like its neighbour, Devon is a popular choice among summer sun-seekers thanks to its stunning beaches and popular coastal resorts. Yet, go inland, and you’ll quickly realise the county has more to offer than sun, sea and sand. With two national parks – Exmoor and Dartmoor – and several historic towns and cities including Plymouth, Exeter and Torbay, Devon is the ideal destination for all manner of self-catering breaks.

Torquay - Via Flickr

Torquay – Via Flickr

Outdoor enthusiast? A self-catering getaway to North Devon could be just what you’re looking for! Thanks to the Atlantic Ocean, Devon’s north coast is impressively rugged, with a number of world-renowned surf beaches and a plethora of gnarly clifftops. Then of course, there’s the Exmoor National Park, whose craggy landscape offers a playground for walkers, climbers and mountain bikers alike.

Elsewhere in Devon, things are a little more serene. Unlike the north, the south coast gives way to imposing cliffs and big surf in favour of long, golden beaches and family friendly resorts like Paignton, Sidmouth, and Torquay. Head inland, and you’ll find rolling, green countryside, as well as the spectacular natural beauty of the Dartmoor National Park, famed for its pony treks, walking trails, and fabulous scenic picnic spots.

Click here to view self-catering holiday cottages in Devon


Durdle Door - Via Flickr

Durdle Door – Via Flickr

Peace and quiet awaits on a 2015 summer holiday in Dorset. This rural county, with its serene landscapes and breath-taking heritage coast, offers a quiet retreat for holiday-ready families or couples in search of much needed alone time together.

Like other counties in the South West of England, tourists travel to Dorset to experience its wonderful blend of both coast and country. Whether you want to walk with dinosaurs on Dorset’s dramatic Jurassic Coast or explore its myriad of time-forgotten villages and towns, there’s a wealth of things to see and do in this sun-drenched and quintessentially English county.

Gold Hill - Via Flickr

Gold Hill – Via Flickr

Families in search of the classic seaside summer holiday will love Dorset’s coastal resorts, which include Weymouth, Lyme Regis, Christchurch and Swanage. Though all distinct in their own unique way, each offers great facilities, amenities, and most of all, a stunning beach on which to lay your towel. Other, less-known attractions on the Dorset coast include Arne, a pretty village in the Purbeck District, as well as Chapman’s Pool, whose secluded cove is perfect for couples.

Travel inland during your summer trip to Dorset, and expect delightful villages and charming countryside at every turn. Many of the county’s rural areas are protected due to their rare flora and fauna, making it the ideal destination for wildlife lovers. Don’t miss a trip to Sherbourne, Milton Abbas and Evershot.

Click here to view self-catering holiday cottages in Dorset

Get-set for a summer holiday in the sunny South West

Wherever you choose to stay in England’s sunny South West, Sykes Cottages offer a wonderful array of self-catering holiday cottages for any party size. Whether you’re planning the quintessential seaside getaway with your kids or a romantic, rural break with your other half, our cottage rentals in South West England are the perfect choice for a memorable summer holiday in 2015.

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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.