Archive for the ‘Summer Holidays’ Category

Fun in the sun: Britain’s safest beaches

Thursday, August 7th, 2014
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Safe isn’t a word you’d normally associate with beauty, but when it comes to the coast, thankfully, the two go hand in hand. Clean water, litter free sand and pristine natural surroundings are just some of the things which make a beach ‘safe’, and naturally, these factors make them beautiful too.

With the school summer holidays in full swing, a time when parents must face the task of finding child friendly places to take the kids, we thought it prudent to highlight some of the UK’s safest and prettiest beaches. So grab the frisbee, blather on the sun cream and make for one of these safe, stunning, and hopefully sunny, UK beaches.

Scarborough North Bay, North Yorkshire

Scarborough North Bay- Via Flickr

Scarborough North Bay- Via Flickr

If you want to enjoy the nostalgia of a seaside resort without having to put up with mounds of litter, head to Scarborough’s North Bay. This large beach offers a good stretch of sand that’s ideal for a father and son kick-about, plus its patrolled by the RNLI during the summer months- spot on!

Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight

Colwell Bay- Via Flickr

Colwell Bay- Via Flickr

Situated on the Isle of Wight’s quieter west coast is Colwell Bay, a sand and shingle beach offering panoramic views over the turquoise waters of the Solent. The sands at Colwell remain totally unspoilt, making it the perfect place to spend a tranquil summer’s afternoon.

Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire

Saundersfoot- Via Flickr

Saundersfoot- Via Flickr

Located in the UK’s only marine national park, Saundersfoot is one of the country’s best loved beaches. This swathe of Welsh coast is perfect for young bathers thanks to its remarkably shallow waters and softer than soft sand.

Kilkee Beach, County Clare, Ireland

Kilkee- Via Flickr

Kilkee- Via Flickr

Shelving gently towards the Atlantic, the crescent shaped beach of Kilkee is one of the Emerald Isle’s true wonders. Patrolled by a lifeguard during the summer months, this pretty beach is extremely safe, despite its location on Ireland’s wave battered Atlantic seaboard.

Salcombe South Sands, Devon

Salcombe South Sands- Via Flickr

Salcombe South Sands- Via Flickr

Science, nature and wonder await at Salcombe South Sands. This pretty cove on Devon’s coveted southern shore is right next to a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a nature reserve, so you’ll have somewhere to cool off when the kids have had a little too much sun.

Aberdour Silver Sand, Fife Coast

Aberdour Silver Sand- Via Flickr

Aberdour Silver Sand- Via Flickr

Scotland’s beaches are renowned for their big swells, making the country very popular with surfers. If you’re looking something more serene and safe however, opt for Aberdour Silver Sand on the Fife coast. Boasting a blue flag and patrolled by lifeguards, there’s no safer sand in bonnie wee Scotland.

Sheringham, Norfolk

Sheringham Beach- Via Flickr

Sheringham Beach- Via Flickr

The Norfolk coast has long been one of the UK’s best loved destinations for family holidays, and for good reason. One of our favourite beaches in the county is Sheringham, which offers plenty of sand as well as a picturesque promenade leading to the town.

Poppit Sands, Pembrokeshire

Poppit Sands- Via Flickr

Poppit Sands- Via Flickr

Don’t let its cutesy name fool you; Poppit Sands means business. With its extensive dunes and clean, shallow waters, this is the perfect beach for little adventurers who will love paddling about amongst the beaches many rock pools. There’s seals, dolphins and porpoises aplenty here too, so keep your eyes peeled!

Carbis Bay, Cornwall

Carbis Bay- Via Flickr

Carbis Bay- Via Flickr

One mile of wonderfully white sand awaits at Carbis Bay on Cornwall’s north coast. This family friendly beach is famed for its turquoise waters and lack of surf, making it the ideal choice for weary young swimmers looking to take their debut dip in the Atlantic Ocean.

Curracloe Beach, County Wexford, Ireland

Curracloe- Via Flickr

Curracloe- Via Flickr

Ireland is teeming with beautiful, safe beaches, so choosing from the bunch was particularly difficult. One of the most accessible beaches on the Emerald Isle is Curracloe, a wide sandy beach in Ireland’s popular sunny south east region, just an hour’s drive from Dublin.

Rent a coastal holiday home with Sykes Cottages

So there you have it, our shortlist of the UK’s safest and most beautiful beaches. If you think your family deserves a seaside holiday this summer, why not treat them to a 7 night break in one of our wonderful coastal holiday rentals? We offer affordable cottages to rent along much of the British coastline, so you can enjoy a seaside holiday for a lot less than you might think. Click here to find out more.

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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.

Summer’s Best National Trust Events

Friday, July 4th, 2014
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With the summer holidays on the horizon, here at Sykes Cottages, we’re looking forward to the array of fantastic events taking place over the next few months. The National Trust in particular, have plenty of exhibitions, talks, events and activities on offer across the UK. We’ve picked out some of our favourites to showcase.

Pemberley Walk, Lyme Park, Cheshire

Lyme Park, Cheshire

Via Flickr

Whether you’re a fan of Jane Austen’s masterpiece, Pride in Prejudice, or just an admirer of Colin Firth in a wet shirt, then you won’t want to miss the Pemberley Walks taking place at Lyme Park in Cheshire this summer. The exterior of this beautiful estate was one of the filming locations for the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice; more specifically, the filming location for Mr Darcy’s Pemberley. It was here that Colin Firth emerged soaking wet from the lake in one of the most famous TV scenes of all time!  On this organised walk, you can experience the grandeur of Lyme Park and explore the filming locations of the 1995 adaptation. These walks are running from 2pm-4pm on 26th July, 30th August, 27th September and 25th October. It is a free event although normal admission charges to Lyme Park apply.

Fun Fridays, Woolacombe Beach, Devon

Woolacombe Beach

Via Flickr

If you’re looking for something a little different, then Woolacombe Beach’s Fun Friday is a fantastic activity to get involved in this summer. Every Friday from 25th July to 29th August, the National Trust Beach Rangers will be out at Woolacombe Beach to help organise some free, fun activities for adults and children alike. Anyone is welcome to go along to their free drop-in sessions every Friday and take part in family-friendly games such as beach football, beach volleyball, cricket, giant beach jenga, giant snakes and ladders, and sand modelling. Dogs on leads are welcome and children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Garden Tour and Tea, Bateman’s, East Sussex

Bateman's, East Sussex

Via Flickr

Bateman’s is a beautiful 17th century house in Burwash, East Sussex that was once home to author, Rudyard Kipling. He lived here from 1902 until his death in 1936 and it was here that he first met his wife, Carrie and wrote many of his finest work. The house remains very much as he left it with a significant oriental influence, reflecting his strong links with the East. Visitors to Bateman’s during the summer can join the Head Gardener for a tour of the magnificent gardens surrounding the house and find out how Kipling transformed this quiet, country house into a sanctuary and retreat from his celebrity status. Afterwards, a delicious cream tea will be also be served. These tours are running from 11am- 12.30pm on 19th July, 9th August, 30th August and 20th September. The cost is £10.00 per person, plus normal admission.

If you know of any other great events taking place around the UK this summer then feel free to get in touch and let us know! You can get in touch via our Twitter or Facebook page; we’d love to hear from you!

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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.

How to make the perfect Pimm’s this summer

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
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By jove! It’s that time of year again when housewives, posh folk and picnickers turn their attention to everyone’s favourite summer tipple, Pimm’s! With the arrival of Wimbledon, the Henley Royal Regatta and the Chelsea Flower Show, this delightful beverage is disappearing off the shelves faster than Federer’s forehand, so grab your bottle soon. Not sure if you like it? Well good news, there’s more than one way to prepare and serve this tasty liqueur – check out some of our favourite Pimm’s recipes below.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Crafting the classic Pimm’s

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

‘Ahhh’ is exactly the sort of sound you’ll be making after you’ve taken a sip of a classic Pimm’s on a balmy summer’s eve. This is the simplest way to serve this fruity delight, and it’s so quintessentially English it’ll have you reaching for the cricket whites. Here’s how to make a classic Pimm’s.

Ingredients

  • 50ml of Pimm’s per glass or 200ml if you’re making a jug
  • Lemonade
  • Mint leaves
  • Fruit- including strawberries and an orange
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Ice

Method

  1. Blend 1 part Pimm’s with 3 parts lemonade over ice.
  2. Add the fruit (don’t be shy!) and cucumber before garnishing with mint leaves.

Spice things up with a Pimm’s Ginger

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Add some pizzazz to your party with a Pimm’s Ginger – the zesty alternative to a classic. Add some spice to your life with this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 50ml of Pimm’s per glass or 200ml if you’re making a jug
  • Ginger Ale
  • Sliced Lemon
  • Mint Leaves
  • Ice

Method

  1. Blend 1 part Pimm’s with 3 parts Ginger Ale over ice.
  2. Add a slice of lemon per glass and garnish with mint leaves.

Feeling fruity? Try a PimPom cocktail!

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

What do Pimm’s and a pomegranate have in common? They’re the key ingredients in a PimPom cocktail of course. From its cheeky name to its delicious fruity finish, this beverage is bound to put a smile on your face – here’s how to be the bringer of joy at your next summer soiree.

Ingredients

  • 50ml of Pimm’s per glass or 200ml if you’re making a jug
  • Pomegranate Juice
  • A handful of basil leaves, ripped
  • Orange

Method

  1. Blend 1 part Pimm’s with 3 parts pomegranate juice over ice.
  2. Add a slice of orange to each glass and garnish with ripped basil leaves.

Game of tennis old boy? Not before a Pimm’s Deuce

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Watching the tennis can be thirsty work, so before you raise that remote, why not consider making one of the game’s finest alcoholic accompaniments, the Pimm’s Deuce. Featuring two fruit juices, this refreshing tipple ought to spur you on during the match – here’s how it’s made.

Ingredients

  • 50ml of Pimm’s per glass or 200ml if you’re making a jug
  • 75ml of orange juice per glass or 300ml for a jug
  • 75ml of cranberry juice per glass or 300ml for a jug
  • Sliced orange
  • Strawberries

Method

  1. Mix the Pimm’s with the orange and cranberry juice over ice
  2. Add sliced orange, strawberries and serve!

Pimm’s Royale: The pièce de résistance

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Need something to help wow your guests? Plumb for this: the Pimm’s Royale, a cocktail so magnificent it’ll leave your snooty neighbours bamboozled with envy. Create this cocktail, and you’ll be the life and soul of the party – here’s how it’s done.

Ingredients

  • 25ml of Pimm’s per glass
  • Champagne or cava
  • 1 strawberry

Method

  1. Add Pimm’s and a strawberry to a glass of Champagne or cava
  2. Sit back, relax and survey your kingdom!
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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’ 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.

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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.

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.

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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.