Archive for the ‘Travel Tips’ Category

Reasons to Rent a Holiday Cottage When Attending a Wedding

Thursday, April 10th, 2014
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The wedding season is almost upon us and in no time at all we’ll find ourselves inundated with invasions from friends and family beckoning us to their big day. For most it’s a privilege to be asked to a wedding but for others it involves weeks of tactical planning; what to wear, which gift to purchase or even where to stay! The UK isn’t as small as it looks and often when you’re invited to a wedding it can mean hours of travelling. Sadly these long journeys usually find us circling the ‘unable to attend’ box and missing the celebrations completely. To keep from letting the happy couple down why not rent a holiday cottage? There are a number of benefits to booking cottage accommodation when attending a wedding and below you will find just a few of the best.

Visiting Friends and Family

Bwthyn Bach in Newport, Ref 6161

Bwthyn Bach in Newport, Ref 6161

If you’re travelling to a wedding it generally means that friends and family live quite far away, so as well as celebrating the union of two people a wedding can be a great excuse for a catch-up! Booking a holiday cottage for a week or even a few days allows you the freedom to visit family members you haven’t seen in months or a few friends that aren’t attending the wedding. A couple of extra days away gives you the chance to take in the local sights and sounds or even cure your deadly hangover from the night before.

Space and Time

Stonetrough Barn in Masham, Ref 22290

Stonetrough Barn in Masham, Ref 22290

Getting ready for a wedding can be a stressful experience especially if you’re confined to a small hotel room or rushing down for breakfast at a B&B. Booking a self-catering holiday cottage can help relieve some of this stress by providing a fully equipped kitchen and plenty of space to stretch out. Take your time in the morning, relax in a hot bath or enjoy a power shower before leisurely getting ready in our spacious bedrooms. With no set breakfast time, our homely kitchens are perfect for grabbing a light bite before heading out to the church.

Peace and Quiet

Groom's Rooms in Bedale, Ref 22462

Groom’s Rooms in Bedale, Ref 22462

Weddings are usually held on a Friday or Saturday and when staying in a hotel or B&B you can often find that other guests are quite loud and will disturb your rest. At our self-catering cottages you can be sure of a good night’s sleep which will leave you feeling refreshed come the day of the wedding. Our plush beds and luxurious bedding will be a welcome comfort for your feet after all the fabulous dance moves from the night before and your head is sure to thank you for the soft pillows after one too many glasses of champagne.

Bridal Hideaway

Here in the UK it’s considered bad luck for the bride to see her groom before the wedding so many couples spend the evening in separate accommodation. Our cottages are perfect for a bridal hideaway or a groom’s escape; with plenty of space to get the bridal party or ushers ready on the morning of the wedding. You could even rent one of our cottages with a hot tub and spend your last night of freedom with a bottle of wine and close friends and family, reliving all the wonderful moments you’ve shared with your soon to be husband or wife.

I hope this list of reasons to book a holiday cottage for attending a wedding has convinced you that self-catering properties are the right choice for you this year. If you need any help finding a property near your wedding venue then please feel free to contact our holiday specialists on  01244 356695 – they’re experts at finding cottages to suit your location!

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nicole.westley

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.

Best Counties to Visit for National Trust Properties

Sunday, January 12th, 2014
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The National Trust has long been praised for its preservation and renovation of our much loved historic properties. With visitor attractions conveniently located throughout the UK, the National Trust has provided some of my most memorable days out! However with such a wide choice of attractions so readily available, choosing which historic property to visit can sometimes be a little tricky. So here at Sykes cottages we’ve compiled a list of our favourite counties to visit for National Trust properties in the hope that you’ll feel inspired on your next UK holiday.

Gwynedd

Penrhyn Castle

Via. Flickr

North Wales is a tourist hotspot. Its rich history and charming culture attracts visitors all year round, even when it gets a little bit wet (as Wales so often tends to do). If it’s history you’re after then look no further than Penrhyn Castle. This spectacular 19th century castle boasts a wondrous Victorian walled garden, exciting guided tours and its renovated kitchens as well as a classic railway museum. If you’d like to explore Wales’ history whilst keeping the children entertained then why not visit Plas Newydd on Anglesey. This stately manor offers stunning paintings and marvellous architecture as well as, in my opinion, one of the nation’s best adventure playgrounds; but make sure you get a map from the visitors centre as the playground is hidden in the trees!

Devon

Buckland Abbey

Via. Flickr

The county of Devon is renowned for its vibrant coastal towns such as Torquay and Ilfracombe and is the perfect getaway for tourists in the summer months. This delightful county is home to some inspiring National Trust properties which are perfect for exploring on a lazy sunny afternoon. Buckland Abbey is an iconic building and makes for an excellent photo opportunity. The museum at the abbey is home to some cultural treasures and children will love to view the legendary Drake’s Drum, which Sir Francis Drake took with him when he travelled around the world. For an alternative to the seaside we would suggest a visit to Castle Drogo, the last true castle to be built in England! The castle is currently undergoing renovation but don’t worry as there is still plenty to do and see with new exhibitions to try out and beautiful grounds to explore.

Cheshire

Lyme Park

Via. Flickr

The charming county of Cheshire is known for its stunning farmlands and dramatic Roman history. As well as the excitement of Chester’s town walls and amphitheatre, the county also has an elegant and tranquil side; this can be seen at the beautiful Lyme Park. This wonderful house and its gardens are home to the Legh family who allow visitors to step back in time to the Edwardian era and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the 1,300 acre estate. If you are looking for a more hands on day out then you’ll want to visit Tatton Park. This fantastic estate is the perfect place for children, with a working farm, adventure playground and den building zone, it really allows them to get out there and experience nature first hand!

These are some of our favourite areas to visit for National Trust properties and luckily we have a wide selection of holiday cottages near to National Trust attractions which would be perfect for anyone looking to book an exciting holiday for 2014. So visit our website or call one of advisor’s today and give yourself a little something to look forward to in the New Year!

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nicole.westley

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.

Trainspotting with Sykes Cottages

Friday, November 8th, 2013
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Whether you are settling down in a lush green field or dusting off a bench at your local station, it really is a thrill waiting for the first whistle of the day when out trainspotting. Not your usual hobby, trainspotting involves a lot of timing, patience and in my case, vast amounts of tea! Waiting all day for that one spectacular photo can be just as exciting as it is tiring, so here at Sykes Cottages we have decided to give you a few hints and tips on the best locations for trainspotting and the best attractions to visit for a more hands-on experience!

The Best Lookout Locations

You can view Britain’s locomotives from all most anywhere, but if you are looking for an exciting day out or even to take a trainspotting holiday there are few locations better than Doncaster and Clapham. Not only is Doncaster a fantastic location to view some of our best loved engines, it’s also one of the top spots to meet other enthusiasts. You’ll be able to discuss the day’s activities and compare notes with other spotters as well as observe a wide array of passenger and freight trains from the comfort of the station’s platform. If you plan on bypassing the chatter and are on a mission for the best train snaps then Clapham is the station for you; with an average of 120 trains passing through per hour Clapham has earned the title of Britain’s busiest station!

Ex-LMS Jubilee class No 45699 ''Galatea'' on loaded mainline test-run, on the incline at Hoghton, Lancashire.

Via. Flickr

Train Festivals

We Brits love a good festival and there are no shortages of colourful fairs where you can view a whole manner of rail-road vehicles.  Take a trip down south and visit the Dorset Steam Festival, where you can marvel at the history of the locomotive and oggle at the plethora of classic trains and rail carts on parade. Alternatively, if you are looking to train the next generation of trainspotters then why not head to The Kirklees Light Railway where a wonderful day out can be had by the whole family. Take a trip down memory lane by exploring the area with Thomas and Friends and rediscover the first little engine you fell in love with.

Kirklees Light Railway

Via. Flickr

Get Hands-On!

Admiring from afar is all well and good but to get a real feel for these machines you will need to get up close and personal with the engines. Two of our favourite railways to visit here at Sykes Cottages are The Helston Railway and The Somerset and Dorset Railway. The Helston railway is one of Cornwall’s hidden gems, with plenty of railway carriages to explore and a superb little buffet where you can fill your boots! Or why not visit The Somerset & Dorset Railway at Midsomer Norton, their track stretches for around a third of a mile and is a must see whilst in the area; we would highly recommend a tour of the museum and a trip to the gift shop too!

Train

Via. Flickr

We have a lovely range of cottages near railway stations that would be perfect for any trainspotting holiday. After a tiring day at the track, you can head back to a cosy cottage, relax in front of a roaring open fire and re-fill the tea flask ready for the followings days adventure!

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nicole.westley

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.

Travelling By Public Transport To Your Holiday Cottage

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
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Apparently getting there is half the fun. Here at Sykes, we hope that all of the fun happens at your cottage but still believe that travelling should be an enjoyable part of your time away. Whilst it may seem like the easiest way to travel to your holiday cottage is by car, here at Sykes we think that using public transport to travel to your holiday destination can be just as simple.  We have compiled a list of some of our favourite ways to travel to your UK holiday destination with no car keys in sight.

By Rail

Day 1: A train from Euston to Liverpool Lime St

Image via Flickr

With tracks reaching even the furthest corners of the UK, you will find that many of our cottage destinations can be reached by train. Not only is travelling by train usually quicker than by car, but the views are often  better; swapping the car for a train means swapping views of grey tarmac for views of rolling green hills and countryside. Browse our selection of properties that are close to a railway station.

By Ferry

Ferry turning

Image via Flickr

If you want to head a little further afield and across the water, then a ferry is the way to go. Whether you’re heading over to Ireland, or to the Isle of Wight you can take a ferry and not only travel, but get your holiday started. With many ferries now containing places to eat, bars and entertainment for the kids; the whole family can enjoy the journey.

By Bike

Bicycle

Image via Flickr

If you’re not heading too far away, like to feel the wind in your hair and have no problem with packing light, then travelling by bicycle to your holiday destination could be a great idea. With no transport timetables or road traffic to get in your way, cycling could be a great way to take away the usual stresses of travel. We have a choice of holiday cottages that are perfect for cyclers.

Stay in a Converted Carriage

If you never want your travel time to end or just want to spend your holiday in truly unique accommodation, staying in a converted railway carriage could be the way to go. Converted to a high standard, yet still having original features means that with this accommodation your holiday truly will be first class.

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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.

Sykes’ Spotlight on the South Wales Valleys

Monday, September 16th, 2013
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With the white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of Anglesey, bustling city of Cardiff and the stunning Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, there are numerous reasons why Wales is such a popular holiday destination. Add in the fantastic food, friendly locals and real sense of history and it’s easy to see why our holiday cottages in Wales attract holidaymakers throughout the year.  Often overlooked are the South Welsh Valleys, communities which grew up around the coal mining industry and today painted as grey towns and villages where unemployment is high, a stereotype not helped by a recent TV show.  So while the Valleys may not automatically spring to mind as a holiday destination, I guarantee that you’ll find stunning scenery to rival that anywhere else in Wales, a wealth of attractions and the friendliest welcome you could ever hope to have. Here’s what not to miss on your holiday to South Wales…

 
Rhondda Valley, Wales
 

History and heritage

For a community so dependent on mining, it’s obvious that the industry has left an enduring legacy within the valleys.  The Rhondda Heritage Park is a great place to start exploring the area’s mining history with an underground tour to give you a taste of life as a miner; you’ll even get to ride the cage to the bottom of the pit.  Back above ground, you’ll find a reconstruction of a village street which shows domestic life during the industry’s peak.  As if you needed convincing of the spirit in these parts, a further example of the strong community vibe is in the area’s music.  Home to Tom Jones, this area’s contribution to the music scene has long been sealed but for a more authentic experience, be sure to make a date with a Male Voice Choir.  Choirs have been popular in the Valleys for more than 150 years and you’ll see why as soon as the first few lines of Cwm Rhondda are sung; this is spine-tingling stuff.

 
Drams at Lewis Merthyr
 

Action-packed holidays in South Wales

It’s a given that the Valleys are a natural playground for sporting enthusiasts.  From cycling to hill walking and even paragliding, the breathtaking landscape only serves to heighten any activity you undertake here.  The view from above is really the best way to appreciate just how beautiful the valleys are.  Marvel at the intensely green valleys, multicoloured rows of terraced houses and the scars the coal industry has left behind as you soar above.  I was initially surprised to find out that paragliding is just one of the activities on offer here but you’ll find that the Valleys will surprise you again and again.  If you’d rather keep two feet on the ground at all times, how about taking part in the annual Wales Valleys Walking Festival.  The ninth festival is on now and runs until 22nd September promising something for walkers of all abilities from challenging all day treks to gentle strolls and special interest walks.

 
Ogmore Castle
 

Plan a holiday to the South Wales Valleys

Has this got you thinking about a holiday to the South Wales Valleys?  If so, why not take a look at our fantastic selection of holiday cottages throughout South Wales?  You can browse online or call one of our holiday cottage advisors on 01244 356695; we’re open until 9.30pm seven days a week!

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