Archive for the ‘Travel Tips’ Category

Discover England’s most beautiful beaches

Monday, June 15th, 2015
Pin It

Nothing says summer quite like a trip to the beach – and we certainly have a lot to choose from! Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly spot of golden sand, or a long stretch of coastline to stretch your legs, you’ll find it in the UK.

In fact, a huge 92% of us are planning on visiting a beach in the UK this summer, with one in three looking to take an extended stay, our latest survey found.

Our research also looks at where you will find the most beautiful beaches in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland – for those who fancy travelling a little further afield.

Check out the top five for England below and keep your eye out for the results for Scotland, Wales and Ireland. If you’re inspired to take a trip yourself then take a look at our fantastic range of cottages across the UK and Ireland.

England's most beautiful beaches

The Leadership Factor polled 2013 UK adults on behalf of Sykes Cottages in April 2015.

Want to embed the image in to your site?

Pin It

Five Reasons Self-Catering is Best for Families

Saturday, May 30th, 2015
Pin It

With thousands of self-catering cottages located throughout the UK, we can be a little biased when it comes to choosing our favourite type of holiday. We know of several reasons why cottage breaks are better than an overnight stay in a hotel or B&B, especially when it comes to family getaways. If you’re yet to be convinced that a self-catering holiday is the best option for you and your family this year, then keep reading as we list five reasons that are sure to change your mind!

Food and drink

Food on display at Thalassa (Reference 8726) in Cemaes Bay.

Food on display at Thalassa (Reference 8726) in Cemaes Bay.

Booking a holiday cottage allows you complete catering freedom as you chose and prepare the food and drink best suited to your family. So, whether you want to sample some of the local delicacies or have special dietary requirements, self-catering properties allow you the flexibility to eat what you want, when you want. For families with fussy eaters or young children, a self-catering holiday let provides all the tools you need to make your little ones the meals they like and that they’re used to, preventing any dinner time tantrums or poorly tummies.

Working to your own schedule

The tennis court at The Old Cow House (Reference 3591) in Plaish.

The tennis court at The Old Cow House (Reference 3591) in Plaish.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and for me, it’s also my favourite meal of the day, that’s why I’m often disappointed when I have to choose between a relaxing lie in and a full English! Luckily with a self-catering holiday you set the meal times; so if you want to sleep in until 11am and eat breakfast for elevenses then there’s no one to stop you. Along with flexible eating times, you also have complete control over the entertainment schedule meaning 2pm discos, 6pm party games and an early bedtime for tired children so the adults can wind down with a good movie and bottle of wine.


Brookway Lodge (Reference 27085) in Lloc offers spacious gardens and meadows beyond.

Brookway Lodge (Reference 27085) in Lloc offers spacious gardens and meadows beyond.

With properties sleeping up to 32 people, space is not a problem here at Sykes Cottages. Rather than booking a single room, our guests take charge of the whole cottage making use of bedrooms, bathrooms, the living and kitchen area as well as any outside space like gardens and patios. So whether you want a country kitchen with large dining table so the whole family can eat together, or a warren of rooms so the children and adults can have their own space, a self-catering cottage lets you chose the right accommodation to suit your needs.



Spectacular views across the bay from Solway Cottages (Reference 911744) in Bowness-on-Solway.

Spectacular views across the bay from Solway Cottages (Reference 911744) in Bowness-on-Solway.

Self-catering properties can be found all over the UK, from the stunning British countryside to the bustling cities; you can travel hours to reach new destinations or simply venture down the road for a change of scenery. Finding a spot that appeals to you is extremely easy with a range of locations and property types available; explore the UK’s history and award-winning architecture from a stylish city apartment, build sand castles and run through the surf at a coastal cottage or relax in the country with a family BBQ at a log cabin.

Save Money

Swimming pool available at Bridge House (Reference 915721) in Lower Mill Cotswolds Estate.

Swimming pool available at Bridge House (Reference 915721) in Lower Mill Cotswolds Estate.

When on a self-catering holiday, you can spend as much or as little as you like but for those on a budget it’s the perfect way to have a memorable family holiday without blowing the bank. Shop around for the best deals on food and drink or try visiting a local market; spend your afternoons exploring the local park, woodland or coast before heading back for a night in with films, books and board games; or simply book a cottage with a swimming pool and spend your getaway teaching the children to swim.

There you have it, our top five reasons why self-catering is the best choice for families. If this post has left you longing for a family getaway then make sure to visit our family cottages page for more information on a self-catering holiday with Sykes Cottages.

Pin It

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.

Packing for a Fishing Holiday: Hints and Tips

Friday, March 27th, 2015
Pin It

Being an island nation with lochs, rivers and lakes stocked with salmon, trout and eels amongst hundreds of other finned species, it is no surprise that UK fishing holidays are hugely popular. Whether you’re a seasoned pro at fishing getaways or you’re planning your first time, read on for a few hints and tips to think about when packing for your next fishing holiday.

Check for Fishing Licences

Lake Windermere Image

Image of Lake Windermere from Priory Ghyll

It is important before you head on a fishing holiday to check what kind of fishing is available nearby and what licence you will need to be able to fish there. There are two types of fishing licence available; one that lets you fish for non-migratory fish and another that allows you to fish for salmon and sea trout, as well as the fish covered by the first licence. For full information about what fishing licence you will need and how to obtain one visit the fishing licence page on the Gov UK website.

Don’t Forget Your Fishing Gear

If there’s one thing that will put a dampener on your fishing holiday, it’s forgetting the equipment that you need to fish! Everyone is different with what they use when fishing so there is no one-size-fits-all style guide of what to pack, but make sure that you have your rods, reels and full tackle carrier as the minimum. A landing net will make reeling in your catches easier and if you’ll be bringing your fish home, don’t forget a cooler to store your catches in!

Be Weather Prepared

If you’re planning a day out fishing, the chances are the temperature will alter throughout the day, so pack clothing that you can layer to ensure you will be comfortable no matter the weather. Bring a light rain coat for any potential showers and long sleeved shirts and jumpers for when it gets a little chilly. Don’t forget a large umbrella for any heavy rainfall and always put on a high factor sunscreen before heading outside.

Make Sure You’re Comfortable

If you’re going to be sat beside a river or lake all day, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re comfortable. Pack a fold out chair so that you can sit comfortably without hurting your back and bring a flask so you can have a hot brew whilst waiting for that first bite; being uncomfortable and cold may put a dampener on your day!

Book a UK Fishing Holiday

Cedar Lodge

Cedar Lodge, East Anglia

No matter your fishing style, we are sure to have a self catering holiday cottage available for you to rent in an ideal location for your fishing getaway. See all of our fishing properties on our website or give our friendly reservations team a call on 01244 356695 to book your fishing holiday with Sykes today.

Pin It
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.

Where to See Snowdrops in the UK

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
Pin It

We love a bracing winter walk at Sykes Cottages but after a few cold months of icy breath and numb toes it’s a welcome relief when, out of the corner of your eye, a bunch of soft white snowdrops catch your attention. Flowering at the end of winter, these petite plants signal the start of spring and the warmer weather that follows. If like me you can’t wait to see your first snowdrop of the year, keep reading as we suggest five of the best locations to spot snowdrops in the UK.

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire

Visit the Anglesey Abbey gardens during the Snowdrop Festival (January 26th – March 1st) and you’ll be able to explore 144 acres of grounds and view 270 different varieties of snowdrop. It’s a lot to take in on your own so why not join the Snowdrop collection tour lead by a member of the garden team every weekday at 2pm? If you’d rather head out on a solo mission then you’re in luck as the gardens are opening an hour earlier during the festival so you’ll be able to make the most of the winter light.

Kingston Lacy, Dorset

If you fancy a leisurely afternoon stroll where the snowdrops are in abundance then we would suggest a visit to Kingston Lacy. This stunning National Trust property was built to resemble an Italian palace and is only made more beautiful when the snowdrops start to appear. Well known for their white carpets of snowdrops, the gardeners at Kingston Lacy have predicted the flowers will be at their best around the third week of February.

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

It’s common to see one or two patches of snowdrops at this time of year but if you’re after something bigger then head to Dunham Massey where their gardeners promise a sea of white, made up of a quarter of a million snowdrops! Their seven acre winter garden is sure to leave you feeling inspired with 700 plant species, 1,600 winter shrubs and plenty of planting ideas which will help keep your garden bright during the move into spring.

Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

At Fountains Abbey families can experience fascinating history, wonderful walks and stunning Georgian water gardens all in one afternoon. The Abbey ruins are picture perfect when surrounded by early morning fog and delicate white snowdrops, but make sure to wrap up as the best images are captured when there is a clear blue sky overhead. To help warm you up after your chilly walk around the grounds stop off at the Abbey restaurant and sample the seasonal specials.

Scottish Snowdrop Festival

Scotland loves snowdrops so much that they’ve dedicated a whole festival to the pretty flower! The festival started on Saturday and has over 60 venues taking part; even those that are normally closed for the winter have opened their doors in celebration. The festival will end on March 15th giving you plenty of time to visit one or two of the venues. Our suggestions for this year are Logan Botanic Gardens, Black Spout Wood and Dryburgh Abbey.

Are you venturing out to see the snowdrops this winter? If so let us know where you’re heading – you can reach us through Facebook or Twitter.

Pin It

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.

A TV Lover’s Tour of Britain

Friday, January 30th, 2015
Pin It

Britain is home to a number of award winning TV shows; from sci-fi thrillers to historic re-enactments, but did you know that many of these productions are filmed in our own back yard? That’s right, the fantastic sets you see on your television screens aren’t filmed in some dusty old studio or played out onto a green screen, they’re real and a lot closer to home than you would think! Keep reading as we take a tour of Britain and shed some light on the UK’s most loved TV sets.

Barrington Court

Everyone everywhere is talking about the BBC’s new original drama, Wolf Hall. This captivating six part series follows the life of Thomas Cromwell and features many historic properties. Our favourite set location from the series has to be Barrington Court, with its impressive history and hollowed out interior. Visit this imposing Tudor manor house and let your imagination run wild as you explore the light and airy rooms, beautiful gardens and working orchard.

Southerndown Beach

Doctor Who fans should be all too familiar with this stretch of Welsh coastline as it was on Southerndown beach that the Doctor bid farewell to Rose Tyler. Take a stroll along Southerndown beach and relive those final moments between Doctor and companion as you take in the staggering views and unusual layers of rook in the cliff face. Visit during summer to relax on the sandy shore or wrap up warm and take a romantic winter walk with your other half.

Highclere Castle

The TV show Downton Abbey has taken the nation by storm with many Brits falling head over heels for the period drama.  The TV show is so widely popular that if you were to show a picture of Highclere Castle to a stranger on the street they would assure you that it was Downton Abbey, home of Lord Grantham and family. Even if you’re not a fan of the TV show we would highly suggest a visit to Highclere Castle as the property and grounds are truly stunning.


The country’s capital has appeared in thousands of TV shows throughout the years but one of its most successful dramas has to be Sherlock, a show which modernises Conan Doyle’s iconic characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.  Throughout London you will find a number of  walking tours that explore famous places mentioned in the books and real sites featured in the film and TV adaptations. To top off your tour make sure to visit Baker Street, home of The Sherlock Holmes Museum.

West Bay

Another area now synonymous with TV drama (and the actor David Tennant) is West Bay in Dorset. Featuring heavily in the award winning drama Broadchurch, West Bay is not only the star of the show but also home to a number of the sets including the cafe, police station, newsagest’s, Sea Bridge Hall and Harbour. This picturesque location may look tempting on screen but no show could truly do this area justice; with its Jurassic cliffs, glorious sunshine and breath-taking views its the ideal spot for a summer holiday.

Well that concludes our tour, we hope you’ve enjoyed it! Which is your favourite TV set in Britain? Let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook or Twitter page.

Pin It

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.