Archive for the ‘United Kingdom’ Category

Five Favourite British Beaches

Saturday, August 30th, 2014
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With 11,075 miles of coastline, it’s no wonder that we have a number of incredible beaches here in Britain. Whether you fancy a long walk, a lounge or to try your hand at water sports you are spoilt for choice on our fair isles. After our last blog post listing ten of the top beaches in the UK we turned to social media and asked you to tell us what your favourite beach was, and we weren’t short of responses! It’s true, us Brits love to be beside the seaside and below are five British beaches as chosen by our Facebook fans.

Woolacombe, North Devon

Devon Beach

Image from property 19669

Stretching for three miles, it is no wonder that this golden sanded beach in North Devon made it into our top five. Woolacombe village has a number of pubs, restaurants and places to stay so even when you’re not on the beach there is plenty to keep you entertained! Woolacombe beach is clean, has a high level of water quality, fantastic facilities and holds the accolades to prove it; including a gold award for best family resort, the Blue Flag award and Premier Seaside Beach award.

Llangennith Beach, Swansea

South Welsh Coast at Sunset

Image via Flickr

Llangennith Beach, located on the Gower Peninsula is great for water sports, families and is also dog-friendly. The beach is a short distance away from parking and refreshments, so is often almost isolated; so perfect for a day of relaxation or to get some serious surfing done!

Fistral Beach, Cornwall

Fistral Beach in Cornwall

Image from property reference 903500

One of the best surfing beaches in Europe is Fistral Beach, located in Newquay. This beach is one of the busiest in the country and for good reason; it has a number of places to eat, a state of the art lifeguard station and adequate car parking, which makes it ideal for families! As you would expect from one of Europe’s best surfing beaches, Fistral beach also offers keen surfers and amateurs alike the chance to ride the waves with equipment hire and lessons available.

Seaburn Beach (Whitburn North), Sunderland

Image from property reference 30438

Image from property reference 30438

The sandy Seaburn Beach is ideally located near the city of Sunderland, and is perfect for a family day out. Not only does the beach hold a Quality Coast Award but it also has a large choice of facilities and activities, so there is bound to be something for everyone to enjoy! Whether you fancy wind surfing, kayaking or just lazing about on the sand, you are spoilt for choice at Seaburn Beach.

Aberdour Silver Sands Beach, Fife Coast

Silver Sands Beach Fife

Image from property reference 911872

Silver Sands is not just a Blue Flag beach but has also been awarded the Green Coast Award and is a popular choice for families and water sports fanatics alike. There is a lot to do including fishing, canoeing, sailing and surfing. If you’d prefer to keep your feet on dry land then never fear as Silver Sands is connected to the Fife Coastal Path which offers some stunning views and a very pleasant walk.

Book a British Beach Break

If this short list of some fantastic British beaches has got you dreaming of being beside the seaside, why not book a stay in one of our beach cottages? Have a browse on our website or give us a call on 01244 356695 where  our friendly advisers are on hand from 9am until 9.30pm daily to help you book your perfect self catering holiday!

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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.

Fit for a Queen: The Homes of Queen Victoria

Sunday, July 13th, 2014
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Today marks a rather prestigious day in the history of the British monarchy, as on this day in 1837, Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace, where she would live until her death in 1901. Victoria was the first British monarch to rule from the Palace, and after her marriage to Prince Albert in 1841, this palatial home became a place of entertainment, balls and official state business.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

But Buckingham Palace wasn’t the only regal residence where Queen Vic spent her time. In total, the royal family had three other, equally as magnificent stately homes throughout the UK, two of which are still in use by Elizabeth II today. Thankfully, all of Victoria’s previous abodes are now, to some degree, open to the public, and make a great place to visit this summer.

Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Tucked deep in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, Balmoral Castle must have been a welcome escape from the hum of London, a sentiment reinforced by the Queen herself who referred to Balmoral as a “dear paradise in the Highlands”. It’s believed there’s been a royal residence here since the 14th century, when King Robert II of Scotland erected a hunting lodge in the area. The grounds, and part of the castle itself, are open daily to the public from 10am to 5pm until July 31st, but after this, public access will be restricted due to Queen Elizabeth’s annual visit.

Windsor Castle, Berkshire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Originally built as a key defensive structure in the years after the Norman Conquest of 1066, Windsor Castle became one of the royal family’s most magnificent and imposing abodes. Although Queen Victoria wasn’t particularly fond of the castle, it was her principal royal residence and a centre for diplomatic and state business. During the Queen’s reign, Windsor embodied the power and might of the British Empire, and still evokes a strong sense of national pride to this day. The castle is open to the public daily between 9.45am and 4.15pm, and it typically takes around 2-3 hours to see all aspects of the site.

Osborne House, Isle of Wight

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Comprising charming landscaped gardens, a private beach and fascinating Italian Renaissance style architecture, it’s little wonder Queen Victoria considered Osborne House to be her preferred holiday and weekend residence. She, her husband Albert and their 9 children spent many summer’s at Osborne, no doubt enjoying the island’s warm temperatures and segregation from the rest of the country. The house is open to the public daily from 10am to 6pm and features plenty of space to enjoy a picnic on a balmy summer’s day. If you’re interested in visiting Osborne whilst being perfectly placed for exploring the rest of the island, why not check out our cottages to rent near Osborne House.

Find accommodation that’s fit for a queen

Our cottages may not be linked to royalty, but many still offer a regal welcome that’ll have you feeling like a queen in no time. To browse our collection of luxury, historic or listed holiday cottages, visit our website 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’ UK Film Locations – James Bond

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
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You’re probably not aware that today marks the birthday of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond. Now this might seem a slightly strange thing for us to celebrate, but when you think about it, there aren’t many things more quintessentially British than 007; he’s right up there with red telephone boxes and orderly queuing. So to commemorate this day, we thought we’d try to find some of the most iconic British spots that feature throughout the series; take a look and see if you recognise them.

Glen Coe

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Now there’s no prizes for guessing this one, it was the most recent Bond film after all! That’s right, Glen Coe features as the dapper agent’s childhood home in Skyfall and provides some of the most stunning scenery from the whole of the series. What’s more, apparently this would not have come about had Fleming not been so enamoured with Sean Connery’s portrayal of the super spy in the early films, causing him to write in a Scottish back story.

Stoke Park

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

OK, this one is a bit more challenging. Remember that famous round of golf between Bond and his early nemesis Auric Goldfinger? Well it was filmed entirely at the beautiful Stoke Park Country Club in Buckinghamshire. This means that it was also the scene for one of the most iconic moments in the early Bond film, when Goldfinger’s trusty bodyguard, Oddjob, decapitates a statue with one throw of his razor edged bowler hat. In fact, Stoke Park also featured in one of the more recent films, Tomorrow Never Dies, when Pierce Brosnan’s Bond faces off with the assassin Dr Kaufman.

The Eden Project

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Again this is from one of the most recent Bond films, in fact Pierce Brosnan’s last outing as the suave secret agent, Die Another Day. Remember bad-guy billionaire Gustav Graves and his Icelandic Diamond Mine/Ice Palace? Did the interior remind you of anything? That’s right, filming for that section of the 2002 blockbuster took place inside Cornwall’s very own Eden Project. You might actually remember Halle Berry’s character, Jinx Johnson, rappelling down into the evil genius’ lair, well that was actually filmed on site in our very own Cornwall!

Hopefully you’ll have found this interesting but if you think we’ve missed out any important locations then do let us know on Twitter or Facebook. But in the meantime, why don’t you have a quick look at our collection of stylish cottages that would be enough to make even Bond himself feel at home!

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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.

Britain or Abroad: How well do you really know the UK

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014
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Thought the only way to witness some wonderful views was to hop-foot it overseas? Think again! Recently, we ran a quiz christened ‘Britain or Abroad’, a fun test to see how well our readers know their Dorset from their Denmark, and the results were pretty surprising! A large majority of you mistook the UK’s views with those from overseas, proving once and for all that Britain’s panoramas can stand proudly beside some of the best views from around the globe. Want proof? Here’s an in depth look at some of the most surprising cases of mistaken identity that were revealed by our quiz, Britain or Abroad.

When asked where this was…

Take the Britain or Abroad Quiz by clicking here

Take the Britain or Abroad Quiz by clicking here

…39% of you thought it belonged abroad, when in fact, it’s Gwynedd in the Snowdonia National Park! As well as this, a significant number of people (34%) thought the Cairngorms in the Scottish Highlands were overseas- shame on you!

Another location that caused problems for our quizees was Durdle Door on Dorset’s magnificent Jurassic Coast, which around a third (34%) of you mistook for the Mediterranean. The same can be said of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, which 26% of you thought was abroad; though admittedly, that one was a little harder!

And it’s not just Britain…

Denmark

Take the Britain or Abroad Quiz by clicking here

But it wasn’t just Blighty’s vistas being wrongly identified. Panoramas belonging to Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and the US were also misidentified as being British, with some 66% of people thinking that Hundested Harbour in Denmark was to be found on our shores.

And the geographical blunders didn’t stop there. A massive 59% of people believed Wyoming’s Lake Solitude to be British, whilst well over a third (43%) thought Kasteel Waardenburg in the Netherlands belonged in the UK.

So why the confusion? With the rapid expansion of our cities and the development of the digital age, it’s often all too easy to forget the sheer beauty that lies waiting to be discovered just a stone’s throw from your doorstep. With 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 15 National Parks and 1,000 smaller islands to its name, we think it’s about time that people rediscovered the true beauty of the United Kingdom before we lose touch of it altogether, so get out there and get exploring!

Yet to take on the Britain or Abroad challenge? Click here to have a go!

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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.

Accessible Walks in The UK

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
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As great as cars are, sometimes there’s nothing better than putting on a pair of comfortable shoes and heading out into the great outdoors, particularly to a local wood or forest. Whether your chosen method of transport is walking, cycling or even horse riding we are spoilt in the UK for places to wander through for some fresh air. Unfortunately nothing can ruin a walking excursion like an unsafe pathway that is dangerous to cross, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the UKs best places to go for a walk where the paths are accessible and safe.

Plas Power Woods, Wrexham

Forest above Crafnant

Arguably one of the most popular woods in Wales with an estimated 27,000 visitors per year is the Plas Power Woods in Wrexham. Keep your eyes peeled when walking around this wood, as it boasts some magnificent scenery. If you go down to this wood on certain days, then you may very well be in for a big surprise as the wood sometimes plays host to a teddy bears picnic – making it perfect for a family day out!  Head back to your holiday cottage in North Wales to relax after your trip to Plas Power Woods.

The New Forest, Hampshire

New Forest, Near Fritham

The New Forest in Hampshire provides a variety of safe walking routes, perfectly accessible for dog walkers, cyclists and those with limited mobility. If you like to be prepared then you can print out information about these walks from The New Forest’s website before you go. The New Forest provides nature lovers with a variety of walkways, forest-led events and you can even attend a guided walk through the forest to discover more about the history, geology and wildlife that the forest is home to.  To extend your stay at The New Forest, and enjoy all that the surrounding area has to offer, take a look at our Hampshire holiday cottages.

The Strawberry Line, Somerset

The C&O Trail in Brunswick, MD
If safe and accessible paths are something you wish there was more of, then don’t worry as there has been campaigns created exactly for this. The Strawberry Line project, for example, was created to ensure that the disused railway between Clevedon and Cranmore in Somerset was converted into a network of safe pathways that were accessible to all, making it the perfect place to go for a walk on your Somerset cottage holiday.

If our choices of woodland walks to wander along has made you fancy pulling on your comfortable shoes and hitting the pathway, then why not take a look at our selection of holiday cottages perfect for walking holidays in the UK and book today!

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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.