Archive for the ‘Wales’ Category

Sykes’ Spotlight on Anglesey

Monday, March 25th, 2013
Pin It

At just 276 square miles, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Isle of Anglesey which lies just off the tip of North Wales was simply an extension of the mainland. But, as soon as you cross the impressive Menai Bridge which links Anglesey to North Wales, you’ll truly feel like you’ve entered a new country. I was lucky enough to enjoy a cottage holiday on Anglesey last week and here is my pick of how to make the most of your time on this wonderful island.
Oh No!  Not Another Menai Bridge Photograph

Discover Beaumaris

Beaumaris is one of the most popular places on Anglesey and it’s no surprise given the wealth of attractions in easy walking distance of the car park.  The 1295 castle built by King Edward I dominates the town and combined with the castles of Harlech, Conwy and Caernarfon are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  A stroll down the recently restored Victorian pier gives great views across the Menai Straits to north Wales even when we visited on the coldest of days!  Imagine life as a nineteenth century prisoner in Beaumaris Gaol where you can descend into the darkness of the punishment cell.  Elsewhere in Beaumaris, there are a great range of eateries and shops selling traditional Welsh fare to keep everyone entertained.
Beaumaris Castle 01

Visit Newborough Forest

Newborough Forest has to be one of my favourite places on the island.  The forest is located in the far south west of Anglesey not too far from Aberffraw, home of the legendary scallop-shaped biscuits.  Colour-marked routes, suitable for bikes and buggies, wind through the forest of seemingly sky high Corsican pines over gentle sand dunes.  Once you emerge from the forest you’re presented with a huge expanse of golden sand and gently rolling waves.  Llanddwyn beach is completely unspoilt and boasts staggering views of Snowdonia even on a wintry day.  Nearby is the church of Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers, who lived here in the fifth century.  If you’re looking to get away from it all on holiday, this is the place to do it.  Later in the year when the weather improves I can imagine spending hours sunbathing and paddling here and on the other Blue Flag beaches like Trearddur Bay that Anglesey has to offer.

Explore on two wheels

My favourite way to explore a new place is by bike; the feeling of the wind in your hair and the fantastic views just can’t be beaten.  Families and those new to cycling should try the Lôn Las Cefni for 13 miles of virtually flat tracks which connects the two national cycle routes which cross Anglesey.  For more experienced cyclists looking for a challenge, the 34 mile Copper Trail on the northern coast is ideal.  It’s best to start this circular route at Llynnon Mill or Llanerchymedd where you’ll find ample car parking.  The trail promises (and delivers) breathtaking coastal views and centuries of Anglesey history in just a few hours.  Discover the only remaining 17th century thatched cottage at the Swtan Heritage Museum in Church Bay and visit the only working windmill in Wales at Llynnon where you can purchase a bag of freshly ground flour, all from the comfort of your bike.  Explore the red and orange landscape of Amlwch and Parys Mountain, widely known as the Copper Kingdom as this area was one of the world’s most important mining centres in the 18th century.  More information about cycling on Anglesey can be found by clicking here.

From a coastal path with dramatic views at every turn to excellent family attractions, there’s even more on Anglesey for a fantastic holiday.  Why not take a look at our Anglesey and North Wales cottages or call our friendly holiday cottage advisors, until 9.30pm seven days a week to start planning your own holiday to beautiful Anglesey.

Pin It

Celebrating St David’s Day in Wales

Friday, March 1st, 2013
Pin It

Today, all over Wales, celebrations are taking place in honour of St David or Dewi Sant, the patron saint of Wales. It is thought that Dewi Sant died on March 1st 589, so on 1st March each year it is customary to wear either a leek or a daffodil in his name.


This year the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will be attending the St David’s Day celebrations in Cardiff, including the service at St John the Baptist City Parish Church in the Welsh capital city. But it’s not just Cardiff where St David’s Day festivities are taking place; parades, events and walks are being held all over the country. With so much going on, this weekend is a fantastic time to take a trip to Wales! Or, if you’re not in Wales but still want to get into the spirit of St David’s Day, why not cook up a delicious pan of the traditional Welsh stew, cawl? Recognised by many as the national dish of Wales, this scrumptious meal is sure to get you in the spirit of St David’s Day!

Welsh Flag, St David's Day / Baner Cymru, Dydd Gŵyl Dewi 2009

The ingredients that you will need are:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 swede, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 4 leeks, sliced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 500g potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 500g lamb (such as neck on the bone)
  • 500g smoked bacon, cut in to 2cm cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Fresh thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

West Wales New Year


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a high heat. Add the onions, swede, leeks and carrots to the pan and fry for five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add the lamb to the pan and turn up the heat to brown all over. Once browned  add the bacon to the pan along with the vegetables and diced potatoes. Add the bay leaf and the fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cover the meat and vegetables with cold water.
  • Turn up the heat and bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for at least two hours or until the lamb is tender.
  • Serve piping hot with crusty bread, Welsh butter and even cheese on the side.

Cawl tastes even better when reheated the next day, so be sure to set aside any leftovers for a delicious meal later in the week!

Pin It

Sunday Snapshots: Fishguard, Pembrokeshire

Sunday, February 24th, 2013
Pin It

To show that spring really is just around the corner, today’s Sunday Snapshot is of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in South Wales. The path stretches for almost 190 miles and takes in some 58 beaches so there’s plenty of places to stop for a sandwich and hopefully catch a few rays during your walk. I don’t know about you but I’m looking for my walking boots and a map as we speak!
Pembrokeshire coast path

Pin It

Book a Cottage in North Wales for Easter

Friday, February 22nd, 2013
Pin It

As we get to the end of February and into March, everyday feels a little more spring like and each day is noticeably longer. With only five weeks to go until the Easter weekend, now is a great time to take advantage of the longer days and bank holidays and book an Easter break.

Click here to visit our cottages with availability for the Easter holidays. If you are searching for a cottage in North Wales, select ‘Wales’ in the country box and ‘North Wales’ in the region box. Alternatively, you can view our full selection of North Wales Cottages here.

Easter Eggs

Eaton Hall Gardens, Chester

The Duke of Westminster opens his gardens to the public in the name of charity four times a year, with the first open day of 2013 being Easter Sunday, the 31st March. The Eaton Estate Gardens, situated just outside of Chester are immaculately kept and include formal gardens and woodlands as well as a lake that is especially lovely to walk around. The sheer beauty of the gardens really does have to be seen to be believed!

Clock Tower Across the Lake

There is a cafe where you can buy refreshments, as well as ice cream vans selling Cheshire Farm Ice Cream. You are also welcome to bring a picnic to the gardens and dogs are welcome as long as they are kept on a lead.

Entrance to the gardens is £6 for adults and £1.50 for children, all of which goes to charity. This year’s chosen charities are the Chester Childbirth Appeal, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research Chester and the Three Villages Project – all very worthy causes.

Park Hall Farm, Oswestry

Pet Lambs

Park Hall Farm in Oswestry is a fantastic place to take the kids this Easter. Open daily from 10am until 5pm during the Easter holidays, children can bottle feed the lambs, take part in the children’s driving school, enjoy a ride on the barrel train or take part in the Easter Extravaganza, a big Easter egg hunt. Entrance to Park Hall Farm is £7.45 per person or £29 for a family of four.

Rhyl Sun Centre, North Wales

A fantastic rainy day option for the Easter holidays is the Rhyl Sun Centre in North Wales. The Sun Centre opens for the 2013 season on the 23rd March and is open during the Easter holidays from 10.30am until 5pm. There are water rides, slides and wave pools and even a surf pool to keep both old and young entertained, especially when you want to escape from the Great British weather. Tickets are £8.95 per person or £8.55 per person for a family ticket for four to nine people.

Pin It

Sykes’ Spotlight on North Wales

Monday, January 7th, 2013
Pin It

North Wales is a fantastic holiday destination, whether you are looking for traditional seaside charm, stunning beaches and coastal walks or intriguing heritage and history, North Wales really does have it all! Here at Sykes Cottages we have a huge choice of cottages in North Wales.

Why wait? Search for cottages in North Wales now!

Seaside fun at Llandudno

The coastal town of Llandudno in North Wales truly epitomises the very best of the British seaside. From the wide promenade, the Victorian pier and the charm of the town centre, it is so easy to see why people have been flocking to this gem on the North Wales coastline for well over a hundred years. The pier is a haven of activity, with stalls selling ice cream and candyfloss, games arcades and children’s rides lining the route and on a summers day the pier is packed with families.

Llandudno Victorian Fair

The beach is a mixture of pebbles and sand, perfect for paddling and the promenade is lined with benches, great for sitting out and enjoying a picnic. Just watch out for those cheeky pigeons!

Llandudno - 21st August 2010

If you are taking a trip to Llandudno then the Great Orme is also well worth a visit. Take a ride on the Great Orme tramway and enjoy spectacular views from the summit, get up close to nature with walks in the landscaped gardens or feel the adrenaline rush on the artificial ski slope or toboggan run.

Llandudno - 21st August 2010

Also, whilst you are on holiday in Llandudno why not book tickets to see a theatre show at Venue Cymru, to make your trip extra special?

Llandudno - 21st August 2010

Get inspired in Bangor

Bangor is a small but perfectly formed city situated just down the coast from Llandudno. Being a university city, during term time Bangor is buzzing with students and has plenty of trendy bars, pubs and cafes to boot. The pier, the second longest pier in Wales, is much quieter than its counterpart at Llandudno and is favoured by artists and writers. It’s the perfect place if you are looking for somewhere to enjoy spectacular views of the Menai Strait and over to the isle of Anglesey. A must visit for budding painters and poets!

Bangor Pier


Enjoy spectacular beaches in Anglesey

Just over the sea from the city of Bangor you will find the Island of Anglesey. Anglesey’s rolling countryside, golden sandy beaches and fantastic coastal walks mean that it is a holiday hotspot at any time of year. The beach at Trearddur Bay is a personal favourite of mine, with the clean and golden sand providing the perfect playground for children and adults alike and the deep blue sea a great place for paddling and cooling off on a hot summers day. Then, when the evening comes, head back to your Anglesey cottage, light up the barbeque and relax with a glass of wine. What could be better than that!

Trearddur bay

Why not book a cottage in North Wales today!

Pin It