Archive for the ‘Winter Holidays’ Category

Last Minute Breaks for New Year

Friday, December 27th, 2013
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With another wonderful Christmas safely wrapped up, everyone at Sykes Cottages are putting on the glad rags and laying out yet more food and drink to bring in the New Year with some style. New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to host a party, gather the family together and celebrate on a grand scale. If you are struggling for party ideas, or even looking for something different to do with the family this year why not rent a Sykes holiday Cottage?  We have a wonderful selection of properties still available which will allow you to wave goodbye to 2013 and bring in 2014 with joy and laughter.

Party Properties

Ingleside, Royal Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire: Ref. 4310

When organising a good party there are 5 elements to consider: food, drink, music, people and space! If you have decided to go all out this year with a grand party where you can celebrate the year’s triumphs and look forward to the glowing New Year ahead, do it in style with one of our large holiday cottages. These cottages regularly come with two sitting rooms which is perfect for keeping the children and adults separate; the adults can enjoy each other’s company over a glass of sparkling Champagne and the children can enjoy an adult free evening in front of the TV with good movies and electronic video games.

Couples Retreat

Gamekeeper’s Cottage, Hale, Cumbria & The Lake District: Ref. 8275

If the only person you want to see in the New Year with is your beloved other half then why not escape the hustle and bustle of the big towns and head off into the county for a romantic retreat at a cosy cottage for two. Get away from the loud atmosphere and just relax with your partner and look forward to the coming year together. We have a number of adorable cottages for you to choose from, many with the added bonus of an open fire or a hot tub, those little extra touches can really make the difference and provide you with New Year memories that will last a lifetime.

Family Friendly

Craster Reach, Craster, Northumberland: Ref. 10782

For many of us our main joy in life comes from our children, that’s why we have a specially selected range of family friendly holiday cottages. These cottages make the perfect setting for your family’s New Year, warm and cosy with plenty of space to play board games, watch movies and just enjoy your time together. The children will soon be heading back to school for the January term and we understand that you want to spend as much time with them as possible, so we can think of nothing better than taking them away for a last minute holiday over the New Year week.

New Year’s holidays are extremely popular here at Sykes Cottages and our properties can book up over a year in advance! But luckily, we still have a few fabulous holiday homes left for this festive season. We have a dedicated team on hand 7 days a week to help you find a special cottage for your last minute getaway, so go online or give us a call today and celebrate this new year in style.


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.

Sunday Snapshots: Snowy Snapshots from across the UK

Sunday, December 8th, 2013
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Snow: bane for some, bliss for others. But love it or hate it, there’ll undoubtedly be a flurry before too long. Here at Sykes, we try to embrace all of Britain’s temperamental weather, and believe that a cottage holiday can be enjoyed come rain, shine or unforeseen spattering of the white stuff. That’s why we’re dedicating today’s Sunday Snapshots to snow, or more accurately, to the wonderful winter landscapes that it produces. Whether you’re planning a skiing adventure in Scotland or a loved-up winter short break in Wales, there’s a strong probability that you’ll encounter a flake or two, so be sure to pack the thermals! The effects of a bracing blizzard can be exquisite, but if you’re in need of a little more convincing, take a look at our selection of some of the Britain’s best snow-capped vistas below.

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Central Park, Airdrie, Scotland

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Scotland Winter 2010_43.jpg

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Nephin Snow

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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.

Choose a cottage with an open fire this winter!

Monday, December 2nd, 2013
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Stoke the coals or pile on the wood this winter with one of our inviting holiday cottages with an open fire. Whether you’re planning a cosy Christmas with the family or a secluded new year’s with your loved one, our cottages with an open fire are sure to add a touch of warmth and magic to your festive celebrations!

Enjoy a family Christmas beside the fire

Via Flickr

Imagine waking on Christmas morning to the welcoming sight of a roaring real fire! Listen to the embers pop and crackle, and gather the kids before the hearth, coffee in tow, to exchange gifts and warm those chilly limbs! We’ve an excellent range of cottages that are still available for a Christmas break, so be sure to choose one with an open fire to really make the most of your big day!

Add some sparkle to your New Year’s Celebrations

Quince Cottage, Alnwick, Northumberland, Ref. 2017

If you’re tired of the same old New Year’s celebrations and want this year’s to be a little more special, why not book a short break over the New Year in one of our cottages with an open fire? Pop open the bubbly before the dancing flames of your real fire and enjoy a wonderful evening in the company of the one you love. Or, gather up your friends and dig out the board games for a heart-warming New Year’s bash in front of your cottage’s alluring log fire; what could be a better way to bring in the New Year!

Warm up on a winter short break!

Gorrans Down, Hartland, Devon, Ref. 5243

Give yourself and the kids something to look forward to in the New Year with a winter short break in one of our appealing open fire cottages. When the dull days of January come around, nothing is more likely to inspire you to get out of bed in a morning more than the prospect of a holiday in one of our endearing holiday cottages. Wade through frostbitten heathlands, pooch in tow, in the Scottish Highlands; enjoy a scenic winter drive along the Ring of Kerry or pelt snowballs at each other in the snow smothered Welsh Valleys. Wherever you choose for a soothing winter short break, our holiday cottages with an open fire are there for you when you just want to dry off, warm up, and simply relax!


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 Cottages’ Guide to The Best Places to Propose this Winter

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
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As winter starts to kick in, it can bring out the romantic soul in each of us and leave us dreaming of snowflakes, cosy nights in front of the fire and twinkly Christmas lights. Winter is often seen as a very loving time where you put a lot of thought and effort into buying gifts and spend hours travelling across the country (or even the world!) in order to spend Christmas with your family or that special someone. It should then come as no surprise that December, especially around the Christmas and New Year period, is the most popular time of the year to get engaged. So if you’re thinking of getting down on one knee this winter, here is Sykes Cottages’ shortlist of the best places in the UK to pop the question.

Lake District

Refreshing morning view over Lake Windermere, Lake District. #iPhone Pic

Via Flickr

The idyllic landscape of the Lake District is nothing if not perfect for a beautiful wedding proposal.  Last year, the Lake District was voted the most popular place in the UK to propose and it’s not hard to see why. The dramatic coastline, glistening lakes, lush green countryside and magnificent fells all play a part in the romantic atmosphere of the region, which has inspired many a poet in years gone by. Indeed, William Wordsworth once famously described Grasmere in the Lake District as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”. If you’re looking for some inspiration for a Lake District proposal, how about renting a boat and popping the question in the middle of Lake Windermere? Windermere has long been considered one of the most romantic places in the Lake District and the views surrounding the lake would make a spectacular backdrop for a perfectly poetic proposal.

Sweetheart Abbey, Scotland

Sweetheart Abbey

Via Flickr

Sweetheart Abbey is by its very nature, a fantastic place to propose. Built in 1273 and located near Dumfries, the abbey is a testament to true love and devotion, built as a tribute by Lady Devorgilla to her beloved late husband, John Balliol. Legend has it that she was so distraught by his death that she carried his embalmed heart with her at all times in a casket to keep him close to her. When she died, she was buried along with her husband’s heart in the grounds. This romantic, although slightly peculiar, story has inspired many lovers to seek out Sweetheart Abbey and propose here as a symbol of their eternal commitment and devotion.

Palladian Bridge, Bath

Prior Park, Bath

Via Flickr

The city of Bath, with its stunning architecture and Georgian charm, is another significant place to head to if you’re thinking of getting down on one knee this winter. Bath’s grandeur and charisma will set the scene for a picture-perfect proposal that your partner just won’t be able to say no to! Our suggestion for a romantic proposal in Bath is on the Palladian Bridge in Prior Park. The park dates back to the eighteenth century and boasts sweeping panoramic views across Bath, making it a very impressive setting for a proposal. The Palladian Bridge is not just a pretty feature either as it’s only one of four of its kind in the world, earning it the honour of Grade I listed building. Just imagine how special your loved one will feel when you get down onto one knee on this historical bridge overlooking one of the most beautiful cities in England. What a beautifully romantic story to tell family and friends!

Your Own Private, Romantic Cottage

Coachman’s Cottage, Tintagel, Cornwall, Ref. 982

If you’re a little apprehensive about proposing somewhere where you could be seen or overheard, why not book one of our romantic holiday cottages so you can pop the question in private. We have a wide range of cottages across the UK and Ireland so you can tailor your break to meet your proposal needs. Want to propose overlooking the coast? Try one of our secluded, sea view cottages. Or consider a cottage with an open fire and witness the glow of the flames dancing across your loved ones face as they (hopefully) say yes!

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.

Packing for a winter holiday in the UK

Monday, November 18th, 2013
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If you’re planning a holiday in the UK this winter, there’s a few things you ought to be aware of. Firstly, it’ll be cold, bloomin’ cold. And secondly, it’ll be wet, very wet actually. With this in mind, it’s important to invest a bit more time in planning and preparing for your winter break. Whether you’re taking a sojourn on the English Riviera in Devon, or hiking in the Cairngorms, you’ll need clothing and luggage that can withstand the harsh snap of a British winter. That’s why, Sykes Cottages have come up with a helpful guide offering a few tips on how to make the most of your UK holiday. Because aside from all the pouring rain, the heavy hail showers and the dense, icy fog, there’s a beautiful country waiting to be discovered, and we want you to enjoy it every step of the way!

Step 1- Planning


Via Flickr

Unlike summer holidays when you could get away with only carrying your swimwear and a tube of sun lotion, winter holidays require a little more planning- especially if you’re travelling with kids! Writing a good old list is a great way to keep track of the comings and goings of your winter luggage, and will help you avoid overlooking any last minute essentials. If you want to be really prepared, many websites now offer printable PDF travel checklists which you can customise to suit the needs of your party; ideal for the fastidious traveller!

Step 2- Packing

freeform suitcase

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Getting winter woollies, wellies and booties into a single suitcase is no mean feat and can leave many spending hours perched atop their luggage trying to close the zip. So, how do you avoid the inevitable suitcase tussle? One simple way to side-step the hassle and get the zip shut quick is to pack thin layers of clothing rather than bulky pullovers. For years, intrepid explorers and wise old wives have been berating the world about the benefits of layering clothing instead of wearing a single thick pullover, and it seems they were right! To keep your core warm on your winter holiday, swap the woolly jumper for a couple of layers of lightweight thermals, and watch the space in your suitcase magically reappear! As for wellies and the other bulky items, use spacious shopping bags and sling them in the boot- simple!

Step 3- Travelling

Driving in the Snow

Via Flickr

At Sykes, we think one of the many joys of a UK holiday is that they start as soon as you leave your front door; in theory anyway. If you’re travelling with young children however, that can be a different story. If you need a quick distraction to get your gang quietly over the 200 mile mark, pack a backpack of fun, car friendly activities such as colouring books and mini board games. Or, create an impressive car picnic; because nothing distracts children like a bit of nosh! For couples, compile a playlist of your favourite tunes and enjoy a relaxing journey through some of the country’s most beloved wintry landscapes- bliss!

We hope this guide to packing for a winter holiday has been helpful. If you’re planning a winter break in the UK, be sure to take a look at our superb range of self-catering holiday cottages and winter short breaks!

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.