Archive for the ‘Winter Holidays’ Category

Traditional Cottages for a Winter Break

Monday, October 12th, 2015
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Well the days are shortening, the temperature is dropping and comfort food is definitely on the menu which can only mean one thing – winter is coming! But there’s no reason this should stop you from considering a holiday in the United Kingdom, in fact in some ways it’s the best time for a short break! Between the bracing walks, hearty and warming pub lunches and cosy nights in front of a roaring fire, there’s nothing better than sneaking in a winter break. So we’ve put together a quick list of some of the best traditional cottages that still have some availability over the winter months, take a look and see what you think.

Rose Cottage

Just five miles from the ever popular Peak District town of Bakewell, Rose Cottage is the first of our traditional cottages just right for a peaceful winter break. Entering through the quaint garden, you’ll find yourself in a kitchen full of character along with some more modern additions including a breakfast bar and underfloor heating. Then there’s the beautiful living room; furnished lovingly and complete with a cosy woodburner, it’s the perfect place to while away a chilly winter’s night. Or if you’d rather get out and about, you won’t be disappointed- between the countless walks right on the doorstep and places to visit including Chatsworth House and Bakewell itself, you won’t find yourself struggling to find something to do.

The Hay Loft

Situated right on the village green and alongside the old post office, it really doesn’t get much more traditional than The Hayloft. Set completely across the first floor of a sympathetically-converted barn, the property retains many of the original features that help it stand out from the crowd, from the exposed beams through to the stunning domed window in the bedroom, and an added touch of luxury in the shape of the free-standing bathtub.

Acorn Cottage

Or if you fancy a stay in a true chocolate box cottage then this might be the one for you. Acorn Cottage is a stunning mid terraced property right in the heart of the delightful Cotswolds village of Bretforton. It even comes complete with the ultimate traditional feature, a thatched roof. The stylish open plan living area of Acorn Cottage has a feature inglenook fireplace that promises to keep you nice and cosy during the winter evenings and what’s more, you can even book two of the cottages over the road from Acorn Cottage if there’s a bigger group of you looking to go on a winter break together.

So there you go, just a few of the beautiful cottages that still have some availability over the coming months, but don’t worry if none of them take your fancy, there’s plenty of others that are still bookable! So if you fancy booking yourself a winter break you’ll want to have a look here to see the full selection of available properties or give us a call on 01244 356695 and we’ll be happy to help.

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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.

Best Places for a Winter Break

Saturday, January 17th, 2015
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What is it that makes a good winter holiday for you? Is it the blustery walks or the frosty mornings? What about getting stuck into your favourite book in front of a roaring fire? Well today we’re looking at some of the best places for all of these things, from the South Coast of Wales all the way up to the Scottish Highlands. So take a look and see if we can tempt you into book yourself a winter holiday in one of these spots; just remember to keep an eye out for properties that offer Winter Short Breaks – you’ll be able to get yourself a three night break at a discounted price, what more could you want?


If you’re the kind of person who would include bracing walks and stunning scenery as prerequisites of their ideal winter break then Northumberland is just the spot for you. Its famous coastal path provides many a beautiful walk and when you add in the idyllic Northumberland National Park, you can see why the county is the perfect place for those who love nothing more than to strap on their walking boots. No matter where you go you’ll be blown away by the views, from the imposing Dunstanburgh Castle through to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Or if the weather gets a bit too much you can always head into one of Northumberland’s cosy towns and villages. Take Alnwick for example, not only did it set the scene for portions of the Harry Potter films, it’s also home to Barter Books, one of the biggest second hand bookshops in Europe, where the Keep Calm and Carry On phenomenon all started!

The Highlands

Alternatively you might want to take a look at heading north of the border for your winter break. If so then you should definitely pay a visit to the Highlands! There are few places around the United Kingdom that can match the area for its peace and quiet, and then there’s the scenery! Crisp sunrises out and about on the glens reveal the eerie, mist covered mountains and the silvery lochs. Or maybe you fancy a change of pace? Well the highlands can offer an adrenaline filled break too! The Cairngorms are the only place in the UK that can boast natural ski slopes and there are countless companies offering you the chance to get stuck into a wide variety of adventure sports!


I don’t think that anyone would blame you if you were of the opinion that Pembrokeshire in South Wales should only be considered as a summer destination. What with its seemingly endless sandy beaches it does seem like the perfect place to spend a summer, but Pembrokeshire also makes for a fantastic winter break! Sand castles and sunbathing are probably out of the question (unless you’re a particularly hardy soul!) but there are plenty of other things you can do to pass the time. For example, you could pay a visit to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, home to almost 600 miles of footpaths and bridle ways. Or you could always take a step back in time; Pembrokeshire is home to over fifty fortresses and castles, ranging from the imposing Pembroke Castle right the way through to Castell Henllys, a replica of the recently excavated Iron Age fort from over 2000 years ago!

So there you go, a few of our favourite places for a break over the winter months. But don’t let us cloud your judgement, we’ve got properties all around the United Kingdom and Ireland that would make for a dream winter holiday, from the beaches of Cornwall right the way through to the rolling hills of County Donegal. Or maybe you know of somewhere that you think people should be visiting? If so, do let us know either over Facebook or Twitter and we’ll spread the word!

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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.

Book with Sykes to Beat the January Blues

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015
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Well I’m afraid that everything seems to be getting back to normal now. The kids are back in school, we’re back in work, the new year’s resolutions are in effect (let’s see how long they last this year) and the festivities have been replaced by Blue Monday. What’s Blue Monday I hear you ask? Well apparently it’s the most depressing day of the year and it’s meant to fall on the Monday of the final week in January which this year just so happens to be my birthday – lucky me! Well whether you believe in Blue Monday or not I don’t think that you’ll disagree with me when I say that January can get you down a little bit. The nights are still closing in early, the weather isn’t fantastic and you’ve got to deal with that post festive period hangover. But we think that we’ve got the perfect way for you to banish those blues: booking yourself a cottage break!

Where to go

For me there are few things in winter that can beat a bracing winter walk, especially if the route leads you past a cosy country pub for a refuel! If this sounds like your kind of thing then you might want to take a look at places like the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales where you’ll find walks galore. Or maybe you’d prefer to kick back and relax on a Sykes city break? If so then take a look here where you’ll find all of our city based cottages, from Bath to Edinburgh and many places in between!

What to look for in the Cottage

Well where else is there to start but with an open fire? There really is nothing better for welcoming you back into your cottage after a long day out and about, or if you’re planning a cosy night in what else could you wish for than putting your feet up in front of a roaring fire? And if you feel like really spoiling yourself then why not take a look at our cottages with hot tubs, after all they’re the perfect way to beat the winter chill!

How to book

Well that’s the easiest part! All you have to do is give us a quick call on 01244 356695 and we’ll happily talk you through the process. And what’s more, we’re right into the Sykes Winter Short Break season! So if you’re looking to take a few days away this winter make sure you take a look here so that you can get the best value!

So are you tempted to book yourself a winter break this January? If so then just follow the instructions above and before you know it you’ll be settling in to your dream holiday cottage!

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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.

Book a cottage getaway over New Year

Monday, November 17th, 2014
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If you’re planning to get away over New Year then you need to act fast! Our holiday cottages are booking up for the festive season so you need to move quickly if you want to get somewhere sorted. To give you a bit of inspiration, we’ve listed just some of the fantastic properties still available over New Year’s Eve. Don’t miss out!

The Byre, Northumbria

Holiday cottage in Northumbria

The Byre, Northumbria, Ref. 1783

The Byre is a characterful barn conversion in the heart of the beautiful Northumbrian countryside, offering cosy open plan accommodation for a couple or small family. If you fancy a quiet, peaceful New Year this year, then The Byre is the cottage for you, located in a small hamlet surrounded by a tranquil, rural landscape. The roaring open fire is perfect for relaxing in front of and the panoramic views across the stunning countryside will make your New Year’s Eve seem miles away from the usual crowded bars and never-ending taxi queues.

The Roundhouse, Somerset

Holiday cottage in Somerset

The Roundhouse, Somerset, Ref. 14576

If you’re looking for a truly romantic getaway over New Year then look no further than this stunning wooden roundhouse nestled amongst the grounds of an organic farm. This unusual cottage has been lovingly handcrafted to create a snug holiday home near Stratton-on-Fosse. The Roundhouse is the perfect place to get away from it all for New Year’s Eve with no WiFi or TV to distract you from each other’s company, and with luxury features including a four-poster bed, roll-top bath and 1940’s MK1 Rayburn to keep you warm and cosy. The grounds surrounding this cottage boast geese, ducks, cows, chickens, pigs and sheep, and guests are welcome to purchase free-range eggs and pork from the farm.

Craig Y Don, Anglesey

Holiday cottage on Anglesey

Craig Y Don, Anglesey, Ref. 3775

This spacious, seaside property is ideal for large groups looking for somewhere to get-together this New Year’s Eve. Sleeping 10, the 5 star Craig Y Don is situated in a breath-taking position overlooking the beach at Rhosneigr on Anglesey and offers the perfect place to spend a memorable New Year with friends and family. Book this property and you could bring in the New Year on Craig Y Don’s spectacular roof terrace, admiring its stunning beach and sea views.

You can see our full range of holiday cottages still available for New Year’s Eve 2014 by clicking here. For help in finding your perfect New Year’s cottage, you can also give our reservations team a call on 01244 356 695 or send us an email.

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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.

Let it glow: Britain’s Best Illuminations

Sunday, October 26th, 2014
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Since the invention of electric lighting in the 19th century, we’ve pushed bulbs to the brink. LEDs, spotlights, halogens, fluorescents – you name it, we’ve made it. And artificial incandescence doesn’t stop there. Since the early noughties, the city of York has been transformed, once a year, by an assortment of uber-fancy digital lightshows, an event dubbed Illuminating York.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Visit York between 29th October and the 1st November and it’ll be hard to miss this dazzling spectacle. The illuminations twinkle from Clifford’s Tower to the Minster, and over 50,000 visitors take to the city’s historic streets to marvel at the iridescent brilliance. The theme of this year’s Illuminating York is ‘Leading Lights’, which sets out to capture York’s rich history, as well as its innovative future.

If you can’t make it to York during the event, fear not, as there are plenty of other illuminations to enjoy during the festive season and beyond. Here’s a pick of our favourites.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace Lightshow, Warwickshire

Courtesy of CMT Events

Courtesy of CMT Events

Shakespeare, god love him, is still providing us with entertainment to this day – albeit, not directly. Head to his hometown of Stratford-Upon-Avon from the 27th November, and you’ll find a wonderful lightshow cast on to the timber-frame of the bard’s former home. 2014’s display will feature an all new 3D lightshow depicting some of the bard’s finest works; a must for literary fans and those in need of a little festive cheer.

Winter Light at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Brought to you by Bruce Munro, an esteemed lighting designer, Winter Light offers an immersive experience in the grounds of the charming Waddesdon Manor. The event features six imaginative illuminations, spaced around the grounds for eager families to find. The works are switched on from 3pm when the light begins to fade, but the house is open from 10am, and is the perfect place to have a warming cup of tea.

Mousehole Christmas Lights, Cornwall

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

For a more traditional yet equally enchanting festive experience, make for the village of Mousehole on the Cornish Coast. For over fifty years, this unassuming village has celebrated Christmas more than most, by adorning its harbour in a mass of festive illuminations; even the boats bobbing on the water are draped in coloured bulbs. Tradition tells that you should eat Stargazey Pie after seeing the lights, but if you don’t fancy that, chow down on a pasty instead.

Book a winter short break with Sykes Cottages

Dark, cold nights getting you down? Get in the festive spirit with a self-catering winter short break from Sykes! We’ve got some real bargains on offer between November and December, so it’s the perfect time to book. From bracing coastal holidays to cosy city breaks, you can get away for less this winter. Visit our website to find out more!

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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.