Archive for the ‘Winter Holidays’ Category

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!

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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.

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

Via Flickr

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!

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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.

Get Out and Get Active This Winter

Friday, November 15th, 2013
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Winter is finally here and for most of us that means barricading the door, hiding under the blankets and waiting for the ice to thaw. But as the first snow starts to fall and temperatures plummet, the more adventurous among us prefer to keep warm by enjoying some heart racing winter sports! With an ample selection of outdoor activities to be had there is no reason not to get out there and try something new this winter. Here at Sykes Cottages, we want to help you banish those winter blues and make the most of this festive season, so we’ve compiled a list of our favourite winter sports to help entice you out of the house and into the crisp winter air!

You don’t need snow to have a good time!

The skiing season is officially over - part 1

Via. Flickr

Winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding are commonly associated with boundless amounts of snow, but in this modern age a good snowfall is not always needed! You can have all the excitement of a day at the slopes without having to depend on the weather by simply visiting an all-weather ski centre like The Chill Factor in Manchester. This fantastic indoor area prides itself on creating real snow for its guests every month of the year! The Chill factor is the perfect place to hone your skills on the slopes or, if like me you are a novice border or skier, they give fantastic lessons so you can really impress your friends with your slick new moves!

Gliding and sliding

There is nothing more fun than collapsing in a heap on top of a friend or two whilst ice-skating. This sociable sport can be enjoyed by people of all ages and offers a fantastic alternative to a movie night. Why take your new crush to the cinema where you have to sit in silence when you could just as easily whisk them off to the ice rink, where you can chat all night whilst skating in circles and laughing at each other’s tumbles. There are a number of pop-up ice rinks throughout the UK this winter and each will provide the essentials such as polished ice, skates and plenty of good food and drink at the surrounding Christmas Markets.

Dashing through the Snow

Riding Off into the Sunset

Via. Flickr

For a festive favourite that can be enjoyed by the whole family, why not try a spot of sledging? This action packed winter sport suits the whole family, with the older more experienced opting for the steep sloping hills whilst the younger, more fragile of us head for the smaller less elevated mounds. This activity can be done almost anywhere all you need is a little push! If you have limited outdoor space or your home is located amongst the hustle and bustle of a big city then don’t worry; here at Sykes Cottages we have a wonderful selection of country cottages perfect for a sledging adventure!

The UK has a beautiful and diverse landscape which becomes a picturesque winter wonderland during the festive season, and we want you to get out there and embrace the cold. So put out that fire, come out from under your blanket and get ready for a winter full of exciting outdoor activities!

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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.