Archive for November, 2012

Extreme UK

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
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The festive period is always one of excess and come January everyone is thinking about how to lose those Christmas pounds.  Instead of signing up for a pricey gym membership, why not think about getting into the great outdoors to shift some of those inevitable Christmas pounds.  Choose one of the extreme challenges in the UK and really give yourself a target to work towards, I guarantee you’ll be pleased you did!

The good news is that most of the big events take place in some of the most stunning landscapes of the UK.  So it’s a fantastic excuse to pack up the whole family for a short break or family holiday in the UK.  Plus you’ll have a ready made fan club to support you during the challenge with the bonus of a great holiday at the end.

 

Fred Whitton Challenge

This is a one-day 112 cycle event held annually in the Lake District to commemorate the life of Fred Whitton, a former secretary of the Lakes Cycle Club.  The ride starts and finishes at Coniston and takes in some of the most challenging climbs throughout the Lake District such as Kirkstone, Whinlatter and the Hardknott Pass.  The annual event takes place in May every year but the route can now also be completed 365 days a year by yourself or as part of a team.  Either way, it’s an incredibly challenging but rewarding ride.  Choose one of our Lake District holiday cottages for a thoroughly deserved break to relax in after the ride.

 

The Fred Whitton

 

Hell Runner

Don’t be put off by the name but Hell Runner is the ultimate in trail running.  There are four events across the country where runners compete in at least a ten mile run across challenging terrain.  Get prepared for lots of steep hills, boggy conditions and running tracks and not a single distance marker in sight!  Try the one held in Staffordshire in February 2013 which takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Trentham Gardens.  You’ll finish very wet and very muddy but also extremely proud.  Relax in front of a roaring fire in your holiday cottage in the Peak District or perhaps choose a cottage with a hot tub to soothe your aching muscles.

Soothe aching muscles in a luxurious hot tub

Soothe aching muscles in a luxurious hot tub

The 14 Peaks

You’ve all heard of ‘The 3 Peaks Challenge’, an attempt to climb the highest peak in England, Wales and Scotland in 24 hours.  More extreme is the 14 Peaks Challenge which sees participants attempt to climb each of the 3000 feet high mountains in Wales in a 24 mile route from Snowdon to Foel Fras.  The 24 year record of 4 hours and 19 minutes is held by an experienced hill runner but at walking pace the challenge is usually completed in between 12 and 24 hours.  Climb each peak in a single journey and you’ll go down in history.  What an achievement!  Choose a cosy cottage in the Snowdonia National Park and enjoy your surroundings at a much slower pace.

Snowdonia, North Wales, June 2011

 

So, what are you waiting for? Sign yourself up for a challenge, get training over the winter and enjoy a great holiday next year!

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Fancy a short break to a holiday cottage this winter?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
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Is the mundane routine of the daily grind getting you down? Does life feel like a constant rush? Now could be the time to escape from the pressures of everyday life and get away for a few days! Why not choose to take a short break in the UK? Booking a holiday cottage means that you can really make the most of your holiday, time is precious enough without having to waste valuable time travelling to your holiday destination. Rent a holiday cottage in the UK and your whole journey from door to door need be no more than a couple of hours. Then you can start enjoying your holiday right away!

 

Winter tree

 Choose a holiday cottage in the UK this winter!

Going on a short winter holiday in the UK means that you can take advantage of our special winter short break price and rent one of our holiday cottages for a three night break in the winter season at a reduced price. Perfect if you haven’t got time for a full week away but still want a holiday or maybe you just have a couple of days annual leave left until the end of the year. Why not make the most of your spare time and go on a winter get away?

 

Winter Light

Imagine curling up in front of a roaring log fire!

Choosing to rent a self catering cottage from Sykes Cottages means that you will have a fabulous time, whatever the weather! Wrap up warm and get out for a blustery county walk, indulge in a little retail therapy or spend lazy days in front of a log fire in your cottage. You could even rent a cottage with a hot tub and sink into a lovely warm tub of bubbles in the comfort of your own holiday home. Rent a pet friendly holiday cottage and take your furry friend on holiday, they will love stretching out in front of the fire with you!

 

 My new Charnwood, Country 6 stove

 

Enjoy a winter romance at your cosy cottage for two

A winter short break is a fantastic opportunity for a bit of impromptu romance. Choose one of our most romantic holiday cottages and treat you and your partner to a truly special winter retreat, a superb holiday cottage for two. The winter months can be an extremely busy time of year with Christmas and New Year grabbing everyone’s attention so get away for a three night winter break and give each other the time that you deserve. Or, if you are planning ahead, now is a great time to secure a romantic cottage for an extra special Valentine’s Day in February 2013!

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Charlotte

By Charlotte Stamper

Charlotte's love of the UK started as a child, with frequent trips to the North Wales, the Lake District and Scotland. In her spare time she enjoys walking and last year completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. Her favourite place is the Victorian seaside town of Llandudno in North Wales.

Packing tips for the perfect cottage holiday in the UK

Friday, November 16th, 2012
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So, you have selected and booked your perfect holiday cottage. The next thing to think about is what you are going to take with you to make your holiday go smoothly as possible. Here are our top tips for making your holiday go with a bang!

Before you set off on holiday…

Before you leave home for your holiday make sure that you have cancelled regular deliveries like milk, set lights on timers around the home and, if you are going on holiday in the winter months, leave your heating on low. It is also often a good idea to leave a spare set of keys with a friend or neighbour.

A beautiful bedroom in a holiday cottage

A beautiful bedroom in a holiday cottage

If you are taking your pet on holiday with you then make sure that you have your dog feeding bowls and bed so they will feel at home in your dog friendly accommodation. Plus, don’t forget a pet towel to dry the dog after a long winter walk!

What to pack for your cottage holiday

If you are visiting an area of the country that you haven’t been to before, a guide book about the area is a definite must! Then you need some basic holiday essentials like a camera (plus spare batteries or charger), phone charger, a pack of playing cards and a rucksack to use for days out.

364/366: new suitcases

Think carefully about the clothes that you want to take with you. The British weather can be unpredictable but you don’t want to end up bringing everything plus the kitchen sink! Pack clothes for your holiday that you can mix and match together and make sure you bring plenty of layers. That way you will look super stylish whatever the occasion, if you are enjoying long walks in the country or going for a nice meal out. A good pair of shoes, an umbrella and sun cream are always good things to have handy too.

An outdoor swimming pool at a cottage in Somerset

An outdoor swimming pool at a cottage in Somerset

Before you travel, be sure to check what is included at your cottage, particularly to see if if things like bedding and towels are included. Some of our cottages come with swimming pools, hot tubs and Jacuzzis so if you are renting one of these then don’t forget your swimwear!

Self catering goodies!

A lovely self catering kitchen in a Sykes Holiday Cottage

A lovely self catering kitchen in a Sykes Holiday Cottage

All of our self catering cottages come with well equipped kitchens, just bring your food and your ready to get cooking! Make sure you have essentials like tea, coffee and sugar handy so you can make a refreshing drink when your accommodation. Pack cooking condiments like cooking oil, salt, pepper and herbs as well as toilet roll, washing up liquid and dishwasher tablets if there is a dishwasher in your cottage. Why not pack a bottle of bubbly to enjoy whilst you are away? You are on holiday after all!

 

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Charlotte

By Charlotte Stamper

Charlotte's love of the UK started as a child, with frequent trips to the North Wales, the Lake District and Scotland. In her spare time she enjoys walking and last year completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. Her favourite place is the Victorian seaside town of Llandudno in North Wales.

The Isle of Anglesey – A holiday fit for royalty

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
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The tiny Isle of Anglesey, located off of the north western tip of Wales, hasn’t always been the first place that comes to mind when thinking of royalty. This remote and windswept island, which is connected to the mainland by a short causeway, is an unassuming little place, which is precisely why it has made the perfect first home for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – William and Kate. Quite frankly, if it’s good enough for the future king of England, than it’s good enough for me!

What makes Anglesey the perfect place for a weekend away? With so much to see and do in such a small space, you’ll find yourself planning your return trip before the first one has even finished.

Walk the Anglesey Coastal Path

On the Isle of Anglesey coastal path
In 2012 the world’s first national coastal path opened, and it just happens to be in Wales. The Anglesey Coastal Path follows the coast of Wales for 850 miles, 125 of which travel the breathtaking coast of Anglesey. The Angelsey Coastal Path isn’t for the feint of heart – it isn’t as flat as you might suspect and if you walk the entire circuit you’ll have ascended a total of 4,174 metres. That’s the equivalent of walking up and down Mount Snowdon three and a half times! If you give yourself lots of time to take breaks and enjoy the views most moderately fit people will be able to conquer the Anglesey path. Just imagine the sense of accomplishment you’ll have at the end of that!

Tasty Welsh Treats

Frantastic Welsh Cakes...

If you’ve walked even part of the Anglesey Coastal Path than you deserve to be treated to a bit of a tasty treat, and the Isle of Anglesey has no shortage of delicious foods to fill your tummy. Anglesey was as one time known as Môn Mam Cymru, or the Mother of Wales, because of its rich and fertile soil. With lush clover-rich fields and a coast which simply teams with fish,  the Isle of Anglesey is the perfect spot for a foodie holiday. If you are staying in an Anglesey self-catering cottage you will want to seek out some of the island’s top fresh produce to bring home and turn into a gourmet meal. From lamb, mutton, and seafood, to vegetables, homemade chutneys, and chocolates, Angelsey has everything you’ll need to make a top class meal. You can even get local salt here, right out of the Menai Straight. If you don’t fancy cooking for yourself than try one of the award winning pubs and restaurants that call the island home. The White Eagle Pub in Rhoscolyn is said to be a favourite of William and Kate so you might be able to go home claiming to have lunched with royalty.

Curl Up in a Cosy Cottage

Enjoy a cosy Anglesey Cottage

If you’re looking for a holiday of true relaxation, Anglesey is your answer. This is one of the least populated areas in the UK so you don’t have to worry about traffic jams or long queues. Take a look at our selection of personally selected holiday cottages in Anglesey to find a nice and quiet cottage where you can just curl up with a book and watch the sunset out of the window. While it is nice to see and do a lot while on holiday, sometimes what you really need is a few days of doing nothing but drinking hot tea, eating biscuits, and taking afternoon naps. Doesn’t that sound lovely?

Anglesey is the perfect place to just get away from it all and lost yourself on winding coastal walks, followed by hot tea and welsh cakes. Whether you want an action packed holiday full of hiking, sailing, surfing, and coasteering, or a relaxed weekend spent in tea rooms, Anglesey has something for you. Treat yourself to a winter getaway before the madness of the festive season begins and find out why the royal couple are so happy to call the Isle of Anglesey home.

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A Royal Day Out

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
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Last year’s Royal Wedding and the Diamond Jubilee earlier this year were fantastic state occasions which united the whole of Britain. Even strong Republicans found themselves caught up in the pomp and ceremony and waving a flag as the Thames Pageant sailed past. Britons up and down the country are feeling a new sense of pride in being British and who can blame them? Now is a great time to visit some of the Royal properties in the UK; in fact, why not combine your visit with a holiday to another part of the country?

 

 

Buckingham Palace
As the Queen’s official London residence, Buckingham Palace just has to be top of your list. Although most people are familiar with the external facade, few Brits bother to cross the threshold to see where the monarch actually spends time. Buy a ticket for an audio tour around the palace and gardens for a rare insight into Royal life. Make the most of your time in the capital and visit the other residences such as Kensington Palace or Clarence House, home to the Prince of Wales.

Buckingham Palace

 

 

The Balmoral Estate
The Scottish residence of the Royal family, Balmoral is located within the Cairngorms National Park and within driving distance of the historic city of Aberdeen. While visiting is not permitted during the summer months when the Queen is in residence, the guided tours of the gardens and exhibitions are always popular at other times of the year. Renting a cottage in the Scottish Highlands is the best way to see the National Park and enjoy a royal day out. Queen Victoria once described Balmoral as “my dear paradise in the Highlands” and once you’ve spent a few hours there, it’s not hard to see why.

 

 

Highgrove House
Look no further than a visit to the Cotswolds for a typically English break. Chocolate box villages and pretty market towns are the perfect back drop for a royal break. Located just outside the village of Tetbury, you’ll find Highgrove House which has been the private home of HRH Prince Wales for more than 30 years. During his ownership, the Prince has worked hard to develop the grounds and today the gardens are a testament to his love of native plants and pride in organic principles. A tour of the gardens is a must for gardening enthusiasts.

yew-walk-highgrove

 

 

Anglesey
For a more relaxed break, why not follow in the footsteps of the Royal newlyweds and choose a cottage in Anglesey. With unspoilt blue flag beaches and stunning countryside on your doorstep, Anglesey is a popular holiday choice. In the fifth century the Isle was home to Saint Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers, so it’s a great choice for a romantic break. To continue the Royal theme, why not spend a day at Beaumaris castle. King Edward I began building his castle in 1295 to protect the north Welsh coast until the money ran out! The castle remains unfinished but is today part of a World Heritage Site so is well worth a visit.

Newborough beach

 

 

If this has got you thinking about a holiday with a Royal twist, why not consider renting a self-catering cottage to enjoy your time away? Sykes Cottages have a great selection of holiday properties across the UK so you’re sure to find a wonderful cottage wherever you want to start your Royal tour.

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