Archive for December, 2012

Sykes’ Review of 2012: A sporting year to remember

Monday, December 31st, 2012
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It’s been a year of sporting prowess here in the UK and not just at the London Olympics; so as we get ready to mark the start of 2013, here’s a little recap of this truly memorable 12 months of sport.

 

Yellow fever in France

July saw history made on the roads of France as Bradley Wiggins became the first Brit to win the Tour de France.  After three gruelling weeks of racing, Team Sky secured first and second place on the famous Champs Elysée cobbles.  Ten days later Wiggins added a gold medal in the Olympic road race to his yellow jersey in an unforgettable summer of cycling.  If you fancy yourself a budding Bradley Wiggins, why not consider a holiday in Yorkshire in 2013?  The Tour de France will start in ‘God’s Own Country’ in 2014 so what better way to prepare than to tackle the challenging routes ahead of your heroes?  Of course, if you fancy a more leisurely break in Yorkshire, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained too!

 
Bradley Wiggins

 

Olympic and Paralympic Success

With 185 medals for Team GB and Paralympics GB, having home advantage at this summer’s games certainly paid off.  World records and memorable moments were broadcast daily to a worldwide audience of millions from London in a few weeks of sporting success.  Jess Ennis, Hannah Cockcroft, Mo Farah and Ellie Simmonds were just some of those in gold at the end of four weeks of competition during the summer.  Thanks to a spectacular opening ceremony which highlighted the beauty of the UK, it’s no wonder that many people chose to holiday in the British Isles.  Hundreds of you chose a holiday cottage within easy reach of the sporting venues or elsewhere in the UK so they could follow action on TV and radio.  The sailing events made Dorset a popular holiday choice as were Wales and Northumberland which hosted the football events.

 
London 2012 Olympics Track

 

Golfing Glory

Not to be outdone by their Olympic counterparts, the European Ryder Cup team pulled off the unthinkable when they won the golfing competition in September.  After two days of play, it appeared that the US team held an unassailable lead but the European Team achieved hero status as they fought back from the brink of defeat.  The Ryder Cup returns to our shores in 2014 when the European team will be eager to retain the title on home turf.  With the success of the 2010 event at Celtic Manor in Wales, the UK has made a name for itself as a golfing destination for all abilities.  Why not have a look at our holiday cottages near golf courses for some inspiration for your next holiday?

 

 
After a simply unforgettable year of sport in the UK, what can we look forward to in 2013?  With the Six Nations, The Ashes and Wimbledon where Andy Murray aims to add a second grand slam to his tally, we can be sure of another sporting year of drama and success!

A Foodie Tour of the UK

Sunday, December 30th, 2012
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Ask a foreigner about British food and they’ll trot out the same usual clichés…fish and chips, roast beef and a fry up.  But, delve a little deeper into British cuisine and you’ll find our nation choc-full of excellent local produce and tasty regional dishes.  And, we’re a growing nation of ‘foodies’ with many of us frequenting farm shops, fancy delis and food festivals throughout the year.  So, sit back and enjoy a little taste of some of the more unusual treats the UK has to offer…

 

Stargazey Pie

While Cornwall may be more famous for the pasty or the traditional cream tea, Stargazey Pie is well deserving of a place on the region’s food map.  Legend has it that in the 1500s the harbour of Mousehole was shut due to a huge storm.  During a temporary lull in the storm, a local man by the name of Tom Bawcock managed to catch enough fish to keep the village from starving.  The Stargazey Pie was made in his honour and Tom Bawcock’s Eve is still celebrated with great enthusiasm on December 23rd.  The pastry lid of this pie is pierced by the heads and tails of mackerel or pilchards gazing at the stars with a filling of fish, potatoes and eggs.  Visit this part of Cornwall just before Christmas and apart from tasting the best Stargazey Pie around, you’ll also find the harbour and surrounding houses decorated to the nines for Christmas.

 
Mining Landscape: Stargazey Pie night (Laura Smith) - 2
 

Butter Pie

You may well assume that butter is an ingredient for pastry rather than a flavouring, but head to the North West of England and prepare to be proven wrong.  Created for Lancashire workers to eat on a Friday, the pie is also known as ‘Catholic Pie’ or ‘Friday Pie’ and contains potatoes, onions and of course, butter.  The pie remains popular today with Lancashire locals eager for a taste of years gone by.  Enjoy a Lancashire holiday with a trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, award-winning golf courses and of course, the butter pie!

 

 

Fidget Pie

Traditionally a Shropshire favourite more than 400 years ago, Fidget Pie now graces the menus of fancy gastro pubs the length and breadth of the UK.  In reality, this is the Shropshire equivalent of the Cornish pasty; a portable lunch for farm labourers bringing in the harvest.  The traditional fidget pie is pastry filled with a combination of gammon, cheese, apples and cider topped with a pastry lid.  The modern version is sometimes topped with mustard mashed potato but whichever you try it’s sure to be delicious.  Find the birthplace of the Fidget Pie in the foodie capital of Shropshire, Ludlow where you’ll also find a very popular food festival which is held each September within the castle grounds.  Find a holiday cottage in Shropshire and make the most of the tempting delights on offer.

 

 

Choose a self-catering holiday cottage in the UK or Ireland and spend your time bouncing from farmer’s market to cosy tearoom to award-winning restaurant; I can’t think of a better way to spend a few days in the UK.

Book a cottage break in 2013

Saturday, December 29th, 2012
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Over the past twenty five years people have booked our cottages for many different types of holiday. Here are some of our most popular reasons for choosing to rent a cottage.

Take your dog on holiday with you

Enjoy a holiday with your dog

Enjoy a holiday with your dog

Here at Sykes Cottages we have an excellent selection of cottages that welcome dogs, so no one has to get left behind with friends or at the kennels! Pets love holidays too so bring them along and enjoy a wonderful holiday at one of our pet friendly cottages. Through our easy to use website you can search for cottages that accept two or even three dogs as well as our properties that have an enclosed garden, perfect for doggie playtime!

We also understand that a pet friendly holiday isn’t for everyone. We have a great choice of cottages that are for humans only, perfect is you have an allergy to pets.

Enjoy flexibility and privacy

Make the most of your time whilst on holiday

Make the most of your time whilst on holiday

Our holiday cottages provide truly flexible holidays where you are free to come and go as you wish during your holiday. Make the most of your holiday – get up when you wish, eat your meals at times that suit you and enjoy quiet time away from noisy hotel room neighbours and the usual routine of the daily grind.

Great accommodation for families

Enjoying spending quality family time

Enjoying spending quality family time

Staying in a holiday cottage is a great option if you are travelling with children in tow. We understand that taking small children on holiday can be difficult, so many of our cottages provide child friendly equipment like high chairs, cots and stair gates on request to make things just a little bit easier.

Staying in self catering accommodation is also great for children as we all know what fussy eaters they can be! Having your own kitchen also makes heating up babies bottles easy, whatever time of day or night it is!

Great if you’re holidaying on a budget

Enjoy a picnic whilst on holiday

Enjoy a picnic during your holiday

Our holiday cottages represent excellent value for money with many of our cottages working out much cheaper per person per night than staying in a hotel or bed and breakfast. Because all of our holidays are self catering you can save the pennies by bringing groceries with you and cooking in your accommodation.

If you are specifically looking for a budget break, choose one of our last minute cottages, book a break during the winter or search for one of our cottages with a special offer.

Don’t travel too far

Don’t waste precious holiday time travelling to your accommodation, start enjoying yourself straight away! With so much to do in the UK and Ireland, why not choose to holiday closer to home?

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.

Last Minute Breaks for New Year

Friday, December 28th, 2012
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2013 is just around the corner; have you made plans to celebrate on New Year’s Eve? If you’re still looking for something to do, why not consider renting a cottage over the New Year period?

 

See the start of 2013 in style

Get a group of mates together or round up the family for a memorable way to see in the New Year.  With hundreds of cottages to choose from across the UK and Ireland, you’re sure to find something to suit you.  Perhaps you’ll choose one of our larger cottages, big enough for a couple of families or several friends.  We have contemporary properties by the sea, traditional cottages in delightful rural settings and modern apartments in the heart of bustling cities.  If you’d rather enjoy a quiet evening in, choose a cosy cottage perfect for two and watch Big Ben strike midnight with your loved one at your side.

 

One of our wonderful holiday cottages.

One of our wonderful holiday cottages.


 

Great value short breaks

As it’s now less than seven days before you’ll depart on your New Year break, you can take advantage of some excellent prices.  If you choose a property offering ‘last minute breaks’, a three night break will set you back only 65% of the normal weekly rental; that’s a massive 35% saving!  Any additional nights are charged on a pro rata basis so making the most of your time off is no problem either!  Split the cost of the cottage between all of you and you’ll see that a New Year cottage holiday is much more affordable than popping to the local for a few, overpriced pints.  As your cottage is self-catering, stock up on delicious food and drinks from the local supermarket for a bargain New Year break.

 
New Year's Eve 2010 @ London
 

Great British Traditions

A New Year’s break is a great way to get involved in one of the country’s famous traditions.  If you choose a cottage holiday in Northumberland, head to Allendale for the decades-old ‘Tar Bar’l Procession’.  Watch villagers carry lit tar barrels through the streets to light the ceremonial bonfire in the town square in this ancient Pagan tradition.  If you’re looking for a real party, celebrate Hogmanay in Scotland.  There are huge music and street events planned in major cities with smaller towns and villages welcoming the New Year in traditional style.  Look forward to Scottish dancing, traditional food and a rousing rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ as the clock strikes twelve.  When January 1st dawns, it’s time to get active!  Braver souls might join in with a bracing New Year’s Day Swim in Saundersfoot, Whitley Bay or Scarborough.  For those who prefer to keep two feet on dry land, take advantage of the stunning scenery on the doorstep of your holiday cottage and blow away the cobwebs with a winter walk.

 
New Years Day on Sand Bay
 

Get ahead for 2013.

Thursday, December 27th, 2012
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Dark nights, dreary days and dreams of the summer. Although it seems like the summer holidays are months away, you’ll be packing your beach towels and swimming costume before you know it. January is one of the busiest times for bookings at Sykes Cottages so it makes sense to start thinking about your summer holidays now! The most popular properties always get booked up quickly; the early bird catches the worm as they say!

 
(00161) Paragleidio dros draeth Harlech - Paragliding over Harlech Beach
 

Here’s a taste of some of our most popular cottage holidays…

 

Large Cottages

Looking for somewhere big enough for all the family?  Choose one of our large properties which accommodate as many as 24 people making it the ideal location for a big reunion or special celebration with family or friends.  You might also be interested in one of our group properties; a number of cottages within yards of each other so each family can enjoy their privacy whilst being just next door for days out and meals together.  With group properties able to accommodate 36 people, there’s plenty of space for everyone!  Choosing a large property is a great way to get everyone together at Christmas and also make a unique wedding location.

 

 

Holiday Cottages with Swimming Pools

For hours of family fun for big kids and little kids alike, look no further than a holiday cottage with a swimming pool.  We have cottages with private pools, shared pools, indoor, outdoor, heated or unheated so you’re sure to find just the right place to make a splash.  As you’d expect our cottages with swimming pools are really popular during the summer holidays so it’s a great idea to book now and secure your favourite property.  Some of our swimming pool properties also have hot tubs, saunas or gyms so you can look forward to a great holiday.  Imagine relaxing by the pool with a good book on a sunny afternoon or waking up with quick dip before breakfast; heaven!

 

Choose a cottage with a luxurious swimming pool!

Choose a cottage with a luxurious swimming pool!


 

Five star cottages

Life in the lap of luxury could be yours with a luxury holiday cottage from Sykes.  Each of our properties is personally inspected and awarded a tick rating, similar to stars awarded by tourist boards.  You’ll be spoilt for choice with our great range of five tick properties especially as it’s much cheaper to stay in a luxurious self-catering cottage than in a five star hotel.  Look forward to state of the art kitchens, high end furnishings, sumptuous linens and towels and fancy technology.  Aspiring Lords of the manor can even choose a cottage with a private chef or butler to make the holiday even more special!

 

One of our five tick holiday cottages.

One of our five tick holiday cottages.


 

Time is ticking for the summer holidays! Why not browse our wonderful selection of holiday cottages across the UK and Ireland today to make sure you don’t miss out on your first choice!