Archive for December, 2012

Still time to book a last minute Christmas holiday

Friday, December 21st, 2012
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Although Christmas is just around the corner it is still not too late to book a cottage for Christmas 2012! With most schools breaking up today, and still a weekend before Christmas Eve there is still time to get away with the family before the big day. Whether you want to celebrate Christmas in style, enjoy a quiet time with your nearest and dearest or forget about Christmas all together, a holiday cottage is the perfect place to spend a holiday in December.

Spend Christmas in a cottage from Sykes Cottages

Spend Christmas in a cottage from Sykes Cottages

We still have availability for some fantastic cottages, so why not make Christmas 2012 the year to remember? We have great cottages for two, lovely holiday cottages for mum dad and the kids and even some properties large enough for a big impromptu gathering with family and friends. Imagine eating your Christmas dinner in a big dining room with a festive table big enough to comfortably sit everyone or opening gifts in front of a roaring log fire. What a great way to spend Christmas!

Celebrate Christmas in style with Sykes Cottages!

Celebrate Christmas in style with Sykes Cottages!

All of our holiday cottages come with well equipped kitchens so you will have no problem cooking the Christmas dinner or all fitting round the dining table. Our cottages come with enough space at the dinner table to everyone to sit down together and then relax in a comfy chair in the lounge afterwards.

Great last minute savings for Christmas holidays!

If you book a Christmas break now you can take advantage of fantastic last minute prices on our cottages. Visit our last minute page to view all of our cottages with late availability.

Make the most of your winter break from Sykes Cottages

Make the most of your winter break from Sykes Cottages

Be warned, cottages with availability for Christmas are booking up fast, so book now to avoid disappointment! And remember you are never too late, you can even book and travel on the same day. Our friendly holiday advisors are ready to take your call and find you fantastic last minute accommodation for Christmas. Give us a call or send us an email today!

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Sykes’ Spotlight on Cornwall

Thursday, December 20th, 2012
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As you read this, you’re probably wrapped up nice and warm with a piping cup of tea in hand but it’s never too early to start thinking about next summer’s holiday. January is one of the busiest times at Sykes Cottages so it’s good to get in early if you’ve got a specific destination in mind.

If you’re thinking about a trip to the ever-popular holiday destination of Cornwall, why not read our guide for a bit of inspiration?


Beautiful Beaches

With more than 150 gorgeous beaches and over 250 miles of coastal path, it’s no wonder that tourists flock to Cornwall year after year.  Whether you’re looking for a quiet cove for a spot of sunbathing or the perfect location for sandcastle building, you won’t be disappointed in Cornwall.  Water babies will also struggle to find fault with the most south-western region of the UK with a variety of extreme sports on offer.  Newquay boasts some of Europe’s best surfing and welcomes boatloads of guests eager to tackle the Cornish waves every year.  If you’re a newcomer to a wetsuit, you couldn’t find a better place to learn with numerous instructors on hand.  Walk along the coastal path and you’ll be rewarded with some of the most spectacular views and excellent wildlife spotting opportunities; keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, seals and seabirds.  Pack up the whole family including the dog and choose a pet friendly cottage in Cornwall.
Cornwall Beach

Scrummy Food

No trip to Cornwall would be complete without sampling a Cornish pasty and a delicious cream tea but the region also boasts many other foodie treats.  As you’d expect from a region surrounded by sea, Cornwall’s restaurants are brimming with the freshest of seafood with mackerel and Fowey River Mussels a particular specialty.  If you’re looking for something a little bit different for your picnic lunch, try the Cornish Yarg, a cow’s milk cheese wrapped in nettles which leaves a unique pattern on the cheese’s surface.  Pick up the award-winning local produce and cook up a storm in your Cornish holiday cottage.
Cornish Yarg - cheese wrapped in nettles. Much better than it sounds!

Myth and Legend

Smuggling, witchcraft and the ancient language of Kernow combine to make Cornwall an intriguing place and certainly more than just beaches and pasties.  Venture inland and you’ll reach Bodmin Moor, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covering some 200 square miles, where it is said that a large cat-like beast roams the Moor.  If you’re feeling brave, try to track down the beast as you explore this beautiful area on foot.  For an equally scary day, The Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle boasts the largest collection of witch-related artefacts in the whole world and is a great choice whatever the weather.  For a feel of Cornwall’s maritime heritage, look no further than the annual Sea Shanty festival held in Falmouth in June.  With a variety of live music on offer, I defy you not to be tapping your toes and joining in before the night is over!


One of our fantastic Cornish cottages

One of our fantastic Cornish cottages

If this has got you thinking about booking a holiday to Cornwall, why not browse our Cornish cottages today?

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Winter Solstice in Wiltshire

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
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If you think that the shortest day of the year isn’t much cause for celebration then you’ve obviously never celebrated the Winter Solstice in Stonehenge. Last year more than 1000 people made the pilgrimage to Stonehenge to watch the sun rise on the shortest day and to light candles as the sun sets in the late afternoon and this year looks set to be no different.

Stone Henge Sunset

Wrap up in a cosy cottage

Choose a cosy cottage in Wiltshire so getting up at the crack of dawn doesn’t feel like such a chore and get ready to party with a variety of fellow revellers.  You’ll rub shoulders with members of England’s New-Age tribes from Wiccans to neo-Pagans, travelling families and tourists from around the world all eager to celebrate this sacred day.

English Heritage allow visitors to access the monument as soon as it’s light enough to do so until 9am when guests must leave to make way for the paying public from 9.30am.  Be sure to wear warm clothes and a pack a flask of coffee to keep out the winter chill!


Last minute Christmas shopping

If you’re not quite ready for Santa’s arrival next week, make the most of the final shopping weekend and buy the final few gifts.  Close to Stonehenge, you’ll find plenty of unique gifts in the pretty town of Malmesbury or high street favourites not too far away in Swindon or Bath.  After a busy day purchasing those last minute gifts, you’ll be pleased to head home to your festive holiday cottage; light the fire and make some mulled wine to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Bath Abbey christmas market


Winter Walks

If all the shopping has been done and you’re just looking to enjoy a couple of days away before the Christmas madness, a winter walk in Wiltshire might be just what the doctor ordered.  If you’re travelling with the little ones, try Brokerswood Country Park which is set in 80 acres of beautiful woodland and has a great children’s playground.  If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, try the ten mile route which takes in the deserted village of Imber.  Voted one of The Independent’s ’50 Best Winter Walks’, access is usually restricted to Imber since it was taken over by the Ministry of Defence.  Travelling over the winter is a great time to explore when public access is permitted and guarantees a walk to remember.  After a bracing walk, warm up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate and a mince pie; it’s almost Christmas after all!

Let Sykes Cottages find you a wonderful cottage for a last minute escape this weekend!

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Celebrate New Year in a cosy cottage

Friday, December 14th, 2012
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With the end of 2012 nearly upon us, most people will be planning their New Year’s Eve parties. So how will you be celebrating the start of 2013? Why not spend a few days in a cosy cottage in the UK for a memorable way to see in the New Year?


Perfect party pads

Our holiday cottages make the ideal spot for a big New Year get together with family or friends.  Choose one of our large, self-catering holiday properties to accommodate the whole of your party in comfort.  Why not choose a cottage with a cinema room to watch Big Ben strike midnight in luxury?  Or, how about a cottage with plenty of space to party the night away in style?  You could even choose one of our cottages with a private chef to make your celebrations even more special!  With special New Year prices available at many of our cottages, split the cost of a great-value holiday cottage for an affordable way to round off the festive season!
Big Ben

Stylish, low-key celebrations

One of our holiday cottages is also a great option if you just want to celebrate 2013 with that special someone.  Find a cosy cottage and see in the New Year in luxurious surroundings with a glass of champagne and some excellent locally-produced food.  If you’re staying in Scotland, get into the Hogmanay spirit with some delicious smoked salmon or perhaps a cheese board which is second to none if you’re celebrating in Shropshire or Somerset.


Kick start 2013

If you wake up on January 1st with a sore head, make the most of your excellent location and head outside for a bracing walk.  Explore Northumberland’s gorgeous Heritage Coast, the South West Coast Path in Cornwall or the Pennine Way in the Yorkshire Dales to blow away those cobwebs.  Not only will you return to your holiday cottage feeling better but a brisk walk is also the perfect way to kick start your New Year fitness regime!
New Years Day on Sand Bay


All of our New Year cottages are being booked up fast, so if you do want to get away for a few days, be sure to book soon.  View all of our cottages online or call the expert reservations team until 9.30pm, seven days a week for help finding your perfect property.


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The Best Free Apps for Travel

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
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When you’re on the move, whether miles from home or right in your own backyard, smartphone apps can save you time and money. Whether you need help finding your way to the hotel, or a language translator to aid your market haggling prowess, there is a travel app out there for you. Here are Sykes Cottages pick of the bunch, our favourite apps to make the most of your travel experience.

Up, Up and Away

If you’ve ever found yourself lost and confused when trying to navigate a foreign airport you’ll appreciate GateGuru, a customized airport tour guide that can fit in your pocket. Not only does this app provide real-time flight status, but it also includes a wealth of airport content customized to you. How long is the estimated wait time at security? GateGuru will tell you. Where’s the best restaurant? They’ve got you covered! What’s the fastest way to get from gate to gate with a short layover? All you’ve got to do is ask. You can’t ask for much more than that.

What Does That Cost in Real Money?

There are few things more confusing while travelling than dealing with currency conversion rates. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’ve been ripped off because you just couldn’t remember how much a Thai Bhat is worth in Pounds Sterling. If you’re math skills are a little rusty (like mine), the first app you should download is XE Currency, a universally optimized currency app for iPhone and iPad. All you need to do with this simple app is choose the currencies that you want converted from and to and enter the amount you want converted. It’s as simple as that!

Eat Where the Locals Eat

If you want to get away from the hotel restaurant Urbanspoon is the app for you. Urbanspoon scans your location and offers suggestions of local restaurants, bars, and pubs, giving you options you might never have otherwise heard of. Looking for a specific type of food or price bracket? Urbanspoon can help you with that too. Just use the search function to narrow your options down by type, price, or rating.

Wherever I Lay My Hat

The list of top free travel apps just wouldn’t be complete without Sykes Cottages very own holiday cottage app. In only 6 easy steps, the Cottage Finder app allows you to browse and book a holiday cottage while on the move. Wherever you are in the UK or Ireland, the app uses GPS technology to show nearby cottages that are available and ready to book. Don’t cut a day trip short just because you don’t yet have anywhere to stay. Just load up the Cottage Finder app and we can have a cosy cottage ready for you in mere minutes! Take a look at our how-to video to see just how easy it is.

What travel app could you just not do without?

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