Archive for April, 2013

An active holiday in Scotland

Monday, April 29th, 2013
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With the weather finally improving (summer is on the way, we promise!) and several bank holidays to look forward to, now is the perfect time for a few days away. With the dark days of winter beating a hasty retreat, there’s every excuse for an outdoorsy holiday exploring the beauty of the British Isles. As 2013 marks the Year of Natural Scotland, a year-long celebration of the country’s breathtaking beauty, where better for an active break than north of the border? Scotland is truly a thrill seeker’s paradise with miles of unspoilt countryside, numerous rugged mountains and crystal clear lochs which make the perfect backdrop for heart-racing fun.


On land…

Well known as a ski resort over the winter, Aviemore truly comes alive during the spring and summer when the snows gives way to outdoors explorers dressed for warmer weather.  Lace up your walking boots and reach the summit of Cairn Gorm, board a segway for a unique way to explore the Highlands or fly through the air on an exhilarating tree top adventure.



During the summer you’ll also be able to experience a truly Scottish pastime; the Highland Games.  Originally conceived as way for Clan Chieftains to determine which members of the clan were the strongest but today are an exciting series of events from hammer throwing to tug o’ war and of course tossing the caber.  If you’re planning a holiday with a large group of friends, you could even arrange your very own Highland Games; simply contact Boots N Paddles, a Scottish outdoor activity company, for further details.

Hammer Time!

In the water…

Miles upon miles of unspoilt coastline and an impressive wealth of marine life makes the Scottish coast ideal for a kayaking adventure.  Challenge yourself with the Scottish Sea Kayaking Trail, a 500km route taking in some of the country’s most stunning coastal landscapes between Gigha and the Summer Isles lying off the Scottish Highlands.  Not only is the trail Europe’s first long distance kayaking trail, it’s also been voted one of the top European tours of a lifetime by National Geographic.



The watery fun doesn’t end in a kayak; you’ll find plenty more adventures as you head inland.  Families with younger children will enjoy a gentle canoe across Loch Ness (keep your eyes peeled for Nessie) while those with teenagers can look forward to gorge swimming in Aviemore or white water sledging in Inverness.

Loch Ness Monster

If the mere mention of these activities has already got your pulse racing, why not start planning an active holiday by taking a look at our Scotland cottages?  Our team of holiday cottages advisors are on hand until 9.30pm to help you plan your next holiday and can be reached on 01244 356695.  You can also get in touch with Boots N Paddles to plan a series of exciting outdoor adventures by visiting their website, they’ll even bring all the equipment to a suitable venue near you.


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Sunday Snapshots: A quaint and cosy cottage

Sunday, April 28th, 2013
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Today’s Sunday Snapshot comes from Lime Tree Cottage near Wooler in Northumberland. This stunning holiday cottage boasts an absolutely lovely sitting room, complete with sumptuous sofas and a traditional woodburner, perfect for relaxing in front of after a day out in the Northumberland countryside.

Click here for more details on Lime Tree Cottage, or visit our Northumberland page to see our full selection of holiday cottages in Northumberland.

A wonderful, cosy sitting room at Lime Tree Cottage in Northumberland

A lovely, cosy sitting room at Lime Tree Cottage in Northumberland


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Sykes’ Spotlight on Bridgwater

Friday, April 26th, 2013
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Located at the foot of the Quantock Hills, England’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the bustling market town of Bridgwater is the perfect spot for holidaymakers looking to experience the West Country. While this part of the UK may be known for being quiet, you’ll find plenty to see and do from your Somerset cottage whether you’re planning a few days away or a longer holiday with the family.


Enjoy glorious surroundings at Cannington

The beautiful walled gardens in Cannington, a small village not far from Bridgwater, lie in the grounds of a medieval priory.  As if that wasn’t enough, the gardens’ history is spectacular with the buildings undergoing many transformations over the years from nunnery to politician’s house to school.  Today the gardens provide an excellent canvas for the students of Bridgwater College and their work can be viewed throughout.  The gardens themselves are a real treat for anyone whose fingers bear the merest tinge of green.  From the sub-tropical walk to the Blue Garden and the ornamental kitchen garden, the variety of plants and flowers from across the world combine to provide a series of breathtaking vistas.  With the weather finally improving as we head towards summer, now is a perfect time to make the most of the great outdoors during your holiday in Somerset.

Cannington Walled Garden

Visit the Carnival

Bridgwater truly comes alive in November when months of hard work result in the largest illuminated carnival in Europe.  Numerous floats decorated by local carnival clubs track the two mile route which really has to be seen to be believed.  The carnival traces its history to 1605 and the unsuccessful attempt by Guy Fawkes and his band of followers to blow up the Houses of Parliament.  Bridgwater Carnival just wouldn’t be complete without the unique firework display at the end of the carnival known as squibbing.  150 squibbers stand facing each other and set off their fireworks in unison for a trail of bright light through the Bridgwater streets.  Carnival is an absolute must if you’re planning a Somerset holiday during the autumn; why not take a look at our holiday cottages with an open fire for some inspiration?



Walks from your Somerset cottage

Speaking as a former West Country resident, the best way to explore the gorgeous countryside is on two feet.  This part of Somerset is a walker’s paradise with the Mendip Hills, Somerset Levels and Quantocks all within easy reach from your self-catering cottage.  The Exmoor National Park, just a short drive from Bridgwater, with its combination of coastal and rural scenery is a great choice both for a bracing walk or gentle amble.  There are more than 1000km of footpaths and bridleways in Exmoor alone so you could easily spend a few days here and never see the same part twice.  The best bit about the numerous walks in Somerset?  You’re almost guaranteed to find a quaint tea room or rustic country pub en route; what better way to spend an afternoon in Somerset?

Views around Exmoor National Park

Thinking about a holiday in Somerset?  Visit the website to browse our range of cottages in Somerset or give one of our holiday cottage advisors a call on 01244 356695 for help finding your perfect cottage.  Our call centre is open until 9.30pm, seven days a week so we’re always on hand to help!

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Sykes Cottages Spotlight on Grasmere, Cumbria

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
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“The loveliest spot that man hath ever found”William Wordsworth

You can’t get a much more rousing endorsement for a place than those words spoken by the famous romantic poet, William Wordsworth, about the Lake District town of Grasmere.Wordsworth regularly waxed poetic about the town he chose to call home, and though the town may have changed significantly since the time of Wordsworth and his compatriots, it remains today a picturesque village perfect for exploring on the May bank holiday weekend.


Via. Flickr

What To See in Grasmere:

Learn more about the life and writings of William Wordsworth at one of two local attractions that were once close to the poets heart.

Dove Cottage, located on the edge of Grasmere, was the home of Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy from December 1799 to May 1808. Here Wordsworth wrote much of the poetry for which he is remembered today, including “Ode: Intimations of Immortality”, “Ode to Duty”, “My Heart Leaps Up” and “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, together with parts of his autobiographical epic, The Prelude. Today the cottage is owned and run by the Wordsworth Trust and welcomes some 70, 000 visitors per year. You can find out about opening times and tickett prices by visiting the Wordsworth Trust website.

Dove Cottage, Grasmere

Via. Flickr

After outgrowing Dove Cottage, Wordsworth and his family move to the more spacious abode of Allan Bank. Here the family lived for two years, regularly welcoming poet friends such as Thomas de Quincey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Allan Bank is now owned by the National Trust and was only opened to the public in March 2012. The house has been partially restored since a devastating fire in 2011 and offers you the opportunity to see and touch the many layers of this home’s fascinating history. Get up to date information about events at Allan Bank by following them on Twitter @AllanBankNT.

Beautiful Walks In and Around Grasmere:

Easdale Tarn, Grasmere

Via. Flickr

If there is one thing that the Lake District is known for it’s walking. From afternoon strolls around the lakes, to challenging hikes up hefty hills, there are walks suitable for all levels. Two of the best rated walks in the Grasmere are include Helm Crag and Easedale Tarn. Both walks are of moderate difficulty, with the Helm Crag route travelling for 7.5 miles and the Easdeale Tarn route travelling 4.5 miles. Give yourself plenty of time no matter which walk you choose to take in the Grasmere area, as you’ll want to have the time to stop and enjoy the spectacular views along the way. The weather in the Lake District can be unpredictable however, so make sure you bring along some rain gear and snacks for along the way.

 Where to Eat in Grasmere:

After all of your exploring and hiking around Grasmere you’ll want to reward yourself with some of the delicious food that is available in the local areas. One of the most famous foodie stops, and one that is not to be missed, is Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread shop, nestled right in the centre of Grasmere village. The traditional gingerbread that is baked here uses the same recipe developed by one Sarah Nelson more than 150 years ago. The diminutive shop, located in an old schoolhouse, is easy to find, just follow the smell and look for the lineup stretching out the door.

Sarah Nelson's Gingerbread, Grasmere

Via. Flickr

If you’re looking for more than just a snack there is no shortage of cafes and restaurants to choose from in Grasmere. For a relaxed pub lunch or dinner consider Tweedies Bar, renowned for it’s selection of local ales and hearty pub fare. For something a little more upscale, head for The Jumble Room, and eclectic and relaxed restaurant serving the very best of local food.

The Lake District town of Grasmere is one not to be missed. Filled with fascinating history, beautiful vistas, and wonderful walking what isn’t there to like?

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Rent your holiday cottage with Sykes

Monday, April 22nd, 2013
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Do you own a second home? Perhaps you already rent it out as a holiday cottage or maybe you are thinking of investing. Whatever stage you’re at, Sykes Cottages can help. We began as a family business more than 25 years ago and we’re proud of the fact that we’ve grown to become the UK’s leading independent holiday cottage agency with more than 4000 cottages on our books.

Why choose Sykes?

We have local managers across the UK and Ireland from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands and Anglesey to East Anglia.  Our local managers have years of experience and know the local market better than anyone.  This means they are best placed to advise you how to maximise your bookings with the minimum hassle meaning all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the benefits of owning a second home.

Speaking of minimum hassle, you can forget all about advertising your holiday cottage and taking payment; just leave it to us.  Part of our service includes a professional photo shoot and a personalised description for our website and brochure to ensure your cottage is looking its best.  We’ll arrange the bookings, take payment and provide customers with directions to your door so you can simply concentrate on welcoming holidaymakers to your cottage!

Here at Sykes Cottages, we never forget that your cottage is exactly that – yours.  So, if you fancy a long weekend by the sea, want to invite friends or family to stay or just get the decorators in, it’s no problem.  Just give us a call so we can update the calendar on our website; it really is as simple as that!

We’re very proud of our excellent customer service record both with customers and cottage owners, in fact we think it is part of the reason we’re so successful.  Why not read a few of our testimonials to see for yourself?
Newquay, Cornwall, UK

How much could I earn?

How long is a piece of string?  How much your holiday cottage can earn will depend on its size, location and how many bookings it is likely to achieve.  As a rough guide, many of our cottages receive more than 30 bookings a year and earn in excess of £30,000 a year.  Thanks to our 25 years’ experience, we’re well placed to advised you what to charge throughout the year.

In addition to our team of expert holiday cottage advisors, we use a variety of marketing channels to ensure your cottage receives as many bookings as possible.  Our website alone receives more than 8 million a visits a year meaning that lots of potential holidaymakers could be looking at your property!

What’s next?

For more information about renting your holiday cottage with Sykes, just give us a call on 01244 356666 or let us know when it’s convenient and we’ll call you!  You can also find more information about letting your holiday home on our dedicated web pages.  If you then want to go ahead we’ll arrange for a no-obligation visit from one of our local managers who can give you an idea of how much your property might earn and make any suggestions to improve your earning potential.  Who knows, your cottage could be on our website very soon!
Scenic Telephone Box

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