Archive for June, 2013

Celebrating the Summer Solstice in the UK

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
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This coming Friday, 21 June, is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. Over Thursday night and into Friday morning there will be more hours of daylight than any other time of the year, and this, in my opinion, is something worth celebrating!

For millennia the peoples of the British Isles have been marking the Summer Solstice with a variety of events, from the mysterious magic of the  Druids, to the more modern festivals of today, always feeling the need to celebrate this once-annual celestial occurrence with pomp and circumstance. This year is no different from others, with events being held throughout the country to mark the occasion.

Dancing with the Druids at Stonehenge

The most famous of Solstice haunts in the UK, and probably the world, has to be Stonehenge in Somerset. This mysterious standing stone circle is believed to have been built specifically for marking the solstice, and it is only early on the summer solstice morning that the sun lines up perfectly with the surrounding stones and the first rays of sun shine through the stone archway in the centre circle.

The occasion is undoubtedly marked differently today than it was by the Druids of old, but it remains an important ancient site for those who venture to its heart to mark the summer solstice. Here you’ll find a motley crew of thousands all wanting to watch the sun rise at this most auspicious of locations and celebrate the occasion in their own way, with everything from drumming, dancing, singing, chanting, fires, and pretty much everything in between!

Get Fired up for the Solstice in Scotland

If you’re looking for something a little more low-key and involving fewer people dressed up as Druids than you might want to head to Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park on the Isle of Arran in Scotland. At this grand red sandstone Scottish baronial-style castle they will be celebrating the solstice on Friday 21st June with wildlife walks and a giant bonfire.

Spaces are limited so make sure you book in advance, visit Brodick Castle on the National Trust for Scotland website for more information.

Step Back in Time with Megalithic Walks in Wales

If you already have plans for this weekend, you can still get involved in some megalith-love later this summer on a prehistoric walk in South Wales. Volunteers from the Megalithic Portal Society will be directing visitors on a number of walks around Rhossili, Gower, on Saturday 20th July and Sunday 21st July where there are many prehistoric sites to visit. The walks are of varying lengths and types and additional activities will be added, depending on the weather. No advanced booking is needed, just head to the main car park in Rhossili between 10am and 6pm ready to walk!

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Sykes Cottages’ Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge: Final Update

Monday, June 17th, 2013
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A few days ago we told you all about our team of keen walkers and runners who were in the midst of completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks.  The challenge sees walkers take on a 23 mile, circular route and summit the three peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.



The 16-strong team left Sykes Cottages HQ in Chester bright and early to travel to the Yorkshire Dales’ village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale, where the challenge begins.  The day dawned with perfect walking weather; bright sunshine and a gentle breeze, much to the delight of the walkers!  The group split into three teams and set off…



Just under ten hours later, the final walkers returned to the village and enjoyed a well-deserved rest!

To add to our fundraising efforts, we held a bake sale at Sykes Cottages HQ where lots of delicious cakes were eaten! So far, we have almost raised £1500 to be split between two local charities; Claire House and Children Today which both provide invaluable support and care to children with disabilities and serious illnesses.



There’s still plenty of time to donate online; simply visit our Virgin Money Giving page to support these fantastic charities.


On behalf of everyone at Sykes Cottages, thanks very much!

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Sunday Snapshots: A Father’s Day Treat

Sunday, June 16th, 2013
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Here in the UK, it’s Father’s Day today and a chance for all of us to thank our Dads for their love, support and in my case taxi service! With the sun set to shine brightly once again this weekend, it’s the perfect excuse for a Ploughman’s Lunch at a rustic country pub not to mention a pretty great way to say Happy Father’s Day! If this is making your mouth water too, why not take a look at our country cottages and enjoy a weekend away with the whole family?

Ploughman's Board

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Choose Sykes Cottages for your 2013 summer holiday

Friday, June 14th, 2013
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In just a few weeks time, the school holidays will be upon us and summer will be here. Here at Sykes Cottages, we’re hoping for days of endless sunshine for family trips to the beach, sunbathing in the garden and al fresco dining. A cottage holiday is a great way to explore everything the UK has to offer this summer and our self-catering cottages make a great base for new discoveries.


If you’re looking for inspiration, here are a few suggestions for your summer holiday…

World's largest deckchair

Isle of Wight

A holiday to the Isle of Wight definitely feels like you’ve the UK mainland far behind.  With a wonderfully mild climate and an exciting hovercraft or ferry trip to start your holiday, it’s a great choice for a cottage holiday this summer.  The Isle is a great place for water babies with excellent watersports, family-friendly beaches and Cowes regatta.  Music lovers also flock to the island with a surprising number of live festivals given the island’s size.  We have a great range of cottages across the island including quite a number of large cottages which are a fantastic choice if you’re travelling with the whole family or big group of friends.

Isle Of Wight Needles


For those seeking an active break, the East Anglia region of Norfolk is a pretty good bet.  Miles of countryside giving way to coastal paths are perfect for bracing walks and bike rides and allow you to take in beautiful vistas.  You could even hire a boat and enjoy cruising the spectacular Norfolk Broads with more than 200 square kilometres of navigable waterways.  Choose one of our cottages located in a traditional seaside resort like pretty Wells-next-the-Sea or try the famous crab in Cromer.

Cromer is SO Bracing '09


With more than 200 beaches, a staggeringly beautiful coastline and too many family attractions to list, it’s little wonder that Cornwall is a popular holiday destination year after year.  Our Cornish cottages make a great destination for a summer holiday whether you choose a traditional stone-built fisherman’s cottage or contemporary apartment with views of the sea.  Discover tiny fishing villages packed with history like Mousehole and Polperro, tourist hotspots like Newquay and Land’s End or head inland and enjoy the beautifully wild Bodmin Moor.

Mousehole Boats 6072.JPG

Summer’s on the horizon and our most popular cottages are booking up quickly!  Our website is a great place to start looking for your perfect holiday and we also have a great team of holiday cottage advisors to help you plan a few days away this summer.  Give us a call on 01244 356695; we’re open until 9.30pm, seven days a week.

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The Winner of a Cottage Holiday By the Sea

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
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We are thrilled to announce that a winner has been chosen in the competition that Sykes Cottages have been running in association with the Tesco Books blog. We were delighted to team up with award winning author Carole Matthews to celebrate the release of her new book ‘A Cottage by the Sea’, to offer readers a chance to win £750 towards their very own cottage holiday in the UK or Ireland. That’s a pretty great prize, if we do say so ourselves!

A Cottage by the Sea - Carole Matthews

A Cottage by the Sea by Carole Matthews

Clare O’Brien of Cheshire is the lucky winner and was chosen for her clever and well-written response to our question, “Who would you bring on a cottage holiday by the sea, and why?” Below is Clare’s winning entry.

A week in a holiday cottage by the sea,
Who will I ask to come down and join me?

I will bring Brian Cox – he’s a trusty alliance,
I’ll take in the sights with his knowledge of science.

Michel Roux Jr will holiday with me,
And cook up some delicious feasts for our tea.

And when it gets dark we’ll need music and song,
So I’ll bring a guitar and Ben Howard along.

And last but not least I would like to invite,
Carole Matthews to make any rainy day bright.

With a story share with us down by the sea,
In our holiday cottage – just my friends and me!

A big congratulations goes to Clare and we can’t wait to help you plan your perfect cottage holiday by the sea!

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