Archive for June, 2013

Britain’s Natural Monuments

Monday, June 10th, 2013
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With miles of stunning beaches, endless green pastures and picture postcard views, there’s no doubting that the UK is a beautiful place for a holiday. But in addition to our gorgeous natural landscape, the UK is also home to a number of larger than life monuments which make for fantastic photo opportunities. Take a look at the ones you won’t want to miss!


Angel of the North, Gateshead

The Angel of the North is one of the most instantly recognisable pieces of public art and is now as much as symbol of the north east as Newcastle’s Tyne Bridge.  The Angel was built in 1998 and at 20 metres tall stands as high as four double decker buses with a wingspan of 54 metres.  She stands atop a hill and is seen by more than one person every second and has even given the name to a new variety of daffodil.  You can catch a glimpse of the Angel from your car on the A1 or the train but the best way to view this majestic monument is beneath her wings where you can appreciate the staggering views of the north east.

Angel on Steroids

White Horses, Wiltshire

White horses carved from chalk are a common feature of the British countryside and no more so than in Wiltshire where more than half of the 24 horses can be found.  The chalk downs found in the centre of this county make this the perfect setting for these horses with more than eight remaining visible today from Marlborough to Devizes and Westbury.  The Westbury horse is one of the oldest and best examples of the Wiltshire horses given its location high up on the hill with sweeping views of the surrounding area.

Westbury White Horse

Another Place, Crosby Beach

Crosby beach, a three mile stretch of sand located in Merseyside to the north of Liverpool, isn’t just the place for building sandcastles or enjoying a romantic coastal stroll.  The beach is also home to Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’, a collection of 100 cast iron statues gazing out to sea.  The male figurines are dotted along the foreshore and up to one kilometre out to sea and are made from casts of the artist’s own body.  One visit to Crosby just isn’t enough with the art changing depending on the tide; visit at low tide and you’ll see the figures in all their glory, visit at high tide and the iron men will be almost submerged.  Make sure you bring your camera to Crosby, this is a photo opportunity you definitely won’t want to miss!

Antony Gormley @ Crosby Beach

Cerne Abbas Giant, Dorset

At 180 feet high and wielding a 120 foot club, the Cerne Abbas Giant is one of the largest hill figures in Britain.  Carved from the chalk bedrock in the Dorset hills, the giant can be viewed far and wide.  The carving first appeared in the 1600s though myths abound as to the reason behind its creation; was it a trick played on a local monk?  A representation of Hercules?  Since Victorian times it has been said that the carving has the ability to cure infertility and was even credited with a soaring local birth rate in 2010.  Even today childless couples still visit the giant in the hope of becoming pregnant.  The Cerne Giant is maintained by the National Trust and can be visited throughout the year via a gentle stroll through Dorset countryside to the viewing platform.

Cerne Abbas Giant

Has this inspired you to explore the British countryside?  Why not take a look at our country cottages today and start planning a holiday?  Our selection of self-catering cottages means we’re sure to have the perfect setting for your next holiday.

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Sunday Snapshots: Splash out on a holiday cottage with a swimming pool

Sunday, June 9th, 2013
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If the grey skies and rain have been getting you down lately, then you’ll be loving the weather forecast for this coming weekend. With a forecast that features more sun than rain, for once, this weekend is the time to get out and enjoy the British summer to its fullest, and how better to enjoy the beautiful sunshine  than basking in a lovely swimming pool?

Ashley House, Piddletrenthide near Cerne Abbas

Ashley House, Piddletrenthide near Cerne Abbas

Sykes Cottages have a great selection of holiday cottages with swimming pools, both private and shared, many of which still have availability through the summer months. Don’t trust that this beautiful British summer will last? Don’t worry, many of our cottages have indoor swimming pools, so come rain or come shine you can enjoy a splish-splash in the pool.

If a swimming pool is at the top of your cottage wish list make sure to make your booking early as these are some of the quickest to go.

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Top Surfing Spots in the UK

Friday, June 7th, 2013
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With all the fantastic weather we’ve been enjoying lately, getting away for the weekend to the beach is high up on my to-do list. A trip to the British seaside doesn’t just mean an ice cream and a bucket and spade these days, but a wealth of great watersports to rival Australia’s gold coast. Yes, the water may be slightly colder than elsewhere but once you’ve got your wetsuit on, you can hardly tell the difference, I promise! Here’s our guide to the UK’s best surf destinations…

Woolacombe, North Devon UK

Fistral Beach, Newquay

…Ideal for surfers of all abilities…

Newquay consistently comes in the top 20 of best global surfing destinations so it’s hardly a surprise that Fistral Beach is packed at the first sign of a decent swell.  Surfing first hit Cornish shores in the 1960s and its popularity shows no signs of abating today.  Fistral is a great place for beginners with lifeguards manning the beach throughout the summer and plenty of fellow surfers on hand to offer advice.  This is also the destination for major surfing competitions attracting pros from across the globe thanks to waves of up to 12 metres high.  If you’re planning a holiday to Newquay, the English Surf School caters to water babies of all abilities with surfing lessons for beginners, body boarding and coasteering available.

Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall

Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire

…Best for experienced surfers…

The Pembrokeshire coast is blessed with some of the UK’s most stunning beaches and great waves to boot.  The sand and rocky beach at Freshwater West, not far from the village of Castlemartin within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, is no exception.  The strong rip currents just off the beach mean that the consistently good waves here are strictly for experienced surfers.  It’s also the venue for the Welsh National Surfing Championships so it’s ideal for beginners looking for inspiration.  Those who prefer to keep both feet on dry land aren’t left out at Freshwater with a thatched stack used for decades to dry seaweed for making laverbread, a local specialty.

Little Furzenips, Freshwater West

Pease Bay, Scottish Borders

…Good for those ready to brave the cold…

Within easy reach of Edinburgh, the sandy beach at Pease Bay has become popular with surfers of all ages and abilities.  But beware; Scottish water is cold.  If a wetsuit is a good idea in UK waters, it’s without doubt a must if you’re planning a surfing holiday in Scotland even on the warmest of days.  The surf is consistently good here the entire length of the beach so you’ll often be sharing the water with other surfers on a particularly good day.  The area also has golf, cycling and a beautiful nature reserves to tempt you on days when the water is flat.

Surfer @ Pease Bay

Fancy heading to the beach this weekend?  Why not take a look at our coastal cottages for some inspiration for a last minute break.  Just pack your beach towels and suncream and off you go!

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Sykes Cottages Take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge Today!

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
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At this very moment the intrepid team from Sykes Cottages are making there way towards the summit of the first peak in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, which they are undertaking for charity. The epic 25 mile hike will take the walkers over three towering peaks in the Pennine range, Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, in support of Claire House and the Children Today Charitable Trust, two worthwhile children’s charities.

Pen Y Ghent - Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

Via. Flickr

There is still time to make a donation to the team should you wish to support the walkers and the charities, just click on the link below to be taken to the Virgin Money Giving page to make a secure payment.


Make a Donation to the Sykes Team!


We wish all of the walkers well and look forward to hearing all about the drama and hijinks that happened en route upon their safe return!

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Enjoy a holiday at a UK music festival this summer

Monday, June 3rd, 2013
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Whether you missed out on Glastonbury tickets this year or simply don’t fancy listening to live music while squelching around in your wellies with thousands of fellow music lovers, why not consider one of the UK’s smaller music festivals? With such a great choice of music festival in the UK, you’re guaranteed to find something meeting your taste and budget. Here’s our pick of the best…

Greenman Festival

Belladrum Tartan Festival, Inverness-shire

If you’re thinking f choosing Scotland for this year’s getaway, your itinerary should definitely include the Belladrum Festival in Beauly, Inverness-shire.  Taking place on the first weekend in August, Belladrum is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a diverse line up of artists including Seasick Steve, Twin Atlantic and last year’s X Factor-favourite, Lucy Spraggan.  Tickets are available for the Saturday or the whole weekend with children under 12 getting in free; what’s not to love?

Belladrum Festival

Eden Sessions, St Austell

2013 sees one of Cornwall’s most popular tourist attractions play host to a series of comedy and love music gigs throughout June and July.  This year’s line up includes popular artists like Jessie J, Eddie Izzard and the Kaiser Chiefs along with a selection of local bands ensuring something for everyone.  The impressive Mediterranean Biome is the backdrop for a number of the performances so you’ll be rocking out alongside delicate flowers from South Africa, huge cork trees and twisting vines.  Even better, the ticket price includes entry to the Eden Project for the day after the gig meaning you can look forward to exploring this little bit of paradise in Cornwall.  if you’re planning a trip to Eden this summer, take a look at our holiday cottages in Cornwall; we’re convinced you’ll find something perfect for your next break!

Eden Project, Cornwall, April 2011

Grassington Festival, North Yorkshire

In just under two week’s time, the 33rd edition of the Grassington Festival will take place.  Starting on the 14th June, there are 15 days of music and arts in the gorgeous setting of the Yorkshire Dales.  There are numerous things to enjoy throughout the festival including music from Jools Holland and comedy from Jack Dee.  You can forget about over-priced festival tickets at Grassington where there are many free events including street festival and kite making workshops.  This is definitely one for families with a fun and laidback vibe for festival goers of all ages.  If you’re tempted to make the most of the festival, why not browse our Grassington cottages to find the perfect holiday cottage for your trip to North Yorkshire.

Grassington Bridge

Greenman, Brecon Beacons

Located in the glorious Black Mountains in Wales, the Greenman festival offers four days of music and arts in mid August.  The festival offers entertainment 24 hours a day across ten venues with dedicated areas for younger festival goers and those looking to relax with a spa treatment.  Ben Howard is one of this year’s major draws with plenty of other musical entertainment for all tastes.  Laugh until your sides ache at Josh Widdicombe’s gig or make your mark at the Great British Printing Bee.  If camping’s not really your thing, take a look at our Brecon Beacons cottages where you’re bound to find great accommodation.

Green Man

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