Archive for September, 2013

The Great British Walk: Get Walking This Autumn

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
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This autumn, the National Trust is encouraging us to get some fresh air, stretch our legs and make the most of the beautiful British scenery that we so often take for granted. As the air starts to cool, it’s easy to enter hibernation mode and only venture outside when absolutely necessary. The National Trust aims to help us resist this temptation with their Great British Walk annual walking festival, which celebrates the outdoors and the wealth of natural beauty that Britain has on offer. With its cooler temperatures and vibrant colours, autumn is the perfect walking season so what are you waiting for? The festival runs from 1st September through to 3rd November so dig out your walking boots and head for the hills! Just in case you need some more inspiration, Sykes have compiled a short-list of some of our favourite British walks.

Snowdonia, Wales

Snowdonia

Via Flickr

Snowdonia is an exciting and inviting prospect to walkers of all abilities. Located in North Wales, this National Park has a vast and diverse landscape filled with rugged mountains, rolling countryside, serene beaches and imposing lakes. Walks vary from the opportunity to climb Mount Snowden, the highest mountain in Wales to a leisurely meander along the Welsh coastline. Walkers will be rewarded with stunning vistas and on higher ground, you can see as far as the Lake District. Attracting over six million visitors a year, the Snowdonia National Park should be on everyone’s to-do list and in our opinion, there’s no better way to experience the beauty of Snowdonia than by staying locally.

The South West Coastal Path

South West Coastal Path

Via Flickr

Covering over 630 miles, the South West Coastal Path boasts some of the UK’s most spectacular scenery, running from Somerset, along the breathtakingly beautiful coastlines of Devon and Cornwall and finishing in Dorset. Of course, 630 miles is no mean feat and if you’re up for the challenge it could take around 8 weeks to complete the entire trail, but for the less hardy walker there are a range of shorter routes within the Coastal Path that can be completed over a weekend or a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. The Coastal Path is like no other walk in the UK and combines stunning scenery, heritage, wildlife and geology. Embrace the spirit of the Great British Walk and experience the beauty of South West England at the same time! If you’re looking to pay a visit to the Coastal Path, why not book one of our holiday cottages in the South West to rest your tired feet at the end of the day.

The Sandstone Trail, Cheshire

Sandstone Trail, Bickerton, Cheshire Plain

Via Flickr

The Sandstone Trail is one of North England’s most popular walks running from the pretty Cheshire market town of Frodsham through to the Georgian town of Whitchurch in Shropshire. The trail itself covers 34 miles of Cheshire’s finest countryside and offers panoramic views across to Wales and the Pennines. Along the way you’ll encounter the dramatic sandstone ridge of the Cheshire plain; the majestic, medieval Beeston Castle; picturesque black-and-white houses and wildlife galore. The trail can be joined at any point along the way and is split up into seven manageable sections if you’d prefer to cover a shorter distance. There are also many circular routes that you can follow which are ideal for families and those who are driving to the trail. Widely recognised as one of the best family walking routes in the North West, the Sandstone Trail caters for every kind of walker and offers routes to suit every ability and time scale. It’s also perfect for dogs!

Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Travelling By Public Transport To Your Holiday Cottage

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
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Apparently getting there is half the fun. Here at Sykes, we hope that all of the fun happens at your cottage but still believe that travelling should be an enjoyable part of your time away. Whilst it may seem like the easiest way to travel to your holiday cottage is by car, here at Sykes we think that using public transport to travel to your holiday destination can be just as simple.  We have compiled a list of some of our favourite ways to travel to your UK holiday destination with no car keys in sight.

By Rail

Day 1: A train from Euston to Liverpool Lime St

Image via Flickr

With tracks reaching even the furthest corners of the UK, you will find that many of our cottage destinations can be reached by train. Not only is travelling by train usually quicker than by car, but the views are often  better; swapping the car for a train means swapping views of grey tarmac for views of rolling green hills and countryside. Browse our selection of properties that are close to a railway station.

By Ferry

Ferry turning

Image via Flickr

If you want to head a little further afield and across the water, then a ferry is the way to go. Whether you’re heading over to Ireland, or to the Isle of Wight you can take a ferry and not only travel, but get your holiday started. With many ferries now containing places to eat, bars and entertainment for the kids; the whole family can enjoy the journey.

By Bike

Bicycle

Image via Flickr

If you’re not heading too far away, like to feel the wind in your hair and have no problem with packing light, then travelling by bicycle to your holiday destination could be a great idea. With no transport timetables or road traffic to get in your way, cycling could be a great way to take away the usual stresses of travel. We have a choice of holiday cottages that are perfect for cyclers.

Stay in a Converted Carriage

If you never want your travel time to end or just want to spend your holiday in truly unique accommodation, staying in a converted railway carriage could be the way to go. Converted to a high standard, yet still having original features means that with this accommodation your holiday truly will be first class.

Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Livin’ it up with the Lads in Cornwall

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
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Romantic weekend away with the one you love are always nice; long walks on the beach, candle lit dinners, and lazy Sunday mornings in bed are some of the simple pleasures of life. Every so often however, a guy just needs to get away with the lads to fill up on testosterone, beer and laughs.

Now that the kids are back in school and life is beginning to settle back into a regular pace there is no better time to plan a lads weekend away. It doesn’t need to be an elaborate overseas affair that breaks the bank, there are plenty of great ways to spend time with your mates right here in the UK and Cornwall takes the cake. With something for everyone, from golf to fishing, walking to coasteering, as well as some of the best pubs in the country, there are few better places to get back in touch with your masculine side.

Golfin’ with the Guys at Launceston Golf Club

Golfing

Via. Flickr

The town of Launceston, right on the edge of the Cornwall/Devon border, makes a perfect place to start your weekend away. First stop, Launceston Golf Club. Originating in earnest in 1927, Launceston Golf Club is a challenging 6385 yard par 70 parkland course which boasts spectacular countryside views over both Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor. Not only is Launceston the first golf club that you’ll come across when you cross the Cornwall border, but it’s also a steal of a deal for Sykes Cottages customers – just mention Sykes when making your booking and the regular £30 cost for a round will be discounted to £18. Just call the Club House on 01566 773442 to take advantage of this great offer!

Leg it with the Lads at the Fal River Autumn Walking Festival

St Mawes Castle. Nikon D3100. DSC_0590.

Via. Flickr

If you, like Mark Twain, think that golf is “a good walk spoiled”, then why not just take the walk. From 18 October to 3 November, 2013 the Fal River Autumn Walking Festival will be taking place and offers the opportunity to perambulate through some of the most beautiful landscapes that Cornwall has to offer. The walks that are organized for the festival offer something for every ability level and interest, from all day hikes that take you on a journey around the Roseland Peninsula, to short town and country walks that factor in time for a pint and a pasty! Visit the website to find a selection of walking guides and festival events.

Beer with your Buddies at the Falmouth Beer Festival

King of Pints!

Via. Flickr

A lads weekend just wouldn’t be a lads weekend without a healthy dose of the amber nectar, and where better to get your fill than at the Falmouth Beer Festival? This is an event entered into the diaries of all Real Ale lovers across Cornwall, with it being the biggest Real Ale event in the county. This year’s event will host more than 200 of the most mouth-watering real ales, ciders and perries that the local area has to offer. For a mere £4 (or £2.50 with a CAMRA membership card), gets you entry to the event at Princess Pavillion, Falmouth, as well as a festival programme and a souvenir glass, after that it’s just £1.50 per half pint. The festival rins from 11am-11pm both days and if you set yourself up in a local Falmouth holiday cottage you won’t have far to walk, or stumble, home! Visit the festival Twitter or Facebook for full details.

Sunday Snapshots: Tour Of Britain 2013

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013
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Cyclists are everywhere. Head out on a Sunday morning and you’ll see no end of bikes from a family of all ages complete with stabilisers and tow bars to a Lycra-clad group of fitness fanatics, perhaps even a tandem-riding pair on a date. Yes, it’s fair to say that the British public have fallen for cycling in a big way. Today marks the final day of the 2013 Tour of Britain and in just a few hours time a weary peloton will be making their way past famous London landmarks after a gruelling 1045 kilometres on the road. The tour began a week ago in Scotland and has since visited the Lake District, north and south Wales, Devon, Surrey and even a safari park! Crisp autumn days were made for a bike ride and this week’s bumper edition of Sunday Snapshots is sure to have you reaching for your helmet.

For those of you who didn’t make it to the Tour here are just a few of the highlights…Drumlanrig castle, home of the Scottish Cycle Museum, Lake Windermere, en route to Llanberis, a glorious sunrise at Caerphilly Castle, Sidmouth sea-front and the end in sight, Whitehall.

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Windermere

A ribbon of clouds over Llanberis

Caerphilly Castle

Sidmouth Folk Week 2013

SW1

About Time for a cottage holiday

Friday, September 20th, 2013
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After watching Richard Curtis’ latest film About Time, you’d be hard pressed to find a film which more perfectly captures the beauty of the UK. The hum of bohemian London that Curtis made desirable in 1999’s Notting Hill is still here, but it’s entirely surpassed by the idle charm of Cornwall’s south coast. Scenes amid dreamy, out-of-date fishing villages and golden seashores filmed in Cornwall’s St Austell Bay infuse the film with a wistful quality that will have even the most devout city-dweller longing to book a Cornish cottage getaway. But what other British films will leave you yearning for a rural retreat? Read on to find out.

St Austell Bay, Cornwall

Via Flickr

Skyfall- Scottish Highlands

Buachaille Etive Mòr, Scottish Highlands

Via Flickr

Known for their fast cars, senseless gadgets and beautiful locations, it may surprise you to hear that Scotland has featured four times in the James Bond film franchise, including the latest 007 offering, Skyfall. And yet, when you consider it, Scotland makes perfect sense as a location for some Bond tomfoolery. Aside from being the spy’s birthplace, where else in the world would you find such unspoilt, rugged scenery where our brooding hero can so perfectly corner his latest Aston?  With its heather pocked glens, spirited villages and glistening lochs, Scotland proves to be a supreme natural playground for any budding double agent. Check out our holiday cottages in Scotland to find your perfect Scottish hideaway.

Harry Potter- Gloucester Cathedral

The Cloisters, Gloucester Cathedral

Via Flickr

When Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released back in 2001, I doubt if there was a single child  in the UK who didn’t long to visit Hogwarts. But did you know that the first and second instalments of the franchise were part filmed in the cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral? This illustrious building was used to film many of the interior shots of the fictional school of wizardry and witchcraft, including the infamous Cave troll sequence! Treat the kids to an enchanting getaway this half term with a cottage holiday in Gloucestershire and pay homage to this magical Cathedral- who knows what awaits even the most dubious muggle!

 Pride & Prejudice- Chatsworth House & Stanage Edge

Chatsworth House

Via Flickr

Nothing evokes British pride like a good period drama, and none do it better than the majestic Miss Austen. In the 2005 film portrayal of Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, we’re treated to a myriad of striking British locations, including, of course, the mighty Chatsworth House, as well as the inspiring Stanage Edge escarpment in the Peak District. Why not unmask Mr Darcy’s decadent estate for yourself on a cottage holiday in Derbyshire? This grand old shack, built around 1687, provides a delightfully splendid day out and is sure to leave you a little weak at the knee. Or, lace-up the walking boots and trace Lizzie’s steps at Stanage Edge; the perfect place for a breath of fresh air on your next cottage holiday.

Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.