Archive for April, 2014

Meet the Sykes Cottages pets!

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
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As you can probably tell by the fact that we have over 2,400 pet friendly cottages, here at Sykes, we’re big pet people. Because of this, we thought we’d take you behind the scenes and introduce you to some of our pets. So read on to meet some of our four legged friends!

Anne ‘Annie’ Hathaway

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway

Tell us a bit about her

Anne Hathaway (or Annie for short) is a domestic long-haired feline with the personality and neediness of a pooch. Her hobbies include following people, scratching stuff and sleeping.

How old is she?

Two and a half years old

Does she have a favourite food or treat?

Anne Hathaway is likely to chow down on anything that comes from a cow, pig or chicken. One of her favourite treats is cat milk and a slice of wafer thin ham.

What is her favourite game or toy if they have one?

Annie adores laser pens, shoe laces, headphones, string and electric cables. She’s also fond of stalking and loves hunting house plants and shadows.

What would be her ideal UK holiday destination?

Anne Hathaway was born and raised in the city, so she loves escaping to the countryside whenever she can, her favourite destination being East Yorkshire.

Duke

Duke

Duke

Tell us a bit about him

Duke (or Dukie, Dukulton, Fluffy Butt…) is a cross breed commonly known as a Lionhead-Rex, he is white with brown markings or maybe it’s brown with white markings! He has an extremely cheeky personality and likes to nudge you with his nose as a sign to pet him. He loves being the centre of attention and hates it when you pack to go away; he will usually jump into my suitcase and start pulling the clothes out so I can’t leave!

How old is he?

He is still a baby bunny, nearly two years old.

Does he have a favourite food or treat?

It’s very cliché but Duke adores carrots! He is also really fond of pears, cucumber and lettuce.

What is his favourite game or toy if they have one?

Duke has a small teddy that the breeder insisted we take with us; he loves to throw it about and rub his chin all over it (this is how rabbits leave their scent).  He also enjoys running in circles and having you chase his tail whenever he runs in front of you.

What would be his ideal UK holiday destination?

Duke loves to visit my mum in Menai Bridge, Anglesey. She has a large back garden that he can run about it and a small puppy who just happens to be Duke’s best friend! My nephew loves having Duke home to Anglesey and smothers him with hugs and kisses as soon as he sees him.

RupertandColin

Rupert and Colin

Rupert and Colin

Tell us a bit about them

As you can probably tell by the squishy black faces, Rupert and Colin are both pugs. Despite being brothers and being inseparable, they are both very different! Colin is very boisterous and friendly, whereas Rupert is mostly calm and is happy with his own company, although he does bark like a fog horn to let us know its dinner time!

How old are they?

They’re both three years old but still act like puppies!

Do they have a favourite food or treat?

We try not to give them too many treats, as pugs have the tendency to get a bit tubby! They do love a good chow down on a pedigree dentastix or a pig’s ear, though. They both also like the occasional slice of cucumber or cherry tomato!

What is their favourite game or toy?

Strangely, Rupert has no interest in toys whatsoever. He does love a good play fight or game of tick, though – either with Colin or a willing human! Colin is the polar opposite of Rupert as he absolutely loves playing with toys; he loves a game of football and will happily spend hours chasing the ball about.

What would be their ideal UK holiday destination?

They’re both yet to go on a UK holiday! As Rupert loves to sunbathe, I think he would love to holiday in Cornwall so that he could just lounge on the beach whilst watching the world go by. Colin is much more active and is happiest when he is running or walking about, so I think that a holiday in the Peak District would be his ideal location!

Charlie

Charlie

Charlie

Tell us a bit about him

Charlie (or Charles depending on whether or not he’s in trouble) is a golden retriever who seems to be on the go 24/7. He’s never happier than when he’s in the back garden digging up the lawn (much to our annoyance) although he does also enjoy his daily walk and the odd powernap to recharge the batteries.

How old is he?

He’s still just a puppy, albeit a big one. He’s around ten months old now so he’s just starting to enter the moody teenager phase.

Does he have a favourite food or treat?

Like Rupert and Colin, Charlie loves his dentastix, he gets one every night and has to show it off to everyone in the house before he scoffs it. Aside from that if he’s lucky there’ll be some leftovers from the night before that he can tuck into for his breakfast but his favourite is probably roast chicken.

What is his favourite game or toy?

Charlie seems to have some strange obsession with footwear so you’ve got to keep any shoes or socks well out of reach. We have tried to get him to play fetch but he’s so easily distracted he normally forgets all about the ball and comes back with a random stone found en route instead.

What would be his ideal UK holiday destination?

We took him to Rhosneigr on Anglesey a few weeks ago where we had to drag him away from the beaches, so he’d probably love to go anywhere coastal. Because of this places like Northumberland or East Anglia would probably be a good options for the long seaside walks.

Hopefully you all enjoyed reading that and like us have a bit of a soft spot when it comes to our pets; if so then why not treat them to a little break? We’ve got plenty of pet friendly cottages for you to take a look at and I’m sure that you’ll be able to find one perfect for you and your four legged friend.

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

How to Make a Holiday Cottage Pet Friendly

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
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Are you trying to think of a way to get your bookings up? Why not consider making your holiday cottage pet friendly? After all we do live in a pet mad country! Back in 2012 TravelSupermarket.com ran a survey and found that 39% of pet owners like to take their animals away with them, and when you consider that around one quarter of households in the UK own a dog you can see how big the market we’re talking about is.  This is why here at Sykes we’ve produced a little list of things that you should consider when trying to pet proof your cottage, so take a look.

In the House

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Firstly, make sure that any potentially toxic items are kept well out of reach. Things such as cleaning products are the main concern here so it might be best to keep them in a high cupboard well away from any overly curious canines or if they can’t be kept high enough it might be worthwhile putting some sort of lock on the door. Then there is also the issue of cables, to stop these from getting chewed you should tuck them away behind the appliances or even invest in some cable protectors that should deter even the most persistent of pets. Finally there is the issue of hair. This tends to be one of the biggest reservations about making a cottage available to people bringing their pets, however when dealt with properly it isn’t that much of a problem. Having said that it is definitely worth investing in a powerful vacuum to make sure you get it all up between stays, and if you make the vacuum available to them many pet owners will have a quick run around with the hoover.

Outside

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

The main concern with a garden at a holiday cottage is whether or not it is escape proof. Believe me, as the owner of a dog with Houdini-esque capabilities it is definitely worth your while to make sure that the garden is properly secure. The fencing should be high enough to prevent any larger animals from clearing it and you might even consider sinking it below ground level to deter any digs for freedom. You should also be careful about products that you use in the garden, things like weed killers and slug pellets often pose a risk to dogs and so should be avoided. One other thing to consider is the dog mess, guests will be especially grateful if you leave behind some waste bags and a little shovel for them to use to clear up after their pooches.

Little Touches

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Then there are the little things that you can do which might make all the difference to the holiday goers. Some people invest in things like a food and water bowl for the cottage just in case the guests forget theirs. You could also leave some old towels in the property for drying off the pooch after those long walks, as it will help preserve the carpet and will cut down on the cleaning on changeover day. Or if you want to go the whole hog then you could even consider leaving a little canine welcome pack with some biscuits and maybe a couple of tennis balls which would definitely go down a treat.

Hopefully we’ve thought of a few things that might have slipped your mind but if you have any suggestions then we would love to hear them. Or if you want you can always take a look at our other pet friendly cottages to see if you can get a bit of inspiration there.

 

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Fun in the sun: Three Traditional Seaside Breaks

Monday, April 28th, 2014
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Buckets, spades and penny arcades. Whatever your thoughts on the seaside, there’s no denying that traditional coastal resorts will always have a place in the hearts and minds of the British holidaymaker. For decades, us Brits have flocked to the seaside in our droves at the first glimmer of summer sun, armed with Frisbees, beach balls and the ever dependable windbreak. But just what is it that makes a really great seaside resort? Let’s find out.

Below are three of our favourite traditional seaside destinations, chosen not for their beauty or charm, but for their character, charisma and outright fun-factor. You may not agree with all of our seaside suggestions, but we think that each of these coastal destinations harbours that special something that make them truly wonderful for a holiday by the sea.

Bridlington, Yorkshire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

With two distinct stretches of shore and one rather spectacular blue flag beach, Bridlington is among an elite batch of British seaside towns that offer both beautiful coast and tawdry attractions. North Beach offers a brash blend of amusement arcades, dodgems and ice cream parlours, whilst the neighbouring South Beach is a little quieter, with family friendly facilities like a paddling pool and a good number of affordable beach huts. Where Bridlington really shines however, is with its unique seaside trimmings. Firstly, there’s the miniature land train, a novelty mode of transport that’s been whisking holidaymakers along the town’s coastal promenades for over twenty years.  Then, there’s the Spa Theatre, an entertainment venue first built in 1896 to keep the Victorian tourists entertained. Recently restored, the Spa is a great place for a brew, offering fine views over the town’s endearing coastline.

Cromer, Norfolk

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Famed for its delectable shellfish, Victorian pier and variety of independent shops and eateries, Cromer is a time-forgotten destination on the tip of Norfolk’s stunning north coast. The town boasts a rich maritime heritage, and visitors can still watch crab-fishermen hauling their catch from the pier’s edge. Of course, this means there’s some great seafood restaurants too, so you certainly won’t go hungry during your stay. The real charm of Cromer however, comes from its nostalgic, olde-worlde feel, achieved by keeping its amusement arcades and modern tourist amenities to a minimum. But fear not if you’re a fan of tack, as the town boasts one of the only remaining ‘Seaside Specials’ in the UK; a daily entertainment show brimming with eye-brow-raising gags and scantily clad, pom-pom wielding performers; whoever said the traditional seaside resort was dead?

Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

With its labyrinth of narrow streets, award winning blue flag beaches and serene, country surroundings, Tenby is arguably the prettiest, most postcard worthy town on our seaside short list.  Forming part of Pembrokeshire’s alluring coastline, Tenby has been a tourist hotspot for centuries thanks to its safe, bounteous sands and charming community feel. If you’re looking for gaudy arcades and other jangly seafront entertainment, Tenby may disappointment. If however, you’re after miles of peaceful seafront, interrupted only by the odd jasmine-scented garden or seafood restaurant, then this charming Welsh town may just be the place for you. Whilst you’re there, be sure to pay a visit to Caldey Island, one of Britain’s most fascinating holy islands.

Rent a cottage at the seaside with Sykes Cottages

With the tabloids promising a record-breaking heatwave, pack up those buckets and spades and get set for sizzling holiday at the seaside this summer! Sykes Cottages offer a great range of affordable self-catering holiday cottages and apartments to rent by the sea in many of the UK’s favourite traditional seaside resorts, so there’s no need to book a break in a pricey hotel. To view our complete range of self-catering seaside holidays, visit our coastal cottages page today.

Think we’ve bodged our shortlist up? Send us your seaside suggestions on Facebook and Twitter and we’ll happily pay them a visit on our next getaway because after all, everyone loves to be beside the seaside!

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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.

Sykes Cottages’ Best Gardens for the Summer

Sunday, April 27th, 2014
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I think that it’s safe to say that summer is well and truly on its way. The clocks have gone back, the temperatures are rising and even though it is only April every now and then you get catch the unmistakable smell of a barbecue. I think that most of you will agree with me when I say that summer is the season to be outdoors, whether it’s sneaking in a spot of sunbathing or just enjoying a nice meal outdoors, and where’s better for doing all those things than in the garden? This is why we’ve had a look and tried to find some of our favourite gardens from the Sykes portfolio, so take a look and see what you think.

The Summerhouse, Bembridge, The Isle of Wight

The Summerhouse, the Isle of Wight ref no 20969

The Summerhouse, ref. 20969

If you’re looking for the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon in the great outdoors then the Summerhouse on the Isle of Wight is just the spot. With the stunning panoramas over the surrounding countryside you’ll never lack for scenery whilst enjoying a little tipple on the deck. Or you can retreat into the hot tub for a nice relaxing soak, and when you start to get a bit peckish what more could you want than firing up the barbie and tucking into an al fresco meal in the evening sun.

Norton Grange, Norton, Worcestershire

Norton Grange, Worcestershire, ref no. 19077

Norton Grange, ref. 19077

On the other hand you might fancy something a little grander. If so then take a look at Norton Grange. This Grade II listed country house is tucked away in a quiet corner of the Worcestershire countryside giving you phenomenal views over the nearby hills. Add to this the cottage’s private woodlands which are perfect for a gentle stroll on a summer morning, and also the private, heated swimming pool and you’ll never want to leave!

The Granary, Coed Morgan, Monmouthshire

The Granary, South Wales, ref no. 15022

The Granary, ref. 15022

Or you might just be looking to get back in touch with nature. Well if this is the case then The Granary would be perfect for you. Situated in the heart of the South Wales countryside this luxury cottage comes complete with its own pond right in the back garden and of course the resident ducks! Aside from that you can expect a daily dawn chorus courtesy of local bird-life, and remember to keep your eyes peeled for visiting pheasants, kingfishers and maybe even the odd woodpecker or two!

Hopefully reading this will have got in the mood for a spending a bit of time in the great outdoors. Well if that is the case why don’t you think about staying in one of our cottages this Summer? They’re perfect for making the most of some summer sunshine!

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Sykes’ Guide to Spring Flowers

Saturday, April 26th, 2014
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The UK is home to a number of native and foreign flowers that bloom during the spring months and awaken our gardens from their wintry slumber. Here at Sykes we love the bright colours and heavenly scents commonly associated with spring flowers and to celebrate this colourful array of plants we’ve compiled a list of our favourite flowers along with a guide on where to find them this spring. So keep reading for an eye catching display of the UK’s best spring flowers.

Paeonia (Peony)

Paeonia are a spring time favourite here in Britain; easy to grow and very adaptable, these flowers are ideal for green-fingered beginners. For your chance to view a 100 meter peony border head to Penshurst Palace and Gardens in west Kent during May or June when their peonies are in full bloom.

Crocus

The crocus is one of the first flowers to bloom after the New Year.  Covering the ground in a rich purple, these flowers are hard to miss on a bright spring morning. We would suggest a visit to Kew Royal Botanic Gardens this April to view their gorgeous crocuses as they carpet the ground between Victoria Gate and King William’s Temple.

Daffodils

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

The daffodil is a much loved flower, especially in Wales where it takes pride of place as one of their national symbols. For a chance to view hundreds of daffodils all at once take a trip to The Glorious Gardens of Argyll and Bute in Scotland where the daffodils take shelter in the 50 acres of woodland.

Bluebells

Found in ancient woodlands throughout the UK, a field of bluebells is almost magical when viewed on a spring evening. These dainty flowers can be found in almost all wooded areas but for a truly enchanting experience we propose a visit to the private wood at Cotton Manor; the perfect spot for a picnic amongst the flowers.

Magnolia

Growing on tress or on shrubs the beautiful Magnolia is wondrous to behold and my personal favourite of all the spring flowers. The Great Gardens of Cornwall currently have seven charming Magnolia Campbellii Champion trees which shouldn’t be missed this spring – make sure to squeeze in a visit before the flowers begin to fade.

Aquilegia (Columbine)

The alluring Aquiline can be found hiding in meadows and woodlands just like the ones found at Bodnant Gardens. Not so easily spotted these colourful flowers can sometimes be passed by, but be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the brilliant white petals standing out against the fresh green spring grass as these pretty flowers will not disappoint.

If you’re thinking of escaping the city and exploring the British countryside is search of spring flowers this year then don’t forget to visit our spring sale page where you will find all our latest offers and discounts!

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nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.