Archive for May, 2014

A Short Break in Haworth: Things to Do

Saturday, May 31st, 2014
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Last month, I made the trip to Yorkshire to spend a long weekend in Haworth. As a lover of the novels produced by the famous Bronte sisters, this is a place that I’ve wanted to visit for years. Much like my lovely colleague Leanne, working at Sykes Cottages has inspired me to explore more of the UK and for today’s blog post, I wanted to share with you just some of the highlights from my trip to Haworth.

 The Passionate Brontës Walking Tour


Via Flickr

One activity in Haworth that is not to be missed is the Passionate Brontës Walking Tour. The tour lasts around an hour and a half and is a fantastic introduction to the Brontës, their work and Haworth itself. There isn’t a large amount of walking involved as you mainly cover the area around the Brontë Parsonage, making it suitable for nearly all ages and abilities. The tour guide, Johnnie, is sincerely passionate and deeply knowledgeable about the family and their history; so much so that you can’t help but become infected by his enthusiasm.  I would go as far as to say that his walking tour is one of the best I’ve ever been on. Even those with little interest in the Brontës (who’ve perhaps been coerced into doing the tour by an eager travelling companion!) will find themselves pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoy it.

Brontë Parsonage Museum

Bronte Parsonage Museum

Via Flickr

Once you’ve been on the Passionate Brontës Walking Tour then head for the Brontë Parsonage Museum. The museum was the lifelong home of the family and they lived here from 1820 until the last surviving member of the family, their father Patrick, died in 1861. It is here that the sisters were inspired to write their masterpieces and the moorlands so integral to Emily’s novel, Wuthering Heights, can be seen from the windows. The museum is now maintained by the Brontë Society and visitors can experience the house as close as is possible to how it would have been when the family lived here. There are also many items of furniture and personal possessions on display that belonged to the Brontës including Charlotte’s wedding bonnet, artwork painted by the sisters and even locks of their hair.

Shops, Cafes and Restaurants

Haworth shops and restaurants

Via Flickr

You could easily spend hours at the treasure trove of vintage, antique, second-hand and gift shops on Haworth’s Main Street; if you’re anything like me then I can guarantee you won’t leave empty handed! The traditional sweet shop at the top of the hill, Mrs Beighton’s Sweet Shop, is definitely worth a visit, offering a fantastic selection of old fashioned sweets including handmade Yorkshire fudge. If you’re feeling a little thirsty after exhausting the shops, Haworth also boasts a variety of great cafes and restaurants. Whether you’re after a three course meal, a sandwich or an alcoholic beverage, there’s something to suit you. Why not stop off for a pint at the historic Black Bull pub, often frequented by Branwell Brontë; head to the Stirrup Eating House for a cream tea; or dine in style at Embers of Haworth?

Rent a holiday cottage in Haworth

Holiday cottage in Haworth

Chloe’s Cottage, Haworth, Ref. 26945

Although my time in Haworth was short and revolved mainly around the Brontës, there are plenty of other brilliant things to do in Haworth and the surrounding areas; I will certainly be heading back! This quaint, picturesque town would be a fantastic place for a holiday in the UK and if you’re planning to visit any time soon then don’t forget to take a look at some of our lovely self-catering cottages in Haworth. If you have any further suggestions for places to visit in Haworth then we’d love to hear them! You can get in touch either by tweeting us or writing to us on Facebook.

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.

How can Sykes Cottages Help Cater Your Property to Families?

Friday, May 30th, 2014
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For many of us, our busy lives mean that we don’t spend as much quality time with our family as we would like to. School, work and social events seem to be trying to keep us apart from our loved ones and any time we get to spend together is often rushed. This is why family holidays are so important; they are a time to switch off, forget the day-to-day and just spend quality time with the family. If you have a holiday cottage with enough space, it can be a great idea to make sure that it caters for families and at Sykes Cottages we’re happy to help our cottage owners do just that! 

We’re here to help

Rushmore Lodge in Kent. Reference: 16229

If you’re unsure of anything or want suggestions of how to make your property a little more family friendly, then don’t hesitate to ask your area manager or give us a call and speak to a member of our owner care department. We know what appeals to families and we’re more than happy to share that knowledge with you! Why not make life a little easier for new parents by having a cot, high chair and maybe even a baby monitor available? And if you want your property to attract families with toddlers then installing stair gates, rounding any sharp corners with cushions and not having anything dangerous within reach of curious hands will be really appreciated by parents. Parents of older children and young teenagers will really appreciate things that will keep them entertained such as trampolines or slides in the back garden or DVDs and books to provide entertainment no matter what the weather decides to do!

We categorise your property


Baby friendly, toddler friendly, child friendly and just all round family friendly; we have them as pages on our website. These are the first places that potential guests will look and your property will be included on all the pages that are relevant, making sure that your property is seen by those most likely to book it! Can you provide a cot? Then you’ll be on the baby friendly page; if you have stairs and provide a stair gate, then you’ll fit in just fine on the toddler friendly page; and if you have added little extras such as books, DVDs or other fun things to do then the child friendly page is where your property belongs.

Extended Family

Wonderful dining table perfect for a large family at The Hall in Middleton
Property reference: 903958

We understand that family does not just involve those living under the same roof, and often families who live in different parts of the UK like to holiday together. If you have the space and your property is in a convenient location that would appeal to multiple-household-holidaymakers, we will be more than happy to advise you of anything you may be unsure of when catering for these guests. Things such as how bedrooms would best be configured, how many guests can comfortably stay in the property and if there is enough parking for multiple cars are all things to think about to ensure that larger families have a brilliant time on holiday!

Don’t Forget Those Furry Family Members

Image via Flickr

To those of us who share our lives and homes with a four-legged friend, they really are members of the family who deserve a holiday just as much as us humans do. Whilst it is not possible for every property to be pet friendly, if you have the facilities where a dog will be safe it can be a fantastic idea to open up your cottage to furry family members. This will not only increase your bookings but will also ensure that your guests have a fantastic time, as they will not be worrying so much about their pooches being left behind in a kennel. We are more than happy to suggest ways for our owners to make their property appealing for pet owners, or you can take a look at our tips to making your holiday cottage pet friendly for a few important things to keep in mind!

We’d love you to join us

These are just some of the ways that Sykes Cottages can help you cater to the family holiday market and get those all-important bookings. If you have a property that you feel is family friendly and you want to join an award winning self catering booking agency, then take a look at our owners page or give us a call for more information.

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.

Famous Faces We’d Love to Have a Beer With

Thursday, May 29th, 2014
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The entries are in, the competition has closed and the winners have been contacted. I’m talking of course about the Sykes Cottages Beer Buddy competition that we hosted over the bank holiday weekend. If you didn’t see, we were asking which famous face you would most like to enjoy a beer with to win tickets to the Keswick Beer Festival. The entries came in thick and fast with some interesting responses, and we thought that we would share those with you today!

Image via Flickr

  • 23% of you would like to have a beer with your favourite thespian, making actors the second most popular choice of beer buddy. Sean Connery, Idris Elba and Samuel L Jackson all being named as those you’d like to prop up the bar with!
  • A tipsy singsong from the likes of Prince, Enrique Iglesias and Meat Loaf is clearly a desire of many entrants, as 17% of you chose a singer or musician. Unsurprisingly, Michael Bublé was another popular choice!
  • There’s no denying that we’re a nation of sports fanatics, so it is no surprise that 9% of entrants would like to have a beer with an athlete. Cyclist Chris Hoy, American basketball star Kobe Bryant and American retired long distance runner Alberto Salazar all made the list of dream beer buddies.

Image via Flickr

  • All of our entrants are clearly up for a laugh, as 29% of you said that a comedian is the person you would most like to have a beer with; Billy Connelly, Jason Manford and Peter Kay each being popular choices!
  • Some of you would like to get all shook up with the likes of Elvis, as 4% of entries were from those of you wanting to have a posthumous pint with a late celebrity.
  • Quite surprisingly, we only received one entrant who wanted to have a beer with a member of the royal family. Charles, the Prince of Wales being the only Windsor who was chosen as someone’s ideal beer buddy.
  • Perhaps a little less surprising is that only two of you said that your ideal beer buddy is a politician. With Prime Minister, David Cameron and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson being the only two who made the grade.

Image via Flickr

  • We see them on the TV, presenting our favourite programmes and making us laugh and now we want to take them for a beer. I’m talking of course about TV personalities as 11% of entrants said that they would like to buddy up with the likes of Ant and Dec, Keith Lemon and Robson Green.
  • Interestingly, 94% of entries were for a male beer buddy with only 6% being female. Cara Delevigne, Helena Bonham Carter, Ellie Goulding and Sarah Millican were the only famous females chosen by competition entrants.
  • We clearly had some lovers of the great outdoors entering the competition, as Ranulph Fiennes and the late Alfred Wainwright both received the accolade of being an entrant’s dream beer buddy.

Book a Holiday Cottage near a Pub

Whilst our competition is closed and the Keswick Beer Festival is sold out, that doesn’t mean that you can’t escape to a beautiful part of the country and stay somewhere near a great British pub. Whilst we can’t guarantee that your favourite celebrity will join you, we do have a selection of properties that are within walking distance of the nearest watering hole. Take a look at our page of cottages near a pub and get booking your next getaway!

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.

Sykes’ UK Film Locations – James Bond

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
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You’re probably not aware that today marks the birthday of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond. Now this might seem a slightly strange thing for us to celebrate, but when you think about it, there aren’t many things more quintessentially British than 007; he’s right up there with red telephone boxes and orderly queuing. So to commemorate this day, we thought we’d try to find some of the most iconic British spots that feature throughout the series; take a look and see if you recognise them.

Glen Coe

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Now there’s no prizes for guessing this one, it was the most recent Bond film after all! That’s right, Glen Coe features as the dapper agent’s childhood home in Skyfall and provides some of the most stunning scenery from the whole of the series. What’s more, apparently this would not have come about had Fleming not been so enamoured with Sean Connery’s portrayal of the super spy in the early films, causing him to write in a Scottish back story.

Stoke Park

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

OK, this one is a bit more challenging. Remember that famous round of golf between Bond and his early nemesis Auric Goldfinger? Well it was filmed entirely at the beautiful Stoke Park Country Club in Buckinghamshire. This means that it was also the scene for one of the most iconic moments in the early Bond film, when Goldfinger’s trusty bodyguard, Oddjob, decapitates a statue with one throw of his razor edged bowler hat. In fact, Stoke Park also featured in one of the more recent films, Tomorrow Never Dies, when Pierce Brosnan’s Bond faces off with the assassin Dr Kaufman.

The Eden Project

via. Flickr

via. Flickr

Again this is from one of the most recent Bond films, in fact Pierce Brosnan’s last outing as the suave secret agent, Die Another Day. Remember bad-guy billionaire Gustav Graves and his Icelandic Diamond Mine/Ice Palace? Did the interior remind you of anything? That’s right, filming for that section of the 2002 blockbuster took place inside Cornwall’s very own Eden Project. You might actually remember Halle Berry’s character, Jinx Johnson, rappelling down into the evil genius’ lair, well that was actually filmed on site in our very own Cornwall!

Hopefully you’ll have found this interesting but if you think we’ve missed out any important locations then do let us know on Twitter or Facebook. But in the meantime, why don’t you have a quick look at our collection of stylish cottages that would be enough to make even Bond himself feel at home!

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.

Surf’s Up: Six of Britain’s Best Surf Spots

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
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With summer just around the corner and news that Britain’s first artificial surf lake is set to be opened in Snowdonia next year, we thought it was about time we donned our wetsuits, waxed our boards and carved some breakers on Britain’s foamy seas. So, we set about finding the best beaches in Blighty for surfing, and ranked them by whether they’re suitable for beginners or experts; here’s what we came up with.

Best for beginners

Caswell Bay, The Gower Peninsula

Caswell Bay

Via Flickr

Spectacular views, soft sand and a surf school on the beach make Caswell Bay one of the best places for beginners to have a go at wave riding in Wales. Worried parents will be relieved to hear that lifeguards patrol the Bay’s sands during the summer months, so you can relax and enjoy a good book whilst the kids hang ten.

Gwithian, Cornwall

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Gnarly riptides are rare at Gwithian beach in west Cornwall, so rookies can experience the thrill of the Atlantic’s tumbling swells without the worry they’re about to eat the seabed. What’s more, the pros tend to leave this stretch of coast to the newbies, so there’s no danger of you getting shown up by some top class carving.

Pease Bay, Scottish Borders

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

An overarching friendly vibe is just one of the reasons why Pease Bay has become one of Scotland’s favourite surf spots. Located on Edinburgh’s doorstep, this ribbon of sand is home to a wealth of surf amenities that cater for both the eager beginner and the seasoned pro – just don’t forget the wet suit as it’s bound to be bloomin’ chilly.

Best left to the experts

Bantham Beach, South Devon

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

OK, so Bantham Beach has a Blue Flag (awarded to Britain’s safest, cleanest beaches), but don’t be fooled; there’s big swells aplenty here, making it a haven for pro surfers. In fact, Bantham is the best place to catch epic breakers on the North Devon coast- tubular man.

Sennen Cove, Cornwall

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

While the South Side of Sennen Cove is sheltered enough for beginners to hone their skills, the North’s exposure to the Atlantic produces powerful swells that are perfect for the plucky non-beginner. At times, breakers can reach up to six feet high at Sennen Cove, so if you’re a nervous newbie, be sure to pick the peaceful side of the beach.

Thurso East, Scottish Highlands

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Thought to be one of Europe’s premier surf spots, Thurso East is a playground for pro surfers, and frequently plays host to international surfing competitions. The breakers here form over a flat rock shelf, making the swells intense, rapid and really rather tall. Beginners should travel to Thurso if only to see how it’s done, whilst non-surfers will appreciate the region’s draw dropping natural beauty.

Book a self-catering surfing holiday with Sykes Cottages

Fancy frolicking in the foam on your next UK holiday? Then check out our selection of coastal holiday cottages, which offer space, comfort and convenience for any budding board-rider. We’ve cottages scattered along pretty much every coastline from Llangennith to Lahinch, so find your favourite today and get ready to make for the nearest  shoreline- Cowabunga!

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.