Get Out and About in the Lake District

April 18th, 2015
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Today we’re going to be continuing with this week’s Lake District theme as we take a look at some of the best outdoor activities that you can try your hand at in the area. Let’s be honest, when you’re somewhere with the stunning scenery of the Lakes, which ranges from the towering Scafell Pike through to the tranquil beauty of spots such as Wastwater and the Langdale Valley, you don’t want to be locked up indoors. So we’ve trawled through the options available to visitors to the area in order to try and find a few activities that you can do to get a taste of the great outdoors!

Get out on the Lakes

What better way is there to explore the Lake District than actually heading out on the Lakes themselves? As you’d expect, there are a multitude of providers who can offer all sorts of options, whether it’s a gentle paddle on calm waters or an overnight expedition complete with bushcraft and camping out under the stars, it turns out that the Lakes are the perfect playground for all of the water sports enthusiasts! The options seem endless, whether it’s kayaking on Derwentwater or sailing on Windermere, and you can even try out one of the latest crazes, Stand Up Paddle Boarding!

Jump in the Saddle

Or if you want a different way in which to take in the beautiful scenery of the Lake District, you could always try out a horseback tour. There are several companies in the area who specialise in this and can offer a wide variety of options from gallops down the beach to long ranges across the fells. There’s no need to worry if you aren’t an expert rider- nearly all of the providers will be able to offer sufficient support and tutelage to make even first time riders feel at home in the saddle.

Test Yourself With the Via Ferrata

Then there’s something a little special for the real daredevils out there! How do you fancy crossing a wire bridge strung around 1,200 feet above the ground? Well with the Via Ferrata at Honister Pass you can do just that. Via Ferratas were first used in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy and consist of a set of pathways, ladders and bridges accompanied by a continuous wire that allow people to easily reach areas that were previously inaccessible to all but the most hardened climbers. The Via Ferratas at Honister were the UK’s first ever and they allow you to reach the very top of Fleetwith Pike which at 2,126 feet above the valley floor is well over twice the height of the UK’s tallest building, the Shard!

There you have it, some of the best ways in which you can experience the great outdoors in the Lake District. Hopefully we’ll have tempted you into taking a trip there to try them out! If that is the case you should have a glimpse at our wide selection of Lake District cottages so that you have a cosy little retreat where you can put your feet up after a long day. Or maybe you can think of an alternative activity? If so do let us know over Facebook or Twitter and we’ll try to pass the message on as best we can!

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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.

Best Places to Photograph in the Lake District

April 16th, 2015
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Wherever you are in the Lake District you are bound to be surrounded by stunning natural beauty, so it is no surprise that amateur and professional photographers alike get a bit snap happy in the area! To inspire you to do the same, I have browsed through Flickr and found ten stunning photographs of some of the Lake District’s awe-inspiring landscapes. As they say, a picture says a thousand words, so I’m going to cut this one short and let these lovely images do all the talking.

Bassenthwaite Lake

Bassenthwaite Lake

Image taken by Stacey MacNaught | CC 2.0

Brantwood Jetty

Haweswater

Tarn Hows Lake

Lake Coniston

Thirlmere

Skiddaw from Derwentwater

Ullswater

Windermere

Keswick

If you’re feeling inspired by these photographs but you’re not too sure where to start, take a look at our Beginner’s Guide to Photography for some useful tips for beginners on getting the most out of your camera!

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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.

Why the Lake District is the Perfect Place for Solo Travel

April 14th, 2015
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Whilst many people chose to travel in groups with friends or family, there are still a large number of us that prefer our own company and the peace and quiet that comes with solo travel. With that being said, we have decided to focus today’s blog post on solo travel, and where better in the UK to do some solitary exploring than the Lake District. Why the Lake District I hear you ask, well along with the obvious natural beauty of the region, the Lakes have quite a lot to offer single travellers. Keep reading to find out more and to discover why we think the Lake District is the ideal place for solo travels.

It’s oh so quiet

As England’s largest National Park, the Lake District covers 2,292 square kilometres of land and pretty much guarantees you a quiet spot to relax in. With green fields stretching as far as the eye can see, towering mountain ranges and miles of still lake water, the area just oozes tranquillity and on a crisp summer morning there is nothing better than an alfresco breakfast with only bird song to disturb the otherwise silent atmosphere.

There’s a welcoming atmosphere

Although holidaying alone, it doesn’t mean you have to be reclusive; in fact many solo travellers make lifelong friends with people they encounter on their journeys and enjoy meeting new people from all walks of life. The Lake District’s friendly atmosphere makes it the perfect place to meet new people, with friendly locals offering great advice on places to see and things to do; you never know they may even point you in the direction of a hidden gem away from the normal tourist routes!

Plenty of wildlife

When exploring as part of a group, sometimes the noise of the party can scare away local wildlife. You are far more likely to see animals in their natural habitats if you’re travelling alone. The Lake District is home to a vast array of wildlife from birds to small mammals, in fact it’s one of the few places in the UK where you can see red squirrels. The next time you visit, head out on a solo woodland walk and you’ll soon find yourself with a selection of wildlife photography to share with the people back home.

A variety of events

There is always something going on in the Lake District, from guided walks to food festivals you’re sure to find an event or two to fill up your days. Whether you’re a foodie or an exercise fanatic, you’re sure to find a like-minded soul in the Lake District. If you’re looking for a good all-rounder event, then our choice is the Cartmel Show; this traditional country show features carriage driving, a dog show, food hall and much more.

We hope this post has convinced you that the Lake District is the ideal place for solo travellers. If so, then be sure to check out our selection of Lake District holiday cottages, perfect for relaxing and making the most of that quality ‘me time’ we all crave.

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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.

British Walking Festivals in 2015

April 13th, 2015
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Walking Festivals are a fantastic way to explore new areas, meet new people and enjoy being active in the outdoors. There are over 150 walking festivals taking place across Britain in 2015 so wherever you’re from and whenever you’re free, there’s probably an event or two that you can get involved in! We’ve found some of the best walking festivals still to take place this year to get you inspired:

Ride2Stride: The Settle-Carlisle Walking Festival

The Settle-Carlisle Walking Festival aims to celebrate the spectacular scenery of the Yorkshire Dales and Eden Valley through a week-long programme of walks, talks and music. The walks are led by experienced tour guides full of knowledge on the local area and when you get thirsty, the local pubs will welcome you in to enjoy a cold pint and some music. It’s a great way to experience the Settle-Carlisle railway line from a different perspective.

Event dates: 24th April- 4th May 2015

Website: www.skyware.co.uk/scwf

Scottish Borders Walking Festival

2015 marks the 21st Scottish Borders Walking Festival and this year, it’s being held in one of the Borders’ biggest towns, Galashiels. There are 28 walks taking place throughout the event that cater for all different ages and abilities. It’s not just about walking though as these festivals are a great place to meet new people- there are nearly always social events on offer and this festival is no different with concerts, ceilidhs and quiz nights.

Event dates: 6th- 12th September 2015

Website: www.borderswalking.com

Ironbridge Walking Festival

The tenth annual Ironbridge Walking Festival is being held this year in and around the World Heritage Site and it’s sure to be a fantastic event for all! What makes this festival special is the chance to learn more about the history of Ironbridge and the Industrial Revolution as you walk, making it perfect for history buffs. The walks are all free and are split into themed walks for families and young children, and long walks for more regular walkers.

Event dates: 1st- 10th May 2015

Website: www.visitironbridge.co.uk/walkingfestival

Boscastle Walking Festival

The picturesque harbour village of Boscastle is an idyllic setting for a walking festival with plenty to see and admire. The Walking Festival offers a little something for everyone with walks ranging from strolls along the spectacular Cornish coastline to rambles in the woods; for the more experienced walkers there are more challenging routes. Other activities planned include cream teas, barn dances and poetry readings.

Event dates: 18th- 25th April 2015

Website: www.boscastlefestival.co.uk

Isle of Anglesey Walking and Outdoor Festival

The Anglesey Walking Festival encourages participants to learn more about the stunning island of Anglesey with its quaint villages, pretty beaches and many myths and legends. As well as lots of fantastic walks taking in Anglesey’s scenery, other events taking place at the festival include challenge runs and bike rides, ‘bike and seek’, kayaking, dry stone walling and food foraging.

Event dates: 23rd May- 7th June 2015

Website: www.angleseywalkingfestival.com

If you’re heading to a walking festival that you think will be just as good then please do let us know- we’d love to hear from you! You can contact us either via our Twitter or Facebook page.

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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.

Britain’s Best Motorcycle Routes

April 11th, 2015
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Now that the weather is finally looking up, we’ve started to notice an increased number of motorcyclists out on the road- speeding past our cars and showing us how to get from A to B in style! But where is it these bikers go to make the most of the elusive summer sunshine? Here at Sykes Cottages, we’ve discovered the secret and we’re going to share it with you. So whether you’re new to motorcycling or you’re an experienced biker, keep reading as we list some of the best roads in Britain.

A82, Loch Lomond to Loch Ness

Scotland

As the second longest A-road in Scotland, the A82 provides 140 miles of breath taking scenery, large stretches of strait road and numerous bends and turns to keep you amused. We highly recommend that you have a camera handy on this drive as you’ll be passing no less than 10 lochs as well as the iconic Ben Nevis!

Cat and Fiddle Run

England

Care definitely needs to be taken on this road but just one trip down Cat and Fiddle will see you returning for more. The road consists of a number of tight corners and turns and of course glorious Peak District scenery making it a dream for experienced bikers. If you’re new to motorcycling then take things a little slower, we promise it will still be just as good!

Bwlch y Groes – Pass of the Cross

Wales

Bwlch y Groes is a minor road that runs from the village of Llanuwchllyn to Lake Vyrnwy but at 1,800 feet above sea level this is the highest pass in Wales! The views from this road have not to be missed and although the road dates back to medieval times you are now guaranteed a smooth tarmacked ride.

These are just three of the many fantastic motorbike routes in the UK, if you know of a great route that hasn’t been mentioned then please feel free to share it with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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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.