5 Last Minute Summer Holidays for Families

July 15th, 2015
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Decided to book a last minute summer holiday but not sure where to start? Below, we’ve listed five fantastic holiday cottages in the UK that still have availability in the school summer holidays; from Cornwall to the Lake District, these cottages lovely cottages are perfect for a family getaway. Act quickly though, as they’re sure to be snapped up soon!

12 Deva Terrace, Cheshire

Beautiful Georgian terraced property in Chester, overlooking the River Dee. Just a few minutes’ walk from the centre of Chester with its shops and restaurants, as well as family attractions including Chester Zoo, Blue Planet Aquarium and the Roman Dewa Experience.

Price: 7 nights in the summer holidays from £750. Sleeps 4.

Read more here: 12 Deva Terrace, Chester, Cheshire

Fairoak, Lake District

Victorian Lakeland terrace just 1.5 miles from Lake Windermere. Located at the heart of the popular Lake District town of Windermere, this pretty cottage is perfect for families looking for a getaway in the Lakes this summer, with spectacular scenery just a short drive away and fantastic family attractions on your doorstep.

Price: 7 nights in the summer holidays from £766. Sleeps 5.

Read more here:  Fairoak, Windermere, Lake District

Rose Cottage, Devon

Pretty holiday cottage on a non-working farm amongst tranquil, rolling countryside and meadows, yet not far from the Devon coastline. Rose Cottage is lovely and cosy; perfect for relaxing after a day on the beach! There’s a private, sun-trap garden boasting spectacular sea views and the property also offers direct access to a footpath leading to Hallsands beach and the South West Coast Path.

Price: 7 nights in the summer holidays from £842. Sleeps 4.

Read more here: Rose Cottage, Hallsands, Devon

The Station Flat, Cornwall

Wonderfully unique holiday apartment situated above the ticket office alongside the Lappa Valley Steam Railway, just 4.5 miles from the popular holiday destination of Newquay. Guests at The Station Flat can enjoy all the on-site facilities at at the Lappa Valley Steam Railway -a fantastic family day out- including steam train rides, canoeing and miniature golf.

Price: 7 nights in the summer holidays from £787. Sleeps 4.

Read more here: The Station Flat, St Newlyn East, Cornwall

St Edmunds, Norfolk

Located just 150 yards from the beach in the seaside town of Mundesley, St Edmunds is a brilliant choice for a coastal family holiday. The property is modern, bright and airy with plenty of room for everyone, and with its beautiful sandy beach and colourful beach huts, Mundesley makes for a traditional seaside holiday on the Norfolk coastline.

Price: 7 nights in the summer holidays from £1185. Sleeps 8.

Read more here: St Edmunds, Mundesley, Norfolk

If you want to see our full list of holiday cottages still available for the school summer holidays, you can do so by visiting our website or by giving our team of holiday advisors a call on 01244 356 695.

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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.

A Guide to the Sykes Discounts

July 13th, 2015
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Fancy saving some money on your next UK holiday? Well you’re in the right place. Here at Sykes Cottages, we offer a variety of discounts on our properties, from special offers through to our range of short breaks. So take a look and find out how you can can get a discounted break.

Last Minute Breaks

If you’re just looking for a spur of the moment escape, then there’s always the chance of getting a bargain break here at Sykes by taking advantage of any last minute availability that we might have. Many of our properties offer what we call Last Minute Breaks which means that if you book within one week of when the holiday is due to start ,you’ll be able save up to 35% on the standard price!

Seasonal Short Breaks

Then there’s our short break periods that are dotted throughout the year. First up we’ve got our winter short breaks. These are the cheapest breaks that you’ll be able to find on the Sykes website and are applicable for holidays that take place between the 31st October 2015 and the 22nd December 2015 so they’re perfect for a relaxing weekend away. Or we’ve got our off season breaks; available between the 26th September 2015 and the 24th October 2015, they can only be booked one month before the holiday is due to start but you’ll save 25% on the standard price. We also offer a discount over the festive period so you can celebrate in style with the family. For more information on all of our Short Break plans take a look at this page.

Special Offer Cottages

Or, alternatively, you could take a look through our special offer cottages to see if you can find a discounted property to suit you. At any one time, there are many holiday cottages on the Sykes website that are offering specially discounted prices so you’re sure to get a great deal, from properties on the south coast through to cosy boltholes in the Highlands.

So there you have it, the low-down on Sykes’ various discounts. I’m sure you’ll find something to suit but don’t worry if not, we’re always updating our special offers so something should crop up. Make sure to keep your eye on our Facebook and Twitter profiles where we’ll share any really good deals!

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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.

Holiday Cottages for Animal Lovers

July 12th, 2015
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If you’re an animal lover then you should definitely consider taking a holiday on one of the UK’s many farms. We have holiday cottages on everything from smallholdings to working farms and many of our properties have the option to meet the animals, take tours around the farm and even play at being a farmer for a day! Read on to discover which of our cottages are perfect for animal lovers of all ages.

Hill Top Farm Cottage, Pembrokeshire

This lovely family holiday cottage is set on the owner’s smallholding just 6 miles outside of Narbeth. The picturesque, countryside location makes Hill Top Farm Cottage perfect for a relaxing, rural getaway but it’s also just a short drive from many of Pembrokeshire’s attractions including Folly Farm, Oakwood Theme Park and the Welsh Zoo. At this property, you can really experience the smallholding way of life- everything from visiting the animals at their paddocks, to adopting your own chickens! If you want to adopt your own chickens, the owner will provide everything for you so that you can feed them and collect their eggs for the duration of your stay.

The Corn Store, Cornwall

The Corn Store is a traditional farm cottage on a working farm in Menheniot, ideally located for exploring the south coast of Cornwall. This pretty cottage offers stunning countryside views and is surrounded by woods and meadows, which guests are welcome to explore. On the farm, there are plenty of activities for children to get involved in, including collecting fresh eggs from the hens and meeting some of the smaller animals in the farm’s very own pet corner! The pet corner includes cute and cuddly animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs, as well as birds and hand-reared owls.

Turnip House, Shropshire

Turnip House is one of four wonderful, Grade II barn conversions on a 700 acre farm in Plaish, amongst the rolling countryside of south Shropshire. Guests at the cottage are able to thoroughly explore the farm with its 1.5 mile woodland walk and conservation area with natural pools, as well as a full-size tennis court, children’s play area and games rooms. Animal lovers can also get up close to some of the farm’s residents, as the owners can arrange for you to feed the chickens and also embark on a few pony rides (children only!)

Hayloft Cottage, Cumbria

At Hayloft Cottage, guests have the chance to be a farmer for the day, by prior arrangement with the owner! The friendly owners are more than happy to give you a tour around the farm, including meeting the animals, and tell stories about what it’s like to be a farmer in the countryside! This cottage itself offers lots of characterful original features including oak beams and exposed stonework; it’s perfect for a family holiday in Cumbria with easy access to both the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

At Sykes Cottages, we have over 5,500 cottages across the UK and Ireland so we’re sure to have somewhere to suit you and your holiday plans. For more information on the properties that we have available, please visit our website or give us a call on 01244 356695.

Holiday cottage with farm animals

Animals at Hayloft Cottage

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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.

British Travel Awards 2015: We need your vote!

July 10th, 2015
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So it’s that time of the year again! The nominees for the coveted British Travel Awards have been released and we’re absolutely delighted to be able to announce that once again, we’ve been nominated as the Best UK Holiday Cottage/Self Catering Booking Company. We’ve managed to come out on top in the previous two editions of the BTAs and we’d love to make it three out of three, but we’re going to need your help!

Since their inception back in 2008, the British Travel Awards have quickly become the most prestigious prizes available in the UK travel industry with their logo becoming a hallmark of quality that takes pride of place on the victor’s website.

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Our previous two awards

The voting is now open and will run all the way through to the 30th of September; we’d absolutely delighted if you’d be willing to set aside a couple of moments to give us your vote. And, what’s more, if you do you’ll find yourself automatically entered into a draw that will give you the chance to win some fabulous prizes. For example tucked away in the BTA prize chest you’ll be able to find a luxury cruise along the River Danube, a trip over to Barcelona and of course £500 worth of Sykes vouchers, amongst plenty of others.

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So if you do fancy giving Sykes your vote, all you have to do is click on the above button. It will lead you through to the voting page where you have to fill in a very quick form and you’ll see your vote registered, as well as being entered into the grand prize draw.

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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.

Planning a Trip to the Zoo with Children

July 8th, 2015
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With the summer holidays fast approaching, zoos across the UK are getting ready to welcome thousands of guests as they make their way to the zoo for a family day out. But planning a trip to the zoo with children can be difficult; organising the transport, arranging the picnic, even deciding which of the animal enclosures to visit can be a challenge. To help make your next zoo visit run smoothly, we’ve put together a list of things to consider before leaving so that you and the kids can enjoy a hassle-free family day out this summer.

Weather

Family days out can often be put on hold when the weather turns grey but luckily you can visit your local zoo no matter what the weather, it’s just a case of what to take with you. For the colder days, we suggest layering up; many zoos have tropical realms to discover and wearing a heavy jumper can be rather unconformable in those tropical climates. For those hot summer days, we suggest a good hat and lots of sun tan lotion; walking around in the sun all day can take its toll so make sure to drink plenty of water too!

Transport

How do you plan on getting to the zoo? Many families will chose to drive; this is a great option as it allows you complete flexibility on arrival and departure times.  Before leaving make sure you check for any parking charges and pack plenty of change for the meter if needed. For those of us not driving, public transport makes an excellent alternative. Many zoos will offer a bus service straight to the entrance with a number of these also stopping by the local train station. Just make sure to check the train schedules and bus timetables before you go.

Food and drink

When it comes to food and drink at the zoo you have two options, bring your own or shop at the zoo. For those who choose to bring a picnic packed full of all your children’s favourite treats, make sure to consider the weather and check that the zoo has a covered eating area for greyer days. If you plan on purchasing lunch at the zoo, we’d suggest checking the zoo’s website beforehand to make sure they cater for any special dietary requirements you may have. Many zoos will offer children’s menus and facilities to heat up bottles but again, check this service is available before leaving.

Packing light

When packing your bag for the zoo think to yourself, do I really need this? Carrying around a heavy bag all day won’t do your back any good so make sure you only pack the essentials. If you do need to bring heavier items or if you’re planning a family picnic, we would advise renting a locker. Many zoos offer this locker service; all that’s required is a small charge and deposit. Once you have purchased your locker, you can leave the heavier items securely inside whilst you explore the zoo, nipping back to collect the items when needed.

Zoo Map

Walking around the zoo all day can be exhausting for adults and even worse for children, so we would advise taking a good look at a zoo map before leaving. Planning the route you take through the zoo will not only allow you to see the most animals but also to travel a lot less by ensuring that you don’t double back on yourself because you missed the giraffes. Many zoos will also have great transport facilities like a monorail or boat; these are great ways to get a new and exciting view of the zoo without consuming too much energy.

And there you have it, our top tips for planning a visit to the zoo with children. If you have any tips that you think would be of use to our customers then let us know! You can connect with us on both Facebook and 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.