Reasons to Rent a Holiday Cottage When Attending a Wedding

April 10th, 2014
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The wedding season is almost upon us and in no time at all we’ll find ourselves inundated with invasions from friends and family beckoning us to their big day. For most it’s a privilege to be asked to a wedding but for others it involves weeks of tactical planning; what to wear, which gift to purchase or even where to stay! The UK isn’t as small as it looks and often when you’re invited to a wedding it can mean hours of travelling. Sadly these long journeys usually find us circling the ‘unable to attend’ box and missing the celebrations completely. To keep from letting the happy couple down why not rent a holiday cottage? There are a number of benefits to booking cottage accommodation when attending a wedding and below you will find just a few of the best.

Visiting Friends and Family

Bwthyn Bach in Newport, Ref 6161

Bwthyn Bach in Newport, Ref 6161

If you’re travelling to a wedding it generally means that friends and family live quite far away, so as well as celebrating the union of two people a wedding can be a great excuse for a catch-up! Booking a holiday cottage for a week or even a few days allows you the freedom to visit family members you haven’t seen in months or a few friends that aren’t attending the wedding. A couple of extra days away gives you the chance to take in the local sights and sounds or even cure your deadly hangover from the night before.

Space and Time

Stonetrough Barn in Masham, Ref 22290

Stonetrough Barn in Masham, Ref 22290

Getting ready for a wedding can be a stressful experience especially if you’re confined to a small hotel room or rushing down for breakfast at a B&B. Booking a self-catering holiday cottage can help relieve some of this stress by providing a fully equipped kitchen and plenty of space to stretch out. Take your time in the morning, relax in a hot bath or enjoy a power shower before leisurely getting ready in our spacious bedrooms. With no set breakfast time, our homely kitchens are perfect for grabbing a light bite before heading out to the church.

Peace and Quiet

Groom's Rooms in Bedale, Ref 22462

Groom’s Rooms in Bedale, Ref 22462

Weddings are usually held on a Friday or Saturday and when staying in a hotel or B&B you can often find that other guests are quite loud and will disturb your rest. At our self-catering cottages you can be sure of a good night’s sleep which will leave you feeling refreshed come the day of the wedding. Our plush beds and luxurious bedding will be a welcome comfort for your feet after all the fabulous dance moves from the night before and your head is sure to thank you for the soft pillows after one too many glasses of champagne.

Bridal Hideaway

Here in the UK it’s considered bad luck for the bride to see her groom before the wedding so many couples spend the evening in separate accommodation. Our cottages are perfect for a bridal hideaway or a groom’s escape; with plenty of space to get the bridal party or ushers ready on the morning of the wedding. You could even rent one of our cottages with a hot tub and spend your last night of freedom with a bottle of wine and close friends and family, reliving all the wonderful moments you’ve shared with your soon to be husband or wife.

I hope this list of reasons to book a holiday cottage for attending a wedding has convinced you that self-catering properties are the right choice for you this year. If you need any help finding a property near your wedding venue then please feel free to contact our holiday specialists on  01244 356695 – they’re experts at finding cottages to suit your location!

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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.

Sykes’ Best Places for a Pet Friendly Holiday

April 9th, 2014
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You might not be aware of it but this month is all about our four legged friends. That’s right, from the first of April right the way through to the fifth of May it’s officially National Pet Month, and what’s more it’s the 25th edition of the event with a special theme of ‘celebrating our pets’ and this is exactly what we’ll be doing here at Sykes.

For our first National Pet Month we’ll be looking at one of the best ways to treat your dogs: taking them away with you next time you go on holiday. Here at Sykes, we have over 2,000 pet friendly holiday cottages for you to pick from and whilst this number gives you plenty of options we know that it can be difficult to find the right place to plan your getaway. So, we’ve had a look to see if we could narrow it down a bit by finding some of the best areas to go away with your dog.

Lake District

via. Flickr

If you’re looking for the perfect pet’s playground then the Lake District could well be the place for you! With beautiful woodlands, mountains and more lakes than you could shake a stick at, ‘Scamp’ will well and truly be in his element. You could maybe treat your pooch to a walk in Grizedale Forest or even go on a little cruise on Lake Windermere, and if your furry friend starts to run out of steam then I’m sure you’ll be able to find a tasty snack in a country pub or tea room. So take a look at our pet friendly properties in the Lake District as you’ll need somewhere for a bit of R&R after all those long walks in the country.


via. Flickr

Another old favourite for a dog friendly holiday is Norfolk. Whilst you’re there you’ll never struggle to find a beautiful beach where the pooch can stretch his legs, with Old Hunstanton and Holkham Bay both coming highly recommended. Or if you fancy heading inland you’ll be able to find miles and miles of beautiful woodlands, pay a visit to one of the counties fantastic country estates or even take a little boat trip along the Norfolk Broads. So what are you waiting for? Book yourself a pet friendly cottage in Norfolk and get packing!

South West


via Flickr

For a long time the South West has been one of our more popular holiday destinations with its pristine beaches and beautiful countryside but both of these things also make it an absolute haven for our four legged friends. Cornwall makes for the ultimate doggy holiday destination with its miles of sandy beaches and open grasslands that are perfect for stretching those legs. Or there’s also the Exmoor National Park in Devon where you’ll find over 250 square miles of moorland, woodland, valleys and cliffs for ‘Fido’ to explore. What’s more, we have over 200 cottages in the South West of the country that welcome pets, so there’s no excuse for you to leave the pooch in kennels whilst you’re living it up.

So there you go, some of the best places in the country to go away with a dog, and what’s more all three of them feature in our very own dog walking guide containing the best routes for you and your four legged friends to stretch your legs together. But don’t forget that there are plenty of other options open to you, just take a look at our full selection of dog friendly cottages and wait for one to catch your eye.

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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.

Easter Crafts and Activities

April 8th, 2014
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The Easter holidays are here, and whilst we’re all hoping to get out in the glorious sunshine it’s always worth having a back-up plan of things to do indoors should the weather not go your way or for a change of scenery. Today we’re showing some of our favourite Easter related crafts and activities that are sure to keep the whole family entertained on any indoor days this Easter holiday.

Shredded Wheat Nests

Image via Flickr

One of the best parts about Easter is all of the yummy food that’s not only fun to eat but also fun to make and chocolate nests filled with mini eggs tick both of those boxes! Whilst young children may need some help when melting the chocolate, they can still get involved with stirring and placing the eggs in the nest.

Makes twelve nests

  • 170g Shredded wheat (or another breakfast cereal – cornflakes and rice krispies work quite well)
  • 250g Chocolate
  • 50g Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons of Golden Syrup
  • A bag of mini eggs
  • Cake cases


  1. Crumble the wheat biscuits into a large bowl (no need to crumble if you’re using another type of cereal)
  2. Melt the chocolate by breaking it into a small bowl with the butter, then put the bowl over a small pan of simmering water making sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir the mixture until it is melted.
  3. Once the chocolate and butter have melted together, take the bowl off the heat, add the syrup then stir again.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with your cereal and mix together until all of the cereal is covered.
  5. Once combined, spoon the mixture into bun cases and top each nest with 2-3 mini eggs.
  6. If you can resist the temptation, leave the nests to one side to set for thirty minutes before tucking in!

Easy Easter Crafts

Image via Flickr

One of those things that are always kept and treasured by family members are homemade cards, so what better craft activity to do this Easter than to create some? Get out all the kids’ craft materials; paper, glue, glitter and whatever else you have lying around and let their imaginations run wild creating Easter themed master pieces for friends and family. Why not try finger painting little chicks or rabbits onto the fronts of the card, drawing on stick legs and eyes? If you have any colourful pom poms and pipe cleaners around, why not make them into cute Easter finger puppets? Twist the pipe cleaner around your finger, attach a pom pom to the top and decorate with googly eyes and more pipe cleaners depending on what animal you are creating! 

Throw an Easter Themed Party

Image via Flickr

For a fun and festive afternoon why not have an Easter themed tea party? Spend the morning making Easter bunting out of scrap paper and decorating the house and the afternoon having loads of Easter fun! Have a buffet lunch of shredded wheat nests, hot cross buns, carrot sticks, egg sandwiches and any other Easter themed food you can think of. For a really special treat you could make a crème egg hot chocolate by melting a crème egg into hot milk. Once everyone has refuelled with Easter treats, why not play some Easter related games? Have an egg and spoon race or a mini Easter egg hunt before playing pin the tail on the rabbit using a printed picture of a bunny and some cotton wool with double sided sticky tape as the tail. Once the fun is over and everyone is tired out, put on the kids’ favourite film and have a relaxing evening.

We hope that some of our ideas here have given you some inspiration on things to do with your children indoors over the Easter holidays. Let us know on Twitter or Facebook what fun your family will be getting up to this Easter!

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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.

Celebrate the Commonwealth Games in Scotland

April 8th, 2014
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The end of the London 2012 Olympic Games left most people hankering for another sports competition of a similar scale and, in just a few months’ time, the wait will be over. Set to take Glasgow by storm this July, the Commonwealth Games promises to be a spectacular sporting show.

And we’re welcoming this news in more ways than one. Yes, we’re excited to see some world-class sport on UK soil, but we also think it represents a great opportunity for anyone planning on attending the Games to discover Scotland at the same time!

For an in depth look at the ins and outs of the Games, as well as information on what to see in Scotland during your visit, check out our useful guide to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games below.

Sykes-Cottages inforgraphic 2

Scotland’s homegrown sports stars

Scotland is an amazing place for sport lovers thanks to its incredible sporting heritage. In fact, it’s home to some of the UK’s best-loved sports stars.

Celebrated for being one of the UK’s finest tennis players to emerge in recent decades, Andy Murray is a true sporting hero. The British number one snatched the Wimbledon men’s singles title in 2013 – a grand follow-up to nabbing Olympic gold in 2012.

Sir Chris Hoy also shone at London 2012. In terms of Olympic gold medals, he’s actually the most successful British Olympian of all time. His rounded off his career in real style at London 2012, taking home two gold medals before his retirement.

Bronze medallist at the recent Sochi Games, Eve Muirhead won the 2013 World Women’s Curling Championship, making her the youngest female ever to have done so – she was just 22 when she took the title.

Going to the Games? Discover Scotland too!

We think going to the Games presents the perfect opportunity to see more of Scotland – especially given the fact that there’s just so much to do and see!

More sports fixtures

Can’t get enough of sports? The Commonwealth Games isn’t the only major event hitting Scotland this summer. If you fancy seeing some quintessentially Scottish sports, get yourself to the Highland Games this June.

Held in Fife, this event features all kinds of unusual activities – including haggis throwing. Whoever hurls it furthest wins!

Meanwhile, later in the year the 2014 Ryder Cup will be hosted at Gleneagles in Perthshire – a must for golf lovers.

Other attractions

Scotland is home to a wide array of amazing attractions, so it’d be a real shame to make sport the only feature of your itinerary. For instance, why not take a trip to the lovely Loch Ness? This is the largest lake in Scotland by volume, and you might even catch a glimpse of the elusive Nessie…

Intrigued by tales of castles and adventure? Travel to Aberdeenshire and follow the fabulous Castle Trail, which will lead you to 17 of the area’s most atmospheric and impressive fortifications.

Prefer to get a more literal taste of the places you visit? Head to Edinburgh instead and discover one of the Scotland’s most famous products – whisky. The Scotch Whisky Experience will not only tell you all about the whisky-making process, but also give you a chance to taste some for yourself!

So what are you waiting for? Organise your trip to Scotland today.

Let the Games Begin

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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.

Getaway to North Yorkshire this Easter!

April 7th, 2014
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For many, the upcoming bank holiday means four precious days of freedom; so use it wisely by booking a last minute getaway for the Easter break. Plenty of our properties are still available for the Easter weekend, so choose your favourite and reserve it quick-sharp to avoid missing out!

Worried it’s just the dud-destinations where properties are still available? Worry not. From Cornwall to the Lake District, we’ve still got plenty of holiday rentals to choose from at fair and affordable prices. To see our full range of holiday lets that are still available for the Easter weekend, visit our Easter Cottages page.

Before you choose your favourite destination however, take a minute to read today’s blog, where we’ll be giving you a few reasons why we think North Yorkshire is the ideal destination for a long Easter weekend.

Reason 1: There’s lots to do outdoors

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

From mountain biking through the lush trees of Dalby Forest to wandering through the Shambles of York, North Yorkshire is a haven for those who like to spend their time in the open-air. With the weather outlook for the bank holiday too far ahead for an accurate prediction, we can’t promise you sunshine, but if you’re travelling to Yorkshire over Easter, make sure to pack a mac to make the most of the county’s outdoor activities and attractions!

Reason 2: There’s lots to do indoors, too

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

If the weather does look set to bring a halt to your outdoor pursuits, don’t fret as North Yorkshire offers plenty of things to see and do indoors too. Travelling with kids? Head to the National Railway Museum in York to learn the history of Britain’s railways. Or, experience the sights and sounds of World War Two with a visit to Eden Camp near Malton, a unique museum housed in an original WWII POW camp. Alternatively if you’re going it alone on a romantic break with your partner, discover one of North Yorkshire’s ancient castles- Hawes, Leyburn, Middleham and Reeth to name but a few.

Reason 3: Beaches, beaches, beaches

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Whether we’re blessed with warm weather over the Easter weekend or not, the beach is still a firm favourite amongst holidaymakers. From sand castle building to blustery dog walks, the coast is somewhere to escape to for a truly invigorating getaway. The North Yorkshire coast happens to be one of the best in the UK, offering a wonderful blend of rugged sea cliffs, fascinating villages and some of the most coveted swathes of sand in England. Blue Flag beaches in North Yorkshire include Whitby’s West Cliff and North Bay in Scarborough, so if you’re travelling with children, be sure to pay at least one of these a visit.

Reason 4: North Yorkshire Cottages Galore!

With welcoming cottages scattered from coast to country across North Yorkshire, there’s nowhere better for a stimulating getaway this Easter. So what are you waiting for? Treat yourself and the kids to a fun-filled family holiday or use those precious days off to whisk the other half away on an impromptu short break. We’ve a handful of cottages that are still available to rent in North Yorkshire over the Easter weekend, so choose your favourite and reserve yours today by visiting our North Yorkshire cottages page.

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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.