Dog Friendly Days Out

July 7th, 2015
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The demand for dog friendly days out in the UK is on the rise and with hundreds of attractions now welcoming dogs, it’s never been easier to plan a trip with your four legged friend. If you’re planning a dog friendly day out this year but are still unsure on what to do, then keep reading as we suggest our five favourite places to visit for a day out with man’s best friend.

Coed y Brenin Forest Park

With numerous trails to choose from, the smells, noises and texture of the Coed y Brenin Forest Park are sure to excite your dog’s senses. Whether you decide to walk or run through the park, we’re sure your four legged friend will have a fantastic time keeping pace, even if they do make the occasional stop in search of the biggest stick! The staff at the visitor centre are extremely friendly and always happy to help, so if you need advice on which route best suites your skill level it’s worth stopping by to make use of their expert park knowledge.

Crich Tramway Village

For a museum visit with a difference, we suggest taking a trip to Crich Tramway Village in Derbyshire. This wonderful attraction welcomes dogs free of charge, so you and your pooch are free to explore the village at your leisure, with the exception of the catering establishments and indoor children’s play area. Take your dog on a tram ride through the village and let them hang their head out the window as they take in their surroundings, or visit the great exhibition hall which houses the largest collection of vintage electric trams in the UK!

Framlingham Castle

If you’re looking for a historic day out for you and your dog then Framlingham Castle is the place for you. This impressive structure has been around for more than 800 years but with towers reaching a spectacular height of 10.5 metres and walls as thick as 2.3 metres, it’s not hard to see why. Explore the grounds of Framlingham Castle this summer and you and your pooch can enjoy extensive views over the Suffolk countryside whilst learning all about this formidable castle’s intriguing history.

Compton Bay

Whether they’re digging in the sand, playing amongst the surf or chasing frisbees over the dunes, dogs just love to be at the beach. One of our favourite dog friendly beaches is Compton Bay on the Isle of Wight; with both golden and dark sands, spectacular coastal views and great walks nearby, it’s a must for dog owners. Playing on Compton Bay will allow your pooch the opportunity to meet lots of new doggy friends and as long as you stay between Hanover Point and Brook Chine, you and your dog can enjoy the beach all year!

Eden Project

The Eden Project is one of Cornwall’s most popular attractions and since 2013, it has allowed dogs to explore the outdoor gardens at no extra charge. This is a perfect area for exercising your dog, with miles of outdoor garden paths to discover. The Eden Project has gone to great lengths to ensure that you and your dog feel welcome at the attraction and even provide water bowls and an undercover dining area, so that you and your four legged friend can enjoy a picnic together in the grounds.

These are just some of the fantastic days out you can have in the UK with your dog and with hundreds more out there, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to planning a day with your best friend. If you were hoping to spend a little more quality time with your pooch this year then why not take a look at our dog friendly cottages? With over 3,000 to choose from, we’re sure to have something that suits both of your tastes!

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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.

Walk of the Month: Catbells

July 5th, 2015
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July has really snuck up on us here in the Sykes Cottages office, it feels like only yesterday I sat down to write June’s edition of Walk of the Month on Aber Falls and now I find myself here again, ready to suggest another exciting UK walking route. You’ll be pleased to hear that we’re sticking with the water theme for July and heading north to the Lake District, where we’ve stumbled across an exciting trail at Catbells.

Catbells is an idyllic fell located in the Lake District National Park overlooking Derwentwater; at 1,481 feet tall, the fell offers spectacular views over the surrounding countryside, Keswick, Derwentwater and Borrowdale. The Catbells route is extremely popular with walkers and has received high praise on TripAdvisor with a certificate of excellence and hundreds of positive comments.

The Walk

Catbells is a 3.7 mile walk with a steep climb and although the route does include some scrambling, it shouldn’t take any longer than two and a half hours to complete. The walk looks harder than it is in places but as long as you have good walking shoes and plenty of water, you’ll do just fine. This route is great for families and with plenty of open space, it’s even suitable for the dog!

The Route

Start your journey from the small parking area near Hawse End and follow the signposts marked “Cat Bells 1 Mile”. Continue along the narrow path across the hillside and round to the north ridge,before bearing right onto the steep zigzag path that takes you up the nose of the ridge. Once you get to the memorial stone to Thomas Arthur Leonard, the scrambly bit begins.

Continue over Skelgill Bank and make your way up, it may appear a little steep and difficult but don’t worry, just take care and use three points of contact when pulling yourself up. When you reach an obstacle that looks like a piece of overhanging rock you are best to go straight over. As you near the top of the fell there are many routes to choose from, we would suggest taking the loose path to your right as it’s less difficult. Once over this section you will soon come to the summit, with its breath-taking views we highly recommend taking a picture or two!

Follow the path over the summit and down to the col at House Gate where four paths join together. Turn left and follow the steep steps down the hillside. Once you have reached the bottom, turn left and follow the wide track back to the foot of the north ridge.

Once you reach the road you can return to the car park by turning left and then left again.

To view the route map please click here.

Rent a cottage in Keswick with Sykes Cottages

The Hayloft Reference 9031

The Hayloft Reference 9031

If you’re looking for an idyllic lake side retreat where you can spend your mornings walking over Catbells fell, then our Keswick cottages are for you! Filled with character, these cottages are perfect for those looking to explore the Lake District’s many walking routes and cycle paths and with cottages sleeping up to 11 people, there is plenty of room for the whole family!

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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.

Visit the Northumberland Coast this Summer

July 4th, 2015
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Renowned for its unspoilt beaches and dramatic coastlines, the Northumberland coast is one of the most striking and spectacular parts of the UK. As a coastal destination it can sometimes receive less attention than others, for example those in the South West, but this is a real shame as Northumberland has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country and deserves to spend more time in the spotlight. It’s a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and covers over 39 miles of coastline but below are just some of the highlights of the Northumberland coast.

Bamburgh Castle

One of Northumberland’s most iconic landmarks, Bamburgh Castle stands proudly on the coastline at Bamburgh looking out across the North Sea. Although the castle itself is a relatively new structure, restored during the Victorian era, there has been a defensive structure here since the 11th century. It’s certainly an impressive sight to behold and definitely worth a visit.


This bustling and colourful fishing village is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Northumberland coastline. Well known for its pretty harbour and retro seaside atmosphere, Seahouses is perfect for a holiday with family or friends. Seahouses boasts an Aladdin’s cave of interesting shops, an abundance of real ale pubs offering nearby Farne Island Ale and plenty of opportunity to experience nature with boat trips out to the Farne Islands to see seabirds and seals.

Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Holy Island Northumberland coast

Holy Island of Lindisfarne

A real treasure in the part of the country, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne is like entering another world. Cut off from the Northumberland coast by the tide twice a day, this serene island is a place of pilgrimage for over 650,000 visitors a year. Although it’s not just religion that brings people here, but nature too as here you can see rare plants, birds and also seals; the tranquillity and spectacular views might also add to its popularity! Visitors can either walk the ‘Pilgrim Path’ at low tide or take the ferry across during high tide. Please plan your visit carefully and check the tide times before you set off.


Newton-by-the-Sea, or Low Newton as it’s known to locals, is considered by many to be one of the prettiest places in Northumberland. The National Trust owns most of the village, which consists of picturesque white-washed cottages located around an open-ended square, looking out onto the delightful sandy beach and the sea. In the middle of the square is The Ship Inn, which offers delicious food and real ales from its own microbrewery. Tucked away from the main tourist hotspots, Newton-by-the-Sea is a real hidden gem of the Northumberland’s Heritage Coast.

Cottages on the Northumberland Coast

At Sykes Cottages, we have a large number of holiday cottages along the Northumberland coastline for you to choose from. From cosy hideaways for a romantic getaway, to spacious and homely cottages for a family break, we’ll endeavour to find the perfect self-catering cottage in Northumberland to suit you. To get in touch with our holiday advisors today, please call 01244 356 695 or send us an email.

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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.

Why You Should Book a Coastal Break in the UK

July 3rd, 2015
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I think it’s safe to say that we’re a nation of beach lovers! As soon as there’s a bit of good weather, we all seem to flock to the nearest beach and set up shop for the day, but have you thought about taking your next holiday on the British coast? That’s right you can forget all about the Costa del Sol, we’ve got plenty of spots on the UK coast that can more than stand up for themselves! So take a look here to find out why you should spend your next holiday on the UK coast!

The Beaches

We might as well start with the obvious answer mightn’t we? If there’s one thing you can bank on for a UK coastal break, it’s the fantastic beaches! There are well over 150 Blue Flag beaches dotted all around the UK, from the Cornish Coast right up to the North of Scotland, so you’re bound to be spoilt for choice no matter where you go, just remember to pack the bucket and spade!

The Food

Then there’s the seaside food! Ice creams on the beach, seafood fresh from the boat and of course some proper fish and chips, what else could you want? Or maybe you fancy something a little more fancier? Well in Cornwall alone you’ve got Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant and Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, all just a stone’s throw away from the sea!

The Walks

Whether it’s a gentle stroll along the beach, a cliff top wander or a hike along a section of one of the fantastic coastal paths on offer, you just can’t beat going for a walk when you’re on a UK coastal break. There are stunning sections of coastal path all around the UK just waiting for you to explore them and in fact, plans have been put in motion to open up an uninterrupted path right around the whole of the English coast, which should be completed by 2020. But don’t worry if you can’t wait that long, just take a look at The Guardian’s top 10 coastal walks where you’re sure to find one that you fancy.

The Seaside Towns

If there’s one thing that we do well here in the UK it’s definitely the seaside towns. Arcades, donkey rides, Punch and Judy shows – need I say any more? Then there’s the good old fashioned piers; the ultimate sign of a proper British seaside town! A visit to any seaside resort will help you relive some old memories and experience the nostalgia of childhood breaks, so what are you waiting for?

The Wildlife


Photo Courtesy of

If you need any more convincing then there’s also the fantastic array of wildlife that calls the UK coast home. From the puffins up at John O’Groats, all the way through to the dolphins frolicking off the South Coast- they’re all a sight to behold! And it’s no problem if you want to get even closer to the action! There are countless companies offering boat trips out to the wildlife hotspots letting you get up close and take a few snaps for the holiday albums.

So hopefully you won’t need any more convincing, maybe you’re even packing already? If so, you’ll definitely want to take a look at our selection of coastal cottages so that you have the perfect place to retreat to after a long day at the seaside.

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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.

Britain’s Best Coastal Views

July 1st, 2015
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In the UK, we’re incredibly lucky to be blessed with an abundance of stunning sea views; there’s no denying that as an island nation, our views are hard to beat.  So if you’re in need of a pick-me-up this Wednesday evening, grab a brew and settle down to discover Britain’s top 10 coastal views.

Seven Sisters, East Sussex

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Durdle Door, Dorset

Antony Gormley’s Another Place, Merseyside

Three Cliffs Bay, Gower

Lundy Island, Devon

Seilebost, Outer Hebrides

St Ives Harbour, Cornwall

Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire

Robin Hood's Bay

Robin Hood’s Bay

Neist Point, Isle of Skye

If our blog on Britain’s best coastal views has whet your appetite for a seaside holiday in the UK then make sure you visit our page on coastal holiday cottages, there are plenty of incredible views out there for you to explore!

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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.