Scotland’s Best Pet Friendly Pubs

February 21st, 2015
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Here at Sykes we know how much people love to take their dogs away on holiday with them; after all, we’ve got over two and a half thousand cottages that welcome pooches with open arms! And our four legged friends love it! Instead of being left back in the kennels they’re living it up in the fresh surroundings, with plenty of new people to meet and smells to sniff. And then there’s the walks! Rather than a march around the block or a trip down to the park they get long wanders through the Great British countryside and, as it turns out, just like us they’re rather partial to a stop off in a quaint country pub – especially if there’s the chance of a bit of grub. But believe it or not, there are some pubs that don’t welcome our pups! So we’ve taken a look at some of the best pet friendly pubs north of the border so you know where to take your pooch when you’re away!

Clachaig Inn, Glencoe

Tucked away in the heart of beautiful Glen Coe is the Clachaig Inn. Ever popular with the numerous tourists who pay a visit to Glen Coe each year, the Clachaig Inn makes the perfect spot for you and your pooch to kick back and relax after a long day exploring the glen. Both of the bars in the inn are dog friendly meaning that you’ll have the run of the place and with an incredible variety of locally sourced foods – from a full Scottish breakfast through to venison pastrami – it might be a hard job forcing yourself to leave!

 The Drover’s Inn, Inverarnan

Second on our list is The Drover’s Inn, just off the West Highland Way at the top of Loch Lomond. Originally forming a stop off point for the cattle drovers moving their herds southwards down from the highlands it now plays host to the countless walkers making their way through the beautiful countryside. Rumour has it that the Inn is haunted by the ghost of one such drover who was killed by a rival gang over three hundred years ago, but you and your four legged friend needn’t worry about that! Instead you can just put your paws up and maybe even test yourselves against the Braveheart Burger.

The Stein Inn, Waternish

Next up we’ve got the oldest pub on the whole of the Isle of Skye, the Stein Inn. Situated on the Waternish peninsula on the North Western tip of the island, the Stein Inn was founded back in the 18th century and still retains much of its original charm. Featuring a traditional highland bar complete with over 100 different varieties of malt whisky and the Stein Inn’s very own ale the “Reeling Deck”, a smouldering peat fire and stunning views out over the Hebrides it’s the perfect place to sink a pint in the company of your pooch.

So there you go, hopefully you and Fido will have found this useful and who knows, your furry friend might even be planning his next trip north of the Border. Or maybe you know of some other great pet friendly pubs in Scotland? If so let us know and we’ll help spread the word!

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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.

Walk of the Month: Coniston to Tarn Hows Wildlife Walk

February 20th, 2015
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The February half term is nearly over, but before your little tykes tootle off back to school, let them loose on a wonderful wildlife walk in Cumbria.

Cumbria is one of England’s wildest and most beautiful counties; much of it is mountainous and rural, and it’s famously home to the UK’s beloved national park, the Lake District.

'Coniston Water' by Triker-Sticks is licensed under CC 2.0

Coniston Water by Triker-Sticks is licensed under CC 2.0

Head to just any old area of the county this time of year however, and you’ll likely be met with long queues and lots of crowds. The Lake District is one of the UK’s most popular winter holiday destinations, so be prepared to share the beauty en masse.

Or, don’t. Look closely enough, and it’s still possible to find peace and tranquillity amid this coveted wilderness – even during the half term. Attached below is a wonderful wildlife walk that’ll see you and the kids whisked off on a remote hike in a jiff.

The Walk

At five miles, the route poses a fair challenge for amateur hikers, and should take around 2 ½ hours to complete. The trail follows a figure of eight from Coniston Water to Tarn Hows, taking in the majestic walled garden of Monk Coniston Hall en route.

The Route

Park in the Monk Coniston car park to north of Coniston Water before taking the path into the opposing field. Follow the path until you come to a wood. Beyond the trees, you’ll come to the pleasant walled garden of Monk Coniston Hall.

Walk of the Month - Coniston B

Herdwicks by atypicalblog is licensed under CC 2.0

When you’ve tired of the grounds, continue onwards, taking extra care crossing the road if you’re walking with young children. Ahead of you lies more woodland, where you should keep your eyes peeled for the elusive red squirrel; a beloved species which has endured in the area for centuries.

Soon, you’ll come to a narrow bridge; cross this and continue on the path signposted ‘Tarn Hows car park’. You’ll find pockets of open pastureland land ahead, where you may see a flock of Cumbria’s Herdwick Sheep. These delightful livestock are born with a brown coat and white face, and have grown to become a symbol of the Lake District.

As the path winds across heathland toward Tarn Hows, keep your eyes peeled for adders and lizards, which can often be spotted scurrying into the brush. When you reach Tarn Hows, take the circular trail around the water, enjoying the stunning views across the lake to the distant fells beyond.

When you reach the car park, follow the exit road back towards Coniston. The first footpath on your right will lead you to Tarn Hows Cottage. Don’t go all the way there however; instead, take the footpath on your left which will lead you downhill to Boon Crag Farm. And don’t rush – the view is simply beautiful here.

Before long, you’ll reach the farm; turn left towards the saw mill until you reach the road. Once there, turn right and follow the footpath towards Coniston Water and the car park at Monk Coniston.

Download the comprehensive route and map for this walk here.

Rent a self-catering cottage in the Lake District

The Lake District is ideal for all sorts of outdoorsy activities. Whether it be walking, cycling, climbing or kayaking, you and the kids will love exploring this wild and wonderful land. To book your Lake District break, choose your favourite Cumbrian holiday home today, and get set for a refreshing break this spring.

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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.

Sykes’ Spotlight on Pet Friendly Cottages for More Than One Pet

February 19th, 2015
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When I was a child I hated having to wave goodbye to the family dogs as we left on our annual holiday so now that I’m older I take every opportunity I can to pack them into the car with me and head off on an adventure together. It turns out I’m not the only one who hates to leave my loyal companions behind as thousands of people book up our pet friendly cottages each year.

Booking a cottage when you have just one pooch can be hard enough but what happens if you have a pack? Well here at Sykes Cottages we have the answer: hundreds of pet-friendly cottages that will accept two or more pets! Keep reading to see a selection of our favourite pet friendly cottages for more than one pet or head on over to our pet friendly cottages page and start searching for your next holiday today!

The Stables, Horton-in-Ribblesdale

912240

The Stables (Ref. 912240)

Located on the outskirts of a picturesque country village, The Stables are ideal for dog owners who like to stretch their legs. This gorgeous two bedroom property offers visitors and their four legged friends various walks straight from the doorstep so you can head out and explore famous areas such as the Pennine Way and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Driftwood Cottage, Baycliff

26010

Driftwood Cottage (Ref. 26010)

Driftwood Cottage offers everything you need on a dog friendly holiday; there is a comfortable enclosed patio with spectacular views over Morecambe Bay and direct access to the beach as well as a cosy woodburner in the sitting area. Days can be filled playing amongst the surf whilst cosy evenings are spent reading by firelight – something for both dogs and owner!

Loo Bridge Railway Station, Killarney

Low Bridge Railway Station (Ref. 17893)

Low Bridge Railway Station (Ref. 17893)

Ideally situated between the two popular towns of Kenmare and Killarney, Low Bridge Railway Station not only benefits from fantastic amenities but also easy access to the National Park which is home to some of Ireland’s best scenery. When you’re done exploring the local area simply sit back and relax in the large lawned garden or one of the four stylishly decorated bedrooms.

Hillbrook House, Nolton Haven

Hillbrook House (Ref. 30296)

Hillbrook House (Ref. 30296)

This charming seaside cottage is perfect for a family or a group of friends wanting to explore the Welsh coastline with a wonderful sheltered beach just 30 strides from the front door. Once you’ve had your fill of the beach (if that’s possible!) visit the enclosed natural grass garden and unwind in the summerhouse or host a delicious BBQ as the sun sets over the Welsh countryside.

The Barn, Saham Hills

The Barn (Ref. 26593)

The Barn (Ref. 26593)

Nestled in the Norfolk countryside, The Barn has been finished to a high standard making it a welcome retreat for the whole family. This property accommodates four dogs and the owners even offer a dog sitting service by prior arrangement should you need it. At The Barn you’ll have your own private enclosed garden as well as use of the paddock so plenty of room to exercise the dogs!

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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.

Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year in the UK

February 18th, 2015
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Tomorrow marks the beginning of a New Year on the Chinese calendar, a year that promises peace and tranquillity according to the Chinese zodiac. 2015 is the Year of the Ram, also known as the Year of the Sheep or the Goat, and during the coming week the UK will play host to a number of special events dedicated to welcoming in the New Year.  If you would like to attend one of these spectacular events then keep reading as we suggest the best places to celebrate Chinese New Year in the UK!

Liverpool

Liverpool’s China Town was the first established in Europe and is home to the largest Chinese arch in the world outside of China, so it should come as no surprise that this lively destination makes it to the top of our list. Visit Liverpool’s China Town this Sunday (February 22nd) and you will be treated to a Chinese New Year Market, Dragon and Lion Street Parades and an incredible Fireworks display.

London

Not one to be outdone, England’s capital city holds the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia. From tomorrow until Saturday, the streets of London will be brought to life as Chinese dragons make their way through the streets and lanterns are hung from shop windows and trees. The best locations to see the displays are Trafalgar Square, China Town & Shaftsbury Avenue.

Nottingham

This year is the 10th anniversary of the University of Nottingham’s China campus in Ningbo, and to celebrate the occasion they’ve planned an extra special programme of events. Visit the university this year on Sunday 22nd and you’ll find Chinese crafts and workshops, brush painting, ribbon and fan dances, traditional story telling from China and much more! The day’s celebrations will end with a highly anticipated fireworks display at Highfields Park.

Southampton

The Chinese Association of Southampton will be putting on a fantastic display to celebrate Chinese New Year on Sunday 22nd in the West Quay Shopping Centre. Their expertly put together programme includes a lion dance, traditional Chinese dancing, Chinese folk songs, ancient art of face changing, Chinese music recitals, Kung Fu display, and a historical costume show. The whole thing kicks off at 11 a.m. so make sure you get there early and beat the crowds!

If you know of any Chinese celebrations happening near you then be sure to let us know! You can share your images from the day with us on Facebook & 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.

Ten Facts about Pancakes

February 17th, 2015
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It’s here, it’s here! After a bit of a false start when one of the Sykes team thought Pancake Day was last week (there was an upsetting moment of realisation and then a lot of consoling…) Shrove Tuesday is really here and of course we can’t let one of the tastiest days of the year go by without a blog post. We’re serving up a stack of pancake facts, drizzling them with mouthwatering images and spreading some topping ideas.

Ten Flippin’ Good Pancake Facts

  1. Pancakes were originally created as a way to use up the leftover fatty and rich foods before the beginning of lent.
  2. In Britain we use an estimated 55 million eggs on Pancake Day, which is around 22 million more than usual.
  3. The number of pancakes tossed in the quickest time is 349 tosses in 2 minutes. The accolade is held by Dean Gould of Suffolk.
  4. On average, we each eat two pancakes on Shrove Tuesday in Britain. This totals a huge 117 million pancakes consumed in Britain.
  5. In France, you would often make a wish whilst flipping the pancake during cooking whilst holding a coin in the other hand.
  6. It seems that Shakespeare was quite a fan of pancakes, as they feature in his plays. Most notably Act 1 Scene 2 of As You Like It. To flip or not to flip… that is the question.
  7. Supposedly, before baking soda was created, cooks used to use freshly fallen snow as an ingredient in pancakes to ensure they were soft and fluffy.
  8. The largest stack of pancakes was 76cm tall and was created by a pile of 60 pancakes. This broke the world record in 2012.
  9. Russian Andrei Smirnov once ate 73 pancakes in one hour.
  10. The highest pancake toss recorded reached 329cm high.

Eggcellent Topping Suggestions

We seem to be quite a traditional bunch here at Sykes Cottages, as a quick ask around the team revealed that the majority of us stick to the typical lemon and sugar on our pancakes (although a few of us did say that it has to be Nutella, yum!) In order to spread some inspiration, we thought sharing a couple of alternative toppings would be a good idea to get your creative juices flowing. Plus, they each sound flipping good if you ask me…

If you have a sweet tooth why not try banana and honey, fruit and whipped cream or the ultimate winter warmer of fried apples, cinnamon and honey.

If savoury is more your thing, why not treat yourself to an American brunch style pancake by having it with crispy bacon and fried eggs or fully indulge with scrambled eggs and salmon.

So, when it comes to pancakes… how do you eat yours? Tweet us and let us know!

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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.