Sykes’ Spotlight on New Irish Cottages

October 14th, 2014
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Our portfolio of properties is constantly expanding not only here in the UK but across the sea in Ireland too. As we frequently blog about our recently acquired UK cottages, we thought it’s about time we highlighted some of our new Irish holiday homes. From stylish modern properties to cottages filled with character, and idyllic coastal getaways to cosy country retreats, our new cottages offer something to suit all tastes.

Cherrymount Farm

Cherrymount Farm | Youghal, County Cork | Ref:  914203

Cherrymount Farm | Youghal, County Cork | Ref: 914203

Cherrymount Farm is the perfect example of a modern Irish cottage, offering WiFi, underfloor central heating and solar panels. This immaculately presented five bedroom property is located on the border between Waterford and Cork so it’s ideal for exploring both counties and making the most of your holiday.

Coachman’s House

Coachman's House | Lorrha, County Tipperary | Ref: 915464

Coachman’s House | Lorrha, County Tipperary | Ref: 915464

Packed full of character, Coachman’s House in County Tipperary provides everything you need for a traditional Irish break. This stunning stone cottage offers homely accommodation which is ideal for a cosy family holiday or a romantic getaway with an open fire, large grounds and convenient local amenities all adding to its charm.

Watch House Cottage

Watch House Cottage | Valentia Island, County Kerry | Ref: 915397

Watch House Cottage | Valentia Island, County Kerry | Ref: 915397

If you’re looking to explore the Irish coastline in style then this adorable coastal cottage on Valentia Island is the property for you. Step out the front door of Watch House Cottage to find the vibrant Knightstown harbour with its pier and a range of water activities perfect for children or a family dog who just loves the water!

Ard Boula

Ard Boula | Tulla, County Clare | Ref: 912160

Ard Boula | Tulla, County Clare | Ref: 912160

Nestled in the Irish countryside, Ard Boula’s tranquil surroundings and rural setting is sure to encourage lots of rest and relaxation on your next Irish getaway. This property offers plenty of space to accommodate eight people and two well-behaved pets with four bedrooms, two sitting areas and large gardens one of which includes a plot where seasonal produce is grown.

This is just a small selection of the fabulous Irish Cottages we have on offer. If you’re planning a holiday to Ireland then please visit our Irish Cottages page or contact our team for more information.

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.

Walk of the Month: Doonbeg Loop, Co. Clare

October 13th, 2014
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The village of Doonbeg in West County Clare lies on Ireland’s Atlantic Seaboard, just metres from the steely waters of the ocean. Dramatic though this sounds, the village is one of Ireland’s most peaceful spots, perfect for a romantic retreat or – as we’re about to demonstrate – an invigorating walking break.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Beautiful bogs beckon on the Doonbeg Loop, an 8km circuit traversing the emerald wetlands that flank the village. The loop is a great way to get to grips with the local area, and showcases the village’s key landmarks including Doonbeg Bridge and Castle. You’ll need the route map on hand before starting the walk so you know where to begin, which you can download here.

The Walk

Though moderately long, this 8km walk features easy terrain with minimum ascents. Trekking shoes or hiking boots are advisable as bog roadways can be slippery. Raingear is also advised – after all, this is the Emerald Isle!

The Route

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Beginning at Doonbeg’s unusual church of ascension, walk west, passing the pastel coloured houses typical of West Ireland. On this street are two pubs; store these in your memory for liquid refreshment on your return to the village.

At the junction with a minor roadway, turn left. On the map, the way is highlighted by a green line, so pay close attention to this when approaching junctions to ensure you’re still on track. Follow this minor road for 1km until you’re deep in the emerald grasslands which envelop the village. Here you will come to a T-junction where you should turn left and then immediately right.

Follow the bog road for over 1km until you come to a sharp bend. After another three quarters of a kilometre, you’ll reach another T-junction, where you should turn left. Continue along this road, crossing Doonbeg River on your way back to the village.

Turn left into the village and continue on this street until you reach Doonbeg Bridge, a picturesque stone bridge at the mouth of Doonbeg Lough. From here, you can see Doonbeg Castle, a 16th century structure with a bloody history. The village is said to have ‘grown up’ around this imposing castle, though not much remains today. Continue on this street until you’re back at the church; oh and don’t forget those pubs, where a roaring fire and a pint of Irish stout are sure to warm your extremities.

Download the comprehensive map and route for this walk here.

Rent a cottage in Doonbeg for a walking holiday

If you’re interested in an Irish walking break, take a look at our self-catering cottages to rent in and around Doonbeg. This picturesque village on Ireland’s dramatic west coast offers the best of coast and country, so why not take a peek at our Doonbeg cottages today.

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.

Hot Chocolate Recipes for a Lazy Sunday

October 12th, 2014
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As the nights draw in and the temperatures begin to dip, one of my favourite Sunday evening activities is to curl up on the sofa with a hot beverage and a film. Normally, I’d go for a classic brew but when the weather takes a turn for the worse, there’s nothing better than an indulgent hot chocolate to warm you up! So in honour of these chocolatey delights, we’ve found some of the most unusual and mouth-watering hot chocolate recipes out there to feature on today’s blog. Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (serves one)

Recipe via Nigella.com

Salted caramel hot chocolate

Via Flickr

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp salted caramel sauce (see here for recipe)
  • 250ml full fat milk
  • 50g finely chopped dark chocolate
  • Squirty cream to serve

Method:

  1. Pour milk, chocolate and salted caramel sauce into a saucepan and cook over medium heat.
  2. Stir until chocolate is melted and the liquid is rich.
  3. Pour into mug. Top with squirty cream and drizzle salted caramel sauce over the top.

 

Baileys Hot Chocolate (serves one)

Baileys Hot Chocolate

Via Flickr

Recipe via Londoncocktailscholars.co.uk

Ingredients:

  • 300ml milk
  • 50ml Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1 heaped tbsp hot chocolate powder

Method:

  1. Pour the milk and hot chocolate powder into a pan and leave on medium-high heat.
  2. Stir continuously for 3-4 minutes until there are no lumps and the mixture has started to thicken. Do not let the mixture boil.
  3. Take off the heat and stir for 15 seconds.
  4. Pour the Baileys into a glass, then add the hot chocolate mixture and give it a stir.
  5. Top with cocoa powder or flaked chocolate.
  6. You can also try this recipe with flavoured Baileys – how about trying with Baileys Orange Truffle?

 

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate (serves one)

Recipe via Agirlcalledjack.com

Peanut butter hot chocolate

Via Flickr

Ingredients:

  • 150ml milk
  • 50ml water
  • 3 squares of either milk or dark chocolate
  • 1 heaped tbsp of smooth peanut butter

Method:

  1. Pour water, chocolate squares and peanut butter into a pan on medium heat.
  2. Stir well until chocolate and peanut butter have melted and formed a sticky paste.
  3. Add a splash of milk and stir in. Repeat with a larger splash. Then add the rest.
  4. Serve in mug.

If you do try out one of these recipes then let us know how you get on; we’d love to hear your thoughts! If you have any other delicious hot chocolate recipes that you’d like to share with us then please get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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.

The UK’s Pet Friendly Pubs

October 11th, 2014
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For many of us, considering a holiday without our four-legged friend is not an option. There is an ample choice of pet-friendly accommodation on offer, but I find myself thinking is that enough? A comfy bed for the night and a garden to run around in provide a great starting point for a dog friendly holiday, but our canine chums need more!

Along with great walks and other dogs to interact with, our pups need somewhere safe and warm for a break from the day’s activities. To give your dog a rest and to experience the regional delicacies why not try a local pub? Sites like Doggie Pubs and Pet Friendly Britain give great suggestions for pet friendly pubs throughout the United Kingdom and, after searching both sites, we’ve put together a selection of three pet friendly pubs which are a must.

The Ship Inn in Irvine, Scotland

Dogs playing on Irvine beach - image via Flickr.

Dogs playing on Irvine beach – image via Flickr.

Built in 1567, The Ship Inn is the oldest pub in Irvine. Obtaining its license in 1754, the pub still retains its heritage, with traditional folk music and seasonal fish dishes. In August last year, the pub updated its status to ‘Dog Friendly’ and they haven’t looked back since. Now you can treat yourself and the pup to a well-deserved drink and a slap up meal after an exhilarating walk along the shores of Irvine beach, which happens to be dog friendly too!

The White Eagle in Rhoscolyn, Anglesey

Dog walking the Anglesey Coastal Path - image via Flickr.

Dog walking the Anglesey Coastal Path – image via Flickr.

After undergoing a complete rebuild in 2007, The White Eagle is now a favourite stopping point along the Anglesey Coast Path, attracting tourists and locals alike with amazing food and fantastic views. The warm Welsh welcome offered by staff and the comfortable atmosphere makes this pub the ideal stop off for you and your dog. With dogs welcome in the sung area of the bar, you can chow down on great food as your four-legged-friend is treated to a biscuit or two.

The Treguth Inn in Holywell, Cornwall

Holywell Bay - image via Flickr.

Holywell Bay – image via Flickr.

When we think of Cornwall we picture rolling green hills, beautiful sandy beaches and peaceful villages filled with thatched cottages. The Treguth Inn matches our vision of Cornwall perfectly; full of character and charm, Treguth Inn is located in the attractive village of Holywell just back from the picturesque beach at Holywell Bay. Here the friendly proprietors offer home cooked food which has been prepared with locally sourced ingredients, award winning cask ales and even complimentary biscuits for the pooch – perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

We hope that this selection of pubs has shown you that the UK is a fantastic destination for doggy holidays and that there is no need to leave your furry pal behind. For assistance with planning your next dog friendly getaway please feel free to contact us or browse our selection of pet friendly cottages for inspiration.

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.

Properties with Delightful Dining Rooms

October 10th, 2014
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As you may have noticed, this week on the Sykes Cottages blog we’ve been getting a little gastronomic. We’ve been talking about the best places to go out to eat, the best local food to cook and we have a seriously indulgent recipe post coming up for you on Sunday (spoiler: it involves hot chocolate!) Once you’ve made or purchased all of this delicious food you need somewhere to eat it, which is why we’re putting the spotlight on some of the most delightful dining rooms that our properties have to offer. Whether you want enough table space for 20 guests to dine in comfort, or just a cosy corner where two can enjoy a romantic meal, with over 5,000 properties we have every style of dining area you can imagine at Sykes Cottages. Here are just a few of them.

The Hall, Northumbria

The Hall

Property reference 903958

This ornate dining room seats twenty four people comfortably and boasts both an open fire place and lovely views over the lake and the property’s grounds.

Beckside Barn, The Lake District

Beckside Barn

Property reference 914337

The dining room in Beckside Barn is beautifully decorated in a modern style which provides diners with a bright and airy feel. The room also opens out to a secluded patio area, providing the ideal location for after dinner drinks.

The Gaolhouse, East Anglia

The Gaolhouse

Property reference 4496

This unique property in East Anglia holds many original features including a dungeon! It also has a fantastic dining room with brickwork and beams to add character and patio doors adding a touch of brightness to this lovely dining area.

Three Peaks Barn, Yorkshire Dales

Property reference 10024

Property reference 10024

This lovely dining area nestles perfectly in the midst of the open plan living area. The dining space is comfortably modern, yet beams and bricks keep the character of the property.

Abbey Dore Court, Heart of England

Property reference 10024

Property reference 10024

Nestled in the kitchen area is one of Abbey Dore Court’s dining areas. The modern appliances mix with the kitsch traditional elements making this dining area the perfect place to enjoy brunch or an afternoon snack.

For more dining inspiration, take a look at our delightful dining pinterest board.

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.