Walk of the Month: Lower Largo to St Monans

September 12th, 2015
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September’s instalment of Walk of the Month sees us hiking across Scotland to bring you the best views of both the coast and country. Making use of the Fife coastal path between Lower Largo and St Monans, this route has everything you could ask for from an autumn walk; spectacular ocean scenery, open spaces, fresh country air and the chance to see Scottish wildlife and historic ruins.

From start to finish there is plenty to explore along this ancient route, making it extremely popular with walkers from all over the UK. Once you’ve finished your walk, the area is also great for day trips with plenty to see and a number of eateries scattered about. There are also buses available from both Lower Largo and St Monans so no need to bring the car.

The Walk

The route from Lower Largo to St Monans is almost nine miles long and can take up to four hours to complete; the distance along with some uneven terrain makes the walk better suited to adults and older children with previous experience of long walks/hikes. It can get rather nippy along the coast so as well as good walking boats and plenty of water, we would suggest wrapping up warm and using a waterproof jacket.

The Route

If you’re arriving by bus, start at the Lower Largo harbour and follow the road east, passing a unique totem-pole sculpture and the house with a carved statue of Robinson Crusoe. As the road curves right, keep straight until you reach a narrow path- follow it through to the car park. This is the starting point if you arrive by car. From the car park make your way down to the sandy shore and follow the coast east, heading out along Largo Bay. If the tide is high, follow the old railway line which can be found slightly inland. When the path gets stony, head slightly inland and follow the path until it brings you back out to the sands.

When you reach the burn that flows across the beach, cross it close to the railway line and then follow the signed path from the car park at Dumbarnie Links Wildlife Reserve. Here you can either stay on the sands or follow the signed path through the dunes until you reach a set of tank traps; keep walking until you see a tall signpost on your left. Follow this sign posted path to reach the first of two bridges which take you over the Cocklemouth Burn.

Follow the path though a break in the pines and along a surfaced tack which runs by the edge of the caravan park. Once you reach the far end, follow a sign to cross the bridge and continue along the coastal path which will soon begin to climb above the basalt cliffs which form Kincraig head. There is an option here to take the chain walk but this should only be done by experienced walkers at low tide. From the top of the cliffs, descend to the golf course and follow signs to the shore. Once you reach the shore, turn left at the sign to cross the golf course.

Once across the golf course, why not take a detour to your right and investigate the lighthouse? If you decided to give the lighthouse a miss, simply continue left past an arch. The path is now pretty straight forward until St Monans Castle where it will climb up to the left and continue through a gate at the old Dovecot. Descend to the shore for the final stretch and follow the coastal path round to the bottom of the old Kirk, if this is underwater there are inland detours available.

To view the route map please click here.

Rent a cottage in Fife with Sykes Cottages

North Cults - Reference 904038

North Cults – Reference 904038

If you fancy taking on the Lower Largo to St Monans walk and exploring all the Fife has to offer then why to book a stay in one of our Fife Cottages? Filled with character and charm, these cottages are ideal for exploring Scotland and its culture. Along with the wonderful coastal walks and fascinating history, the area also happens to be known as the home of golf, giving you the perfect opportunity to work on your swing!

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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.

An Interview with our CEO on the BTAs

September 11th, 2015
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Today on the Sykes Cottages blog sees another British Travel Award special as we speak to the CEO of Sykes Cottages, Miles Hill. Miles kindly set aside a few minutes of his time to talk to us, so read on to get an insight into the awards and what they mean to the company.

What has winning the British Travel Awards over the past two years meant to the company?

Winning the BTA Awards for two years running has been immensely flattering and also a great recognition of the Sykes success story. It is also great to see the hard work and efforts of our energetic and committed team here, who work so hard to provide a high quality service to both our cottage owners and holidaymakers, recognised within our industry.

What changes have been made at Sykes since we won the 2014 award?

We remain the UK’s leading independent holiday cottage company, and our commitment to great service and great holidays remains unchanged. What we have done is expanded our portfolio of cottages to over 6,000 properties, which means we will be able to offer an even bigger range of choices to our customers, and we hope to continue that growth over the next couple years. We are also working hard and investing heavily in our technology to help us to offer more useful information to our cottage owners, which we hope will make renting cottages via Sykes even more rewarding than it already is.


We’d love to make it three out of three

Why do you think we should win for a third time?

A third BTA award would not only recognise the hard work we have put in over the last year, but would also recognise that we absolutely don’t take excellence for granted. Rather than becoming complacent, every year we look to push ourselves and keep getting better at what we do. In addition, we are continuing to come up with new innovations and ideas to continue to improve the Sykes experience for our owners and customers.

How important is it to have the BTA winners logo on the Sykes Cottages website?

As the largest and most influential measure of consumer opinion, winning a BTA award confirms to our new customers that we are not only committed to high standards but are achieving them ahead of others within the industry.  Whilst we would hope our existing customers and cottage owners don’t need to be told how good we are, it’s always nice to confirm that you are working with the best in the business!

So you can see how much winning the British Travel Award for the third time would mean to everybody here at Sykes Cottages and we’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has voted for us so far. Alternatively if you would like to cast your vote in our favour all you have to do is click on the button below:

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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.

Sykes’ Great British Brew

September 7th, 2015
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Here in Britain, we love a good cup of tea. It’s something we’re extremely passionate about and something that we take very seriously. Everyone has an opinion on how best to make it and woe betide someone who makes our tea wrong!

At Sykes Cottages, we’re launching an exciting new project to explore this never-ending love affair with tea and all the quirky tea habits that we Brits have; after all, it’s no secret that us Brits think a nice brew can solve anything from a headache to heartache.

To start our journey off, we want to know what you call a cup of tea. We’re trying to find out the UK’s most common phrases and all of the weird-and-wonderful suggestions in-between! Add yours to the list by replying to our posts on Twitter or Facebook.

Cup of tea

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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.

Some of the Best Heritage Open Days

September 6th, 2015
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This September sees one of the year’s biggest cultural events taking place across England with the Heritage Open Days. With 40,000 volunteers, around 1,500 organisations taking part and an expected 3 million visitors, it promises to be bigger and better than ever. So we’ve cast the Sykes spotlight around the country and picked out some of our favourite open day locations for you to have a look through.

Glendurgan Gardens, Cornwall

On the 12th of September, Glendurgan Gardens, in the heart of the Cornish countryside, will be free to visit as part of the Heritage Open Days scheme. Between the garden’s three valleys, you’ll be able to lose yourself in banks of wildflowers, thick woodlands and of course the garden’s famous maze. No booking is required to visit Glendurgan on the 12th so it’s perfect for an impromptu trip with the family, however due to the loose gravel and steep pathways, it might not be the best choice for wheelchair users.

Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire

Or if you’re up north, you could pop into Fountains Abbey near Ripon in Yorkshire. As part of the open day you can investigate what remains of the Abbey or head off the beaten track and explore the 800 acres of medieval deer parkland, water gardens and the old monastic grounds. There are also specialist tours being held throughout the day meaning that you’ll be able to get the inside track on both the majestic abbey and its stunning water gardens.

St John the Baptist Cathedral, Norfolk

Finally, we’ve got the Cathedral Church of St John the Baptist in Norwich. Constructed in the late 20th and early 21st century, it’s one of the city’s most famous buildings and a member of the celebrated Norwich 12, but you’ll get to experience it like never before through the upcoming heritage open days. From talks on the architecture and engineering of the cathedral itself through to demonstrations by a group of local stonemasons, it’s the perfect way to learn more about one of the area’s iconic buildings.

Hopefully that’s whetted your appetite to try out a Heritage Open Day this year? If so you can find the full list of them here, and don’t worry if you’ll need somewhere to stay over the weekend as our flexi-breaks are perfect for a shorter trip, have a look and see if you can find a cottage to suit you.

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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.

Make the Most of the Late Summer Sun

September 2nd, 2015
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Summer is almost at a close, the children are back at school, the nights are getting longer and the weather is growing colder. Here at Sykes Cottages we can’t bear to say goodbye to summer just yet so in order to make the most of the late summer sunshine, we suggest packing your bags and heading off on a UK short break. We’ve listed some of our favourite short break destinations below which are perfect for late summer getaways to see if we can convince you to make the most of the late summer sun this year.


The beautiful harbour town and traditional seaside resort of Tenby offers a picturesque escape from everyday living. The town’s cobbled streets are full of cafes, shops, pubs and restaurants, making the area ideal for a romantic getaway. The Mooring Restaurant is particularly good and after a day of exploring Tenby’s streets we can think of nothing better than a healthy helping of their summer vegetable risotto.


Commonly referred to as Shakespeare Country, Stratford-upon-Avon is an ancient market town with over 800 years of history. Those interested in Shakespeare can visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace, a restored 16th century house which was once home to the man himself, before catching one of his plays at the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre. The theatre is located in a Grade II listed building alongside the River Avon with shows being performed all year round .


The Isle of Wight is a fantastic destination for short breaks with the family and there is no better island base than Shanklin. This wonderful seaside village is perfect for long days spent at the beach, relaxing in the traditional beach huts, building sandcastles and enjoying an ice-cream or two. It’s also a great spot for exploring the Isle of Wight’s other attractions like the zoo, model village, petting zoos and steam railway.


With a variety of stores and independent boutiques, Truro is the retail capital of Cornwall and the county’s only city. Walking through the streets of Truro, you can’t help but be impressed by the beautiful Georgian architecture, numerous museums and galleries and of course the spectacular cathedral. We would suggest a trip to Truro for anyone who is looking for a city break with a difference.

We hope this list of locations has given you some inspiration for a last minute getaway in the sun. If you do fancy a short break then make sure to check out our flexible cottage breaks page – bookable from now until October 23rd, these cottages are offering short stays for two nights or more starting on any day of the week!

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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.