Sykes’ Shortlist of Bizarre British Sayings

July 17th, 2014
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For a small series of islands, Britain contains some ludicrous lingo. From Yorkshire to the West Country, Southend to Saltney, our weird and wonderful language takes many unusual forms. Us Brits often struggle to understand our native tongue when it’s uttered in a different dialect, so just imagine how difficult it must be for overseas travellers to get to grips with.

To help put things into perspective for us Brits and our friends over the sea, we’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the stranger sayings that you may come across when travelling in the UK and Ireland.

Yorkshire Sayings

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

As a Yorkshireman, I’ll be the first to admit that the accent of my native county can be quite baffling. Here are a few nuggets of brilliance that you may hear should you pay a visit to God’s own county.

‘Daft as a brush’

Meaning: Foolish, stupid or silly.

Example: ‘That lad’s as daft as a brush!’

‘Put wood int’ ‘ole’

Meaning: Close the door.

Example: ‘Ee by gum, it’s parky in here. Put wood int’ ole’

‘I’ll go to’t  foot of’t stairs’

Meaning: Expression of utter disbelief and amazement

Example: ‘Well, I’ll go to’t foot oft’t stairs!’

‘Lowence time’

Meaning: It’s time for a snack (Usually whilst working)

Example: ‘Ey up, it’s lowence time’

‘Monk on’

Meaning: To be grumpy or sulky

Example: ‘They’ve got a right monk on’

Norfolk Sayings

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Brimming with some serious linguistic oddities, the Norfolk accent is about as unusual as the English dialect gets. Here’s five of our favourite phrases from this lovable East Anglian county.

‘Bishy Barney Bee’

Meaning: A ladybird

Example: ‘We’ve bin’ invaded by Bishy Barney Bees’

‘Hold yew hard’

Meaning: Wait a minute

Example: ‘Oi, hold yew hard!’


Meaning: Seesaw

Example: ‘The kids want to go on the Tittermatorter’


Meaning: Fun and games

Example: ‘Join us for the jollificearshuns’


Meaning: In a bad temper

Example: ‘They’re in a right old puckaterry’

Scottish Sayings

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Personally, the Scottish accent is one I’ve struggled to understand in the past, so researching these Scottish sayings was a real eye opener. Here’s our choice of phrases from north of the border.

‘Yer bum’s oot the windae!’

Meaning: You’re not making any sense

Example: Erm…

‘Lang may yer lum reek’

Meaning: Long may your chimney smoke, which implies, long may you live

Example: ‘Lang may yer lum reek!’ (A Hogmanay festive greeting)

‘Many a mickle makes a muckle’

Meaning: A lot of small amounts become a large amount

Example: Again, erm…

‘It’s a dreich day’

Meaning: The weather is cold, wet and miserable

Example: ‘Ach, it’s a dreich day’

‘We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns’

Meaning: We’re all equal

Example: ‘Just yew remember, we’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns’

Welsh Sayings

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

The Welsh certainly come out with some magnificent turns of phrase in their native tongue, but what about in English? Let’s investigate.

‘Under the doctor’

Meaning: To feel unwell

Example: ‘I’m feeling under the doctor’

‘Tidy darts’

Meaning: Good

Example: ‘That’s tidy darts!’


Meaning: Of low quality

Example: ‘Oh, that’s shonky that is’


Meaning: Arguing

Example: ‘They’ve been chopsing’


Meaning: Nasty or unpleasant

Example: ’That’s gomping!’

So there you have it, a shortlist of some of the weird, wonderful and downright peculiar phrases from across the British Isles. If you have any regional sayings that you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you on Facebook or Twitter.

For now: ta-ra, cheerio the nou and take ‘er ‘andy!

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.

Romantic Scotland: A Blogger Competition

July 16th, 2014
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We recently conducted a survey to find out people’s opinion of Scotland as a holiday destination. We were shocked to find that only 5% of the 2,390 people asked would consider taking a romantic holiday or honeymoon in Scotland! We know from personal experience that Scotland is a fantastic destination for lovers and even wrote a romantic guide to Edinburgh but now it’s your turn!

Picture via Flickr

Picture via Flickr.

To help convince our readers to take a romantic break in Scotland, and for your chance to win £350.00 worth of Sykes Cottages vouchers, we’re asking you to write a blog post all about Scotland telling us why you think this northern destination is romantic. All you need to do to enter our fabulous competition is follow this five step guide…

How to enter

  1. Write a blog post telling us why you think Scotland is romantic. This can include information on Scotland’s history, attractions, landscape or even your personal experiences in the country.
  2. Include instructions on how to enter the competition at the end of your post so your readers can join in too. These instructions can be in your own words or you could include a link back to this post.
  3. Nominate three blogs to take part in our Romantic Scotland competition either at the end of your blog or through twitter (if nominating through twitter please use the hashtag #RomanticScotland).
  4. Follow @SykesCottages on twitter and tweet us using the hashtag #RomanticScotland to inform us of your entry. Eg “Hi @SykesCottages I have just entered your #RomanticScotland competition”
  5. You will receive an acknowledgement tweet within one working day of your submission.

The competition closes on August 10th so make sure to get your entry in before this date! We will be announcing the winners on August 15th and will be in contact with them shortly after regarding their prize.

Bellow you will find terms and conditions for the Romantic Scotland competition and we ask that you read them carefully before entering. Once you have read the terms and conditions you’ll be ready to start writing so good luck, we can’t wait to hear all about your romantic Scotland!

Terms & Conditions

Read the rest of this entry »


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.

UK Travel Guide for Overseas Visitors

July 15th, 2014
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Are you planning on visiting the UK this summer but have no idea where to start when it comes to finalising the details of your trip? Well don’t worry as Sykes Cottages have put together a short travel guide to Britain aimed at visitors from abroad. Read on for our hints, tips and suggestions on how to make the most of your time in the UK.

When to visit

British countryside

Via Flickr

Unlike other countries, the UK is a great tourist destination all year round. However, July and August, at the height of the British summer, are undoubtedly the most popular times to visit and as this coincides with the UK school holidays, this is when places are at their busiest. If you want to visit during the summer, it’s a good idea to plan your visit during June or September when the weather is still good but attractions are quieter. Other busy periods include Christmas, New Year, Easter and bank holidays. You can find a comprehensive list of bank holidays across the UK here.

The weather and what to pack


Via Flickr

The UK is well known for its unpredictable weather and you should try to pack for every eventuality. The weather is generally quite mild and so there’s no need to go to extremes, but travellers should definitely consider packing everything from an umbrella and waterproof jacket, to sunglasses and sunscreen.

Public transport and ways to get around

British Train

Via Flickr

Public transport in the UK is relatively good and trains in particular are a great way to travel around; you can get a train to almost anywhere in the UK. For more information about trains in Britain, head to the National Rail website. Another thing that you may want to consider looking into is a BritRail pass. These passes are available to anyone who is not a UK resident and once bought, provide you with unlimited travel on trains across Britain. You can find more information on the BritRail website. If you’re just travelling around London, you should look at buying at Visitor’s Oyster Card, which is a plastic smartcard that works on a pay as you go system and is by far one of the cheapest and quickest ways to travel around London.  If you’re not keen on public transport and are planning on renting a car in the UK, it’s worth noting that you will usually be given a manual car unless you request an automatic, which are generally more expensive.

Things we do differently:

Road signs

Via Flickr

  • Plugs. We Brits have our very own plugs that differ from the rest of Europe. Our plugs have three pins that are shaped like a triangle and so visitors from abroad will need to remember to buy a plug adaptor for their electrical items.
  • We drive on the left hand side of the road. This is obviously extremely important to remember if you’re planning on driving whilst you’re in the UK but it’s also of the upmost importance to pedestrians, who may be used to checking the opposite direction before they cross the road.
  • We calculate speed in miles per hour and our speed limits may be different to that of other countries. You can check out the speed limits here and you will able to see the speed limit for each road when you’re driving by looking at signposts.

Where to stay

Holiday cottage in Yorkshire

Croft View, Yorkshire, Ref. 6735

We may be biased but we think that there’s no better way to experience the UK than by staying in a self-catering cottage amongst locals. If you’re planning a trip to the UK and you’d like to see how we can help, you can visit our website or give our dedicated reservations specialists a call on +441244 356 695. If you’re worried about your phone bill, avoid charges and let us call you by entering your details here.

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.

Museums Commemorating The World War One Centenary

July 14th, 2014
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This year marks the beginning of the Centenary of World War One that began in 1914 and continued until 1918. It will come as no surprise that across the UK there are a number of events and exhibitions commemorating not only those who fought in the war but also those who helped the war effort at home and of course, for remembering those who gave their lives. We’re taking a look at just a small number of the upcoming exhibitions taking place in museums where curators have brought together both new items and ones from existing collections to create interesting, emotive and also educational exhibitions to commemorate the centenary of World War One.

Bath Fashion Museum

The Great War in Costume: Family & Fashion on the Home Front

Running from Saturday the 19th July until the 31st August 2014, The Great War in Costume, will show how women’s lives changed on the home front during World War One and the effect that this had on women’s fashion. As women were now required to do jobs that traditionally men would have, women’s fashion altered; corsets were loosened and some women wore working trousers for the first time. As well as following the changing lives of women and their clothing during the war, the exhibition will feature costumes from Downton Abbey, propaganda, memorabilia and examples of uniforms and civilian dress.

York Castle Museum

1914: When The World Changed

Marking the centenary of the First World War at York Castle Museum is the new exhibition 1914: When The World Changed Forever. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey from pre-war Britain, full of peWW1_1Loan (1)ace and prosperity, to the frontline during the war. Once at the frontline, visitors will see the horrors that soldiers would have faced such as rats, shell shock and gas warfare. The exhibition will combine new research and technology with the museum’s extensive social history, military and costume collections to tell visitors the story of the Yorkshire people who lived and died during the war.

Bank of England Museum

The First World War and the Bank of England
Marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is this new exhibition which opens at the Bank of England Museum on the 21st July 2014 and will run until spring 2015. The exhibition will show how the Bank of England helped to maintain the flow of funds during the war. The display will follow stories of some of the male and female Bank of England staff throughout the war – both those who worked at the Bank and those who served in the armed forces. The exhibition ends by showing how the bank commemorated the 71 bank staff that lost their lives during the war, and how it remembers them today.

People’s History Museum

A Land Fit For Heroes: War and the Working Class 1914-1918
Already open in Manchester’s People’s History Museum and marking the centenary of World War One is their newest exhibition, A Land Fit For Heroes. The exhibition looks at tWW1_Poster (1)he people who supported the war at home and how home life radically changed throughout. A Land Fit for Heroes looks to examine how the war changed society by altering the social, cultural, economic and political outlook of Britons. Whilst the horrors of war are not ignored, this exhibition shows how from those horrors a new social and political confidence was created amongst the working classes that helped to define Britain in the lat
e 20th century.

Other Ways to Commemorate

We have focused here on a few of the museum exhibitions taking place in the near future however these are just some of the many upcoming events that will be taking place to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. There will be local, regional and national events as well as television and radio broadcasts taking place to remember those who risked their lives, those who lost their lives and also those  who worked hard on the home front. For more information and to keep up to date on events take a look at

Images for this blog post were found on the Library of Congress website.

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.

Fit for a Queen: The Homes of Queen Victoria

July 13th, 2014
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Today marks a rather prestigious day in the history of the British monarchy, as on this day in 1837, Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace, where she would live until her death in 1901. Victoria was the first British monarch to rule from the Palace, and after her marriage to Prince Albert in 1841, this palatial home became a place of entertainment, balls and official state business.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

But Buckingham Palace wasn’t the only regal residence where Queen Vic spent her time. In total, the royal family had three other, equally as magnificent stately homes throughout the UK, two of which are still in use by Elizabeth II today. Thankfully, all of Victoria’s previous abodes are now, to some degree, open to the public, and make a great place to visit this summer.

Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Tucked deep in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, Balmoral Castle must have been a welcome escape from the hum of London, a sentiment reinforced by the Queen herself who referred to Balmoral as a “dear paradise in the Highlands”. It’s believed there’s been a royal residence here since the 14th century, when King Robert II of Scotland erected a hunting lodge in the area. The grounds, and part of the castle itself, are open daily to the public from 10am to 5pm until July 31st, but after this, public access will be restricted due to Queen Elizabeth’s annual visit.

Windsor Castle, Berkshire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Originally built as a key defensive structure in the years after the Norman Conquest of 1066, Windsor Castle became one of the royal family’s most magnificent and imposing abodes. Although Queen Victoria wasn’t particularly fond of the castle, it was her principal royal residence and a centre for diplomatic and state business. During the Queen’s reign, Windsor embodied the power and might of the British Empire, and still evokes a strong sense of national pride to this day. The castle is open to the public daily between 9.45am and 4.15pm, and it typically takes around 2-3 hours to see all aspects of the site.

Osborne House, Isle of Wight

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Comprising charming landscaped gardens, a private beach and fascinating Italian Renaissance style architecture, it’s little wonder Queen Victoria considered Osborne House to be her preferred holiday and weekend residence. She, her husband Albert and their 9 children spent many summer’s at Osborne, no doubt enjoying the island’s warm temperatures and segregation from the rest of the country. The house is open to the public daily from 10am to 6pm and features plenty of space to enjoy a picnic on a balmy summer’s day. If you’re interested in visiting Osborne whilst being perfectly placed for exploring the rest of the island, why not check out our cottages to rent near Osborne House.

Find accommodation that’s fit for a queen

Our cottages may not be linked to royalty, but many still offer a regal welcome that’ll have you feeling like a queen in no time. To browse our collection of luxury, historic or listed holiday cottages, visit our website 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.