Walk of the Month: Llanberis Lake

March 26th, 2016
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Can you believe we’re on our third Walk of the Month of 2016 already? In just a few days’ time it will be April and then summer will be here before you know it! To help make the most of the crisp spring weather whilst it lasts, we’ve pulled together a fantastic walk around the iconic Llanberis Lake in North Wales.

Clear blue lake reflecting the green mountains and clear blue sky above.

A fantastic image of Llyn Padarn taken by Hefin OwenCC 2.0

Llanberis Lake, known as Llyn Padarn, is approximately two miles long and 94 feet at its deepest point. Surrounded by some of the best scenery in Snowdonia, this picturesque walk offers plenty of opportunity for pictures, wildlife spotting and even a dip in the lake if you’re feeling adventurous!

The Walk

This walk follows a circular route around Llyn Padarn and will take between two and three hours to complete, depending on your level of fitness. The majority of the walk is over level ground, however the path can be loose underfoot in areas and there are some tricky stone steps along the way. It can be a little windy down by the lake so we suggest a warm jacket and sensible shoes for this walk.

The Route

Park in the car park (there is a small charge) then make your way north along the A4086. You will soon come to a fork in the road, at this point head right toward the track bed of an abandoned railway. Follow this track as far as the railway tunnel and take the steps to the right of the tunnel entrance to the upper level. From here, follow the path through a set of wooded gates and continue along the lakeside trail.

Silhouette of a lonely tree infront of a reflective lake with mountains and blue sky

Image of Llyn Padarn at sunset by Hefin OwenCC 2.0

Continue along the lakeside trail until you reach the head of the lake; at this point cross over the River Rhythallt making sure to admire the spectacular backdrop. Follow the road as it climbs towards the village of Fachwen, make your way through Fachwen keeping your eye out for a blue telephone kiosk. Take the path opposite the phone kiosk and descend the steps to the road below. The trail continues along the lane passing through wonderful woodlands before descending to a low point at a river crossing.

Cross the stream and follow the path until you come to a fork, take the left fork that ascends some rough stone steps. The path will take you back up through the woodland before exiting the trees at its highest point and offering amazing views.

From here it’s all downhill paths; continue along your path through the woods and into the old hospital grounds and gardens. Leave the hospital grounds via the wooden steps down to another lakeside car park. Here you will see the Welsh National Slate Museum, take the road that leaves the south eastern point of the museum area and cross the bridge towards the fields. Continue through the fields until you reach the A4086 and then your car park.

To view the route map and original walk please click here.

Rent a Cottage in Llanberis with Sykes Cottages

Modern kitchen/living space with over hanging light

The living space at Beudy Hywel (Ref. 6145) in Llanrug near Llanberis

If this walk has inspired you to visit North Wales this year then why not book a stay in one of our Llanberis holiday cottages? With nearly 30 holiday lets located within five miles of Llanberis, we’re sure to have something to suit your requirements. From large stylish properties sleeping 16 to small intimate cottages for two, these holiday homes are ideal for exploring Llanberis and the rest of the Snowdonia National Park.

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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.

Holiday Cottages With Stunning Views

March 24th, 2016
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Let’s be honest, one of the best things about taking a break in the United Kingdom or Ireland is some of the stunning scenery that you’ll be able to enjoy. No matter whether it’s the lush woodlands of the Lake District, Cornwall’s golden beaches or the rolling hills of the Emerald Isle, it’s all breathtaking! And we’re delighted to be able to say that we’ve got a wide range of holiday cottages that make the most of these spectacular sights! A while back we picked out a few of our favourites here and they seemed to go down a storm, so we’ve been keeping an eye out for other properties with amazing views – take a look at some of our picks and see which is your favourite.

Red House Farm, Mid Wales

The Lookout, Northumberland

Glebe Farm Cottage, South Wales

Pulrose, Anglesey

Looe Island View, Cornwall

The Patio Apartment, North Wales

Groffa Crag Farmhouse, The Lake District

Cnoc Suain, County Mayo

So there you go, just a small taster of the beautiful views that you can experience in a Sykes Cottage. Make sure you click on the link below the photo if any of them have really caught your eye, or give us a call on 01244 356695 if you’d like some help finding the perfect holiday cottage.

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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.

Easter Baking With The Kids

March 23rd, 2016
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Who can believe that Easter is just around the corner? Besides this signalling how quickly 2016 seems to be flying by, it also means that in a few days the kids will be off school and there will probably be an abundance of chocolate lying around the house. Well we’ve decided to combine these two things and have found some recipes for some brilliant Easter themed treats that you’ll be able to rustle up with the help of the little ones, take a look and see which one you fancy trying out.

Easter Fairy Cakes

Where else could we start but with a classic fairy cake topped by one of the best Easter themed sweets? These gorgeous little fairy cakes courtesy of AllRecipes should only take around half an hour from start to finish and there are plenty of jobs for the little ones to help out with!

Ingredients

For the cakes

  • 120g of butter
  • 140g of self raising flour
  • 85g of caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbspns of cocoa powder

For the icing

  • 100g of milk chocolate
  • 120g of butter
  • 120g of icing sugar

For the decoration

  • Large bag of mini eggs
  • A couple of flake bars

Method

  1. First of all preheat your oven to 190 degrees centigrade and line 3 muffin trays with paper cases.
  2. Using a electric hand beater you’ll then want to mix together all of the cake ingredients in a large bowl until it makes a nice, smooth batter.
  3. Then spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for around 10 minutes, remove when the cakes feel fairly firm and leave to cool.
  4. Whilst they’re baking you’ll want to make the icing mixture. To do this you should melt the chocolate. Add this to the butter and icing sugar and beat them together.
  5. When the cakes are cool, spread the icing over the top and decorate with a couple of mini eggs and some crumbled flake.

Jam Tarts

And of course we’ve got the classic Jam Tart. Quick, easy and yet delicious – what more could you want? This recipe from BBC Goodfood will show you how you can make your own pastry from scratch, or you can always buy some pre-made (don’t worry we won’t tell anyone!) Again it should only take you half an hour and will produce some tasty and colourful delights.

Ingredients

  • 170g of self raising flour
  • 85g of unsalted butter
  • An assortment of jams for the fillings

Method

  1. To start off you should preheat your oven to 200 degrees centigrade.
  2. To make your pastry you’ll want to rub the butter and flour together in a large bowl, eventually it will start to look like breadcrumbs. When you’ve reached this stage you should then mix in a few tablespoons of water until it forms a dough.
  3. Roll this dough out until it is relatively thin and using a pastry cutter cut out 15 or so circles of pastry.
  4. Add these circles into cupcake trays and then put a teaspoon of your jam on top.
  5. Put them in the oven and bake for around half an hour or until the pastry is a good golden-brown colour.

Rocky Road

Ok we realise that this recipe is bake free, but we couldn’t really leave out a rocky road could we? Taking an Easter twist with some good old mini eggs – or of course you could use some leftover Easter eggs – this BBC Goodfood recipe will be ready to eat in about an hour and a half and keeps for about 10 days – perfect for the school holidays!

Ingredients

  • 225g of dark chocolate
  • 100g of unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp of golden syrup
  • 100g of rich tea biscuits
  • 50g of marshmallows
  • 50g of dried cranberries
  • 200g of mini eggs.

Method

  1. First of all you should melt your chocolate and butter together in a large bowl over the top of a saucepan of boiling water. Whilst they are melting you should line a baking tin using clingfilm.
  2. Once the chocolate/butter mixture is melted and glossy, remove from the heat and mix in the syrup and cocoa then allow to cool slightly.
  3. Break up your rich tea biscuits (putting them in a freezer bag and hitting them with a rolling pin is a good way to do this) then stir into the chocolate mix along with the the marshmallows, cranberries and about three quarters of the mini eggs.
  4. Pour the mixture into the lined dish and smooth out. Put the remaining eggs on top and put in the fridge to set – this should only take an hour or so.

So there are three recipes perfect for when you’re struggling to find something that will keep the kids occupied whilst they’re off school over the next couple of weeks. We hope they’re as tasty as they look but do let us know how it goes if you’re going to try any of them out!

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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.

Charlotte Brontë: The Places That Inspired Her

March 22nd, 2016
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This year marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth. Known for her novels, Jane Eyre, Shirley and Villette, Charlotte is one of the most celebrated English writers to have ever lived and her novels are considered classics of English literature. She’s so celebrated, in fact, that there is a whole area of the country named after her and her sisters: Brontë Country. So we thought what better way to celebrate her legacy than by paying homage to the places that informed and inspired her life and work?

Haworth, Yorkshire

Haworth needs no introduction as a place that inspired Charlotte. This quaint Yorkshire village was the hometown of the Brontë sisters and is now the heart of Brontë Country and a place of pilgrimage for literature lovers. The Brontë family lived here from 1820 until their deaths and you can still visit many of the places frequented by Charlotte and her siblings including the Brontë Parsonage, which was their family home; the Sunday school where her father, Patrick Brontë, taught; the churchyard where most of the family members, including Charlotte, are buried; and the pubs that her brother, Branwell, drank in. If you’re looking to visit Haworth, take a look at our guide to short breaks in Haworth, which includes recommendations of the things Brontë fans can’t afford to miss.

Brontë Waterfall, Yorkshire

The Brontë Waterfall is a small, picturesque waterfall just outside of Stanbury, 2 miles from Haworth itself. The waterfall and surrounding moorland was a popular walking spot for the Brontë sisters and Charlotte described it in a letter as “fine indeed; a perfect torrent racing over the rocks, white and beautiful”.  You can still reach the waterfall today by following the Brontë Trail which begins in Haworth and winds across the moors to the waterfall. If you follow the trail even further, you’ll reach Top Withens, the ruined farmhouse said to have been the inspiration for the Earnshaw family house in Wuthering Heights, the novel written by Charlotte’s sister, Emily.

Hathersage, Derbyshire

Moving away from Brontë Country, Hathersage in the Hope Valley area of the Peak District was another source of inspiration for Charlotte. Charlotte visited Hathersage in 1845 when she stayed with her friend, Ellen Nussey at the vicarage for several weeks; Ellen’s brother was the vicar of Hathersage at the time. Charlotte explored the area at great lengths whilst staying here and it’s thought that her novel, Jane Eyre, which she wrote in 1947 was set here. North Lees Hall, on the outskirts of Hathersage, was owned at the time by a Sir Robert Eyre and many believe that the property was her inspiration for Thornfield Hall. Another property that lays claim to being the real-life Thornfield Hall is Norton Conyers in Ripon. Both properties have their own myths and legends of mad women hidden in their attics hundreds of years ago, which Charlotte may have also known about.

Book a holiday cottage in Brontë Country

If you fancy booking your own trip to Brontë Country to see the places where Charlotte Brontë grew up and the places that inspired her work, you can see a wide range of holiday cottages in Haworth and the surrounding areas on our website. Or alternatively, please give our friendly holiday advisors a call on 01244 356 695 and they’ll be able to help you find the perfect cottage for your Brontë-themed getaway.

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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.

Book a Last Minute Easter Holiday

March 20th, 2016
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Now there might only be a few days to go but, believe it or not, there’s still time for you to treat yourself to an Easter break! Whilst a lot of our cottages have been booking up fast, we still have availability in some fantastic properties all around the UK and Ireland, from the Cornish coast all the way through to County Donegal. We’ve picked out a few of our favourite holiday homes that are still available to book over Easter so take a look and see if you fancy any of them.

Warbrook (ref. 931691), Bradworthy in Devon

A detached barn conversion found in the midst of the Devonshire countryside, Warbrook is a great option for those looking to take a few days away with the kids over Easter. Being located on the owner’s working smallholding means that there’s plenty of outdoor space for the children to take advantage of and there’s even a fully enclosed garden complete with its own play area that promises hours of entertainment. The cottage itself is beautifully decorated throughout with an open plan living area, a modern kitchen and two superbly finished bedrooms. And if that wasn’t enough, the South West Coastal path is just a short drive away should you fancy a scenic walk during your break.

Jet Cottage (ref. 5268), Whitby in North Yorkshire

Or alternatively there’s Jet Cottage in Whitby. The property is located right in the town centre meaning that you’d have easy access to all of the hustle and bustle but you’ll still get plenty of peace and quiet due to the fact that it’s set back in a quaint yard away from the roads. Jet Cottage is full to the rafters with characterful features, from the original exposed beams through to the winding staircase and these are all married in beautifully with the modern décor. With Whitby’s harbour, shops and of course Abbey all right on the doorstep, there’s no chance of guests running out of things to do, so what are you waiting for?

Loistin Coimin (ref. 913526), Comeen in County Donegal

But what if you’re thinking of taking a trip over to Ireland over Easter? Well that’s where Loisin Coimin in County Donegal comes into it! Situated in the foothills of the Bluestacks, it offers stunning views out over the local countryside with both the Reelin River and the mountains taking starring roles. The interior of the cottage is bright and airy and comes with a lovely modern finish that really caps it all off, especially in the fully equipped kitchen that’s perfect for rustling up a good old roast on Easter Sunday!

Chestnut Cottage (ref. 2846), near Aberystwyth in Mid Wales

Part of a Grade II listed former dairy barn in the Welsh countryside, around 8 miles from Aberystwyth, Chestnut Cottage has been sympathetically converted by the owners into a luxury holiday let. With three bedrooms that comfortably sleep six people between them, there’s plenty of space if you’re looking to take a break with the family over Easter. What’s more you’ll be spoilt for choice in terms of things to do, with the Welsh coast and the Ystwyth trail just down the road, there’s walks galore and the seaside town of Aberystwyth offers countless attractions.

Home Farm Cottage (ref. 920461), Boscastle in Cornwall

And finally we’ve got Home Farm Cottage, another great family cottage. Just a short distance from the beautiful village of Boscastle, the property is situated on the owner’s working National Trust farm and enjoys phenomenal views out over the nearby Cornish Coastline. But that’s not it! Home Farm Cottage also boasts character features ranging from the exposed beams to the classic slate floors and a woodburner, as well as a fully enclosed garden for the little ones to play in.

So there you go, just a few of the superb cottages still available to book for Easter. If you’re interested in booking any of them make sure you click on the links below the photos to find some more information, but don’t worry if none of them have caught your eye – there are plenty of other properties still free over Easter, take a look here to find them!

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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.