How To Make Your Cottage Bike Friendly

July 8th, 2014
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With influences including British success in the Olympics, a British winner of the Tour de France 2012 and Yorkshire’s very own Le Tour Grand Depart having taken place this weekend just gone, the popularity of cycling in the UK has increased dramatically in the past few years. Cycling holidays are becoming more and more popular and we’re seeing a large number of people booking holiday cottages with the intent of exploring the surrounding areas by bike. Ensuring that your holiday cottage is cycle friendly can be a brilliant way of attracting more bookings and so Sykes Cottages have put together a handy guide to a few, inexpensive suggestions to help you make sure your cottage is as bike friendly as possible.

Make sure you have some form of bike storage

Bike storage

Via Flickr

One of the most obvious ways to make your holiday cottage cycle friendly is to provide a secure storage area for your guests’ bikes. Whether this is in the form of a cycle rack in a secure garage, a space-saving storage device in the cottage itself, or even just a bike lock, having some form of bike storage is essential if you want to attract cyclists to your property. There are many inexpensive storage devices on the market, so it doesn’t have to cost and arm and a leg and will certainly impress potential guests. It goes without saying but it’s also essential to make sure that you have enough storage to correspond with the maximum occupancy of guests permitted at your cottage.

Provide washing and drying facilities

Bike friendly holiday cottage in Haworth

The Old Forge, Haworth, Ref. 14036

When out on a bike, the likelihood is that you’re going to get a bit muddy; the last thing your guests will want to do is leave dirty clothes on your furniture or put their muddy cycling gear back into their suitcase. Cottage owners can easily solve this problem and cater to their guests’ needs by installing a washing machine and providing a specific drying area or a clothes airer. It’s also nice to create a space for muddy trainers; making life easier for your guests and limiting the amount of cleaning you’ll have to do on your changeover. If you have outside space at your property, an added bonus for cyclists is to have a hose-pipe available to wash down their bike after a particularly muddy ride; once again, making life easier for your guests when they have to transport their bike home and also preventing your cottage needing extra cleaning.

Stock up on information about cycling routes in the area

Bike route

Via Flickr

Something that will be particularly helpful to cyclists staying at your property is information on cycle routes in the area. You could provide leaflets from your local tourist information centre, print off information from the internet, or if you’re a keen cyclist yourself, provide your own information and suggestions on what to do in the area. A nice touch would be to leave a visitors book specifically for cyclists, so your guests can leave feedback and comments on the routes that they’ve tried with recommendations, hints and tips for the next guests.

Make your holiday cottage cycle friendly with Sykes Cottages

Bike friendly holiday cottage in Ironbridge

Courtyard Cottage, Ironbridge, Ref. 11346

There are many changes you can make to your property to help it appeal more to cyclists, some big and some small. This is not an exhaustive list of suggestions and if you already have a cycle-friendly property, or if you’re a keen cyclist and think that there’s something important that we’ve missed out then we’d love to know about it! You can get in touch with suggestions via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

If you have a holiday cottage of your own and you’re interested in learning more about how to make your holiday cottage bike friendly, or you’re interested in learning more about working with Sykes Cottages, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our dedicated owner’s department who will be more than happy to help. You can give them a call on 01244 356 695 or visit the owner’s page on our website. For more inspiration on how to make your holiday cottage bike friendly, you can check out the selection of cycle friendly holiday cottages already on our website.

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.

7 Wonders of the British Coast

July 7th, 2014
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Here in Britain, we love to be beside the seaside. As soon as the summer sun starts to shine, we pack up our beach towels, slap on the sun lotion, and make our way to the coast.  Fortunately, the UK has some of the best stretches of coastline in the world, with stunning scenery, captivating sand dunes and fascinating history. So forget the Seven Wonders of the World and focus on the Seven Wonders of the British Coast. Below you will find our selection of the best coastal locations Britain has to offer; from towering cliffs to wide open beaches, you are sure to be amazed by the spectacles on offer.

Dover – England

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

The Dover coastline is dominated by startling white chalk cliffs that overlook the English Channel, commonly known as The White Cliffs of Dover. Best viewed from the coastal path that leads towards South Foreland Lighthouse, these iconic cliffs are wondrous to behold.

Alum Bay – Isle of White

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Located off the coast at Alum Bay is another iconic British landmark, three distinctive white chalk rocks known as The Needles. One of the most photographed groups of rock in the world, this impressive chalk feature offers an alternative image for your Isle of Wight photo gallery.

Durdle Door – Dorset

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

As well as an impressive shingle beach, Durdle Door in Dorset is home to a dramatic limestone arch. Making its home along the Jurassic Coast, this imposing arch allows your imagination to run wild when thoughts turn to dinosaurs and the incredible fossils that are embedded in the rock.

Isle of Staffa – Scotland

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Located on the Isle of Staffa is one of the UK’s best known caves, Fingal’s Cave. This impressive 227 foot cavern is made up of basaltic pillars which form an obscure walkway just above sea level. Surrounded by both history and folk law, this cave is an extraordinary part of Scotland’s culture.

Bamburgh – Northumberland

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Bamburgh beach may be one of the most dramatic stops along the British coast. With the imposing Bamburgh Castle to one side and the stunning Farne Islands on the other, Bamburgh offers visitors a wonderful mixture of both history and wildlife.

Kynance Cove – Cornwall

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Found on the West side of “The Lizard” in Cornwall, Kynance Cove is a breath-taking beach famed for its contrasting white sands, clear turquoise waters and green serpentine rock. This enticing beach, with its soft sands and numerous caves, is a favourite amongst sun seekers and explorers alike.

Freshwater West – Pembrokeshire

Picture via Flickr.

Picture via Flickr.

Freshwater West is known for its impressive sand dunes which were made famous in the Harry Potter film “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” as the set of Shell Cottage, Dobby’s final resting place. Although the cottage has long since gone, you can still visit the scene of this iconic film.

Stay at a coastal cottage on your next holiday

Curlew in Pembrokeshire, Ref: 14393

Curlew in Pembrokeshire, Ref: 14393

With over 1,800 coastal cottages available, you are never far from a wonderful beach, stunning coastal path or an impressive cliff on a Sykes cottage holiday. If you would like to holiday along the British coast, take a look at our coastal cottages today and see if we can help you plan your perfect beach getaway.


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.

5 Easy London Escapes

July 6th, 2014
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With a diverse culture, lots to do and plenty of opportunities, it is no surprise that London is bursting at the seams with tourists and locals alike. But every now and again it’s nice to escape the crowds, leave your oyster card at home and head a little further afield for some fresh air and a different scene.

If a London Escape is something you are thinking about, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve created a nifty little guide pinpointing some of the fantastic places that you can head to when you want a little break away from the capital.

Whether you consider yourself a bit of a culture vulture, fancy a romantic break or just want to head away with the family, we have a few ideas for you. The best thing about these escapes is that they are each roughly two hours or less from The City of London and we’ve picked out a few things that you can get up to in each area. We’ve even given you an interesting fact about each of the destinations, so that you can impress your travelling companions with your knowledge!


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Five Easy London Escapes

London is a great place, but there comes a time when we all need to escape the daily grind. Travel just a few hours, and you can find a spot that’s perfect for beach lovers, foodies, romantics, culture vultures or families…

Oxford for culture vultures

59.8 miles from London with a 1 hour & 17 minute drive or a 58 minute train journey

See: The impressive Bodleian Library, which is one of the oldest in the world

Do: Wander the cobbled streets and marvel at the 38 colleges that make up one of the world’s most famous universities

Don’t miss: Christ Church College, the largest and grandest building in the university complex and location for the Harry Potter films

Did you know? The oldest form of graffiti on record can be spotted at the bottom of the stairs in the Great Hall at Christ Church, it says ‘no peel’ and there are different stories as to what it refers to

Whitstable for beach lovers

61.2 miles from London with a 1 hour & 16 minute drive or train journey

See: The Tankerton Slopes with their rolling hills and colourful beach huts provide a great vantage point overlooking the coast

Do: Take in the town by foot so you don’t miss the quirky cafes and independent shops dotted around the old high street

Don’t miss: The nautical artefacts and art of The Whitstable Museum and Gallery, which also hosts special exhibitions 6 times a year

Did you know? Oysters are synonymous with Whitstable and have been harvested in the town since Roman times

Brighton for foodies

53.7 miles from London with a 1 hour 30 drive or a 1 hour train journey

See: The Lanes, a maze of quaint cobbled streets littered with traditional pubs, independent cafes and top notch eateries

Do: Eat at Riddle and Finns- classic seafood dishes are brought to life at this Brighton culinary institution

Don’t miss: The Royal Pavilion, an incredibly ornate structure that looks as if it would be more at home in India

Did you know? Brighton and Hove’s food and drink festival occurs twice a year and is one of the largest of its kind in the UK

Bath for romantic breaks

115 miles from London with a 2 hour 6 minute drive or a 1 hour 27 minute train journey

See: A panoramic view of the city from atop Bath Abbey’s 160 foot tower, a Grade I listed building featuring no less than 212 steps

Do: Take in the architecture of Bath’s iconic Roman bathhouse and treat yourself to a dip in the natural hot spring water of the Thermae Bath Spa

Don’t miss: Jane Austen’s house and visitor centre, a charming memorial to the late novelist who set two of her novels in the city

Did you know?  Bath is the only whole UK city to be designated a world heritage site by UNESCO.

Stratford Upon Avon for families

109 miles from London with a 1 hour 46 minute drive or a 1 hour 59 minute train journey

See: The sciencey MAD Museum is brimming with odd contraptions, giving kids the chance to unleash their inner inventor

Do: Take the kids on the Stratford Treasure Trail; not only is it a great way to explore the city and get some exercise, but there’s also prizes to be won!

Don’t miss: A fun family workshop at the Royal Shakespeare Company; little ones can learn some of the bard’s famous lines before settling down to enjoy a show

Did you know? Shakespeare wrote 37 plays in his lifetime- an average of 1.5 a year!

Book your Escape

So if you’re looking for a short break from London, then what are you waiting for? Head over to the Sykes Cottages main page to browse our properties and book your getaway today!

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.

Sykes’ Spotlight On: Quirky Properties

July 5th, 2014
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If you’ve ever wanted to sleep in a railway carriage, stay over in a chapel or snooze in a signal box then you’ve come to the right place. One of the biggest benefits about staying in a holiday cottage rather than a hotel is the huge amount of choice when it comes to the style of accommodation and at Sykes Cottages, we’re proud of our large variety of accommodation types. Whether you want a traditional cottage, a modern apartment or something a little out of the ordinary, we are bound to have something to suit you! Today we’re taking a look at some of our most unique and quirky properties that will make you think twice about staying in a standard double on the third floor again.

The Old Baptist Chapel

South Wales & Pembrokeshire

The Old Baptist Chapel, South Wales & Pembrokeshire

property reference 22484

Satisfying both modern tastes and those who like things a little more traditional is The Old Baptist Chapel in South Wales. The modern décor and furnishings of this property work well with its original features to provide both attractive and comfortable accommodation.

Brookbank Folly

Royal Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Brookbank Folly, hand built cottage Royal Forest of Dean

property reference 6733

Not only is Brookbank Folly located just on the edge of the Royal Forest of Dean, but it was also hand built using timber from the forest itself! Blending seamlessly into its surroundings and being full of character with exposed beams, wooden floors and stained glass windows, you would be forgiven for thinking that you were staying right in the thick of the forest.

Converted Railway Carriage

North York Moors & Coast

Converted Railway Carriage Self Catering Accommodation Near Whitby

property reference 3877

Forget the Orient Express! Perhaps one of the quirkiest and most unique properties in the Sykes family is the Converted Railway Carriage in Hawsker. Whilst the carriage has been refurbished to make comfortable accommodation for six, many of its original features have been left including first class seats, sliding windows and the shape of the carriage. The carriage is now static, but when sitting on one of these train seats and looking out of the window onto the beautiful countryside, you can almost imagine yourself going on a great adventure.

The Laggan Drey

Northern Highlands & Cairngorms National Park

The Laggan Drey, Self Catering Accommodation in Northern Highlands

property reference 1525

If you still have those childhood dreams of living in a treehouse then The Laggan Drey could be your answer. This timber cottage is located on the outskirts of Laggan and is built on stilts to give guests a stunning view of Ben Alder and Creag Meagaidh. The exposed beams and open plan living space give this property plenty of character and the outside space makes it feel as though you are secluded in your own treehouse world!

See More Quirky Cottages

Quirky Pinterest Board Sykes Cottages

head to our Quirky Cottages Pinterest board for more fantastically unique properties

We have far too many quirky and unusual properties to share them all in one blog post, so take a look at our quirky cottages pinterest board where you can see many more unique holiday cottages that are just a little out of the ordinary!

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.

Summer’s Best National Trust Events

July 4th, 2014
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With the summer holidays on the horizon, here at Sykes Cottages, we’re looking forward to the array of fantastic events taking place over the next few months. The National Trust in particular, have plenty of exhibitions, talks, events and activities on offer across the UK. We’ve picked out some of our favourites to showcase.

Pemberley Walk, Lyme Park, Cheshire

Lyme Park, Cheshire

Via Flickr

Whether you’re a fan of Jane Austen’s masterpiece, Pride in Prejudice, or just an admirer of Colin Firth in a wet shirt, then you won’t want to miss the Pemberley Walks taking place at Lyme Park in Cheshire this summer. The exterior of this beautiful estate was one of the filming locations for the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice; more specifically, the filming location for Mr Darcy’s Pemberley. It was here that Colin Firth emerged soaking wet from the lake in one of the most famous TV scenes of all time!  On this organised walk, you can experience the grandeur of Lyme Park and explore the filming locations of the 1995 adaptation. These walks are running from 2pm-4pm on 26th July, 30th August, 27th September and 25th October. It is a free event although normal admission charges to Lyme Park apply.

Fun Fridays, Woolacombe Beach, Devon

Woolacombe Beach

Via Flickr

If you’re looking for something a little different, then Woolacombe Beach’s Fun Friday is a fantastic activity to get involved in this summer. Every Friday from 25th July to 29th August, the National Trust Beach Rangers will be out at Woolacombe Beach to help organise some free, fun activities for adults and children alike. Anyone is welcome to go along to their free drop-in sessions every Friday and take part in family-friendly games such as beach football, beach volleyball, cricket, giant beach jenga, giant snakes and ladders, and sand modelling. Dogs on leads are welcome and children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Garden Tour and Tea, Bateman’s, East Sussex

Bateman's, East Sussex

Via Flickr

Bateman’s is a beautiful 17th century house in Burwash, East Sussex that was once home to author, Rudyard Kipling. He lived here from 1902 until his death in 1936 and it was here that he first met his wife, Carrie and wrote many of his finest work. The house remains very much as he left it with a significant oriental influence, reflecting his strong links with the East. Visitors to Bateman’s during the summer can join the Head Gardener for a tour of the magnificent gardens surrounding the house and find out how Kipling transformed this quiet, country house into a sanctuary and retreat from his celebrity status. Afterwards, a delicious cream tea will be also be served. These tours are running from 11am- 12.30pm on 19th July, 9th August, 30th August and 20th September. The cost is £10.00 per person, plus normal admission.

If you know of any other great events taking place around the UK this summer then feel free to get in touch and let us know! You can get in touch via our Twitter or Facebook page; we’d love to hear from you!

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.