The Tour de Yorkshire is coming – is your cottage ready?

March 15th, 2015
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Lest you’d forgotten: the opening stages of the 2014 Tour De France took place in Yorkshire, and to all intents and purposes, the Grand Depart was an unequivocal success.

Tour de France by Bryan Ledgard is licensed under CC 2.0

Tour de France by Bryan Ledgard is licensed under CC 2.0

Over 2.5 million spectators took to Yorkshire’s green and pleasant pastures to witness the peloton pass, and race director, Christian Prudhomme, called the event “very, very special”.

Tour de France by Bryan Ledgard is licensed under CC 2.0

Tour de France by Bryan Ledgard is licensed under CC 2.0

So successful was Le Tour Yorkshire that a sequel has been planned for 2015; the Tour de Yorkshire will take place from 1-3 May and sees riders put through their paces on a gruelling 520km route through some of the county’s most beloved landscapes, towns and cities. The event is a great opportunity for businesses in the area, with 2014’s Grand Depart raising over £80 million for the local economy.

Prior to last year’s Grand Depart, we were inundated with requests for cottages near the race route, and this year is no exception – cue gleeful hand rubbing from those lucky enough to own a holiday home on or near the Tour de Yorkshire route.

If you are the owner of a Yorkshire holiday cottage and would like to find out how best to prepare your property for this year’s event, we’ve come up with a few hints and tips on how to ready your holiday cottage for the Tour de Yorkshire 2015.

Is your cottage close to the action?

The Tour de Yorkshire takes place over three days, with each race split into three 170km routes. The first leg will take place on May 1st in North Yorkshire; the second sees riders winding through the Yorkshire Wolds en route to York; and the final stage steers racers deep into the Yorkshire Dales for a strenuous finale.

Tour de Yorkshire 4

Image by Sue Jackson is licensed under CC 2.0

A comprehensive map of the route can be found on the Tour de Yorkshire website, but here’s a list of some of the towns and villages that the contest passes.

Stage 1 – Brid to Scarborough

  • Bridlington
  • Pickering
  • Danby
  • Whitby & Robin Hood’s Bay
  • Scarborough

Stage 2 – Selby to York

  • Beverley
  • Wetwang
  • Malton
  • Stamford Bridge
  • York

Stage 3 – Wakefield to Leeds

  • Ripponden
  • Hebden Bridge
  • Haworth
  • Addingham
  • Ilkley

Make changes to your welcome pack

Adding Tour de Yorkshire information to your welcome pack is a great idea if you have a booking over the race weekend as, chances are, those guests will be coming to watch the event; here’s a few things you may like to add to your welcome pack before the event.

  • Time, date and place information: Guests will be impressed you’ve gone the extra mile to find this for them, particularly those with poor mobile reception. In-depth race details can be found here.
  • List local events: On the run-up to and during the race, there’ll doubtless be a host of cycling themed events taking place, so be sure to list these in your welcome pack.
  • Suggest best places to spectate: Your local knowledge could prove invaluable for those hoping for a front row seat as the riders pass. If you’re familiar with the race route, list places where your guests can get a good view of the action – think lesser known cubby holes and quiet nooks and crannies.
  • Provide details of other cycle routes in the area: It may be that you already have this information in your welcome pack, but if not, now is a good time to include it. The Tour de Yorkshire is likely to attract some serious cycle-heads, so any information on cycling opportunities in the area will go down a treat.

Things to consider

Le Tour Yorkshire by Paul is licensed under CC 2.0

Le Tour Yorkshire by Paul is licensed under CC 2.0

Beyond customising your welcome pack, there are a few other things to consider before the tour comes to town on May 1st. Firstly, you may like to make a few changes to your property to make it more appealing to cyclists, such as providing adequate washing facilities and plenty of secure storage space – for further tips, check out our blog on how to make your cottage bike friendly.

Another thing to consider before the Tour de Yorkshire is adding deck or portable chairs to your property. Although the majority of spectators will bring their own, providing moveable chairs would be a nice touch – particularly if you’re property is close to the race route.

If you’d like any further help and advice on marketing your property for the Tour de Yorkshire, call our owner team today on 01244 356695.

Stumbled upon this post in search of accommodation for the Tour de Yorkshire? Check out our cottages for the Tour de Yorkshire blog.

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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.

Where is England’s Prettiest Village?

March 14th, 2015
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Did you know that today sees the start of English Tourism Week? The event is designed to showcase the best that England has to offer all of it’s visitors and we thought it would be rude to not join in. So for today’s blog we’ve decided to have a look and see if we can find England’s prettiest town, but we’re going to need a bit of help deciding! After much deliberation we’ve managed to narrow it down to a select few and this is where you guys come into it! We’d love it if you could have a look through the list and let us know which one would get your vote.

Castle Combe, Wiltshire

For the first village in the list we’re going to head down to the Cotswolds. Castle Combe always seems to feature in lists of the prettiest places in England so it was the logical place to start! With its traditional market cross and countless stone built cottages, Castle Combe has to be considered as one of the quaintest places in the whole of the country. If you think that the village rings a bell it’s probably because it has been used in the filming of numerous TV shows and films, from Agatha Christie’s Poirot through to Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of War Horse.

Mousehole, Cornwall

Next up we’ve got the Cornish fishing village of Mousehole. Once one of the main trading centres in Mount’s Bay, Mousehole has had a somewhat turbulent past, including a raid by the Spanish in the 16th Century that saw the whole village burnt down save for one house which still stands to this day! Thankfully though things are a bit quieter these days. Since the mid twentieth century the Mousehole has been part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which has helped it preserve the charm that once saw the famous poet Dylan Thomas label Mousehole as “the loveliest village in England”.

Castleton, Derbyshire

Affectionately known as the “Gem of the Peaks”, Castleton is truly steeped in history. The village is overlooked by the remains of Peveril Castle, built for one of William the Conqueror’s staunchest supporters, and it’s also famous for its four ‘show caves’, namely Peak Cavern, Blue John Cavern, Speedwell Caver and Treak Cliff Cavern. Then there’s the scenery! Found at the very western tip of the Hope Valley, Castleton is bordered on three sides by the steep sided hills that typify the Peaks and lurking around two miles from the village is the imposing Mam Tor, where you’ll find some of the finest views in the area.

Hutton-le-Hole, North Yorkshire

Next up we’re heading up to North Yorkshire and to the village of Hutton-le-Hole in particular. Situated at the southern tip of the North York Moors National Park, Hutton-le-Hole is arguably one of the most picturesque spots in the country. With traditional stone built cottages, the babbling Hutton Beck that runs through the village and wide expanses of grassy common land, helpfully maintained by the herd of free roaming moorland sheep, it looks like the perfect place for a summer’s picnic.

Haworth, West Yorkshire



And for our next village we’re going to head over to Haworth. We have to admit that Haworth is a bit of a favourite here with the Sykes team, so much so that Louise put together a guide of what you should get up to there following her stay last year. Haworth is probably most famous for being the home of the Brontë sisters whilst they wrote the vast majority of their works, and the village is sure to live up to the expectations of even the most fervent of their fans. Or if that isn’t your cup of tea, you could easily spend an afternoon exploring the quaint little shops in the village – Ms Beighton’s Sweet Shop comes highly recommended!

Staithes, North Yorkshire

And finally we’re going to end with the seaside village of Staithes in North Yorkshire. Once one of the largest fishing ports on the North East coast, Staithes has a long standing maritime connection; in fact it was there that Captain Cook first found his love for sailing whilst working as a grocer’s apprentice. These days there are still a few fisherman who operate out of Staithes, however, it has become more of a base from which you can explore the dramatic Yorkshire coastline, mainly thanks to the Cleveland Way passing the village and coastal paths leading up to the beautiful Boulby Cliffs.

So there you go, the Sykes Cottages shortlist for the prettiest English village. Hopefully you’ve managed to pick one of them out, if so do tell us, you can get in touch over either Facebook or Twitter! Alternatively if you know of somewhere that you think is deserving of a mention in the list do let us know!

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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.

The UK’s Best Science Museums

March 13th, 2015
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As much as we love a nice relaxing day out, we like to enjoy a trip to somewhere a little more educational every now and again; something that gets those cogs turning whilst still enjoying all that holiday fun! So, to celebrate the start of British Science Week, we’re turning our focus to some of the best science museums that the UK has to offer. So if you want something that makes you think whilst you’re on your next holiday, read on for some of our suggestions of places to go that have a little more of a bang.

Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium

Hubble Spies a Loopy Galaxy NASA

image credit: NASA and ESA. Acknowledgment: A. Gal-Yam (Weizmann Institute of Science) | CC 2.0

The wonderful Winchester Science Centre  is not only educational but also a whole lot of fun! Children can discover the world of trees with Delores the ladybird and Mike the glow-worm or explore the solar system in a cardboard rocket at the planetarium. Away from the planetarium, the museum also boasts over one-hundred hands on science exhibitions that were created with children in mind although don’t worry as the museum also hosts a number of events and lectures just for adults, so there really is something for everyone!

MAGNA Science Adventure Centre

Set within a former steelworks in Rotherham is the Magna Science Centre which aims to entertain and educate visitors with over 100 hands-on exhibitions focused around the four elements; air, fire, water and earth. Whether you want to create patterns with air cannons in the Air Pavilion, get wet in the Water Pavilion, control JCB’s in the Earth Pavilion or be mesmerized by the burning atmosphere in the Fire Pavilion, you will be spoilt for choice at the centre.

Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) is a North West favourite and allows visitors to immerse themselves in the future and historic industry of Manchester. Adults and children of all ages will love a visit to the 4D theatre to watch The Lost World 4D; those with an interest in steam power and it’s usage within Manchester’s industrial development will enjoy wandering through the Power Hall; whilst a visit to the Underground Manchester Gallery gives visitors the chance to walk through a Victorian sewer and see what it used to be like in the underground of the city.

Catalyst Museum

Located in Widnes, Cheshire, the Catalyst museum puts its focus on chemistry and how chemistry products are used in everyday life. The museum is a popular choice for school trips during term time, where many workshops are based around the curriculum, but in the holidays the museum’s huge range of activities and exhibits make it the ideal family day out! Visitors can learn about the history of chemistry and it’s industry, can take part in hands-on exhibits and activities or head to the observatory on the top floor to find out about recycling and enjoy the views.

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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.

Mother’s Day Recipes

March 12th, 2015
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Mother’s Day is just around the corner and if like me you’ve left planning to the last minute, you’ll be starting to feel the pressure of finding your mum the perfect gift. I’ve searched high and low for the ideal present but keep coming up short; longing for the days where a hand crafted card or painting would pass as an acceptable offering. Unfortunately I’m no longer eight years old and those types of gifts just don’t cut it with my mum, but I’m still able to make her something homemade that will bring a big smile to her face – food!

This Mother’s Day, I’ll be heading to the kitchen to make my mum and family some of her favourite treats. If you plan on cooking for your mum this year but need a little inspiration, keep reading as we list three of our favourite Mother’s Day recipes!

Eggs Benedict

Whether you live at home with your mum or you turn up early to cook her a surprise breakfast in bed, you can never go wrong with eggs. Try something different this year with an indulgent helping of Eggs Benedict; this recipe takes 10-30 minutes and will serve 3-6 people.


  • 6 large eggs
  • 12 slices of pancetta
  • 3 English muffins
  • 6 tbsp of hollandaise sauce


  1. Cut the English muffins in half and lightly toast whilst grilling the pancetta until crispy.
  2. Once toasted, butter the muffins and leave to one side. Remove the pancetta from the grill and keep warm whilst you poach the eggs.
  3. Poach the eggs in boiling water and heat the hollandaise sauce.
  4. Assemble the Eggs Benedict by placing a slice of pancetta onto the buttered half muffin and then top with a poached egg. Finish with a drizzle of hollandaise sauce and place under the grill for 30 seconds (keep your eye on this, you want the heat to glaze the surface of the hollandaise, not burn it).

For more wonderful breakfast recipes to share with your mum check out our previous blog post ‘The Perfect Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed’

Chocolate and Raspberry Cupcakes

Not only do these cupcakes sound amazing but they taste incredible; delicately topped with a shiny raspberry, they are sure to impress your mum this Sunday. The recipe below takes around an hour (plus extra time for cooling) and will serve 12.


For the cupcakes

  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 95g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 120ml butter milk
  • 80ml vegetable oil

For the icing

  • 420g icing sugar
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 165g thick raspberry jam
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Raspberries for decoration


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C (gas mark 4) and line a muffin tray with cupcake cases.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and vegetable oil together until you achieve a smooth mixture.
  4. Pour half of the egg mixture into the flour mixture along with half the butter milk – gently stir together. Repeat this step with the remaining egg mixture and butter milk. Do not over mix; you don’t want the cake mix to be too thick.
  5. Fill the cupcake cases with the cake mix (about half way) and bake for 15-20 minutes. Test the cupcakes are ready by inserting a toothpick – if it comes out clean you’re good to go.
  6. Leave the cupcakes to completely cool before frosting; this can take up to an hour.
  7. For the icing, beat the softened butter for around 5 minutes until smooth and pale.
  8. Whilst continuously mixing add the icing sugar, double cream, vanilla extract and salt to the butter. Beat at a high speed for around 1 minute.
  9. Add the raspberry jam to the mixture and beat for a further 2 minutes until thick and creamy. If the mixture is too thin simply add more icing sugar.
  10. Decorate your cooled cupcakes with the raspberry icing and fresh raspberries before serving.


Celebrate in style this Mother’s Day by treating your dear old mum to this fabulous cocktail. This recipe takes around ten minutes to prepare and will serve up to four people.


  • 240ml vodka
  • 90ml cranberry juice
  • 4 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp triple sec
  • Ice
  • 1 lime for decoration


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with the ice, vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice and triple sec. Shake for around 30 seconds before straining into a Martini glass.
  2. Decorate the glass with a slice of lemon before serving.

And there you have it, three of our favourite recipes to treat your mum with this Mother’s Day. If you’re not a fan of cooking then why not treat your mum to an afternoon tea at one of these fantastic team rooms instead?

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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.

Book a bargain in Sykes’ Spring Sale

March 11th, 2015
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Feel that? That’s the sun that is. You know what that means: Spring has arrived, bringing mild temperatures, baby animals, and most importantly, the Sykes Cottages Spring Sale to our shores.

For the next few weeks, we’re offering great discounts on selected cottage holidays to a number of destinations throughout the UK and Ireland. With great savings of up to 25% off to be had, now is a great time to get away before the rush of the peak season.

Need a little inspiration? Here’s a shortlist of the destinations we think would make a great base for a getaway this springtime.

Top 5 destinations that’ll put a spring in your step

Spring Sale 1Lake District

When William Wordsworth spotted a “A host, of golden daffodils” during a hike in the Lake District, he penned arguably his most famous poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. If lyricism’s your thing, feel free to try top the laureate’s ode; if not, relax and enjoy the views. The Lake District is one of the UK’s prettiest destinations any time of year, but it’s especially pretty in spring – think lambs, daffodils and ruddy big fens.

Spring Sale 3

Isle of Wight

Desperate for some Vitamin-D? Get started on this year’s sun-kissed summer glow with a spring break on the Isle of Wight. Throughout the year, temperatures on this sunny southern isle are higher than other parts, making it an enticing destination for tan fans. Despite its meagre proportions, the Isle of Wight is home to some of the UK’s best beaches, not to mention its best loved coastal resorts – cheeky beach break anyone?

Spring Sale 4Scotland

Perhaps you’re clinging to the dregs of winter and aren’t ready for double figures just yet? If so, get yourself north of the border with a cottage break in Scotland. Whether you walk, cycle, ski or drive, Scotland is a brilliant destination for adventurous types at any time of year. Book a Scottish cottage in the Sykes’ spring sale, and before you know it, you could be exploring a secluded loch or traversing a sun-blushed mountainside – bliss.

Spring Sale 5Cornwall

A discounted break in Cornwall? In May?! Pinch me, I must be dreaming. But no: we’re offering reduced rate cottage breaks in Cornwall, too. During summer, things can get a tad cramped on this coveted spit of land; in spring however, there’ll be plenty of space for your towel on the beach and no queues for a pasty. Don’t wait around though – these discounted Cornish cottage breaks will about book themselves.

Whitby harbor and abbey

North York Moors & Coast

Beaches, history and heathland collide in the North York Moors. This spectacular corner of God’s Own County is a peach of a destination now that the mercury is beginning to bubble, and is the perfect place to seek solace from the 9 to 5. With historic daytrips aplenty – Whitby Abbey, York, Rievaulx Abbey – and sandy beaches galore, a cottage break in the North York Moors could be just what you need this spring.

 You heard me – book your spring break today!

This is but a morsel of the destinations offered in our spectacular spring sale, so be sure to check out our full range of cottages with spring savings, here. Our spring deals are available from 10th April to 2nd May and from 1st May to 22nd May, so there’s plenty of time to pencil in a cut-price trip. But be quick – these fantastic deals won’t be around for long.

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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.