Sykes’ Famous Places: Roald Dahl

September 11th, 2016
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Roald Dahl Day is fast approaching and to help celebrate 100 years since the birth of this extraordinary author, we’re taking a look at some of the places he made famous. From James and the Giant Peach to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, join us as we discover some of the locations that helped inspire Roald Dahl’s magical tales.


Image of Llandaff Cathedral by Archangel12 - CC 2.0

Image of Llandaff Cathedral by Archangel12CC 2.0

Roald Dahl was born at Villa Marie, now known as Ty Gwyn, in Llandaff on September 13th 1916. His parents were Norwegian and his father was in the Shipbroker business. The family moved away from the city for some time but moved back after the loss of his father and sister. During his time in Llandaff, Roald attended the Llandaff Cathedral School and spent afternoons gazing through the window of the sweetshop. The owner of this sweetshop is said to have inspired the character of Mrs Pratchett from Roald Dahl’s ‘Boy’.

The historic city of Llandaff lies to the north of Cardiff city centre and offers a perfect base for exploring the city. Visitors to Llandaff can make the most of the village atmosphere whilst exploring the area’s many historic features, including the magnificent cathedral and welcoming high street. Whilst in the city why not stop by the site of the old sweetshop, now a Chinese takeaway? Outside you will find a lovely blue plaque which was unveiled in September 2009 to commemorate the life and work of Roald Dahl.


Image of Repton School by Paul Buckingham - CC 2.0

Image of Repton School by Paul BuckinghamCC 2.0

Roald Dahl came to Repton in January 1930 to study at Repton School. He stayed in Repton as a boarder for four and a half years before moving on to live with his family in Bexley in July 1934. Whilst at school in Repton, Roald lived at the Priory on High Street and took part in blind tasting events for Cadbury. Repton School alumni like to think that memories of these blind tastings inspired the author when writing his famous story, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.

Repton is a wonderful village to visit with plenty to see and do in the local area. Located on the Trent Valley in Derbyshire, this village is not only home to beautiful scenery and architecture but a fascinating history too. The village dates back to Anglo-Saxon times and is known for being the place where Christianity was first preached in the midlands. When visiting the village, guests are advised to visit the village church and the remains of the old Repton Priory.

Great Missenden

Image of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre by David Hillas - CC 2.0

Image of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre by David HillasCC 2.0

In July 1954, Roald Dahl and his wife Pat bought Little Whitefield Cottage in Great Missenden. The couple moved in and spent the duration of their married life here. It was from Great Missenden that Roald Dahl wrote many of his famous stories including ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’, ‘The BFG’ and ‘Danny Champion of the World’. In 1990, when Roald Dahl passed away, he was buried at the Church of St Peter and Paul in Great Missenden. His grave can be found near the memorial bench under the tree.

Great Missenden is a must visit for all Roald Dahl Fans. The village is home to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre where visitors can explore three interactive galleries and put their imagination to the test with the range of activities on offer. When the sun is shining, there are also a number of wonderful walks and trails available from the village. Whilst out walking, visitors will pass many iconic buildings and places that inspired Roald Dahl’s stories.

If you fancy exploring any of the places made famous by Roald Dahl then be sure to visit the Sykes Cottages website where you will find a selection of fantastic self-catering properties to choose from.

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

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 husband.

Walk of the Month: Marloes Peninsula Coastal Walk

August 28th, 2016
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As another month comes to a close, we’ve decided to celebrate the great British weather and get out and about with August’s edition of Walk of the Month. This month, we’re heading to South Wales for a walk that takes in some of the best scenery that the Pembrokeshire coast has to offer. From the captivating sea views to the playful wildlife, this walk is ideal for an afternoon outing this summer.

The Walk:

This four mile circular route can take up to two hours to complete but we would advise allowing extra time to make the most of the views and fresh sea air. The terrain is relatively easy going with some rugged paths, gradients and steps, so please wear sensible footwear. There is a car park at the start of the walk for those travelling by car, and toilet facilities so you can freshen up before heading off.

The Route:

Begin your walk from the Marloes Sands car park. Make your way to the south end of the car park then turn right by the emergency phone and follow the signs for the toilets. Continue past the toilets, along the lane passing Marloes Mere; be sure to keep an eye out here for a glimpse of the wetland birds. Once you have passed the Mere, turn left and head for the coast path.

When you reach the coast path you will see Marloes Sands but turn right and head towards Gateholm Islands instead. You’ll soon come level with Gateholm, Skokholm should be ahead of you with Skomer coming into view on your right very soon, making this a perfect place to stop for a family photo.

Continue along the coastal path through an Iron Age fort. Make sure to stop here and admire the dramatic sedimentary rock formations that can be found along the coast. As you follow the coast path round, keep an eye out for Skomer Island and Midland Isle which will shortly come into view before reaching a footbridge.

At the footbridge take the right fork down the valley, towards Martin’s Haven. Go through the gate which leads to the road and turn left towards Martin’s Haven and the Skomer embarkation point. Before reaching the beach, follow the coast post right and up the steps. The path will continue east and you can enjoy views across St Bride’s Bay towards Newgale, the Solva Coast, St David’s Peninsula and Ramsey Island.

When you’ve walked just over a mile, leave the coastal path and turn right through a self-closing gate at a West Hook Farm National Trust omega sign. Cross the fields here and head towards the road. Once you’ve reached the road, turn left and follow it past the farm turning right by two semi-detached cottages. Walk down the track which leads back to the car park.

To view the full route map, please click here.

Book a holiday cottage in Pembrokeshire

Priory Cottage (Ref. 915079), in Saundersfoot

Priory Cottage (Ref. 915079), in Saundersfoot

Whether you’re looking for a cosy escape for two or a large group getaway for up to 21, our selection of over 300 Pembrokeshire cottages are ideal for walking holidays. As well as the wonderful Welsh scenery and atmosphere, many of our cottages also boast extra features such as WiFi, hot tubs and swimming pools. For more information on these spectacular cottages simply visit our Pembrokeshire cottages page or call our reservations team on 01244 356695.

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

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 husband.

Last Minute Cottages for August Bank Holiday

August 21st, 2016
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If you’ve no plans for the August bank holiday yet, have you considered booking a last minute getaway? We still have some fantastic holiday cottages available over the bank holiday weekend that would be the perfect places to make the most of your time off. Take a look at some of our available properties below:

Fell View Stables Cottage, Yorkshire Dales

Holiday cottage in Yorkshire

This pretty upside-down cottage, renovated from old farm buildings, is nestled in the beautiful old village of East Witton in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Fell View Stables Cottage sleeps up to for guests, making it perfect for two couples or a small family to enjoy the bank holiday in. There are plenty of scenic walks from the doorstep and an award-winning gastro pub serving real ales and good food is just two minutes’ walk from the property.

Elephant House, Scottish Highlands

Holiday cottage in Scotland

Elephant House is an architect-designed property built using locally-sourced and sustainable materials. This lovely cottage is bright and spacious with beautiful woodland views from many of the windows. The surrounding land has its own wildlife pond and a fantastic converted bus which acts as a wonderfully quirky summerhouse. The property owners provide a daily supply of fresh produce including homemade bread and freshly-laid eggs meaning that you can spend a relaxing weekend holed up here with your loved one, without even having to leave the house!

Hook Norton Barn, Oxfordshire

Holiday cottage in Oxfordshire

This idyllic barn conversion will make for a wonderful romantic retreat this bank holiday. Close to the picturesque village of Hook Norton with its thatched cottages, historic buildings and real ale brewery, Hook Norton Barn is a luxury bolthole for those looking for a countryside break. The property itself has plenty of stunning original features such as beams, exposed stone walls and a fascinating glass-covered well in the floor of the living area. The Cotswolds are on your doorstep and the striking city of Oxford is just 25 miles away.

To view all of our self catering cottages available for the August bank holiday weekend, please visit our website. Alternatively, you can give our expert holiday advisors a call on 01244 356695 and they’ll help you find the perfect property to spend your bank holiday in.

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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.

Cottages to Rent near Theme Parks

August 14th, 2016
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For many families planning a UK getaway it’s all about the location. Some prefer to be near the beach, others would opt for a quiet country escape and some would rather spend their time getting lost in one of the UK’s fantastic theme parks. If you prefer the latter then you’ve come to the right place as Sykes Cottages have an extensive selection of self-catering holiday rentals located close to UK theme parks.  We’ve included a selection of these properties below but for more information please feel free to call our team on 01244 500570.

Alton Towers

As one of the UK’s biggest tourist attractions, Alton Towers attracts millions of visitors each year. The theme park is located within the grounds of a historic country house and as well as its vast selection of white knuckle rides the park also caters for families and children with its popular CBeebies Land and gardens.

Ash House (Ref. 922587), in Alton

Ash House (Ref. 922587) near Alton Towers

Ash House is located just a stone’s throw from Alton Towers, 1.2 miles away to be exact! This property comfortably sleeps a party of six in three bedrooms and with all the amenities of Alton on your doorstep there is plenty to see and do from this holiday let.

Bunbury (Ref. 4301), in Farley

Bunbury (Ref. 4301) near Alton Towers

There’s no need for early alarms when staying at Bunbury as this 10 person holiday let is just five minutes’ walk from Alton Towers. When not exploring the famous theme park guests can enjoy the property’s outdoor space which is ideal for BBQs and entertaining.

For more cottages located near Alton Towers please click here.

Chessington World of Adventures

Advertised as Britain’s Wildest Adventure, Chessington World of Adventures combines a theme park, zoo, sea life centre, live shows and events and a new Go Ape experience! With so much to do at this attraction you’ll need more than a day or two in the area and that’s where our cottages come in handy.

Rushmore Lodge (Ref. 16629) in Knockholt

Rushmore Lodge (Ref. 16229) near Chessington World of Adventures

After a long day of exploring Chessington World of Adventures, Rushmore Lodge is the ideal property to relax in. With three bedrooms, a stylish open plan living area and heated outdoor swimming pool, Rushmore Lodge can comfortably sleep up to eight people.

For more cottages located near Chessington World of Adventures please click here.

Drayton Manor

Home to Britain’s first stand up rollercoaster and some of the UK’s fastest and scariest rides, Drayton Manor is a fantastic day out for families. Some of the park’s main attractions include Thomas Land, Drayton Manor Zoo, the Dino Trail and rides such as Shockwave, Air Race and Apocalypse.

Gatehouse Croft (Ref. 27120) in Polesworth

Gate House (Ref. 27120) near Drayton Manor

Located in the idyllic village of Polesworth in North Warwickshire, Gatehouse Croft is just five miles from Drayton Manor. This historic property is the perfect base for exploring the theme park and surrounding area and as the cottage sleeps four people it would be ideal for a small family.

For more cottages located near Drayton Manor please click here


No matter what the weather, Flambards makes for a fantastic day out. This family friendly attraction combines wet and wild rides with a number of educational indoor attractions. From highflying adventures on Thunderbolt and Skyraker to exploring the Jurassic and Victorian era this theme park has plenty to keep the whole family entertained!

Poldark Cottage (Ref. 911585) in Helston

Poldark Cottage (Ref. 911858) near Flambards

Just five miles from Flambards, Poldark Cottage is a wonderful base for exploring this area of Cornwall. Guests to this property can spend their days exploring the theme park, coastline and National Seal Sanctuary before heading back to the cosy property for a good night’s sleep.

Tinners Way (Ref. 932804) in Porthleven

Tinners Way (Ref. 932804) near Flambards

If you plan on visiting Cornwall with a larger party then Tinners Way could provide you with the space you need. Sleeping up to eight people this stylish property is just five miles from Flambards and other well-known attractions.

For more cottages located near Flambards please click here

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

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 husband.

Walk of the Month: Castle Acre

July 31st, 2016
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For July’s edition of Walk of the Month, we are heading to the rural village of Castle Acre in Norfolk. This tranquil village takes its name from the 12th-century walled Norman castle and is one of the best preserved examples of a Norman planned settlement in the UK. From its parish church to the charming village and Castle Acre Priory, there is plenty to see along this route.

The walk:

This is a great circular route and at 6.5 miles long, it should take just under two hours to complete. Ideal for families, the route covers an even terrain mainly made up of footpaths and tracks, with just a little road-walking along quiet lanes. Please take note that the path alongside Castle Acre Common can be wet at times. On the route you will find shops, pubs and eateries so we highly suggest stopping off for a bite to eat and a refreshing drink along the way.

The route:

Begin your route from the impressive Norman castle in Castle Acre, heading southwest towards the small village of South Acre. Once you reach the River Nar, cross to the other side using the footbridge adjacent to the ford and continue the route to South Acre.

Once you reach South Acre, make your way past the village church and South Acre Hall before following the tracks across the farmland above the Nar Valley. Once through the farmland you should be just east of West Arce.

From West Acre follow the route east along the Nar Valley Way and back towards Castle Acre. Cross the footbridge close to where the West Arce Mill used to stand, and continue through the peaceful woodlands before arriving at Castle Acre Commons which sits beside the River Nar.

After taking some time to explore the Castle Acre Commons, continue along the route passing to the north of the Cluniac priory entrance. You will soon arrive at Castle Acre Village and after skirting St James’ Church and the 13th-century stone Bailey Gate, you will soon find yourself back at the castle.

To view the full route map and PDF, please click here.

Book a holiday cottage in Norfolk:

Walk of the Month - Castle Acre

Sleepeezy (Ref. 15264) in Norfolk

Here at Sykes Cottages, we love Norfolk and think it’s the ideal location for a self-catering getaway at any time of year, but don’t just take our word for it. We asked over 1,000 visitors and residents of Norfolk why they love the area and compiled the answers into our fantastic Visitor’s Guide to Norfolk. In the guide you will find plenty of information on things to do, places to go and what to eat whilst in Norfolk along with a number of charming comments from the people that know Norfolk best.

Once you’ve finished reading through our guide why not check out our selection of over 200 Norfolk cottages? From the impressive Norfolk Broads to the dramatic coastline, our self-catering holiday lets offer something for everyone.

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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

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 husband.