Sykes’ Spotlight on Pet Friendly Cottages for More Than One Pet

February 19th, 2015
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When I was a child I hated having to wave goodbye to the family dogs as we left on our annual holiday so now that I’m older I take every opportunity I can to pack them into the car with me and head off on an adventure together. It turns out I’m not the only one who hates to leave my loyal companions behind as thousands of people book up our pet friendly cottages each year.

Booking a cottage when you have just one pooch can be hard enough but what happens if you have a pack? Well here at Sykes Cottages we have the answer: hundreds of pet-friendly cottages that will accept two or more pets! Keep reading to see a selection of our favourite pet friendly cottages for more than one pet or head on over to our pet friendly cottages page and start searching for your next holiday today!

The Stables, Horton-in-Ribblesdale

912240

The Stables (Ref. 912240)

Located on the outskirts of a picturesque country village, The Stables are ideal for dog owners who like to stretch their legs. This gorgeous two bedroom property offers visitors and their four legged friends various walks straight from the doorstep so you can head out and explore famous areas such as the Pennine Way and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Driftwood Cottage, Baycliff

26010

Driftwood Cottage (Ref. 26010)

Driftwood Cottage offers everything you need on a dog friendly holiday; there is a comfortable enclosed patio with spectacular views over Morecambe Bay and direct access to the beach as well as a cosy woodburner in the sitting area. Days can be filled playing amongst the surf whilst cosy evenings are spent reading by firelight – something for both dogs and owner!

Loo Bridge Railway Station, Killarney

Low Bridge Railway Station (Ref. 17893)

Low Bridge Railway Station (Ref. 17893)

Ideally situated between the two popular towns of Kenmare and Killarney, Low Bridge Railway Station not only benefits from fantastic amenities but also easy access to the National Park which is home to some of Ireland’s best scenery. When you’re done exploring the local area simply sit back and relax in the large lawned garden or one of the four stylishly decorated bedrooms.

Hillbrook House, Nolton Haven

Hillbrook House (Ref. 30296)

Hillbrook House (Ref. 30296)

This charming seaside cottage is perfect for a family or a group of friends wanting to explore the Welsh coastline with a wonderful sheltered beach just 30 strides from the front door. Once you’ve had your fill of the beach (if that’s possible!) visit the enclosed natural grass garden and unwind in the summerhouse or host a delicious BBQ as the sun sets over the Welsh countryside.

The Barn, Saham Hills

The Barn (Ref. 26593)

The Barn (Ref. 26593)

Nestled in the Norfolk countryside, The Barn has been finished to a high standard making it a welcome retreat for the whole family. This property accommodates four dogs and the owners even offer a dog sitting service by prior arrangement should you need it. At The Barn you’ll have your own private enclosed garden as well as use of the paddock so plenty of room to exercise the dogs!

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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.

Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year in the UK

February 18th, 2015
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Tomorrow marks the beginning of a New Year on the Chinese calendar, a year that promises peace and tranquillity according to the Chinese zodiac. 2015 is the Year of the Ram, also known as the Year of the Sheep or the Goat, and during the coming week the UK will play host to a number of special events dedicated to welcoming in the New Year.  If you would like to attend one of these spectacular events then keep reading as we suggest the best places to celebrate Chinese New Year in the UK!

Liverpool

Liverpool’s China Town was the first established in Europe and is home to the largest Chinese arch in the world outside of China, so it should come as no surprise that this lively destination makes it to the top of our list. Visit Liverpool’s China Town this Sunday (February 22nd) and you will be treated to a Chinese New Year Market, Dragon and Lion Street Parades and an incredible Fireworks display.

London

Not one to be outdone, England’s capital city holds the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia. From tomorrow until Saturday, the streets of London will be brought to life as Chinese dragons make their way through the streets and lanterns are hung from shop windows and trees. The best locations to see the displays are Trafalgar Square, China Town & Shaftsbury Avenue.

Nottingham

This year is the 10th anniversary of the University of Nottingham’s China campus in Ningbo, and to celebrate the occasion they’ve planned an extra special programme of events. Visit the university this year on Sunday 22nd and you’ll find Chinese crafts and workshops, brush painting, ribbon and fan dances, traditional story telling from China and much more! The day’s celebrations will end with a highly anticipated fireworks display at Highfields Park.

Southampton

The Chinese Association of Southampton will be putting on a fantastic display to celebrate Chinese New Year on Sunday 22nd in the West Quay Shopping Centre. Their expertly put together programme includes a lion dance, traditional Chinese dancing, Chinese folk songs, ancient art of face changing, Chinese music recitals, Kung Fu display, and a historical costume show. The whole thing kicks off at 11 a.m. so make sure you get there early and beat the crowds!

If you know of any Chinese celebrations happening near you then be sure to let us know! You can share your images from the day with us on Facebook & Twitter.

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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.

Ten Facts about Pancakes

February 17th, 2015
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It’s here, it’s here! After a bit of a false start when one of the Sykes team thought Pancake Day was last week (there was an upsetting moment of realisation and then a lot of consoling…) Shrove Tuesday is really here and of course we can’t let one of the tastiest days of the year go by without a blog post. We’re serving up a stack of pancake facts, drizzling them with mouthwatering images and spreading some topping ideas.

Ten Flippin’ Good Pancake Facts

  1. Pancakes were originally created as a way to use up the leftover fatty and rich foods before the beginning of lent.
  2. In Britain we use an estimated 55 million eggs on Pancake Day, which is around 22 million more than usual.
  3. The number of pancakes tossed in the quickest time is 349 tosses in 2 minutes. The accolade is held by Dean Gould of Suffolk.
  4. On average, we each eat two pancakes on Shrove Tuesday in Britain. This totals a huge 117 million pancakes consumed in Britain.
  5. In France, you would often make a wish whilst flipping the pancake during cooking whilst holding a coin in the other hand.
  6. It seems that Shakespeare was quite a fan of pancakes, as they feature in his plays. Most notably Act 1 Scene 2 of As You Like It. To flip or not to flip… that is the question.
  7. Supposedly, before baking soda was created, cooks used to use freshly fallen snow as an ingredient in pancakes to ensure they were soft and fluffy.
  8. The largest stack of pancakes was 76cm tall and was created by a pile of 60 pancakes. This broke the world record in 2012.
  9. Russian Andrei Smirnov once ate 73 pancakes in one hour.
  10. The highest pancake toss recorded reached 329cm high.

Eggcellent Topping Suggestions

We seem to be quite a traditional bunch here at Sykes Cottages, as a quick ask around the team revealed that the majority of us stick to the typical lemon and sugar on our pancakes (although a few of us did say that it has to be Nutella, yum!) In order to spread some inspiration, we thought sharing a couple of alternative toppings would be a good idea to get your creative juices flowing. Plus, they each sound flipping good if you ask me…

If you have a sweet tooth why not try banana and honey, fruit and whipped cream or the ultimate winter warmer of fried apples, cinnamon and honey.

If savoury is more your thing, why not treat yourself to an American brunch style pancake by having it with crispy bacon and fried eggs or fully indulge with scrambled eggs and salmon.

So, when it comes to pancakes… how do you eat yours? Tweet us and let us know!

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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.

My trip to Yorkshire: A short break beneath the Three Peaks

February 16th, 2015
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A couple of weeks ago, I hit the road on my debut jaunt to a Sykes’ holiday home – destination: the Yorkshire Dales. Suffice to say, I had a great time, and thought I’d share some memories of my trip with you.

Pen-y-ghent, Settle & the mighty Indian

Pen-y-ghent

Approaching the peak of Pen-y-ghent

Being in Three Peaks country, I thought it only right to scale at least one of these fabled hillocks. As our cottage (the delightful Harber Scar – pictured below) was in the shadow of Pen-Y-Ghent, this was the obvious choice for our hike.

Six buckets of sweat later, we made it to the summit

I don’t pretend to be Ranulph Fiennes; can only watch agog at the intrepid Tour De France cyclists; and am intimidated by the do-or-die nature of Bear Grylls – but I’m not out of shape. I dabble in running, enjoy a walk, and take the bike out for a regular blast. That said, hiking Pen-y-ghent nearly killed me. I sweated like a mule from the first to last mile, but as the pictures demonstrate, it was well worth it.

The route we took was a 6.1 mile circuit (I know, six miles – sounds easy, right?) The trail left Horton-in-Ribblesdale via the Pennine Way, before rising at a seemingly 45 degree angle up the western slope of Pen-y-ghent. For the first mile or so the peak was shrouded in low cloud, but before long the sun burnt a hole, and we were granted a beautiful – albeit, intimidating –  view of the approaching bluff.

At the summit, the vista was stunning. Cloud had spread through the valley, but we could see the other peaks of Ingleborough and Whernside, as well as the distant Cumbrian fells. Only God gets a better view.

For anyone staying in the Ribblehead Valley, conquering at least one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks is a must. Remember: if me and my 50+ Dad can do it, you can too.

That afternoon,  we discovered that the market town of Settle is the ideal place to regain your composure after an intense hill-climb. With a plethora of cafes, pubs and independent shops, it’s easy to while away an afternoon amongst the town’s cobbled byways. Later, we ate at one of Settle’s two Indian restaurants, Royal Spice, which was delicious and inexpensive. But be warned: they don’t have an alcohol license, so it’s BYO, tea or a glass of pop only.

Waterfalls, fog & the prettiest viaduct in England

After an exceptionally good night’s kip in our ever-so-cosy cottage, we drove to Ingleton to tackle the village’s highly-regarded waterfalls walk. Despite being pricey (£6 per adult) we felt we couldn’t miss this supposedly “enchanting” and “magical” visitor attraction – and were pleased we didn’t.

Pecca Falls

Pecca Falls, Ingleton Waterfalls Trail

The walk is just over four miles, and begins a short way from the centre of the village. After passing a densely wooded stream, the path ascends purpose-built steps and leads you to the first proper cascade of the walk, Pecca Falls. What follows is a sequence of modest waterfalls which climb steeply through the woodland. At this point, fog began to spill into the valley, adding a mystical element to what was already an extraordinary walk.

At the valley summit lies Thornton Force, easily the most impressive fall on the route. Here, the River Twiss drops fourteen-metres from a limestone cliff, throwing up a mist you can feel from fifty-feet away. Further along the trail you’ll reach Baxengyhll Gorge, where the river is forced down a narrow channel. The roar of the water is quite remarkable here, and there’s a well-placed viewing bridge where the fearless can take a peek at the torrent twenty metres below.

The circular route brings you back to the village, where the hungry will be drawn to the pervading smell of fish and chips. When all is said, the Ingleton Waterfall Trail is a stimulating hike; just be sure to check the weather before your visit as fog can really spoil the view.

Walk over; we headed for some sustenance at The Railway Inn, whose car park overlooks the Ribblehead Viaduct. Built in the 19th century, the bridge – which carries the famous Settle-Carlisle railway – is a grand old thing, and was a big hit with the amateur photographers who’d planted their tripods along the opposing dry-stone wall. With Whernside to the left of you and Ingleborough to the right, the panorama here is simply staggering. Visit as soon as possible.

Harber Scar – putting the ‘osy’ in ‘cosy’

Putting aside the scenery, the walks and the eating, the highlight of our trip was undoubtedly our cottage, Harber Scar. Charming and characterful both inside and out, Harber Scar offers a cosy, comfortable and refreshingly-no-frills base for a break beneath the Three Peaks. The property is chock-a-block with original period features; its doorframes are laughably low, its beds are irresistibly comfortable, and its roaring log burner ever-so cushty. I’d recommend the cottage to anyone, particularly if they plan to spend some time trekking the Three Peaks.
Think you could conquer the Three Peaks? Or just fancy taking in the sights?  Then check out our cottages to rent in the Yorkshire Dales.

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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.

What Does the Beach Mean to You?

February 15th, 2015
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What does the beach mean to you? It’s a simple question but one that requires a bit of thought. The beach means many things to many people and different things to each person during different periods of their life. This is the question that manonabeach tries to answer.

Beach in Suffolk

Walberswick, Suffolk. Image via Manonabeach.com

What is manonabeach?

Manonabeach is a website dedicated to exploring and celebrating the beaches of the UK, and the significance of them to the people that visit them. It began in December 2011, starting with just Cornwall and has now gone national, covering many other areas of the UK including Devon, Norfolk, Aberdeenshire and Pembrokeshire. Manonabeach’s objective is to bring the beach to you; whether you’re 1 mile or 100 miles from the coast, you can bring the beach to life on your screen and enjoy the emotions of being there, even when you can’t be. He does this by conducting short interviews with beach-goers, filming short clips and taking pictures of the scene. Every season, he attempts to return to each region to film and take photographs so that visitors to the site can build a picture of beach life throughout the year, not just in the summer months.  What makes manonabeach interesting is his anonymity, which makes it feel like the beach-goers are talking directly to you as a viewer. There are now over 2,000 films on the website and over 988 interviews in which beach-goers are asked the question, ‘What does the beach mean to you?’

Beach in Dorset

Durdle Door, Dorset. Image via Manonabeach.com

What are his findings?

Manonabeach has had hundreds of different responses during his interviews, with the top 5 recurring themes as follows:

  1. Childhood
  2. Beauty
  3. Dog walking
  4. Family
  5. Livelihood
Beach in Angus

Lunan Bay, Angus. Image via Manonabeach.com

It’s clear from his findings that the beach has many different effects on its visitors. Many people felt an emotional connection to the beach and could recall happy memories and days spent there with friends and family, while others just enjoyed being near the sea. Interestingly, over 26% of the site’s visitors are from London suggesting that many see the website as an escape from the busy city and an opportunity to enjoy a flavour of the beach every now and then. Some respondents felt that to them, the beach meant freedom – the wide, open spaces and peaceful nature appeals to them when they want some calm or tranquillity. In contrast to this, lots of the people he asked saw the beach as a place for activities; dog-walking, swimming, fishing and walking were some of the most common answers. For others, the beach was their livelihood and connoted routine and economic benefit.

Beach in East Sussex

Birling Gap, East Sussex. Image via Manonabeach.com

What does the beach mean to Sykes Cottages’ customers?

So what we want to know, is what does the beach mean to Sykes Cottages’ customers? You can let us know either by sending us a tweet or by leaving a comment on our Facebook page. We’re conducting our own mini manonabeach project and will be compiling some of the answers into a blog post next week so keep your eyes peeled!

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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.