Books to Read Whilst On a Cottage Holiday

June 13th, 2015
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No cottage holiday is complete without a good book; long car rides, lazy afternoons, country picnics and evenings spent curled up in front of an open fire are all perfect opportunities for reading.  Having been on many cottage holidays, the team here at Sykes Cottages know exactly what type of book is required; not too long, easily digestible and very entertaining. So if you’re looking to add a few good books to your collection, keep reading as we suggest a few of the best books to read whilst on a cottage holiday.

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on The Train | Image from Waterstones

Image from Waterstones

Louise – “My choice would be The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins. This psychological thriller is probably one of the most talked about books of the year and for very good reason- even Stephen King tweeted about how much he enjoyed it! Taking inspiration from Hitchcock and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (to which it has been heavily compared, but to which it is different and brilliant in its own right); it’s a page-turning masterpiece that I couldn’t put down from start to finish and that I would thoroughly recommend.”

The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson

The Rose Petal Beach | Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

Leanne – “I’ve been a Dorothy Koomson fan ever since reading her second novel The Chocolate Run; a light hearted, chocolate fuelled romantic comedy that is certainly worth a read. Dorothy’s latest novels, however, are all more serious in nature with The Rose Petal Beach being no different. With the novel having various narrators, Dorothy takes you on a journey where you’re never too sure who to believe. The twists, turns and incredible narration of this novel make it the ideal summer holiday read. In fact, if you’re looking for a book to take with you on your summer holiday this year, or are just looking for a new author to fall in love with – I urge you to pick up something written by Dorothy Koomson. You won’t be disappointed!”

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil | Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

Nicole – “My favourite stories are those involving magic, mystery, mythical creatures and danger, which is why my choice for a good cottage holiday read is The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. The story follows two friends as they are taken from their homes and enrolled into the School for Good and Evil, but the girls find their fortunes twisted as beautiful Sophie is dumped at the School for Evil and dark, quiet Agatha finds herself at the School for Good. Offering something for all ages, from love and heartache to friendship and rivalry; this book is suitable for both children and adults making it a must for your suitcase.”

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared

Image from Amazon

Jamie – “The Hundred Year Old Man was my favourite book of last summer so it’s only right that I should recommend it for this year! It tells the tale of Allan Karlsson who, on his 100th birthday, makes a break for freedom from his nursing home and manages to get himself caught up in in a series of bizarre and unfortunate events involving a few criminals, a suitcase full of money and an elephant. Throughout the book you also get a taste of Allan’s colourful past ranging from helping create the atom bomb to dalliances with historical figures such as Stalin, Mao and Harry Truman. All in all, the Hundred Year Old Man makes for the perfect summer book, easy to read, light and entertaining – what more could you want?”

So what do you think? Will you be adding these best sellers to your lists of holiday must reads, or perhaps you have some suggestions for us? Let us know what you think, you can reach us through both Facebook and Twitter.

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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.

Large Properties Offering Flexible Breaks

June 12th, 2015
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You can’t beat a break with a group, whether it’s getting the all of the family together for a week away or spending some time with friends, however when it comes to larger parties it can be difficult to arrange dates. Some people might struggle to get time off work, whereas others might have to leave early because they have to get back for some sort of engagement, and this is where our Flexible Breaks come in! You won’t have to worry about changeover days or having the property for too long, as with a Flexi Break you can start your holiday on any day of the week and book for as little as two nights! So to give you an idea of where you could be staying, we’ve decided to showcase some of the cottages offering Flexible Breaks that would be perfect for larger parties, take a look and see what you think.

The Malthouse – 17888

The Malthouse is a Grade II listed former corn mill, found in the Derbyshire village of Cromford. With nine bedrooms that sleep eighteen between them, two kitchens and two living rooms, it could well be the perfect place for a large group to take a break together! The owners have managed to maintain much of the character of this old mill with exposed beams throughout. The old mill pond still has its waterfall cascading down and there’s even a window through to the inner workings of the mill from one of the kitchens. All this has been married with countless, luxurious features from American style fridge/freezers through to slipper baths and rainfall showers, meaning that any stay in The Malthouse will be enjoyed.

Capel Dinorwig – 919390

Tucked away in the peaceful village of Llanberis, just on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, is the stunning Capel Dinorwig. Formerly a chapel, the property has been fully converted and designed by an architect into a luxury holiday property fantastic for larger groups.  There’s more than enough room for sixteen people with eight bedrooms as well as a stunning open plan living area on the first floor, complete with a feature wall and double sided wood burner, there’s plenty of space for all of the family. Add in the vaulted roof and exposed beams- pointing back to the buildings heritage- and also the full height windows offering stunning views out over the mountains, and you can see why Capel Dinorwig is such a popular cottage!

Capel Jerusalem – 918082

Finally we have another converted chapel, this time the Capel Jerusalem. A former Methodist chapel from the 1860s, it’s now a luxury property capable of sleeping up to ten people. The accommodation itself contains a deluxe open plan living area which sees all of the contemporary mod cons blended perfectly with traditional details, from the lancet windows through to the feature ceiling. Add to this a baby grand piano, zoned underfloor heating and a comfortable sitting area with room enough for all of the guests and you’ll never want to leave!

Hopefully they will have caught your eye; if so, don’t forget to click on the links below the photographs to find out more and maybe even book a sneaky break for you and your friends. Or if you’d like to take a look at all of the properties that are available to book on a Flexible Break then you can click here to see them all.

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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.

Five Cottages with Unique Gardens

June 11th, 2015
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From modern apartments to country homes, with over 5,000 properties we have everything here at Sykes Cottages. One of our favourite things is seeing how owners decorate their holiday homes to make them perfect for guests and gardens are no exception! Whilst browsing the Sykes’ selection of holiday cottages, I have discovered some absolute hidden gems in the gardens of our properties. I’m not talking decorative shrubs or vegetable plots, oh no, I’m talking quirky statues and impressive stonework. Read on to discover five very unique aspects you can find in the gardens of five of our properties.

1. These wire statues in Northumbria

Top Ten Unique Gardens - Grey Croft

Grey Croft in Embleton, Northumbria.

2. This canon in County Wexford

Serenity in Rosslare Harbour, County Cork

Serenity in Rosslare Harbour, County Wexford

 3. This plant pot man relaxing in Yorkshire

Gilchrist House in Settle, Yorkshire Dales

Gilchrist House in Settle, Yorkshire Dales

4. This Saturday Night Fever cut out in Cumbria

Top Ten Unique Gardens - Nuthatch

Nuthatch in Ice Valley near Penrith, Cumbria

5. This stone circle in County Kerry

Top Ten Unique Gardens - Doon East

Doon East in Ballybunion, County Kerry

Book a Unique Cottage Holiday

If you’re inspired by these five unique aspects of some of our holiday cottage gardens, or would like to try and have a go at spotting an unusual ornament yourself, why not book a self catering holiday cottage with Sykes Cottages? Take a look at our selection of unique holiday cottages to ensure you have a unique stay inside and out!

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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.

UK Literary Days Out

June 9th, 2015
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The UK is home to a number of famous authors, from the legendary Charles Dickens to the magical J. K. Rowling. With so many of the world’s favourite writers originating in Britain, it’s hard not to come across an attraction dedicated to one of these famous authors. Here at Sykes Cottages we love to read, so a day out to one of the UK’s literary attractions is right up our street. If you’re thinking of taking a literary day out this year then keep reading as we suggest three of our favourite attractions to visit.

Follow the White Rabbit

Llandudno, North Wales

This year, Lewis Carroll’s extraordinary book ‘Alice in Wonderland’ reaches its 150th anniversary and as big fans of Alice and her journey down the rabbit hole, we can think of nowhere better to celebrate than Llandudno, in North Wales. The curious little girl Alice Liddell, who inspired Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland stories, spent many of her holidays at her family’s seaside home in Llandudno, giving the area a wonderful connection with the books. In 2014, a new traill was introduced to Llandudno; one that sees visitors using either an interactive app or printed map to follow 55 bronze cast rabbit footprints around the town and surrounding areas. Not only is this a great day out but with a number of statues and fantastic views, it’s great for family photos.

Brontë Parsonage Museum

Haworth, West Yorkshire

Visit the charming village of Haworth in West Yorkshire and spend your day exploring the historic home of the Brontë sisters at the Brontë Parsonage Museum. The three sisters are known worldwide for their poems and novels including Jane Eyre, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Wuthering Heights. The museum, which is home to a number of letters, manuscripts and early additions of the Brontë’s books, offers a wonderful day out for the whole family with a small souvenir shop on site. After exploring the museum, we would highly suggest a spot of lunch in the picturesque town of Haworth and a trip down to the exciting Heritage Steam Railway.

The World of Beatrix Potter

Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria

Now translated into 35 different languages, The Tale of Peter Rabbit is one of the world’s favourite children’s stories and has sold over 40 million copies, making the author, Beatrix Potter, extremely famous. The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere, allows guests to step into the enchanted world created by the author and learn all about Beatrix and the characters in her much loved books.  The attraction has eight fantastic areas to explore, including Peter Rabbit’s garden and Jemima Puddle-Duck’s woodland glad. Once you’ve finished exploring the attractions, there is even a fantastic tea room to explore, with locally sourced ingredients and home-grown vegetables from the attraction’s own kitchen garden.

And there you have it our top three attractions for a literary day out in the UK. Has your favourite attraction made the list? If not let us know via our Facebook or Twitter page, we are always looking for new places to explore!

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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.

UK Beach Break Pinterest Competition

June 8th, 2015
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Sykes Cottages is launching a brand new photo competition to showcase the iconic images of beach breaks in the UK. Whether it’s a massive sandcastle, or a stripy deckchair, we’re celebrating all that summer at the beach has to offer.

To enter, simply submit a Pinterest board showing us the things that make up your ideal beach getaway. The winner will receive a £300 Sykes Cottages voucher to spend on a trip to any of our 5,000 properties, with a further £100 for two runners up! Good luck and happy pinning!

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