Museums Commemorating The World War One Centenary

July 14th, 2014
Pin It

This year marks the beginning of the Centenary of World War One that began in 1914 and continued until 1918. It will come as no surprise that across the UK there are a number of events and exhibitions commemorating not only those who fought in the war but also those who helped the war effort at home and of course, for remembering those who gave their lives. We’re taking a look at just a small number of the upcoming exhibitions taking place in museums where curators have brought together both new items and ones from existing collections to create interesting, emotive and also educational exhibitions to commemorate the centenary of World War One.

Bath Fashion Museum

The Great War in Costume: Family & Fashion on the Home Front

Running from Saturday the 19th July until the 31st August 2014, The Great War in Costume, will show how women’s lives changed on the home front during World War One and the effect that this had on women’s fashion. As women were now required to do jobs that traditionally men would have, women’s fashion altered; corsets were loosened and some women wore working trousers for the first time. As well as following the changing lives of women and their clothing during the war, the exhibition will feature costumes from Downton Abbey, propaganda, memorabilia and examples of uniforms and civilian dress.

York Castle Museum

1914: When The World Changed

Marking the centenary of the First World War at York Castle Museum is the new exhibition 1914: When The World Changed Forever. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey from pre-war Britain, full of peWW1_1Loan (1)ace and prosperity, to the frontline during the war. Once at the frontline, visitors will see the horrors that soldiers would have faced such as rats, shell shock and gas warfare. The exhibition will combine new research and technology with the museum’s extensive social history, military and costume collections to tell visitors the story of the Yorkshire people who lived and died during the war.

Bank of England Museum

The First World War and the Bank of England
Marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is this new exhibition which opens at the Bank of England Museum on the 21st July 2014 and will run until spring 2015. The exhibition will show how the Bank of England helped to maintain the flow of funds during the war. The display will follow stories of some of the male and female Bank of England staff throughout the war – both those who worked at the Bank and those who served in the armed forces. The exhibition ends by showing how the bank commemorated the 71 bank staff that lost their lives during the war, and how it remembers them today.

People’s History Museum

A Land Fit For Heroes: War and the Working Class 1914-1918
Already open in Manchester’s People’s History Museum and marking the centenary of World War One is their newest exhibition, A Land Fit For Heroes. The exhibition looks at tWW1_Poster (1)he people who supported the war at home and how home life radically changed throughout. A Land Fit for Heroes looks to examine how the war changed society by altering the social, cultural, economic and political outlook of Britons. Whilst the horrors of war are not ignored, this exhibition shows how from those horrors a new social and political confidence was created amongst the working classes that helped to define Britain in the lat
e 20th century.

Other Ways to Commemorate

We have focused here on a few of the museum exhibitions taking place in the near future however these are just some of the many upcoming events that will be taking place to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. There will be local, regional and national events as well as television and radio broadcasts taking place to remember those who risked their lives, those who lost their lives and also those  who worked hard on the home front. For more information and to keep up to date on events take a look at 1914.org.

Images for this blog post were found on the Library of Congress website.

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.

Fit for a Queen: The Homes of Queen Victoria

July 13th, 2014
Pin It

Today marks a rather prestigious day in the history of the British monarchy, as on this day in 1837, Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace, where she would live until her death in 1901. Victoria was the first British monarch to rule from the Palace, and after her marriage to Prince Albert in 1841, this palatial home became a place of entertainment, balls and official state business.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

But Buckingham Palace wasn’t the only regal residence where Queen Vic spent her time. In total, the royal family had three other, equally as magnificent stately homes throughout the UK, two of which are still in use by Elizabeth II today. Thankfully, all of Victoria’s previous abodes are now, to some degree, open to the public, and make a great place to visit this summer.

Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Tucked deep in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, Balmoral Castle must have been a welcome escape from the hum of London, a sentiment reinforced by the Queen herself who referred to Balmoral as a “dear paradise in the Highlands”. It’s believed there’s been a royal residence here since the 14th century, when King Robert II of Scotland erected a hunting lodge in the area. The grounds, and part of the castle itself, are open daily to the public from 10am to 5pm until July 31st, but after this, public access will be restricted due to Queen Elizabeth’s annual visit.

Windsor Castle, Berkshire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Originally built as a key defensive structure in the years after the Norman Conquest of 1066, Windsor Castle became one of the royal family’s most magnificent and imposing abodes. Although Queen Victoria wasn’t particularly fond of the castle, it was her principal royal residence and a centre for diplomatic and state business. During the Queen’s reign, Windsor embodied the power and might of the British Empire, and still evokes a strong sense of national pride to this day. The castle is open to the public daily between 9.45am and 4.15pm, and it typically takes around 2-3 hours to see all aspects of the site.

Osborne House, Isle of Wight

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Comprising charming landscaped gardens, a private beach and fascinating Italian Renaissance style architecture, it’s little wonder Queen Victoria considered Osborne House to be her preferred holiday and weekend residence. She, her husband Albert and their 9 children spent many summer’s at Osborne, no doubt enjoying the island’s warm temperatures and segregation from the rest of the country. The house is open to the public daily from 10am to 6pm and features plenty of space to enjoy a picnic on a balmy summer’s day. If you’re interested in visiting Osborne whilst being perfectly placed for exploring the rest of the island, why not check out our cottages to rent near Osborne House.

Find accommodation that’s fit for a queen

Our cottages may not be linked to royalty, but many still offer a regal welcome that’ll have you feeling like a queen in no time. To browse our collection of luxury, historic or listed holiday cottages, visit our website today.

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.

The UK and Ireland’s Best Historical Sites

July 12th, 2014
Pin It

For such a small place, the UK is certainly brimming with history. Having said this, it can be difficult to know where to go to experience this for yourself. Of course you can always while away an afternoon in one of our fantastic  museums, but if you want to get a true taste of history, then you can’t beat a visit to one of the country’s historic sites! So that’s why, we’ve put together a checklist of some of the best spots that you can visit in order to get a sense of the history behind these islands.

Stonehenge

stonehenge

via. Flickr

OK, this one might be quite obvious, however it doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth its spot on this list. Stonehenge was built at least 4,000 years ago and still stands proudly amid the Wiltshire countryside to this day. Although no one is quite sure why or how the structure was built, we do know it would have involved the transportation of stones that weigh up to 50 tons each! With its brand new £27 million visitor centre featuring over 250 objects, it’s little wonder Stonehenge attracts over 800,000 visitors a year!

Skara Brae

Skara Brae

via. Flickr

If you want to go back even further than Stonehenge, Skara Brae is the place for you. Older than both the famous stone circle and the great pyramids of Egypt, the site was found by chance back in 1850 when a powerful storm stripped away the turf that had almost perfectly preserved the buildings for thousands of years. The level of preservation is so complete that you can still see, not only the original belongings of the site, but also much of the furniture that was used by the inhabitants over four and a half thousand years ago!

Newgrange

Newgrange

via. Flickr

Then there’s also the massive site of Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland. Again over 5,000 years old, the mound covers an area over an acre in size and appears to have been built in order to capture a beam of light at sunrise on the winter solstice every year. With over 200,00 visitors every year, Newgrange is the most popular of Ireland’s prehistoric attractions and is complemented by it’s very own visitor centre which contains a full scale replica of the mysterious central chamber of the site.

So there you have it, the Sykes checklist of the best ancient sites to visit on the British Isles. Hopefully all you history buffs out there will enjoy having  little look around, and if you manage to take any photos of the places, then we’d love to see them! Just send them over, either via Facebook or Twitter.

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.

Sykes’ Quintessential British Towns

July 11th, 2014
Pin It

For this blog post, we wanted to find the most quintessentially British places in the country and share them with you. However, this was no easy task, after all, what actually makes a place quintessentially British? Is it quaint little streets or rolling hills? Red telephone boxes or cosy tea rooms? Seafront piers or fish and chips? See it’s not all that easy, but here’s what we’ve come up with.

Rye, East Sussex

Rye

via. Flickr

First up we’ve got Rye in East Sussex. A sleepy little town right down by the south coast, Rye is famous for its cobbled streets and the Mermaid Inn, once the haunt of highwaymen and notorious smuggling group, the Hawkshead Gang. If you plan to visit Rye, make sure you go up the tower of the Church of St Mary in order to experience the stunning panoramas over the town and its neighbouring nature reserve.

Bibury, Gloucestershire

Bibury

via. Flickr

It would have been impossible to put this list together without including at least one of the Cotswolds charming villages, and so here we have Bibury, an ancient village situated on the River Coln. Dubbed “the most beautiful village in England” by famous  19th Century Artist William Morris,  if you’re ever in Bibury, remember to have a look at Arlington Row, a group of beautiful cottages dating back hundreds of years.

Polperro, Cornwall

Polperro

via. Flickr

Polperro is one of the gems of the Cornish coast. Made up almost exclusively of cottages built by the fisherman of days gone by, the town retains much of its old charm in spite of the large number of people who flock there each year. Be sure to pay a visit to the Polperro Heritage Museum where you can learn all about Polperro’s past, from the humble fishermen to the infamous smugglers

Clevedon, Somerset

If you’re after a traditional seaside town, Clevedon is the spot for you. With the oldest surviving example of a Victorian pier (it was opened way back in 1869), ornamental gardens, a bandstand and even donkey rides, you can’t get much more quintessentially British! If you think you recognise the town then it will most likely be from the hit ITV show Broadchurch, where it featured as one of the main filming locations.

Haworth, West Yorkshire

Haworth

via. Flickr

Alternatively, if you’re holidaying up north, then Howarth is the place for you! Tucked away amongst the South Pennines, Haworth is best known for its affiliation with the Brontes, who used to call the town home. Make sure you have a look at our very own guide to the perfect day trip if you’re ever planning an excursion there!

Edale, Derbyshire

Edale

via. Flickr

Finally we’ve got Edale, a traditional escape from the industrial centres of Manchester and Sheffield. Edale is situated at the starting point of the famous Pennine Way, making it a haven for walkers, cyclists and other folk with a penchant for the great outdoors. Couple this with Edale’s  plentiful choice of pubs and eateries, and there are few places better for enjoying a taste of the British countryside.

Hopefully you agree with our choices but if you have any suggestions then do let us know, either on Twitter or Facebook.  Alternatively, if reading this has got you in the mood for a little break in a quiet British town, have a look at our traditional cottages- I’m sure you’ll be able to find something to your liking!

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.

A Literary Tour of Britain

July 10th, 2014
Pin It

Of all British exports, our authors are some of the best known; JK Rowling, Beatrix Potter, J.R.R Tolkien and C.S Lewis are amongst some of our most famous, whose stories are enjoyed across the world. As a fan of an author’s work, there is nothing better than visiting the places that inspired them to write and in the UK, you will never be too far away from a piece of literary history.

The Lake District

The World of Beatrix Potter, Windermere

image via Flickr

Being full of rolling hills, amazing views and of course beautiful lakes, it’s no surprise that The Lake District would inspire an author. Beatrix Potter, creator of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck and Tom Kitten amongst others, was enamoured by The Lake District after spending many of her holidays there, so much so that she bought a traditional farm in 1905 called Hill Top. Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top with the money she made from her first book, the Tale of Peter Rabbit, the farmhouse and surrounding countryside subsequently inspired her future books. Fans of Beatrix Potter can visit Hill Top which is now operated by The National Trust or visit The World of Beatrix Potter; a fascinating museum where visitors really experience the world that Potter created within her books.

Edinburgh

The Elephant House Edinburgh

image via Flickr

Harry Potter is a global phenomenon. The Boy Who Lived and He Who Must Not Be Named are known the world over by children and adults alike, so it’s no surprise that Potter fans flock to the places that inspired the story or featured in the big screen adaptations. No UK literary tour would be complete without visiting Edinburgh, the place where JK Rowling wrote much of the Harry Potter series. You can visit locations that inspired Rowling on a walking tour before replenishing yourself with a good cup of coffee at The Elephant House, where JK Rowling spent much of her time writing her early novels. Perhaps an odd suggestion, but it’s certainly worth checking out the toilets in The Elephant House, where the walls are filled with messages from avid fans of Harry who have wanted to put their mark on ‘The Birthplace of Harry Potter’.

Oxford

A birds eye view of beautiful Oxford

image via Flickr

Being home to one of the most famous and prestigious universities in the world as well as one of the world’s first libraries, it’s no surprise that the beautiful city of Oxford would be on our itinerary for literary lovers. Whether you’re a fan of The Lord of The Rings, Alice in Wonderland, His Dark Materials or Harry Potter, you will be in your element in Oxford. There are official guided walking tours around Oxford that would suit any reader, no matter your genre of choice. There is a Children’s Stories Tour that adults and children alike will love which takes visitors to the places that inspired Philip Pullman, C.S Lewis and Lewis Carroll amongst others. Both wizards and muggles will love the Harry Potter tour, which takes a look at the filming locations of the films. There is also a C.S Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien Tour, where guides will show you the Oxford that these two friends will have experienced; where they studied, lived and where they spent their leisure time!

Stay in a Piece of Literary History

The Retreat Self Catering Holiday Cottage in Cornwall

The Retreat in Cornwall property reference: 1678

Once you’ve had enough of touring the length and width of the UK for literary marvels, why not stay in a piece of literary history? At Sykes Cottages we have a few properties that have literary connections. How about Penlan in North Wales which was home to Albert Bestall, writer of Rupert The Bear. Stable Cottage in Shropshire was home to the family of author Malcolm Saville and his Lone Pine books were inspired by the lovely Shropshire backdrop. The Retreat in Cornwall also featured in Daphne Du Maurier’s novel The King’s General. So even if you plan on staying in one place for your UK holiday, you can still enjoy a literary connection!

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.