Book a Romantic Cottage for Valentine’s Day

January 10th, 2015
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To gain some brownie points from your loved one this year, make Valentine’s Day extra special by booking a cosy cottage for the occasion! Here at Sykes, we’re a sucker for a love story and so we’ve come up with a few suggestions on where to go for the perfect romantic getaway this Valentine’s Day. To help make your Valentine’s break run smoothly, you can also take a look at our guide on how to organise the perfect Valentine’s getaway!

Indulge in a cottage with a hot tub

Holiday cottage with hot tub

Upper Barn Stable, Norfolk, Ref. 2428

For most of us a hot tub is the ultimate luxury, so why not spoil your partner with a getaway in a holiday cottage with a hot tub? Upper Barn Stable is a charming stable conversion in Norfolk with traditional features and a bubbling hot tub in the garden to soak yourself in! It’s still available for Valentine’s Day but act quickly to make sure that you don’t miss out as our cottages with hot tubs are extremely popular!

Warm yourselves in a cottage with a log fire

Holiday cottage with log fire

Beckside Cottage, Yorkshire Dales, Ref. 906996

Is there anything more romantic than snuggling with your partner in front of a log fire? We think not. If like me, your house is rather lacking in real log fires, then why not treat yourself to some time away in one of our gorgeous cottages with open fires. The lovely Beckside Cottage, pictured above, is still available over Valentine’s Day and boasts a beautiful wood-burning stove where you can warm yourselves after exploring the surrounding Yorkshire countryside.

Relax in a cottage with a four poster bed

Holiday cottage with four poster bed

Beesoni Lodge, Worcestershire, Ref. 1852

No first-class Valentine’s getaway is complete without a sumptuous four poster bed and luckily for you, we have a fantastic selection of luxury cottages with four poster beds for you to choose from! Four poster beds evoke an air of romance, elegance and opulence, which is definitely the feel you want to go for on the most romantic day of the year!

Book a romantic holiday cottage with Sykes Cottages

Romantic holiday cottage

Coachman’s, Cornwall, Ref. 982

If you’re planning on booking a romantic retreat for Valentine’s Day, then Sykes Cottages are here to help! Whether you’re planning a surprise getaway (don’t forget to read our handy guide to booking a surprise holiday!) or just looking for somewhere nice to spend the weekend together, we can help you find the perfect cottage for your celebrations. Our dedicated reservations specialists are on hand 7 days a week from 9.00am until 9.30pm – give us a call on 01244 356 695 or send us an email to see what we have available. Happy planning!

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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.

Simple Crafts: A Guide for Beginners Facebook Competition

January 9th, 2015
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As you may have seen, over the past couple of months we have been getting rather crafty here at Sykes Cottages! At the end of 2014 we worked with some very talented and creative bloggers to create Sykes Cottages Simple Craft Guide for Beginners. This guide includes five simple craft ideas that are inexpensive, use little to no specialist equipment and are perfect to make in your holiday cottage!

Sykes Cottages Simple Crafts

Click the above image to see the full guide

To celebrate our craft guide being created, we are running a Facebook competition where there will be three lucky winners! All you have to do to enter is head over to the Sykes Cottages Facebook page and comment on this post telling us who you would like to make a handcrafted gift for and what you would make them. You can use our simple craft guide for some inspiration if you wish.

The lucky first prize winner will win £300 of Sykes Cottages vouchers and a craft kit so they can get creative when they go away. Two runners up will win £50 of Hobby Craft vouchers.

Good luck!

Please find terms and conditions for this competition below.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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.

Some Different Sports to Try in 2015

January 8th, 2015
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Well it’s that time of year once more. I don’t know how many of you have made New Year’s resolutions (and how many of you have already broken them) but I’ve decided to try and get a bit fitter in 2015. However it’s proving a bit difficult, it’s a bit nippy to head out for a jog or a walk, the gym is full to bursting point and to be completely honest all I want to do when I get home from work on a January evening is help myself to a hearty portion of comfort food! So I’ve been having a look to see if I could find some different ways to get out and about and burn off a few calories along the way, so take a look and see if you fancy giving any of these a go.

Get in the Saddle

via Flickr

via Flickr

Cycling has seen something of a renaissance these past few years. With numerous gold medals at the Olympics, Tour de France winners in Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, and of course the Grand Depart taking place in Yorkshire last year, the sport is fast becoming one of the most popular in the country. There are countless local clubs and societies that you can get in touch with and join up for a weekly ride, and here at Sykes, we even offer a wide array of cottages that are perfect for cycling holidays with features such as secure bike storage and fantastic local routes, click here to have a look!

Head to the Seaside

via Flickr

via Flickr

One of the best things about being an island nation is that you’re hardly ever short of a good beach to visit and they make the perfect outdoor playground. The choice of water sports these days just seems to be growing and growing; there’s the old classics like surfing and wind surfing, or you could have a shot at one of the lesser known activities such as stand up paddle boarding or kite surfing. And don’t worry if you don’t fancy getting wet as there are plenty of beach sports that you can have a crack at, from volleyball to beach soccer and even Ultimate Frisbee.

Something a Little Different

via Flickr

via Flickr

Or maybe you want to try your hand at something a bit off the wall. I’ve spent the past couple of hours learning all about some of the most bizarre sporting events in the UK, whether it’s the Bognor Regis Birdman Competion, the World Conkers Championships, or my personal favourite, the World Bog Snorkelling Championships! Held every year in Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales, it sees the competitors compete to see who can complete the 120 yard course the fastest and what’s more, traditional swimming strokes are banned!

So there you go, some different sports for you to try out this year, although I won’t blame you if you decide to give bog snorkelling a miss! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading but if you have any suggestions of sports that you love and think others should try their hand at then do get in touch, either on Facebook or over Twitter and we’ll help to spread the word!

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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.

Book a 2015 summer break in Cornwall, Devon or Dorset

January 7th, 2015
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If you love holidaying in the UK but want to turn up the heat on your next summer break, the South West of England is a great place to book a self-catering getaway. On average, temperatures here can be five degrees warmer than other parts of the UK, making this corner of the country perfect for sun-seekers and adventurers alike.

Whether you choose Cornwall, Devon or Dorset, a self-catering summer holiday in the South West of England offers long sunlight hours, stunning beaches, invigorating countryside, fabulous food, and lots of things to see and do. Here’s a quick look at each of the South West’s unique counties, and what you can look forward to when you arrive.

Cornwall

St Ives – Via Flickr

St Ives – Via Flickr

Cornwall is arguably the most popular summer holiday destination in the British Isles, with millions travelling there each year. The county can be divided into four main areas – North, South, West, Bodmin Moor & Tamar Valley – with each region having its own unique character.

Rent a holiday home in North Cornwall, and look forward to exploring the dramatic Atlantic Seaboard; where breaker-battered beaches attract surfers from around the globe. Places not to be missed in this region include Newquay, Padstow, Boscastle and Watergate Bay.

The Eden Project - Via Flickr

The Eden Project – Via Flickr

Opt for a cottage in West Cornwall and you’ll find yourself hip-deep in myth, legend and Cornish folklore. The region is strewn with ancient Iron Age sites and medieval castles, not to mention some of the county’s most sought-after beauty spots. Don’t miss Penzance, St Ives and Marazion.

Head to South Cornwall on your summer break and explore wonderful fishing villages as well as numerous world-class visitor attractions, including the renowned Eden Project. There’s plenty of wonderful destinations to choose from too: try Looe, Falmouth, Polperro or St Austell.

Adventurers, thrill-seekers and fans of the great outdoors should make for Bodmin Moor & Tamar Valley on their Cornish cottage holiday. Bodmin Moor is renowned for its walking and adventure trails, not to mention its dramatic natural beauty. Don’t miss a daytrip to Bodmin, Launceston and Saltash.

Click here to view self-catering holiday cottages in Cornwall

Devon

Dartmoor - Via Flickr

Dartmoor – Via Flickr

Like its neighbour, Devon is a popular choice among summer sun-seekers thanks to its stunning beaches and popular coastal resorts. Yet, go inland, and you’ll quickly realise the county has more to offer than sun, sea and sand. With two national parks – Exmoor and Dartmoor – and several historic towns and cities including Plymouth, Exeter and Torbay, Devon is the ideal destination for all manner of self-catering breaks.

Torquay - Via Flickr

Torquay – Via Flickr

Outdoor enthusiast? A self-catering getaway to North Devon could be just what you’re looking for! Thanks to the Atlantic Ocean, Devon’s north coast is impressively rugged, with a number of world-renowned surf beaches and a plethora of gnarly clifftops. Then of course, there’s the Exmoor National Park, whose craggy landscape offers a playground for walkers, climbers and mountain bikers alike.

Elsewhere in Devon, things are a little more serene. Unlike the north, the south coast gives way to imposing cliffs and big surf in favour of long, golden beaches and family friendly resorts like Paignton, Sidmouth, and Torquay. Head inland, and you’ll find rolling, green countryside, as well as the spectacular natural beauty of the Dartmoor National Park, famed for its pony treks, walking trails, and fabulous scenic picnic spots.

Click here to view self-catering holiday cottages in Devon

Dorset

Durdle Door - Via Flickr

Durdle Door – Via Flickr

Peace and quiet awaits on a 2015 summer holiday in Dorset. This rural county, with its serene landscapes and breath-taking heritage coast, offers a quiet retreat for holiday-ready families or couples in search of much needed alone time together.

Like other counties in the South West of England, tourists travel to Dorset to experience its wonderful blend of both coast and country. Whether you want to walk with dinosaurs on Dorset’s dramatic Jurassic Coast or explore its myriad of time-forgotten villages and towns, there’s a wealth of things to see and do in this sun-drenched and quintessentially English county.

Gold Hill - Via Flickr

Gold Hill – Via Flickr

Families in search of the classic seaside summer holiday will love Dorset’s coastal resorts, which include Weymouth, Lyme Regis, Christchurch and Swanage. Though all distinct in their own unique way, each offers great facilities, amenities, and most of all, a stunning beach on which to lay your towel. Other, less-known attractions on the Dorset coast include Arne, a pretty village in the Purbeck District, as well as Chapman’s Pool, whose secluded cove is perfect for couples.

Travel inland during your summer trip to Dorset, and expect delightful villages and charming countryside at every turn. Many of the county’s rural areas are protected due to their rare flora and fauna, making it the ideal destination for wildlife lovers. Don’t miss a trip to Sherbourne, Milton Abbas and Evershot.

Click here to view self-catering holiday cottages in Dorset

Get-set for a summer holiday in the sunny South West

Wherever you choose to stay in England’s sunny South West, Sykes Cottages offer a wonderful array of self-catering holiday cottages for any party size. Whether you’re planning the quintessential seaside getaway with your kids or a romantic, rural break with your other half, our cottage rentals in South West England are the perfect choice for a memorable summer holiday in 2015.

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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.

Book with Sykes to Beat the January Blues

January 6th, 2015
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Well I’m afraid that everything seems to be getting back to normal now. The kids are back in school, we’re back in work, the new year’s resolutions are in effect (let’s see how long they last this year) and the festivities have been replaced by Blue Monday. What’s Blue Monday I hear you ask? Well apparently it’s the most depressing day of the year and it’s meant to fall on the Monday of the final week in January which this year just so happens to be my birthday – lucky me! Well whether you believe in Blue Monday or not I don’t think that you’ll disagree with me when I say that January can get you down a little bit. The nights are still closing in early, the weather isn’t fantastic and you’ve got to deal with that post festive period hangover. But we think that we’ve got the perfect way for you to banish those blues: booking yourself a cottage break!

Where to go

For me there are few things in winter that can beat a bracing winter walk, especially if the route leads you past a cosy country pub for a refuel! If this sounds like your kind of thing then you might want to take a look at places like the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales where you’ll find walks galore. Or maybe you’d prefer to kick back and relax on a Sykes city break? If so then take a look here where you’ll find all of our city based cottages, from Bath to Edinburgh and many places in between!

What to look for in the Cottage

Well where else is there to start but with an open fire? There really is nothing better for welcoming you back into your cottage after a long day out and about, or if you’re planning a cosy night in what else could you wish for than putting your feet up in front of a roaring fire? And if you feel like really spoiling yourself then why not take a look at our cottages with hot tubs, after all they’re the perfect way to beat the winter chill!

How to book

Well that’s the easiest part! All you have to do is give us a quick call on 01244 356695 and we’ll happily talk you through the process. And what’s more, we’re right into the Sykes Winter Short Break season! So if you’re looking to take a few days away this winter make sure you take a look here so that you can get the best value!

So are you tempted to book yourself a winter break this January? If so then just follow the instructions above and before you know it you’ll be settling in to your dream holiday cottage!

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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.