Harvest Fest: Where to find Britain’s Best Farmers’ Markets

October 7th, 2014
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“That’s it, from now on, I’m healthy eating!” I can’t count the times I’ve heard – and uttered – this pledge, yet nine times out of ten this good intention fails to materialise. Since the health benefits of eating well came to the fore, the price of so called superfoods has rocketed, making it difficult for some to budget for a healthy lifestyle. But buying fresh produce needn’t be expensive; head to any of the UK’s hundreds of weekly farmers’ markets, and you’ll find plenty of healthy, locally sourced produce at fare and affordable prices. Here’s five of our favourite agricultural markets from around the UK.

Orton Farmer’s Market – Orton, Cumbria

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Over 35 local farmers, producers and craftsmen set up shop at the Orton Farmers’ Market, a large produce fair taking place in the centre of Orton village every second Saturday of the month. Fair organisers stipulate that all wares sold at the market – be it food stuff or craft – must be grown, produced or manufactured within fifty miles of the village, so punters know what they’re buying is home-grown. Expect fresh veg grown in the emerald Eden Valley, moreish seafood from Morecambe Bay and affordable meat that hasn’t travelled across the sea to reach your plate.

The Goods Shed – Canterbury, Kent

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Housed in a Victorian railway building, The Goods Shed offers a charming place to shop for top quality nosh. Purveyors of delectable local produce since the early noughties, The Goods Shed is one of Britain’s only markets that operates daily – even Sundays. The Goods Shed has a different vibe to other farmers’ markets, with regular sellers housed in specially built concession stalls throughout the building. You’ll find a variety of quality food and drink at the market, including locally brewed ales at The Bottle Shop, delicious continental meat at Patriana Charcuterie, and tasty cheese at the Cheese Makers of Canterbury – scrumdiddlyumptious.

Stroud Farmers’ Market – Stroud, Gloucestershire

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Multi-award winning isn’t an accolade you’d associate with a farmers’ market, but there’s no other way to describe the Stroud Farmers’ Market. As one of the UK’s biggest, busiest and outright brilliant farm fairs, Stroud has received glowing recommendations from the Sunday Telegraph, The Independent, The Times and everyone’s favourite Cornwall based chef, Rick Stein. The market features well over fifty produce, craft and miscellaneous stalls, making it by far Britain’s biggest farmers’ market. From bread to veg, you’ll find everything and more at the Stroud Farmers’ Market.

The Orkney Farmers’ Market – Orkney, Scotland

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

OK, it’s not as local as the cornershop, but the Orkney Farmers’ Market is well worth the leg-work. Featuring a fantastic array of local tradesmen – not to mention a wonderful location in the heart of Kirkwall – the Orkney Farmers’ Market is one produce fair you’ll want to spend plenty of time perusing. The event brings plenty of regular stallholders selling a variety of fresh produce and items; plus, there’s usually some entertain put on in support of local charities. The Orkney Farmers’ Market takes place on every last Saturday of the month, so do stop by if you’re in the area on this date.

Cook up a storm in a country cottage

If tasting local produce is on your UK holiday wishlist, why not take a look at our range of self-catering country cottages? Featuring charming kitchens, spacious larders and comfortable dining areas, these holiday rentals are ideal for those who want to cook up a storm using the freshest local produce – take a look now.

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.

Competition: Discovering Autumn’s Best Bits

October 7th, 2014
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AutumnBB_Large

Photo Blogging Competition: Autumn’s Best Bits

Whether you like crunching through leaves, wrapping up warm or sipping on one of the season’s popular hot drinks we want to know about it! Show off your autumnal photography skills in our newest competition to be in with your chance of winning £400 to spend at John Lewis!

To enter this competition, take a picture of what you think is autumn’s best bit, put it into a blog post and tell us why it’s your favourite thing about autumn! Once you’ve published your post, tweet the link to us @SykesCottages or send us an email including a link to your entry. Don’t forget to include a link back to this page in your post, so that your readers can enter, too!

Autumnal Bench

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

 Terms and Conditions:

Eligibility

  1. This competition is open to any blogger located in the United Kingdom or Ireland and aged 18 and over.
  2. The competition is not open to employees of Sykes Cottages or any agencies or group companies related to Sykes Cottages.
  3. The promoter and Host of this competition is Sykes Cottages and can be reached via email at autumncomp@sykescottages.co.uk
  4. Using a false name or address for this competition will lead to the entry being disqualified.

Entry

  1. Entries to the competition can be made by emailing the blog post entry to autumncomp@sykescottages.co.uk or by tweeting the blog post @sykescottages
  2. All entries will be acknowledged within one working day of their submission.
  3. All entrants must include instructions on how to enter the competition, or a link to instructions, at the end of their blog post. Eg. “If you would like to enter Sykes Cottages competition to win £400 worth of John Lewis vouchers then simply head over to…”
  4. Only one entry per blog, multiple entries will not be counted.
  5. Entries made using methods generated by a script, macro or the use of automated devices will be disqualified.
  6. By entering the competition entrants accept that their entries will be shared across Sykes Cottages’ social media platforms including, but not limited to, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, The Sykes Cottages Blog and Instagram.

The Prize

  1. There will be seven winners in this competition. With the first place prize being £400 of John Lewis Vouchers, second place being £100 of John Lewis vouchers and five further prizes of smart phone camera lenses
  2. This competition is in no way affiliated with John Lewis, the John Lewis Partnership or it’s subsidiaries
  3. Prizes are non-transferable, non-refundable and there is no cash alternative available.
  4. Prizes will be sent to the winners home addresses

Timing

  1. Competition opens at 12 noon GMT on the 7th of October 2014.
  2. Competition closes at midnight GMT on the 17th November 2014, any entries sent after this time won’t be counted

The Winner

  1. The winner of the competition will be chosen by a panel of judges at Sykes Cottages and this decision is final.
  2. The winner will be chosen and notified on or before Friday the 21st of November 2014.
  3. Once we have heard back from the winners we will then post their names on the Sykes Cottages Facebook and Twitter account.
  4. Details of the winner can be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the following address; Sykes Cottages, Lime Tree House, Hoole Lane, Chester, Cheshire, CH2 3EG
  5. The winner may be required for promotional activities and by entering the competition accepts that their name may be provided or published as per the terms and conditions.

Data protection and privacy

  1. Any personal data relating to entrants will not be disclosed to a third party without the individual’s consent (other than the winning entry). Data relating to entrants will be retained by the Promoter and Competition host for a reasonable period after the Competition closes to assist in operating competitions in a consistent manner and to deal with any queries on the Competition.
  2. Information provided to enter the competition may be used, shared or published or used for publicity in a digital format and includes your name, your location and/or profile picture.
  1. By providing the Competition host with your personal data you consent to the Competition host sending you marketing emails.
  2. If an Entrant does not wish for their personal information to be used for marketing purposes, a request to remove consent for personal information to be used for marketing purposes should be submitted in writing to the Competition host.

Liability

  1. Nothing in these terms and conditions shall exclude the liability of the Promoter or the Competition host for death, personal injury, fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation as a result of its negligence.
  2. The Promoter and Competition host accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by you as a result of entering the Competition or accepting the prize. The Promoter further disclaims liability for any injury or damage to your or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participation in or downloading any materials in connection with the Competition.
  3. The Promoter reserves the right at any time and from time to time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, this Competition with or without prior notice due to reasons outside its control (including, without limitation, in the case of anticipated, suspected or actual fraud). The decision of the Promoter in all matters under its control is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.
  4. The Promoter shall not be liable for any failure to comply with its obligations where the failure is caused by something outside its reasonable control. Such circumstances shall include, but not be limited to, weather conditions, fire, flood, hurricane, strike, industrial dispute, war, hostilities, political unrest, riots, civil commotion, inevitable accidents, supervening legislation or any other circumstances amounting to force majeure.
  5. The entrant completely releases Facebook from any involvement in this competition.
  1. The competition is not sponsored, associated, organised, endorsed or administered in any way by Facebook.
  2. Information provided as part of the competition is not provided to Facebook.
  3. The Competition will be governed by English law.

 

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.

Sykes’ Favourite Tea Rooms

October 6th, 2014
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If there’s one thing we’re known for in Britain it’s our love of a cup of tea. If that tea comes in a pot beside a slice of a homemade cake and finger sandwiches then all the better. Wherever you find yourself on these isles of ours you won’t be too far away from a delightful tea room and – as anyone who follows Sykes Cottages on Instagram will know – we aren’t shy of indulging in a good brew and slice of cake every now and again. As we’re the sharing sort, we’d like to share with you some of the best tea rooms we have enjoyed during our travels.

The Stirrup Eating House, Haworth

TheStirrup

The Stirrup Eating House is the perfect location for replenishing your batteries when exploring Haworth. Whether you’re just stopping by for cream tea, or want to relax with their afternoon tea you won’t be disappointed!

Bettys, various locations in Yorkshire

Bettys

The world famous Bettys is at the top of many an afternoon tea fan’s list of tea rooms to visit – and for good reason. From delicious chocolates and cakes, to biscuits and, of course, scones, anyone who walks into a Bettys’ tea room is greeted with the delightful aroma of high quality, home made goods.

Harrods, London

Harrods

Afternoon tea at Harrods in The Georgian Restaurant is the ultimate indulgence. Choose from a selection of tea inspired cocktails and mocktails, or treat yourself to the more traditional Georgian Afternoon Tea.

Baldry’s Tearoom, The Lake District

Baldrys (1)

With homemade bread and cakes baked fresh every day and a huge selection of gluten free options available, there’s something delicious for everyone to enjoy at Baldry’s Tearoom in Grasmere. These delicious treats are enjoyed in the tea room’s vintage style on mismatched plates and cups, providing a wonderful atmosphere.

York Cocoa House, York

York Cocoa House

For chocolate fans and those looking for something a little different, York Cocoa House cannot be missed. The aptly named Afternoon Chocolate includes all the usual components of afternoon tea; scones, finger sandwiches and petit fours but with a chocolatey twist. Everything is homemade and served in their chic café right in the centre of York.

Llanfair Caereinion, Wales

Llanfair (2)

Serving a selection of sandwiches, cakes and drinks, the tea room at Llanfair Caereinion is highly recommended by members of the team here at Sykes Cottages. Everything is homemade, delicious and well-priced, making it the perfect tea room!

The Devonshire Arms, Skipton

Bolton

Surrounded by the beautiful grounds of the Bolton Abbey Estate is The Devonshire Arms in Skipton. Their full afternoon tea includes homemade sandwiches, pastries and of course, tea or coffee but with the added benefit of beautiful views and comfortable sofas so that you can lounge away the afternoon!

Wherever The Feeling Takes You

Scone

Cream tea is such a delight that it seems a shame to only indulge in it whilst at a tea room. Whenever the feeling takes you why not make yourself a pot of tea and indulge in a slice of your favourite cake? It really does perk up the afternoon!

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.

Win a Romantic Autumn Getaway with Visit England!

October 5th, 2014
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This month, we’ve teamed up with VisitEngland to offer you the chance to win £400 of Sykes Cottages vouchers to spend on a romantic autumn getaway! With its beautiful array of colours; dark, cosy nights and dipping temperatures perfect for snuggling; there’s something incredibly romantic about autumn. That’s why we want to help you make the most of this wonderful season and help you to spend some quality time with your loved one in one of our snug romantic cottages. In addition to the vouchers, you and your partner will also receive a luxury hamper full of delicious treats! To enter the competition, all you need to do is head to the VisitEngland website.

Romantic holiday cottage in Cornwall

Coachman’s, Cornwall, Ref. 982

To get you in the mood, take a look at some of the romantic retreats that you could be heading to in the near future!

The Cow Byre, Cumbria

Romantic holiday cottage in Cumbria

The Cow Byre, Cumbria, Ref. 7512

If you’re looking for a luxury autumn getaway, you’d be hard pressed to find something more opulent than The Cow Byre. This stunning open plan cottage is situated amongst the beautiful Cumbrian countryside, making it ideal for bracing walks and enjoying the autumn colours. On returning from your blustery walk, warm yourself in front of the cosy woodburner in the living area or head up to the galleried bedroom where you’ll find an irresistible claw-footed bath that’s just calling out for you to take a soak!

Forester’s Inn, Forest of Dean

Romantic holiday cottage in Forest of Dean

Forester’s Inn, Forest of Dean, Ref. 28825

For the ultimate cosy cottage getaway, look no further than Forester’s Inn at the heart of the Forest of Dean. Offering a charming combination of modern furnishings and original features, this characterful little cottage is picture-perfect. Just take a look at the roaring woodburner, plush rugs and comfy sofa in the living room; I’d defy anyone not to want to grab their other half and snuggle up for a night in front of the fire!

The Loft, North Yorkshire

Romantic holiday cottage in Yorkshire

The Loft, North Yorkshire, Ref. 13557

Fancy a romantic getaway immersed in nature? This intimate bolthole in the sleepy Yorkshire village of Staintondale is situated on a 14 acre smallholding, where you can visit the farm’s friendly Shetland Ponies and Highland Cows and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a roe deer! The Loft’s exposed beams, aged timber floors and super-king sized bed, all add to the snug atmosphere of this secluded romantic retreat.

To view our full selection of romantic cottages in the UK and Ireland, please visit our website. In order to be in with a chance of winning a stay at one of our fabulous cottages, please don’t forget to enter our competition in partnership with VisitEngland by visiting their website www.visitengland.com today.

 

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.

Beautiful British Autumn Walks

October 4th, 2014
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There is a distinct chill in the air, a crunch under the feet and a definite brown hue has taken over what was once green. That’s right, autumn is here and whilst it may mean goodbye to summer for another year, it also means a big hello to all of the beauty that the season brings. There is no better way to see the beautiful colours and textures of autumn than by heading out on a walk. So grab yourself a warming beverage of choice and read on to discover a few of the most beautiful places to see colour this autumn.

Grizedale Forest – The Lake District

Grizedale Forest in The Lake District

Image via Flickr

Positioned between Coniston and Windermere, Grizedale Forest is in an ideal location for seeing the beautiful colours of  autumn. The forest has a number of walking and cycling routes suitable for all abilities, all of which having stunning views of the lakes and mountains, to provide an idyllic backdrop to the autumnal leaves.

Castell Coch – Cardiff

Castell Coch, Cardiff

Image via Flickr

The fairy tale-esque castle, Castell Coch, in Cardiff and the woods that surround it provide the perfect backdrop for an autumnal stroll. See brown, orange and red leaves mix with evergreens to create wonderful scenery to compliment the changing season. Whilst Castell Coch provides walkers with a beautiful autumnal exterior, don’t forget to head inside the small, but perfectly formed, castle to see its ornate décor.

Stourhead – Wiltshire

Stourhead Wiltshire

Image via Flickr

With a world-famous landscape garden, i’s no surprise that Stourhead in Wiltshire would be on a list of where to see seasonal colours this autumn. Crunch through fallen leaves on an estate walk, learn more about the castle on a story walk or join one of Stourhead’s qualified tree climbers to get a birds-eye-view of the stunning surroundings.

Sheffield Park and Garden – Sussex

Sheffield Park and Gardens

Image via Flickr

With varying landscapes, lakes and a number of tree species, Sheffield Park and Garden provides a stunning backdrop in autumn. With leaves changing throughout late September and October there is always a plethora of autumnal tones in the park and reflected in the four lakes. Stunning!

See autumn colour for yourself

At Sykes Cottages we have a huge number of properties that are in ideal locations for seeing seasonal colour changes. If you fancy taking your own wanders through beautiful autumn backdrops why not book a stay in one of our properties located in the countryside and see autumn colours for yourself!

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.