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After weeks of preparing for Christmas – shopping, wrapping, unwrapping, more shopping, eating, drinking, more eating, more drinking and, of course, making sure Santa and Rudolph had their fill of mince pies and carrots, a holiday was just what I needed – and as soon as possible. So I grabbed myself a coffee, a handful of Quality Streets and headed for the computer. Within a few minutes, I found myself happily browsing holiday cottages with Sykes Cottages.
Their website is excellent (www.sykescottages.co.uk) and so easy to navigate. I fancied going to Ludlow in the heart of beautiful Shropshire, not too far from where I live – an important factor when travelling with a toddler and two dogs. I typed in my preferred dates, location, number of bedrooms etc, then clicked on to the ‘more options’ button and added a few other things like ‘number of pets’ and ‘close to shop’. Within seconds a list of properties came up and I soon spotted Manor Cottage (ref: 2806) and read through the details. There’s a great option to view supersize images and once I’d done this and checked the cottage had everything I was looking for, I was ready to book. And that was so easy too – I did everything online and had a full confirmation almost instantly.
I booked a week’s stay from the end of February and packed a good stack of winter clothing. But luck was on my side…the weather was balmy – clear blue skies and sunshine, and mild enough for a glass of wine on the sunny patio while my little one was having his afternoon nap!
Enough of the weather; what about the cottage? Well I can highly recommend Manor Cottage and would definitely stay there again. It’s a stone’s throw from the charming medieval centre of Ludlow (ten minutes at most on foot) and is very private with ample parking. Phil, the friendly owner, lives next door and was there to meet us and show us around. The interior is bright and attractively appointed, with a superbly equipped dining kitchen (I want to do something with ours now!), a cosy lounge with squidgy leather sofas and a downstairs loo. There are also two entrances with tiled flooring – great for bringing in dogs if the weather did happen to be wet. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms – a king-size, twin and single – and a generous family bathroom with an oversized bath and shower over. There’s also a handy airing cupboard on the landing.
Our days were spent exploring the lovely town of Ludlow and its spectacular surroundings – it really is the most magical place. We called in at the local tourist office for a map and a few leaflets and found something new every day. We visited the castle, which is right in the centre of town, enjoyed riverside walks and pottered around the market and shops. Come lunchtime, we had picnics on benches and alfresco pub lunches – the weather really was fabulous! With a toddler and two dogs in hand, we were fortunate to be able to do everything on foot and only took the car out twice once we’d parked up. One time this was to visit the Ludlow Food Centre, a couple of miles away, to pick up a few local delicacies for supper. We also called in at The Clive (very apt we thought as we were on a Clive Sykes’ holiday) and found out about a lovely circular walk back to Ludlow through Oakly Park in the Earl of Plymouth’s Estate. And at the end of every day, we had Manor Cottage to look forward to – it really is the perfect home-from-home.
All in all, we had a fantastic holiday and thank you to Sykes Cottages for arranging everything for us.
Interesting to see the sudden crop of reviews praising this company unreservedly, by people who've written no other reviews. They're certainly a stark contrast to several damning reviews by other writers. If I were a more cynical person, I might think they'd been placed by staff of Sykes Holiday Cottages!