Sykehouse Cottage

A beautiful C17th Holiday Cottage in the Lake District


May Half Term Ideas 2017

Here at Sykehouse Cottage we have some favourite holiday activities.  These include:

  • A trip on thratty2e Eskdale and Ravenglass Railway.  Also known as “La’al Ratty”, this is one of the oldest narrow gauge railways in the country.  They start running daily from mid March, through some beautiful countryside.  Click here for their website. It’s about an half an hour from Sykehouse Cottage either across Corney Fell or taking the A 595.
  • This can be combined with a ramble around Muncaster Castle and Gardens where for this Half Term, muncaster2they are holding their Muncaster Festival (28-30 May) with lots of family activities including circus skills and a climbing wall – complete with the International  Jesters’ Tournament on the final day.  Click here for more details.
  • Closer to home, we can walk across the fields  from Sykehouse Cottage for a gorgeous pub lunch at the Blacksmiths Arms, Broughton Mills.  Click here for details of opening hours on their website.self catering cottage


Easter Holiday Ideas

Here at Sykehouse Cottage we have some favourite Easter activities.  These include:

  • A trip on thratty2e Eskdale and Ravenglass Railway.  Also known as “La’al Ratty”, this is one of the oldest narrow gauge railways in the country.  They start running daily from mid March, through some beautiful countryside.  Click here for their website. It’s about an half an hour from Sykehouse Cottage either across Corney Fell or taking the A 595.
  • This can be combined with a ramble around Muncaster Castle and Gardens where for this Easter Weekend, muncaster2they are running a Teddies Go Free promotion – free entry for every child with a teddy and there’s the
    Muncaster Giant Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday and Monday.  Click here for more details.
  • And of course if anyone needs anymore chocolate, you could always find a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt at various NT venues including: the Coniston Steam 1152337Gondola (are they floating?); Fell Foot at Newby Bridge; Claife Viewing Station on the west bank on Windermere; and Wray Castle at Ambleside.  Click here for more details and opening times.


Show Time!

Held at West Park, known locally as the “Show Ground”, Millom & Broughton Show is on the last Saturday in August every year.  The field is easy to find: the first on the right running along the Coniston road and is a short walk from the holiday cottage.  If you are lucky enough to be in the area, it’s a lovely way to spend a day.

The Show Millom&broughton showis relatively small – contained in the one field – but has lots to look at and enjoy.  There are usually dog agility displays, fell racing, Cumberland wrestling and hound trailing, as well as all the livestock entrants, poultry tent and the fiercely competitive vegetable and flower competitions.

The tribe has variously entered edible necklaces, animals made out of vegetables, best handwriting of a poem and decorated wellies.  More senior members of the tribe enter marmalade, bread and photographs.

Other local shows in August 2015 are:


A little Goldsworthy.

Andy Goldsworthy

Slits Cut into Frozen Snow, Stormy … Blencathra, Cumbria, 12 February.

I notice that Abbot Hall Art Gallery’s talk next Monday 2 February, 2pm,  is on their series of Andy Goldsworthy photographs.  Goldsworthy’s pastoral style of land art has fallen rather out of fashion lately though I still hold his Sheepfolds and Grizedale Forest’s Taking a Wall  for a Walk in great affection: they sit quietly, playfully, in the Cumbrian landscape, making me appreciate the art of stone walling.  On our picnic walks from Sykehouse Cottage, we still enjoy making a little “Goldsworthy” every now and again.  Usually “fallen stars” of sticks, sometimes flags of leaves and twigs, occasionally balanced stones on river beaches.  Little Goldsworthys appeal to the scavenger, the creative and the mark maker in us all.

lake district art

Taking a Wall for a Walk – Grizedale Forest

The Gallery holds talks about works in their collection every Monday exc Bank Holidays which are included in the admission price.  Abbot Hall is well worth a visit if you are in the Kendal area.  For further details of their events and opening times, please click on this link to take you to their website.


Bluebird, Cat Nap, Foxfield Sands

Barngates Cat NapWhy not stay at Sykehouse Cottage in early October and sample the wonderful selection of beer on offer at the same time?  The Lake District has many small independent breweries and every October there’s a beer festival centring on Broughton town mini buses taking people further afield.  There are usually over 90 real ales available during the event and the pubs will be open all day.  Cumberland sausage tends to feature quite heavily in the festival as well.

Broughton’s Festival of Beer runs from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 October 2013 and includes:

The Manor Arms in Broughton’s town square which always has a great selection of local beer

The Prince of Wales, Foxfield : a pub with its own brewery

The High Cross Inn : there’ll be live music on Saturday night

and up the Duddon Valley at Seathwaite, The Newfield Inn.

More details can be found on the local website here.

Cat Nap is a favourite local ale of mine.  From Barngates Brewery, Ambleside.  They describe it as: “A straw coloured hoppy beer with a hint of grapefruit. Well balanced bitterness leads to a long dry finish. A fruity, zesty character.”


In Praise of Kendal Mint Cake

Kendal mint Cake

‘We sat on the snow and looked at the country far below us … we nibbled Kendal Mint Cake.’  The famous quotation on the Romney’s bar linking Edmund Hillary’s successful ascent of Everest with eating a toe curling mixture of sugar, glucose and peppermint oil must be one of the most famous and successful celebrity endorsements of all time.  We always have a bar or two in a rucksack when we are walking – only when we are walking.  It is too sweet to be eating sitting down.  However it is very useful when junior members of the tribe are flagging and a pick-me-up is needed.  This may also include the who-can-keep-a-piece-in-their-mouth-the-longest competition for added distracting interest.

The Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry has just opened an exhibition all about this famous local delicacy: Kendal Mint Cake: On Top of the World running from 19 July right through until 21 December.  On 31 August, the Museum is holding Mint Cake Eating contest and an auction of the world’s biggest bar of Kendal Mint Cake which will be broken up and sold in aid of MacMillan Cancer. Further details of the exhibition and how to enter the competition can be found following this link.


Museums at Night Festival 2013

2013 Museums at NightThere is something deliciously exciting about being somewhere you are not normally allowed – especially at night.  Here in the South Lakes there are some fun things to do over the 16 – 18th May as part of the national Museums at Night Festival.

‘a greeting of good ale’ 16 May 7.30-9.00 £4 Dove Cottage. Wordsworth is famously known as the “simple water-drinking bard”, but the archives tell a different story.  Discover more about the history of Dove Cottage, formerly the Dove and Olive-Bough Inn,  and enjoy a free beer and food tasting.   Further details at The Wordsworth Trust website here.

Arts & Crime, Murder at Blackwell 16 May at 5.30, 6.30, 7.30, 8.30. Free but limited to 15 so booking essential.  You’ve mistakenly entered the end of a dinner party in the 1920s: what has happened and is someone still ‘at large’? Let the theatre company, Bear Necessities, lead you through Blackwell in search of the culprit.  Further details at the Blackwell website here.

Dozing at Dove Cottage 17 May & Secret Sleepover 18 – 19 May Dove Cottage  Dozing at Dove Cottage, for 14+, will be an eventful evening of activities exploring the cottage, a bite to eat, and a movie marathon followed by the sleepover.  Listen to some ghostly tales on the torch-lit trail and enjoy twilight arts & crafts activities before setting up camp in the museum for the night!  The Secret Sleepover is for children aged 7 – 13 years old, but adults will enjoy it too – a minimum of 1 adult for every 5 children. £10 pp includes breakfast, accommodation and materials for activities. Further details at The Wordsworth Trust website here.

Cranium Sculptorades at Abbot Hall 18 May From 6.00pm, games start after 7 until 10.  Free event, just turn up on the night!  Why stay in and play board games when the Lakeland Arts Trust team is challenging teams of visitors to a giant game of Cranium Sculptorades? Further details at the Abbot Hall website here.