Sykehouse Cottage

A beautiful C17th Holiday Cottage in the Lake District

5 Half Term Favourites

When we come up for a holiday at Sykehouse Cottage, there are certain things we love to do.  Here are five of our favourites.

self catering cottage1)  Walk across the fields for a gorgeous pub lunch at the Blacksmiths Arms, Broughton Mills.  Click here for details of opening hours on their website.


self catering lake district2) Ride on the La’al Ratty : the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway.  Click here for their details.


self catering cottage cumbria

3) Run around Muncaster Castle for the “Luck” and a pose in the stocks.  Click here for their website.

cottage rental lakes

4) Imagine, for a moment, living at Blackwell, one of the country’s finest Arts and Crafts houses.  The stained glass!  The views!  Visit the website here.


market st ulverston5) Have a mooch around the lovely clothes, craft and book shops in Market Street, Ulverston.



We love Ulverston

The tribe always tries to squeeze in a visit to Ulverston.  This visit is actually a wandering meander up and down Market Street and beyond, popping into the amazing collection of independent shops and eateries in the town.  We try to go on a Thursday to catch the wet fish stalls at the weekly market for some tea.

Our favourite shops include:

Two by Two – a fabulous and great fun women’s clothes shop – website link here.

shop floor projectThe Shop Floor Project – beautiful objects of craft and design from the UK and Europe – website link here

The Herbalist – Sandy’s herbal remedies plus advice and organic & biodynamic skincare.

Sutton’s Bookshop – a lovely selection of current and local books.

Places to eat:

Gillam'sGillam’s Tearooms – for a spot of coffee and cake! – website link here

Hot Mango – lunch anyone … ? – website link here

Print Fest 2013

printfest2013How can you not be exhilarated by fresh, affordable art?

Ulverston’s Printfest is the UK’s artist led printmaking festival, dedicated showing and selling contemporary prints.  You can look around and buy works from more than 40 national and international artists, including Printmaker of the Year, Katherine Jones (left).  Artists will be giving demonstrations and there are printmaking workshops for all the family.  Work will also be exhibited around Ulverston town in the Printfest Trail during April.  The main exhibition will be at the Coronation Hall Sat 4 – Sun 5 May, 10 – 5 Tickets: £4 (Children & Students: free).  Further details from Ulverston’s Coronation Hall  or the PrintFest website.

Alec Miller : master carver and sculptor

Alec Miller  Portrait by William Strang, 1903

Portrait by William Strang, 1903

Our family has roots in both the South Lake District and the North Cotswolds, so I am always delighted when I find links between these two beautiful parts of the country.

One strong connection is the Arts and Crafts movement and, within that, a true craftsman, Alec Miller. At the age of 23, he joined CR Ashbee’s experiment of the Guild of Handicraft in Chipping Campden in 1902 – already a trained and working sculptor.  When the Guild folded in 1908, Miller stayed on in Campden and formed a partnership with his younger brother, Fred, and a fellow carver, Will Hart, calling themselves:  “Messrs. Miller & Hart, Architectural Sculptors and Carvers” at “The Studio, Campden, Glos.”

Around 1910, Alec was commissioned to do the woodcarving at the Parish Church of St Mary & St Michael, Great Urswick, just south of Ulverston.  The work is fairly unusual because it is the work of one man and includes the rood screen, the choir stalls, the pews and statues of St James and St John.  The wood carving here is delicate and approachable; it has a warmth and vitality which makes you like Miller very much.  (South of Ulverston on the A590, past Swarthmoor, left turn to Great Urswick.  About 25 minutes drive from Sykehouse Cottage.)

He was also responsible for the decoration in the Coronation Hall, Ulverston, some 3 miles away.  The building is a traditional proscenium arched theatre built between 1911 and 1918 to commemorate the Coronation of King George V.  Miller designed  the extraordinary ornate plasterwork, foliage and putti, with a “Britannia and the Empire” allegorical frieze.  All of this was originally cast in cement, then hand finished with carving by Alec Miller.  (About 20 minutes drive from Sykehouse Cottage.)

In addition, Alec Miller also carved several war memorials in the South Lakes area: at Dalton-in-Furness – with a carved flame on the top, found opposite the Town Hall; at Millom – a very tall war memorial the central feature of which is a statue of St Michael overcoming a dragon; at  Seascale – in front of St Cuthbert’s Church, a Celtic cross in red sandstone carved with vine tendrils and traditional Celtic patterns; finally, further North, at St. Bees – a large St George and the Dragon war memorial with curving side panels.

In Jane Wilgress’s biography of her father she writes ‘in the years of the first World War, … The Ulverston work must have kept the wolf from the door in these difficult years for the arts.’

My thanks goes to Carol Jackson of CADHAS for the detailed information.  Further information can be found on their website:

Ulverston’s WalkFest 2013

Eric Robson and Alfred Wainwright, photographed by Richard Else

Eric Robson (left) and Alfred Wainwright (right), photographed by Richard Else

Why not stay at Sykehouse Cottage and enjoy Ulverston’s WalkFest 2013?

This is a lovely ten day festival of walks and evening events that celebrate the cultural and historical aspects of Ulverston.  This year’s festival take place between Saturday April 27th until Monday May 6th 2013.  Walks include “In the Footsteps of the Quakers”, “Walks for Wheels”, nature walks, and map reading skill practice.

A highlight of WalkFest will be Wainwright Redefined, a talk by Eric Robson, Chair of Radio 4’s Gardeners Question Time.  The writer and broadcaster who is also the chairman of the Wainwright Society, hopes to dispel some myths about Alfred Wainwright, the creator of the famous “Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells”.

 This will take place at the Coronation Hall Supper Room in Ulverston, on Saturday 27th April at 7.30pm.  Tickets are available from the Coronation Hall box office.