Lonely Planet Writer

See the holiday cottages voted the best in the UK

If you are considering renting a holiday home or cottage in the UK or Ireland, you might like to check out the award-winners in the Sykes Gems Awards. This is a national travel awards scheme run by Sykes Cottages, the UK’s largest independent operator of holiday rental properties. Earlier this year, Sykes’ holiday homeowners were able to nominate their properties in 15 different categories, and after a thorough process that included reviewing customer feedback and a set criteria, a team of holiday cottage experts chose the winners, including the following that caught our eye.

Most Unique Property

Signal Box in Newtonmore, Northern Highlands, won two Sykes Cottages awards. Image: Sykes Cottages

Signal Box in Newtonmore, Scotland, is a wooden property built in 2004 to resemble a railway signal box. It took the top spot in two awards including the Most Unique Property and the Best Longstanding Property. It is adjacent to the railway station in Newtonmore, and overlooks the River Spey and Cairngorm Mountains. Since being made available to holidaymakers in 2016, the cottage has become a firm favourite for couples and families wanting to explore all the local area has to offer.

Best Historic Property

Greystead Old Church in Northumberland, England, was voted Best Historic Property at the Sykes Gems Awards. Image: Sykes Cottages

Greystead Old Church, Northumberland, is an outstanding conversion of an early 19th Century, Grade II listed former Georgian church in the heart of the North Tyne Valley. It sits adjacent to the owner’s old Georgian rectory within its own very private setting, making it perfect for a family gathering or a getaway with friends. Lovingly and sympathetically restored in 2013 to provide holiday accommodation of an exceptional standard, this architect-designed conversion contains many stunning original features, including a fully-restored Victorian stained glass window and colourful tiles, a Gothic archway, exposed stonework, flagstone flooring and Georgian panelling, which combine with the eco-friendly heating to create a conversion of real merit.

Best for Pets

Coleridge cottage in Somerset won Best for Pets in the Sykes Gems Awards. Image: Sykes Cottages

Coleridge cottage in Somerset scooped gold for their first-class pet-friendly retreat. Equipped with personal touches like a welcome tray from the owners’ dogs to their guests’ pets and luxury features such as a private hot tub and open fire, the Coleridge owners pride themselves in going the extra mile. The property has become a popular bolthole for pet lovers who want to explore the Somerset coast with their four-legged family members, and the cottage’s secure enclosed garden means owners can rest easy knowing their pets are safe.

To view all Sykes Gems Award winners, please visit here.