Sykes crowns winner of Britain’s Best Holiday Let competition

UK: The winner has been revealed in a nationwide search for Britain’s Best Holiday Let, as part of a competition arranged by holiday cottage firm Sykes Holiday Cottages.

The awards, which were announced back in June, saw holiday home owners from across the UK competing to be crowned the winner of Britain’s Best Holiday Let and walk away with a £10,000 cash prize.

Despite only being up and running for six months, Martin Matheson, owner of The Sheiling, was awarded the top prize. His two-bedroom holiday let in the Scottish Highlands was also recognised as the winner in the Best View category.

The Sheiling is a luxury wooden lodge in a secluded location on the edge of its own loch. It has been carefully designed to seamlessly fit into its surroundings, with a circular grass-topped roof and a modern contemporary theme throughout.

The luxury holiday let is close to the village of Plockton, and boasts a lochside hot tub, a large wrap-around deck, and a private pier where guests have access to a small rowing boat.

Martin Matheson, owner of The Sheiling, said: “Taking on the project to purchase and build on Loch Lundie was a big decision, but we are so proud of what we’ve achieved. The round design in particular took a lot of careful planning to get right, and executing those plans was a whole other challenge that took time and perseverance.

“We were booked out over the past summer and 2022 is already filling up fast – with the staycation boom helping to really make this investment pay off for us. Winning an award like this, alongside lovely feedback from our guests, also helps to make it all so worth it.

“It’s fantastic that Sykes Holiday Cottages have taken the initiative to run a competition like this to showcase some of the best places to stay in the UK,” he added.

Matheson, who also owns a building company, purchased Loch Lundie in 2017 alongside his wife Mairi. Spotting the opportunity to build a holiday let in the idyllic spot, the pair went on to design, build and decorate the property over a four-year period with the help of local craftsmen, finally opening its doors to holidaymakers in May of this year.

As well as Britain’s Best Holiday Let, smaller cash prizes were up for grabs for other categories, including Best Renovation, Best Quirky Holiday Let, Best Sustainable Holiday Let and Best Interior Design.

Winners of the other categories included a converted 1880s railway carriage in Essex, a rustic barn in Anglesey, and an eco property in Perthshire, Scotland.

The expert judging panel consisted of Carol Lewis, deputy property and personal finance editor at The Times; Elaine Watt, host of  The Holiday Let Success podcast; and Graham Donoghue, CEO of Sykes Holiday Cottages.

Donoghue said: “These awards don’t just showcase the very best of Britain’s holiday lets, they also highlight the hard work that goes into holiday letting across the UK to make Britain’s staycation market the success it is today.

“We’ve witnessed more holidaymakers than ever before opt for UK holidays over the past year – helped by the pandemic but also because Brits appear to have rediscovered their love of a Great British staycation. Because of this, those with a second home or money to invest are increasingly turning to holiday letting – and we don’t blame them,” he added.

Properties were judged on a number of factors, including customer reviews, location and facilities on offer. The judges were also asked to consider if each property would be the first choice for holidaymakers looking for a staycation.

Sykes’ Britain’s Best Holiday Let competition was launched to inspire holiday let owners and celebrate excellence in holiday cottage accommodation across the country.

The full list of winners can be found at this link.

Offering over 20,000 holiday homes from property owners across the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, Sykes is one of the UK’s largest and fastest-growing holiday cottages rental agencies.