CHESTER’S Sykes Holiday Cottages has further expanded its UK property portfolio by acquiring regional firm Northumbria Coast & Country Cottages.

The deal adds 500 properties to Sykes Holiday Cottages’ portfolio, meaning that it now offers 20,500 holiday cottages across the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.

Alnmouth-based Northumbria Coast & Country Cottages will run as a sister agency to Sykes. The business will continue to operate as normal, by its local team, from its three offices in Alnmouth and Seahouses.

Northumbria Coast & Country Cottages was set up by Nikki Brierley in 1981. It now employs 17 people throughout the region and manages 500 cottages across Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.

This deal follow Sykes’ purchase of other regional counterparts, including Best of Suffolk earlier this year, Abersoch Quality Homes and Pure Cottages Group.

Graham Donoghue, chief executive of Sykes Holiday Cottages, said: “Although we’re a national agency, we really strive to deliver a local service and partnering with businesses like Northumbria Coast & Country Cottages allows us to do just that.

“The team on the ground have a wealth of experience in the region and we’re looking forward to working with them to promote the holidays available in this beautiful part of the country.

“The deal will help ensure the long-term success of the business and each and every holiday home on its books in the years to come.”

Nikki Brierley said: “We’ve built a great business over the last four decades, but this deal now represents a new chapter for the company and will ensure its ongoing success for the next 40 years.

“We will continue to provide the same excellent service to our customers and owners from our local offices but with the backing of Sykes’ award-winning digital marketing expertise and multi million pound marketing spend - in fact 'the best of both worlds'.

“Sykes’ values mirror our own, and its track record speaks for itself, so I know our holiday home owners are in good hands.”

Northumbria Coast & Country Cottages were advised by Womble Bond Dickinson and Greaves West & Ayre. Sykes Holiday Cottages were advised by Springboard Corporate Finance and Hill Dickinson LLP.

Founded 30 years ago, Sykes is one of the UK’s best-known travel brands and has won the British Travel Award for Best Large Holiday Cottage Booking Company for eight consecutive years.