Sykes Holiday Cottages acquires stake in Forest Holidays

Sykes Holiday Cottages is acquiring a “controlling” stake in Forest Holidays, a leading owner and operator of environmentally sustainable cabins, as it bids to become the number one UK holiday group.

Sykes, whose head office is in Chester, have around 22,500 holiday homes across the country and their latest acquisition will mean even greater diversity in their range of rental options.

Forest Holidays have operated environmentally sensitive cabins across Britain’s forests, using the guiding principles of sustainable woodland use, preservation of the countryside and biodiversity. Principles which Sykes say mirror their own approach to UK tourism.

Forest Holidays has 12 forest locations with many in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park in Scotland and opening later this year in the stunning Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales.

The two businesses will now be run independently by their existing leadership teams but under a newly formed parent company.

Graham Donoghue, CEO of Sykes, said: “As the UK’s leading provider of woodland accommodation, Forest Holidays is the perfect complement to our existing holiday cottage rental business, offering our respective customers an unrivalled choice and quality of accommodation across a variety of settings.

“We’ve been impressed by what Bruce McKendrick and his team have achieved and are excited by our common purpose with a focus on environment, local and rural communities at the core of our businesses.

“It’s also a transformative acquisition for Sykes which creates a UK-focused multi-brand holiday group with market-leading technology, service and product. Looking ahead, we’re ideally placed to fly the flag for UK tourism and showcase the very best our islands have to offer from coast to country.”

Mr Donoghue’s new counterpart, Bruce McKendrick, CEO of Forest Holidays, said: “Forest Holidays has always sought to balance social, environmental and economic benefit. The benefits we bring to physical and mental well-being are more important than ever and in Sykes we have found a partner who shares this ethos.

“They also recognise the importance of our long-term partnership with the Forestry Commission and our shared objective to offer holidays that are good for people, good for nature and good for the environment.

“Graham Donoghue and his team’s commitment to a strong purpose is impressive and we are hugely excited by the opportunity to take this ambition forward together.”

Together, the businesses will employ over 1700 people and are estimated to take over 2.65 million customers on holiday in 2022.

Chester and District Standard | Business