Recently we went on our first family ‘holiday’. It was just a few days away in Yorkshire, but still a noteworthy event.
We stayed in Pateley Bridge near Harrogate in North Yorkshire, which is in Nidderdale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Staying at The Gamekeeper cottage, we were not likely to forget that.
Found a mile-and-a-half along a bridleway, I don’t think I’ve stayed in a more tranquil spot. There’s a babbling brook in front of the 230-year-old cottage, and its back garden is fairytale-like: you climb winding steps to reach a patch of lawn with unspoilt views of the rolling Yorkshire countryside, a rope swing and, beyond the dry stone wall, only the local sheep to disturb your peace. The cottage and its garden are in a shooting estate and pheasant, partridge and deer are often seen. There are rugs, picnic blankets and a barbecue for guests to use.
Unfortunately, while we were there it wasn’t quite the weather for eating al fresco, but cooking inside didn’t disappoint. The cosy, country-style kitchen is modern with rustic and vintage touches and has a heated, flagged stone floor and a table for four.
We’d been left a basket with some locally-sourced essentials: bread, tea, eggs and snacks and in the fridge was some Wensleydale cheese – made just up the road in Hawes – and a bottle of wine. It was a lovely touch that made us feel right at home straight away.
The whole cottage has been renovated recently and we were among the first to stay there. Upstairs, there is a comfortable lounge with arched windows and a fire. Leading off, up a couple of steps, is the second bedroom which can sleep four with its unusual double bunk bed, and a large bathroom – with quirky toilet and flushing mechanism! (Don’t worry, you’re not expected to go in a hole in the ground or anything).
In the eaves at the top of the house is a charming master bedroom with king size bed. You need to watch your head on the beams, but when you knock your nut (you inevitably will) you’ll find the remarkably wood-like beams are made of foam to soften the blow!
There are no blinds or curtains in this room but nor is there any light pollution. I suggest you get in tune with your surroundings and go to sleep and wake up when nature tells you to – a familiar routine for the campers among us ;)
I could say more about the lovely interior, but what makes this cottage really special is its position. We found it wonderfully relaxing; a perfect place to rest and rejuvenate after a few frenetic weeks with a newborn baby (although he was there with us so there was a limit to how much recuperation could take place). It was refreshing to have no phone signal, but there is wifi for Instagram addicts like me. There is also a good selection of OS maps, books and games to keep you occupied in
typical Yorkshire bad weather.
The Nidderdale Way is just one of the walking routes you can join right from the doorstep. We went in another direction and walked the couple of miles up to Coldstones Cut which offers spectacular 360º views of the impressive Nidderdale landscape. More on that here later.
The market town of Pateley Bridge is only a couple of miles away from the cottage (and most of that distance is along the quiet bridleway you drive in on). Again, I’ll write more about things to do in the town in another post but it has a some good-looking pubs, cafés and restaurants as well as local shops, a couple of quality butchers and the oldest sweet shop in England which dates back to the early 1800s.
For our three night stay at The Gamekeeper we were taken to a different way of life, one far more peaceful and slow-paced than what we are used to. I could have easily and happily stayed longer, and I think it would have done us the world of good.
Even our baby son slept well here. One morning he stayed in bed (after a couple of night feeds) until nearly 10am – and who are we to argue? It’s as though the remote countryside was a comfort blanket for the three of us, soothing the whirlwind of the last few weeks since the birth.
*Our stay at The Gamekeeper was courtesy of Gorgeous Cottages, which lists more than 100 top quality places to stay in Yorkshire. It was complimentary for review purposes but all content and opinions are my own and honest. The Gamekeeper costs from £495 for a 7 night stay.