Holidays, mini-breaks, trips away, vacation – all words I love to hear! This summer I’ve decided to shun the beach holiday abroad, and instead opt for a short break in the UK, or more specifically – Yorkshire.
I’m actually based in this beautiful county already, but I feel like I rarely get to see Yorkshire’s moors and dales at the moment, so it was agreed – a mini break in glorious North Yorkshire. I spent hours pondering over Sykes Cottages website, checking out the hundreds of absolutely gorgeous Yorkshire holiday cottages they have for rent. It was a hard decision on which to settle on, but in the end I decided I wanted somewhere:
- in the countryside (preferably on a farm)
- with a fantastic view
- quiet and peaceful
- with a garden or patio
- close enough to the North Yorkshire coast for a day trip
Even with that criteria, I was spoiled for choice. In the end, picking Cooper Cottage in Potto (near Stokesley) as on the photos it looked like it ticked all the boxes, plus it offered an accessible layout (something that’s high on importance for me since my spinal surgery). Booking was a piece of cake, and in a blink of an eye, 5 days at this lovely place were here to enjoy!
On arrival the owner was there to great us and get us settled into the cottage. He was a great source of information on where to go, and made sure everything was perfect. A nice touch was making sure the kitchen was stocked with tea and coffee, biscuits and milk (even asking which type of milk we wanted) – and he provided a local newspaper too, a thoughtful addition to the welcome.
Unpacking took the priority, as it always does for me. Please tell me I’m not the only one who has to unpack cases immediately? I just can’t relax until it’s done! But it also gave a nice chance to have a really good look around the cottage. Cooper Cottage has two bedrooms (one kingsize and one twin), a lovely bathroom and open plan lounge-kitchen-diner. Ideal for 2-4 people either on a romantic break or a family holiday, as also on site was a barn stacked full of games, books and a pool table, all free to use.
First stop on the Friday was a trip into Stokesley and Yarm, to see what they were like. Stokesley is such a pretty market town. Flowers everywhere, cobbled streets, little cafes – it’s very quaint and we were really happy that this was our closest town to the cottage. Yarm on a Friday night is absolutely packed. Every bar, restaurant and cafe seemed full of revellers – it looked like the place to be going, but we just wanted a quiet night in, with food and wine, enjoying the scenery and quiet back at Cooper Cottage, where we watched one of the most spectacular sunsets.
Saturday was superbly sunny, so the countryside was calling. But first, coffee. A quick trip into Stokesley again meant a visit to West Green Deli Cafe, which is owned by the friendliest lass I’ve ever met. If you’re ever in town, make sure you stop by this lovely place for good coffee, tasty samosas and bhajis or even one of their themed nights – they have French lessons, curry nights, wine tasting – plenty of stuff going on. After that, we dragged ourselves away from gawping at the beautiful houses in the town, and made our way up and onto the Yorkshire Moors.
They were breathtaking. Everything was covered with heather or wild flowers; rolling hills form a backdrop on which sheep are dotted every where you look. It’s the place to go for a beautiful walk, or if like me, you’re less mobile, it’s so gorgeous out there it’s easy just to sit and take in the scenery. We even keenly spotted some wild raspberries growing and cheekily picked some. Delicious!
After a day of exploring, some proper food was needed. After seeing the Indian snacks on offer at the deli earlier that morning, we had a hunger for a spicy, rich, curry. Local farm shops provided the vegetables for our warming chickpea, butternut squash and spinach curry. It’s a dish I have been making for years and is the best sort of comfort food.
Making the most of the cosy cottage, the rest of the night was spent curled up, reading good books and enjoying some lovely wine. An early start was on the cards for the next two days; venturing to the coast, of course the beautiful Whitby, and paying a visit to Masham – home of the Black Sheep Brewery were also in our plans.
More on that and plenty of Victorian seaside fun coming your way in part 2 of this post, on Friday 21st August.