Cottage has much moor to offer than a trip to Whitby PAUL SMITH
AROARING fire and a steaming mug of Yorkshire tea...
There’s little better to warm your aching bones on a chilly winter evening after a trip to the seaside.
We’ve spent the day enjoying traditional coastal treats in the quaint North Yorkshire town of Whitby.
Fish and chips... ice cream... tuppence games in the arcade... a walk on the prom and a trip to the rock shop.
And now we’re thawing out in the cosy cottage we’re calling home for the night.
But it’s not one of the dozens of former fishermen’s retreats that have been turned into holiday lets in the town.
We’re a 10-minute drive north of Whitby, but it feels like a world away.
The splendid stonebuilt St Mary’s Cottage is in the small farming community of Hutton Mulgrave, on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.
To get here, we’ve come off the main run to Teesside and driven about two miles along a narrow country road past a couple of farms.
The marketing blurb for St Mary’s describes it as ‘quite remote’, which is true – it’s well off the beaten track. But I reckon it’s more peaceful splendid isolation than Billy no mates.
It feels like we’ve really got away from it all, but we’re just a stone’s throw from a bustling resort town and – in the warmer months – minutes away from glorious walks and bike rides on the moors. St Mary’s is decades old but inside it’s bang up to date.
The two-up one-down self-catering dwelling has been recently renovated to a high standard and has a four-star rating from Visit England.
Downstairs is a spacious living roomcum-kitchen with exposed beams and a welcoming woodburning stove.
Outside there’s a patch of grass where sheep from the farm next door like to graze.
If you get fed up watching the sheep, there’s a flat-screen TV to keep you entertained. The fully-fitted kitchenette has all the equipment you’ll need to whip up a feast.
It’s full of little touches to make you feel at home.
A box of the county’s favourite brew and coffee... a bottle of quality red wine... a pint of milk in the fridge... logs, kindling and matches to get the fire going... a copy of the latest Whitby Gazette... a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers in the window...
Soft carpets lead you upstairs to the bedroom – with a pitched roof and more exposed beams. There’s a large comfy wooden double bed, plenty of storage and a selection of novels to enjoy. The window faces east so on a bright morning the room is bathed in sun.
In the bathroom there’s an electric power shower and the luxury feel extends to a selection of fluffy towels. Constant hot water and central heating help keep you as snug as a bug in a rug.
Outside are a table and chairs, a storeroom with chest freezer and a separate building to store bikes.
You could really bed in at St Mary’s – with a maximum weekly tariff of just £605, it would make a great base for several days of exploring in spring, summer or autumn.
You’re bound to spend quite a lot of time getting to know Whitby. Even on a rainy day there’s plenty to do and see.
We managed to beat the queues to get into the Magpie Cafe for the best fish and chips we’ve ever had and washed it down with a pint of local ale at the Endeavour pub – named in honour of Captain Cook’s ship built in the town, which was used for his first voyage of discovery Down Under.
Our culinary experience is completed with a lemon-top ice cream – a cone of soft vanilla with a scoop of lemon sorbet on top... a tongue-tingling mix of sweet and sour.
We burn off all those calories with a long walk around the town – to the end of the pier, along cobbled streets full of jet shops and up the 199 steps to the landmark gothic abbey which helped inspire Bram Stoker to write Dracula.
I think we’ve earned that brew...
●● St Mary’s Cottage, Hutton Mulgrave, near Whitby