Cot­tage has much moor to of­fer than a trip to Whitby PAUL SMITH

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL -

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

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