It’s about this time of year when I think that everyone needs a pick-me-up. Something to look forward to as the nights draw in, the wind whips up and winter lies like a long, lonely road in front of us. While shopping can provide a quick fix, there’s nothing quite like a holiday or weekend away on the horizon to cheer me up. Whereas I used to be all about getting as much sunshine as possible, the arrival of children in my life has meant that I’m something of a UK holiday convert. No flights! No fuss! No airports! No jet-lag! And, did I mention NO FLIGHTS?!
Even without children, a weekend away or holiday in the UK is something to be savoured. So get out there and explore. Whereas, once upon a time, I used to confine my British breaks to the south-west (wonderful, but when there’s the whole of the UK left to discover, why limit yourself?) I’m now all about exploring further afield. Which is why we found ourselves in North Yorkshire a few weeks ago for a last-minute, end of half-term getaway.
I’m probably preaching to the converted, but have you ever been to North Yorkshire? It’s beautiful – so much so, that Lonely Planet recently named it the third best place in the world to visit. And, if you’re more of an urban warrior than a country bumpkin, you should check out Harrogate – it seriously rocks. Great boutiques, gorgeous restaurants, amazing cafes. It’s the kind of place I’d like to move to if London ever loses its lustre.
One of the best places to stay for a weekend or holiday (and I’m thinking where could be better for a late-January weekend, next February’s half-term or perhaps even Easter?) is a cottage. Of course, there are cottages – and then there are cottages. We stayed for three nights at Greenbank, which whilst technically a cottage is more accurately described as a gorgeous, 4-bed family-owned house in the village of Old Scriven, on the edges of Knaresborough and only ten-minute drive from Harrogate. Seriously – it was gorgeous. Perfect for a family or group of friends, we loved it.
The kitchen had everything we needed. Underfloor heating? Check. Toy box? Check. Rangemaster cooker? Check. Huge fridge and all the pots, pans and tableware you could possibly need? Check. A massive utility room? Check. Just off to the right of the kitchen is a lovely living room with an woodburner, huge TV, amazing selection of DVDs (it was like having Lovefilm there) and a sound system with speakers also in the kitchen.
With four bedrooms and three bathrooms, there was plenty of space. Three of the rooms are ensuite, two have TVs and all had gorgeous sash windows and super-comfy beds.
Just look at this room. I love big bathrooms and this one, with the wood panelling, mossy green paint, wood floor and huge walk-in shower was incredible. Just made for long afternoon soaks reading a book…
If you’re looking for a long weekend away or somewhere to base yourself for a week, then Greenbank is perfect. Harrogate is just down the road, the Yorkshire Dales are an easy drive away and if you’re hankering after a big city, Leeds is within easy reach. Idyllically located and beautifully designed, it has your 2014 holiday written all over it.
Greenbank is available from £1000 a week (weekends also available) through Gorgeous Cottages.