Just before Christmas, I escaped to the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors for a well needed girly getaway. I used to visit this lovely part of the country when I was a child, and had not been back for over 10 years. Yorkshire was instantly the destination of choice as it is steeped in history and has breath-taking scenery.
In the lead up to the holiday, I think we got a little carried away with the idea of an adventurous week away and ended up spending hours and our hard earned £££ in Go Outdoors and Decathlon. We spent far too long looking at waterproof jackets, walking boots and backpacks. After getting overly excited over which thermal socks to buy, I selected my walking boots and paraded up and down the aisle feeling very proud. Now fully kitted out, I felt totally ready for the Moors and was already channelling my inner Bear Grylls.
On the journey up to Yorkshire, excitement kicked in as we travelled through The Gate House of Castle Howard. If you want the scenic route I most definitely recommend driving this way. Being November, the leaves on the trees had began turning beautiful shades of red, amber and brown.
We dodged a few pheasants with a death wish and finally arrived at our destination of Gillamoor. Gillamoor is a quaint little village located about three miles north of Kirkbymoorside, situated just on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. After trawling the Internet for the best places to stay, I came across Gales House Farm, luxury self catering cottages surrounded by sprawling countryside. Owned by Steve and Georgina Hackett who live in the main farmhouse, these stunning cottages are quaint, cosy and fitted with all modern conveniences to allow you to make the best of your holiday. Fresh linen and towels are provided and laundry facilities are located in the courtyard.
We squealed with delight as we walked through the front door of Barley cottage. Comfy leather armchairs, fluffy throws and a log burning stove greeted us. Steve kindly gave us ‘Essex Girls’ a crash course in lighting the fire, and from that point onwards we were proficient fire starters.
Steve and Georgina had left out a little selection of welcome goodies which included a bottle of red wine, Yorkshire crisps, homemade jam and freshly baked bread. The fridge had also been stocked with milk, eggs and butter. The cottage has an array of books, games, DVDs, and tourist information booklets with all the local attractions and places to visit. It really has everything you need. The farm grounds are beautiful and the views are truly incredible.
When it comes to dining, Gales House Farm is within walking distance to the Royal Oak pub. If you are staying in the area I definitely recommend heading there for dinner, mushroom and brie wellington, braised beef brisket and guinea fowl supreme are some of delicious dishes on the menu.
We had created a little schedule and plan for the week with a few popular destinations on the agenda. On the first day we woke up to an incredible sea of mist across the moors. We had planned to go to Whitby but were advised by Steve against this due to the fact that we wouldn’t be able to see past our own noses in the bay area. We decided to rearrange the schedule and head to York.
York is by far one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to and is steeped in medieval and Viking history. The looming 13th century gothic York Minster Cathedral is one of the cities most popular attractions. The medieval stained glass and impressive architecture is a definite must see. If you climb to the top of the Central Tower you will be able to see breath-taking views over the York rooftops and surrounding countryside.
We explored as much of the city as we could, walking down the cobbled streets and The Shambles. York is fantastic for shopping with lots of independent and vintage boutiques along with popular high-street stores. We spent hours in The Yorkshire Soap Company and The Imaginarium buying luxury soaps and quirky gifts to take home. If you have a sweet tooth York also has an abundance of sweet shops and chocolatiers.
On day two the fog had lifted and we finally made it to Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby. I was so excited to take the girls here as I have so many fond memories of visiting this seaside town. Whitby is full of history including connections with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Captain Cook. Robin Hood’s Bay is a small fishing village only ten minutes from Whitby so it’s perfect for a little stop off. You can walk along the beach and take in the cliff top views, many of the little shops were closed as we visited out of season, however we were happy to have a hot chocolate and a relaxing stroll.
Once we arrived in Whitby we strolled around the shops and independent boutiques. We walked down to the pier which ended up being an incredibly cold experience and then decided it was time for fish and chips. This of course is essential when visiting Whitby and the previous evening we had researched the best restaurants. Fish and chip restaurant selection is extremely important business! After much discussion and deliberation we decided on the family run and award winning business, Quayside. We chose wisely and were not disappointed, their fish, chips and mushy peas were on point.
On day three we could finally put our brand new walking boots and rucksacks to full use. We ensured we were fully prepared for our first walking adventure and stocked up with cheese and ham sandwiches, hoola hoops and chocolate biscuit animals. We had the hiking essentials! We had done extensive research on where to walk as there are so many to choose from it can very overwhelming. We decided on The Mallyan Spout and Beck Hole woodland walk which is located in Goathland. Goathland is sometimes better known as ‘Aidensfield’ in the television programme ‘Heartbeat’ and it also had a starring role in the Harry Potter films. The Mallyan Spout waterfall can only be described as utterly beautiful. We got a little bit adventurous at one point and ventured over the wet rocks to get a better look, the scenery is just incredible. Due to being slightly scatter brained we did of course get lost. We also had no signal on our phones so had a short panic attack thinking we may end up getting attacked by pheasants or getting eaten by sheep. However this lasted twenty or so minutes as we did eventually find the road back to Goathland. Well done us. We had become fully fledged explorers.
Day four we decided to head to Scarborough, again I was so excited to visit this famous seaside town due to having fond memories of cockles and donkey rides. Unfortunately Scarborough in November is not as exciting as it probably is in the summer months. I was about seven the last time I had visited here so a stick of rock was no longer going to do it. We had a very quick mooch and ventured in and swiftly out of the novel souvenir shops. Safe to say, Scarborough is much more enjoyable when you have a face full of candy floss and a bag full of two pence coins for the penny machines.
Day five we ventured to Harrogate, mainly because we wanted to visit the famous Betty’s Tea Room. Betty’s is still one of the most popular tea rooms in the UK which opened almost 100 years ago. The menu selection is extensive including full English breakfasts, slow-cooked steak pie and Swiss Alpine macaroni. I recommend picking something off their Afternoon Tea menu which features a mouth watering list of tortes, tarts and tea cakes. The cream tea is delicious and I highly recommend having their famous Fat Rascal Scones.
Day six which was our last full day of the holiday we ventured slightly closer to the cottage and visited Pickering and Helmsley. Helmsley is the only market town in the North Yorkshire Moors, the market offers homemade jams, cakes and delicious Turkish Delight. Not a traditional Yorkshire delicacy but if Turkish Delight is on offer, I shall buy it. Helmsley Castle is over 900 years old and a definite must see if visiting this lovely little town.
Our Yorkshire holiday most definitely didn’t disappoint and was perfect for relaxation, sight-seeing and adventure. I highly recommend a stay at Gales House Farm and I plan to visit again later this year.