Burtersett Cottage, Yorkshire Dales
Last Friday we packed our bags and headed to the Yorkshire Dales for a weekend away. We were full of grand plans for our trip - maps were consulted for walking routes, visitor attractions were looked up online and menus were researched for the purpose of indulging in long pub lunches nestled beside roaring fires. And then on Thursday we all caught the cold. One by one we were turned into a family with hacking coughs, permanent runny noses and Lemsip drinkers. Not at all what we had envisaged. Instead of getting out and about we spent many hours on the sofa, kettle on, watching movies and playing board games. On the plus side this gave us plenty of time to properly appreciate all that Burtersett Cottage had to offer.
We were kindly invited to stay by Gorgeous Cottages who offer a hand-picked collection of the finest luxury holiday cottages in Yorkshire. They have beautiful homes on the North Yorkshire Moors, the Yorkshire Coast, the Yorkshire Wolds and the Yorkshire Dales, many which offer family spaces and doggy friendly ones. Gorgeous Cottages offered us a choice of which area we wanted to visit and immediately we knew we wanted to explore the Dales. Our drive up took us through some pretty little villages and beautiful scenery. Pen-y-Ghent was incredible to look at with a little snow still sitting on the top. Having taken the train on the Settle-Carlisle line several times before I have passed over the Ribblehead Viaduct and each time been captivated by how magnificent it is (it is known as one of the great railway journeys). But actually stopping the car and walking up to it was a whole other experience. It's simply breathtaking and we're planning to head up there again soon for a longer walk.
Burtersett is a peaceful hamlet located only a few minutes away in the car from Hawes which is famous for its cracking Wensleydale cheese and a bustling tourist attraction particularly for walkers and cyclists. The scenery around the cottage is spectacular - lots of dry stone walls criss-crossing the fields, the Traditional Farm Buildings nestled on the hillside and of course, many, many sheep. Arriving at the cottage, we parked the car and a beautiful black horse stuck his head over the stone wall to greet us (I think he hoped we had a carrot but as we didn't he had a good lick of my camera instead). Our home for the weekend was a two bedroom, Yorkshire stone built cottage. The front door had the prettiest stained glass window and the entrance was surrounded by terracotta pots of daffodils and violas. As you enter the house you step immediately into the living room, with original stone flooring, an open fire, two super comfy sofas, a sideboard which is stuffed to the rafters with books and dvds as well as a huge wooden chest that was filled with classic board games.
We had brought some dvds with us, but never bothered to watch them as there was a huge choice in the cottage to pick from. The owners had also really thought about the kids too, as there were hundreds of books for all ages (including so many good picture books) as well as another large selection of kids dvds. Book wise, you were spoilt for choice with walking guides, Yorkshire photography books, fiction titles and nature guides. The chest provided us with hours of entertainment by way of Cluedo, chess and best of all, dominoes. We spent a lot of time in this room, fire blazing away, eating chocolate eggs and watching The Damned United, Skyfall and the Harry Potter movies.
I've always thought the heart of any home is the kitchen. Sadly, in mine, that's not the case as it's tiny. Burtersett Cottage had the kitchen of my dreams. A gorgeous proper farmhouse table and chairs, woodburning stove, a Gorenje fridge freezer (oh my how I want one of these now) and a Smeg range cooker. I photographed this room A LOT. It's also fully stocked with all your cooking needs - toaster, microwave, teapot, casserole dish, pizza tray, steamer and cafetieres. There is also a washing machine and an original airer on a pulley to dry your clothes near the woodburner. The back door opens to a cute courtyard that is shared with the next door cottage (also a holiday let). Welcoming us when we arrived was a bottle of white wine in the fridge, grapes, fresh coffee, Yorkshire Tea and cheeses from the Wensleydale Creamery. I was over the moon that there was a piece of Richard the Third Wensleydale which is one of my favourites and I find it difficult to get in Leeds. There were fresh flowers on the table, some beautiful crockery to use in the larder cupboard and tealights on the table too. The decor was perfect for me - rustic touches, vintage charm, the plate rack with the Cable and Cotton lights strung around it and the letterpress print of Yorkshire places above the stove area. I spent a lot of time admiring that rug too (it's in the very top picture, I need to find out where it is from!). We cooked both nights in here, simple meals as we weren't feeling great, but I loved sitting at that table, woodburner on, wine flowing and music playing softly in the background.
Upstairs the main bedroom makes for a calming retreat and offers a super comfy double bed, wardrobe and two bedside cabinets. The windows look out on to the hillside and it was lovely pulling back the curtains in the morning, sipping a coffee in bed and taking in that gorgeous view. The room is full of natural details - a hand picked posy of snowdrops, dried seed heads in the fire grate, a basket of scented pine cones and a pretty touch of fairy lights wrapped around more dried flower heads in a vintage jug. It's a beautiful, calming space to unwind in.
The second bedroom was taken by our twelve year old son. It's a small room so furnished simply with a trunk bed, a country style chest of drawers, a clothes hanging rail and a small Shaker style peg rail. The duvet was warm and added cosiness was provided by thick Yorkshire woollen blankets and at night the pretty table light brightened up the room (it's by Hebden Bridge designer Hannah Nunn whose work I admire greatly). Impressive too was the view from the window, sheep and lambs grazing in the farmer's field and the sun moving across the hills, highlighting little rusty-orange patches.
On the landing there was a narrow window up high and on Sunday morning the light streamed through it, offering shapes and shadows on the walls that begged to be photographed. There is central heating in the cottage too, so we were always warm in all the upstairs rooms. The bathroom was great too with shower, bath and a heated towel rail (and proper giant, thick bath sheets to wrap yourself up in).
Outside the cottage the village is a pretty place to explore. Lots of little paths and farm tracks that lead to the Dales, ramshackle buildings and of course, sheep! It is a hamlet surrounded by working farms, so there are many tractors and farm vehicles going up and down the tracks but it all adds to the charm of the Dales. We did get out and about a little, with visits to Sedbergh, England's Book Town, which had a lovely cafe, The Three Hares. Small but with a pretty, rustic decor, we had coffee and cake (I had the raspberry frangipane - it was so good) and a trawl of the second hand book stores. Our favourite was Westwood Books, a huge shop stuffed to the rafters with vintage titles. There were overflowing cases of vintage Penguin paperbacks and boxes of Observer Books. We could have spent hours in there and I did buy several Agatha Christie novels, The Professor by Charlotte Bronte and the Observer Book of Cacti (which I had been searching for months for, only to find they had about twenty of them!). I'm kicking myself that I didn't buy a copy of the Observer Book of Birds Eggs which someone had made careful notes in of the eggs they had spotted back in 1950! In Hawes we visited the Provisions store which was great for local beers, preserves and fresh Dales eggs which we had for breakfast the following morning.
And even though we were feeling under the weather, we still had an amazing weekend and have plans to return. Burtersett Cottage was an absolute delight, a real home from home. A place to rest, relax and retreat from the world. The owners have created a very special place indeed.
Our adventures in the Dales are also over on Instagram if you want to see a little more.
Thank you to Gorgeous Cottages for providing us with two nights accommodation at Burtersett Cottage for the purposes of this review. All photographs, words and opinions are my own.