Heavenly holiday homes in the North

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Location: The Smithy, near Flodden Field, Northumberland

Accommodation: Sleeps two

Contact: Crabtree & Crabtree www.crabtreeandcrabtree.com

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The Smithy is a very romantic retreat which sleeps two which has an enormous fireplace in its sitting room – well it was a smithy – and is perfect for cosy evenings in after a blustery walk along the heritage coastline in Nothumberland, or a ride on the beach at Bamburgh. Inside, the house has been recently updated – the bathroom is toasty warm in winter and very modern and the bedroom has a super comfortable very large double bed.

From the Moulton Brown in the bathroom to the thoughtful placement of salt and pepper and other little extras in the kitchen, and a plentiful supply of logs for the fire, The Smithy have thought of everything. There is so much to do locally from the battlefield of Flodden just a mile away to the stunning deserted beaches of the north east coastline that you’ll never even notice not having Wifi, while the farm shop in Cornhill and the local butcher at Norham provide local produce to rival Selfridges Food Hall. If you don’t want to cook there is a good pub within walking distance. This really is exceptional class you don’t often find on the Scotland/England borders.

Location: Melmerby Hall, Melmerby, Cumbria
Accommodation: sleeps 18: 6 doubles, 3 twins
Contact: 01386 701177; www.ruralretreats.co.uk

Situated in the foothills of the North Pennines, Melmerby Hall is a grade II-listed manor house built around a pele tower, which was extended by the Threlkeld family (who held the manor from 1380) in the 17th and 18th centuries. The house is entered through an arched gateway and has several interesting features, including a priest’s hole, large Inglenook fireplace and barrel-vaulted cellars. It is furnished with antiques and has a billiards room. The walled grounds include gardens with an archery lawn, a Victorian castle folly (now a children’s play area) and walled vegetable gardens. Nearby is one of England’s largest Druidic circles-Long Meg and her Daughters-and the River Eden flows closeby. The small village of Melmerby has a pub and an award-winning organic bakery. Shooting and fishing by arrangement.

Location: Stag Cottage, Melmerby Hall, Melmerby, Cumbria
Accommodation: sleeps 4: 2 bedrooms
Contact: 01386 701177; www.ruralretreats.co.uk


A peaceful 17th-century sandstone cottage with open fires and terrace with built in barbecue. Fishing by arrangement and access to Melmerby Hall’s 20 acres of woods.

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Location: The Coach House, Richmond, North Yorkshire
Accommodation: sleeps 10: 2 doubles, 3 twins
Contact: 0845 268 0788; www.english-country-cottages.co.uk


This restored coach house is owned by the owners of Millgate House and shares its magnificent, award-winning garden with its views of the River Swale, and of waterfalls and the Cleveland hills beyond. Set in the centre of the ancient market town of Richmond, the Coach House is in close proximity to excellent restaurants, pubs, a theatre and an unfinished 11th-century castle. A riverside footpath leads to the ruins of Easby Abbey and there is plenty of walking and riding opportunities on Swaledale, one of the remotest of the Yorkshire dales.

Location: Masongill Lodge, North Yorkshire
Accommodation: sleeps 8: 2 doubles, 1 twin, 1 twin/double
Contact: 01386 701177; www.ruralretreats.co.uk

Built in 1709, Masongill Lodge is an original Yorkshire Dales laithe house, incorporating farmhouse and barn under one continuous roof (though with separate entrances). Inside, further traditional features include boarded doors with Suffolk latches and chamfered stone mullioned windows. A wild flower meadow forms part of the spacious gardens, which are lined by flagged seating terraces. Horses are kept in the stables beside the house.

Location: The Bungalow, Dalemain Estate, Martindale, Cumbria
Accommodation: sleeps 12
Contact: 017684 86450; www.dalemain.com


The Bungalow seems a rather understated name for such an impressive lodge. Situated at the head of Martindale on the Dalemain estate, the former shooting lodge was built in 1910 by the Earl of Lonsdale of Lowther Castle to accommodate Kaiser Wilhelm when he came here to go stalking. Its remote position offers fabulous views of the breathtaking scenery and it’s an ideal base for walking and watching wildlife. Opposite the Nab and Beda Fell and near to Hallin Fell and Place Fell, it’s ideally sited for exploring the Lake District, walking and observing wildlife. Walks can be combined with trips on the famous Ullswater ‘steamers’, and, for some holiday indulgence, the famous Sharrow Bay House Hotel is nearby. Also closeby are Dalemain House and its beautiful gardens, which are open to visitors, with a tearoom in the medieval hall. The Bungalow’s size makes it ideal for a large family holiday.