A few weeks ago we packed up the car and headed north, to spend half term in the Yorkshire Dales.
I know, I know, it was February. But just look at Ing Heads, the cottage we were staying in.
And the inside wasn’t too shabby either…
So keeping those images firmly in mind we got up at mad o’clock and trekked 6hrs North.
Ing Heads is an old farmhouse and barn, converted in style to sleep 11 people (as long as you use the sofa beds too). There’s a fabulous master bedroom suite and a twin room upstairs in the main farmhouse, and at the other side of the cottage the attached barn has been converted with a ground floor double and en suite. All of the bedrooms have sofa beds too, and above the ground floor bedroom is a large games room with table football, a pool table, and a large corner sofa which, you guessed it, also converts.
As the teens didn’t fancy sharing, the six of us were spread out across the whole cottage – the two youngest shared the twin room, the 17yr old got the downstairs double and the poor old 14yr old drew the slightly short straw with the sofa bed in the games room. He had his own bathroom up there, and actually the largest room – but he did rather feel short changed that ‘his’ bedroom was invaded on a nightly basis for the family pool championship.
So we unpacked and settled in very quickly – it’s funny how some holiday cottages take some time to get used to, but others instantly feel like you ‘know’ them, isn’t it? I slipped a lasagne into the oven whilst the children immediately headed into the garden to discover the hot tub, and were delighted to discover it warm and ready for them – though the trot back into the house an hour later in frigid February evening air was probably less pleasant than they had anticipated!
A decent kitchen – as any self catering afficionado knows – is essential to a stress-free holiday. My own method to reduce the holiday work is to batch cook and freeze before I go, taking 5 one-pot meals with me that mean I have zero cooking to think about while away. The AGA at Ing Heads made this method a dream – there’s a big american fridge freezer in the utility room which had plenty of storage room, and every morning I simply popped a frozen meal into the slow oven before we went out for the day; when we got home cold and starving a hot meal was all ready and waiting for us.
And every day, after a wild and chilly and windswept day embracing all the the Dales had to offer us, we headed back to the cosy warm haven of Ing Heads. The heating system (always an important consideration in February) is great, and the house was permanently warm and comfortable. As I said, dinner was always waiting for us in the AGA, and the sitting room was filled with cosy armchairs.
A couple of nights we sat around the dining table and played cards (getting consistently beaten by young people who should just have a little more respect, shaming their elders that way…), and on others we naturally drifted to the games room where we played a constantly running winner-stays-on Pool contest (yeah, Mr LittleStuff stayed on all week…), some Table Football, and fought over whose music got to be played on the stereo. It was pretty perfect, actually.
Ing Heads is available to rent from Cottages.com, and the next week’s availability is in May, at a rate of £967 for the week. It’s a fabulous cottage for large and extended families – the bedrooms are plenty big enough to share with smaller children if you want to fill it to the maximum ‘sleeps 11’ capacity, and the facilities (and number of bathrooms and the wifi and the hot tub…) will keep any teen happy. The ground floor bedroom suite is perfect for an older generation if you’re going with grandparents.
For more pictures of our trip, and more shots from inside the cottage do head over to our facebook album.