By Katie Wilson
Looking for a country bolthole still close enough to town for a night out? Book a stay at The Garden Shed, just eight miles from York.
Part of The Old Forge York (TOFY), which has two holiday properties, this cosy cabin is a converted former storehouse once home to the local blacksmith’s.
These days it is the perfect hideaway for two, where guests can do as little or as much as they like.
Explore the cobbled streets of The Shambles, take a trip to Bridgerton’s Castle Howard or visit Malton, the foodie capital of Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Dales and Moors are also close by, as are the beaches of Scarborough and Bridlington, which can be reached in under an hour if the weather is nice.
Here’s what happened when we spent a few glorious days in the North Yorkshire countryside.
We arrived in Sand Hutton on a sunny spring afternoon and found it to be one of the prettiest UK villages we’ve ever seen.
Look for the red brick cottage and you’ll see two entrance gates. One is for The Garden Shed, which sleeps two, where we stayed. The other is for a second larger property called Next Door, which can sleep up to five people. Both are part of The Old Forge York and can be booked together for larger groups.
Karen, the owner, was there waiting to greet us, along with her dogs Boris and Bobbi. All three were very pleased to see us and show us to the cabin we’d call home for the next few days. Bobbi became a regular visitor during our stay and would often pop round for a belly tickle.
Although there are two properties on site, both are very private. The Garden Shed, as the name suggests, faces out onto the vast garden. It has its own courtyard with outdoor seating and fire pit and is completely surrounded by tall hedging so other guests can’t see in.
STYLE AND INTERIORS
The first thing we noticed when we walked into The Garden Shed was the incredible smell. We later found out it was room mist from Chapter Organics, a luxury aromatherapy brand based in Yorkshire. Their toiletries can also be found in the kitchen and bathroom.
Everything about the property is high spec, yet it still feels cosy. The overall style is cool country kitsch and there are boutique touches everywhere you look.
The patio doors lead to an open plan kitchen and living room area. There is a comfy sofa with sheepskin throws in case it turns cool at night, a log burner in the corner and a dining table for two if you fancy eating in.
Standout features in the fully equipped kitchen include the Belfast sink, vintage crockery and stylish glassware – perfect for popping a bottle of fizz.
A stable door takes you through to a cute double bedroom, which had two white robes placed on the bed, and an ensuite bathroom with sink, toilet and rainfall shower.
FOOD AND DRINK
The Garden Shed is technically self-catering, but the owners go to a lot of trouble to make sure you have everything you need when it comes to food and drink.
When we arrived, there was milk, orange juice, yoghurt and blueberries in the fridge, plus a lemon and lime for necessities such as gin and tonics.
Also left out on the side was a welcome hamper featuring Yorkshire treats such as homemade teacake (made by Karen’s mother-in-law, no less), butter, bread, pastries for the next morning and a bottle of red wine. Essentials like Yorkshire tea, cafetiere coffee, sugar, salt and pepper and olive oil were also provided.
In addition to this, there is an honesty shop on site where guests can help themselves to homemade ready meals such as Spring Chicken and Leek Filo Pie and Salmon Fillet with Watercress and Pea sauce. Snacks like crisps, popcorn and chocolate are also available, as are extra drinks such as juice and wine.
If you order ahead, you can even take afternoon tea on site. Ours was courtesy of local bakery S’more and was served in the garden, beautifully presented on a cake stand with edible flowers. Delicious savoury treats included Homemade Scotch Egg and Smoked Bacon and Onion Quiche. While sweets consisted of Lemon and Blueberry Muffins, Chocolate and Raspberry Tarts, Sticky Toffee Brownies and Red Velvet Cream Cheese Cupcakes.
The Garden Shed is set to get an outdoor bath which will be positioned in a separate private courtyard area this summer for those who love an alfresco dip.
Other activities available include the woodland fire pit in the main garden, where guests can enjoy a sundowner drink on Saturday nights. Play a game of badminton or croquet. While younger guests will appreciate bushcraft and forest school lessons, the trampoline, playground and rope swings and visiting the on site hens.
As well as the honesty shop, there is an actual shop where you can buy Chapter Organic candles and toiletries, which make great presents or treats for yourself.
Further afield, it is a 20 minute drive by car or taxi to get to York city centre or Malton, the foodie capital of Yorkshire, which regularly hosts food festivals and markets. Castle Howard, where featured in Bridgerton, is also close by, as is the Yorkshire Moors, where famous scenes for Harry Potter were filmed.
Karen can also recommend local walks in the area, provide bikes for guests to explore, and on booking all guests are given a ’25-mile map’ with details of the best local producers, plus off the beaten track places to visit.
The Garden Shed is the perfect getaway for two and had everything we needed for a few days away from it all. The countryside location left us feeling invigorated, while still being within easy reach of town. Karen even arranged taxis for us to have a night out in York. We’d love to return as a bigger group and stay at her other property, Next Door.
Prices start from £124 a night with a minimum three night stay
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