Visiting North Yorkshire: a review of Noelle's Cottages

Do you know when different paths collide and through a stroke of serendipity, you get to do two things you love at once? That’s what happened recently when we were invited to stay at the beautiful Noelle’s Cottages in Pickering. As if spending time in Pickering at a beautiful country cottage wasn’t enough, it just so happened that we also got to catch up with some lovely friends of ours.

We woke to a bright but frosty morning, full of wide eyed enthusiasm for our road trip. We’re still learning to travel with our littlest Inspiration and so the gargantuan task of loading the car started early to ensure we remembered everything. I’m figuring, at some point, we’ll get it down to a fine art but, until then, we take everything and the kitchen sink, just to be on the safe side.

Pickering isn't a million miles from where we live but you can just feel the difference within 15 minutes of leaving our village. The undulating countryside of North Yorkshire is breath taking and the roads start to wind, twist and climb high. The tree line gets more dense and the fluffy white sheep multiply.
We arrived at Noelle’s Cottages with a mind to dumping the stuff and getting out to explore but we were greeted by a property that wouldn’t look out of place on Grand Designs. The Barn was all mezzanine floors, vaulted ceilings, wooden beams and underfloor heating.

We set to work on taking in every nook and cranny, from our large bedroom suite in the eaves, with the most enormous bed. To the private wing at the other end of the house that can be closed off from the large open plan space, complete with its own cosy log burner. The bottle of red wine left in the kitchen was a nice welcoming touch.
We were told it was one of three very different properties set within a couple of acres of stunning gardens. Curiosity got the better of us, as usual, and off we went to find The Applestore and The Coach House.
The former being the archetypal country stone cottage. Boasting a gorgeous bathroom on stilts, it had picture windows looking into the tree canopy. Unlike our very contemporary lodgings, it was more traditional country casual decoration, with rustic wood everywhere and cosy plaid blankets strewn over armchairs. It felt like just the place to while away several hours with a good book and a cosy fire.
The Coach House oozed country charm as well and being more private than the rest had a dining room with French doors that opened onto a private garden. I couldn’t help but think it would be a lovely spot to gather the family for a Sunday roast on a cold day. It would be perfect at Christmas, as the full clan could hire all three cottages and take turns hosting. Absolute bliss!
After our nosiness had been satisfied (who doesn’t love snooping around properties?), we made our way back to The Barn to freshen up before dinner. 
When we found out we'd be heading over to Pickering, we arranged to meet up with some good friends for a natter and a bite to eat. They recommended we visit the Fox and Rabbit at Lockton, which sits in an idyllic spot on the edge of the moors. Honestly there are views for miles from the front of this pub and I could just imagine sitting outside on a warm day. But it was bloody freezing and windy, so instead we made our way inside to find a cosy watering hole.
The menu was small but adequate and catered well for the children in our party. We heard that the sandwiches and pies were the dogs whatsits, so between us I think we ordered one in every flavour. It was so nice catching up and the conversation (and beer) flowed easily until the babies declared it was time to leave.
We decided to head back into the centre of Pickering to pick up some provisions and for a drink somewhere local. The Christmas lights were still sparkling away above the quaint little shops, even though it was well into the new year. Even the chemist was beautiful with immaculate window displays. 
After a wander through the compact but stunning town, we popped inside the Bay Horse to warm the cockles. Noelle’s Cottages are on the outskirts of town so rather than face the walk, I was DES and played taxi for the day. I knew I would get my just desserts once we were safely back at The Barn and I was right. Once the baby was in bed, we lit the fire and opened that bottle of wine that had been so kindly left out for us by the owners.
The conversation continued into the evening and as the last of the flames danced hypnotically, this very tired mama decided to turn in and dive into that enormous squashy bed.
The next morning we woke early to a beautiful little baby face, all peaches and cream cheeks and wide eyed wonder, and opened the remote controlled Velux blinds, which flooded the large open plan barn with light. Soon the coffee was brewing and we freshened up in the luxurious wet room. Sadly I didn’t get chance to take a dip in the huge tub but the littlest Inspiration did. My baby girl has good tastes. 

All three of Noelle’s Cottages were a country dream and who knows, we may return one day to stay in one of the others. I know lots of people do.
Before anyone had chance to get hangry, we called upon our friends to suggest a meeting place for brunch and so we met at the lovely restaurant at the Steam and Moorland garden centre. All I needed to hear was that there are tiny steam trains whistling around metres of track above your head whilst you eat and I was sold. It was a whimsical brunch dream.
Oh and the breakfast was good too. I went for a full Herbivore breakfast and the Carnivore hoovered up his full English. Ever the sausage snob, it was high praise indeed that he wolfed the lot down. 
Feeling significantly rounder than when we arrived and our heads full of imaginary tiny people, riding tiny trains, along tiny train tracks, to tiny but amazing destinations, we stepped out into the frosty air and onto the icy path.
The group of good friends, with their littlies in tow, hugged and nodded about what a fabulous weekend it had been. A weekend where two great passions had fortuitously collided. Travel and friendship. And really, what more does anyone need?

Have you stayed in beautiful North Yorkshire? Where are your favourite homes from home?

If you wish to stay at one of these beautiful properties you can book via AirBNB.

 The Applestore

*We were gifted our stay in return for an honest review of the facilities but all opinions are objective and our own.

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