I consider myself very fortunate at having won this holiday on Silver Travel Advisor.
Whilst anything that you enjoy and doesn’t have to be paid for, is one of life’s bonuses, our initial thoughts were mixed. Nearly all our holidays are wildlife, wildlife and more wildlife, albeit laced occasionally with some culture.
We read a lot on the website and did some research on Trip Advisor, and the latter did have some mixed reviews. However, after 4 nights and 3 full days in this beautiful part of the world, we are completely sold on a new type of holiday adventure for us.
We started out early morning on the Monday, determined to make the most of our long trek almost vertically up the country, taking in Woolsthorpe Manor, the home of Sir Isaac Newton, en route. This is now in the hands of the National Trust and is well worth the visit…. being members, this was something else we didn’t have to pay for.
Very knowledgeable volunteer guides and wonderful memorabilia set in a well preserved country house, and THE apple tree is still there some 400 years on.
We arrived at Keldy late afternoon and were welcomed by the young lady manager. The reception and restaurant buildings were noticeably well laid out, clean and tidy…. no litter anywhere outside. This we found to be the case everywhere we went over the next few days. The streets, main roads, grass verges, etc., in all the towns we visited or passed though, were very noticeably cleaner than our ‘Southern’ equivalents. This was a salutary lesson, and a reminder to maintain standards when we got home.
Our cabin, number 28, is really a misnomer. The term ‘cabin’ does not do these standalone all timber buildings justice. Two floors… the ground floor with twin bedded room, shower room and separate toilet directly off the entrance lobby, in turn leading to the spacious living/ dining/ kitchen area, fully kitted out with furniture. The two sofas, plus coffee table at one end, and dining table and 4 chairs at the other, adjacent to the galley kitchen. All the furniture and kitchen equipment was in excellent condition; the kitchen fitted out with hob, cooker, microwave, dishwasher plus all the crockery, utensils, etc you could wish for. The first floor consisted of a double bedroom plus ensuite shower and toilet. All the fittings and fixtures were high quality and what impressed the most, was that the whole place had been scrubbed spotless before our arrival. Equally impressive… one of the staff called in within half hour of our arrival, to check that all was well, and he ran through just a couple of queries we had.
All good so far….. we ate in Forest Hub restaurant the first evening…. simple menu, but good food and decent drinks.
What to do while we were there…?
Apart from the hot tub, which was an added bonus, particularly after a long day out and about, there are many routes marked our through the forest for both walkers and cyclists. Also, there are many activities organised by the staff, mainly for children and for younger folk. We chose some of the shorter walks and encountered Roe Deer on a number of occasions, pheasants, even a Black Grouse, plus some very unusual fungi specimens probably endemic. One day we ended up at the ‘sister’ holiday village of Cropton, some 2 miles away…. we were welcomed there and had a well earned coffee before the trek back. Some paths/ tracks are a little rough, but generally most people would find them easy. Those with mobility problems are well catered for generally, with level access to all the main buildings and we noted that many of the ‘cabins’ have level access as well. I believe there are 59 cabins at Keldy and probably a similar number at Cropton., but please check with their website.
There is certainly plenty to keep a family occupied on site, but there are many attractions within easy reach… the furthest being York, about 3/4 hour away by car. This was one of our days out, with many individual places to visit, but once inside York Minster it is difficult to exit inside two hours or so…. it is a place of stunning beauty and steeped in a 1000 years of history.
Whitby is another must visit, with fish and chips shops galore, boat trips on the replica of Captain Cook’s Endeavor, the Abbey ruins and the brewery nearby for real ale enthusiasts…. and Bram Stoker’s inspirational building as well.
Slightly closer is Rievaux Terrace and Abbey. The latter is run separately for general access, but the Terrace is under National Trust…. that appealed to us, particularly as one can view the Abbey from high vantage points along the grass banks of the Terrace. There is a series of incredibly clever and well designed metal sculptures seemingly strewn along this long bank with special buildings at either end…. one an Ionic rotunda, and the other a summer house/ dining hall with Michelangelo type frescos on the ceiling and walls; generally built in the Doric style of classical architecture. We managed to fit in the stately home, Nunnington Hall, on the same day. Again, a beautifully preserved building with interesting gardens, where we received some good horticultural advice as a bonus.
After our days out and about, we returned for a refreshing dip in our own hot tub, showered and drove to more local towns such as Pickering and Middelton to try the local fayre. As is often the case, when you find a hostelry that fits your palate and budget, you tend to return, and so it was with the Middleton Arms…. excellent food and Theakston’s beer at sensible prices…… and treacle tart to die for!
All in all, we had a thoroughly enjoyable few days at Keldy, and the North generally. We would definitely recommend Forest Holidays and will no doubt return…. even though we will have to pay next time!.
Many thanks to Silver Travel Advisor once again.