“Brand new! Two shepherd's huts with designer looks and romantic style – kingside beds, clawfoot baths and doorstep-delivered hamper meals”
Inside, a cosy but chic cottage has been miraculously tucked into a 5.5m by 2.75m space. The bedroom fills one end, the bathroom the other with a log-burner-warmed living area in the middle. Owner Melanie – who, with furniture-designer husband and children, fled London corporate life to the neighbouring farmhouse – has created a feel that’s solid and stylish rather than hippy glamping: wool-upholstered banquettes, tongue-and-groove panelling, wooden floors, framed watercolours and engravings, tartan blankets and bold wallpapers in the bathrooms. Breakfasts and evening platters are delivered in a hamper so you can enjoy a lazy, romantic feast undisturbed. And the great outdoors unfolds all around you; the North Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales National Park can easily be explored on day trips. Rural bliss.
- Cosy and romantic miniature houses with top-quality fittings and clever attention to detail
- The feeling of privacy and remoteness, even though you're less than 10 minutes from the A1(M)
- Stunning views, either of a pretty walled garden or of fields and copses; both perfect for de-stressing and switching off
- Indulgent breakfast hampers that outclass many a five-star hotel
- The option of sitting outside around a fire-pit or inside around a log-burner
- Not surprisingly, storage is limited; a couple of hooks plus baskets under the bed, so you need to travel lightly
- With a full-size bath, the bathroom can be a squeeze – definitely one person at a time – and shelf space is minimal
- Log-burners take a little effort to get going and keep alight; you need patience
- Breakfast delivery times - 7:30 to 8:30 - are not conducive to lie-ins (but they run later at weekends)
- WiFi is unreliable at times
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique B&B
- 2 shepherd's huts
- Breakfast + dinner on request
- No children, except if sharing parents' bed
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
The two huts are identical in layout but differ in colour-scheme: Field Hut, overlooking fields and copses, has a fresh cream-and-pale-green palette; Garden Hut, in the walled garden, is more masculine in shades of blue and teal. Kingsize beds are tucked into cabin-style spaces with tongue-and-groove panelled walls, a shelf above the bedhead and curtained storage beneath. Cosy and nest-like, with pretty embroidered bedlinen, a blanket throw and brass reading lights, there’s a feeling of stepping into an Enid Blyton adventure.
Bathrooms are classy affairs with clawfoot baths, power showers, chunky traditional basins and a mix of bold wallpaper and metro tiling. There’s no skimping on comforts with decent lighting, a heated towel-rail and a full range of Bramley soaps and smellies: British-made with 100 per cent natural botanicals. Field Hut lets you lie in the bath and gaze up to trees and sky, while Garden Hut lets you wake to views over its namesake.
- Coffee / tea making
Breakfast, brought to your door in a wicker picnic hamper, has to be one of life’s great indulgences. Melanie’s selection will tempt even ‘non-breakfasters’: from tropical fruit salad, homemade granola and turmeric scone with Greek yoghurt and honey to the full English with local bacon and sausages from the village shop. We pigged out on smashed herby avocado plus poached eggs, the latter - with blazing yellow yolks - from Melanie’s hens. On cue, a strutting cockerel and brood came squawking at our open door as if to check the eggs were up to scratch.
Come evening, you could saunter 20 minutes to the village pub, The Fox Hole – smart, bistro-style dishes in a relaxed setting – or treat yourself to a blow-out at the two Michelin-starred Raby Hunt (3km). We preferred one of Melanie’s picnic suppers: a smorgasbord of baked Camembert, charcuterie, smoked salmon pate, caponata and salad. Shepherd’s pie (naturally) or posh bagel sandwiches are other options.
- Coffee / tea making
- Dinner by arrangement
- Piercebridge, a 20-minute stroll away, is worth exploring for its handsome village green, remains of a Roman fort (free) and well-stocked farm shop before having a drink on the riverside terrace of The George.
- Join the Teesdale Way and walk east to Low Coniscliffe or west to Winston and Whorlton.
- Barnard Castle, 14.5km to the west, offers a rewarding day out with its Bowes Museum - sumptuous art and furniture - castle, independent shops, tearooms and riverside walks.
- Drive west from Barnard Castle into upper Teesdale to the spectacular High Force waterfall and bracing walks on the North Pennines.
- Head 13km south to Richmond in Swaledale, another charming market town, with an 11th-century castle, museums, market place (Saturday markets) and jewel-box Georgian Theatre Royal (tours available).
- Continue 11km up Swaledale to Reeth and oft-overlooked Arkengarthdale for peaceful walking and the splendid 18th-century Charles Bathurst Inn; good for a reviving pint and lunch.
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Plantlife / flora
- Shopping / markets
The huts are in the grounds of the owners’ house, on the southern edge of Piercebridge. The village lies on the County Durham/North Yorkshire border, close to the North Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Fly into Teesside International (18km) or Newcastle (80km away). You could take a taxi from either airport, but it’s best to have a car so that you can explore the area - see our car rental recommendations. There’s free parking on site.
The nearest station is Darlington (regular trains from London Kings Cross; journey time between 2h 30m and 2h 45m), which is 6.5km (15 mins) by taxi or hire car.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you confirm a booking through i-escape.
- Teesside International Airport 18.0 km MME
- Newcastle 80.0 km NCL
- Beach 40.0 km
- Shops 5.3 km
- Restaurant 1.6 km