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TEN OF THE BEST SELF-CATERING PROPERTIES IN YORKSHIRE

Abigail Flanagan

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England's largest county and, depending on who you listen to, apparently God's own county, too; Yorkshire's blessed with some of the UK's finest countryside, and boasts no less than three National Parks (North York Moors; Yorkshire Dales and parts of the Peak District). Fortunately, accommodation here has taken a leap forward in recent years and is fast becoming as eye-catching as the surrounding landscape. From award-winning barn conversions to fairytale cottages, read on for my top ten self-catering places to stay.
Noelle's Cottages

A homemade cream tea; locally sourced breakfast hamper; chocolates AND vino? Yes, you're on the edge of the North York Moors, but the welcome here is warmer than summer in Dubai. Since moving to Middleton Hall in 1996, Noelle and Tim Thornton have toiled fervently to transform its dilapidated outbuildings; and, in doing so, they've created three, very special retreats. Traditionalists will adore the farmhouse feel of both The Coach House and Applestore Cottage, where original features such as stable partitioning and a converted earth closet meet underfloor heating and an uber-luxe bathroom on stilts. Meanwhile The Barn, with its double-height ceiling, revealed stonewalls, original roof trusses and top quality, modernist fittings, provides a striking, contemporary contrast. Each property has its own private garden (The Barn has two), and there are the Hall's exquisite grounds to explore, also. Don't be surprised if you've company: owls, woodpeckers, hedgehogs, bats and badgers love it here, too. (The Coach House sleeps 4. Applestore Cottage sleeps 4. The Barn sleeps 5.)

The Old Vicarage

Totally secluded, with breathtaking views over the Swale Valley and River Swale, The Old Vicarage's location alone is worthy of 5 stars, but step inside and the delights continue. Clearly a labour of love, this light and spacious five-bedroom farmhouse-style home has been beautifully refurbished throughout. Original wooden floors, vast sash windows and antique furniture pay homage to the building's past; while contemporary touches – squishy sofas to sink into at the end of the day; Sky tv, and a snug with wi-fi – ensure your every comfort. Brilliantly placed for walking and cycling; guests can also make use of nearby private fishing rights, and, best of all, the owners' leisure complex that includes a truly stunning 15-metre indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, tennis court and more. Private catering, supermarket deliveries, and massage and beauty treatments can all be arranged, but if you fancy something completely different, you can help groom and feed the owners' Highland Cattle! (Sleeps nine/ten)

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