Updated: Oct 14, 2018
Well this year has certainly proved to be a busy one for us and with setting up and opening our second shop we just haven’t had time for a proper holiday this year. However we still need time to relax and recharge as when running your own business there has to be some balance. Little getaways are our go to breaks for the foreseeable future and one in particular we were looking forward to was our recent trip to the Hesleyside Huts just outside of Bellingham in the beautiful Northumberland countryside. Staying there right as Autumn was really coming into its own was the added bonus as it’s by far our favourite season of all.
As always Paul has an outfit for every occasion and ensured his cap, waistcoat and pocket square were suitably matched to our Autumnal rural getaway. With a case full of foodie treats and some rather nice wine we set off and special thanks to Lucy’s Auntie
Lilian for being our driver as one major flaw for ourselves in selecting such a far out rural idyll is that neither of us drive! Going out into such beautiful countryside the drive is part of the break and being a Sunday morning we were all very excited to find somewhere along the journey for Sunday Lunch.
It’s wonderful when you unexpectedly come across a real gem and our lunch stop proved to be just that, the Bay Horse in the village of West Woodburn. We were warmly welcomed and couldn’t wait to dive into the carvery (veggie option duly provided for Lucy). It was delicious and just what we wanted, proper home cooked fare and despite feeling full none of us could turn our noses at desert. Lunch over it was time to head off and we shall certainly return to the Bay Horse one day.
We made a couple of pit stops in Bellingham itself, one to call into the now volunteer Tourist Information Centre. From his previous career running TIC’s Paul always likes to support them and we always use them for helpful information. And final stop off - the village store to pick up ginger biscuits for a very special purpose later on. The Huts themselves are a short distance just outside of Bellingham and are the brainchild of Anna and William and located within the grounds of historic Hesleyside estate.
Opening the gate to the private access road we found our drop off point and bizarrely a wheelbarrow- this soon became clear as the barrow was your trusty steed to push your luggage to your hut. We bid farewell to Lilian who had successfully deposited us at our retreat for the next two nights. Following the signs and the trolley up the path we soon saw a wonderfully welcome sight - Holly Hut. It looked absolutely gorgeous and despite the other huts being in close distance you felt totally in your own space with breathtaking scenery all around showing plenty of Autumn colour. Up the wooden steps and opening the door to Holly Hut we were in glamping heaven. Every conceivable luxury and accessory to provide you the perfect stay had been provided. From show stopping copper bath to wood burning stove we were going to embrace it all and celebrate the time of year we were visiting.
The Hut is on two levels with kitchen area, living room space and bathroom at the bottom and up the wooden steps the sleeping quarters. And wow what a massive and cosy bed was up there. We had come here to relax and recharge and be totally away from it all. Outside the hut was an open fire pit complete with accessories to cook upon the fire. Still being full from our lunch Lucy embraced something very close to her heart, keeping warm. The copper bath beckoned and a glass of wine poured. Paul took full advantage of the selection of reading material offered and immersed himself in a trusty guide to stargazing as we were right in dark sky territory and our hosts had kindly provided telescope and binoculars. Lucy relaxing in the bath, Paul reading and the doors wide open revealing our beautiful views we could not have felt more chilled out and peaceful.
As daylight faded Lucy embraced another great love of hers, lighting an open fire. Paul is slightly more hesitant with such activities so happily to let Lucy be in her element. We had been provided with a supply of firewood and kindling and more could be purchased from underneath the hut by leaving £5 in the honesty box. Paul at this point was at the kitchen stove having brought his trusty Camembert baker to enjoy an outdoor treat of melted cheese with fresh bread and cranberry sauce (kindly provided by our friends at the Bay Horse). Lucy had the fire well under control and the Camembert was brought oust side to enjoy by the fire, yum yum. The cheese course over it was time for sweet treats and the reason for the biscuit stop off. The hut had furnished us with marshmallows and under the stars we toasted an abundance and pressed each one between our biscuits. This was indeed the life and yes the stars were out in force. Letting the fire fade we moved to the huts veranda and let our eyes become accustomed to the dark. It was a wonder to behold and we felt so proud that this gift of dark sky status was right here in the North East. We spent a happy hour looking up at the sky with our trusty tools and enjoyed a nip of whisky from Paul’s hip flask. Returning inside it was time to retire up the ladders to bed with our hearts in the sky.
Morning came and opening our doors the most wonderful Autumnal sights greeted us, dew on the grass and gentle mist around the trees. Breakfast of croissants and a soak in the copper bath made a relaxing start to the day which was what it was all about. Paul read the rest of the Sunday papers with Radio 4 in the background. It was heading for lunch time and our fire maker was on duty again. The pot was filled with tomato soup and bubbles away nicely. We toasted bread on the fire and drank our soup out of enamel mugs. It’s true to say we did not move far from the hut and why would we, it was just perfect. We had a little tootle into the woods and spotted an array of beautifully shaped and coloured fungi. Without a spotters guide to foraging we thought it safer to leave well alone. Just as we headed back a gentle drizzle began and we retreated to the hut. The wood burning stove was lit and that was it, we sat by the fire for the afternoon and into the evening, keeping the stove topped up with logs and barometer lost in our respective reading. The stove cracklings, the sound of rain outside we could not have been cosier and happier. Just ourselves truly lost in the moment. Trusty camping fayre of baked potatoes for dinner, radio 4 and a tot or two of whisky. No stargazing tonight as the clouds had covered the sky but what a truly relaxing day.
For our last morning we enjoyed toast and Lucy’s homemade marmalade, one last dip in the copper bath and time to pack up. It was with a heavy heart that we left Holly Hut but we were recharged and full of wonderful memories. Our trusty driver had returned and the barrow went back down the path. Some little breaks are full on sight seeing but once in a while it is good for the soul just to kick back, gets away from it all and truly relax and have a bit of time out away from it all. We felt blessed that all this can be done in our wonderful region. Thank you Holly Hut we shall be back.
Just for info - we paid for our own trip and as ever all our thoughts are our own.