“WE’RE going to New Yorkshire,” bellowed my two-year-old as we cruised along an empty M1. He was half right.
Like many families, we decided against playing Russian roulette with the coronavirus quarantines of foreign holidays and instead headed north for a mini staycation.
Our destination was Brompton Lakes, an award-winning collection of luxury lodges outside the sleepy North Yorkshire town of Richmond on the edge of the Dales.
Awaiting us for the weekend was a self-catering eco-cabin that was luxurious, immaculate and, above all, enormous.
The estate hosts 20 three-bedroom lakeside properties, each with its own unique design, a deck looking out over the water and more than enough space to feel alone.
We stayed in the final addition — the aptly named Twenty One. It was built to fulfil the demand for big groups, and like many large holiday homes, was suddenly available as a result of the rule of six.
To the three of us, it felt like a palace. The sitting room is roughly the size of a tennis court, it has six bedrooms, four bathrooms, two garden areas, with a hot tub and outdoor barbecue hut, and it sleeps 12, with bagfuls of space to spare.
We revelled in a space that would normally be more suited to large family gatherings as well as the slightly more sophisticated stag dos and hen parties.
Created in 2009, the lakeside lodges were designed to blend into their natural surroundings.
Their most striking feature is the living room roof, which is made up of sedum plants and wild flowers, and makes them look like something out of The Hobbit.
The sight of gardeners occasionally scaling the cabin to work on top of the roof is both peculiar and strangely welcoming. The cabins also all come with under-floor heating throughout. Residual heat from the lakes is converted through a ground source pump which creates the sustainable and efficient heating system.
Guests are allowed to fish in the lakes and the property has its own tennis court and mini football pitch.
While it doesn’t have a play area, there is a soft play centre down the road for when you need to tire out the little ones.
We spent our days walking around the lakes, skimming stones on the beach by the River Swale and exploring the pretty town of Richmond.
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History lovers can clamber over the magnificent ruins of the 12th century Easby Abbey, which is just a ten-minute walk away.
Richmond Castle, known as the Guardian of the Dales, is also well worth a visit. Built to bring the North to heel in the 11th century, it is one of the oldest stone castles in England and offers tremendous views from its vantage point.
In the evenings we splashed around in the hot tub, ate in the Scandinavian-style barbecue house (I spent two days thinking it was a sauna) and stayed snug in the lodge, thanks to the roaring log burner.
It was a special place to spend a few days getting away from it all and we’ll definitely go back one day — and hopefully in greater numbers.
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