A pair of high-design shepherd huts for super-romantic escapes.
**3 nights for the price of 2, for any stays during January and February 2020. Just message the owner (via the Book Direct section below) and quote Kip 3-for-2.**
The phrase shepherd’s hut implies a certain cosy, rustic charm. What it doesn’t really convey is luxury, especially not the kind of luxury you’ll find in this pair of huts. From their Farrow & Ball exteriors, to their wallpapered bathrooms with a rolltop tub (yes, you read that right), along with Pukka teas and Bramley toiletries, these stunning hideaways exude high-end appeal. And whether you’re strolling to the local pub for supper (a beautiful, gastro affair) or sitting out by your firepit below enormous night skies, you’ll feel utterly spoilt throughout your stay.
Breakfast (I know!) arrives in a wicker hamper – you’ve already made the choice between avocado and poached eggs on sourdough or homemade granola with fresh berries. And you can eat at your leisure: when was the last time you got to do that? The lovely owners who live next door can point you to countryside walks and medieval towns, but if you want to just sit and read in their pretty walled garden, they’ll be delighted.
Getting there: drive or train to Darlington then taxi (15 mins).
The huts are built from sustainable wood, and insulated by Thermafleece sheepswool from the English Lake District. The septic tank is a Biorock, which scores well on sustainability. The owners donate £2 for every night booked to the Woodland Trust to offset use of the woodburners. To avoid plastics, guests are given a carafe of still water with a Japanese charcoal water purifier; toiletries (Bramley organics, made in the UK) are in refillable containers. Breakfast bacon and sausages are sourced from local farm shops, and the owners keep their own hens for eggs (good on air miles!).
- Local pub The Fox Hole is gorgeous, all flagstone floors and log fires blended with ink-blue panelling and herbs in copper pots. Come for a drink and stay for supper – fish of the day with pink furs and chicory jam sounds amazing.
- Or book ahead to eat at 2-Michelin-starred The Raby Hunt, 3 miles away; the owners can book taxis for you.
- Go walking in nearby Swaledale, famed for its wildflower meadows and dry-stone walls.
- Potter around Richmond, a beautiful market town with Georgian architecture. Or spend a day in Durham, voted ‘Best city in the UK’ by Conde Nast Traveller, where you can stroll winding cobbled streets and visit the Unesco-listed Norman cathedral.
- Manor Garden Flowers is a delightful walled gardens where you can pick your own blooms. They also run floral and wreath-making classes, and host a seasonal pop-up restaurant.
- Tan Hill Pub (the highest in England) does a cracking Sunday Roast, and tables overlook vast expanses of moorland.
- Medieval Raby Castle has 200 acres of parkland, home to red and fallow deer, and delightful walled gardens with a fig house.
- Bring walking boots and hike a section of the rugged Pennine Way. Keep your eyes peeled for short-eared owls flying across the moorland.
- Over on the coast, Runswick Bay is home to a gorgeous arc of golden sand and pretty fishing village. On sunny days, hire a paddleboard or sea kayak; in winter take bracing long walks. Either activity best followed by fish and chips at the Magpie Cafe in Whitby (AA Gill voted these the “best Fish & Chips in the World”).