As the weekend drew closer, it was clear that it was going to be 60mph winds and sideways rain. I spent the night before googling “what to do on the North York Moors with kids in the rain?” Get wet seemed a common answer.
But I needn’t have worried. Although it would have been wonderful to sit outside our woodland lodge in the sunshine, a few well-thought out features of our accommodation meant that, in the end, it didn’t actually matter what the weather did.
High Oaks Grange is a collection of luxury cottages, Scandinavian lodges, glamping pods and a six-bed house set within 60 acres of beautiful Yorkshire countryside.
Located only a mile from the picturesque Pickering and Thornton-le-Dale and half an hour from the seaside, there’s plenty to entertain everyone for a short break or a longer holiday.
The High Oaks estate, formerly known as Hagg House Farm, was a derelict manor house and some worn-out cottages and lodges until a family acquired the site in 2015.
It took four years and a multi-million pound makeover but High Oaks opened to visitors last year.
VisitEngland has awarded 5-star ratings to the Grange house and the cottages, 4-star ratings to the lodges, and Gold Awards to every single property.
We stayed in Pheasant Lodge, tucked away at the back of the site. The two-bed lodges all feature central heating and incredibly comfortable beds, all with luxury Hypnos mattresses.
What immediately struck us about the accommodation when we walked in was how well designed it was. There was a cloakroom area for shoes and coats and the compact kitchen/diner was very well equipped.
There were a whopping four televisions, including one at the end of each bed in the twin bedroom where our boys were sleeping.
My seven-year-old and four-year-old thought it was the most amazing thing they had ever seen. Their room also had a PS4.
It was a great move to include little spotlights on the stairs for finding the downstairs bathroom in the middle of the night.
There was fast free wi-fi throughout the lodge with modern technology – like casting – so we could stream to the television from another device.
The large bathroom was also well-thought out, with plenty of fluffy towels and a large bath with a powerful rainfall shower. There was also a handy retractable clothes line over the bath for drying post-hot tub swimsuits.
Outside, the hot tub was undercover on the decking, making it usable – and desirable – in all weathers.
There was also comfortable outdoor furniture, which sadly we didn’t get around to using because of the weather.
My husband did, however, manage to cook on the barbecue while we were there. The Outback charcoal barbecue was very easy to use and super-easy to clean up afterwards.
There was enough parking space next to each lodge for two cars as well as an outdoor cycle stand.
The site felt very safe and the entrance is accessed using your own unique PIN code, which you choose before you arrive.
High Oaks Grange is set in an idyllic location next to fields and a wood with a public footpath.
You can walk to both Pickering and Thornton-le-Dale from the site which are both between a mile and a mile and a half away.
We managed a short walk through the woods on the Saturday morning before the heavens opened.
The site is also within easy reach of lots of visitor attractions.
Next door to High Oaks Grange is the award-winning Cedarbarn Farm Shop, which has a wonderful miniature railway that takes you through tunnels and around the fruit picking area.
We ventured there during a brief dry interlude on the Saturday afternoon.
The next day we headed over to Dalby Forest – a 15-minute drive away – which offers over 8,000 acres of woodland to explore.
We walked the 1.3-mile Zog activity trail, based on the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler book, which was brought to life in the forest.
There’s a shorter Gruffalo Orienteering trail and playground further into the forest plus lots more family-friendly activities to enjoy.
High Oaks Grange is a great location for exploring the North York Moors, and Scarborough and Whitby are little more than half an hour’s drive away.
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is also on the doorstep, with daily services from Pickering to Whitby in summer.
With so much to see and do, you’ll never be stuck for ideas for your break.
Whether you’re discovering the walking and cycling trails in Dalby Forest, visiting the seaside, or enjoying a cosy pub, High Oaks Grange is a great place to explore from – whatever the weather.
Weekend breaks are available from Friday to Monday, with prices starting from £400 for a three-night stay in a Woodland Lodge.
Prices for a Family Glamping Pod start from £253 for a three-night weekend break for four people.
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