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As the newest member of the Gorgeous Cottages team I was thrilled to visit one of our lovely cottages last week and see just what makes them so special. My first trip out was to The Potting Shed in Goathland and it really was a great place to start with. I spent a thoroughly enjoyable Friday afternoon with the charming owners, Chris and Clare Carr and experienced their attention to detail and fabulous hospitality.
1. The beautiful surroundings
While driving to the stunning grounds of The Potting Shed, I knew I was in for a treat. As the roads got less busy, the scenery got more picturesque and I even saw several sheep grazing at the side of the road. I certainly wasn't disappointed on my arrival - the location of the estate at the end of a private drive could not be more tranquil and is right on the edge of Goathland village (or Aidensfield as I like to think of it). The views of the surrounding North York Moors really are spectacular - you can literally see for miles around.
2. The perfect hosts
The owners, Chris and Clare Carr, greeted me with a smile (and some home-baked lavender biscuits) and were terrific hosts. This is a real family affair and all guests are either met by Chris and Clare themselves or one of the couple's two grown-up daughters. The family look after all the changeovers to ensure their meticulous high standards are maintained.
There are plenty of quirky touches on display - look out for the red rabbit which gets moved to a new location each day and the wheelbarrow which your hosts will use to transport your luggage to the cottage. The path from the main drive through to the cottage is beautifully decorated with rose gardens (watch out for the decorative owl and black cats guarding them). You'll even pass through a wedding rose arch (and a couple of weddings, have indeed taken place on the grounds).
3. The luxurious touch
I got the impression that transforming the Potting Shed into the perfect bijou romantic retreat has been a real labour of love for this family.
Everything is top quality and luxurious and they really have thought of everything - L'Occitane toiletries in the bathroom, fluffy his and hers bathrobes, a selection of magazines and even wellies on the doorstep (just in case you have forgotten your own). I particularly liked the real-flame effect fire which can warm up the cottage on those chillier days or be set for no heat when you just want to enjoy the cosy look of the flames.
There were fresh roses, a hand-written welcome card, and local Yorkshire strawberries ready and waiting for the guests arriving later that day. A separate welcome basket had wine, coffee, tea and biscuits (all top quality of course). Everything looked cosy and inviting - especially the large king-size bed!
4. The outside space
French doors in the living room of The Potting Shed lead to a private terrace with table and chairs for al fresco dining and great views of the area.
The Potting Shed has private gardens surrounding the cottage with gorgeous flower beds, manicured lawns and even a selection of fresh herbs that can be picked and used by guests. A small shed has outside chairs and a barbeque to help you make the most of the (hopefully) warmer summer weather.
5. The gorgeous local food
Chris and Clare are excellent cooks (I experienced their fresh Whitby Lobster and homemade summer pudding for myself) and can prepare a romantic meal for couples on either Friday or Saturday nights as an additional service.
Meals are served in a fabulous conservatory which has great views of the grounds and surrounding moors so I heartily recommend indulging in this special treat.
The couple really are passionate about using only the highest quality local produce and source their ingredients from local suppliers. They are handily on the doorstep of Whitby and are regular visitors to the local Malton Food Market so always use the best seasonal seafood, meat and vegetables to create a truly memorable meal. Simply tell them what you like or don't like to eat and leave the rest to them!
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to The Potting Shed and the fantastic hosts who really made me feel welcome there. It's the perfect spot for couples wanting to spend some quality time together and just a few miles from the coast so is also a great base for exploring this area of Yorkshire. Find out more about The Potting Shed and book your own visit there.