Head just outside the charming village of Ripley and you’ll find the 200-year-old Scarah Cottage. I paid a visit there recently to find out for myself just what makes this place so special. Here are my top 6 reasons to visit Scarah Cottage:
1. A rural escape
This pretty cottage stands by itself at the top of a hill and has a very impressive view right down to Ripley Castle. I loved the fact that while the village of Ripley is within walking distance, the location of the cottage is extremely rural. You are completely surrounded by farmland and fields so the only neighbours you will need to worried about are the grazing sheep (and around 300 lambs in the spring).
2. Family matters
Different members of the family tend to have their own requirements from a holiday cottage and I think Scarah Cottage really hits the spot in catering to these needs. For example, teenagers can get some space of their own in a separate snug while a downstairs bedroom with en-suite bathroom works well for elderly parents who can’t manage the stairs.
A huge fenced garden goes all the way round the cottage which is great for younger children to run about and play in or older groups to simply sit back and enjoy the fresh country air (perhaps with a glass of wine).
3. The village of Ripley
For quite a small place, there is a lot going on in the pretty village of Ripley (let’s face it there aren’t too many villages that have their own castle). There is an annual Scarecrow Festival every August (great fun for kids), a good pub (The Boars Head), tea rooms and a nice selection of shops (including Ripley Store which sells the world famous Ripley ice cream).
Ripley Castle itself is home to a variety of events throughout the year and their gardens and deer park are free to enter on weekdays while Ripley Village Hall regularly plays host to live performances.
4. Wildlife watching
There is always something very relaxing about getting in touch with nature and watching some wildlife in their natural habitats and Scarah Cottage is a great place for spotting red kites and buzzards – you’ll find information in the cottage from the Yorkshire Red Kite Society who keep track of sightings in the area.
Watch out for the nesting ducks – you may just spot a line of ducklings carefully making their way to the nearby stream and a stoat that can regularly be seen in the garden.
5. A feast for foodies
If you’re a bit of a food connoisseur, there are plenty of options at Scarah Cottage. The kitchen is spacious and well-equipped so great for rustling up a delicious meal yourself (a great butcher in Ripley can supply you with local game and the nearby farm can provide freshly laid eggs).
Alternatively, you could push the boat out and get a private chef to create a memorable meal for you or head out to an acclaimed restaurant such as The Yorke Arms in Ramsgill, which has held a Michelin star since 2003.
Look out for a bottle of wine on your arrival – it has been specially selected by your hosts and comes with an accompanying wine tasting note.
6. Location, location, location
Some say the location is the most important thing about a property and Scarah Cottage is certainly ideally placed for heading into Harrogate and Ripon as well as exploring some lovely villages nearby such as Pateley Bridge.
There’s plenty to do nearby whether you want to go walking in Nidderdale tor prefer to visit the shops and restaurants of Harrogate. Ripley Castle is well worth a visit and there are plenty of other stately homes and gardens all within easy reach.