Gorgeous Cottages owners Harriet Walsh, Vanessa Bridge and Johnathan Lindh set off on an adventure several years ago to restore a beautiful but neglected 19th century church near Helmsley into a stunning luxury holiday cottage.
As you can imagine, planning was difficult but they successfully managed to convince those involved that a super-sharp contemporary extension was just what the building needed to come alive again. And they were absolutely right! St Aidans was transformed into a beautiful holiday cottage and launched with Gorgeous Cottages last year.
Hear Harriet, Vanessa and Jonathan tell their story…
St Aidans Cottage near Helmsley – The owner’s story
St Aidans is a truly unique luxury holiday cottage set just outside the gorgeous market town of Helmsley in the North York Moors…
So how did you get into the holiday cottage industry?
‘It's interesting to think back to that. There were a few things that led to it. We wanted an interesting project to get involved with once the kids had grown up; we wanted somewhere beautiful to visit to escape from the city; we were a group of friends who could all bring different things to it and we fell in love with the area.’
What made you choose this particular cottage and this location?
‘We actually started looking in Cornwall because of family connections there, but as we are based in the North we quickly found the treasures close by in the shape of the North York Moors and continue to be amazed at the beautiful landscape and towns.’
What work did you have to do to the holiday cottage?
‘Our number one aim was to make St Aidan’s holiday cottage really comfortable so that when you stay you feel properly spoilt and that you have everything you need (and us too when we go!). It is a Grade II* listed church with wonderful features and paintwork, and a lot of the work we did was to keep the excitement of being there in the original space without changing it. We created a contemporary, 21st century, super-well-equipped extension to accommodate a kitchen, bathroom, wetroom and garden room – the stone of the church wall looks amazing inside the extension.’
What are the highs and lows of owning a luxury holiday cottage?
‘We enjoy keeping St Aidans special and making it a place that’s a joy to be in – the comments in the visitors’ book are really rewarding, and it’s an interesting building that was designed for people to gather in and sing, so we’ve had some great informal concerts – and a tea party to celebrate the centenary of the wonderful Vicar Gray of Helmsley.’
Any fascinating or interesting facts about the cottage?
‘St Aidan’s was the first solo work of Temple Lushington Moore, described as ‘arguably the greatest of the Victorian Gothic Revival church architects’ . There’s a website and app about his work in the North York Moors at www.templemooretrail.co.uk’
What would be your advice to anyone looking to buy a luxury holiday cottage?
‘Start soon! Visit a few possibilities to understand the area, and once you’ve found your cottage, use the local networks of tradespeople for any work that needs doing.’
Tell me more about St Aidans Holiday Cottage
St Aidans is a dog-friendly cottage set in a peaceful little hamlet just a few minutes from Helmsley. It sleeps up to 4 people comfortably with room for a cot. Surrounded by open countryside, it's the perfect cottage to escape the hustle and bustle of life. Sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet of the North York Moors from the beautiful cottage garden.
St Aidans is available to book for holidays and short breaks throughout the year. To find out more and reserve online just click on the links above.
Alternatively call us on 0844 736 6276 or email [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.
Or click here to view all of our luxury cottages in the North York Moors.