There’s a reason why The Retreat, a holiday cottage in Sandsend is one of our flagship properties – it really does have something quite magical about it. After all there aren’t many places that combine stunning interiors, half an acre of beautiful gardens, a location close to the charming coastal village Sandsend (with views down to the sea) and a very interesting history.
The Retreat has been transformed into the perfect holiday cottage with the highest quality finish, furniture and interiors throughout. Gillian also makes sure she books in some time to enjoy the property herself.
A former rock star residence
There aren’t many properties that come with as rich a history as The Retreat. It’s the oldest house in the area (dating back to 1610) and even comes with an archive box that is the envy of many local museums. The box is filled with original letters and documents from former resident Martin Simpson who stipulated they must always be kept at The Retreat.
A famous fossil hunter and a former curator of Whitby Museum, Martin was a bit of a rock star of the 1900s as he spent his days exploring the local coastline for ammonites and fossils before heading back to The Retreat! The North York Moors Coastline is a hot spot for fossils and is known as the ‘Dinosaur Coast’.
A Home by the Sea and an appearance in Vogue!
In more recent history, The Retreat was the holiday home of former Vogue editor, Kennedy Fraser. It belonged to Kennedy’s mother and she was responsible for developing much of the beautiful gardens that can still be enjoyed at the property today. Kennedy herself wrote a very lovely 7-page article reminiscing on the time she spent at The Retreat. The piece which was published in US Vogue also included beautiful images of flowers taken from the garden.
In 2015 the property was featured on More 4’s Homes by the Sea and was even visited by Kirstie Alsopp and Phil Spencer prior to the filming. The show highlighted the fairy-tale like quality of the house and the stylish interiors with cool whites and pastel tones that are perfect for the coast. The Retreat is featured in the second show of series 2 if you fancy catching up on All 4 .
A romantic retreat
The Retreat makes a great place to escape for a romantic break. The interiors are truly lovely with sumptuous wallpapers (including a Ralph Lauren print in the master bedroom) and tasteful pieces of furniture. It’s a good choice for either one or two couples and the unusual white log-burner is great to sit round on an evening.
The 2 bedrooms are on different floors so you won’t be under each other’s feet and each comes a bathroom so there is no need to share.
A spectacular garden
The garden has been managed by the same gardener for over 40 years and it is clearly a labour of love for him. Absolutely everything is immaculate (including the perfectly shaped trees) and there is more than half an acre to explore and enjoy including a white rose garden.
A summer house is available for guests to use and pink parasols are a great addition to the garden furniture during summer. I recommend enjoying an Afternoon Tea in the garden with Gillian’s bone china tea set which includes a two-tiered cake stand.
A warm welcome
Everyone arriving at The Retreat will get a hand written note by owner Gillian along with a selection of goodies which include fresh eggs from the farm next door, local Whitby biscuits and cakes and the piece de resistance – a bottle of champagne.
You’ll also find a selection of magazines laid out on your bed along with fresh towels and individual l’Occitane toiletries.
Sandsend really is a beautiful place to visit with a lovely sandy beach, pretty houses and a selection of cafes and restaurant to try including Estbek House which has two AA rosettes. As you would expect from a restaurant on the coast they have an excellent selection of fish and seafood which is all caught locally.
The Bridge Cottage Bistro is another good choice with a selection of good value nights such as the Sandsend Supper Club on Thursdays and an East Coast Tasting Menu each Friday. There are also a few cafes dotted along the beach including The Wits End Cafe which does an excellent rarebit!
The Raithwaite Estate is just down the road from The Retreat and this grand country retreat (which covers 100 acres) has a range of dining options (including Afternoon Tea) and a luxury spa.