North Yorkshire’s Best-Kept Secrets with Sykes Holiday Cottages


This Summer me and the girls spent some time in North Yorkshire with Sykes Holiday Cottages. Sykes Holiday Cottages challenged us to find some of North Yorkshire’s best kept secrets and to try out some of the counties lesser known activities whilst staying in the area.

NB: We were guests of Sykes Holiday Cottages and have worked with them to create this post.

We spent our time in North Yorkshire with Sykes Holiday Cottages staying near Richmond at The Cartshed Sedbury Farm Cottages in Gilling West. The Cartshed is in the grounds of a small working farm (you can go for a little look round on the pick up) and is a beautiful barn conversion. Two bedrooms at opposite ends of the barn with their own stunning en suites provide beautiful accommodation for up to 6 people, although 4 people will find the accommodation most comfortable.

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North Yorkshire’s Best-Kept Secrets with Sykes Holiday Cottages

North Yorkshire’s Best-Kept Secrets with Sykes Holiday Cottages

On arrival we were greeted with some lovely goodies from the owners including home baked cakes, fresh eggs, milk, flowers and wine. What a treat. I was also pleased to see that the owner had left tea, coffee, sugar and lots of other extras in the cupboards like oil, salt and pepper, vinegar (for those all important fish and chips) and all the things you might need to clean up, cloths, washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets etc. All too often these things you often forget can be missing and you only realise once you’ve started cooking!

North Yorkshire’s Best-Kept Secrets with Sykes Holiday Cottages

The Cartshed is also immaculate and had I not read the glowing reviews on the website and in the small guest book on the lounge table I would have thought we were the first guests. Take a look at our mini tour:

North Yorkshire’s Best-Kept Secrets with Sykes Holiday Cottages

The Cartshed is also in a great location for exploring North Yorkshire being situated just off the A1. So what did we find to explore!

The Coldstones Cut

The Coldstones Cut, Pateley Bridge - What's it all about?

The Coldstones Cut, Pateley Bridge - What's it all about?

On the way up to The Cartshed we took a slight detour to visit The Coldstones Cut.  The Coldstones Cut is a sculpture which you can visit for free right next to the Coldstones Quarry at Pateley Bridge.  The sculpture, well more of a platform, allows you to view both the quarry (fascinating for kids and adults alike to see the way these work) and the Nidderdale valley. It’s also set out so that the kids can just run up and down the alley ways and round and round the ways up to the two viewing platforms which mine enjoyed.

You can read the full piece we wrote on The Coldstones Cut here!

The visit to the Coldstones Cut took around 40 minutes all in and so worth taking a look at if you’re in the vicinity, but not worth a long drive unless you’re particularly into quarries.

The Bowes Museum with Kids

North Yorkshire’s Best-Kept Secrets with Sykes Holiday Cottages

This place isn’t exactly a secret with over 60,000 visitors a year, but it’s appeal to children may be less well known.  Most of the visitors flock to the museum to see the 245 year old silver swan which is an English silver automaton.  The life size model is still in working order and is operated at the Museum on a daily basis – we saw it at 2pm on the day we visited and it always attracts large crowds.

Whilst seeing the Silver Swan took less then 10 minutes, we spent around 5 hours at The Bowes Museum.  The large grounds are home to two decent playgrounds and picnic areas, but this Summer it is also home to the BFG trail.

There are 17 installations across the grounds which you find by following a trail that you can collect from reception.  Once you’ve completed the trail and cracked the code you can enter the competition.  The trail and the play areas took us around 2 hours as we took time to play at the different areas too.

Within the Bowes Museum the fashion exhibition and the BFG area took another couple of hours, before finishing off with a cup of tea and more playground time.

Definitely one to pop on the list of places to visit in North Yorkshire, as it’s only £16 for a Family Pass for 1 Adult (Up to 4 Children) £30 for 2 adults and up to 4 children.

We arrived home ate dinner and the girls took advantage of the TV and DVD player in their room at The Cartshed to chill out!

North Yorkshire’s Best-Kept Secrets with Sykes Holiday Cottages

Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Abbey is often overlooked in favour of Fountains Abbey but this striking Cistercian monastery is worth a visit. You can either park in the nearby town of Helmsley and walk from Helmsley Castle to Rievaulx Abbey or you can park in the car park just outside the abbey. It’s pay and display but you can recover the fee paid from the reception desk when you buy your ticket.

North Yorkshire’s Best-Kept Secrets with Sykes Holiday Cottages

My three love exploring a ruin like Rievaulx abbey as they make stories up as they go round all about who might have loved there and when and what they might have been like.

The girls all got maps of their own too which always goes down a treat and we set off to try and find the 11th century toilets!

The chap on reception said the wander round the abbey and a look in the brand new museum usually lasts around 45minutes to an 1hour and that’s how long we were there.

It’s an often overlooked gem – we drove for about an hour to get there and you probably wouldn’t want to drive for longer than that with kids for an hour long trip.  We combined it with a fuller day at Newby Hall which is only 10 miles away.

North Yorkshire’s Best-Kept Secrets with Sykes Holiday Cottages

Newby Hall

We arrived at 12pm and stayed until 5.30pm – it’s on the expensive side but if you make a full day of it which you easily can, then it’s well worth it.

I may well write the trip up and when I do I’ll add it in here, but here are our photos from the day so you can see what we got up to!

We had a fabulous time on our adventure with Sykes Holiday Cottages and loved exploring North Yorkshire’s best kept secrets.

Which ones do you think we missed?

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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

11 thoughts on “North Yorkshire’s Best-Kept Secrets with Sykes Holiday Cottages”

  1. It’s an area I am desperate to take my kids to. My Dad’s from Yorkshire originally, and we lived there until I was 9. Sounds like the perfect cottage for a family, and there’s so much to do there too! 🙂

  2. Gorgeous cottage Karen! We loved the Bowes Museum during our visit in the Easter hols too although there was no trail on. Durham Castle, Cathedral and the Beamish Museum are definitely worth visiting and about a 20 min drive from the Bowes Museum are some stunning waterfalls, the High Force Falls.

  3. You had me at homemade cakes! What a lovely place to stay and what a beautiful corner of the UK to explore. I don’t know North Yorkshire at all but it looks simply beautiful – I love that photo of Coldstones Cut!


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