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Short Break - Scalby Lodge, Scarborough

PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 March 2014

Fit for a queen - The Cart Shed at Scalby Lodge near Scarborough

Fit for a queen - The Cart Shed at Scalby Lodge near Scarborough

Elevated Mast Photography

Jo Haywood and family enjoy a long weekend by royal appointment

Spending a weekend at her majesty’s pleasure doesn’t sound like a relaxing experience, but if you had to serve your time at Scalby Lodge, owned by the Queen via the Duchy of Lancaster, you’d be begging your jailer to throw away the keys.

This collection of 15 lovely country cottages is nestled in a loose, pleasantly unstructured community on the clifftop just outside Scarborough (it’s about a 20-minute walk to the northern edge of the town).

Each of the beautifully-furnished, stone-built holiday lets has its own distinct character. Our home for the weekend was The Cart Shed, a name that suggests cobwebby corners and muddy boots but is actually a luxurious four-bedroom house with a lovely first floor galleried living room over a spacious kitchen-diner.

The house is laid out in such a way that two families of four could have a wing each, meeting in the middle for food, fun and games, or four couples could club together for an economical weekend (and then draw straws for the master bedroom).

There were only four of us in our party, so the house felt almost palatial (which, given the owner, is very apt). My partner and I stowed ourselves in the spacious master bedroom, which has its own shower room; our 10-year-old daughter, Mia, quickly pounced on the pretty twin room next door; and our 15-year-old son, Jack, gleefully set up camp in a double room in the opposite wing – as far away from his parents and sister as was humanly possible (no change there then).

With four bedrooms and three bathrooms, there was more than enough room for us to luxuriate in a bit of much-needed me-time before gathering again in the huge kitchen-diner, where the table comfortably seats eight, for meals, a bit of homework (a few hard sums for the little one; something completely baffling for the larger one) and some idle – in a good way – magazine flicking.

Our favourite room in the house, however, was definitely the first floor living space, which pulled off the seemingly impossible combination of cosy yet spacious with aplomb. With three large, squishy sofas plus extra armchairs in a separate reading area overlooking the dining room, this was where we spent our evenings, watching DVDs borrowed from the on-site information centre (where there’s also a pool table), reading (we never leave the house without a suitcase of books) and making merry (some of us were perhaps a little too merry for our own good).

When we actually managed to prise ourselves out of the house, we made the most of our proximity to Scarborough which, even in winter, has much to offer.

A trip to the Sea Life Centre in North Bay proved to be a pricey but enjoyable option, especially as we spent an inordinate amount of time waving at the penguins (none of them waved back).

Book-shopping was next on the agenda, because none of us can pass a secondhand bookshop without rifling through every tome on the shelves.

And then it was time for our favourite pastime of all: mooching. We are world championship standard moochers, particularly when given a chance to practice our mooching skills by the sea. So we mooched happily along the seafront, around the shops and along the clifftops, building up an appetite for a hearty plateful of Scarborough’s finest fish and chips (my goodness, they were delicious).

Eaten in companionable silence – bar the odd munch and crunch – around the wooden table in our beautiful holiday home, it really did feel like a meal fit for a queen. Although, if our esteemed landlady had seen fit to call, I’m not convinced any of us would have shared our chips. n

For more information about Scalby Lodge, visit duchyholidaycottages.com.

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