A problem experienced by many families who enjoy spending time on holiday within easy access of the great outdoors is finding affordable accommodation for cheap breaks away. If you have children of school age (or have a teacher, like me, in the family) the problem becomes even more acute. You’ve only got to check out the comparative prices on the Centre Parcs website to see how their business model responds to demand before, during and after summer holiday periods. However, away from the big established brands which tend to shrug their power suit shoulders at the financial needs of families, there is another way. Waterfall Cottage is a great example.
Waterfall Cottage is part of the fantastic Earby Hostel, located close to the Lancashire-Yorkshire border and within walking distance of the Pennine Way, which makes this independent hostel particularly popular with walkers and cyclists. The surrounding countryside is simply gorgeous and, with walking trails straight out of the back garden gate, you’d be daft not to explore what is on the doorstep of the cottage. In fact, it’s so good, that you’ll find Earby Waterfall (hence the name of the cottage) located less than a minute’s walk (I kid you not!) out of said back garden gate.
Inside the hostel, families have access to everything they need for a few days away. Having recently been fitted with a brand new kitchen and bathroom, visitors to Waterfall Cottage are able to enjoy clean, modern facilities that a lot of self-catering accommodation providers can only dream of. In keeping with the ethos of hostel life, there is no TV so families may actually spend time talking to each other.
There is Wifi but we made a conscious decision to leave the kids’ iPad at home. We wanted this to be quality family time and it was definitely the right call to make. However, very hypocritically, I did use it to listen to the end of the 3rd Ashes Test after catching some of the afternoon session on the radio in the car one day, returning to the cottage from a drive deeper into the Yorkshire Dales National park to do some exploring. Given the way that the test ended I’m delightfully unapologetic about gorging on a little bit of Wifi for an hour on our return haha. Basically, it’s there if you really need it.
So just like in hostels up and down the land, TV and games consoles are out at Waterfall Cottage. What you get instead is a cupboard full of games to play. This makes family time real family time. While I did my best to stop our eldest repeatedly trying to cheat at one game, I was then on the receiving end of an absolute drubbing at cards by my card shark wife after the kids had gone to bed. After a briefly switching to a funny memory card game (which I did well at and she was terrible at), you’ll find it unsurprising that we quickly reverted back to me being beaten at cards.
The living room is more than big and comfortable enough to gather the family in, and the addition of a log burner means that any cool nights are quickly made cosy with the accompanying glow and crackle of a real fire. The inclusion of a dining table also means that meal times, too, are family time. Elsewhere in the living room you’ll find a selection of books and magazines should you get a peaceful few moments to yourself.
The bedrooms at Waterfall Cottage are a good size and the design of the kids’ room with bunk beds, remote control multi-coloured lighting and several cubby holes for stashing their finds from a day of exploring the local trails really got them excited.
Although the cottage itself is absolutely spot on for a family break, it’s the garden, for us that steals the show. Step out of the back door and you’ll find a patio area with BBQ and drying room. Beyond the patio is a woodland garden that extends back maybe 40-50 metres, with a babbling brook running through it, secret seating areas, logs to hop across, and wildlife doors built into the ground to encourage bugs and moles and the like (which the kids lifted and checked several times a day every day to see what was there this time). They came running to us with centipedes and caterpillars in their hands and, as much as our two kids love being outside anyway, they were well and truly in their element.
We absolutely loved Waterfall Cottage at Earby Hostel. It offers real value for money for families who want comfortable self catering accommodation with direct access to the great outdoors. With walking trails from the back door, a lovely farm park just a mile away and the Yorkshire Dales National Park just a short stretch further, we’re confident that other families will love it too.
For more information: https://earbyhostel.co.uk