Fans of All Creatures Great and Small can now stay at Skeldale House
- Credit: Maison Parfaite
Fans of All Creatures Great and Small can now pay homage to their favourite series with a stay at Skeldale House in Wensleydale, which featured in the original TV vet series
It's good to know that a staycations spot associated with Yorkshire's famous vet, James Herriot, is dog-friendly.
More so really - dog pampering-friendly in fact - in a way that spoiled pooch Tricky Woo would demand.
Skeldale House In Askrigg is a sleepover spot that lovers of the All Creatures stories will adore. The building served as the vet's practice in the original TV series of the show.
That's All Creatures Great and Small first-time round. When James was Christopher Timothy and Siegfried was Robert Hardy and they shared a sherry before supper.
Once inside Skeldale House there are reminders of the actors’ time there with photographs of village cricket matches featuring all the stars of the show who were such regulars in our home thanks to that memorable series based on books penned by Alf Wight.
Today’s Skeldale House is far removed from a vet’s surgery but as well as the photographs, there are reminders of the All Creatures Great and Small past with rooms named after the characters. You can only imagine a new generation of viewers drawn here thanks to the hit remake of the series (this time making Grassington its home).
Tricky Woo is, unsurprisingly, the largest apartment of the seven apartments and studios now lovingly created in this iconic property.
Posh Mrs Pumphrey and her beloved pet would be right at home here – and, dogs can stay – so it might be the spot to give your own Tricky Woo the pamper of its life. This apartment, like all the accommodation is in the super-luxe league with huge bedroom, grand bath and kitchen. The interior design is stunning throughout and the main staircase definitely a sight to behold.
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Skeldale House is right in the heart of the village with a cracking café called The Bake Well over the road, so close you can almost smell the bacon and freshly baked cakes. We were only in Askrigg two nights but made this place our best friend. Pop in for breakfast butties, grab a sausage roll or sandwich to take on your hike then return, (soaked through) for homemade soup and a cheese scone to-go – a great help in thawing the bones back in the apartment.
Though this village is the perfect starting point for lengthy countryside rambles, we found ourselves there on a perishing February weekend under attack from icy sheets of rain.
Braving it, we took the path past the church towards Mill Gill Force. It’s easy to follow and well signposted, in parts sheltered but decidedly gusty up top – where you’re treated to really fabulous, expansive views of the dale. It’s only a couple of miles, so it’s manageable on a grubby day for fair-weather February walkers.
Spectacular nevertheless - and of course, rain makes for a water fall in spate. You can really get up close to the fall’s dramatic rush of water – noisy, thrilling, mesmerising and gloriously life-affirming.
We hiked back over the mill bridge and into the village again – this time stopping at Skeldale’s next door neighbour – the lovely Heather & Grouse arts and crafts gallery. It’s a co-operative opened by a group of Dales artists with paintings, candles sculpture, jewellery – a bit of everything – and at every price point.
Then we headed back to our room – we were in Farnon, which also has a sofa bed so you could add a couple of littles ones into the mix for a stay.
One of the nice touches in the studios (there are many) is the compact kitchen. Smart to look at but more than that, exactly what you need for any level of self-catering.
We booked in to The Kings Arms on Saturday night, pleasingly over the road from Skeldale House. It’s a gem of a pub and had its five minutes (and some) of fame in the role of The Drovers Arms in All Creatures.
Full of history and heritage it ticks all the boxes –flagged stone floor, impressive inglenook fireplace and hooks on the ceilings once used to hang riding kit to dry.
A bustling place, the menu offers just what you’re after – Drover's Pie – a meaty steak and ale combo; fish pie, fish and chips – pub classics with a bit of finesse. Great ales to try – obviously - and mighty puds which sneaked some in some seasonal Yorkshire rhubarb.
After dinner we enjoyed a ramble round the village, which is the bit you don’t experience on a day trip. We enjoyed the silence, spotted stars, padded through back streets and then headed back to our Herriot hotspot for more luxury – living the life of a pampered Tricky Woo.
Maison Parfaite: Studios from £207 a night. Dogs, £30.
Places to eat:
We’ve already mentioned Askrigg’s Bake Well Café - definitely worth a detour!
Luxurious Yorebridge House is very close to Askrigg – a decent walk there could be rewarded with lunch in the garden - or indulge in some fine dining from chef Dan Shotton and team in the 3 AA rosette restaurant. yorebridgehouse.co.uk
The terrace at Simonstone Hall is a glorious spot to take in the Dales and reward a good walk with an impressive afternoon tea. Good for brunch and Sunday lunch too. Simonstonehall.com
With little ones in tow, head to Hawes for some of Gromit's cracking cheese at Wensleydale Creamery – try the ultimate rarebit. wensleydale.co.uk
Or how about a fancy gelato? Bubblegum’s Gelato Parlour in Hawes will satisfy all the ice cream needs.
For a more grown-up pleasure, Askrigg is home to Yorkshire Dales Brewing Co – with the most gorgeous labels on bottles and cans. In April they plan to reopen their brewery tap and garden Friday and Saturday afternoons 2-6pm. Happy days. yorkshiredalesbrewery.co.uk
Walks in these parts:
This walk takes you past the home of Wensleydale cheese, through the tiny streets of Gayle and up to the lovely waterfall of Aysgill Force.
A gentle adventure from the national park car park. From the car park, enter Freeholders’ Wood and follow the signs to the falls.
Dales Inn Way
The 76-mile walk is divided into six stages and passes 26 traditional Dales inns, with each stage consisting of around 13 miles of route each. The route starts and finishes in Grassington as it is a circular route taking you to beautiful towns and villages including Askrigg and Buckden, with many more along the way.
These walks – and ideas for kids’ activities, country shows and rural festivals cab be found at yorkshiredales.org.uk - a great starting point for exploring Wensleydale