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Finding hygge on the North Yorkshire coast

Dunsley Hall Credit Dunsley HallDunsley Hall Credit Dunsley Hall

Part three: Belonging - by guest blogger Clare Gogerty

Being on holiday offers a rare opportunity to spend leisurely amounts of time with family and friends. It’s a chance to linger over lunch and properly talk, to engage in activities together, or to gather in the evening and chat into the night without worries about work the following day. For once, you can get up whenever you want and eat a hearty breakfast with your favourite people without dashing out of the door. This sense of community and belonging is the epitome of hygge, especially if it takes place around an open fire or over a plate of delicious food.

Bridge Cottage Bistro Credit Ceri OakesFind the right setting and the experience deepens further. The North York Moors coastline offers plenty of places to get together, pull up a chair, tuck in and talk.

The Bridge Cottage Bistro in the pretty, well-scrubbed seaside town of Sandsend is one of the best. Chef Alex Perkins’ menu offers so many tempting options that there is nothing to do but stay as long as possible to sample as much as you possibly can. Locally sourced, seasonal produce cooked with freshness, flavour and imagination is the perfect food to share with others, and the restaurant is the right side of informal to swap plates and try a bit of everyone else’s.

A heartier option – the perfect place to refuel after a blustery beach walk, perhaps – is the 1940s-themed Yorkshire Pie & Mash Shop in Saltburn by the Sea. Settle here on a wet afternoon and listen to big band tunes as you savour a homemade steak and ale pie, mushy peas, dollops of mashed potatoes and a pot of tea served on a gingham tablecloth. If the food doesn’t provide a topic of conversation, the surroundings will: menus come in ration books and the furniture – fringed standard lamps and velvet chaise longues – is straight out of Dad’s Army.

Afterwards, visit Chocolini’s and choose a selection of handmade chocolates for a post-lunch sweet treat. For a lazy Sunday lunch, head to The Ellerby Country Inn and try a slice of their famous steak pie – packed to the brim with chunks of brisket – then collapse in front of the fire, loosen your waistband, and digest.

Arches Cookery SchoolFor a shared activity but with food still in mind, head to The Arches Cookery School near Saltburn, where local-girl-turned-caterer-to-rock-stars, Sarah Muir, holds lively and useful classes.

Learn how to prepare and cook food such as Whitby fish, Pies Puds & Pastry and Breads of the World, alongside your other half or a friend, then replicate the dishes at home.

The handsome, wood-panelled country hotel Dunsley Hall, near Sandsend also offers ‘experiences’ throughout the year including photography workshops and stained glass making. Hole up for a day or two with a pal, learn a new skill, then sink into the deep sofas in the evening with a satisfied sigh and a glass of something chilled.

Little matches afternoon tea for indulgence and Brockley Hall, a boutique hotel in Saltburn, serves up a splendid version with homemade cakes (including Battenburg), scones, elegant bite-sized sandwiches and loose leaf tea, or champagne. Gather friends and family and while away a few hours nibbling, chatting and eating a little too much.

At the end of a day spent with those closest to you, doing what you all love best, you will be suffused with a warm and satisfying sense of wellbeing. Which is, really, what hygge is all about.


Clare Gogerty is Associate editor for The Simple Things and has also written The National Trust Book of the Coast. You can also follow Clare on twitter.

Clare stayed at Castle House in Runswick Bay, one of the handpicked range of Romantic Cottage Holidays properties.

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