Standing alone on a breathtaking fell near Kirkby Stephen in the Eden Valley, Waitby School enjoys glorious uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside. Originally built in 1680, Grade II listed Waitby and Smardale School is now stylish boutique-style holiday accommodation, set within the new boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is perfect for unwinding in complete luxury, set in absolute tranquility, but close enough to Kirkby Stephen for guests not to feel isolated.
Iideal for couples seeking a romantic idyll; practical for walking or cycling enthusiasts (Kirkby Stephen is on Wainwright’s legendary Coast-to-Coast route); safe for families with children and a perfect stepping stone for guests wanting to explore the natural magnificence and views of the Lakes, Dales, County Durham or the Pennines.
There is a raft of attractions on Waitby School’s doorstep – castles and historic houses, museums and gardens, waterfalls and rivers, spectacular fells and beautiful nature reserves, ancient towns steeped in the past, old country pubs, award-winning restaurants and the Settle-Carlisle Railway.
Inside the vestibule has its original ceramic basin, vintage floor tiles and coat pegs for the schoolchildren, this is a perfect boot room and place to store walking gear, outdoor kit and games.
The main room has magnificent double height living room was the original main schoolroom and features the original hearth and fireplace, with the addition of a wood burning stove for cosy nights in. Solid oak flooring with underfloor heating and refurbished original sash windows mean the room is snug, even in the depths of winter. A flat screen television, Sky satellite and Sonos, coupled with a Bose surround sound system and comprehensive book library all ensure that guests have plenty of entertainment to hand.
The hand-built kitchen is fully equipped to cater for the most discerning of chefs. The Buttermere slate surfaces complement the underfloor heated, locally-sourced, stone floor. Included is Whirlpool oven, ceramic hob and microwave, fridge/freezer, dishwasher and washer/dryer and the glorious views from both windows. The double doors overlook the fells and the window above the sink frames ancient trees. A WC and further vestibule are off the kitchen.
On the ground floor, with French windows to either side, is the main bedroom that has been decorated with simplicity in mind. The luxurious mattress and bed linen will tempt you to stay in bed, however the fluffy rugs and underfloor heating will soften the blow when it’s time to get up. The master bathroom features Buttermere slate, luxury bathroom fittings and a whirlpool bath.
Up the handmade staircase off the main room, the second bedroom suite is an eyrie, with a handmade bed, oak floors and half panels, a generous walk-in wardrobe and shot silk green curtains framing a view towards Smardale. The window is perfect for viewing steam trains passing on the Settle-Carlisle line. The walk-in shower and toilet feature Buttermere slate flooring and luxury fittings.
The third bedroom is reached by a staircase from the kitchen and has three handmade beds, a walk-in wardrobe, oak flooring, designer wall/reading lights (and lots of books!) as well as a view of fields and trees towards Kirkby Stephen.
The outside of Waitby School is safe for children, as it is fully enclosed by ancient dry stone walling, with generous parking for several cars and large front and back lawns. Three majestic trees date back to the school’s original construction and the 360-degree panoramic views are ever-changing with the time of day, conditions and seasons. The old boys’ toilets have been converted into a log store (logs and kindling for the wood burning stove all included) and secure storage for outdoor furniture and barbecue.