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Sharon Cain
Time for Life Correspondent
12:00 AM 18th May 2024
lifestyle

Converted Railway Station On Right Track For Indulgent Retreat

 
Perfect platform for country escape: The Old Waiting Room. 
Photo:  Steve Hare
Perfect platform for country escape: The Old Waiting Room. Photo: Steve Hare
Hanging around for trains will never be the same after being transported to the former waiting room of Wensley Station - just a stone’s throw from Yorkshire’s magnificent Yorkshire Dales.

Transformed into a high-end country cottage, The Old Waiting Room near Leyburn, was the perfect location to wind down after a four week, full on, South American adventure.

The location is also a magnet for those who love the great outdoors and unearthing the charms of the quaint local villages. An added bonus is that fury friends are welcome.

Peaceful surroundings
Photo:  Steve Hare
Peaceful surroundings Photo: Steve Hare
Evocative Past

It was exciting to stay in a former station and imagine how, in days gone by, folk waited for steam trains to make a grand entrance enveloped in clouds of smoke with engines roaring and whistles blowing.

Wensley Station was a passenger line from 1878 to 1954 and continued to transport goods until 1967. It was run by North Eastern Railway whose Railway War Memorial in York honours over 2,230 employees who lost their lives in the First World War.

The station proudly stands on the Wensleydale Railway - an authentic heritage line crossing the captivating countryside from Leeming Bar in the Vale of Mowbray to Redmire in the Yorkshire Dales.

Tempting treats
Photo: Gorgeous Cottages
Tempting treats Photo: Gorgeous Cottages
Pamper Hamper

On entering The Old Waiting Room, first impressions exceeded expectations. I unceremoniously dived into a welcome hamper packed with decadence goodies including chocolates, biscuits and homemade scones with a lovely welcome note attached.


Maximising the natural light, nothing has been left to chance. The décor fuses the traditional and contemporary throughout two gorgeous bedrooms, bathrooms and lounge/kitchen area.

The Old Waiting Room Lounge 
Photo: Gorgeous Cottages
The Old Waiting Room Lounge Photo: Gorgeous Cottages
Historic features have also been enhanced and a private waiting room of the late Lord Bolton, custodian of Bolton Castle, still has his name above it.
Blessed with streaming sunshine on our second day we set off with our overly excited golden retriever, Bracken, to explore the local attractions.

Sweeping Landscapes

Breathtakingly beautiful: The Kidstone Pass
Photo:  Steve Hare
Breathtakingly beautiful: The Kidstone Pass Photo: Steve Hare
Just fifteen miles down the road and we were in the Yorkshire Dales which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Having previously clambered up the hills and down the dales of the iconic Three Peaks we took a guilty pleasure in enjoying the landscape from the car.

Bolton Castle 
Photo:  Steve Hare
Bolton Castle Photo: Steve Hare
Starring Roles

An impressive stop off just a few miles away is Bolton Castle which is hailed as a ‘medieval marvel.’
Imprisoned there for six months in 1568, Mary Queen of Scots is said to have escaped in the direction of Leyburn, losing her shawl on the way. A cliff edge and good walking spot out of the market town was given the name, ‘The Shawl’ in her honour.

The castle’s modern day activities include experiences with falcons, owls and hawks. It has also featured in films including Ivanhoe (1952), Elizabeth (1998), Yorkshire-based TV series Heartbeat and All Creatures Great and Small.

Making a splash at Asygarth Waterfalls.
Photo:  Steve Hare
Making a splash at Asygarth Waterfalls. Photo: Steve Hare
Also nearby is the National Park Visitor Centre with its dramatic three stepped Asygarth Waterfalls on the River Ure which have fired the hearts and imaginations of the good and the great including William Wordsworth and William Turner.

The falls have also starred in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Wuthering Heights and merited an inclusion in a TV programme as one of the seven natural wonders of the North.

Tempting cakes at The Mill Race Teashop
Photo:  Steve Hare
Tempting cakes at The Mill Race Teashop Photo: Steve Hare
The soporific sound of the of the waterfalls and their setting can be enjoyed from the friendly, family run Mill Race Teashop with its mouth-watering array of home baked cakes.

Market Town Treasures

There is no shortage of cafes, pubs and restaurants in the surrounding market towns packed with charm and character which include Wensley Village, Leyburn and Hawes.



Our favourite is Hawes where we have stopped off briefly on a charity Yorkshire Dales cycle challenge and were bowled over by its cobbled streets and stone buildings.

At 850 feet above sea level and dating back to the early 14th century, attractions include the globally renowned Wensleydale Creamery whose raft of awards include a silver accolade at the 2023/4 World Cheese Awards.

It would have been rude not to sample and buy some cheese to go with our cosy cottage supper – and it didn’t disappoint.

Winding Down

Returning to The Old Waiting Room, we took advantage of the last rays of spring sunshine to unwind in the spacious garden area.

A comforting bath and dressing gowns, provided by the cottage, set the tone for a relaxing evening. The only sounds we heard were a cheeky pheasant strutting up the pathway on its twilight explorations.

We slept soundly and reluctantly dragged ourselves away from this oasis of tranquillity.

The verdict? A resounding ten out of ten. Leaving refreshed and energised, we can’t wait to go back!


Canine break
Photo:  Steve Hare
Canine break Photo: Steve Hare
The Old Waiting Room, which is available for four people, click for more information on The Old Waiting Room | The Old Waiting Room in Leyburn click here.

Right next door, is Station House, a three-bedroom cottage conversion with a hot tub and summer house which is also part of Wensley Station. The two combined make perfect getaways for a group of ten.