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A tin mug of coffee in one hand, The Catcher in the Rye in the other, and a forest spreading out before me; I feel like Socality Barbie. While I’m not going to go all #blessed and #liveauthentic on you, I am a big fan of the hipster aesthetic. And this woodland cabin in Yorkshire is hipster travel at its best. Welcome to the North Star Club.
North Star Club: Our pick of the best of glamping Yorkshire
Nestled in a 500-acre forest just outside the village of Sancton in Yorkshire, this collection of eight stylish woodland cabins is an indulgent and luxurious place to retreat from city life.
The club was founded by Christian and Carolyn Van Outersterp, a couple of award-winning designers who, after owning a restaurant bar in London, decided to make the move into rural life. They’ve been running a glamping site for the past six years and this their latest venture. It’s inspired by tales of the American Great Camps, which were built for wealthy industrialists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Christian has North American heritage and, after hearing his grandmother tell stories of the camps, wanted to recreate them in a Yorkshire setting. The result is a boutique woodland retreat that epitomises the current zeitgeist for getting back to nature, but with a stylish dose of luxury.
We visited for a weekend away with friends. After a few consecutive weeks in London, I always yearn for nature and this was the perfect tonic for our city-addled minds. We spent two nights there, exploring the local villages, toasting marshmallows, walking in the woods, playing games and making the most of our gorgeous suite.
Our cabin, Woodville
All the cabins sleep up to six people including a huge master bedroom, a sofabed in the living room, and a second bedroom with bunk beds. Ours was called Woodville, named after Elizabeth Woodville, a British Queen from the 15th Century. We fell in love with it as soon as we got there. The Van Outersterps have impeccable style and have created a luxury woodland aesthetic that’s perfectly to our taste – cosy and comfortable with expertly chosen design pieces that draw on the natural surrounds. In other words, it’s hipster.
The master bedroom was the stuff of dreams with an incredibly comfortable four-poster bed, and a woodburning fire to add the snug warmth one wishes for in a woodland retreat.
And the bathroom was something special, with a huge tub in the centre, perfect for a luxurious soak.
Cosy in November
We visited in November so were worried about being cold, but the whole cabin has central heating and as soon as we turned it on, the whole place was toasty in no time. The stove alone was enough to warm the master bedroom, but left the other rooms very cold.
The second bedroom has bunkbeds, which would be perfect for kids, and there’s a sofabed in the living room. While the lounge is cosy, there’s no denying that the master bedroom is much more comfortable and luxurious so if you’re splitting the cost with friends, be sure to take that into account.
Hipster style glamping in Yorkshire
Although we loved our suite, we also made use of the club’s communal area, the Woodshed. This opulent lounge has sofas to curl up on and an impressive selection of teas, which you can take based on an honesty system. There was space for cake too, but this was empty while we were there. And there’s a dining table fit for a banquet.
Outdoors, we loved the covered fire pit where we sat and toasted marshmallows in spite of the drizzly rain. There was also a woodfired oven, perfect for cooking pizza.
The star of the show is of course the forest. We went at the tail end of Autumn so were treated to a blanket of fallen pine needles, and leaves of warm autumnal hues mixed with evergreen trees. The sight and sound of the forest outside our window when we woke on Saturday morning was enough to melt our memories of the city we’d left just the day before. We lit the grill and cooked some morning eggs while drinking in the stillness of our surrounds. These are the moments that a woodland break is made of.
If you want to explore more, there are trails to follow through the woodlands or you can go off-piste and scramble through the thickets. Just be careful of the adders! We didn’t see any, but they do live in the area.
Food in and around Sancton
The owners recommend top ten restaurants in the area, and on our first night, we took a trip to the local pub, The Star. The vegetarian offerings were a little slim, but we mixed and matched some starters and sides, which worked out nicely. On our second evening, we decided to stay in and cook at home. There’s a BBQ on the porch, so we stocked up on food at the market and dined at home – we liked our cabin too much to leave again. Next time, we’d make reservations at Pipe and Glass, a local pub with a Michelin Star and a great vegetarian menu. It’s always good to have reasons to return.
Things to do near Sancton
Aside from walking in the forest, there are plenty of other things to explore around Sancton. York is about 40 minutes away, and there are lots of other little villages to explore. We went to Beverely, a charming market town with an impressive minster. We also spent some time in York, which enchanted us with its winding streets that look like something out of Harry Potter. It felt like a place of perpetual Christmas. I’ve written a full guide about the best things to do in York.
Dreaming of the forest
Time seemed to stretch for those few days and the weekend nourished a yearning for nature, space and peace.
We basked in the comfort and relished the forest. It’s a hipster traveller’s dream.
A luxury woodland cabin in Yorkshire
We were invited to stay at thei unique cabin by Glamping Hub, which is one of my favourite sites for finding unique and unusual places to stay. You can book you stay at the same place here. They have a great selection of winter weekend getaways like this one to choose from.
If you like the North Star Club, you’ll most likely love all the other places in our Special Stays series.