Staying off-grid in a yurt in Whitby

Let me state for the record that I am not, nor have ever been a girl who enjoys camping of any kind. Not in the traditional, tent in a field, have to get dressed to have a wee type way. I got on board with the idea of a camper van in New Zealand on honeymoon because it had a toilet (for 1s not 2s) and quite possibly the biggest most comfortable double bed I’ve ever slept in. The copious amounts of New Zealand wine probably aided those sleeps though to be fair. Needless to say the prospect of staying off grid in a yurt for my birthday wouldn’t ordinarily sound like something I would ever do.

Surprise, surprise though it was actually my idea since our friends Ang and Dave has stayed there a few weeks previously and had thoroughly enjoyed it. It was the fact that the farm next door had a meat vending machine that swayed it for me. But more on that later!

Yurts have been used as shelters or homes for centuries, particularly in Mongolia. I’d hoped that Dave may have stayed in a yurt when he rode his motorbike to Mongolia in 2009 so we could test the authenticity but alas, he only saw them. Today if course, yurts in the western world are primarily used for shandypants princesses who want to feel outdoorsy for a few days without having to sleep on the floor or pee in a bush. Or perhaps that’s just us?

Our yurt, located in Lawnsgate Farm, near the small village of Lealholm in North Yorkshire was home for two nights at the beginning of August and for me, it was the perfect combination of that an ‘off grid’ experience whilst still being warm and comfortable. It’s completely set back from the main farm and despite there being a small gypsy caravan in the same field which is also available to rent – it was empty when we visited so the area felt really secluded and private.

We arrived on the Sunday and the weather looked better that night than the Monday but the pub in the village (about 15 minute walk from the farm) wasn’t open on Monday so walked down for a drink the first night. Turned out they stopped serving food at 3pm that day so we hit up the meat vending machine on the way home and picked up some (absolutely delicious) pork and sun dried tomato sausages for the BBQ.

The BBQ is has and there is a full suite of utensils inside the yurt. The fire pit really belts out some heat when it’s going so that was really cosy sitting around with our wine. Possibly most impressive was the wood fire hot tub though – not something I would ever expect at an off grid experience so that was an extra little treat. Even though we were being pelted in the face by freezing cold rain on the second night we were determined to make full use of it!

Inside the yurt is something pretty spectacular though. There’s a really comfy kings sized bed in the middle and round the sides is a bistro set, dresser and drawers, a butchers block for everything kitchen related and a windy smithy woodburning stove. Despite being ‘off-grid’ there is actually power provided by solar panel, however the rabbits had chewed through the cables for the panels so we had use of power banks to charge our phones and power the fairy lights inside.

Sadly the weather gods were not on our side for our visit and despite the first evening being dry, albeit cold, the second day it drizzled on and off all day and proceeded to get heavier into the evening which made BBQ number 2, cold and wet one. We’d spent the day at Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby (about a 15 minutes drive away from the farm) so by the time we got back, had 20 mins in the hot tub and got into some dry clothes, the warmth and the cosiness inside the yurt was a godsend. The fact we had our own private compost toilet helped matters too. There is a shower block a stort walk up at the main farm but we decided to embrace the experience but just living off the ‘french wash’ method, haha.

I can imagine staying at Lawnsgate would be a completely different experience had the weather been on our side and I would love to go back either in the actual summer (because the first week in August isn’t reliable enough it seems) or in the winter where it’s cold but clear – I imagine that would be a really magical experience! If nothing else we need to visit again so we can walk the farm Llamas.

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