Waitby School

North West England Cumbria Kirkby Stephen

  • From £140 a night
  • Sleeps 7
  • Perfect for Families

Historic Cumbrian cottage that’s perfectly positioned for The Dales and The Lakes

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The Waitby School kids of yesteryear were a lucky lot. If lessons failed to entertain them, they could simply gaze out the window at views of the Yorkshire Dales. Those days have long since passed but the view remains the same, and thanks to a careful conversion, Waitby School is now a rather lovely place to stay. Rows of school desks have been replaced by a comfy sofa, a Smart TV and a wood-burning stove. Bedrooms and bathrooms have been added in the eaves and underfloor heating makes sure it’s warm and cosy. This is a self-catering holiday home with character, comfort, and of course, stunning views.

It stands in isolation between two tiny settlements that are technically in Cumbria, but also within the bounds of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It’s a peaceful spot, even in summer when the Dales and the nearby Lake District are at their busiest. As such, it makes an excellent place to base yourself if you want to see the sights but still get away from it all. You approach through the fells to find this Grade II-listed schoolhouse much as it’s always looked, with a dry-stone wall surrounding the garden and a school bell on the roof. Inside, you hang your coat on the original hooks, but after that things start to get more homely.

The house sleeps up to seven in three bedrooms, making it a good space for large families or small groups. Grandparents might bagsy the ground-floor master with its en-suite and soothing whirlpool bath. Parents can tuck themselves away in the second double up one set of stairs, and kids will love the third, with its three singles, up another. All are bright and light with a little luxury and colour thrown in by way of silk curtains, velour throws and quality bedding. Downstairs it’s a similar story, with the double-height living room the heart of the house and the well-equipped kitchen-diner another sociable space.

Seasoned walkers will think nothing of strolling the two miles to Kirkby Stephen, while others will prefer the five-minute trip in the car. It’s an ancient market town in the upper Eden Valley and plenty of hiking trails start from there. Alfred Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route passes through. But it’s also a good stop to refuel – try The La’l Nook for a proper local ale or The Taggy Man for fireside pub grub. Further afield, you have all the highlights of two national parks to explore: you’re at the top end of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and only 11 miles from the edge of the Lake District.

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Available all year.


3 nights from £400, 7 nights from £595.

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Contact Website  07771 657 183  Waitby School, Waitby School, School Lane, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria CA17 4HJ

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Getting There

Leave the M6 at junction 38 to head towards Brough on the A685. Stay on the A685 for about 10 miles until you see a left turn signposted for Waitby and Smardale. After just over a mile you reach a T-junction. Turn right towards Waitby and Waitby School is almost immediately on your left.


  • Gardens & Grounds
  • Groups welcome
  • Parking
  • Wifi
  • Dog-friendly
  • Family-Friendly
  • Sensational Views
  • Walking
  • Accessible Rooms
  • BBQs
  • Drying room
  • Historic
  • Cottage

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