On Saturday morning we watch the sky turn from grey to blue, pack the car with a tiny suitcase of adult clothes and 10 huge bags of baby necessities, and set off on the adventurous 220-mile journey from London to North Yorkshire in bright sunshine.

It’s always a relief to leave behind the chaos that our house becomes in the mornings. Transferring our four-month-old, Joni, from Jungle Gym to Bumbo to self-swinging chair is tiring. Two nights at Humble Bee, a working farm with wigwams and self-catering cottages for holidaymakers, just south of Scarborough, is surely the thing to calm our guilt-ridden first-time-parent minds. Especially as our cottage has a private hot tub.

We arrive six hours, three service station stops, two baby meltdowns and lots of failed attempts to read the road signs, later, to be greeted by Julia, the owner. She walks us to our cottage – log burner roaring, under-floor heating rising from the rusty-brown flagstone tiles – and shows us how everything works.

People are sometimes under the impression that having a child makes you a proper grown-up. But it doesn’t. Real grown-ups prepare for a weekend away by packing a cool bag with fancy meat and Prosecco, nice butter and coffee, whereas Rich and I have hurriedly packed the remains of our fridge, grabbed some milk, beers and a ready-sliced loaf from a roadside convenience store five miles from our destination. So we are delighted to discover delicious sausages, eggs and bacon from a neighbouring farm – and sachets of tea, coffee and hot chocolate – waiting for us at the cottage.

Rich whips up a simple dinner (note: you need to bring your own cooking oil and condiments – again, real grown-ups/ seasoned self-caterers know this) while I bathe the baby and get her into the travel cot which has been provided. Julia had given us the wifi password but recommended that we have a weekend without internet, to switch off and enjoy rural living. I love this idea but confess that as soon as she leaves, I log on and ‘check-in’ to various social media sites. Tragic, I know. But at least I can assure you that the connection’s ok. You can take the girl out of London, etc.

The cottages (condiments aside, Rich is keen for me to really hammer this home) are well-stocked. There are big fluffy white towels, all the kitchen utensils you could need and comfy beds. It is immaculately clean and feels like every potpourri bowl and scented oil jar had been carefully placed. The décor isn’t exactly stylish but it’s inoffensive and works fine.

There are plenty of eco elements at Humble Bee: local produce, solar panels, wood burning stoves. And for a more outdoorsy experience, they have various camping and glamping options. On our first afternoon I take Joni for a morning stroll around the farm, past the neat rows of wigwams and camping plots. The air couldn’t have been fresher, nor the grass greener. I suspect they get their fair share of rain in this part of the country. But in the event of sunshine, each wigwam comes with its own BBQ. There’s also a little wooden playground and truly free-range hens clucking about – surrounded by excitable kids, desperate for a stroke.

As we strolled, the happy half-term campers clambered about, clinking pots and pans as they walked to the communal washing-up area, their wet hair wrapped up in towel turbans. It reminded me of the sense of community you get when camping – making conversation over the shared sink, borrowing washing-up liquid from your neighbours. You never feel more alive than after a night camping (or ‘glamping’) under the stars: woken by the sun coming up, the smell of morning dew and cockerels cockadoodling. Though there is something to be said for the cottage comforts we opted for, too.

In the event of sunshine, each wigwam comes with its own BBQ. There’s also a little wooden playground and hens clucking about

After a breakfast of bacon and sausages – the best my husband has ever had, and he doesn’t give praise lightly – Sunday was spent driving up the north Yorkshire coast under drizzle and grey skies. We swung through Scarborough, drank some weak tea, noted the ‘pensioners special’ menus in every cafe along the promenade and swiftly moved on to Burniston for a long, lazy Sunday lunch in a converted barn. We had the roast – pink beef, crispy roast potatoes and homegrown veg – followed by a baked stem ginger cheesecake with mango sorbet. We drank large glasses of Shiraz. It cost less than £50, including a tip and was worth every penny and more.

And then it was back to the cottage for a dip in the hot tub before another night in front of the fire: reading, eating and watching telly – and our trip was nearly over. A weekend really does pass quickly so you probably want a long weekend, or even a week, to make the journey worthwhile. If we’d had longer, we would have put Joni in a carrier and explored the North York Moors National Park, on Humble Bee’s doorstep.

Alas, Monday morning we were back on the road heading for London – away from the tranquility, fresh air and scrumptious meat and back to the sirens, smoke and mayhem. But at least with a slightly clearer head.

Two nights in a cottage from £295, wigwams from £16 per adult per night, kids £9.

Humble Bee at a glance

Getting there – 3 (would be tricky without a car)

Overall value – 4

Kids rating – 4

Adults rating – 4

Best for? Fresh air, log burners, hot tubs, local produce

Worst for? People who don’t like peace and quiet, or goats roaming freely


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