When we told our friends that we were heading off into the Yorkshire countryside for a winter weekend break in a luxury woodland lodge, we were met with a lot of envious looks. Until, that is, we mentioned that we were taking our three children – seven, five and three – with us, and that there’s no wifi. Undeterred, we packed our warmest clothes and programmed the Satnav. Destination: family fun.
Overview Nestled in the Yorkshire Wolds, North Star Club is a family-run woodland escape with a difference. Forget visions of dome-covered swimming pools and endless identikit lodges: with just 8 individually designed woodland suites, this is a unique place with a stylish, relaxed and secluded feel. Aside from the reception and the Woodshed communal chill-out area, there’s no play area, pool or spa. In fact there’s nothing except your lovely lodge, some communal fire pits and pizza ovens and the woodland itself for entertainment.
Location Just 35 minutes from York, North Star Club is on the doorstep of William’s Den, Yorkshire’s newest family attraction. Hull is a short drive, where The Deep is just one of many family destinations.
The lodge We stayed in Amy Johnson, a glamorous suite inspired by the heroic pilot. Everything about it oozes woodland luxury: faux fur throws, leather furniture, mirrored dressing table and candles dotted everywhere. The bathroom is epic: the enormous bathtub takes pride of place and there’s a massive walk-in shower too. There’s a little living room, but we spent most of the weekend hanging out in our big bedroom, enjoying the warmth of the woodburner (younger children might need a lesson in fire safety before they’re let loose). Our kids were delighted to cosy up in the smaller bedroom: the bunkbed and a travel cot – provided – gave them a good night’s sleep. There’s a large veranda with barbecue that’s a brilliant space for al fresco feasting. This is a low-tech adventure, and we embraced the fact that there’s no TV or wifi as the perfect chance for some family bonding time. We danced (pack a speaker), played games, read books and went nature-spotting.
Food & drink North Star Club doesn’t claim to be self-catering, but there is a small fridge, kettle (vital for tired parents!), sink, crockery and cutlery. In the absence of an oven, it’s over to the communal pizza oven or barbecue if you’re after something hot. We loved cooking our own pizzas in the oven and eating them in the fabulously cosy Woodshed communal area. There’s also an honesty box if you’d like a coffee, tea or brownie. Fancy eating out? The local pub, The Star at Sancton, has a good reputation.
Service Everything about North Star Club is understated, including the service. We barely saw another human, staff or otherwise. The welcome was warm and informative, then we were left to our own devices. It’s a refreshingly hands-off approach for families that don’t need their hands holding.
The verdict Our stay at North Star Club was magical, and we left feeling revived and re-energised. We can see why it’s popular for adult get-togethers and grown-up celebrations, but it’s a lovely place for a family break away from everyday distractions too. It’s pared-back, off-grid, understated indulgence which, for us, meant love at first sight.