Waitby School

The luxury Eden Valley cottage near the Lakes and Dales

About Waitby School 

An historic and luxurious holiday cottage set amid some of England’s most stunning countryside, Waitby School – rated as Five-Star Gold by Visit England and finalist in the Cumbrian Tourism Awards 2010 and 2017 – is the perfect getaway for all seasons

Originally built in 1680, Grade II listed Waitby and Smardale School is now stylish boutique-style holiday accommodation sleeping six to seven people in complete comfort, set within the new boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Standing alone on a breathtaking fell near Kirkby Stephen in the Eden Valley, Waitby School enjoys glorious uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside. It is perfect for unwinding in complete luxury, set in absolute tranquility, but close enough to Kirkby Stephen for guests not to feel isolated.

This is a house for all seasons and tastes: ideal for couples seeking a romantic idyll; practical for walking or cycling enthusiasts (Kirkby Stephen is on Wainwright’s legendary Coast-to-Coast route); safe for families with children; and a perfect stepping stone for guests wanting to explore the natural magnificence and views of the Lakes, Dales, County Durham or the Pennines.

There is a raft of attractions on Waitby School’s doorstep – castles and historic houses, museums and gardens, waterfalls and rivers, spectacular fells and beautiful nature reserves, ancient towns steeped in the past, old country pubs, award-winning restaurants and the Settle-Carlisle Railway.

This is not just another holiday let – self-catering means freedom, not a compromise in quality, comfort or design. Waitby School has under-floor heating, a whirlpool bath and luxury hand-made kitchen. These are complemented by quality oak and slate flooring, a wood burning stove and hand crafted Buttermere slate surfaces in the kitchen and bathrooms.

A flat screen entertainment and Bose sound system coupled with Sonos, Sky TV, and with a carefully selected library of books, are all designed to help guests relax and ease away the pressures of modern life.

The accommodation comprises:



Still with its original ceramic basin, vintage floor tiles and coat pegs for the schoolchildren, this room is a perfect boot room and place to store walking gear, outdoor kit and games.

Main room

Our magnificent double height living room was the original main schoolroom and features the original hearth and fireplace, with the addition of a wood burning stove for cosy nights in. Solid oak flooring with underfloor heating and refurbished original sash windows mean the room is snug, even in the depths of winter. A flat screen television, Sky satellite and Sonos, coupled with a Bose surround sound system and comprehensive book library all ensure that guests have plenty of entertainment to hand – kick off your shoes, stretch out on the large leather sofas and relax!


We have tried to anticipate every need in the kitchen. We love cooking and food, and have made sure that the hand built kitchen is fully equipped to cater for the most discerning of chefs. The Buttermere slate surfaces complement the locally-sourced stone floor (with underfloor heating, naturally), the Whirlpool oven, ceramic hob and microwave – and the glorious views from both windows – make cooking a delight. The fridge/freezer, dishwasher and washer/dryer are there to make life easier. The double doors overlook the fells and the window above the sink frames ancient trees. A WC and further vestibule are off the kitchen.

Main bedroom suite

On the ground floor, with French windows to either side, this bedroom has been decorated with simplicity in mind – we don’t want to detract from the mesmerising views when you open the silk floor-to-ceiling curtains. Although the luxurious mattress and bed linen will tempt you to stay in bed, the fluffy rugs and underfloor heating soften the blow for whoever has to get up to make that first cup of coffee or tea in the morning. Within the suite is the master bathroom, featuring Buttermere slate, luxury bathroom fittings and a whirlpool bath – perfect for soaking in after a long walk on the fells.

Bedroom two suite

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Up the handmade staircase off the main room, the second bedroom suite is an eyrie, with a handmade bed, oak floors and half panels, a generous walk-in wardrobe and shot silk green curtains framing a view towards Smardale. The Velux windows reflect the sky and from the bed you are almost up in the trees. The window is perfect for viewing steam trains passing on the Settle-Carlisle line. The walk-in shower and toilet feature Buttermere slate flooring and luxury fittings.

Bedroom three

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This room is reached by a staircase from the kitchen and has three handmade beds, a walk-in wardrobe, oak flooring, designer wall/reading lights (and lots of books!) as well as a view of fields and trees towards Kirkby Stephen.


Waitby School is safe for children, as it is fully enclosed by ancient dry stone walling, with generous parking for several cars and large front and back lawns. Three majestic trees date back to the school’s original construction and the 360-degree panoramic views are ever-changing with the time of day, conditions and seasons. The old boys’ toilets have been converted into a log store (logs and kindling for the wood burning stove all included) and secure storage for outdoor furniture and barbecue.

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