Welcome! We are Andrew & Diane Howarth, owners and directors of Cottage in the Dales. We've been married for 30+ years with daughter Pippa, 25, a marine biologist currently working as a Marine Environmental Consultant in London. Diane is an experienced Marketer in the software, tourism & sustainable industries, having worked for IBM for 29 years as a B2B Marketing Manager and then running a small business marketing consultancy alongside managing the cottage business. Originally a civil engineer, Andrew an IBM Software Sales Manager for over 24 years and recently retired from corporate life to now be Diane's 'apprentice' with the cottages. Now also a director of the business, daughter Pippa helps with the social media and website in her spare time.
We founded Cottage in the Dales in 2003 as part of our plan to move back north, (coming from Lancashire & Yorkshire), when we bought Craggley Cottage in West Burton. The Grade II listed Inglenook Cottage just up the road followed in 2006. Then in 2010, having bought Eastburn Farmhouse, enabled us to move 'back up north' at last, and it definitely felt like coming home as Diane is also Vice President of The Metcalfe Society, her maiden name being Metcalfe, which originates from Wensleydale.
Structurely unsound with a crack from roof to ground in the gable end, we saved The Byre (attached to the Farmhouse) from falling down and renovated the listed barn to the highest standards and launched in 2013. Since then the Farmhouse has been the focus of our renovations, now about 90% complete, along with developing the half-acre garden - a joy especially for Diane. Owning two listed properties (as we sold Craggley Cottage in 2014), there are always jobs to be done! Andrew always has a never ending list! Indeed, we gained permission in August 2016 to convert The Dairy, also located in our garden, for guests with mobility, hearing & visual impairments, which launched in July 2017. So maybe the remaining 10% renovation of the Farmhouse will take just that little bit longer!
From the beginning, we have prided ourselves on delivering a ‘luxury five star experience, without the inconvenience of other guests’. Just like a top hotel, nothing is too much trouble and no detail overlooked. From a warmly lit fire and premium toiletries in the bathroom, to the best local produce in the fridge, our aim is to ensure guests feel at home.
Our experience goes beyond the cottages. We handpick, and partner with, local restaurants and activity providers, ensuring our warm hospitality is extended where our guests head to in the Dales e.g. simply showing their cottage key at The White Lion Inn ensures a complimentary drink with their meal. We will happily provide a lift (as we are not a licensed taxi service of course) for our guests to help them celebrate that special occasion at a local quality restaurant, and even on Christmas Day! Being local, the business has become a way of life, enabling us to focus on attention to detail and providing many extras guests tell us they like.
We can't do all this just on our own of course. We have our extended team, pictured above alongside us :
* Rachel 'Spotless' Hewitson, from West Burton, does all of the changeovers and ensures the inside of each cottage is presented fresh and clean for all our guests. Rachel cleans for other establishments and so understands the attention to detail that we require e.g. she wants to achieve ‘spotless’ on all feedback forms! Rachel is also on hand to support us with guest queries, including knowledge of the cottage heating and water systems and how all the facilities in the cottages work.
* Helen 'All Weathers' Wheatley, from Richmond, looks after the gardens and the outside of the cottages, so that they are presentable and can be enjoyed. Whatever the weather, Helen beavers away all year round cutting grass, maintaining hedges, removing weeds and sweeping up.