Bolthole from the stress

The owner of Ebor Cottage, Carole Wildman
The owner of Ebor Cottage, Carole Wildman
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The owners of this cottage in Sandsend have created a holiday home that is perfect for all seasons. Sharon Dale reports

Ask Yorkshire folk about the county’s coastline and you’ll get a gush of adjectives carried on a wave of heartfelt emotion.

It is, without doubt, absolutely fabulous and everyone has their favourite spot, be it the beautiful sandy beaches at Bridlington, Scarborough’s Harbour Bar or Whitby’s rugged cliffs and characterful streets.

While word has spread far and wide about these and other delights, it hadn’t reached Carole and Gary Wildman, who had no idea what they were missing until they arrived in Sandsend on business.

“We’d always holidayed in Wales, Dorset and Cornwall. In fact we’d never been north,” says Carole, whose main home is in the Midlands, where she and her husband run a wet fish wholesalers.

“One of our suppliers lived in Sandsend and we came up to see him. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the place was. I fell in love with it.”

That was 1993 and after many holidays in the gorgeous seaside village, near Whitby, she and Gary bought a second home there in 2006.

It is the quintessential seaside cottage with stunning views, which has the family fighting for the armchair facing the sitting room window. From there you can stare at the ever-changing horizon with its crashing waves and big skies.

The Wildmans bought Ebor Cottage South in 2006 after a six-year search that had brought many disappointments.

The property market was booming and Sandsend had become a fashionable hotspot, which meant that many sales went to sealed bids or were marketed at “offers over”. They lost six properties even though they offered £15,000 over the asking price for some of them.

“We found this one thanks to a friend who called to tell us it was up for sale. He called on Saturday and we drove up to view it on the Monday. It is in the most amazing position on the front overlooking the sea and was by far the best property we had seen. We rang the agent straight away and offered the asking price,” says Carole. “The owner was advised not to accept the first offer but she had met us and gave us her word. We were thrilled because we desperately wanted the house.”

The two-bedroom home needed some updating, which the couple were happy to tackle.

They had plenty of experience as they have a portfolio of rental properties in the Dudley area, which they have renovated.

“I like doing them, especially the interiors. I get stuck in knocking walls down and decorating,” says Carole.

Her first job in Sandsend was to take down the fence at the bottom of the front garden. It was erected to keep passers-by from gawping, but it also obscured the splendid view of the beach and sea.

“Everyone goes past and stares in but we don’t mind. You have to accept it if you’re lucky enough to own a place likes this and we now have a great view of the sea,” she says.

The next project was a new kitchen with bespoke units and granite worktops created to make the most of the small space. The carpet tiles were ripped up to reveal quarry tiles, which were restored.

A complete redecoration inside was followed by a facelift for the exterior, where the brown paint was replaced by with a brighter seaside blue.

The furniture is a mix of pieces from their main home plus a new Ikea sofa and some nautical accessories from favourite shops, which include La Maison in Whitby, Wild Hart in Sandsend and the PennyClare tearoom and shop in Newholm.

The couple have used the cottage as a bolthole, but business commitments means that they aren’t using it as often as they would like and so they have decided to share it. They are letting it through Yorkshire Coastal Cottages; though they still plan to spend some time there themselves.

“We love it. It’s somewhere we can escape the pressures of the business. My husband gets up at 2.30am for work and he thinks 5.30am is a lie-in. It’s hard to get him to relax, but he does that here,” says Carole.

“It’s somewhere we can both unwind. Our family use it too. My sister has three young children and they adore it. She arrives, parks the car and doesn’t use it again until she drives home. Everything is on the doorstep. There’s a shop, the beach and you can walk into Whitby at low tide.

“We have another holiday home in Dorset, which we let and we used to go there for short breaks, but since buying this cottage we haven’t been there at all. We always come to Sandsend. It’s beautiful any time of year even in winter when the snow is on the beach and there are some great shops and restaurants around here.

“We also like the Yorkshire people. They are so down to earth and friendly. In fact I’d retire here if I could.”

Ebor Cottage South is available for holiday lets through Yorkshire Coastal Cottages,, tel: 0845 068 2020.