Romance Wanderlust - a yellowed and burnt edge map with a compass in the corner, with Romance Wanderlust written across itYOU. GUYS. STOP THE PRESSES. I have found the Romance Wanderlust of my dreams. As ever, this is not a review nor an endorsement, I was just googling and went “Oh my Goodness I have to go here.” But I have not gone. Yet.

North Shire Holiday Retreat is a collection of cottages, caravans, and campgrounds on the moors, near the town of town of Whitby in the UK. All I needed to know about Whitby is that it’s on the ocean (I like the ocean) and it’s home to The Museum of Victorian Science. I really don’t know what more one can ask from life. It is also near Danby Village, site of a ruined castle (!!!) and the Moors National Park Centre.

Whitby dock with ruined Abbey in background
Whitby – note ruined Abbey in background

North Shire specializes in themed buildings. They have a cottage modeled after a hobbit hole (it’s called the Shire House). They also just opened a Ground Keeper’s Cottage which is modeled after Hagrid’s Hut but has better housekeeping. Magical creatures are not included, but the Shire Hole and the Ground Keeper’s cottage both have lovely views of moor and sea, and abound with clever touches to enhance the ambiance of the respective dwellings. Neither Cottage has a shower but they do have the most amazing bathtubs where you can read in bubbles to your heart’s content.

interior of Gamekeeper's Cottage with stone fireplace, couches, accessories
interior of Gamekeeper’s Cottage

There are pets, people. Free range pets. You can play with them. There are peacocks, chickens, goats, cats and, allow me to pause while I scream in delight…horses and ponies (I like horsies). I’m sorry to say that the website does not specifically mention any dogs. You can bring your own pets as long as they are pre-approved and kept on a lead so they don’t chase the chickens.

There’s a Storybook Cottage with amazing stairs, a pumpkin patch, and a Fairies and Lost Boys festival. There’s a place onsite called The Green Dragon that sells sandwiches and pies and so forth, and a pub down the road. There’s a playground for kids. They do weddings. There are fireworks. If you feel a need to have a Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter Marathon, you can connect your handy laptop (not included) to the free wifi.

Shire House from the outside, with a round green door
Shire House

Judging from TripAdvisor reviews, visitors will have a rustic experience, more like glamping than staying in a hotel (and if you want to camp instead of glamp, you can bring a tent and camp there, or park your RV/caravan). Those who expected such an experience raved, those who didn’t were disappointed by the bare bones set up. Tolkien and Rowling fans, are, of course, ecstatic, and why would you stay in a Shire Cottage or Game Keeper Cottage if you are not a fan? It’s looks like a good place to geek out in and cosplay in and, do photography, and a good place to run around the moors with miscellaneous animals, and to let kids do the same.

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