THE North-East is truly spoiled for spots to get away to for the weekend. Whether it’s the majestic peaks of the Lake District, the wilds of the Northumbria coast or the rolling green hills of the Yorkshire dales, there’s such a wealth of possible locations for a ‘holiday at home’ it’s almost difficult to choose.

It was the last of these we chose for an autumn weekend and despite being just an hour down the road, if felt like a world away. It’s a cliché, but you slow down. Mostly because there’s nearly always a tractor in front, and there’s no way you’re getting past it. Which is fine, when you have the whole weekend in front to while away the time with leisurely pursuits.

The Northern Echo:

Comfortable retreat: one of the lovely lodges

The loveliness of Wensleydale is not exactly a secret. But with its lush, rolling hills, photogenic sheep, and ample amounts of cheese, it’s worth a second, or third, look.

Our home for the weekend was at the newly openly Aysgarth Lodges, midway between Leyburn and Hawes and a short walk from the famed Aysgarth Falls.

The park has had a £12m investment and as the result is luxurious. The lodges themselves are spacious and well designed, complete with the essentials for any short break, with comfortable double beds and cooking facilities. On top of that are the not so-essential extras of a jacuzzi hot tub, smart TV, and some very fluffy dressing gowns and slippers.

It rained with comforting frequency throughout our stay, but this made the fields all the more lush, and waterfalls all the more noteworthy. It also made us exceedingly grateful for our accommodation; thankfully, a hot tub is just as delightful in the rain as the sun, especially when there's a view of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Aysgarth Lodges has its own on-site restaurant, which serves a range of pub food, with options for children, and also has pet-friendly lodges, a petting farm and playground for younger visitors.

On Saturday morning our first stop was the Wensleydale Creamery, which is always worth a look, not least because of its very generous approach to samples. We made our way through approximately 22 types of Wensleydale. Anyone interested in the process can go to an entertaining talk about how cheese is made, and, during the week, see the creamery in action.

Hawes itself has plenty of charm. After a mooch about the shops and a climb up a rather steep hill, we went back to the lodges for a bit of rest and relaxation and then a pre-dinner walk to the falls. It’s about half a mile to the upper falls – the first of three on the River Ure.

As we walked along the riverside path from the middle to the lower falls, I had the sense of people doing this for generations and generations. Painted by Turner and enthused about by Wordsworth, they have been a tourist attraction for more than 200 years.

On the way back we stumbled on the Aysgarth Falls Hotel – which is everything a pub should be. Covered in striking red ivy, it comes with a warming fire, an enticing menu of hearty fare and pints of Black Sheep on tap.

Also in the vicinity is Bolton Castle, just a few miles down the road. It is, of course, nowhere near Bolton, but was built by Richard, 1st Baron Scrope of Bolton. The imposing home, now largely ruined, was briefly home to Mary, Queen of Scots.

For beer lovers, the Black Sheep Brewery is close by, and for rail enthusiasts, there's the Wensleydale Railway.