Introducing Fleetham Lodge – the house and surroundings
Fleetham Lodge is an old country house mostly built around 1905 but on the site of an earlier house which burned down in 1895. There is one room from the earlier house still in existence. The house rises up through the trees as you drive towards it, its large chimneys and solid appearance sit well in the landscape. It is surrounded by 3 acres of land some garden some wilder which makes it an ideal place to enjoy the solitude both inside and out that lends itself to really focusing on studying and learning.
All the rooms in the house, including the bedrooms enjoy lovely views over the garden or across the fields. The garden has a large lawn here you can play games such as croquet, bowls and badminton or simply sit and relax. We have a vegetable garden where we grow some of the vegetables that we will be cooking for you and a large greenhouse for cucumbers, peppers and chillies. We have just installed a biomass boiler which is a green form of energy so we hope that we can keep you warm and help to save the environment. The garden also boasts a tennis court and we have racquets and balls so you are welcome to play at any time.
The house has three floors with bedrooms over two of these. You will occupy a room on the first floor and the family bedrooms are all on the top floor. There are two staircases one to the first floor and a second at the back of the house which links the top of the house to the kitchens – consistent with the style of living at the time the house was built when the servants kept out of the way of the householders as much as possible!
We have four guest bedrooms and one of these will be yours during your stay. All the rooms are large and have double or king-sized beds (one of which can be made into a twin). They are furnished in a period style and each has a table or desk where you can work as well as a sofa to sit and relax.Each room has its own private bathroom. We provide luxury, large bath towels, shower cream and shampoo.The bedding is finest Egyptian cotton and we change beds and clean the rooms each week.
There is a selection of books and magazines in each room and we also have a small library of books in the morning room so you can choose a book to read while you are here.
This is a family home and your will for your stay here be a part of this family. This is a truly unique way of learning and absorbing the language, life and culture here and one which is very different to other types of course you may find. We encourage you to make the most of the opportunity and embrace this home-from-home experience.
You are here as a guest and we welcome you to use the house as your home while you stay with us. We have two sitting rooms one for TV and the other for sitting and reading or chatting (we sometimes use this for lessons too). We also have a piano if you want to play and a large collection of DVDs (over 200) so you can relax and watch movies whenever you have spare time. There are bicycles which we keep serviced so you may take one and go off for a ride round the area, the roads are quite quiet but you have to remember that we drive on the left! There are bicycle helmets too. If you want to go out in the evening the pub is just a mile away. Going further afield is more challenging as we only have three buses per day but these will take you to the local towns and we can help you plan a visit of you wish.
We cook all the meals here at the house. My husband is the chief chef and a very good cook. Sometimes students like to cook something from their own country to share with everybody and you are welcome to do this if you wish. We are used to catering for various dietary needs and often cook vegetarian food and have received many students before with specific dietary restrictions because of religion or health and we will always try our best, with your help, to cook things that you are able to eat and it has always worked out well up to now. We cook quite a lot of fish and vegetables in any case.
This rural setting offers an ideal learning environment where formal lessons can be punctuated by short walks or visits to local areas of interest. Both the Yorkshire Moors and Dales offer natural beauty as well as small quintessentially English villages and historic monuments. (see our blog – Fleetham Life)
The house is situated close to the A1 and within easy access of York, Leeds and Newcastle. Durham-Tees Valley airport is a half hour drive and Leeds-Bradford and Newcastle airports are also easily accessible. There is a regular train service from Northallerton (the nearest town) to London Kings Cross (2.5 hours) and Manchester airport (2 hours). We are also easily accessible by train from Edinburgh.
The house is set in large gardens where you can find a quiet spot to relax or play tennis on our private court.
The village of Kirkby Fleetham is very small with around 500 inhabitants, a small primary school, a pub, a post office and a thriving village hall/community centre where there is always something happening. The main industry is agriculture with many farms in the area most are mixed arable (crops) with sheep and some cattle (mostly beef). It is typical of many small villages in the UK and it is this unique setting that helps to make your course quintessentially English.
Driving to the seaside is one of the most magical journeys that we take our students on. Firstly, the route to the sea is not along a motorway or through a built up area, but high over the moors where to right and left you see the purple of the heather, sometimes we have to stop for sheep in the road and the sky is huge giving you a feeling of being right at the top of the world.
As the sweep of the moors starts to descend you see laid out before you the endless blue of the sea. I look for this moment every time I make this journey, it’s a favourite sight and creates a frisson every time. Soon we come to the town of Whitby, an old fishing village and popular seaside resort. As we turn right over the bridge I tell everybody to ‘look left’, another wonderful sight, the town laid out along the estuary with its coloured houses and bright fishing boats.
After this we head to Whitby Abbey which stands on the headland overlooking the harbour creating an amazing picture of the sea, the cliffs and the dark ruin of the Abbey rising up above – no wonder Bram Stoker chose it as his backdrop for Dracula!
This is just one of the many visits we make on our immersion courses here in Yorkshire. Like most of the UK there is a rich heritage here – old abbeys, historic houses, beautiful formal gardens and of course, the two National Parks; The Yorkshire Moors and The Yorkshire Dales these make up part of our rich culture and we are eager to share them with you. The philosophy behind our English Language Immersion courses is to expose you not only to the language but also the history, culture and beauty of these islands. We can only manage Yorkshire but we hope it might inspire you to travel further afield in the future and explore for yourself.
The visits are an integral part of your course and a way of extending the learning beyond the lessons maintaining the immersion and letting you use English in a more relaxed setting. You are accompanied by your teachers and this is important as, although the visits and activities are very enjoyable and we put a great deal of thought into the ones we choose for YOUR course, they are also an integral part of the English training we offer. We have found through experience that when students are enjoying what they are doing progress is better and the combination of formal lessons and these visits and activities has proved to be the perfect way to get the best results possible.
Both the Yorkshire Dales and the Yorkshire Moors National Parks are great places to visit. The area also has an array of historical towns (such as York and Durham) and buildings to visit. Many of these are included in the programme and will introduce you to the history and culture of the area.