Longtime TROY girl, model, new mama and recent resident of North Yorkshire; Ellen Gibbons shares her favourite parts of the countryside she has fallen in love with as well as hidden gems in nearby York, her best-loved TROY pieces and much, much more. 

From her fresh-air therapy outlook to their exciting plans for Sutton Park, Ellen gives us a true behind the scenes of life with her gorgeous little family.

You currently live in North Yorkshire. Can you tell us why you have fallen so in love with the area?
 

Coming from Lincolnshire I'd always grown up with access to the countryside but spent much of my early twenties immersed in London. Whilst loving urban life I'd always known that I'd eventually want to be closer to nature but had actually envisaged Somerset or Cornwall as an eventual stomping ground. Rob and I had begun to make the move to his family home Sutton Park just outside York last February, so when the lockdown came we suddenly became permanent North Yorkshire residents. We were very fortunate to have the gardens and grounds on our doorstep so my memories of first moving to Yorkshire are of sunshine, tulips and fresh air, gently getting to know the area. In a way I fell in love with the house first, as it was all I'd really been able to see, and the area second, but what cemented things was how great everyone around here is. During the first lockdown I feel everyone got to know the neighbours a bit more, and teamed with the slower pace of life here people just seem to have more generosity and for one another.

 

Being close to York you clearly know the city well. Please can you give us your top tips if we were to visit for a weekend? Where should we eat, sleep and visit?
 
It's been great playing the tourist in a new city this last year. When I was heavily pregnant I used to insist Rob take us in most days for a walk as the tracks on the estate were too muddy to waddle along. It's a fantastic walking city with the famous cobbled Shambles and the Cathedral which is brilliant of an evening for Evensong. What sets York apart, as well as its Viking and Medieval history, is the abundance of independent businesses and restaurants. There's an amazing coffee roaster on historic Micklegate called Divine, a stones throw from Skosh which is great for chic small plates and wine. Obviously the inimitable Betty's Tearoom is still going strong, they've even opened a second on Stonegate for overspill. As well as your regular high street clobber the best boutiques are on the streets off Stonegate, just yesterday I stumbled upon the most beautiful place, The Japanese Print shop, by the Cathedral, selling an eclectic collection of prints, well worth a visit for something unique. 
 

Venturing out from the city, which are the prettiest and quaintest must-see surrounding villages?
 

Top of the list has to be Helmsley. A firm favourite for hikers it stands just by the imposing Duncombe Park with its sprawling grounds and a short distance from the start of the Moors, the place is awash with restaurants, cafes, shops and a chic spa situated at the Feversham Arms. Bulmer by Castle Howard (for you Beidgerton and Brideshead fans) is stunning, as is quaint Slingsby where a trip to the Grapes is a must. Our go to foodie town is Malton, in particular the Talbot Yard for the butchers and gelateria and the towns annual food festival.

What makes the moors so special and famous?
 

Expansive and elemental, they have that humbling quality of making one feel very small. It's total Bronte country out there, strikingly barren,  you can understand totally how Wuthering Heights was inspired by being surrounded by beauty and isolation. Wonderful for romping around but also very fun to speed across on a day trip to Whitby, that perches by the sea just off the moors and one of the most haunted places in Britain. 

Why you should visit the North York Moors right now

If we are looking for a totally rural and scenic escape where should we venture?
 

There isn’t anything much more glorious than the Yorkshire Dales in the summer, or travelling up the Yorkshire coast to somewhere cosy and secluded in the winter. I think this year and for the foreseeable future more and more of our holidays will involve getting back to basics in the tranquillity of nature. This year we’re actually letting out bell tents in the gardens of Sutton Park for short stays whilst we construct an eco tree house in the woods, which will be completed in the autumn. It’s so exciting as environmentally friendly ways of holidaying are definitely the way forward, and it’ll be great find a different dimension to sharing this historical house and part of the world with people.

Tell us about your favourite walk in Yorkshire - where is it and why do you love it so much?
 

Not quite a hike but the Yorkshire coast is breath taking, Filey Beach is one of the longest beaches I've seen in the UK and the light is always spectacular. 

Filey beach | Full Guide with Pictures - Best Hotels Home

What activities are on offer for those who love being outside in the elements and exploring whatever the weather?
 

North Yorkshire is famous for its cycling terrain, there is even a Tour de Yorkshire every year for the athletically gifted. The roads around Castle the Howardian Hills in Ryedale are particularly picturesque. We've recently both started riding again, which is always a great way to explore what's around you. Fishing on the River Esk is also immensely popular, and if you're very brave there's always wild swimming in the North sea!

Congratulations on the arrival of your beautiful daughter! How are you finding motherhood?
 

It's been absolutely wonderful so far, a lot of people have asked if it's been hard having her during the pandemic, to which i find it hard to reply, as it's my first baby i really don't know the difference! Yes it was difficult with hospitals and scans, and feeling particularly isolated at times during pregnancy, but the reverse of this meant that with the third lockdown beginning as Clementine was born we were able to gently immerse ourselves into parenthood. It's been a surprisingly easy role, she's been an absolute dream and relatively easy going, so it's been so exciting finally being able to finally introduce her to friends and family. 

Being immersed in nature is believed to be so beneficial for wellbeing. How do you find being outside and surrounded by peaceful countryside benefits you?
 

If there is ever anything worrying me, I'll grab the dogs and take Clementine out into the woodland walk at Sutton for an hour or so. Immediately you can feel your Cortisol levels drop and clarity resume with the sounds sights and smells of the woods around. I try and take the same walk regularly as I love appreciating the subtle daily changes to the flora and fauna now spring is here, it's something I would have never noticed before but having the time and space to appreciate nature and the seasons has been a real blessing. There's a lot to be said for fresh air and vitamin D!

Which are your favourite TROY pieces, both new and classic?
 

My Heathland Jacket is proving to be a real staple this season, perfect for whatever the weather is throwing at us (currently intermittent drizzle) , it still looks incredibly chic as well as being totally hardy. Am obsessed with statement bows and collars at the moment, so am loving the Cape Collar and Stock shirts adding a sophisticated long sleeve option for this cooler spring we're having.

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