Meet Your Hosts

Tony & Lori Handley and Ron & Chloe




Tony and Lori Handley 

T L dog2


It's a very long story and one worth the telling but suffice it to say when it comes to Holiday Cottages we both have had our fair share of staying in the mediocre. So when we then met up and life took us down the Holiday Cottage Avenue we were adamant we would have to create, and maintain, two that we'd be delighted to stay in.

Which was a huge challenge as we're both verging on OCD and both bloody minded when it comes to standards.

Since then, due to the age of the property and the complexities of the rebuild and refit The Stables has not been an easy passage. But it has been hugely rewarding. Since we opened for business six years ago we have had more than one plumbing problem, more than one electrical fault and more than one guest from hell! But those who love them, love us and well over 90% do, which is great.

May we therefore suggest that if you are thinking you'd maybe like to come and stay with us you try this litmus test before you commit. Do you like dogs? If the answer is no then experience would suggest we are not the right choice for you.

Tony and Lori Handley




More About Your Hosts


Tony and Lori are very much part of the fabric of Knaresborough and enjoy promoting the town's presence.

As such, Tony became Mayor of Knaresborough in May 2014 with Lori his Lady Mayoress.

They continue to work within the community promoting charity events and commerce within the town and community.

The Royal Oak Through The Years

A brief history of The Royal Oak.

arial-cutThe first written records of there being a property on the site is in 1726 in the will of a Thomas Atkinson bequeathing the sale of his estate, probably known as The Hare & Hounds, to his three children. But it is not until 1781 that records show that the premises are clearly being used as an inn. 

In 1793 the Hare & Hounds Inn, the stables and croft are sold to Samuel Russell, Innkeeper for £300. Following his death, the properties on the site of Bond End change hands a number of times and in 1826 William Clayton develops the land to create dwellings 2 to 8 Bond End. This is the first occasion of the name The Royal Oak being used.

As the years passed, the premises known as The Royal Oak changed hands a few times until a Josph Whitworth purchased the buildings in 1893. Whitworth was thought to be of the Wath Brewery family of Wath on Dearne. The family also owned The Yorkshire Lass (then the George Hotel) and the Old Royal Oak. Both of these were sold to John Smiths Brewery of Tadcaster in 1925.


In 1973 John Smiths became part of Courage Brewing Ltd and in 1974 the Knaresborough Folk club was founded at The Royal Oak.

1976 saw the Folk Club move out to The Commercial Hotel. In 1986 the Royal Oak was registered by Harrogate Borough council as a Building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

In 1992 Courage sold the inn to the Vaux group and in 1997 The Royal Oak was delicensed and ceased to trade as a public house. The property was sold as a private residential dwelling. 


Tony and Lori bought The Royal Oak in 200? and submitted plans to change the use of the stable block and tack room into two dwellings.

In May 2009, Shire Cottage saw its first guests and in June that year was awarded a 4* rating by Visit Britain. Later that year The Royal Oak won the very first of its many awards from Knaresborough in Bloom.

Dray Cottage welcomed its first guests in August 2011.