A DILAPIDATED 18th century coach house which once served Yorkshire's historic Fairfax family is set to reopen as luxury holiday cottages.

Coach House Cottages, Gilling East, has undergone an extensive renovation over the past 18 months and is now barely recognisable, its leaky roof replaced and a taste of Italy weaved into the building as well.

Owner Louise Legard, who lives in an adjoining cottage with her husband Giuliano and their two children, spent 20 years living in Italy but said that she is thrilled to be back in Yorkshire where she was born.

She is now hoping to combine a taste of Italy with Yorkshire living within the three holiday cottages which she bought two years ago and are now ready to welcome their first guests.

She said: "Giuliano still goes back to Italy to harvest olives from land we have in Tuscany and we’ve also made sure our cosy Yorkshire cottages enjoy some touches of modern Italian styling. We hope our guests enjoy the mixture – a supply of Giuliano’s authentic olive oil and a bottle of locally brewed Ampleforth cider in their welcome pack."

The old coach house was once the destination for the nobility of Gilling Castle to send their horse-drawn coaches for repairs but is now home to one one-bedroom and two two-bedroom self-contained cottage, a children's play area, tennis court and indoor playroom.

Louise said: "It had become pretty run down with a leaky roof and some walls open to the elements. As we've restored it we've learnt about its past as a coach house and its links to Gilling Castle and the famous Fairfax name.

"We've tried to be faithful to its heritage in the way we've restored it as well as to provide all the comforts, technology and conveniences that modern holidaymakers want."