Review of the Month: Middlethorpe Hall, Yorkshire
Yorkshire comes into its own as winter arrives: a season to enjoy bracing walks through blustery moorland, pints by the fireside in cosy pubs and idle strolling through York’s cobbled streets, soon to be busy with the town’s festive market.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
Country-house elegance. Built in the late 17th century, Middlethorpe Hall is set on the outskirts of York and has had a colourful career, having previously been a school and a nightclub. It’s now owned by the National Trust, who has carefully reinstated antique furniture and oil paintings among original marble fireplaces and grand staircases. There are 20 acres of gardens: we loved exploring its parkland and well-kept kitchen garden, shaded by fruit trees. The hotel also has a spa housed in converted cottages nearby, with the swimming pool and sauna free for guests to use. Be sure to say hello to Balou, the friendly cat, who is Lord/Lady of the Manor.
WHAT’S MY ROOM LIKE?
There are 10 bedrooms in the main house, all varying in size, and all styled individually with writing tables, Persian rugs, floral fabrics and four-poster beds. Some have large sash windows with views over the woodland beyond where, if you’re lucky, you might see deer. There are a further 19 suites and bedrooms in the converted stable-block house, offering a similar level of comfort and luxury.
WHAT AM I EATING?
Meals are served in the atmospheric wood-panelled dining room. Dinner is a fairly formal affair, with seasonal dishes showing inspiration from home and abroad, such as lamb rump with Moroccan couscous and char-grilled vegetables.
WHAT’S IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD?
It takes about 45 minutes to walk into the city centre, the route running along the banks of the River Ouse and the boundary of York Racecourse. Here you’ll find all the city’s headline attractions: step inside the Gothic splendour of York Minster and scale the battlements of the ancient city walls, which offer sweeping views over higgledy-piggledy rooftops.
GOOD TO KNOW
Middlethorpe Hall is a 15-minute taxi ride from York railway station – cabs can be arranged at the hotel. Be aware, Middlethorpe Hall gets booked up quickly on race weekends. York is served by direct trains from Edinburgh, Leeds and London King’s Cross (from £45; virgintrainseastcoast.com).
WHAT’S THE DAMAGE?
Rooms at Middlethorpe Hall start at £90 per night, with double rooms and suites in the main house weighing in at £120 and £185 respectively, including breakfast. A three-course dinner menu is £45 excluding wine. Look out for last-minute deals on the hotel website (middlethorpe.com).
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Resident cat Balou makes himself comfortable in the hotel lounge; the red-brick façade of Middlethorpe Hall from across the lawns; York Minster looms up behind York’s City Walls; a bedroom in the main house