Re­view of the Month: Mid­dlethorpe Hall, York­shire

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WHY NOW?

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

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