Review: Middletons Hotel in York city centre
We check out this hidden gem in the heart of York
York has history at its heart and in its soul. The Minster is spectacular, and the medieval streets, lined with shops, pubs and restaurants, seemingly spider towards it from all sides in homage.
They say there are 365 pubs alone in York, although I’ve never counted them – but I have tried a fair few. What’s more the history of England literally oozes out of the place and the rivers Foss and Ouse which bisect the city add colour and character. With plenty to see and do, it’s little wonder York is so popular with tourists from across the country and the globe.
It also boasts some excellent hotels, and one such gem, hidden just a welcome smidgeon off the beaten track, is Middletons. It’s centrally enough located but enjoys a pleasantly quiet part of the city centre, making it an ideal base for visiting York’s special attractions.
My welcome as I checked in could not have been warmer and after a ferociously busy day I decided to have a well-earned pint. It was a little chilly for the terrace outside but it was easy enough to find a quiet corner in the busy bar so I settled down to watch the world go by for a while as I relaxed for the first time that day.
Heading up to my room I found a large, comfy bed, a compact ensuite with a shower, a desk for a few catch up emails, and a view to the city beyond. Having already agreed to meet up with friends, before long I was striding along Skeldergate heading towards one of the many nearby hostelries.
York is a wonderful and easy place to get lost in, and I say that from bitter experience, but the city centre is relatively small and the Minster is a constant companion and useful beacon helping you navigate through the narrow streets.
As I returned post-dinner to Middletons it was impossible not to be taken with the charm of the property. There’s a delightful central courtyard behind which five listed buildings combine to make the whole, and they all take their names from celebrated Yorkists of years gone by, including Lady Anne Middleton who funded the hospital and refuge for widows of the Freemen of York in 1659, which is now the celebrated Lady Anne House.
More significantly for the purposes of this review, the clever recent renovation and refurbishment blends the old with new design features which not only gives a nod to the heritage of the building as it has been handsomely recrafted, but gives today’s visitor every modern comfort. Rooms here range from Cosy to Cottage Rooms and Suites, and there are dog-friendly rooms too.
I had an early start the next day, but fortunately Middletons is a mere 10-minute walk from the station and I even had time to sneak in a full Yorkshire breakfast in the hotel’s bright dining room, which proved the perfect start to another busy day. After a quick trip north for a meeting I was back in York and was joined that evening by my wife.
She insisted on a stroll before dinner (another York enthusiast) but it wasn’t long before we headed home for a pre-dinner drink. We sat and chatted in the bar as the staff brought us the menu. The food at Middletons is not elaborate but you will find lots of your favourites on the menu and we opted for some classics; tempura prawns with sweet chilli sauce and Middletons fish cake with hollandaise, followed by Thwaites beer-battered haddock and triple-cooked chips and a really succulent ribeye steak with peppercorn sauce. To round everything off, and to celebrate the end of a busy day, we treated ourselves to a creme brûlée and sticky toffee pudding, and basically rolled into bed!
Another early start had us checking out all too quickly. Middletons had looked after us brilliantly. The staff were friendly and very helpful, the room perfect and we just wished we’d had more time to savour the hospitality more fully, but at least that gives us a good reason to return.
For a hotel that offers comfort, an ideal location and a friendly welcome Middletons should be right at the top of your list. Fittingly it won the Large Hotel of the Year at the recent 2023 York Tourism awards – I’m not at all surprised.