A stay at this family-owned, multi-award winning hotel in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s not just about their three AA Rosette restaurant, or the five-star luxury, it’s about the passion and personal service here, which sets this boutique hotel apart. The contemporary bedrooms boast great views, the fluffiest robes and loads of little luxuries, some even have private outdoor hot tubs too. Relax in the cosy bar beside the fire before enjoying a romantic dinner in the intimate restaurant. Did we mention Yorebridge is regularly voted one of the most romantic hotels in England? The menu makes the most of the local produce from the Dales under the guidance of chef Dan Shotton and his talented team. In the tiny village of Bainbridge you are near to some of North Yorkshire’s most glorious countryside, including the famous Aysgarth Falls, historic Bolton Castle, or you can walk the disused railway line to the pretty village of Askrigg.
Bainbridge, North Yorkshire DL8 3EE
01969 652060 yorebridgehouse.co.uk
LORD CREWE ARMS
This historic hotel has long been a Living North favourite. Tucked away in the honey-stone village of Blanchland, amidst some of our most stunning and remote moorland scenery, this is the perfect getaway when all you want is fabulous food, a warm bed and the peace that comes after a long day exploring the great outdoors. There are 21 rooms and suites here, all beautifully furnished and all very individual. Choose from a Cosy or Canny room, or settle into one of the suites in the village’s former miner’s cottages next to the hotel. The vaulted Crypt Bar is where you’ll chill with a well-earned post-walk beer or wine and some sustaining bar bait, before heading to the Bishop’s Dining Room to be wowed by the seasonal simplicity and incredible flavours from the kitchen, all under the guidance of chef Emma Broom and her team.
The Square, Blanchland DH8 9SP
01434 677100 lordcrewarmsblanchland.co.uk
HIGH FORCE HOTEL
This newly-refurbished hotel combines the expected country charm with modern facilities, a good restaurant, a warm welcome from the staff, and best of all, it’s dog-friendly too. There are just 11 rooms here, all retaining many of their original features from the Victorian shooting lodge. There are open fires and log-burning stoves in the downstairs bar and lounge, and you can eat in either of the two cosy bars, outdoors on the patio, or in the courtyard and garden. Food is served all day, so whether you’ve been out and about investigating the nearby High Force waterfall, the beautiful Upper Tees moorland, or you just want a lie-in and to take some precious me-time, you’ll always be able to get some great food, made using the best local produce from the surrounding dales.
Alston Road, Forest-in-Teesdale DL12 0XH
01833 622336 raby.co.uk
There are more than 20,000 acres of Swinton Estate to explore, and although we’re heading for the hotel, there are self catering cottages and glamping options on the estate too. This castle and former stately home is a stunning hotel with 32 beautiful rooms and suites, all named after local towns and villages and classified under Dukes, Earls, Barons and Knights. Dukes are the largest in the castle, with a sitting area, vast ensuite and stunning parkland views. Our favourite of these is Bolton Castle, with its half-tester bed in rich red and a window seat to snuggle up on. The ancestral seat of the Earl of Swinton, all the rooms here are furnished with antiques and family portraits in keeping with the grandeur of the house. The four-acre kitchen garden (the largest hotel kitchen garden in the UK) supplies Samuel’s (the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant) the spa’s Terrace Restaurant and the Bivouac Café. The Country Cub and Spa is a newish addition to Swinton. This relaxing space has an indoor and outdoor natural pool, thermal retreat, wood-fired hot tub and al fresco spa where you can slip under blankets and sheepskins beside a log-burning stove. Whether you chose to head to the cellar-style bar (which was once the family chapel) for your predinner drink, or prefer the more formal Georgian Drawing Room with its huge marble fireplace and large bay windows is up to you, but you’ll love the light and airy Samuel’s Restaurant, with its sweeping views over the garden where deer roam freely. If the weather is unkind you can while away some time in the Billiard Room, or perhaps book into the Cookery School for a hands-on lesson and to learn about the produce from the estate. Outside there’s plenty to occupy you, from falconry on the front lawn (there’s a bird-of-prey aviary at the top of the garden) to simply roaming the hotel’s huge gardens or wandering around the expansive walled kitchen garden. Further afield on the estate you can arrange shooting, fishing, riding and mountain biking with the hotel.
Don’t Miss: Yorkshire’s finest folly – the Druid’s Temple on the Swinton Estate. Styled after stone circles such as Stonehenge, this folly was built to help alleviate local unemployment, allowing wealthy landowner William Derby to pay workers a shilling a day for their labour. Less than 200 years old, it’s still an atmospheric and intriguing location, and well within walking distance (two and a half miles) of the hotel.
Swinton Estate, Masham HG4 4JZ
01765 680900 swintonestate.com
A longtime favourite of LN readers, The Pheasant has arguably one of the most beautiful settings in North Yorkshire, overlooking the duckpond in the pretty village of Harome. Converted from the original blacksmiths, village shop and barns, and set in an acre of gardens, there are a total of 16 rooms here, all set around a courtyard of fruit trees. We love Plum Cottage, tucked away with its own quaint entrance in a secluded corner of the courtyard. It is the perfect romantic retreat, with French doors opening from the bedroom onto a private terrace with a table for two for a quiet breakfast or a leisurely evening drink. The Pheasant’s award-winning restaurant under Chef/Director Peter Neville has three AA Rosettes and a deserved reputation for some of the best dining, with fantastic and often unusual flavour combinations accompanied by a hand-picked wine list. Peter is an advocate of foraging and this is clearly reflected in his menus. The cosy lounge overlooking the duck pond is dotted with squidgy sofas to sink into, but beside the open fire in the bar is where you’ll want to enjoy a pre-dinner drink before heading into the restaurant, which in turn leads to the hotel’s conservatory where breakfast is served – just the best spot on a sunny day. There’s a laid-back friendliness here which instantly puts guests at ease, and it’s family-friendly too, with just the right blend of country style and sophistication to keep everyone happy.
Don’t Miss: The pretty market town of Helmsley, just a few miles away, is where local independent shops thrive. Stroll around the market place before pulling on your walking boots and hitting the trail to Rievaulx Abbey. It’s a seven-mile circular walk which takes in sweeping views of Helmsley before dropping down through bluebell woods to the tranquil ruins of Rievaulx Abbey, where a new museum explores its fascinating past and the lives of the monks who made the abbey their home.
Harome, Nr Helmsley YO62 5JG
01439 771241 thepheasanthotel.com
Set off the beaten track, this restfully restored retreat has been gently brought back to life by owners James and Rebecca Allison. Scattered amongst its never ending parkland is a series of individually-designed boltholes, complete with clever interiors combining original features with a contemporary edge. At the heart of the estate, The Coach House sits complete with an outdoor dining area for those all important al fresco brunches, lunches and hazy midsummer night dinners; here the Treatment Rooms and Reception can too be found. Neighbouring the bustling all day restaurant is a walled, two acre garden. Here all of the seasonal ingredients which inspire the Coach House dishes are sown and harvested, encapsulating the ‘estate to plate’ sustainable ethos this holistic hideout runs by. There’s an exciting development taking place on the estate too, so what this space.
Kneeton Lane, Middleton Tyas, Richmond DL10 6NJ
01325 377977 middletonlodge.co.uk
Tickton Grange, a handsome Georgian hideaway, lies on the very edge of the Yorkshire Dales. It’s a family-run affair and one of the best boutique hotels in Yorkshire. Contemporary interiors are beautiful, bright and breezy, and the rooms (which are classified as Intimate, Elegant or Suites) include sumptuous beds, cosy throws and each has a quiet corner to curl up in. Explore the Yorkshire-inspired menu at Hide restaurant, where chefs use hand-picked produce from the garden, or sink into a sofa in the more informal Library to enjoy the hearty House Boards.
Tickton, Beverley HU17 9SH
01964 543666 ticktongrange.co.uk
BIKE & BOOT
Geared up for the those who love the great outdoors, this new kid on the block has already won awards. Aimed specifically at cyclists, walkers and dog owners, it has a cool and contemporary, almost hostel-like vibe. There’s a Bareca (an abbreviation of bar/restaurant/cafe) on the ground floor, a Wadobi (walk/dog/bike – you’re getting the drift…) in the basement with a cycle-repair station and a dog washing area, and a small cinema showing new releases every day. Oversized maps cover the walls and wellies hang decoratively from the ceiling in the main rooms, but the bedrooms tell a slightly different story. Ranging from small doubles to suites with sea views, all 65 rooms are chic and contemporary, the only real nod to their seaside location being the vintage-style Scarborough printed blinds at the windows.
Cliff Bridge Terace, Scarborough YO11 2HA
01723 655555 bikeandboot.com
WREA HEAD HALL
Originally built in 1881, this Gothic mansion has retained many of its original features and is now an elegant country retreat. From Bridgerton-style four-poster beds to roll-top-baths, each of the 24 bedrooms is individually decorated, and they are split between the main house and the newly converted Carriage House. Our favourite? Room 34 in the Carriage House, with its adjoining lounge overlooking the hotel’s expansive lawns, cosy fire and huge ensuite with double-ended bathtub. An adults-only retreat, relaxation is the name of the game at Wrea Head – our favourite place to unwind is the Library, with its walls lined with bookshelves offering a perfect escape. The oak-panelled 1881 dining room, with its antique mirrors, gilt blocked wallpaper and candlelit tables, is a romantic retreat serving a daily-changing menu of fresh, seasonal dishes and locally-sourced produce. Visit in summer and enjoy cocktails out on the terrace accompanied by the sounds of a cricket match, stroll in the garden, and if you’re lucky, see a deer or two peek out from the surrounding trees.
Don’t Miss: You are close enough to Scarborough to enjoy a view of the castle from the lawn but it is worth heading out to explore the ruins on the town’s headland, with its uninterrupted views of both the North and South Bays. The castle’s heyday was in the 12th century when it was developed by Henry II and King John. Twice besieged by Parliamentarians during the Civil War, it has defended king and country from the Jacobites, Napoleon and the German Kaiser. Explore the town’s history, from the Romans to the present day, in a fascinating exhibition in the Master Gunner’s House, which include tools and pottery from prehistoric times.
Barmoor Lane, Scalby, Scarborough YO13 0PB
01723 371190 wreaheadhall.co.uk
This hotel, which is on the old Great North Road, is set in 20 acres of gardens and grounds, and has 41 bedrooms, a two-AA Rosette restaurant and a stylish Brasserie. The location alone makes it a great choice for anyone looking to explore this part of Yorkshire (it’s a mere four miles south of the A1/M62 interchange) but Wentbridge has also won many awards for its great food and impeccable service. The Fleur de Lys Dining Room is an intimate and elegant restaurant with an award-winning wine list. The menu showcases local, seasonal produce and there are weekly-changing specials too. The same menu is available in the buzzy Brasserie. The bedrooms here are a mix of cosy, superior and deluxe, all with generous ensuites. Our favourite? We love the two Garden Suites, which have separate sitting areas overlooking the beautiful gardens. Both have huge demi-four poster beds, marble bathrooms with walk-in drench showers, and a stack of Molton Brown bath goodies.
Don’t Miss: Whilst it’s handy for so many places, we’d head south to Doncaster for the races, or north to Leeds and Harvey Nichols. If shopping isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other attractions in the city including the Royal Armouries with its national collection of arms and armour, where you can follow the fascinating history of the warrior, from medieval knights to modern-day soldiering. Leeds Art Gallery adjoins the renowned Henry Moore Institute and has a remarkable collection of British 20th century art. For more cultural inspiration, head to The Hepworth Wakefield art gallery. The 10 superb gallery spaces make this one of the UK’s largest purpose-built galleries outside London.
The Great North Road, Wentbridge, Pontefract WF8 3JJ
01977 620444 wentbridgehouse.co.uk
Once a stately home, this rather grand four-star hotel is set within 150 acres of landscaped gardens. Grand public rooms, a private chapel, walled gardens, private lake and spa all add to the charm of this hotel, where you will enjoy a sound night’s sleep in one of their 19 bedrooms and suites. Or, why not book one Wynyard’s five elegant cottages, each complete with its own outdoor hot tub? Tuck into one of the modern British dishes on the ever-changing seasonal menu in The Wellington Restaurant, take tea in the book-lined Library, and don’t depart without a trip to the award-winning spa in the old Victorian boathouse – just picture yourself in a steaming hot tub beside a picturesque lake, surrounded by rolling greenery. Bliss.
Don’t Miss: There are plenty of things to discover when staying at Wynyard Hall. Climb the iconic Roseberry Topping in nearby Great Ayton, or take a trip to the historic city of Durham with its UNESCO World Heritage site incorporating the Cathedral and adjacent 11th century castle. Wander the cobbled streets, shop in the traditional, covered market, or walk the river route which takes you right underneath the majestic cathedral.
Stockton, Billingham TS22 5NF
01740 644811 wynyardhall.co.uk
This glamorous and glitzy addition to North Yorkshire’s hospitality scene is just four miles from the market town of Ripon and 10 miles from the spa town of Harrogate. It’s five-star all the way here, from the sumptuous public rooms and beautiful bedrooms, to the Michelin-starred Shaun Rankin Restaurant, the Three Graces Spa and the luxury gym. There are 47 rooms and suites at Grantley Hall, including the magnificent Presidential Suite in the Fountain Wing, which is accessed from the rooftop atrium and has its own lounge with baby grand piano and a dining space with far-reaching views across the gardens. Shaun Rankin has just received a Michelin star at Grantley Hall, and his restaurant is a must-visit, but there are other options including the pan-Asian Eighty Eight and Fletchers Restaurant which serves modern British classics. The opulent Norton Bar and Courtyard is the perfect place to relax over a drink (the menu has more than 100 cocktails on it), and, when the weather permits, enjoy the sunshine and the bistrostyle menu as you dine al fresco. The spa has not one, but two swimming pools (there’s an adults-only outdoor pool and hot tub) and a comprehensive treatment menu, the fitness centre is crammed with state-of-theart equipment, and there’s even a nightclub at the hotel for dancing the night (and those calories) away.
Don’t Miss: Whilst we know it’ll be hard to tear yourselves away from your luxurious surroundings, you really should make the effort to visit nearby Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden. One of the largest and best-preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England, it is a hauntingly beautiful place with acres and acres to explore. Studley Royal Water Garden is an outstanding example of the English garden style that swept across Europe during the 18th century, and is in fact what makes this magnificent estate a World Heritage Site.
Ripon HG4 3ET
01765 667970 grantleyhall.co.uk
THE CONISTON HOTEL
ESTATE & SPA
There’s a new luxury spa at this hotel in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, which is also renowned for its outdoor activities which include shooting, fishing on the 24-acre lake, and a 4x4 off-road centre. When you are not out and about, the hotel’s 71 bedrooms provide the perfect retreat following an afternoon of exertion before you head down to The View, with its roaring open fires, a terrace overlooking the lake and a menu that embraces the best of British. The all-new spa opens this spring with an outdoor pool and spa garden, indulgent spa treatments and the Nourish Brasserie, where you can enjoy a light lunch or special wellbeing afternoon tea. There are also three luxury cottages on the estate, with room for up to 12 guests and their own outdoor hot tubs.
Coniston Cold, Skipton BD23 4EA
01756 748080 theconistonhotel.com
THE COOKIE JAR
Boasting 11 luxurious rooms and suites, The Cookie Jar is a cosy retreat in the heart of Alnwick. Look out for the stained-glass windows in this former convent as the hotel fuses its historical past with quirky touches in every room. In the heart of beautiful Northumberland, it’s great walking and shooting country. The Drying Room provides a place to store your muddy boots and tweeds, and the hotel also boasts its own secure Rifle Room and on-site kennels. If sporting pursuits aren’t your thing, there’s still an abundance of fun activities and famous sights in the local area, including golfing, walking, wildlife-spotting and visiting the impressive Alnwick Castle. Stay in the hotel’s Chapel room, billed as ‘the mother superior’ of all suites, for a truly luxurious experience.
Bailiffgate, Alnwick NE66 1LU
01665 510465 cookiejaralnwick.com
This medieval castle-cum-hotel is at the top of many ‘most romantic hotel’ lists. All battlements and thick stone walls, there are nine rooms within the castle itself and a further 18 in the grounds. The interior plays up to the notion of its castle history with suits of armour standing guard, hanging tapestries covering the stone walls, and huge fireplaces. The beamed dining room, with its candlelit tables, is a romantic set up and the food here is good – imaginative dishes are rethought using local produce. It’s a place to take your time, but if you prefer a speedier option, there’s a lighter lounge menu available in the Drawing Room. Join a tour of the castle and you can climb to the top of the battlements, where the views across the Tyne Valley are jaw dropping.
Langley-on-Tyne, Hexham NE47 5LU
01434 688888 langleycastle.com
Set in a fabulous location for exploring, and nestled among breathtaking scenery, Northumberland’s iconic and much-loved Matfen Hall is currently undergoing a multi-million pound refurbishment across the whole estate, and on completion, is going to be in a class of its own. Every detail of the project has been carefully considered, from the beautifully-decorated, stately rooms and sumptuous new bathrooms, to the toiletries supplied by quintessentially British brand, Penhaligon’s, all of which will combine to make the new Matfen Hall the epitome of luxury. Details are still being released, but we’re expecting a diverse range of dining options (think locally-sourced food and an extensive drinks menu), a fabulous spa (complete with trained Elemis spa therapists, a fitness facility, a pool area, jacuzzi, and steam and sauna rooms for ultimate relaxation) and 27 holes of golf, plus a par three course, so guests can spend their time on the course or brushing up their skills at the driving range. With 300 acres of unique parkland and a beautiful private garden for guests to stroll through, with well-thought-out walking routes, this will be a place for couples to relax, families to explore and friends to enjoy.
Don’t Miss: Matfen is within easy reach of the picturesque village of Corbridge, where you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied. It’s packed with independent shops (make sure you leave time to browse the shelves at Forum Books and pick up unique homewares at RE), and there’s a gorgeous walk along the River Tyne here too.
Matfen, Newcastle NE20 0RH
01661 886500 matfenhall.com
This 10-bedroom boutique hotel is set in an enviable location next to a section of the famous Hadrian’s Wall. It’s the perfect base from which to discover incredible landmarks in the heart of beautiful Northumberland –but if you’d prefer to simply immerse yourself in relaxation, surrounded by bubbles in the jacuzzi, we don’t blame you. The pool here enjoys far-reaching views over the Tyne Valley, while their Germaine De Capuccini spa treatments will transport you to a place of true tranquility. Enjoy afternoon tea (carefully crafted by Walwick Hall’s French Pastry Chef) on the terrace, with views over the gardens and the rolling hills beyond. In the evening, taste locally-sourced delights in the Dining Room, and relax in the cosy bar or guest snug, before retiring to your individually-decorated bedroom for the most peaceful night’s sleep.
Don’t Miss: With one of Britain’s most famous landmarks on your doorstep, don’t miss the chance to explore Hadrian’s Wall during your stay. Chesters Roman Fort is just across the road (where you can explore the most complete Roman cavalry fort in Britain, and see their amazing collection of Roman objects) while Vindolanda (another key site) is also within easy reach.
Humshaugh, Hexham, Northumberland
01434 620156 walwickhall.com
The five-star, family-friendly Rockliffe Hall has an award-winning spa, state-of-the-art gym and challenging 18-hole championship golf course. The Orangery Restaurant has a deserved three AA Rosettes and delivers a garden-to-plate ethos using produce from the hotel’s gardens and surrounding estate, in sophisticated surroundings, with wine pairings from some of the world’s most respected vineyards. The cocktail bar is renowned here, and the mixologists work closely with Rockliffe’s chefs to create unique infusions and garnishes. Mischmasch is Rockliffe’s whimsical world inspired by author Lewis Carroll, who grew up nearby. Designed especially for children, it’s a magical place for them to explore.
Hurworth-on-Tees, Darlington DL2 2DU
01325 729999 rockliffehall.com
With 90 sumptuously-decorated bedrooms and suites, a destination spa with a rooftop pool and garden, a kitchen garden which supplies more than 500 different herbs, vegetables, flowers and fruits to the kitchen, its own private cinema and two golf courses – all set within 300 acres of landscaped gardens and woodland – Rudding Park simply oozes charm and romance. Choose from a luxurious room or spa suite in the hotel itself, or opt for more privacy in one of their self-catering cottages or lodges, while still benefitting from the fantastic hotel facilities. Renowned for their fabulous food, Rudding Park boasts the three AA-Rosette Horto, the more relaxed Clocktower restaurant and bar, and the light and airy Horto Café in the spa.
Follifoot, Harrogate HG3 1JH
01423 871350 ruddingpark.co.uk
The diversity of accommodation available at this seaside hotel has made it a favourite for LN. There aren’t many places that can boast perfect accommodation for couples, groups and families – and the family pet too – and it’s all set on the Raithwaite Estate. Dining options include the Brasserie, serving a seasonal menu inspired by the hotel’s surroundings of moorland and sea. It’s a relaxed and friendly place to tuck in with family and friends. For a post-walk pint or a cheeky pre-dinner cocktail (infused with herbs from the hotel’s own garden) head to the Bar, where you can also warm up by the fire on windy and wet days (yes, there are some) and enjoy a leisurely lunch before braving the elements. There’s a spa with an indoor pool, steam room, sauna and treatment rooms, and acres of grounds to explore around the hotel, or head to the new in-house Surf School where you can learn the basics in no time. Staying on solid ground, there are plenty of walks, long and short, which start and end at Raithwaite – just ask the hotel for help and advice on the best routes.
Don’t Miss: The hotel’s coastal location means there is plenty to see and do, but it would be remiss not to spend a little time exploring Whitby’s historic harbour and abbey. Climb Whitby’s famous steps and take in the spectacular views from the abbey ruins, visit the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, pick up fish and chips from the famous Magpie Café, and, of course, there are plenty of beautiful beaches to explore in between.
Raithwaite Estate, Sandsend Road, Whitby
01947 661661 raithwaitesandsend.co.uk