Review: Middlethorpe Hall, York

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An elegant country house crammed with character and charm welcomes Hannah Talmage for a lazy weekend of eating and relaxation.

Middlethorpe Hall sits rather splendidly in 20-acres of parkland – beautiful at this time of year with daffodils hinting that spring is just around the corner. The hotel is a couple of miles outside the historic city of York and right next to York racecourse.

This is my kind of country house hotel, posh but not stuffy and the staff are polite and efficient, there when you need something and out of sight when you want to chill out with a cappuccino and a pile of newspapers. The house is over 300 years old so expect lots of creaky floorboards, antique furniture and huge welcoming fireplaces.

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There’s a good choice of rooms to choose from either in the main house, the adjacent courtyard and even in a charming cottage down it’s own private lane with a little garden and two inter-connecting rooms which make it ideal for families. All the bedrooms are comfortable many with feature fireplaces and several with grand four-poster beds.

08/05/08: Middlethorpe Hall Hotel. Rooms+lunch on the terrace+details

A country house hotel weekend wouldn’t be complete without a spa and Middlethorope Hall doesn’t disappoint. Indulge yourself with an afternoon enjoying indoor swimming pool, whirlpool spa bath, steam room, sauna and gymnasium. Book a treatment or two, my recommendation is the Decleor Orange Blossom Garden Ritual (£74) an amazing body massage using highly scented orange blossom elixir that smells amazing and leaves your skin feeling supersoft and moisturised.

Afternoon tea is something of a tradition at Middlethorpe so make sure you get in a long walk after lunch and you’ll have room for the piles of finger sandwiches, scones, biscuits and cakes served with pots of Taylors of Harrogate leaf teas. £22.50 per person or £32.50 with Champagne.

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Dinner is in the capable hands of head chef Ashley Binder and his team who enjoy creating their dishes from the best of locally sourced produce. My advice is to opt for the six-course tasting menu, £69 per person or £99 with matching wines.

The scallops with a drizzle of satay and the loin of venison were delicious and the two puddings, chocolate mousse with orange ice-cream and a scrummy poached rhubarb with white chocolate sent me off to bed with a big smile on my face. There’s also a good value seasonal menu with two courses for £35 if you overindulged with that afternoon tea.

Price: Stay at Middlethorpe Hall from £139 per person including a three course dinner, superior double room, full Yorkshire breakfast and use of the Spa. Valid Sunday to Thursday.
Where: Middlethorpe Hall & Spa, Bishopthorpe Road, York, YO23 2GB
Bookings: To make a reservation, click here or phone 01904 641241

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