Other than a quick weekend trip to York for a hen do last year, Yorkshire has been a location I’ve totally been missing out on for quite some time. I’d always heard such lovely things about the countryside – those rolling hills and gorgeous sunsets – and Leeds had been a city I’d been keen to visit for a while. As much as I love London, when offered the chance to get out of the hustle bustle for a weekend and get to know a new part of the country, I generally don’t need to be asked twice. So a trip to the Yorkshire Dales and a stay at the gorgeous countryside abode that is Ox Pasture Hall Hotel was the only excuse myself and GB needed to down tools, forget about work and head up’t North for a couple of days.
Little did I know of course, that the trip was to be made all the more perfect when a certain proposal happened just the day before we left. A weekend away just the two of us was the best way to celebrate our engagement and made the visit even more special.
Despite the fact that Ox Pasture Hall is only a ten minute drive from the quirky seaside town of Scarborough, arriving at the ivy covered house in the calm country setting, you immediately feel a world away. The hotel is situated amongst 17 acres of gardens and grounds in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, and the setting is, quite simply, breathtaking. After an exciting yet exhausting day previous, and an evening calling all of our friends and family with our news, such tranquility could not have been more welcomed from us. I felt a wave of calm come over me when I saw my phone signal was out of reach, knowing that I could truly switch off from everything and just enjoy the perfect views, the quiet walks and most importantly, the company of my new fiance (!!) before normal life had to resume again the following week. With a gorgeous garden, complete with pond, patio and lawn at the front of the hotel, a quiet gazebo catching the last of the afternoon sun to the side, a secluded courtyard in the centre, open plan gardens and walking trails with which to take in the scenic views at the back and endless fields all around, spending time at Ox Pasture easily feels like you have the whole place all to yourself. Apart from the odd moo from a cow in the field next to you, you won’t hear a thing.
The room and hotel
One of my favourite parts of any hotel stay is being able to come back to a cosy and comfortable room at the end of the night, knowing that it’s all yours. Don’t get me wrong I love my own bed, but there’s always something so special about staying away. For me the perfect hotel room is one that feels like a home from home, somewhere relaxed, cosy and homely with a comfy bed, great shower and soft lighting. Our room at Ox Pasture was just that. For starters it was bigger than our entire flat back in London and divided into four sections – two open plan rooms with a large king size bed in each, a lounge area with sofa, coffee table and perfect view, and a luxurious bathroom, with a huge power shower, bath and side by side sinks (if I ever have my own house this is a must!). I immediately declared the bigger of the rooms as the dressing room, bundling our suitcases in and gently unpacking outfits and shoes, while the cosier room became our haven for the weekend. It was slightly smaller which in my mind always makes a room feel warmer and had one of the most comfortable beds imaginable, not to mention waking up with a view of the moors from the window and the sun streaking in in the morning – it was bliss. The Hotel itself is divided into different sections, with the main house being home to the restaurant, bar and lounge areas, and further rooms being available in the renovated outbuildings and courtyards. We were housed on the top floor of one of the old outbuildings which although meant walking outside briefly to get to dinner, did give us complete quiet and allowed us a little seat in the fairy lit courtyard before bed – a lovely romantic little spot.
Of course still being on a total high following our engagement and being unable to stop ourselves from telling everyone we met, we were quickly filled in on the wedding possibilities at the Hotel by the extremely friendly hotel manager, and even though I’d always known I’d get married in Scotland I couldn’t help thinking it would be a perfect setting to celebrate in. The courtyard or gardens would offer a lovely relaxed vibe for the ceremony, and the photo opportunities in the grounds would be endless.
After making ourselves at home in our giant room (and me getting overly excited by the bathroom taps), we made the most of what was a lovely sunny Autumn afternoon by spending some time exploring the grounds, making videos and generally jumping around in a state of giddiness amongst the empty fields. The sun started to set over the hills to the back of the hotel and sitting by the lake watching the colours in the sky change is a moment I won’t forget quickly.
Once the sun had gone down and our hands had started to get cold, we retreated back indoors to sit and enjoy afternoon tea by the cosy fire in the drawing room. Afternoon tea is one of my favourite past times (I think it’s the scones that do it) and I’ve been indulging in a fair few varieties of late, but a good pot of Yorkshire tea and a warm fruit scone with jam and cream is something I quite frankly never tire of. We curled up on the giant soft couches, warmed our hands by the fire and excitedly chatted wedding plans while munching on smoked salmon sandwiches and an amazing slice of lemon cheesecake. If you do find yourself staying at Ox Pasture in the near future, I’d definitely recommend booking in for this treat while you’re there as it’s well worth the spend.
While the overall feel for the hotel is relaxed and informal, you are encouraged to sit in the cosy lounges as long as you like, take your drinks outdoors or even to your rooms if you wish and generally come and go as you please, you’d be wrong if you thought this simplicity would result in a not so great standard of restaurant. On the contrary the courtyard at Ox Pasture Hall is the only restaurant in Scarborough to have been awarded two rosettes for culinary excellence, is recommended in the Michelin guide and is widely regarded as one of the best places to eat in the area. We were more than impressed with the quality of the food and drink at dinner and thought the standard easily stood up against some of the finer London restaurants we’ve eaten in. If you don’t fancy something so special, you can also eat in the Bistro which serves more traditional pub fare or even just grab a bite at the bar. After a day trampling through the fields in my country get up, I was pretty keen to put on something a little dressier and make an occasion of it (we had just got engaged after all), so we scrubbed up for dinner and took our seats at one of the tables in the Courtyard restaurant, looking out onto the pretty lit patio outside. The food was a true British affair with traditional meat and fish options for mains and classics such as fruit crumble and cheesecake for dessert. Notable favourites were the chicken roulade starter, a delicious cold medley of chicken, vegetables and chutney, the beef trio main, sirloin, oxtail and shin with celeraic, mushrooms and horseradish, and the homemade sticky toffee pudding with rich toffee sauce and ice cream, which was de-licious!
After a few G&T’s in the bar, we called it a night and retired to our comfy bed for the evening. A tasty breakfast in bed (we couldn’t resist) the next morning, ate while the sun shone in through the window, finished off our stay wonderfully and set us up for a day by the (windy) seaside of Scarborough (more on that to come).
If you’re looking for a base with which to explore North Yorkshire, Ox Pasture Hall Hotel can offer a luxurious, comfortable and friendly one. You’ll get the best of both worlds with a rural setting to relax in, while being close to all the amenities of Scarborough should you want to get a little more involved. Ox Pasture to us was a like a lovely big hug – the staff were warm and friendly, the atmosphere was luxurious yet totally relaxed and the country air was the perfect antidote to busy London life. Even our taxi driver was a bundle of laughs on route, they say it’s friendlier up North and I think I have to agree!
Thanks to Ox Pasture Hall Hotel for a lovely stay!