What better way to start living life as an empty nester than to be whisked away for a romantic midweek night away. Thanks to the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough, who offered Dougie and me a complimentary night in their luxury country house hotel, we escaped Lincolnshire life and headed north for some Yorkshire R&R.
It’s hard to believe this former country farmhouse, situated in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, is only a few minutes drive from the hustle and bustle of Scarborough yet as you turn into Lady Edith’s Drive and wind your way towards the hotel, the traffic disappears and the colours of the countryside fill the horizon.
What struck me about the hotel was its warmth and hospitality, providing 4 star accommodation and exceptional cuisine in a setting which is in keeping with its history as the home and farm of the Asquith family from 1918 to 1961.
The grounds of the hotel are enchanting: pergolas draped with flowers and a number of cosy arbours providing intimate seating areas for guests…as long as the hotel’s snoozing cats haven’t got there first. It’s worth noting that this is a pet-friendly hotel, an ideal place for a doggy holiday. Ox Pasture Hall is a popular venue for weddings too with the separate Dovecote Suite, plentiful photo opportunities and ample space for parking.
|The grounds of Ox Pasture Hall Hotel|
The interior of the hotel is simple and welcoming. Colours are soft and muted with the occasional wall of exposed brick and solid stone floors. There’s a lounge and bar with comfortable sofas plus two restaurants: gourmet dining in the Courtyard Restaurant and the more relaxed Bistro in the bar area.
|Clockwise from the left: the Courtyard Restaurant,
view from the bar to the Bistro, lounge/bar area.
There are 32 rooms ranging from classic doubles and twins to the more spacious suites. We were shown to the Wetherby Suite, which was located in a beautiful courtyard with a fountain positioned in the centre. Using a proper key to open the door – how much nicer than a piece of plastic – our suite was very large, comprising of a bedroom, large bathroom and sitting room. The neutral palette chosen for the room, combined with the chandelier-style lighting, did make the room look a little gloomy at first but the comfortable king-size bed, squashy sofa and acres of space more than made up for this. In any case, the views from the adorable sash windows provided us with more than enough colour and light.
Did I mention the bathroom? That certainly had the wow factor: double basins, a massive bathtub and a spacious shower plus Gilchrist and Soames toiletries. Good to see plenty of high quality white towels and huge, enveloping bathrobes.
The Wetherby Suite
Free WiFi was a little temperamental but this wasn’t a major problem as the signal was fine in the public rooms so more reason to settle ourselves on a leather sofa, with views over the gardens, and browse the internet with a G&T in hand. Which leads me neatly on to food and drink.
Afternoon tea was served just after we arrived. I desperately tried not to eat too much, conscious of the need to leave room for dinner, but it was a lost cause – we demolished the tea and put back the time of our evening meal instead. Well it would have been rude not to sample all the various cakes and sandwiches. Dougie couldn’t praise the sandwiches highly enough: the crusts may have been cut off but these were substantial, manly portions with thick fillings of ham, beef and salmon. I rather fell in love with the jam and cream-filled scones and my favourite cake was probably the chocolate brownie with raspberries and pistachios…or maybe it was the mini lemon meringue pie. All washed down with Taylor’s of Harrogate tea and a refreshing glass of Prosecco.It’s not hard to see why the Ox Pasture Hall hotel has 2 AA rosettes and an excellent reputation for providing locally and regionally sourced produce. Our meal in the Courtyard Restaurant was delicious and made more special by the additional courses which were brought to our table. As I’m more of a dessert kind of girl, I decided not to choose a starter but while we were waiting for Dougie’s beetroot and orange concoction, two tiny cups of creamy mushroom soup were placed in front of us. My husband adored his beetroot bonanza whilst somewhat regretting his clothing choice that evening of a white cotton shirt. I pretended I was judging the Great British Bake Off and began prodding the slices of bread (fruit and walnut and cheese and chive) proclaiming them neither under-proved nor over-proved despite not being entirely sure what that meant.
Before our main course, a delightful strawberry consommé was quickly devoured. This was becoming quite a feast and as yet I hadn’t actually eaten anything I’d ordered. More restaurants should take note of this: little treats in between courses is such a fabulous way to keep customers’ taste buds tingling while they wait. Not that waiting was an issue: even without the little tasters, the service was prompt. My main course – beef fillet and brisket of beef – was divine and Dougie’s apricot-filled pork fillet and slow-cooked pork belly was, he tells me, outstanding.
To accompany the meal Dougie had chosen a South African Pinotage called Writer’s Block: he reckoned it might be just the thing to help loosen up any blogger brain-freeze I might be experiencing. After a couple of glasses my vocabulary was flowing just fine, thank you.
Time for dessert? Or would that be pre-dessert? A small glass of whisky and passion-fruit sorbet, with a tiny straw to slurp it up with, was just the thing before the triumphant pud, simply named ‘Yorkshire Berries’ but it was a real show-stopper comprising of a summer pudding, raspberry crème brûlée, strawberry ice-cream and strawberry jelly. Dougie couldn’t manage a dessert of his own but suddenly discovered he had a little room left after all so began to scoop up slivers of mine. How maddening!
All in all, a superb meal. If Paul and Mary had been judging the chefs that evening they would all be named star bakers.
‘Yorkshire Berries’, afternoon tea, whisky and passion-fruit sorbet,
welcome G&T and a pint of Boddingtons.
Breakfast the next morning was a civilised but relaxed affair. Again, service was swift and friendly, our full Yorkshire breakfast tasted just right: bacon, sausage, black pudding, mushrooms and tomatoes.
All too quickly our stay at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel was over. We had only been there for less than a day yet it felt as if we had been away for much longer, such was its hospitality and charm. We asked ourselves as we drove away, would we return? The answer was a resounding yes.
We were given complimentary accommodation for one night, including afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast. Rooms are priced from about £135 per night for a classic double to £300 for a luxury suite. Special offers are available.