Hotel of the week: Middlethorpe Hall, York in North Yorkshire
Middlethorpe Hall is a 17th century William and Mary country house standing in 20 acres of manicured gardens and parkland just outside of the historic medieval city of York. Once the home of the famous diarist Lady Mary Wortley-Montagu, Middlethorpe has been restored with carefully chosen antiques and art work. Today the hotel is part of the National Trust and one of only three Historic House Hotels.
The classically panelled dining room overlooking the magnificent gardens are a special feature of Middlethorpe and provide the perfect setting for the excellent British food with both traditional and contemporary touches for which the hotel has been awarded two AA Rosettes and Restaurant of the Year 2015 at the Visit York Awards. Ashley Binder is the Head Chef at Middlethorpe Hall. Ashley joined Middlethorpe Hall back in 2008 as Chef de Partie before working his way up to Sous Chef. Ashley is an experienced local who has previously worked with Tom Van Zeller in Harrogate. But it is at Middlethorpe Hall’s 60 cover restaurant that Ashley has excelled being part of the award winning team who won the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ award both in 2015 and 2013′ at the Visit York Awards.
Each day, afternoon tea, the traditionally English ceremony takes place in one of the grand public rooms of the historic hall or on warm, sunny days on the terrace. Enjoying tea in such a historic National Trust setting with views of the grounds is a wonderful way to spend time. Traditional Afternoon Tea, £19.50 per person and Champagne Afternoon Tea, £29.50 per person are both available. The Piper-Heidsieck ‘Sublime’ Chocolate Afternoon Tea, £31.50 per person is also available for those looking for that added sweet treat. Middlethorpe Hall was once home to members of the Terry family and it is with this famous family of confectioners in mind that Pastry Chef Paul Harrison has designed this exciting tea. As well as the traditional finger sandwiches, guests enjoy a tasting of chocolate delicacies, both dark, milk and white including orange and chocolate chip.
The manicured gardens and parkland that surround Middlethorpe Hall are a delight to discover at anytime of the year. A parterre includes a rose garden, intriguing walled garden and meadow, which leads to a lake surrounded by beautiful specimen trees.
Highlights of these trees include the Ermans Birch, rarely grown but beautiful birch whose snowy white bark often has a tinge of pink and stands out well at all times of year but especially when leafless in winter. Admire the Judas tree, whose large bunches of rich purple pods last well into winter. Guests can download ‘A Brief History of Middlethorpe Hall and trees of interest’ for a self-guided garden tour complete with map.
The Spa at Middlethorpe Hall which has been built behind the façade of a pair of listed Grade II Edwardian cottages is the ideal place to recharge. Facilities include a heated indoor pool, a steam room, sauna and a whirlpool bath. Using a selection of leading spa brands, therapists offer treatments for women and men in the three spa treatment rooms. For those seeking a matchless spa treatment inspired by the gardens at Middlethorpe Hall a unique Orange Blossom Garden Ritual has been created. This treatment was designed by Decléor specialists after a walk in the award-winning gardens. The ritual begins with a back massage, which allows your therapist to ease any muscular tension. Using a powerful elixir of orange blossom, the face is revived and a youthful glow restored. Whilst the intense firming mask is taking effect, your therapist will continue to massage the legs, hands, feet and scalp. This treatment is priced £74 for 85 minutes. A gymnasium is also available.
Address: Bishopthorpe Rd, York YO23 2GB / 01904 641241