Friday 15 January 2016

Ox Pasture Hall Country Hotel, Yorkshire

I'm not the biggest fan of January.  As soon as the Christmas tree is put away and the chocolates have all been finished it's inevitable that my Winter blues will appear. With nothing to look forward to and endless dark mornings, not even the excitement of our September wedding is enough to pull me out of my slump.

So I was very thankful when an e-mail arrived in my inbox inviting us to Ox Pasture Hall Country Hotel for an overnight stay in the countryside.  If there's one cure for the Winter blues it's got to be a staycation in a Luxury Hotel in Yorkshire.

Eagerly browsing the website the promise of being able to "escape, relax and explore" sounded like the perfect cure for my blues and we enthusiastically bundled ourselves into a hire car to begin our journey to North Yorkshire, eager to get some fresh air and a much needed romantic getaway.  I do love a staycation!

Ox Pasture Hall is a beautiful boutique hotel in a former country house set in 17 acres of stunning countryside close to the North Yorkshire Moors. 

The Moors have such a special place in my heart as my Grandma is a Yorkshire lass (and very proud of it) and we had some fabulous family holidays in the area when I was a child so Ox Pasture Hall sounded like my idea of heaven.

Perfectly located 2 miles from Scarborough, Ox Pasture Hall is a great base for exploring and we were really happy to find plenty of information and recommendations of things to do on the hotel's website.  With a few hours set aside for adventures we were like kids in a sweet shop trying to choose between the villages of North Yorkshire, the bustling harbour towns on the coast or going for a walk in the Yorkshire Moors. 

In the end we decided to hunt out the prettiest villages and eat the very best homemade food we could find.  We explored the railway at Grosmont, discovered some beautiful views at the Hole of Hocrum and finished our day with cake at Thornton Le Dale.  You can read all about our adventure here.

Tired from our road trip we reached Ox Pasture Hall in the early evening and were so thankful to be shown to our luxurious suite on arrival.  Set apart from the main hotel across the most gorgeous little courtyard, the Wetherby suite was everything we'd hoped it would be. 

Our suite was made up of our very own lounge with a comfortable sofa in front of the TV (which we settled down in front of as soon as we arrived) ... a bedroom with a huge king sized bed (which we had to stop ourselves climbing into immediately!)

... and a gorgeous bathroom complete with a big bathtub, huge open shower and fluffy towels.

Unfortunately our room was a little chilly as there were some teething problems with a new boiler that had just been fitted, but it didn't bother us as we had the perfect excuse to make our way to the hotel's bar to enjoy some much needed relaxation after our busy day.

We loved the cosy feel of the bar and the exposed brick walls, wooden beams and tartan furnishings made for the perfect countryside snug.

Unsure what we fancied to drink, we were impressed with Paul the barman who had a great knowledge of what was on offer.  I was particularly happy when he let me sample all of the rose wine before deciding which glass to order (I think my eyes may have lit up). 

Drinks in hand we settled ourselves down on a comfy sofa by the toasty log fire, chatting about our day and enjoying the peace and quiet.  I'm pretty sure there's no better way to spend a cold Winter's evening.

We would have happily sat by the fire all night but we had somewhere very important that we needed to be! A highly anticipated date night at the hotel's Courtyard Restaurant.  The Courtyard is well known for being the best restaurant in Scarborough, and the only one to be awarded two rosettes for culinary excellence so we were looking forward to eating some great food.

We began with an amuse bouche - goats cheese served with orange and chutney.  Absolutely delicious and the perfect teaser for what was to come.

For Starter I opted for the Soup of the Day - Tomato and Red Pepper.  It was a very generous bowl and was so thick and creamy.  It became extra indulgent when I started slathering all of the butter onto as much bread as I could manage.  Bread and butter is always my guilty pleasure when I'm on staycation.  Delicious!

Simon decided to order the Trio of Duck - Smoked Duck Breast, Liver and Port Parfait, Confit Duck Leg and Pear Sorbet. The dish was a gorgeous combination of flavours. It's a good job my soup was so good or there would have been some serious food envy happening.

Choosing my Main Course was an easy task as soon as I saw steak was on the menu.  I ordered the 35 Day Himalayan Salt Aged Yorkshire Rib Eye served with Triple Cooked Chips, Confit Tomato and Wild Mushrooms.  I'm quite often left unimpressed by chips that claim to be triple cooked but these were true to their word, cooked to perfection and so crispy.

Simon did also want the steak but being a gentlemen and knowing how much I love to sample as much of a menu as I possibly can he decided on a different dish and ordered the Braised Swaledale Lamb Shank served with Creamed Potatoes, Fine Beans, Port, Shallot and Mushrooms.  The dish was so beautiful but very filling so he had to quit whilst he was ahead to ensure there was room for dessert.

We all know that our favourite course is always dessert but the delicious sounding menu was really making it hard to come to a decision which is when we spotted the "Sharing Plate for 2".  Not realising that our dreams were about to become a reality we ordered it.

Wow!  Firstly we were so impressed that the chef managed to create us our very own sharing plate that was completely off the menu to accommodate my nut allergy.  I often find with my nut allergy that the alternatives I'm offered are a little half hearted but our nut free dessert at The Courtyard took our breath away, so much care had been taken to give us delicious treats and having a plate created just for us made us feel pretty special.

Can you believe how huge the sharing plate is? We were expecting a couple of small cakes on a plate but instead got presented with a slate board that was completely covered in miniature desserts. 

Crème Brulee, Tiramisu, Chocolate Fudge Cake, White Chocolate Fondant and a Chocolate and Coffee sponge were just some of the treats on our board.  There was so much we didn't know where to start.

It was the perfect ending to an outstanding meal, although our eyes were definitely bigger than our bellies and the sharing plate well and truly finished us off.

The Courtyard showcases the most fantastic local produce and we were blown away at how beautiful the food was, I think we'll be dreaming about that meal for a long time to come.

We made our way back to our Suite with that warm happy feeling that eating a great meal brings and we quickly snuggled down into our huge bed and drifted straight off to sleep.

The next morning we were really happy with the amount of sleep that we'd both got.  Although still a little chilly in our suite, we'd both managed to sleep through the entire night in our huge comfortable bed.  It's been a while since we've both had so many hours sleep and we felt fully refreshed.

Can you believe that after that huge meal we were hungry for breakfast?  I think it was the promise of more great food - it's hard to resist overeating!

The breakfast at Ox Pasture Hall has something for everyone with a buffet table laid out with pastries, bread, yoghurt, fruit and cereal and a cooked breakfast menu that offers a little bit of everything.  I decided to go all out and ordered the Full Yorkshire Breakfast.

After all that food a walk seemed like a good idea so we decided to explore the grounds of the hotel before heading home.

It was a little chilly and wet but there were so many magical hidden corners to discover we soon forgot about cold noses and wet toes.  Cute courtyards full of ornate fountains and ornaments, ivy covered walls and the most gorgeous doorways, the grounds at Ox Pasture Hall are so charming.

At the back of the hotel we were surprised to find a huge garden leading out to a beautiful countryside view.  As we were wandering a huge flock of geese flew over our heads and landed in the hotel's lake.  It was a really beautiful moment and will definitely be a lasting memory of our stay.

There's plenty of seating dotted around the gardens and it immediately made us wish for Summer.  There are so many peaceful little private corners which would be a perfect place for afternoon tea (which we will definitely be returning for in the Summer months.

We were so sad when our stay came to an end and we had to return to Newcastle.  We'd had a truly wonderful stay with fantastic friendly service and outstanding food in a gorgeous location.  We've already had a look through the diary to see if we can have another visit in the Summer.

Anyone else planning a staycation this year? 


  1. The food in the hotel looks wonderful and I could just enjoy a glass of wine by that fire! xx

  2. Ah I love a staycation, always so relaxing and refreshing! The whole weekend looks so lovely, particularly that sharing platter! We love a little place in the Cotswolds and I'm sure we'll head back again this year xx

  3. What a gorgeous place - I love your dessert platter!

  4. I'm so glad you had a great time here! It really is so beautiful isn't it. Your food looks incredible! It is all so different to what we chose and now I want to go back and try what you had!!

    Sarah xxx

  5. I'm hoping we might be able to fit Scarborough in one day and the Yorkshire Moors in the next. That sharing platter looks really impressive, I hope Ronnie wants to share it otherwise it's gonna be a struggle ;) x


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