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From eclectic guesthouse to grand country estate, we’ve scouted out where to stay and what to do in Britain’s bucolic northern county.
Rolling valleys dotted with sheep, uplands plump with heather, and hearty meals in homely pubs must mean one thing – you’re in God’s Own Country. Whether you’re opting for a staycation or quintessentially British holiday, North Yorkshire, the largest of Yorkshire’s four counties – home to the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the North York Moors, staggering coastline and Yorkshire’s food capital Malton – won’t disappoint. Pull on your walking boots, absorb the crisp air and succumb to the local charm, which radiates warmth all year round. Here’s your wholesome guide to North Yorkshire.
Stow House, Yorkshire Dales: The Quirky B&B
Shoreditch comes to the Yorkshire Dales at Stow House, a boutique B&B zinging with super-charged pastels, kooky upholstered furniture, playful pop art and pug-printed cushions. Creatives Sarah and Phil left London to revamp this Leyburn country vicarage in 2014 and it now comprises seven, airy bedrooms each named after a piece of art hanging on the wall, and all offering glorious vistas of the Dales and lavishly spacious bathrooms. Head down to the sitting room’s plush, velvet sofas, inviting wood burner and trusting honesty bar for Sarah’s early-evening Happy Hour. The punchy Corpse Reviver No. 2 is an instant crowd-pleaser – and Sarah will happily divulge tips. While Phil’s breakfasts served in the light-drenched dining room provide delicious fodder before bracing, morning walks.
- +44 1969 663 635
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WHAT TO DO:
Visit the nearby Aysgarth Falls, a magnificent triple flight of waterfalls adored by Ruskin, Wordsworth and Turner, or take a bucolic stroll towards West Burton, one of Yorkshire’s prettiest villages, home to the gorgeous Cauldron Falls. The Sandpiper Inn, a small ivy-covered rural pub serving beautifully cooked local produce, real ales and fine wines, is a 15-minute drive away. Head south towards Malham Cove’s dramatic curving amphitheatre – a limestone cliff formed by an ancient glacier, which was featured in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows film – taking in mountainous hills, endless valleys and eerie cloud farms. Post-walk, the close-by The Lister Arms’ home-cooked Yorkshire menu is best enjoyed sitting next to a roaring fire or on its picturesque terrace.
Middleton Lodge, North Yorkshire: The Countryside Retreat
Middleton Lodge’s private, 200-acre, eco-friendly estate near Richmond offers up a sumptuously snug place to stay overlooking North Yorkshire’s moors – with rural farmland, a scenic walled kitchen garden serving two restaurants and every home comfort imaginable. Engineer James Allison co-owns his childhood home with his partner, architect Rebecca Allison – together they have lovingly restored the once-neglected Georgian estate into a rustic-chic masterpiece. Accommodation is spread across 16 bedrooms in the main house, 11 in the Dairy (the new Undercroft suite is divine), the Potting Shed’s three bedrooms within the walls of the kitchen garden and the six-bedroom Farmhouse with communal living area. All offer stylish décor and alluring bathrooms with free-standing tubs. The restaurant’s menus are guided by the seasonal produce homegrown in the kitchen garden and the estate’s woodland.
- +44 1325 377 977
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WHAT TO DO:
Jump on Middleton Lodge’s bikes to explore the estate’s bucolic fields and woodland trails, mooch around the two-acre walled garden, or visit the serene treatment rooms for organic spa therapies. The all-day Coach House Restaurant elevates its rural setting with picturesque artisan touches and a seasonal menu inspired by the Yorkshire countryside, while the newly opened Forge offers fine dining Wednesday to Saturday evenings in a spectacular candlelit setting. Head chef Gareth Rayner’s innovative tasting menu can accommodate all dietary requirements and spans the full spectrum of flavours, with genius surprises embedded into each exquisitely presented dish – it’s only a matter of time before it’s Michelin star territory. If you fancy venturing out, go for a gentle stroll along Richmond Falls over towards Easby Abbey, or visit Mainsgill Farmshop & Tearoom for your quota of cute animals and gorgeous gifts.
Brownber Hall, Yorkshire Dales: The Hip Bolthole
Staying at Amanda and Peter’s laid-back guesthouse, which forms part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, is like landing in the bosom of a particularly welcoming family. From the moreish lemon drizzle cake left out for guests, to intimate candlelit dining areas and a good-willed honesty bar, Brownber Hall’s communal areas feel like home, organically encouraging conversation among residents. The eight, minimally designed rooms overlooking the Howgill Fells exude understated luxury – from divinely fragranced organic bath products and beds as spongy as clouds, to soft mood lighting, with the odd homely touch of a handwritten framed poems or stack of vintage books. Hearty breakfasts champion homemade and locally sourced goods, while Thursdays to Sundays mark Brownber’s Italian-inspired dinners – Peter’s stoned-baked, sourdough pizzas are an unexpected culinary treat.
- +44 1539 623 208
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WHAT TO DO:
Brownber Hall is a well-connected base from which to explore the Yorkshire Dales, the North Pennines and the Lake District. For a tranquil Dales walk, loop around the Smardale Gill Viaduct Nature Reserve lapping up lush valleys, rustic limestone quarries and, if you’re lucky, adorable wild ponies – otherwise, you might not see another soul. If you fancy cycling instead, Amanda and Peter can arrange bike hire. Cheese enthusiasts should make a beeline to Hawes, the birthplace of Yorkshire’s famous Wensleydale Cheese – eat your fill at the Wensleydale Creamery. Finish the evening stargazing at Brownber Hall where the vast skies free from light pollution allow you to catch the constellations in startling detail.
The Talbot Malton, Yorkersgate: The foodie haven
The Talbot Malton is synonymous with fantastic food. A quintessentially British, 17th-century riverside inn headed up by Georgie and Sam Pearson, founders of the Country Creatures boutique accommodation and restaurant group, The Talbot Malton’s restaurant uses top-notch local ingredients, packing indulgent rich flavours. The melt-in-your-mouth ox cheek served with creamy mash and glutinous gravy is a showstopper and breakfast is another seriously foodie affair, with a substantial menu catering for all diets. Decor is old school meets new, with grand sofas, antique fireplaces and four-poster beds flirting with contemporary artwork and potted houseplants. Choose between ‘cosy’, ‘good’, ‘big’, ‘excellent’ or ‘family’ rooms, which alternate between lively and calming palettes, with the plush sitting room offering another tempting place to unwind in.
- +44 1653 639 096
- Go to Website
WHAT TO DO:
With its thriving artisan scene and food festivals supplying high-calibre produce, Malton has earned itself the title of the food capital of Yorkshire. The Talbot Malton runs its own cookery school, as well as Malton food tours. Across the road, The Talbot Yard is a gorgeous courtyard home to six producers, among them Bluebird Bakery, which makes hand-shaped organic bakes, and botanical gin makers Rare Bird Distillery, home to North Yorkshire’s first gin school. Step back in time exploring Malton’s vintage shops and higgledy-piggledy streets. The New Malton is a great spot for lunch. Drive towards the North Yorkshire Moors, looping around the incredible Hole of Horcum, known as Yorkshire’s Grand Canyon, or head towards Scarborough’s coast.
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