When our friends invited us up to Scotland in October to help celebrate their wedding, our immediate thoughts turned to how we were going to get there. Flying seemed a good option until we worked out the eye-watering price of three and a bit fares, car hire and transfers. Instead, we opted to drive up, cutting up the journey there and back into two day’s worth of travel each way.
This meant manageable drives of up to four hours or so at a time and the chance to explore along the way. We are big fans of slow travel in this family and here was a perfect opportunity to find out a bit more about parts of the UK we would normally breeze past on a soulless motorway. We set about working out where to break our journey.
With perfect timing, an invite appeared in my inbox for a night’s stay at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, just outside Scarborough in North Yorkshire. It would mean taking a bit of a detour but North Yorkshire is not an area we have visited as a family before and I don’t think I have ever been to Scarborough. The hotel website looked fantastic and a glance at the food section with their mouth-watering dinner menus made our minds up. North Yorkshire and Ox Pasture Hall Hotel it was to be!
After a long first day of travel, we arrived at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in the early evening of a Thursday, just as dusk was falling. The drive in was magical, leaving behind the main road to weave through forested lanes and past misty fields. As we pulled into the drive, Ox Pasture Hall Hotel ‘s lights glowed a warm welcome on its country cottage-esque facade. Inside we were given a warm welcome and Roo was introduced to the hotel dog who in a greeting of her own, promptly rolled over to have her tummy tickled. As we were led out through the courtyard to our wing, we passed pretty fountains and a pond, with the outsides of the courtyard lit by soft fairy lights. In the twilight of an autumnal evening the twinkling lights, mist and muffled sound of running water combined leant the courtyard a rather romantic feel.
Our room was off a secluded courtyard away from the hotel’s main entrance and restaurant building. The rooms here are pretty new and their spotless, bright interiors reflect this! My only advice would be if you visit in autumn or winter, to book a room away from the main entrance-way to the courtyard – ours was right next to the door and later in the evening a bit of a chilly draft crept into our room.
Staying in one of Ox Pasture Hall Hotel’s suites, we were able to enjoy three adjoining rooms of good size. The main lounge area came complete with sofa, TV and table for retiring to for cosy evenings in, with the view out of fields from the large window a pleasant view to look out to over a morning cup of tea.
Off one side, the bedroom lay invitingly. With its super king sized bed and crisp linen, we had trouble resisting an early night after our long drive. The staff had put up a camp bed for Roo and provided a travel cot for Baby that looked new to me. Everything was clean and inviting. The bed was incredibly comfy and we would have had a fantastic night’s sleep if it weren’t for the misfortune of having to get up for a fire alarm in the middle of the night! Oh well – these things happen!
The other end of the lounge was the entrance to the bathroom. It was huge. Kitted out in warm, earthy tones, double basins, massive tiled bath and a selection of nice toiletries it felt a little like a spa.. Roo was completely transfixed by the walk in shower. She ran in fully clothed and it was all we could do to get her out again for dinner! The water was steaming hot and the shower super-powerful – just what was needed to relax those muscles after a long time travelling. A word of warning for those who like my husband enjoy indulging in a sneaky pre-bed shower though – the hot water wasn’t so reliable after 10pm.
We really enjoyed staying in a suite and it made life a lot easier with a family. In a normal hotel room, once the kids are in bed, we often find ourselves sitting in a gloomily lit silence until giving up and going to bed. Being in a suite meant Roo and Baby could sleep whilst we relaxed with our Yorkshire tea and TV in the separate lounge area. Once my husband had gone to bed, I also stayed up making the use of the free wi-fi (better on laptop than phone for some reason) and catching up on some writing – something I couldn’t have done in a normal room. The suite was a luxury that made our hotel stay so much more enjoyable whilst sharing with children.
It didn’t take us long after arriving to find our way to the restaurant. It is a pleasant spot to eat, with the neutral, bright interior focusing all your attention out onto the gently lit courtyard it overlooks with its pretty flowers and fountains. The staff were lovely and very attentive, especially to the children.
We enjoyed a lovely three course dinner. The meal started with steaming bread rolls with a choice of flavours. Between us we tried all of them – delicious! After a strawberry amuse bouche, I enjoyed a starter of local fish-cakes which were really tasty and cooked beautifully whilst my husband discovered that beetroot can taste equally good as a sorbet! I loved that the kids had a choice of starters too. We chose a salad for Roo, meaning we had at least got her to eat something healthy before the chips we had relented on arrived with her main course.
Our mains were tasty, although as a rare meat lover, I really should have remembered to ask for my duck to be less well done. We appreciated the good choice of wine by the glass – driving the next day, we only fancied a taster and it was refreshing to find both a good Rioja and a Malbec on the menu and not just a standard ‘house red’. Roo’s dinner was very well cooked although I’m afraid to say she pigged out on the chunky chips. I couldn’t blame her – they were good!
Dessert though was the main event for us. Unable to choose from all the scrumptious puddings on offer, we opted for a sharing platter, with a selection of the best for two. It was a brave decision given how good the desserts were, particularly the brownie. I’ve a feeling our sharing would have gone out the window completely if it weren’t for Roo there as a visual reminder of the need for demonstrating good table manners! Dessert was followed by some very good espressos and then the inevitable removal of tired and very well fed children to bed.
Quite how we managed to fit in a full Yorkshire breakfast the next morning, with some of the best sausages and black pudding I’ve had for a while, I really don’t know. I’m ashamed to say that we also enjoyed the cereal and pastries too – my only defence is that we really did do a lot of walking on our trip!
Ox Pasture Hall Hotel’s grounds are where the hotel really comes into its own. Its gardens are positioned perfectly to enjoy the surrounding landscape with the slightly raised position of the hotel allowing it to enjoy far reaching views. After breakfast, we went to explore the gardens which turned out to be large and very pretty. There is a lot of new planting taking place and I would love to return next summer when the many roses growing romantically over arches over the path would be in full bloom. There is a small, wild pond around which the path trails. With the rolling hills in the background this must make a beautiful and romantic spot for wedding photographs.
We explored right down to the far end of the garden, Roo racing along and checking out every corner, plant and statue along the way. Full of inspiration from this beautiful landscape, we headed back to get ready for some walking nearby. With a myriad of paths near the hotel, several of them accessible directly from Ox Pasture Hall Hotel itself, this is a great spot for outdoor enthusiasts. We followed the recommendations of the hotel staff and headed down for some riverside strolling in the Forge Valley just a few minutes drive away, followed by a walk in scenic Scarborough later in the morning. If only we had had longer. The whole of the North York Moors called and so many other exciting places to visit with the family in the area.
Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is a lovely spot for a secluded break in North East Yorkshire. There has been obvious investment in the luxury side of the hotel in recent years with the addition of the pristine suites we stayed in and the heavy recent planting and landscaping in the gardens being the most notable. We passed a wedding being set up in the adjoining function room and it looked a lovely, tranquil spot to enjoy your special day and an intimate venue.
From the immaculate cot and high chair and the way the restaurant staff were a little unfamiliar with children (Roo to her delight was given a full set of adult cutlery and her water in a wine glass!) I would guess that children are not necessarily such frequent visitors here, although the bar opposite is perhaps the less formal choice for family dining. Whilst I can see the appeal of Ox Pasture Hall Hotel as a venue for a romantic getaway without the kids, parents of tots are missing out as the staff are very welcoming to their little guests, happy to accommodate their needs and the rooms, grounds and surrounding countryside of Ox Pasture Hall Hotel offer plenty of family friendly fun. With pet friendly rooms also available, it is a perfect place for keen walkers to jump off and explore the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.
We enjoyed our brief stop-over at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel. Id’ be interested to see how the hotel develops going forward and I would love to see those newly planted areas of the garden again in summer when I imagine they will be spectacular. A mid-week autumn night’s accommodation in a standard room at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel would normally cost around £100, with a luxury suite from approximately £300. it is worth looking at the hotel’s website for special offers if time is on your side though – at time of writing there is a great offer for three course dinner, bed and breakfast from £119 pp for dates in November!
N.b.We were the happy recipients of one night’s dinner, bed and breakfast at Ox Pasture Hall, staying in one of their Luxury Suites. The words and opinions as appear in this review however remain firmly my own and reflect the experiences of our stay.