Having a few days away from home always makes the weekend feel as though it lasts longer. It doesn’t matter if it’s a few days in the countryside or a long weekend somewhere abroad. In the past I’ve never been much of a countryphile, being a self-professed city girl. But over the last few years, I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to the country. Which is convenient now my new job has got me travelling across Northumberland and North Yorkshire. When I was younger I hated the emptiness of the countryside. But now I find the raw, harshness of the rural landscape offers incredible headspace. So when I got the invite to visit a luxury hotel in Yorkshire, I wasn’t about to turn down the opportunity. A former country home converted into a boutique hotel, Ox Pasture Hall is set on 17 acres in North York Moors National Park. Just a short drive from neighbouring Scarborough and Whitby, it’s the perfect place for a weekend getaway.
The first few months of the year always the most depressing. Christmas has come and gone and it’s too far away from summer to start getting excited. So it’s the perfect time for planning a weekend away somewhere – even if it’s not that far away. It should be said though that visiting somewhere like Whitby or Scarborough this time of year is only for the brave. While the weather gets much milder in the spring and summer months, visiting early in the year means the temperature stays pretty low. And the biting wind can chill you to the bone if you’re not layered up before you start exploring. Trust me, not even a hot, salty cone of chips from the seafront will warm you up once the chill sets in.
With its blazing fires and homely feel, Ox Pasture Hall is a stark contrast to the rawness of its surrounding landscape. The rooms are spacious but still feel cosy. There’s no denying it’s a luxurious hotel with a real sense of grandeur, but it’s the sort of place that makes you feel right at home. I’m a firm believer that if there’s one thing you can judge the caliber of a hotel on, it’s the bathroom. Good bathrooms are a prerequisite of a good hotel. And of course, there is no such thing as a bath that’s too big. When it comes to baths, I’m a borderline obsessive. So much so that my flatmate thinks I must be part mermaid. But seriously, after a day of walking along the freezing Scarborough coastline what beats the feeling of sinking into a large tub full of bubbles with a glass of wine followed by a hearty meal at an award winning restaurant?
There’s not many words better suited to Ox Pasture’s cosy courtyard restaurant than indulgent. With its simple decor and white table-clothed tables, you’d be forgiven for thinking the menu would be equally as plain. But with its contemporary British cuisine, Ox Pasture Hall’s restaurant offers fine dining that showcases local produce in a beautifully presented way. On my visit I opted for the duck which was served with a cherry juice, cooked to perfection, and my mother opted for lamb, served tender and on the bone. The dishes are carefully crafted to offer a unique culinary experience, but the portions still feel generous. That’s not to say you shouldn’t still leave room for a dessert or three… indulging in the sharing platter for mouthwateringly good bites seemed like the best option to get a little taste of everything. But it didn’t stop me ordering a sticky toffee pudding on the side.
With full bellies and a huge bed, we were always going to have an amazing sleep. There’s something sinking into crisp white hotel sheets that makes me sleep so soundly that it’s almost painful to drag myself up in the morning. I’ve never been much of a morning person, but breakfast can always tempt me out from the covers, and Ox Pasture’s Full English certainly didn’t disappointed. Although I might have done a better job wolfing down my eggs and bacon if I hadn’t decided to help myself to a huge bowl of fresh fruit and natural yoghurt. Still, that’s the way you’re supposed to start Sundays, right?
If you’re looking for a simple weekend away, Ox Pasture Hall can be on the pricey side with suites going for around £350 per night. But if you’re looking for a luxury weekend away without having to leave the country, it’s the perfect place to escape the chaos of the city and unwind for a few days. With a beautiful grounds and the seaside charms of nearby Scarborough and Whitby, it’s an idyllic place to spend a few days relaxing.