Last weekend saw the missus and I get some much needed alone time. In fact, it was the first time EVER that we’ve both left Toddler L for the night. There’s been the odd occasion when one of us hasn’t been around, but never has the fruit of our loins been left for so long – a whopping 31 hours by my count – without us both.
The reason? We’d been offered a complimentary one night stay in a luxury suite, with dinner, bed & breakfast at Ox Pasture Hall, a luxury hotel in Yorkshire. Although it’s both family and dog-friendly, we decided that this was the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together without the rest of our clan.
With Dax shipped off to a friend’s house and Toddler L dumped at my folks’, we made our way up to North Yorkshire for our weekend away. We really like this area of the country – I used to go on holiday quite often to the likes of Whitby and Scarborough as a kid, and our last break as a couple before Toddler L came into the world was around Filey and the neighbouring Yorkshire coastline.
With our suitcase packed, the music turned up loud in the car and a feeling of freedom not experienced in a hell of a long time, we began our journey from my folks’ house in Lincolnshire up to North Yorkshire. On our way to Ox Pasture Hall, we decided to first stop off at the York Designer Outlet to do a bit of toddler-free shopping and grab a bite to eat for lunch.
The next stop was Scarborough. We parked over towards the far side of South Bay Beach which provides great views across the sea front. From here, we walked down to the beach and made our way across the south promenade. It was a little too chilly to don just my Speedos and take a dip in the water, so instead we had a wander through the arcades – one of my favourite activities as a kid. After looping back up through the town centre, we headed back to the car and made the short drive to Ox Pasture Hall.
Considering that the hotel is less than three miles from Scarborough, it feels like you’re in a different world. Left behind are the hoards of seaside tourists, the noise and lights of the amusements and the smell of doughnuts and sea salt. Instead, these are replaced with beautiful views across the countryside, the sounds of wildlife and a stunning former country house which would be our residence for the evening.
Comprising of 32 bedrooms and suites, an award winning restaurant and a bar, the converted country house is surrounded by 17 acres of gardens in the Forge Valley. Our initial impressions of the hotel were great – the view of the of the building as you come down the driveway, the ample parking available and the friendliness of the guy on reception. We were booked in for dinner at 6.30pm, then shown to our room, which took us on a little tour via the restaurant, bar, gardens, courtyard and to the Wetherby Suite.
Our room screamed of luxury and comfort. The suite was large, consisting of a separate bedroom, a lounge and a luxury bathroom – the latter was fitted with two his and hers wash hand basins, a bath with waterfall taps and a walk-in shower. The decor and furnishings had a very rustic, country feel to them, thus fitted in perfectly with the surroundings. We had a window in the bedroom which looked out onto a pathway and one in the lounge area which provided a nice view of the gardens to the front of the hotel.
The suite also had all of the mod cons that you’d expect. There was a TV with Freeview in the lounge, another TV in the bedroom, a hair-dryer, coffee making facilities, shampoos, a safe, bathrobes and even some complimentary bottles of water. I was disapointed with Wi-Fi though – for someone who lives on the internet, I was unable to connect and use the Wi-Fi whilst in the room due to signal strength, which was particularly annoying as there is very little mobile coverage too. The Wi-Fi did work in the communal areas like the restaurant, but I’d have expected it to work in the bedrooms, particularly one of the suites. Yeah, I know, #FirstWorldProblems.
As part of our stay, we were also treated to dinner in the Courtyard Restaurant. Described as “one of the best restaurants to eat in the Scarborough area” and “the only restaurant in Scarborough to have been awarded 2-rosettes for culinary excellence”, we were really looking forward to trying out the modern British menu.
The food, atmosphere and overall experience was really great. We were treated to a very friendly, professional service throughout and enjoyed our three-course meal immensely. The best thing though was just being able to sit there and chat without a toddler taking both of our attentions away from each other. We received a complimentary bottle of Prosecco – which was a really nice touch and hugely appreciated – then placed our orders.
I went with duck and rabbit terrine, sirloin of Yorkshire beef and sticky toffee pudding, whilst the missus ordered goats cheese tart, monkfish and hot chocolate fondant. We were also treated to a tomato and red pepper amuse-bouche as well as cheese and chive bread. The food was of a really high quality – I particularly enjoyed the beef and the sticky toffee pudding, whilst the missus commented on how nice the tart and honeycomb ice-cream was (not together). She’s also now realised that she likes beetroot, which came with the starter!
We ordered another bottle of Prosecco, hung out in the cosy bar area for a while, then retired to our suite for the evening. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I’m happy to announce that the bath comfortably fits two people with two glasses of fizz, whilst the king-size bed is comfortable, spacious and not noisy.
After a good night’s sleep, we woke the next day and headed down to breakfast at around 10am which was in the same place as the evening meal. Here, we were presented with the choice of a full English breakfast, other cooked breakfast choices like a goats cheese omelette or a continental breakfast. We both ordered the full English (obviously!), toast, tea and coffee. The food was reasonable, but nothing special.
Considering how spectacular the food had been the night before, I kind of expected the same for breakfast, but things were a little greasy, the portions seemed to be a bit odd (we only had one sausage and one piece of bacon each, but two fried eggs – I dunno, maybe that’s just me?), and we weren’t given a choice of how we wanted our eggs although other people were. It was still tasty and was devoured, but it just felt like standards had dropped slightly compared to the previous evening.
After breakfast, we went back to our room, packed our suitcase then checked out. Before we left Ox Pasture Hall, we decided to have a bit of a wander around the grounds considering how nice the weather was. At the back of the property, there’s some great views of the countryside, a lake, some benches and a cat that wouldn’t leave us alone! We spent a bit of time out there, but as it was a little chilly, we decided to head back to the car. I imagine this would be a fab spot during the summer months to hang out though.
Rather than just head straight home, we decided to go the scenic route and make the most of our last few hours of childless freedom. Along the way, we stopped off at a number of places which gave us great views of the Yorkshire coastline, including Bempton Cliffs, as well as had a wander around the seaside town of Bridlington.
We had a great weekend at Ox Pasture Hall and in the surrounding area. What better place to have your first night away from the toddler than a quaint, rustic and, dare I say, romantic boutique hotel in the countryside? Our suite was luxurious, the food was awesome and we were in a good location to visit different parts of North Yorkshire.
What’s more, it gave the missus and I chance to just spend some alone time together – something which is very difficult to do as parents, but something which is essential for the good of your marriage. We’d definitely recommend a stay at Ox Pasture Hall and hope to return in the future, with or without, the toddler and dog.
N.B. This review was written by me (Dave) and represents my honest opinion. We were provided with a complimentary one night stay, with dinner, bed & breakfast at Ox Pasture Hall with the purpose of writing an honest review in exchange.[jetpack_subscription_form subscribe_text=”Like what you’ve read? Want more? Pop in your email to get all of the latest posts.”]