Escaping the daily routine and a change in scenery can do so much good for you. We all need breaks, a chance to recharge and refuel.
In April, we did exactly this, and our exciting adventures didn’t need to take us all too far; our destination was a luxury Scarborough hotel.
One hour 30 later, we stood before Ox Pasture Hall, what once was a country house, now transformed into a 32 bedroomed house hotel encapsulated by the heart of the countryside.
A flowering garden leads to the reception, where upon entrance, we were warmly welcomed and shown into the living room for an afternoon tea. Throughout our entire stay, we were well and truly looked after by Benoit and Jay, who were extremely accommodating. A classic rustic interior, complimented with autumnal colours and exposed brick walls, there isn’t much more you’d want from a country home.
After a proper brew and accompanying sweet treats, we were shown to our suite for the night, the Wetherby room, located in the second courtyard. The suite was split into three rooms, the bedroom, living room and bathroom, all of which were done up to high standards, immaculate and homely.Light and spacious, the rooms were complimented with wooden furniture, and comfortable furnishings, with simple accents including bronzed windowsill ornaments and an antique mirror.The rooms came together in a perfect blend of rural-chic, with every window overlooking the gorgeous greenery surrounding Ox Pasture Hall.
The bathroom was grand. Walk-in-shower, deep bath tub, double sink facility, and a ginormous mirror taking up the entire length of the wall. It was breath-taking, and I eagerly awaited a soak in the bath before the evening tasting menu.
After taking in just how lovely our home for the night was, we decided to visit Scarborough’s coast and town centre and enjoy what the seaside resort had to offer.Starting on North Bay, we opted for a windy walk around the seafront, heading towards Peasholm Park, an oriental themed garden and lake. With dragon boats and a wishing well, amongst plenty of pigeons and squirrels and birds, the park’s small round tour allowed for a pleasant leisurely stroll.Making our way back to the bay, and after warming caffeine top-up, we ventured across to Scarborough Castle and once having reached castle heights, admired Scarborough’s waves from above.Fascinated by the waves crashing in, we enjoyed the view from the top, and even with the unwelcoming chilled winds you’d expect from the coast, the view was worth it.We clambered back down to the bay, and spotted the beautifully crafted steel sculpture. Upon reading, we learned the art was in fact a holocaust memorial named “Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers”. Gilroy, was one of the first soldiers to relieve the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and a friend of the sculptor, Ray Lonsdale. After viewing North Bay, we drove over to the bustling South Bay, the busy seaside attraction showcasing Scarborough’s very best in a long row of shops.
From amusement arcades, to stalls selling rock and fudge, freshly cooked fish ‘n’ chips and the inner harbour, South Bay is the ultimate tourist attraction, evident from the heavy footfall.Their fishing fleet, which is still in use today, was one of my favourite attractions. We peered into the boats looking for fishing remnants, appreciated the long line of crab net cages, and managed to snap a photo of these two cute turnstone.Although we knew a five course tasting menu was coming our way in the evening, it was a must to have fish and chips. I mean, how could we not? And what’s a seaside visit, without an ice-cream?
At seven, we made our way over to the hotel’s restaurant, in preparation for the nights tasting menu. This, of course, was after the most heavenly of baths, followed by the ultimate robe-wrap and a cup of tea.
Pre-menu-tasting essential preperations. We were seated in a private alcove, overlooking the gardens. From a bright, sunny day, the sun set, and our view changed to a golden, sun-kissed sky, to the dark quiet night.
Over the three hours, we were wined and dined, from start to finish with what I can only describe as an exquisite food experience that was delicious, sophisticated and fun.Each meal was also came paired with a wine, that we opted for, from their recommend wine flight menu. A choice, if you enjoy wine, I can highly recommend, and to ensure that their understanding is top-notch.
Onion mousse: onion puree, savoury granola, pickled China radish.
Pinot Grigio Ca’ Tesore, Venezie, Italy: this wine come from a high altitude vineyard in Italy, dry and packed with floral notes, finished off with an almond touch. Pungent and light, this starter was delightful and packed an absolute punch in flavour. It was served delicately, with the sprinkles of walnuts contrasting in texture and complimenting the intense onion flavours. I love onion, and having never tried onion mousse, I was so impressed with the end result.
Mackerel, celeriac, home-made bread: tartare, celeriac textures
Riesling, ‘Kuki’, Marlborough, New Zealand: hints of fresh cut apple, melon, lime and spring flowers. A bright palate of citrus with green apple and a crisp lingering finish. The mackerel served in two different ways was divine. For Nathan, this course was the one he was least sure about, and actually became his favourite. As a fish eater, it was interesting seeing how the two differed in texture and flavour.
The wine in particular was a perfect pairing, as explained, it cuts through the oil of the fish and cleanses the palette.
Beef, treacle, carrot, blackberry, pommes Anna: beef soaked in treacle, carrot textures, pickled blackberry, red wine jus
Malbec ‘Lunta’, Mendoza, Argentina: intense fruity aromas of raspberry, plum blackberry & cassis. Explosive fruit notes from a light-bodied, easy to drink Malbec.This dish was presented beautifully, and although the beef was fairly tough, the treacle sauce was a brilliant flavour, along with the pickled blackberries. Interestingly, this Malbec, is actually grown typically in the valleys, but instead, 1000m’s high on the mountains.
Lemon, olive oil, raspberry, sorrel: lemon & olive oil cake, raspberry curd, vinaigrette, sorrel granita.
Prosecco, Pure, Veneto, Italy: organic, fruity sparkling wine with delightful apple blossom flavours, clean and refreshing.What more would you want from a lemon dessert, than a zingy blast of lemoness? From the soft and tasty spongy cake, to the crunchy shards and sweet bitterness from the fruits. Fun, exciting and one that will definitely make you pull a face.
To add to the fun, best consumed with a yummy glass of bubbly.
Rhubarb & Rosehip: rhubarb Charlotte & Rosehip tart, ginger ice-cream.
Pacherenc, de Vic Bilh Collection, Plaimont, France: unctuous dessert wine with candied fruit flavours and a balancing freshness.Served like a piece of art, this dessert was an ode to rhubarb and rosehip, showcasing the very best of the two. To balance out the sweetness, a good dollop of ginger ice-cream added to the sharpness in flavours, and melted together well with the rest of the flavours.
Served with the type of wine I like the most, a proper sweet dessert wine. This one in particular was made a few miles from Toulouse, and blended together heavenly with three grapes. I could have sipped away at this all night. And because five course’s clearly isn’t enough, we were brought these interesting choco-popsicles filled with raspberry and lemon.
With a full belly, and tired eyes, we made our way back to the room, to cosey up in our double bed and dream about the fabulous festivities and feast of the day.
Being early-risers, we enjoyed the very best of the morning sun, shining hazily through our windows, and glancing out the windows of our countryside abode, the morning dew was just about visible. We took our time getting ready, and made our way over to the restaurant, with some rumbling bellies. To start with, a fruit bowl with yoghurt. Healthy. Yet who am I kidding, when it comes to a Yorkshire breakfast, a fry-up is totally necessary. Plus it’s a whole hour and a half back to Leeds, so, a decent start to the day is needed?This idyllic retreat was dreamy. A completely called for getaway to just relax, spend time together with my favourite man, and enjoy all the fine elements of this staycation.
It amazes me each time our adventures takes us somewhere new, just how gorgeous and exciting things can be on your doorstep. We’ve lived in Yorkshire for six years, and there’s still so much to see. Here’s to more adventures in 2017.
Have you got any travel plans? I’d love to hear them, and quite possibly find inspiration from some of your ideas too.