10/03/16 - Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough

Yorkshire holds a very special place in my heart.  As a child, I spent a lot of family summer holidays around Scarborough and Whitby, and I had a blast at the University of Hull.  So when I was offered the opportunity to review the Ox Pasture Hall, a luxury country house hotel in the beautiful North Yorkshire moors, I certainly wasn't going to turn it down!

The train journey from Manchester Piccadilly to Scarborough was pretty straightforward, taking around two and a half hours.  Despite the rural setting and the lovely feeling of seclusion, Ox Pasture Hall is actually less than a fifteen minute drive from the station and getting a taxi was a super easy option.  I can see why it's such a popular wedding venue, as the hotel itself is charming and surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside.  We were given a wonderfully warm welcome when we arrived and had the chance to relax with a coffee in the hotel's rustic bar area - complete with a roaring fire - before being shown to our room.  

And what a room!  The suite was spacious with a fantastic view of the grounds, made all the more beautiful by the February sunlight streaming through the huge windows.  The size didn't detract from the cosiness of the room and we felt instantly at home.

We'd allowed ourselves plenty of time to relax before dinner and we made the most of it.  After experiencing the gorgeously decadent bathroom with its large walk-in shower and beautiful double-ended bath, we wrapped ourselves in the thick white dressing gowns provided and settling down on the king size bed for a little afternoon reading session with a complimentary cup of tea.  Once we were suitably rested, we headed out for dinner.

The Courtyard Restaurant at the Ox Pasture Hall is renowned for its food, being the only restaurant in Scarborough to have been awarded two rosettes for culinary excellence, and it's easy to see why.  The menu was appropriately select but with a varied range of dishes on offer, and everything we chose was delicious.  To start, we opted for a prawn cocktail and a goat's cheese tart - both of which were divine.  The prawns were served with slices of the softness and most delicately cheese-infused bread, and the sharpness of the goat's cheese was perfectly complimented by the sweeter notes from the beetroot and orange that accompanied it.  My sea bass was heavenly and served with perfectly cooked new potatoes, and while as a pescatarian I can't personally comment on the steak I was assured by my partner that it was excellent and cooked exactly as ordered.  All this good food proved to be comfortably filling, so we opted to share a dessert.  The chocolate cake was a brilliant choice and the chocolate orange sorbet with it was something of a revelation.  All washed down with a lovely bottle of prosecco - by the time we finished, we were feeling very satisfied and relaxed.  After dinner, we headed to the bar area to lounge on the plush sofas in front of the fire before drifting back to the room for a good night's sleep.  Absolute bliss.

We awoke bright and early the next morning feeling fully refreshed and, despite the previous night's indulgent meal, we were ready to sample the breakfast options.  Once again, the food did not disappoint.

One of the important ingredients of a seaside holiday is a good hearty breakfast to fuel a day which will inevitably involve a lot of walking.  Alongside the continental options of cereal, pastries and fruit, the Ox Pasture Hall do a stellar cooked breakfast - which, as we all know, is the main highlight of staying in a hotel!  A proper Yorkshire fry up is on offer, while the goat's cheese and tomato omelette felt a lot healthier but was equally as delicious and filling.
It was time to bid farewell to the hotel and head out for a day of exploring.  Fortunately we'd had a bit of a potter around the day before, because on the second day the beautiful blue skies gave way to the more conventional grey clouds and spatterings of rain you expect of North East England in February.  Although the majority of Scarborough's attractions are on the sea-front and are much more enjoyable when the weather's nice, there's plenty to do even if it's a bit miserable.  There are the usual high street shops as well as some quirky little stalls in the vaults of the market hall and a second-hand bookshop which is, in my opinion, everything a bookshop ought to be.  If exploring a maze of rooms with shelves all the way to the ceiling and teetering stacks of books around your feet sounds like your idea of heaven, Mrs Lofthouse's Book Emporium is the place for you!  

This is everyone's holiday priority, right?
A little bit of culture never goes amiss on a grey afternoon, and Scarborough has plenty to offer.  The art gallery boasts a varied permanent collection which tells the town's story, from the influence of the sea on local artists to its early history as a fashionable resort, and the Rotunda Museum goes even further back through time, depicting Jurassic Scarborough and its inhabitants, most notably the Gristhorpe Man, a unique Bronze Age skeleton found in the area.  A mere £3 will gain you twelve months' access to both attractions, thanks to the Scarborough Museums Trust.  

And of course, no trip to the seaside would be complete without some time in the arcades.  There's little that can beat the pure and unadulterated excitement of watching those pesky two pence coins inch their way over the tipping point and into the tray at the bottom, so if the weather's not too great, take my advice and don't fight it!  

By the time we boarded our train back to Manchester, I was more relaxed than I had been in months.  Sometimes, even a holiday of only one night is exactly what you need to unwind and switch off from the real world and the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is the perfect place to do that.  A special thank you has to go to Alan who took such good care of us while we were there, and Shaun for the chance to review such a gorgeous hotel!

Fancy a trip to Scarborough this year?  Find even more things to do in this blog post from last summer!

No comments:

Be the first to comment on this post: