Farida Zeynalova steps off the grid for two days of Yorkshire bliss at the quaint Middlethorpe Hall
Tucked away in a green-soaked lane, close to the racecourse, the redbrick building has National Trust written all over it. The 18th century country house, situated one-and-a-half miles from York, is crammed with charming quirks. The stone-clad entrance hallway mixes lavish manor house with a touch of grandma’s living room, and the stairway leading to the bedrooms is grand without being pretentious. As I arrive, I’m escorted to my room, ready for a weekend away from the bustle and razzmatazz of London.
I walk into my room and instantly step 300 years back in time. I’m greeted with Chintz curtains dotted with English roses, an antique writing desk and — my favourite feature — a four-poster king-sized bed that feels like a giant marshmallow. I draw back the heavy curtains and I’m met with the peaceful south lawn. The building is surrounded by 20 acres of greenery and the courtyard is just below my window, where I can see guests whiling away a balmy June’s evening with a cup of leaf tea. The nearby A64 doesn’t interrupt my blissful night’s sleep.
Housed in a small, charming cottage, Middlethorpe’s boutique spa is worlds away from the show-stopping facilities of grand and glittering hotels — I feel like I’m heading over to a neighbour’s house for afternoon tea. The reception area is small and cosy, and the staff friendly and vivacious. After changing into my waffle dressing gown, I spot the heated whirlpool and sauna — but that’s for later. My therapist, Georgina, escorts me to the dimly lit, modestly sized treatment room, with standard, tranquil spa music strumming away in the background.
I’m booked in for a Decléor discovery facial, but Georgina starts with a complimentary back and head massage. After asking me if the pressure on my upper back was comfortable, the next 10 minutes are silent, which I hugely appreciate. Georgina begins my facial with a cleanse using Decléor’s essential cleansing milk. I’m then treated to a gentle polish, which isn’t scratchy or reddening, serving my oily-to-combination skin perfectly. The toner, which smells like a rose garden, almost puts me to sleep. Finally, Georgina applies the hydra floral anti-pollution hydrating gel-cream, which injects the moisture back into my sleep-deprived face. Well hello, unclogged and brighter skin.
Sitting by myself in the majestic, oak-panelled dining room, I go straight for the main course and order the Yorkshire spring lamb, with butternut squash, goat’s curd and wild garlic. My waiter, Max, is attentive and well mannered. My knife glides through the lamb and I devour it as gracefully as I can. I finish my meal with a refreshing green tea and then head to the sitting room for a peaceful hour with my book, overlooking the endless greenery.
The option of exploring the narrow, cobbled streets of York by day, poking my head into traditional fudge shops and gazing at the gothic cathedral, but being able to revert to basking in the countryside’s glory at night.
Couples and creative minds.
A stay at Middlethorpe Hall & Spa starts from £143 a night. The aromatherapy discovery facial (25 minutes) costs £34.
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