The Perfect Short Break in Yorkshire

Travelling and food and drink are our real passions here at H&N Magazine and when we have the opportunity to combine both, it’s a real treat.

That said, all elements need to be good to tick our boxes and that includes location and service, especially for a short break in Yorkshire, our home county.

When we visited The Wensleydale Hotel in the historic Yorkshire market town of Middleham, we were really looking forward to it as the hotel’s reputation preceded it and Middleham itself is famous for its far-reaching views, history, racehorses, a great choice of pubs, and many family attractions nearby.

Let’s not forget its twelfth century castle, the childhood home of Richard III, and thriving racehorse training industry, the town of Middleham is arranged around two market squares surrounded by Georgian buildings, interesting shops, galleries and cafés, and it is perfect.

During our stay we were to explore the area extensively, it’s all part of the experience to be able to recommend to you not only the best places to stay but also what to do whilst there, here we were spoilt for choice, more of that later, first we need to tell you about The Wensleydale Hotel – what a find!

Owned and run by the Merchie family, they took over the property in 2019 and completely renovated it through lockdown, this Grade II listed building that is now a cosy and welcoming Yorkshire hotel was once an inn with a neighbouring hotel and provisions store. Fiona and her sons Monty and Hugo offer the warmest of welcomes and indeed welcome you into their family, making sure you have a truly memorable stay.

The Wensleydale has a traditional entrance leading onto a small reception area and a welcoming bar, complete with wood burning stove and inglenook stone fireplace. The bar opens out onto the ‘Tack Room’ Restaurant, where the interior décor featuring antique riding boots and saddles, racing silks, sporting prints and other equine paraphernalia, pays homage to the town’s horse racing heritage. Fifteen of the UK’s top thoroughbred racing yards are based in, or close to, Middleham, and produce some of the finest equine athletes in the racing world today.

short break in Yorkshire

A daily spectacle is the sound and sight of these magnificent beasts being ridden from their stables to The Gallops for their morning exercise. Just one of many jaw dropping moments we experienced during our stay. In fact, this was our unique wakeup call as they passed by our bedroom window each morning.

The bedrooms are full of character with some original features including fireplaces, oak beams, original shutters, and window seats. Some, like ours, offer views of the Market Square with Middleham Castle dominating the skyline. New colourful designer fabrics offer a splash of colour in the soft furnishings to add a touch of luxury, along with the Temple Spa toiletries, fluffy white towels, and crisp Egyptian cotton bedlinen.

short break in Yorkshire

The food here is exceptional, with seasonal locally sourced food on the menu showcasing the best produce from the North Yorkshire region. Specialities include owner and hotel manager, Fiona’s home-reared and grass fed, rare breed pork and lamb, meats from Yorkshire Dales Meat at Hackforth, home baked sourdough bread, along with game, when in season, from nearby Swinton Estate, as well as other local favourites, such as cheeses from The Wensleydale Creamery and Swaledale Cheese Company, and home-made ice cream.

Dogs are welcome too, both guests and their four-legged friend can enjoy the laid back, homely atmosphere and extensive ‘off-lead’ walking in the surrounding countryside, and no day out in the Yorkshire Dales would be complete without a visit to Middleham Castle. Once the childhood home of Richard III, you can relive the castle’s illustrious history and unlock the deeds of its great owners. Although roofless, extensive remains of the fortified palace still survive, making Middleham a fascinating castle to explore.

During our own visit, we explored the castle, hiked for miles around the beautiful countryside and even visited local attractions; Forbidden Corner is an excellent day out for all the family. A unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises created within a four-acre.

A tourist visitor attraction unlike anywhere that you have been before, ideal for the adventurers and those young at heart!

Other places to visit in the area include Black Sheep Brewery, the cobbled market town of Richmond, The Wensleydale Creamery at Hawes and Jervaulx Abbey. There is so much to see and do that we recommend a stay of at least two nights.

It’s fair to say The Wensleydale Hotel and Middleham ticked all of our boxes – in fact we had to add a couple of extra boxes to tick! Yes, it is that good.

If you are looking for the perfect short break in Yorkshire, this is it. Look no further. Just book it!

Call 01969622093

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