It’s a while since we’ve been away. When we adopted Teddy we decided that we’d dedicate three months to settling him in so we’ve been home based since January. But then an invitation to review The Devonshire Arms came in and because it isn’t far away, I decided the boys could do a night of Ted duty so we had a 24 hour escape. As you know, I spent part of last week unravelling future trip bookings that have been cancelled so it felt good to be able to get away under our own steam. It makes me wonder if staycations are going to play a larger part in everyone’s calendar this year. If so, here’s a great place to head to, join me for a whirlwind stay in a Great British Bolthole – a night in Yorkshire.
Great British Boltholes – a night in Yorkshire
Let’s start with a bit of background. The Devonshire Arms is part of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire’s Bolton Abbey Estate near Skipton. During the nineteenth century the Royal Family often stayed at Bolton Abbey for shoots and so the inn expanded to accommodate their entourage. Based in a small village it’s within striking distance of the lovely market towns of Harrogate and Ilkley with the cities of York and Leeds a bit further afield. We were booked in for a Sunday night and arrived in the early afternoon to make the most of our stay…
Cashmere jumper (gifted SS20); Blazer (now in the sale, gifted AW19); Hush jeans (2017); Boots
… our room wasn’t ready so we sat happily in the bar and waited…
… the feel of the place is faded country house style with the occasional quirky touch. There were cosy nooks with log fires burning…
… inviting walls filled with wine…
… wellies to borrow for walks that start from the doorstep…
… and particularly good options for dogs. It’s a very dog friendly hotel although they’re not allowed in some of the bars and restaurants – the dog concierge will look after them at reception in these comfy beds.
We were taken up to our room in the older part of the building. New extensions have been added to the hotel and although I didn’t see the rooms there, I’d recommend booking into the old building to fully appreciate the atmosphere of the place.
We had a cosy four poster bed…
… a few different armchairs for reading and relaxing…
… while enjoying freshly baked cakes and biscuits with a coffee from the Nespresso machine.
There was a bath with a view as well as a high tech rainfall shower…
… and lovely Noble Isle toiletries in refillable bottles.
Quite a few of the rooms accommodate dogs too with four poster beds of their own.
Other highlights of the room included windows that open fully for a night of fresh air and a fridge filled with fresh milk, good chocolate bars and other delights for which there was no extra charge. There was a magnifying mirror in the bathroom which has to be a midlife make-up essential. In fact the only criticism I could make of the room was the quality of the hairdryer which was low powered requiring a finger to be kept on a button in order to operate it.
So, with only one afternoon at our disposal we decided to do as much as we could. There wasn’t time for one of the longer walks so we had a mooch around the gardens and popped into the Abbey Tea Rooms across the road…
…cake for a late lunch – why not?
I could hear my gym tyrants’ voices in my head so we changed and went over to the hotel gym which is based in a sweet little cottage across the road. We had the whole place to ourselves and I have to say that it’s the best hotel gym I’ve seen for a long time with a cardio room, a free weights room and a resistance room.
I even discovered a new machine that I haven’t seen before, I must see if there’s one of these in my gym because they really do work your abs.
After a 45 minute session we headed to the converted barn next door to find the swimming pool and spa. We did a few lengths and then relaxed in the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. There were spa treatments available but I didn’t try them so I can’t comment but there was a lovely bar with staff who brought fizz over to the jacuzzi when required.
By now time was ticking on so it was back to our room to get ready for dinner. I wore what has become one of my favourite dresses, it seems to work for any kind of occasion – you’ve seen it before but there are just a few left in the sale…
Dress (gifted AW19); Zara shoes (SS16)
And as I said on Instagram I was glad I’d chosen an adjustable wrap because we were indulged with a nine course ‘Burlington Experience‘. The Burlington restaurant run by award-winning chef Peter Howarth has three AA Rosettes and the food truly is exceptional. We’re talking fine dining and each dish takes you on a completely different culinary journey. It would be too much to show you each of the nine courses here but to give you an idea, this is slow cooked suckling pig – pork fillet rolled in cep and calcot onion with smoked potato and gruyère…
… calamansi parfait, banana mousse, confit lime and banana ice cream…
… and a fabulous cheeseboard to round things off.
It was an exceptional meal, nine tiny courses was a good size – I often find that tasting menus can get carried away with fifteen or more courses that leave you feeling uncomfortably full. And if the food was good, I must just add that the wine was outstanding. We had a ‘Wine Flight’ – a different glass to accompany each course. As you know after my Selfridges training I’m very particular about wine. The wines at The Burlington were all new to me and I loved all but one and that’s purely because I’m not a fan of pinot noir. It’s no surprise that they win so many national awards for their wine list, they have a very talented Sommelier.
The only restaurant improvement that I can think of would be to add some light background music. There were four couples eating on Sunday evening and it was very, very quiet so it did inhibit our conversation a little.
We finished with decaf coffee and petit fours in the bar before retiring to bed. I didn’t expect to sleep well after so much wine and food but with the fresh Yorkshire breeze blowing through the room I did. There’s clearly an argument for drinking outstanding wines in midlife.
It’s hard to believe but when we woke up the next morning we were hungry and so we stayed for breakfast. It was freshly cooked to order thankfully – I loathe those stewing buffet breakfasts that so many hotels now offer. Sadly with it being Monday we then had to head straight back to work. I just want to say that this dress owes me nothing, I’ve worn it so much since I bought it in September – with a polo neck and boots now but I’m looking forward to sandals in the summer. It’s still in stock and it’s such a figure flattering buy.
Dress; M&S jersey polo neck (past season); blazer (now in the sale, gifted AW19); boots
Would we go to The Devonshire Arms again under our own steam? Absolutely, it’s a gem, a fabulous place to stay in an area that’s worth exploring. It isn’t a budget break but it’s good for a treat – I wish we’d had time to try The Brasserie which is a more low key dining experience and I’d have loved to see more of the local area. We’ll be back though and we’ll take Ted to test out the dog concierge services too… and test them he will!
Other reviews of The Devonshire Arms
Disclosure: ‘Great British Boltholes – a night in Yorkshire’ is not a sponsored post, our stay was provided free of charge for the purposes of review but I have not been paid to write about it.
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