Spring Exploring in York Staying at Middlethorpe Hall
20 Feb 2017
- Combine exploring the small city of York with spending time in its green spaces
- Relax at 18th-century Middlethorpe Hall with award-winning 2 AA Rosette restaurant and boutique spa
- Explore the 20 acres of award-winning landscape gardens at the hotel
York is the ideal destination to combine a city break on foot and explore many diverse green spaces as the days get brighter in the spring. The city is rich in ancient history and is renowned for its exquisite architecture including the iconic York Minster. York’s green spaces form an integral part of the city’s heritage and magnificent architectural landscapes.
There is plenty to explore in the wonderful 20 acres of National Trust gardens at Middlethorpe Hall.
Award-winning Head Gardeners David Barker and Andrew Leighton oversee the gardens and can often be found interacting with guests and the Head Chef who picks produce from the kitchen gardens. The enchanting walled gardens at Middlethorpe do not just produce a beautiful display of flowering shrubs and plants, but have been planted with vegetables and fruit: apples, pears, plums, peaches and greengages, all of which are used in the hotel kitchens by the Head Chef to create wonderful dishes. Five years ago, David planted twenty four pear trees down the centre arch of the walled garden. They are all old varieties, some with Yorkshire connections, and were chosen with some guidance from the Head Chef for their size and flat bottoms.
Middlethorpe Hall is York’s finest hotel, restaurant and spa. The hotel is a 25-minute walk from the medieval city of York with its 13th-century defensive walls (the longest and best preserved in England), narrow streets, gothic minster and bookshops specialising in antiquarian books. Visitors can explore York’s Roman, Viking, and medieval heritage plus a wealth of attractions like the iconic York Minster.
Spring is a time when the landscape comes alive and there are several green spaces visitors to York should explore including:
Dean’s Park and Treasurer’s House: In the shadow of the great Minster, Dean’s Park is a handsome, open lawn with walkways leading to Minster Yard, where the delightfully secret little garden of 17th century Treasurer’s House (owned by the National Trust) is tucked away.
Goddards: This hidden little gem was once the gardens of Noel Goddard Terry, who was part of the famous York chocolate making family. Today the National Trust gardens are designed by George Dillistone, and offer beautiful yew-hedged garden rooms, a bowling green, wilderness gardens and plants for every season. The tranquil gardens are a haven for wildlife and are home to one of the few British colonies of midwife toads.
Rowntree Park: Frederick Rowntree designed Rowntree Park as a memorial to the workers of the Rowntree factory who fought in the First World War. It occupies 30 acres on the south bank of the River Ouse, designed around a large lake, with grassland, trees and colourful flowerbeds.
Castle Howard (just outside York): Castle Howard is a haven of peace and tranquillity with extensive woodland walks, temples, lakes and fountains and 1000 acres to explore. The monumental landscape offers breathtaking views at every turn, taking in the countryside of the Howardian Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As well as the dramatic landscape, Castle Howard is well known for its annual displays of daffodils, rhododendrons, bluebells and roses. Study days are held in the gardens, and the Arboretum is linked to Kew Gardens. A Plant Centre opened in spring 2004, set within the Walled Garden.
Spring is a wonderful time to explore the gardens at Middlethorpe Hall. To the west of the kitchen garden is the rose garden noted for the wide stone path lined with lavender, the flowers of which almost touch in the centre, and for the tall razor sharp yew hedge that surrounds it. The white garden with its high holly hedge on one side and the kitchen garden wall on the other, is planted with white flowering plants such as Wisteria floribunda with Agapanthus campanulatus albus below, but also has blue Ceanothus as a contrast clipped to the wall. The walk leads to the spring garden where cherry and apple trees are planted in grass around a noble red oak.
The park railings on the boundary of the spring garden finish the more manicured area and brings us to the park and arboretum with many specimen trees. The Turkey oak, Wellingtonia and Spanish chestnut are now well over 150 years old, and recent plantings include collections of birch, mountain ash, Japanese maples and cherry trees. The ground level drops to the south east where a lake has been created and low lying land is planted with trees ideally suited to waterlogged soil such as alders, willows and dogwood.
Middlethorpe Hall’s 60 cover restaurant is overseen by Head Chef Ashley Binder. The classically panelled dining room overlooking the magnificent gardens are a special feature of Middlethorpe and provide the perfect setting for the excellent British food with both traditional and contemporary touches for which the hotel has been awarded two AA Rosettes. The boutique spa at Middlethorpe Hall with its blue-tiled pool and sauna is the perfect place to relax and recharge. The spa offers a selection of treatments with NEOM Luxury Organics and Decleor.
Say goodbye to the damp greys of winter and welcome the arrival of colour this spring, with a short break of discovery at Middlethorpe Hall and across York.
www.middlethorpe.com Middlethorpe Hall, York, Yorkshire, YO23 2GB, Tel: +44 (1904) 641241
B&B priced from £199.00 per night based on two sharing