York’s National Trust Middlethorpe Hall Invites Guests to Discover Comfort, Beauty and History
25 Jul 2016
- Middlethorpe Hall offers a rare opportunity to sleep and dine at a National Trust property
- Visit the city of York with its reminders of its medieval origins & stay at Middlethorpe Hall
- Discover the unique interiors of this 17th century William and Mary country house
Middlethorpe Hall, a National Trust hotel, is a 17th century William and Mary country house standing in 20 acres of manicured gardens and parkland just outside of the historic medieval city of York. Today award-winning Middlethorpe lives again as originally intended, with the look and feel of a luxurious and private country house. It is the ideal destination this autumn to discover a city and a truly unique hotel.
The hotel is a 10-minute drive from the medieval city of York with its 13th-century defensive walls (the longest and best preserved in England), narrow streets, gothic cathedrals 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 (the largest medieval gothic cathedral in Northern Europe and a treasure house of over 800 years of stained glass).
For full atmospheric effect, approach the Minster via The Shambles, an ancient cobbled street mentioned in the Domesday Book, where the upper stories of the 14th-century timber houses lean out, almost to within touching distance.
Back at Middlethorpe Hall guests may meet the hotel’s long serving managing director Lionel Chatard who can point out many historical elements about the building. Middlethorpe Hall has proved remarkably adaptable to the changing needs of English domestic life. As guests arrive they enter the Entrance Hall which still has its original stone-flagged floor, black marble chimneypiece and oak door surrounds. Georgian portraits, landscapes and still-lifes will keep guests entertained for hours. These are the kind that would have been hung at Middlethorpe in the eighteenth-century. The Oak Dining Room was one of the grandest rooms in Thomas Barlow’s house. Thomas Barlow wanted to be recognised as a country gentleman, and that’s just what he achieved by building himself a smart new country house at Middlethorpe. Today, the Oak Dining Room is home to a 2 AA Rosette restaurant serving traditional English dishes, open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Ballroom where today guests enjoy afternoon tea and pre dinner drinks, is the largest room in the house. The delicate plasterwork ceiling and the white marble chimneypiece date from the nineteenth century.
Lady Mary Wortley-Montagu, the celebrated 18th century diarist, moved into Middlethorpe Hall in August 1713. Famous for introducing her knowledge of the Ottoman practice of inoculation against smallpox to the UK, it was in later life that she was finally praised for introducing the practice here. A large painting of Lady Mary greets guests as they climb the staircase to their suites including the Lady Mary suite.
Even the staircase has a history. The cantilevered oak stairs connect the ground and first floors, the carving of the balusters is particularly fine. In all, there are just 29 individually designed bedrooms at Middlethorpe Hall. All guests have access to the spa whose facilities include a heated indoor pool, a steam room, sauna, whirlpool bath and a gymnasium. in addition the spa offers membership to non-guests and a selection of spa treatments to all.
The over 20 acres of gardens are a wonderful place to observe this National Trust property. Around 1705 Francis Place was commissioned by Thomas Barlow to landscape the garden, apparently with the formal baroque layout of the kind he would have seen ornamenting the villas of Rome, but the flat terrain of the Vale of York made this difficult. By the mid-eighteenth century the gardens were made less formal following the taste of the time, adding a ha-ha – a concealed ditch which allowed views out over the sweeping lawns to the countryside beyond. During the nineteenth century, the garden seems to have been well maintained with regular campaigns of tree planting including cedars and North American red oak. By the 1980s, the garden was restored to suggest something of its original formality with a new lake and walks. The ha-ha was repaired, the dovecot rebuilt and the walled gardens replanted with fruit trees, herbaceous plants and herbs.
Tailor Make Break at Middlethorpe Hall
Experience all that Middlethorpe Hall and its surroundings have to offer with tailor-made breaks from £139 per person per night, based on two sharing a twin or double room, with a three-course dinner (£43 food allowance pp), early morning tea, use of the spa and overnight parking plus one of the following: chilled Piper Heidsieck in room; one-day Yorkshire Pass to discover York’s attractions; afternoon tea for two or a 25-minute Decleor Aroma Back treatment for two. Valid Sunday to Thursday.
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