I recently had the joyous opportunity to stay at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough. Technically, it’s out in the countryside between Scarborough and Hackness. Sam grew up in Scarborough and we were married in Hackness, so it’s an area that we know well and were excited to experience a different venue.
I only have the best things to say about the hotel. We stayed in one of their luxury suites (it was definitely more spacious than our old London flat). The space is large and there’s lots of natural light in the rooms. The bathtub was literally amazing – that flow of water! – and I spent nearly an hour and a half in the bath reading and relaxing. The hall is a former country house and it still retains a lot of its rustic charm. It’s surrounded by beautiful countryside and fields. Walk 500 m from the hotel and you’re in the stunning Yorkshire Moors National Park. Or drive 10 minutes back into Scarborough and you’re by the sea. That makes it the perfect location for a relaxing staycation. It’s isolated and full of natural beauty; however, because of its rural location, mobile reception and wifi are supremely spotty but it’s an excellent motivator to make you dedicated to unplugging over the weekend.
There are only 32 rooms so it feels quite intimate and boutiquey – you can understand why it’s frequently booked out for weddings. (I may have pretended to plan our wedding all over again!) After we were settled into our room, we went out for a long countryside walk. The weather was gorgeous and it felt like Spring was knocking on the door.
Many readers will know that I’m a bit dog mad, and the hotel is dog friendly so we saw a fair few other guests take their dogs out on their long walks. (Jealous.) After we finished our walk, we spent time getting a bit more gussied up before going out to the hotel restaurant for dinner. The hotel is divided up into two sets of courtyards so we had to walk outside to go into the main hotel area were the restaurant was, so it did feel like we were actually “going out” for dinner in a way.
Once in the restaurant, we thoroughly settled in. We were having the gourmet 6 course tasting menu, so with tummies prepped to be stretched we approached the evening the way athletes do a race. It was, in a summary, gorgeous. Having eaten at a lot of restaurants in the area, I can’t honestly think of many other places that are doing this quality of cooking.
We began with an onion mousse with picked radish. I’ve never had an onion mousse before, but I quite enjoyed it. It wasn’t as strong as you might expect. Next we moved on to a mackerel with celeriac in several different ways. I thoroughly enjoyed the celeriac whilst Sam gobbled down the mackerel. After that came a saddle of rabbit with carrots both braised and pickled. I’ve had rabbit before, but never a saddle, which was super tender. This was followed by beef soaked in treacle with carrots several different ways, and a red wine jus. I adored the beef that had been soaked in treacle over night. There was just the tiniest hint of sweetness and a lovely visual effect of the meat being darker on the outside. Then my favourite part of the evening began: a tasting of two different puddings. The first pudding we had was a lemon and olive oil cake with raspberry curd. It was wonderfully tart and served as a great palate cleansing segue into the second dessert. (I wish “second dessert” was a phrase that occurred more often in my life.) Last we had a rhubarb charlotte with a rhubarb tart and ginger ice-cream. If I could only eat one thing from the meal for the rest of my life, it would be the incredible rhubarb charlotte. It was buttery, sweet and tart all at the same time. Pure joy.
We waddled back to our room, where I drew myself a lovely bath (whilst Sam settled in to watch some telly on one of the two tellies in the suite). The bed was extremely comfy: I get quite intense duvet envy at times and Ox Pasture had ace duvets and pillows. (Dear Ox Pasture, if the duvet from Room 30 is missing it definitely wasn’t me. Nope. Nothing to see here.) The next morning, we had a leisurely lie-in before making our way over to the restaurant for breakfast. We both had the full English – the “Yorkshire” on their menu. It was fairly standard for a hotel breakfast, definitely tasty, but not as phenomenal as our dinner was the night before. Check out was at 11am which I think is glorious. (It’s a pet peeve of mine when check out is too early and you feel like your breakfast and getting ready have to be rushed).
I’d like to give the staff at Ox Pasture Hall a huge shout out. Everyone we spoke to was interesting, exceedingly helpful, and very friendly. Fairly recently, there was quite an upheaval in the hotel so pretty much all of the management staff is new to the location and I think their presence and leadership is really guiding the Hall to a higher quality and standard. They are actually building a spa for the hotel, so I hope to be able to return once that is complete.
Whilst we were waiting for our taxi back into town, we were able to spy on a wedding that was happening that day. All the guests had just started arriving as we were leaving, and it gave me wedding butterflies – I was excited for them! Once we were back in the ‘Borough we had an amble along the seafront and into the Old Town (my two favourite areas.) Sadly, Sam’s family was actually out of town that weekend, so we couldn’t pop in for a cup of tea!
Even though we are still ages away from the summer, most of the traditional ice-cream parlours were already opening and doing a fair trade. It started raining on us a bit, so we ducked into LoveBrew and shared an order of Spanish Chips (perfectly crispy chips with chorizo, garlic and cheese). Once the rain had stopped we winded our way up to the top of Scarborough Castle. I may have huffed and puffed a bit, but I blame it on the heavy breakfast and snack.
I always insist on walking down Paradise Street when we are in the Old Town (it’s the cobbled street in my instagram photo last week) before making Sam walk by Alan Ayckbourn’s house. Ayckbourn basically owns an entire block in the Old Town, but I’ve yet to “casually” bump into him out and about in Scarborough. And last but not least, when I’m in that part of town, I go by St Mary’s and visit Anne Bronte’s grave.
Phew! It was quite a lot to pack into a weekend break but it was absolutely lovely!
Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is about a 10 minute taxi ride from Scarborough train station. A taxi costs around £8. The hotel is located at: Lady Edith’s Dr, Scarborough YO12 5TD
*I was a guest of the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel so my room, dinner and breakfast were complimentary, but all my opinions are forever my own.*