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Holidaying in the North York Moors

The Feversham Arms is a beautiful hotel, based in the North York Moors. Built from Helmsley’s signature sandstone, this luxury hideaway offers the best in rest and relaxation for all its guests.

Over the years I’ve been a frequent visitor to the hotel’s spa, but I’ve not been a guest at their hotel until now. I’m a big believer in holidaying at home and as a child we’d holiday a lot in this country. So, with just under an hour’s drive from Harrogate, Niki and I arrived in our Toyota C-HR borrowed for the weekend from Vantage Motor Group, Toyota, Knaresborough.

 

The Feversham Arms Hotel & Spa

The hotel has just 39 rooms. We checked into our aptly named room, Serendipity which is one of their poolside suites, priced from £295 depending on availability and season.  These suites overlook the gorgeous court yard and heated swimming pool; perfect for a family staycation. Who wouldn’t want a dip in that pool!

Our room was located up in the eaves of the hotel. Upon entering we were presented with a beautiful bathroom with a roll top bath, separate shower, and dressing table. The general manager popped down our bags in our lounge.

Yes, a lounge, with a gorgeous open wood fire and reading chair which was calling out to me to find a book and sit in it. It was a wonderful space full of nooks and crannies with really character. We then walked through into the master suite which boasts a Queen size bed, wardrobe, dressing table and TV. It also had a wet room as the suite also had a small child’s room off the hall way. It’s a good job Niki and I aren’t tall, as the ceilings were low in places, but they directed you when to duck! The interiors compliment the outside of the hotel; a traditional Yorkshire Inn. In fact the hotel has been trading as an Inn right back to the early 18th century.
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The Feversham Arms sells itself as a hideaway, perfect to rest up for the weekend. Well, as soon as I walked into the room all my stresses from the working week were left at the door, the hotel truly delivers every part of the luxury hotel experience you’d want. All the staff were super friendly and ever so helpful.

The Weathervane Restaurant at The Feversham Arms

After dolling myself up and Niki spraying on some aftershave, we were ready for our reservation in the Weathervane Restaurant. There’s three menus to choose from; the Market Menu at £48.00pp (included in our room price), the A La Carte and the tasting menu.
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Greeted by Maria, we were seated in the bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. I had a thurst quenching Long Island Iced Tea while Niki opted for an Ameretto Sourz on recommendation from Maria. Both were delicious. After surveying the menu and opting for the A La Carte, Niki spotted their exclusive range of Pol Roger Champagne. We first tried Pol Roger at FISK so, knowing I like bubbles, Niki treated us to a bottle to celebrate the weekend.
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The staff in the Weathervane had impeccable customer service skills. Nothing was too much trouble, napkins were placed on your lap and drinks fill for you. For starters we chose Venison Tartar and Scallops. Firstly, the Venison Tartar starter was delicious. It was Niki’s first ‘tartar’ experience but he loved the meaty texture and rich flavour. It looked so pretty and would make a perfect Christmas dish as it encompassed dried cranberries, fresh orange segments, seeds and topped with slices of fig. The Scallops were my favourite; delicately cooked with a succulent breadcrumb covered ball of ham hock, decorated with juicy shreds of apple.
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I never expected the food to be so good at the Feversham Arms, it was a great discovery, and one I’d recommend you experience yourself!
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We decided to share a rack of lamb for two from their ‘bloody good cuts of meat’ menu. This comes to the table and is carved in front of you. Lamb is one of Niki’s favourite meats and it was cooked to perfection; medium rare allowed for enough pink meat. The long stemmed broccoli, shallot and mushroom were an interesting mix of vegetables but with the chips which were exceptionally fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside, it all worked together.
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For dessert, Maria suggested we shared a coffee panna cotta. I’ve never been a fan of panna cotta and would never order it off a menu but with coffee crisps and a creamy panna cotta texture it worked very well. We also chose the rhubarb cheese cake which had an intense flavour. The biscuit base was as moreish as a cheesecake base should be and the bursts of Rhubarb against the vanilla ice cream was delicious.
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As mentioned, the room included a market place dinner in the price or you could use the £48.00 per person towards the other menus. As we opted for the A La Carte menu we paid an extra £150.00 on top of the total £96.00 supplement. Most of the extra cost was the Champagne so excluding the drinks, I’d suggest it would be worth upgrading menus as the food is incredible. After a full on week we were quite tired so headed back to the room to enjoy its perks.

The next morning we awoke in our own little oasis, like a bubble of tranquillity; I didn’t want to leave. However, the big bath was calling so putting on my fluffy white dressing gown I filled up the bath with their Temple Spa bath soak (which also doubles as a great massage oil!) and went for a dip.

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Breakfast at the Feversham Arms included a well-stocked buffet with your usual cereals but also included little touches like the individual yoghurts and fruit compote and the miniature pastries. You could also choose from the usual hot breakfasts; Niki had a Full English and I opted for smoke salmon and scrambled eggs which came with a good wedge of lemon.

The Perfect Spa Experience

I was very sad not to have time in the spa, but like I said, it’s one of my favourites, and Niki and I were there just last month after he’d bought it for me as a Christmas present.

During our visit last month to Verbena Spa we both had treatments. Niki, thought it would be really romantic to have them in a double room. I mean, who does that? I don’t want to listen to him talk or worse snore. Anyway, there we were, we could almost hold hands we were so close. Niki opted for a 90 minute massage while I had a massage and facial. I do love a good facial and I know the Verbena spa staff are very highly trained and superb at what they do. The spa uses Temple Spa products, just like the bathroom products in our suite.

The treatments were exactly what we needed and when we relaxed into it we soon forgot each other… so much so Niki started to snore, which provided much entertainment for me and the two therapists – what an embarrassment!

The spa includes the outdoor heated pool which was gorgeous to swim and play about in. We had a competition to see who could make it under water the furthest, with many attempts and frustration he beat me (angry face) but we made truce in the outdoor hot tub, with a glass of champagne which overlooks the landscaped courtyard.

Inside you have three rooms. First the aromatherapy room which is a less intense humidity with a calming effect, moving onto the steam room followed by the intense heat of the sauna. In between each one you have the option to shower yourself with the coldest of cold water; this is supposed to aid circulation and the breakdown of cellulite but be warned it will take your breath away. You have to be brave soul to try it! I do hope in the next few years this area of the spa has an upgrade, as it will need a face life soon. Cracks in the interior were showing but the spa was still fantastic.

What makes this spa stand out from its competition is the relax area. Now you might think this is an odd thing to say, but never underestimate the importance of a relaxation area. Verbena Spa has hit the nail on the head with theirs; a long lounge with comfy cosy sofas to sink into. Read a magazine or a book, or even order a cream tea whilst quietly chatting with friends. It’s perfect, Niki even fell asleep in the arm chair he was so chilled out.

Upon leaving the spa I don’t think we’ve been that chilled out for a long while. It was nice to feel rejuvenated from our trip. If you are thinking of a spa with your man, mum or a girls day then don’t hesitate to book in here. It the perfect escape and they really do look after you well – it’s mother’s day soon too!

After packing, we were sad to be leaving the room so soon. It certainly is one that you could quite happily while away a weekend reading books from the hotel library or heading to the pool for a dip but we wanted to see what the rest of Helmsley had to offer.

What to do in the market town of Helmsley

As the only market town in the North York Moors, it has become very popular with tourists, in particular bikers. This quaint town offers some great shopping, art galleries, antiques and interior shops are in abundance.  But if you want something for the children I’d recommend heading to the birds of prey centre at Duncombe park where they have the largest collection of birds of prey in the North of England. The grounds of Duncombe Park are great to walk through and explore, as is the 900 year of castle, which we could see from our hotel suite.
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Eating out in Helmsley

You’re spoilt for choice for good eateries, but I have to tell you about Mannion & Co; we headed there for lunch and they couldn’t have looked after us any better. Headed up by Andrew Burton, Mannion & Co started in York. The Mannion family had a famous greengrocery business in York for many years. In 2011, they handed it over to their daughter Lucy and son-in-law Andrew, who’ve taken the eatery experience to a new level. Being so successful in York, they opened up in Helmsley just last year and hope to expand further in the near future.

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The interior is an eclectic mix of furniture from their travels and their food is out of this world. We had to go for one of their famous deli boards, which is one of our favourite styles of food – the grazer! It came with a sour dough and a mix seed loaf. The bread, all made in house was like nothing I’ve ever tasted.  I could have eaten it all. The platter came, laden with the finest cold meats, gherkins, artichokes and cheeses. The board also had these olive-like fruit. We couldn’t figure out what these were so we asked our waitress, Bec, who told us they were caper berries. Oh just look at it!

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Bec then played to our sweet-tooth and offered us one of their famous Eaton Mess Meringues but it came with a warning, Bec and the Mannion chefs didn’t believe we could finish it. Bringing it to the table it was bigger than my head! A beautiful bowl of summer, right there! The hidden fruits amongst the meringue and cream were a delight to find and the tart mango jus balanced the dessert perfectly. It was truly scrumptious. However, I couldn’t finish it all so stopped half way through. Niki battled on and for a time after finishing he was like a child full of energy from all the sugar. Heading to Mannions was the best decision, so if you visit Helmsley, no doubt you have to visit Mannions, and say hi to Andrew and Bec. If you don’t have time for lunch pop in for their gorgeous coffee and cute cupcake or go pick up some of their deli items for a picnic!
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Helmsley is a great place to visit, with the coast, walks and adventure right on your doorstep, it’s the perfect staycation to relax and unwind. Go for a weekend or go for a week, there’s so much to do. If you’ve enjoyed reading about Helmsley, why not read about my trip to the food capital of Yorkshire, Malton.

P.S. Thank you ever so to The Feversham Arms and Mannion & Co for such a fabulous weekend. You both made it!

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi Karen. Something went little wonky with the amount of entries. Rest assured, I have your email so will enter you in the competition. It will be drawn tonight! All good wishes, Victoria

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