Great British boltholes: A review of Middlethorpe Hall, York

Great British boltholes: Inside the pretty-as-a-doll’s-house Middlethorpe Hall near York where service is delivered with gusto and guests relax in exquisitely detailed rooms

  • Middlethorpe Hall is one of three stately homes belonging to the National Trust’s Historic House Hotels group
  • The 29 rooms and suites offer ‘old-fashioned country-house grandeur’ with four-posters and antique furniture
  • The dinner menu is ‘short and confident’, with traditional produce used for dishes like Whitby crab salad

At first glance, Middlethorpe Hall, a fine example of William and Mary architecture, ticks every box that you might expect from a National Trust property. So pretty is the red brick facade that it would make the perfect dolls’ house. The pristine south lawn heralds a lake beyond herbaceous borders, and walled gardens brimming with roses, irises and peonies.

The hotel, two miles from York city centre, is one of only three stately homes belonging to the Trust’s Historic House Hotels group – properties restored to their former glory, with profits going to the Trust.

Service is taken seriously at Middlethorpe and guests are greeted and relieved of luggage by impeccably uniformed staff even before they reach the entrance. 

As pretty as a dolls’ house: Middlethorpe Hall is one of three stately homes belonging to the National Trust’s Historic House Hotels group

Such behaviour in other counties could be perceived as stuffy, but here it is delivered with Yorkshire gusto, while general manager Lionel brings French flair to proceedings.

Walk through the stone-flagged entrance hall and past the carved oak staircase and you’ll catch the scent of floral arrangements before entering a panelled drawing room. Middlethorpe’s exquisite detail means that the colour schemes, art and antiques are all drawn from the 18th and 19th Centuries.

The colourful panelled drawing room is filled with floral arrangements and art from the 18th and 19th Centuries

The 29 rooms and suites offer ‘old-fashioned country-house grandeur’ with four-poster beds and antique furniture 


Middlethorpe Hall, York. Dinner and B&B £218 per room per night. For more information visit

There is a real sense of history in the dining room, with its original panelling and candlelit settings, as hushed couples (of all ages) feast on local produce. And on York race days, Middlethorpe provides a welcome retreat from the boisterous crowds at the course. The enchanting terrace, meanwhile, is perfect for tea or drinks.

And that’s why friends in York rate Middlethorpe as their trusted venue for special family occasions. Make no mistake: this is a lively venue for guests and locals alike.

A first-class events programme – from wine club to cookery demonstrations – will undoubtedly return in time. For now, the spa, in two former Edwardian cottages, makes for an indulgent treat.

The USP: A historic house kept in peak condition.

The food: The dinner menu (£45 for three courses) is short and confident, with traditional produce used for robust dishes by head chef Ashley Binder. On Yorkshire Day – August 1 – he rustled up Whitby crab salad, salt-aged Yorkshire duck and Yorkshire curd tart.

The rooms: A friendly feel permeates the 29 rooms and suites, which offer old-fashioned country-house grandeur with four-posters. The stable block converted suites are more accessible, with a kitchenette and sitting room. Buttermilk-walled bedrooms are daintily decorated with dressing tables, button-back chairs and botanical prints. 

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