It goes without saying we have been truly spoilt by endless hot days throughout summer 2018. Of course, in true British style, I have heard more than a couple grumbling complaints of hot tubes, stuffy offices and overflowing public parks – but I think I have cracked this British summer malarkey by approaching my spare time in the heat as I would my holiday hours. Outdoor pool? Check. Shady alfresco dining on fresh local produce? Check. Beautiful countryside? Check. So far so Mediterranean – but what if I told you my destination of choice was not the Algarve or Almalfi coast but dear old Yorkshire? Helmsley in North Yorkshire to be exact – the most quintessentially English village that boarders on to the unabashed wilds of the Yorkshire moors.
Unsurprisingly, I am not the only one to recognise the truly special offering that is the Feversham Arms; its halls are heaving with award wins and accolades. Far from its humble beginnings as a coaching inn in the late 19th century, the 33 bedrooms and suites have been individually designed to have their own distinctly British style and character, think modern checks and soothing Farrow and Ball shades. It’s all luxury from here on in, guys.
With a charmingly continental approach, this delightful boutique hotel is shaped around the swimming pool and gardens and offers ample space for poolside lounging and maybe an aperitif or two. If that wasn’t enough, those in the know flock from far and wide to visit the Verbana spa on site. Taking your relaxation to the next level with treatments focusing around the British brand Temple Spa, its a decidedly decadent indulgence.
The bright Weathervane restaurant allows you to bring the sunshine through to dinner with you, the perfect way to embrace the longer evenings whilst they last. I happily feasted upon freshly foraged foods from the neighbouring moors and locally sourced game. The seafood offering from the North Sea includes some seriously show stopping oysters, which I couldn’t resist ordering more of. Continuing on their theme of locality the drinks menu features some very impressive Yorkshire gins that have deservedly fought for their place in the already stellar British gin line up.
The team at the Feversham Arms are fountains of local knowledge and take unabashed pride in their surroundings, keen to give recommendations, be it on the evening’s menus or activities in the area. Hoping to repent on my culinary overindulgences, I took a leisurely stroll through the village and onto the moors with their directions and had a rather epic back to nature experience. Relishing the sheer vastness of the moors wild open spaces and negotiating its winding paths through the mass hordes of wandering wild pheasants, proved a comical but calming afternoon well spent. Forgive me for being sentimental, but I couldn’t quite face the pheasant option on offer that evening in the Weathervane, but I have on good authority from other patrons it was rather spectacular. You can’t get any fresher than that!
A note for the winter travellers (or just for when the weather inevitably breaks) – the pool is heated as is the outdoor Jacuzzi, both of which are open all year round. Be sure to request a room with a wood burner and be ready to get your snugs on and holiday in a far more recognisable British staycation way. Relish the Verbana spa’s heat experience, which includes an aromatherapy room, salt inhalation chamber, sauna and monsoon shower. Perhaps pack your kagool just in case, so you don’t miss out on the quaint village and rolling moors.
In short, whatever the weather Feversham arms is a true find – there really is no need to travel further afield when we have such British treasures in our midst.
The Feversham Arms is a member of Signpost Hotels. Stays at The Feversham Arms & Verbena Spa are from £120 per room per night based on two sharing a standard double room on a B&B basis. www.fevershamarmshotel.com
The Signpost Guide 2018 published by Visit Heritage, paperback, £10.99 available from www.visitheritage.co.uk
Review by Lucy Coghlan