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Travel: Relax and refresh in beautiful Yorkshire… that’s Howard’s way

© Press Association ImagesThe Fox & The Hounds Hotel.
The Fox & The Hounds Hotel.

Everybody needs a little time away – especially with the current economic doom and gloom.

With its spectacular coastline, woodlands, beautiful dales and vast expanses of heather moorland, the North York Moors National Park could be just the ticket for some peace and quiet.

A few miles west of Pickering, on the park’s southern boundary, is the pretty village of Sinnington, which dates back to Anglo-Saxon times and is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. The focal point of the village is its charming 18th-Century inn, the Fox & Hounds, which has just undergone a £1.25 million refurbishment and is a prime spot to stay in while exploring the area.

The Grade II-listed inn has 14 luxury bedrooms and an AA rosette-accredited restaurant, which serves meals in both a cosy lounge bar and elegant dining room.

We stay in one of the inn’s cottage rooms, standing in a quiet courtyard behind the main building.

Our room is named Parr, in homage to the last of King Henry VIII’s wives, Katherine Parr, who lived in the manor of Sinnington before their marriage in 1543.

And while the room is a good size, with a very comfortable super-king bed with beautiful Egyptian cotton sheets, a giant TV, and tea and coffee making facilities (with great biscuits – always a mark of a good hotel in my book), my husband and I are most impressed with the bathroom.

Not only is it huge – we could have a disco in it – but the walls are Italian marble and there’s a wet-room shower.

After taking a particularly long time to get ready in the dream bathroom/disco, we head down to dinner. Head chef Fabien Hombourger learned his culinary trade in Paris and worked all over the world before bringing his French cuisine to the Fox & Hounds. And the menu is mouth-watering although, unusually, there is nothing vegetarian on the menu. My husband chooses beef carpaccio (thinly-sliced raw beef) to start, followed by a main course of sea bass, and a dessert of raspberry souffle with black cherry ice cream.

Fabien creates a bespoke vegetarian menu for me with a goat’s cheese starter and a vegetable bake, followed by warm Parkin and ice cream for dessert.

Happily, though, the next morning there is a vegetarian-cooked breakfast option, which sets me up for our subsequent day of exploring.

© Press Association Images
Parr bedroom at the Fox & Hounds.

First on the list is a gentle walk round the lovely and extremely quiet village of Sinnington, through which the River Seven meanders.

We could have opted for a much longer walk to burn off the calories from our big dinners and breakfasts but although the Fox & Hounds allows guests to bring their dogs to stay in some of its Garden Rooms, unfortunately those rooms were fully booked during our stay, so we’d had to leave our dogs at home. Instead, we take advantage of being unencumbered with both dogs and kids, and fill our day with activities that would either have been impossible or unpleasant if they’d been with us.

After leaving Sinnington, we drive about 12 miles through nearby Pickering to the bustling Saturday morning market at Malton, where we pick up goodies such as pork pies (for him), and Wensleydale cheese with lemon (for me).

Then it’s off to the immense and spectacular Castle Howard, where both Brideshead Revisited and Bridgerton were filmed.

Having never been to the iconic stately home before, which is about eight miles past Malton, we are blown away by its sheer scale.

It’s a pleasure to stroll around its vast, beautifully manicured gardens and lake, and drink in the history of the house with its huge crowning dome, and opulent rooms (not to mention drinking tea and scoffing carrot cake at the castle café).

The mansion was built in the same era as the Fox & Hounds, around 10 miles away, and I imagine grand ladies and gentlemen may have stopped off at the inn en route to Castle Howard all those centuries ago.

I’ll never know whether they did or not. But what I do know is staying at the Fox & Hounds and enjoying the North York Moors area, including Castle Howard, is a great way to relax and unwind, feeling very far away from the stresses and strains of day-to-day life.


P.S.

The colossal 145-room mansion is still home to some of the Howard family more than 300 years after the 3rd Earl of Carlisle, Charles Howard, began its construction in 1699.

Factfile:

Rooms at the Fox & Hounds (thefoxandhoundsinn.co.uk) in Sinnington start from £120 per night.