After a hard week we were looking forward to staying at a pub in the North Yorkshire town of Helmsley – but when we arrived we were totally blown away!
We were staying at the Feversham Arms Hotel. When we arrived we were astounded by the level of service – with valet parking and a concierge – and the sophisticated surroundings.
The hotel is set in a traditional inn, but also houses a luxury spa. Fabulously equipped cabins and apartments surround a heated pool in the courtyard. The walls are hung with excellent paintings from the Helmsley Galleries Collection.
Our room was beautifully presented, with more unique artwork; real coffee; an en-suite bathroom with a strong shower and Temple Spa toiletries and a very large bed with Egyptian cotton sheets and a soft duck down duvet.
On the way I had been impressed by the countryside – after all this is the North York Moors – and it’s a centre for walks along the Cleveland Way, but we just wanted to relax, so we set off to discover Helmsley.
The town is incredibly pretty, with a smart central square dominated by a monument. It’s packed with activities for a weekend, with its 12th century castle ruins, the Helmsley Walled Gardens and a bird of prey centre.
The town is home to myriad boutiques, galleries and artisan shops – including award-winning Hunter’s Delicatessen, artisan bakery Cinnamon Twist and the Helmsley Brewery Company which welcomes visitors for a tour.
After a quick shower and change we arrived at The Black Swan where we were to dine, a waiter greeted us with the words: “Please let me look after you.” From there on, service was excellent.
We took aperitifs in the bar, and were shown to The Gallery Dining Room. The room is large and beautifully lit, with more art from the Helmsley Galleries Collection. The place settings were exquisite, with some lovely hand-made items.
Head Chef Alan O’Kane is passionate about locally-sourced food, and this was reflected in the menu with fish from nearby Whitby on offer, meat sourced from butchers in the town, cheese from Hunters Deli and sour dough bread baked by a local baker to the chef’s specifications.
Also obvious was the staff’s care and attention to detail. We ordered two 60 day aged sirloin steaks: one medium and one rare. When they arrived comparison showed how carefully the meat had been treated. Perfectly cooked, they were tender and delicious – accompanied by crisp and light, thrice-fried, beef-dripping chips.
The a la carte menu offered exciting seasonal taste combinations – and for the adventurous, a £65 tasting menu takes the diner on a food safari with knowledgeable staff to answer any questions and pass on compliments.
Desserts included berries with meadowsweet, apple and almond or a peanut butter and toffee ice-cream combination. We opted for the cheeseboard and were delighted by the Yorkshire Blue and the quince accompaniment.
We ended the evening with a single-malt scotch on the comfortable sofas in the Feversham. It had been an utterly delightful experience.Last modified: June 10, 2021