We took the Kia Optima PHEV for a bit of a drive to the very pretty Market Town of Helmsley in the North Yorkshire Moors and stayed at The Black Swan Hotel. It has a prime location nestled right in the middle of the town and also overlooks the market square. Once a coaching inn, this boutique hotel now boasts 45 stunning bedrooms. It has a lively lounge and bar area, a 3 AA rosette restaurant, quintessential secluded gardens and it’s very own tea rooms, which are famed far and wide for their traditional award-winning afternoon teas.
A Room with a View
We stayed in a Feature Room, which was beautifully dressed and even came with a furry friend to keep us company.
I particularly loved the window seat in our room overlooking the market square. We arrived on a Friday, which is market day in Helmsley. Once we had booked in I sat in the window with a cup of tea and watched the traders pack away, and then as the night drew in the tourists and locals alike milling to and from the local restaurants and pubs.
Food, Glorious Food!
After dragging myself away from people watching, we began our evening in The Black Swan’s Cygnet Bar. We started with a couple of drinks and canapés before being taken through to The Gallery Restaurant, aptly named due to all the artwork on display. The restaurant is actually used as a gallery during the day. It displays numerous works of art by artists, old and new, from across the UK. If you fall in love with a piece during your visit you can even buy it and take it home.
After an active day seeing the sights of Helmsley we were rewarded with some exquisite food from the Tasting menu. Seven courses showcase the current seasonal menu on offer at The Gallery. The food was truly delicious, immaculately presented, and served by friendly and welcoming staff. With a self-confessed sweet tooth, I have to say my favourite course was the deconstructed snickers; valrhona delice, baked toffee cake and peanut butter ice cream, the perfect end to a lovely meal.
The Black Swan’s breakfast is equally as tasty with a buffet of cereals, pastries and fruit. A full English breakfast follows, served with loose-leaf tea or coffee and a selection of fruit juices. What a way to start the day.
The Black Swan is the perfect example of a great English hotel; a warm welcome, a home from home feel, great food and a comfortable stay. I love the little touches and extra thought the Black Swan Hotel put into everything. The robes and slippers in the room and the safe trip pack handed over when we were leaving all made a difference. All this and the beauty of the North Yorkshire Moors on the doorstep, does it get any better?!
Despite being a fairly small town, Helmsley has a lot to offer. There are independent shops and tea rooms, country estates and gardens, as well as castle ruins and even a spa.
Despite some inclement weather, we enjoyed a morning at the National Centre for Birds of Prey and a walk around Duncombe Park. The plus side was having the place to ourselves. Consequently, we had a private demonstration of some of the birds they had at the centre. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
After a walk around the town’s shops and market, we escaped the rain in the afternoon with lunch in one of the local cafes. We followed this with a couple of hours downtime at Verbena Spa in the Feversham Arms Hotel. There’s nothing quite like a dip in the hot tub followed by a nice sauna and a full body massage to help you forget about the rain. Be sure to check the offers page of The Black Swan Hotel to see deals for the Verbena Spa.
The Finest View in England
We were only in Yorkshire for two days. As we had gone that far, we thought it only right to check out the Moors so took a short drive out to Sutton Bank. We stumbled upon the “finest view in England”, and what a view it is, before following Cleveland Way for a few miles. The UK has some incredible countryside and the North Yorkshire Moors are a particularly gleaming example of this. It was the perfect end to a lovely break.