A Yorkshire Treat
With spa, open fires, and the picturesque market town of Helmsley on your doorstep, checking in to The Feversham Arms is a Yorkshire Treat
Review by Kate Morfoot
I love the scenic route from Norfolk to ‘up North. My mother and I are en-route to The Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa, which is a four-star luxury hideaway located in the heart of North Yorkshire in the traditional market town of Helmsley.
It’s only a short three and half hour drive before the wonderful rolling hills come into view and dry stone walls adorn the landscape. It is a joy to see the fields filled with sheep and cows rather than solar panels. “We welcome guests from all over the world who have simply come to get away from it all and sample our famous Yorkshire hospitality” says the general manager welcoming us.
At this time of the year it’s apparent that people have travelled from all corners of the globe to take part in country pursuits in the locality and wish to stay somewhere very comfortable after a blowy day out on the moors. Some had travelled from Holland and Barbados and others from Essex and Norfolk.
The bar comes alive in the evening buzzing with everyone relaying their fun filled days of exploring and entertainment, chatting to friends and looking forward to a relaxing night of good food and wine. Delightfully received by Jordan the Head Barman and enjoyed by many hotel guests was my introduction to the bar menu ‘Norfolk Nog,’* a warming drink to be enjoyed by a nice open fire. The atmosphere here is warm and friendly and you feel home from home nestled in a comfortable bubble of plush leather sofas and tweed carpets.
As keen as ever, we arrived a day early. Our reservation was for the following day, however, the receptionist was very accommodating and fortunately there was one room left which was a Junior Suite located on the third floor. It had a large double bed and on it was one of their signature ‘Do Not Disturb’ fluffy sheep to greet us. The lounge area had sumptuous sofas, TV, chairs and work desk, also a readymade fire with plenty of firewood in a basket. We had our own personal exit down to the heated outdoor swimming pool. The ensuite bathroom featured a walk-in shower and the main bathroom was fitted with a double ended roll top bath, shower and a vanity unit with Temple Spa toiletries. A sound start for a relaxing break away.
The Verbena Spa at The Feversham Arms is a haven of pamper heaven. A short walk down the main corridor takes you to an oasis of calm where there are guests relaxing in their fluffy robes wandering around looking fresh faced. Many of the spa treatments are available for couples or girlfriend gatherings. You can choose from prescription, express or wellbeing facials and opt for massages, scrubs or exfoliations. If that doesn’t light your fire, then you can just head to the water-based area. Here you will find the outdoor heated pool, outdoor Jacuzzi and indoor steam room, saunas, tropical showers and foot spas.
If you really wish to make your stay to revolve around being pampered, book one of the Luxury Poolside or Spa Suites. The Poolside Suites have a bedroom with a larger oversized bed, bathroom, walk-in shower, double ended bath tubs and separate sitting room, some also have wood burning stoves. They have direct access to the pool garden.
Helmsley is one of only 17 towns named in the Magna Carta. For several centuries, Helmsley’s economy relied on sheep farming, wool and weaving, then the town was later developed and expanded by the Duncombe family who built Duncombe Park. There are some specialist shops – you can buy your bread from the baker, meat at the butchers, fish from the fishmonger, tweeds from the tailor and wine from a vinter. You can even buy a handcrafted candlestick from the local blacksmith! In this small town there are over 50 independent specialist shops from antiques and country clothing to chocolates and gifts.
There’s plenty to do in Helmsley, one of my favourite market towns in Yorkshire. From taking a walk in the five acre Helmsley Walled Garden and taking tea in their café, exploring the majestic Castle Howard to the rolling beauty of the North Yorkshire Moors, visiting the ruins of Rievaux and Bylands Abbey or to enjoy designer shopping, excellent restaurants and quaint marketplace tea rooms, Helmsley and the surrounding areas has something for everyone.
At The Feversham Arms you can choose from just Bed and Breakfast or Dinner, Bed and Breakfast deals. We dined in the evening at the Weathervane Restaurant where the newly appointed Head Chef, Shaun Burke was showcasing his new Tasting Menu. We were indulged in a six-course tasting menu where his ethos is entrenched by their location with food sourced locally and harvested from the North Yorkshire Moors.
On the menu there was Foie Gras, brambles and pear, honey granola, lavender (with a swap of Foie Gras to goats cheese for myself), salmon with preserved lemon and braised octopus, halibut with compressed cucumber, shellfish broth and sea herbs, roe deer with burnt apples and chestnut, blueberry, tarragon and natural yoghurt finished with 72 per cent Valhrona chocolate jelly, Guarana coated streusel and praline ice cream. It was a wonderful gastronomic food experience which lasted for over two hours.
*Norfolk Nog Recipe: One part Grouse, Three parts Baileys to be enjoyed in a whiskey tumbler with or without ice.
Room prices start from £160 for B&B. The six course tasting menu is £60 p/p.
Enquires: The Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa, Helmsley, York, North Yorkshire YO62 5AG / 01439 770766 / www.fevershamarmshotel.com/