The Dining Room at Goldsborough Hall
Photos: Des, Ben Thorpe
It's easy to get trapped inside your own little bubble, especially in a city like York, where most of your life can occur in a 2 mile radius. This is obviously excellent for the cyclist in me, however not so fulfilling when it comes to the adventurer.
Opportunities to travel beyond our cozy enclave are always welcomed by Des and I, especially when accompanied by the lure of beautiful surroundings and fine food. An invitation to attend the launch of
Dining room certainly provided ample enough reason to break out and make our escape into the wider Yorkshire region.
We were actually forming part of a small York contingent in line to attend the event, as we were joined by good friend Ben from
and his partner Tamsin. Due to my horrendous time keeping skills (I was once famously 15 minutes late to my final exam at Uni.....) we were unfortunately slightly late setting off on the 25/30 minute journey which took us to Goldsborough, just off the A59 near Knaresborough.
I must admit that I left York feeling pretty stressed out after yet another episode of "Bethan forgets that time is a linear, nonstationary thing" but once we pulled up outside the imposing Jacobean facade, all this started to fade and became replaced by the sense that I was entering into another realm.
The building of Goldsborough Hall originally dates from c.1620 and later became the residence of H.R.H. Princess Mary in the 1920s. However the current owners, Mark and Clare Oglesby, fell in love in 2005 with a building that had been reduced to almost ruin and was in danger of being snapped up by property developers looking to divide the residence into flats.
After a light champagne reception, I did a bit of snooping to see exactly what Clare and Mark had done with what must have been a diamond very much in the rough. From walking around the sumptuous ground floor, it's clear to see that their renovation has both been sympathetic to the history of the building and modernising. Since 2006, they have been hosting weddings and functions as well as creating very luxurious accommodation in 5* suites on the second floor of the hall.
"So why promote a Dining Room?" you may ask at the point. I certainly must admit that I had the question running through my mind. I managed to catch Clare, who was very busy making us all feel welcome, (I must say everyone involved in the evening certainly succeeded in this) in order to find out more.
She explained that whilst the venue is obviously well suited to weddings and short breaks, they wanted to develop it into a destination which can provide an experience for everyone, whether they come for afternoon tea, fine dining or indeed an entire weekend away. I do agree that even a few short hours spent here would provide a luxurious escape from the daily grind, or indeed my small York bubble.
The quality of food in any establishment is obviously a large part of this plan, so in order to make sure their offering reflected the prestige of the building, Clare and Mark have employed renowned head chef Paul Richardson-Mackie to develop a menu based on fresh, locally sourced and seasonal produce.
We were lucky enough to sample some of his creations and I can happily to report that they lived up to the expectations that I developed from seeing the building. The flavours were cogent and well thought out, (the Seafood Bisque was practically addictive) the visual appeal and plating was also impressive.
Now I guess the big question is, would I make the effort to come here, especially when York does have plenty fine dining on offer inside my little self imposed enclave.
You know what, I'm going to surprise myself and say yes. Whilst it wouldn't be somewhere I would visit on a weekly basis, there is definitely enough here to warrant visiting for a special occasion. The staff were welcoming, the food we sampled was excellent and think it's quite obvious from the photos below that this is indeed a stunning destination with character.
I actually do think that Goldsborough could make a name for itself as an Afternoon Tea destination, especially when you could enjoy your luxury experience in the building then move on to an afternoon stroll in the Hall's 12 acre grounds.
I was happy to get my favourite dress from L.K. Bennett out for evening
As you can see, there was quite a buzz! (Top points for spotting Ben in the throng.)
The Seventeenth Century fireplace provides a beautiful focal point in the Dining Room
Some of the delicious treats on offer
Photo by Ben Thorpe
Photo by Ben Thorpe
During the evening I managed to get upstairs and have a quick peek at the accommodation on offer. We were shown round by the extremely friendly housekeeper and it was apparent that she took great pride in maintaining the rooms to an extremely high standard.
There are currently 6 rooms on offer, all of which have different characters, as you would expect in such a building. They certainly do live up the expectations I would have of a 5* venue, with lovely touches such as fresh fruit, fine linen and Molton Brown toiletries.
There are lots of lovely period features, such as these slightly off centre Jacobean windows.
This room is often used as the Bridal Suite (I can see why...!)
It's very hard not to include yourself when taking a photo of such a large mirror....
Apparently the view out the window during the day from the sunken bath is incredible
I would like to thank Clare, Mark and the team for a fantastic evening and for inviting us to see what is on offer at Goldsborough Hall.
*I was asked to attend the launch evening at Goldsborough Hall, however I was not asked to write this review. As always, all views and opinions are honest and my own (sometimes with some input from Des!)