Short stay: Goldsborough Hall, near Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, UK

Situated between Harrogate and York, Goldsborough Hall is a historic, 400-year-old stately home and Grade II Listed building, and former residence (and first marital home) to one of the present Queen’s aunts: HRH Princess Mary (1897-1965). After an extensive restoration, it has established itself as one of Yorkshire’s finest wedding venues but has also enjoyed a growing trade for guests simply looking for a few nights away. We paid a visit to see why.

Goldsborough Hall

The welcome

We were warmly welcomed and personally shown to our rooms within the main building. The staff we encountered were consistently friendly and helpful throughout, as was the manager, James, who introduced himself to us later that evening.

The room

I travelled with family and so we occupied two suites, each with a similar layout, but one a floor directly above the other – The Wharton Suite (named after the Wharton family who owned the Hall in the 17th Century) and the Bridgeman Suite (named after Lady Florence Bridgeman who lived at the Hall prior to moving to Harewood House with her husband, the 5th Earl of Harewood, in 1893). The rooms were tastefully furnished, recognising the building’s history and grandeur, whilst still exuding a modern style.

Bedroom at Goldsborough Hall

Wharton Suite at Goldsborough Hall

Bedroom at Goldsborough

A selection of magazines included publications such as The Rake and Living North could be found in each room.

Magazines at Goldsborough Hall

Free WiFi was reliable throughout the building and direct dial telephones between rooms were useful given that we had rooms on separate floors. Each room also had its own tea and coffee making facilities.

The accommodation overlooked a portion of the estate’s grounds – there’s a total of 12 acres of beautiful grounds at Goldsborough, and this has earned the hotel prestigious recognition with The Times newspaper as one of the ‘top places to stay with great gardens’.

The bathroom

Contemporary bathrooms were equipped with a whirlpool bath and twin glass basins, as well as Molton Brown toiletries.

Bathroom at Goldsborough Hall

Toiletries at Goldsborough Hall

The facilities

We were only there for a short stay but were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sample the restaurant. Pre-dinner drinks were served in the Jacobean Library (which is also used for afternoon teas, popular with both residents and non-residents). This is a very grand, yet cosy, room with log fire and oak-panelling; in the Summer months, it opens out onto a lovely outside terrace and conservatory bar.

Lounge at Goldsborough Hall

Here we were served canapés – delicious chicken and rabbit croquettes and treacle-cured salmon.

Canapes at Goldsborough Hall

After making our selections from the menu, we moved through to the Dining Room – I had the succulent pan-fried scallops served with a pea and wasabi purée, and a honey and soy dressing…

Scallops at Goldsborough Hall

…whilst my wife was equally delighted with her choice of the goats cheese mousse, roasted red pepper purée, black olive sticks and thyme honey.

Goats cheese mousse at Goldsborough Hall

My main of trio of pork consisted of roast pork fillet, braised pork belly and slow-cooked pork cheek, served with heritage carrots and anise.

Trio of pork at Goldsborough Hall

I also got to taste my wife’s fillet of hake served on a bed of puy lentils with chorizo, red pepper mousse and red wine tartar.

Hake at Goldsborough Hall

But my favourite main was my son’s choice (he was also kind enough to let me have a taste!) of beef sirloin with a Bourguignon sauce, roast shallot and mushroom puree.

Beef sirloin at Goldsborough Hall

Not only was the food of a high standard, but the presentation – as you can see – was an equal match, and the restaurant thoroughly deserves its AA rosette for culinary excellence.

We shared a taste of chocolate to finish: chocolate brownie, dark chocolate mousse and white chocolate and pistachio.

Chocolate dessert at Goldsborough Hall

We had chosen from the a la carte menu but also available is a gourmet seven-course taster menu. As mentioned, dinner is served in the Dining Room which is also where we had breakfast each morning.

Breakfast room at Goldsborough Hall

I had the full Yorkshire breakfast one morning, and the eggs Benedict another, but other options are available, including the likes of homemade porridge, Yorkshire eggy bread with crispy bacon, smoked haddock kedgeree or sweet Yorkshire puddings (with fillings such as fruit compote, hazelnut chocolate and butterscotch sauce).

Breakfast at Goldsborough Hall

Other nice touches

We were welcomed with a personally-written note in our room from the owners, Mark and Clare Oglesby, who are also resident at the house and are the ones responsible for restoring this beautiful building to its former glory.

Welcome at Goldsborough Hall

Cost

Rates start from an attractive £189 for a standard King room, including dinner.

The best bit

Although the accommodation and food were both excellent, the best bit was how welcome we were made to feel. Nothing was too much trouble.

The final verdict

The hotel has somehow successfully achieved something that’s probably more difficult than it looks – namely, that it has retained the history and character of the building and grounds whilst still providing a modern and contemporary five star offering that is in keeping with the expectations of the present day.

Disclosure: My stay was courtesy of Goldsborough Hall.

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