Set in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, Simonstone Hall really is unique - and looked even more magical with a good dusting of snow this week. I don't know how, but I managed to get to the magnificent country house while the rest of the country practically came to a standstill thanks to the weather.
Luckily, the snow did little to hamper the spectacular views over the dales and surrounding fells, which can be seen for miles from the house.
Standing in its' own splendid grounds, the house is privately owned and has been carefully restored while still preserving historic character.
My bedroom was beautifully furnished with refined period furniture, complete with antique chairs, sofa, table and paintings on the wall. Yet it had all the mod cons you would expect of a hotel, with a flat screen TV, wi-fi access and tea and coffee making facilities.
It was a fine blend of history meeting with modern conveniences of the 21st century.
To say the room was large is an understatement and I felt I had been given the equivalent space of a huge maisonette.
The bed with its Egyptian cotton sheets was very comfy and despite being covered with a plethora of plump cushions, could easily sleep four people comfortably.
Having arrived in time for dinner and extremely hungry after a five-hour drive, I was pleased to learn there were two places to dine within the house. Diners can either eat in the informal and casual brasserie or the Four Fells Restaurant which opens in the evening.
The menu offers a mixture of traditional and contemporary cuisine which has been created by the chefs using locally sourced products. The menu, I was told, changes regularly depending on the seasonal availability of produce. I decided to dine in the restaurant and opted for the black pearl scallops for a starter and a duo of Yorkshire lamb as my main. The scallops were pan seared on lemon and thyme risotto and herb oils while the main consisted of lamb rump, ballontine of lamb shoulder and apricot and crushed new potatoes. It was accompanied with courgette, carrot and fine bean bundle and red wine Jus. The portion sizes were very generous and really hit the spot.
Despite the tempting sounding desserts like the Trio of Chocolate - Chocolate Cake Caprese, Chocolate and Hazelnut, Cheesecake, White Chocolate Mille Feulle - I had to give it a miss because the food was very filling.
But I wasn't too full for a drink and with good quality wines high on the agenda at Simonstone Hall, it was rude not to venture into the drinks lounge. The house offers two newly refurbished private wine rooms which can be hired for tasting events and private dinner parties.In contrast, the pub next to the brasserie is very much a traditional drinking venue.
And with its relaxed lounge and log fire, it's a haven to relax and unwind. As I had arrived at the house in the dark, it wasn't until the morning that I was able to take in the stunning views from my bedroom window.
The view, similar to the majority of the eighteen bedrooms in the building, was truly breathtaking. I was able to appreciate the magnificent vista of the snow covered fields as far as the eye would allow in the distant. It was virtually hard to pull myself away from the window for breakfast!
I could totally understand why Kate Winslet had chosen this as her honeymoon destination following her marriage to first husband John Threapleton
Simonstone Hall is surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in England.
Rugged landscapes, cascading rivers, charming market towns, castles and abbeys are all in abundance.
The staff at the house can arrange scenic walks of various distances for all abilities so you can see for yourself the magic of this delightful place.
For more information on Simonstone House, log on to http://www.simonstonehall.com/ or call 01969 667255. Enquiries can also be made via firstname.lastname@example.org
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