Only a 45 minute drive from my Yorkshire home, The Devonshire Arms is situated on the 30,000 acre Bolton Abbey Estate and is owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.
We pulled up to a grand ivy covered property with immaculately maintained gardens standing in all its splendour. Greeted by a porch filled with green wellies and a roaring log fire, there’s nothing understated about the arrival (or the rest of the hotel for that matter). Magnificent paintings and antlers hang from the walls and the lounges are furnished with antiques, heavy draping curtains and sofas you sink into.
We were welcomed by a tour of the hotel before being showed to our room – a contrast to downstairs, the room was light with soft creams and pastels and a stunning view across the estate towards Bolton Abbey. The wall between the bedroom and bathroom featured a large glass window which caused much amusement but fortunately had sliding canvas doors for privacy.
The Burlington Restaurant is the highest rated restaurant in Yorkshire with a Michelin star and 4 AA rosettes and the Devonshire Brasserie and Bar is lively and vibrant and wouldn’t have been out of place in a city setting. Feeling like a more informal atmosphere, we opted for the brasserie for dinner.
We began with an aperitif of prosecco. Fortunately for me my partner had a change of tune and I began the evening with two glasses of prosecco. Perfect. The menu had just the right selection – not too many you’re stuck for choice and few enough to make you try something different.
Dan’s Wild Rabbit & Tomato Ragout with Pan Fried Potato Gnocchi and Pesto was light, well-seasoned and the meat was succulent and tasty. This contrasted with my heavier starter of Pan Fried Pigeon Breast with a rich accompaniment of Brussel Sprouts, Pancetta, Juniper Jus. We ate half and switched over, not wanting to miss out on either.
My pork fillet medallions were cooked very well, moist and tender and came with a Bacon & Apple Potato Rosti, Wild Mushrooms, Celeriac Puree and Thyme Jus. Dan’s Pan Fried Venison Haunch Steak came with creamy Dauphinoise Potatoes, Braised Red Cabbage and a sharp Blackberry Jus.
Portions were a healthy size without being overwhelming and we had just enough room to squeeze in a cheese board of Harrogate Blue, Gjetost (with a sweet caramel flavour and colour that could easily be confused with fudge), Livarot, Cooleeney, Wensleydale Special Reserve and Black Crowdie.
The Devonshire Arms prides itself on having “one of the finest wine lists in the country” and we were successful in wangling an envied tour of the hotel’s wine cellar courtesy of the lovely Ben. The list includes over 2,500 wines with the oldest vintage dating back to 1900. Whilst there are a number of reasonably priced bottles, the prices for the fine and the rare frequently reach 4 digits.
We retired to the interestingly themed “dog” lounge for cocktails after dinner, decorated with velvet dog print wallpaper, dog paintings and everything else dog related and reclined into another deep sofa with a very potent Apple Martini (seriously, that’ll put hairs on your chest!). The hotel is dog friendly and we had the company of 4 canine guests sprawled contentedly in front of a log fire.
Breakfast the following morning was just what the doctor ordered. A Yorkshire fried breakfast and pot of tea in The Burlington Restaurant set us up for a work out in the hotel’s gym. The Health Barn consists of a small gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and cold plunge pool – I tried all bar the cold plunge (not that I’m a wuss or anything). There’s also a good range of spa treatments but book in advance, I left it a week before and both days were fully booked.
It was a wonderful few days and the perfect romantic getaways so fellas, get your hands in your pockets and whisk your lady away – http://www.thedevonshirearms.co.uk.