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This UK hotel is more like cluster of authentic French cottages – here’s what it’s like to stay

Simon Calder’s Travel

Everything about Middleton Lodge is delicately and exquisitely arranged to deliver tranquility, contentment and small moments of deep pleasure.

Take the mossy green ceramic dish carrying its calming cargo of frozen grapes and a herbal tea brewed from hibiscus, lemongrass and ginger – especially concocted to compliment the treatment I’ve just had (a reviving back of body massage, as you asked).

Or the candles steeped in tall glass boxes that flicker in corners and crannies. There are umbrellas stuffed into baskets. Tingly Perry Pear lotions from Noble Isle in the walk-in shower rooms. Fragrant scents waft up from the rustic gardens. Oatmeal-coloured herringbone blankets slung over chairs and loungers set with rugs. Everywhere is comforting stone, wood and grass. Birds whistle a dawn chorus. The wind swooshes gently through the trees. You feel blissfully at home — if your home was a luxury five-star Georgian estate in one of the most beautiful corners of North Yorkshire.

The mood music here is refined cosiness and light-touch grandeur. There are 200 acres of room to roam among wild meadows, natural lawns, low-slung herbaceous borders, mature oaks and a delightful old farmhouse with faded red slates. The latter has been artfully divided into the new Pool House, a fine-dining restaurant and the Dairy, restored in 2019 and now home to 11 lovely rooms, one of which is my sanctuary for a two-night stay. Clawfoot bath, four-poster bed, vintage Roberts radio: tick, tick, tick. This new accommodation looks more like a cluster of authentic Provencal cottages or, with their minty green front doors, a quintessential Cotswolds hamlet.

Inside the Pool House
Inside the Pool House (Cecelina Tornberg)

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A favourite place was the extraordinarily lovely two-acre walled garden. Restored and redesigned in 2018, it is overflowing with natural beauty, climbing wisteria with fragrant blossom, blousy peonies, regimented rows of vegetables and salads beds and meandering slate paths. This is also where you will find the Fig House, where a dream wedding might be taking place, spilling out onto the lawn, with happy guests discreetly lodged in one of four private shepherd’s huts located at the far end of an orchard (there are hot tubs coming soon); or else in three ludicrously quaint potting shed rooms, dotted among the original outbuildings.

Middleton Lodge…

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