When you think of Yorkshire food, you might think of fish and chips, a cup of tea, and of course, Yorkshire Pudding!

But we can do better- and we did!

The luxury Aldwark Manor Estate out in the countryside north-west of York has launched an overnight break for food lovers that celebrates all that is fabulous about Yorkshire cuisine.

It all adds to a growing range of delights at the venue, which was established in 1978, and had a series of owners until taken over by Leeds-based Depho Estates in 2019.


In recent years they have spent £20million on a sympathetic restoration of the manor, which took 5-years to build and was completed in the 1870s, with a similar spend also underway.

The latest projects have seen a total refurbishment of the hotel, completed by May 2021, including a  £15million redesign of the golf course, which opened last summer.

Last September also saw the addition of Bunkers, a separate building with 11 bedrooms, sports bar, golf shop and restaurant.

Last January saw work start on Chartwell, a £3million fine dining restaurant with speakeasy, private dining room and bespoke wine tasting room and is due to open this Spring.

The Spa and Leisure Centre also closed earlier this year as work starts on a new state-of-the-art spa and leisure centre, with 37 more bedrooms, plus conference and banqueting rooms. The £20million project is due for completion next year.

York Press: A most magnificent and comfortable bed

This summer will also see new water-based activities such as kayaking, paddle boards and the hotel’s own boat to take guests down the scenic River Ure, which runs nearby.

When I called one recent Friday, it was bitterly cold, with frozen waterways and ice adding extra sparkle to the fountain outside.

But inside I was taken by the warmth of the hotel, with log fires blazing, along with the warmth of the staff, who were very welcoming and soon had you checked in.

The hotel’s estate director Christophe Gitton showed me around, describing the hotel as quirky, different and opulent, which it certainly is.

I was staying for the Taste of Yorkshire Break, which at £299 for two on either a Friday or Saturday night delivers a six-course tasting menu at dinner, breakfast, and a stay in a classic double room. Drinks are extra.

Now, I was in a junior suite called the Manor Suite, which was spacious and opulent, with fine views over the gardens, with the Ure in the distance. It had a most impressive bathroom, with bath tub and walk-in rain shower. I particularly enjoyed the sunset and river view.

York Press: I should have found time for a bath

All was perfect, bar the wi-fi, which was a little temperamental that Friday afternoon. It was fine for surfing the Net but the Press’s specialist web-based applications need something more robust to work. Even in the downstairs Squadron Bar I had trouble, which I casually mentioned to a staffer, not complaining, just making a passing remark. But minutes later the facilities manager was knocking on my door. He put me onto a different wi-fi network, which was much better, though our systems were still not fully working. The estate manager also rung me to enquire over the matter.

But later, after dinner, I was able to listen to a favourite podcast and in the morning, all the apps, which need much grunt, were all working beautifully. If only I had checked earlier but it all showed how the staff will do what they can to give you the best time when you stay.

But back to dinner, which was in the Elements restaurant and reminded me of some of trendiest spots in York or Leeds, with their walls of stylish and most unusual designs.

In addition to the tasting menu, I went for the paired wines, which included a range of whites and reds, such as a rioja, a pinot noir, a dessert wine and finishing off with port.

The ingredients are locally-sourced and updated to account for what is freshest and in season, so what I received differed from what was advertised just the previous week.

So instead of a parsnip soup starter, it was a cheesy ball with honeycomb and the freshest of tangy blackberries, which was delicious.

York Press: An upstairs reading room comes with a bar

Next came a tasty serving of ham hock followed by the best joy of all, a piece of halibut. It was soft, tender and so unlike much fish today, was bursting with flavour as it was so fresh.

This was then followed by equally delightful tender and flavoursome pieces of sirloin beef with potato.

Each were served with a fresh glass of wine, all good quality, and it was a delight seeing your server arrive, as you wondered what treat would be coming up next.

A tangy tart followed, which had more of the delicious blackberries, followed by a dense, rich and chocolaty torte with orange and ice cream, before finishing off with a range of cheeses, crackers and quince.

It didn’t seem particularly Yorkshire to me, but all was excellent and enjoyable, with friendly and efficient service that could not be faulted.

York Press: The Squadron Bar

If you didn’t fancy the tasting menu, there were plenty of other dining options too including a full range of wines, such as wines produced just down the road, and special, fine wines.

I slept well in the most comfortable king-sized bed, enjoyed the fluffiest of towels after the shower and the Full English breakfast was superb, with delicious and creamy scrambled eggs.

I left happy having had a great night, with amazing food, in magnificent surroundings, with friendly staff who will remedy any issues you might have.

No wonder TripAdvisor, Booking.Com and others also give Aldwark Manor Estate rave reviews. They are all so well deserved!