The Lowdown

A luxurious Georgian, country retreat comprising of two restaurants and a choice of lodgings across the estate within the original mansion house, farm house and coach house.

The Location

Set amongst 200 acres of rural North Yorkshire countryside in the village of Middleton Tyas, within easy reach of Richmond and the Yorkshire Dales.

Christmas was fast approaching, in 3 days to be precise and as I piled into the car with my Mum, Dad and Sister having arrived from London late the night before I felt giddy with excitement. We began our trip with a visit to the nearby market town of Richmond.

Hot chocolate in hand, we trailed our way around the market square, eyeing up deli windows stacked with plentiful piles of golden pastries and meandered through the never ending rabbit warren of rooms at York House Antique Shop.

Following the lane down to the river, we passed quaint little cottages where wreaths hung on doors and candles flickered in windows, stopping to take in the dramatic scenes at Swale Falls.

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By the time we reached Middleton Lodge at around 4 in the afternoon, a blanket of darkness had already draped itself over the estate. We made our way to the Coach House, a honey coloured sandstone building renovated from the old stables into a restaurant with bedrooms and treatment rooms. We passed a tall, elegant spruce twinkling with lights that shone like a thousand tiny stars and a groundsman setting fire to the first logs of the evening, in cast iron pits dotted around the courtyard.

The Interiors . . .

The interiors within the rooms and restaurant at The Coach House are understated yet luxurious, a modern day take on a classic country house. It’s as if The Pig Hotel and Soho House Group had a Northern love child. Think soft, light colour palettes, quality fabrics, painted floor boards, tongue and groove doors and characterful pieces of rustic wooden furniture in the bedrooms. Downstairs in the restaurant more of the same but with the addition of industrial shelving. In the bar, exposed brick work and bare bulbs and in the snug, dark panelled walls.

“ It’s as if The Pig Hotel and Soho House Group had a Northern love child.”

The Rooms . . .

Our bedrooms, Caspartine and Swallows & Amazons were tucked away at opposite ends of the old hayloft at the top of a steep, stone staircase. Each lit with the cosy glow of a bedside lamp, exposed beams, dramatic round windows, giant bed, a roll top bath and fluffy robes and Christmas songs playing out gently from a Roberts revival radio.

A knock on the door signalled the arrival of a cold glass of fizz to welcome us and as I answered, the wonderfully wintry scent of woodsmoke drifted up the stairs from the courtyard below.

I relaxed with ease as I realised not only was this place as good their website suggested, it was actually even better in real life, and fast becoming a new favourite.

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The Food . . .

As a surprise to my parents we had arranged for my brother and his girlfriend to join us for dinner in the Coach House restaurant, a casual eating space with a relaxed, all day menu. We enjoyed a reunion cocktail in the bar before being treated to a fine, festive feast of turkey with all the trimmings. Again in the morning, we rolled out of bed and down stairs to an abundant breakfast with a generous selection of offerings including fresh fruits, yoghurt, cereal and pastries, beautifully presented on an old wooden cart and a menu of classics, cooked to order. Candles flickered in lanterns and the scent of fresh coffee filled the air as contented guests tucked in and perused the Sunday papers.

Recently a second restaurant, The Forge, has also opened to offer guests an intimate, fine dining experience with focus on a seasonal tasting menu from head chef Gareth Rayner.

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Yay To . . .

lazy mornings - 12 mid day late check out is standard. In room Nespresso coffee machines. Fabulous breakfasts and super helpful friendly staff, willing to care to your every need.

Nay To . . .

The old fashioned door latches on the coach house rooms are pretty much impossible to close quietly, so you have to rely on your neighbours to be courteous if they arrive back later than you in the evening. Equally a private party going on beneath our room had music playing until midnight and the sound invaded our space a little more than we would have liked, however it was Christmas so in the spirit of things we didn’t mind and it stopped before we were actually ready to sleep.

Worth Knowing . . .

  • There are treatment rooms available within the Coach House providing natural, holistic face and body rituals using handpicked brands including Ren, Voya and Kiss The Moon.

  • Vintage bicycles are available for guests to hire

  • There’s a 1 hour woodland walk that leads around the edges of the estate, a great way to burn off breakfast and take in some fresh country air.

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We stopped to admire the stunning main house which is still home to the Allison family but can be hired privately, a favourite for weddings, balls, shooting parties and film and TV.

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As the path lead us back to the main grounds I noticed what looked like the perimeters of a walled garden and an archway cut out through bricks creeping with emerald ivy, the door ajar. Curious, we peered inside and discovered the Fig House, a stunning space used to host weddings and private events.

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Lanterns lined the outside terrace and wisps of smoke danced upwards from the fire pits into the cool December air like ghostly apparitions. Classic Christmas carols carried softly over the outdoor speakers. It felt quite magical.

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Much of the garden appeared dead now, dry and decaying, honey coloured, straw like grass and brown wizened stems, naked of petals. Yet it was still beautiful, the textures and tones perfectly complimenting the golden, stone building beyond.

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Middleton Lodge surpassed all of my expectations and I can honestly say that it’s one of the nicest places I have ever had the pleasure of staying.

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Getting There . . .

5 minutes from Richmond, 10 minutes from Tees Valley Airport and Darlington Train station.

40 minutes from Newcastle, 1 hour from York and 2.5 hours from London via train.

DL10 6NJ


Nearby and worth a visit if you have the time . . .

Mainsgill Farm Shop - The absolute epitome of farm shops, a foodie paradise! A vast selection of award winning produce and the finest local and British foods around. A family business, the shop and tea room provides the perfect platform to sell offerings from the 500 acres of land used to farm livestock and crops. There is so much on offer here, it’s hard to take it all in. Some of our top picks were the homemade sausage rolls and Snowdonia cheddar cheese in Black Bomber and smokey Beechwood varieties. Keep your eyes peeled for the roaming alpacas and camels on arrival.

Cellar 21 Showroom at Bon Coeur Fine Wines - Based in the nearby village of Melsonby, a family business with over 21 years trading, the company is one of the UK’s leading independent wine merchants supplying wine to private households, corporates, events and leading hotels, restaurants and pubs throughout the UK. There’s a fine list on offer from everyday drinking wines, champagne and port to the specialisation of Burgundy and Bordeaux En Primeur wine. Whether you’re looking for a casual, easy drinking wine, something for a special occasion or inspiration about wines to pair with a food menu, at Cellar 21 you will be well looked after with knowledgeable advice and professional, friendly service.