We do love a greedy weekend away and it’s been a while since just the two of us took a trip, so when we were invited for a foodie break at Hipping Hall we jumped at the chance. Perfectly situated just 90 minutes’ drive between Harrogate and Manchester on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, this luxury hotel is a gorgeous country retreat.
We arrived at our pretty destination and were immediately wowed by the grounds of this historic building, with parts dating back to the 15th century and the main residence built in the 17th century. We were shown to our room, which is one of six bedrooms situated in the main house – there is additional accommodation in the recently renovated stables and cottage, just across the courtyard.
Our bedroom was so welcoming, with cosy robes waiting on our beds and pampering Temple Spa goodies in the bathroom. There’s no tea and coffee facilities in the room; instead you ring down to reception and they bring you a hot drink of your choosing. I ordered a mocha (of course!) and my greedy sister chose a pot of tea. We were thrilled when the tea tray arrived and it came with slices of lemon drizzle cake, what a treat!
After our refreshments we explored the rest of the house then settled in the lounge, where we found a huge selection of newspapers and magazines. We snuggled up on the cosy sofas and enjoyed a relaxing reading session that could have lasted hours, but we had more exploring to do.
Before our evening meal we went for a walk around the grounds, which were incredibly pretty and very varied. Hipping Hall takes its name from the stepping stones – or ‘hipping stones’ that crossed Broken Beck, which runs past the residence. Hundreds of years ago, travellers used the stones to cross the stream and a blacksmith recognised the value of this passing trade and set up shop on the site. It later became Hipping Hall when Edward Tatham became gentry in the 17th century and created the estate. We enjoyed a lovely walk along the stream which gave the Hall its name and had a potter around the vegetable gardens and greenhouses that overlook the gorgeous Dales. We’d built up quite an appetite, but luckily a huge meal awaited.
Chef Oli Martin has created the hotel’s delicious menus, which includes an option for an eight course tasting menu that had our name on it. The food is served in the beautiful 15th century dining hall and our meal began with a selection of amuse bouches; mackerel and kohl rabi, venison carpaccio on a granola wafer and a cheese version for my pescetarian menu. Then we were treated to warm, freshly baked breads made from the hops of the local beer at Kirby Lonsdale.
The tasting menu began with lobster and radish salad in a vibrant lettuce gazpacho, which was full of flavour and deliciously rich. My starter was toasted cauliflower with frozen goats cheese and gooseberries, while my greedy sister had beef tartare with horseradish roe and pumpkin seeds.
Our next course was probably my highlight of the meal, a girolle tart with dumpling cheese custard, sheep’s yoghurt curd and pickled mushrooms.
Next for me was a fresh salad of heritage tomatoes, while the other GS had loin of wild halibut on Fylde Coast sea vegetables and oysters.
The next meat course was tender braised pork cheek with sea buckthorn and toasted hazelnuts. And I had Yorkshire celery which was cut into tagliatelle-style ribbons and dressed with a creamy cheddar and fig sauce.
My final savoury course was the halibut from the fish course my GS had earlier and it was a gorgeous taste of the sea. The final meat course was venison which was smoky and perfect with a heavy red wine.
We were well and truly spoilt with two desserts; first a garden pear pudding with gingerbread and walnut mousse, then cumbrian damson served two ways, with a Kirby Lonsdale beer meringue. The menu was truly scrumptious and in the most beautiful setting. We especially loved the crockery it was served from, which is made by local potter Miles-Moore Ceramics.
With full bellies we headed to our room and enjoyed a peaceful night’s sleep in our very cosy beds. We woke to a morning paper at the door and were quickly brought our tea tray of coffee. After a leisurely start we headed to the dining room for breakfast, where we could have chosen anything from the extensive menu. I decided on the eggs royale, with a greedy addition of a potato rosti, while the carnivore had a full English. Neither was overfacing and both were elegantly presented. My GS said it was one of the nicest full English’s she’s ever had!
We had just enough time for another stroll around the grounds before heading on our way after the perfect greedy weekend.
Thanks to our generous hosts at Hipping Hall for inviting us to stay the night.