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Victoria Wade checks in to Yorebridge House in the heart of The Dales and discovers the perfect retreat for an indulgent getaway.

It was pre-Christmas, before it all goes bonkers and the guilt of doing anything other than shopping and wrapping sets in. The perfect time for a little escape.

My only instructions were to take something nice to wear. Interesting. We also had the pup in the back of the car, so I surmised our secret getaway was not too far away, hopefully, for his sake, but otherwise, I was none the wiser.

30 minutes into our road trip and I realised we were definitely Dales-bound and another half hour later, we pulled into the gravelled driveway of Yorebridge House and I could not have been happier.

It has long been on our list of places we’d like to stay.  I’ve been banging on about it for years and it looked as handsome and romantic in the flesh as its online pictures which is always a good start to a date.

Situated in the village of Bainbridge in the heart of Wensleydale, nestled between two rivers – The Ure and The Bain, Yorebridge is indeed everything it’s cracked up to be. David and Charlotte Reilly bought the buildings from the Yorkshire Dales National Park, who had used it for many years as their head office, and spent 18 months renovating, floor to ceiling to create this beautiful hotel and restaurant. Unsurprisingly and entirely deservedly, they have won awards aplenty since then, including Small Hotel of the Year and Restaurant of the Year to name but two.

The stunning rooms, 12 in total, are individually designed and inspired by David and Charlotte’s travels around the world. We were in Rangali, the Maldives room situated in what was once the Old Grammar School across the courtyard. Spacious and exquisitely furnished with wooden panelling, unique lighting and a super-sized bed. The bathroom is glorious with wet-room-style walk-in shower, thick fluffy towels and luxury toiletries. Then there’s the generous-sized and totally private courtyard, complete with the all-important hot tub. It’s no mean feat but they have managed to strike the perfect balance between the hotel’s true Yorkshire roots and faraway luxury destinations, and you instinctively want to kick off your shoes and relax with either a cuppa or something stronger. Probably something stronger, we were on our holidays. For a night at least.

Like Goldilocks sizing up the bears’ pad, we sat in all the comfy chairs, ligged on the bed, sampled the homemade biscuits, savoured a glass or two of complimentary fizz and discussed how fabulous it would be to spend Christmas here, then set off to the restaurant.

We’d heard great things about it, not least that with head chef Dan Shotton at the helm, it won 3AA Rosettes in 2014 and has maintained this accolade every year since.

Mr B’s eyes lit up when the menu arrived, positively giddy and not one to dither, he’d made his choice in 10 seconds flat. Carpaccio to start with Kohlrabi and Lovage, followed by Spring Lamb with Hispi Cabbage and Caper Dressing. I went for the Gigha Halibut with Sea Aster and Brown Shrimp and had to pace myself with the tantalising amuse bouche, selection of homemade bread and accompanying uniquely flavoured butters, plural.

Innovative, works of art, every dish was joyful to look at and tasted absolutely delicious. Locally sourced, expertly crafted and skilfully presented, offering a mesmerising combination of flavours.

We rounded things off with a luscious Strawberry Parfait, two spoons and an eye on the cheeseboard, but remembering our imminent hot tub plans, turned down the platter of local savoury goodness and meandered back to Rangali.

The next morning, after a great night’s sleep, we were back in pole position at the restaurant for breakfast. It was a bright, sunny morning, presumably ordered specially for guests, and we sat in the window overlooking the hotel gardens and the green rolling landscape beyond. It really is a perfect spot, ideally placed for visits to Aysgarth Falls, Brimham Rocks, Fountains Abbey, and Bolton Castle along with a string of other Yorkshire beauty spots well worth a visit.

Only after our third coffee and more daydreaming about spending Christmas at the hotel, did we reluctantly prise ourselves away and head home.

Everything works together harmoniously at Yorebridge House. The exquisite food served in the restaurant perfectly complements the charming character of the hotel.  The décor is sumptuous, luxurious, contemporary, yet laid-back and has brought this old school back to life to teach guests a thing or two about the art of fine dining and relaxation.

And the team here are fantastic – knowledgeable, approachable, with a down-to-earth confidence in how they operate which puts you immediately at ease.

I can’t recommend Yorebridge House highly enough. Something happens on arrival, when you swap your old kit bag of troubles for a room key at reception. It’s a seamless, silent exchange and it’s pure magic.

Yorebridge House, Bainbridge, North Yorkshire,

Tel: 01969 652060

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