Relaxing in a traditional country pub set in beautiful scenery is the most perfect way to spend a few days away from the stresses and strains of everyday life. Imagine yourself with your loved one, enjoying delicious food, warming yourself in front of a roaring log fire. After a nightcap or a warming hot drink, think how lovely it would be to walk a few yards to a luxurious room with the comfiest bed ever, ensuring you have a good nights sleep.
The next morning as you head for a hearty, mouthwatering breakfast, you cannot help but be overwhelmed by the stunning view of the Yorkshire countryside that surrounds you. A carpet of green fields stretches out all the way to York and beyond. You can even see the majestic towers of York Minster! It all sounds too good to be true ? Well, I experienced this recently and I can honestly say it really was that good ! So where was I? Read on for my account of this treasure of a place located not far from where I live in North Yorkshire.
THE DURHAM OX
I was lucky enough to be invited on a mid week break to The Durham Ox, which is located in the stunning village of Crayke. Crayke is situated just two miles north east of Easingwold and less than twenty five minutes from the historic city of York. It’s funny how you can live all your life in a county and not be aware of wonderful villages and towns hiding in the local countryside. I am guilty of not exploring my own area as much as I should, although I aim to put that right from now on.
As we approached the village on a quiet country lane, I had already started to unwind from what had been a busy week of work. It is easy to leave behind all the problems of home and work as you look around at the stunning Yorkshire countryside. Of course I am a Yorkshire Girl and you may think I am biased, but my love of this county is validated by all that it has to offer.
And so, on a bright, sunny autumn day we arrived at the quaint country pub in the charming North Yorkshire village of Crayke. Check in was straightforward with friendly, welcoming staff showing us round the facilities, advising us of local walks and attractions and finally showing us to our room.
We stayed in Lavender Cottage which was a beautiful, one level stone building in the courtyard surrounded by stunning scenery. The room was elegant and yet homely, decorated in soft green tones and warm subtle lighting. A well equipped tea tray came with a nice quirky addition of a Yorkie chocolate bar, which was soon eaten with our cup of Yorkshire Tea. The en suite bathroom was scrupulously clean with modern fittings and the addition of luxurious L’Occitane toiletries were a welcome touch.
After a quick shower, we headed back inside the main body of the pub for our evening meal. And, what a meal it was ! There was an extensive menu with so many tempting delights, it was almost too difficult to choose. This restaurant has won many awards for food and I can see why. It is no surprise to discover that The Durham Ox is an official entry in The Michelin Guide for 2019.
EATING AT THE DURHAM OX
Our starters consisted of Beetroot Cured Salmon Gravadlax and Pan Fried Grouse Breast which were both delicious. We chose main courses of 28 Day Aged Ribeye Steak and Pan Roasted Hake, both of which were served with tasty fresh vegetables. The meals were both perfectly cooked according to our requests and we both said that it was the best meal we had tasted in a long while. Our mouth watering desserts of Vanilla Creme Brulee and Sticky Toffee Pudding with Toffee Sauce topped with Cinder Toffee Ice Cream (yes really!) were just delicious and ended the perfect meal in the perfect setting. Relaxing in a cosy room in front of a roaring log fire, eating excellent food, is just the perfect way to spend an evening with a loved one or a friend.
After a coffee for myself and a whisky for my other half, we retired to our cosy, warm room where I had the BEST nights sleep in a long while. The bed was so comfy and with such relaxing surroundings, it was easy to wind down and drift into a deep sleep. Waking up the next morning made me realise how much I needed to take time out for myself to truly relax and unwind.
Breakfast was served in the bar and, as expected the food was delicious and beautifully presented. It was good to know that the chefs here use local produce and ingredients and you could certainly appreciate that this was the case. Eggs were softly poached just the way I like them. I always look forward to poached eggs when we are away, as I am not the greatest at poaching eggs. (If anyone knows the secret of poached eggs then please let me know)
After breakfast we decided a walk was in order to try digest all the amazing food we had consumed over the past twelve hours. We wandered up to the local church which is sat on top of the hill. It almost looks like it is watching and guarding the village. This wonderful church dates from about 1490 and with its fabulous architecture, it is definitely worth a visit. There are many other stunning walks in the area around the pub and these are listed in an information book which is kept in every room.
EVENTS & SPECIAL OFFERS
The Durham Ox hosts many fabulous events throughout the year ranging from literary talks to live music to whiskey tasting nights. All the events can be found on their website so please keep checking for updates. Food is served during the day and they have a superb lunch and early bird menu, should you wish to eat earlier in the day.
Best of all, The Durham Ox run fabulous accommodation special offers, especially mid week which is when we stayed. I LOVE mid week breaks as it tends to be quieter and more relaxed in all public places. I feel a mid week break is a proper time out from real life and wonderful for refreshing and recharging the body and mind. We often think we need a holiday abroad in the sun to completely relax, when in fact, I think we get more benefit from short breaks closer to home. I know I would much rather take a few short breaks in my local area, than battle with the crowds and airport delays for a week’s break in the sun. For all up to date deals on The Durham Ox, please click here.
I cannot praise The Durham Ox enough for accommodation, food, customer service and overall hospitality. I honestly had the best stay ever, which was relaxing and restorative. Everything was just perfect and the details that go into every part of the business were just outstanding. I truly felt like I had been cared for and looked after, and I think, as guests, that is what we really appreciate.
The Durham Ox has a big heart and can really help you relax and recharge, which we all need at certain points in our life. I shall certainly be visiting this Yorkshire jewel again when I feel the need to switch off from the busy world. I hope you can find time to treat yourself to this little piece of Yorkshire, as I know you won’t regret it.
I hope you have enjoyed travelling on this little journey with me to The Durham Ox. Please let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions about it, please comment or message me.
Until next time dear friends
** We were kindly invited to stay at The Durham Ox for the purposes of this review but, as always the words and views are my own **