Adrian Mourby

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The historic wealth of the north of England has given rise to some beautiful cities and also swathes of country houses, many of which have been converted into hotels. I used to live near the North York Moors and found exploring Helmsley, Harrogate and York itself a great way to enjoy a weekend. The fact that after a day motoring through stunning countryside you could pretty much guarantee a first class hotel only made the journeys more enjoyable. Yorkshire's old vicarages, stately homes, coaching inns -and even a splendid railway building - have become hotels of character often in photogenic settings.
Rudding Park Hotel, Spa & Golf

Rudding Park was built by Sir Joseph Radcliffe in 1824, three miles south of the fashionable spa town of Harrogate. The Radcliffes were an old Lancashire family who crossed the Pennines after gaining a baronetcy. This double-fronted Grade 1 listed house with its neo-Gothic chapel was converted into a 90-bedroom hotel in 1997 with not just the inevitable spa, but also a private cinema.

Middlethorpe Hall Hotel, Restaurant & Spa

Middlethorpe is one of the National Trust's Yorkshire gems. For those who love William and Mary architecture this house, built in 1699, cannot be bettered. It was designed for Thomas Barlow, a wealthy Sheffield industrialist and is furnished today with eighteenth-century antiques and chequered marble floors. Ask for one of the ten rooms in the house itself for the full heritage experience.

Crathorne Hall

Crathorne takes its name from Sir William de Crathorne who was knighted by Edward II in 1327. The Dugdale family purchased the Crathorne estate in 1844 and in 1906 rebuilt the hall in a sturdy Edwardian style. James Dugdale, Lord Lieutenant of North Yorksire sold the hall in 1977. Today staying at Crathorne still feels like you are guests in a very splendid family home.

The Devonshire Fell Hotel

Bolton Abbey inspired paintings by Landseer and Turner and also Wordsworth's poem The White Doe of Rylstone. The hotel, like the abbey stands on what used to be the Duke of Devonshire's 30,000-acre North Yorkshire estate. Nowadays the Devonshire Arms is best known for its Michelin-starred Burlington Restaurant although four-poster rooms in the Old Wing (built 1727) are much sought after.

The Black Swan Hotel

Helmsley is one of the North Yorks Moors' prettiest and oldest market towns. After the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror gave it as booty to his half-brother the Count of Mortain. The historic Black Swan coaching inn has a Georgian facade, Elizabethan timbers and a new 1930s-style cocktail bar. Forty-five rooms have been carved out of every available space with those overlooking the gardens at the rear particularly popular.

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