I had been told that the Sunday roast at Feversham Arms hotel and spa in Helmsley, North Yorkshire was not to be missed and my informant had been bang on the money. It was pronounced: ‘A ten out of ten, the best I’ve ever eaten’ by my dining companion, who isn’t given to false praise, and I had to agree.
Sunday roast at Feversham Arms, Helmsley
We had arrived at Feversham Arms in the heart of the pretty town of Helmsley, deep in the North York Moors national park, at exactly 1pm and went straight into the restaurant. Thanks to lockdown this was my first Sunday roast out for months and as Feversham Arms had only just reintroduced Sunday lunch after a break of five years, it was a happy reunion all round.
The team under executive chef Adam Jackson had prepared the roast beef to perfection and all the trimmings including roast potatoes, green beans, cauliflower cheese and – of course – Yorkshire puddings – were top notch too.
Our waiter and sommelier was the snappily-dressed Alex, who combined Yorkshire charm with speedy efficiency and even produced an excellent off-menu Primitivo red wine which was instantly put on my ‘to buy when I get home’ list and all in all it was a great start to our stay.
The whole thing was very good value at £20 for the main course, or £25 for two courses and £35 for all three, if we’d had room (we didn’t). Having eaten our fill of Sunday roast, we picnicked on our balcony that evening which meant we could enjoy another blowout for breakfast the following day.
Arriving at Feversham Arms
The friendly welcome at reception was enough to make us feel at home even before we had made it to our room and it felt like a great place to spend a couple of nights, whatever the weather might throw at us.
In the end in true British summertime tradition, we had both torrential rain and balmy sunshine and Feversham Arms was a great place to enjoy (or endure) either: when the sun shone we could sunbathe by the outdoor pool and when it rained we read books and played games in either the bar downstairs or our impressive spa suite with its separate lounge and balcony.
Bedrooms at Feversham Arms
There are 33 bedrooms at Feversham Arms, 21 of which are suites, including spa suites (like ours) and poolside suites where you literally stepped out of your room to the pool area. I preferred our spa suite (number 33) which had a substantial balcony overlooking the pool area which was ideal for morning coffee or sunset cocktails without having to move far from our room.
Our poolside suite
Our room was equipped with everything you could want from a hotel stay, from two TVs, a desk, sofa, large bathroom with a walk-in shower and deep but fast-filling bath, coffee and tea-making equipment (although no fridge) and sliding doors to separate the bedroom and lounge if you wanted to.
Unlike some hotel rooms where you just put your head down at night and never spent any time in it during the day, this one with its French windows onto the balcony felt like you could stay there all day and feel like you were really on holiday, and indeed the hotel has increased its room service options during Covid-19 so guests can spend their stay in splendid isolation if they so wished.
Having expected Feversham Arms to also be in isolation in the Yorkshire countryside (as many fellow Pride of Britain hotels are) I was pleasantly surprised to find it in the middle of Helsmsley, where a 30 second walk through the churchyard opposite led to to its central market square, a popular meeting point for bikers and day-trippers at weekends.
As well as a wide variety of local shops, mainly delis and cafes, there are also the ruins of Helmsley Castle, which dates from Norman times. Those who prefer longer walks would enjoy the five miles or so to the 11th-century Rievaulx Abbey, the path to which goes from almost outside Feversham Arms, although you can of course also drive there if you’re short on time or energy.
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Breakfast at Feversham Arms
Covid-19 regs have put paid to breakfast buffets for the time being, but that’s no bad thing as we could sit back and enjoy the delivery of excellent coffee, home-made granola with fresh fruit and yoghurt, and smashed avocado with sourdough bread and poached eggs. Other options included a Full English, smoked haddock and Eggs Benedict so almost everything you could want from a hotel breakfast was covered, and the restaurant itself was light and airy with bright colours, quirky lighting and high ceilings making it a pleasant and relaxing dining space without being too formal as in some luxury hotels.
The spa at Feversham Arms
Rain in the morning gave way to sunshine in the afternoon and guests emerged to enjoy a swim in the pool – maximum of eight people currently allowed at one time, but you don’t have to book for the pool, just the hot tub – or sunbathe or enjoy a drink or two. It felt like a proper holiday stay and will no doubt be much in demand this summer with all the uncertainly over overseas travel. There is also a Verbena spa which is gradually reopening after lockdown and offers a range of health and beauty treatments – do check with the hotel when you book though, as the availability of various treatments will change as the restrictions are lifted.
The restaurant at Feversham Arms hotel
Dinner that evening was again excellent quality, from the tomato and burrata starter to the elegant lamb rump main course, although we weren’t quite sure that the chocolate, cherry and pistachio dessert warranted its £12 price tag. The indefatigable Alex – resplendent in a checked suit – made sure everything ran like clockwork and one of Feversham Arms strengths was that there were staff everywhere, so you felt very well looked after.
A great base for the North York Moors
If you didn’t want to lounge around the pool all day long then Feversham Arms is a great base to explore the North York Moors, and we had a great time exploring the coast from Whitby to Scarborough and admiring the beautiful and rugged Yorkshire landscape which was spectacular in the summer sunshine. Feversham Arms is possibly the 30th hotel in the excellent Pride of Britain Hotels group which I’ve reviewed (links to others below) and, despite not being as grand or historic as some of its other members, is worthy of its place in the group thanks to its excellent customer service, immaculate room and of course, that Sunday roast.
Hotel information and how to book Feversham Arms and spa
Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa, High Street, Helmsley, Yorkshire YO62 5AG
Rooms start from £120 B&B in a standard double room, with the spa and poolside suites priced from £320 per room B&B and £410 DB&B. Use of the Verbena spa heat facilities, outdoor heated pool and jacuzzi are included in all room packages. Check with the hotel what Covid restrictions there are due to Covid-19.
Feversham Arms is a member of Pride of Britain Hotels group, a collection of 50 of the best hotels in the UK. Other Pride of Britain Hotels I’ve received include: Maison Talbooth hotel and spa: a lovely Essex stay; The Headland hotel: luxury at the heart of Newquay, Cornwall; Luton Hoo: a classic country house hotel (with Hollywood glamour)
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