The Fleece Hotel in Richmond is the newest addition to the North Yorkshire boutique hotel market. Right in the centre of the town, the hotel is an impressive conversion from an old nightclub, and is literally a stone’s throw from the historic market place.
The Fleece was originally an old coaching Inn and has been a place for travelers to stay during much of its existence. Built in 1897, Its striking Gothic appearance complete with tourelles (a turret which projects out of the wall) is reflected in its Grade II listed building status, and the interior features have been retained and beautifully restored from the stained glass windows to the balustrades and the cornices.
There are ten rooms each with local names like the Moors, the Swaledale and the Coastal room. The high end bathrooms have stand alone baths, luxury products and beautifully tiled floors and walls.
Each room is individually designed with a sophisticated muted pallet of warm colours or greys, teals and neutrals. The beds are king size with super comfortable mattresses and feather pillows, and there is plenty of tea and local York coffee plus home made biscuits available. Fresh filtered water and milk are in the mini fridge, and fluffy robes add to the luxury touches.
The Fleece is also dog friendly with a couple of rooms available with doggy accessories. Walkers and cyclists are also made to feel at home here as the town is close to the very popular C2C cycle route and lots of walking routes too – the owners are keen to emphasis that this is a family friendly establishment!
The Fleece has a really good restaurant. The Head chef Tom Pickard was formerly the Head Chef of Samuel’s at Swinton Park, and has 3AA Rosettes and 1 Michelin star. The food is delicious and very reasonably priced for the excellent quality. I enjoyed a spicy black pudding scotch egg with hot apple chutney to start , and then I dined on fabulous sea trout with a lovage mayonnaise, followed by a home made berry crumble with a crunchy topping.
My companion had melt in the mouth short beef ribs, a great steak and chips and then a tangy lemon tart. Locally sourced ingredients are the priority and indeed Louis told us ‘The only ingredient that isn’t local is the seaweed!’
Mathew on the bar had had me tasting all kinds of delicious cocktails (I didn’t take much persuading) and indeed cocktail making masterclasses are becoming very popular for celebrations and parties at the Fleece.
The dining room features Patchy the sheep who was purchased by the owner at a charity auction and she fits right in the to the restful blue green restaurant colour scheme. The cafe bar is equally stylish with cosy fireplaces which will be very welcome in the winter I’m sure!
Breakfast features a full range of delicious buffet items including local Swaledale cheese and my particular favourite stewed prunes! The hot menu includes a traditional full English with prime Yorkshire bacon and sausages sourced from Yorkshire Farmers, or you could try avocado on sourdough toast topped with a yellow yolked Wensleydale egg.
Richmond is famed for its ancient castle and market place, its superb station and its picturesque riverside. The Fleece Hotel Richmond has a rich history and is set on the line of the 14th C medieval town wall. It is possible that elements of the town ditch survive beneath the courtyard or basement of the Fleece Hotel.
Opened in 1897 as a purpose built hotel, the original Fleece was described as an ‘ancient hostel’ and, after being damaged by fire, architect GG Hoskins was called in to create a new hotel in the ‘Scotch baronial style.’ He favoured an elaborate gothic style and had also designed noted buildings in Darlington, Middlesbrough and Barnard castle.
Architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner, in his 1966 guide to the buildings of North Yorkshire, described it as “an extravaganza of brick and terracotta with tourelles!”
After a period of decline and then closure in the early years of the 21st Century, the hotel was purchased at the end of 2015 by Within Reach Developments Limited.
Peter Coulson, director of Within Reach said: “The building fascinated us since we first viewed in early 2015, and the more time we spend exploring the fantastic building the more excited and enthused we are about bringing it back to its former grandeur 120 years since its original opening.”
The staff at the Fleece hotel were so friendly and helpful, they really made a difference and it’s plain to see that customer service is a priority here. This a fabulous and ambitious restoration of a stunning historic building – it’s very ‘Grand Designs’. Part of the building has been converted into high end residential apartments and a penthouse with views out over the medieval roof tops of the town, and the ancient passage way at the side of the hotel leads directly to the market place with its church, and beyond it the castle and the gorgeous Yorkshire countryside. The hotel has retained the charm and character of the original building, and the Fleece has really been given a whole new lease of life!
It really was a treat to visit the Fleece, and I can’t recommend it highly enough, either for a meal or a luxury break. I’m sure the new Fleece Hotel and Restaurant will quickly establish itself as the leading place to Sleep, Eat, Drink and Meet in Richmond. Get there now, before the secret is out!
Check out prices and offers here The Fleece Hotel