|The Wensleydale Heifer|
The magnificent Yorkshire Dales are located in the North of England, in the beautiful county of Yorkshire – ‘God’s Own Country’ – and they are one of my favourite parts of the UK. This summer I returned there to stay in the charming Wensleydale Heifer hotel, situated in the village of West Witton, right at the gateway to this prettiest part of our English countryside.
|Delightful in the Dales|
The Wensleydale Heifer was built as an old coaching Inn in 1631 and its original fabric remains today. Now in the capable hands of Dave Moss and his family, the Heifer has expanded and evolved to provide unique accommodation in a spectacular location, and is well known for its top steak and seafood restaurant and fine dining. This independently run hotel excels at attention to detail and prides itself on first class customer service from its staff who all seemed very happy to be working there.
|The Heifer Room|
The rooms all have different themes from the Heifer room with the North’s only black and white four poster, which has its own milkshake maker, and the black sheep room, through to the James Bond room, the Chocolate room and the Night at the Movies room. The James Bond room has a white round bed, a 1960’s egg chair, and lots of fun Bond themed items, the Night at the Movies Room even has its own popcorn maker! It’s quirky and fun and definitely something different.
|The James Bond Room|
Dave Moss the owner, is a top chef but he is also hugely enthusiastic about his hotel and passionate about getting things right for his customers. All rooms have Egyptian linen sheets, Molton Brown toiletries, and some even have jacuzzi hot tubs. Recent additions in every room are the Amazon Alexa which responds to voice commands and can rustle up any music of your choice, the weather forecast or even tell you a joke if you ask it nicely!
|Hake and risotto – delicious!|
The restaurant is at the heart of the Heifer’s appeal with the very best quality locally sourced steaks and seafood on offer. Eating is taken very seriously here. Menus change to reflect the seasons, with game from the moors, fish from Scotland and the East Coast, beef and lamb from the Dale, all supplemented by local vegetables. Puddings and real bread are baked daily, cask conditioned ales are pulled from the barrel and wines from around the world compliment the imaginative English cuisine.
|Dave and a Whitby lobster|
Meals are served in either the bar, the informal bistro or the main restaurant. You do not need to worry about nouvelle cuisine sized portions here – this is Yorkshire! If you are especially hungry, you may feel up to the giant fish and chip challenge and if you can finish this enormous meal you will be awarded a certificate and t shirt to attest to your achievement. Even the UK’s no 1 competitive eater Beard meats food will soon be stopping by the Wensleydale Heifer!
|The giant fish and chip challenge|
The breakfasts are pretty lavish with fresh farm eggs and Dales black pudding being part of the traditional Yorkshire breakfast, or why not try something different like Haddock with poached eggs and mustard cream or perhaps kippers smoked on the premises.
There is even customised Wensleydale Heifer gin , chocolates and teddy bears for you to take home to remind you of your stay.
Wensleydale, within the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural beauty, takes its name from the village of Wensley and is famed for its delicious creamy cheese. The fortunes of Wensleydale cheese were revived by the popularity of the animated characters Wallace and Gromit, created by Nick Parks, who were very partial to Wensleydale cheese and often mentioned it as their favourite delicacy.
|Wallace and Gromit love Wensleydale cheese!|
The centre of cheese production is at the Wensleydale Creamery in the village of Hawes. It’s a destination in itself now, and there is a visitor centre where you can see how the cheese is made and matured, before repairing to the shop where there is the opportunity to eat an unlimited amount of cheese samples. Wensleydale with cranberries, Wensleydale with blueberries, Wensleydale with mango and ginger, Wensleydale with apricots, Wensleydale blue Cheese, Cheese with caramelised onion, cheese with balsamic, cheese with chilli, cheese with raisins, or just plain cheese. Sheep’s cheese, smoked cheese, cheese truckles. blended cheese, cheese with garlic and chives and cheese with ale. There is a large choice of cheese, no question.
A few miles down the road is the picturesque spot of Aysgarth Falls, as featured in the Hollywood film, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. I first visited these lovely waterfalls on a school youth hosteling trip, years ago, memorable for two things. The first was fact that the walking route was masterminded by our geography teacher who had a very poor sense of direction, and got us all lost on the moors on a number of occasions, and secondly, for introducing me to the beauty of the Dales in the springtime, a golden impression which has stayed with me despite my subsequent globe trotting exploits.
|Idyllic Aysgarth Falls|
This part of the country, with its dry stone walls, wild flowers, coloured cattle, sheep, rolling hills and patchwork fields in a dozen shades of green is, in fine weather, as delightful a destination as you could wish for anywhere. England in the summertime is hard to beat – check out the deals at the Wensleydale Heifer and try your very own slice of the flavour of wonderful Wensleydale.