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Rudding Park, Harrogate, North Yorkshire
This large, contemporary hotel surrounded by parkland and close to Harrogate hits a nice middle ground between the swags-and-chintz and designer-cool schools of country house hotels. With modern extensions reflecting the style of its Georgian core, it's light and airy with bold splashes of colour in furnishings, sleek bedrooms and a relaxed style that suits couples and families alike. The swanky rooftop spa is a big draw, as are the two golf course and there's even a small cinema. With two eating options - ranging from pub classics to creative kitchen garden-inspired tapas plates - served in attractive dining spaces, even the fussiest tastes are catered for.
It was nice to know that we could have a day out in York, without the hassle of driving and parking, by taking the train from Harrogate.
Visit the spa town of Harrogate and wander the cobbled streets or enjoy a cream tea at Betty's.
By car: around 30 minutes from Leeds, 1 hour 30 minutes from Manchester and 4 hours from London. Free parking available.
By train: London Kings Cross to Harrogate (via York) takes around 3 hours. The hotel is a 10-minute drive from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
It's a place for an indulgent break whether a group of friends, a family or a couple - especially golf and spa-lovers. The bold modern art and occasional sculptures, together with some striking black-and-white architectural photography, liven up corridors and spaces.
Service & Facilities
Taking a swim in the 17-metre pool with its huge glass wall overlooking the terrace and gardens was a joy whether in the daytime or, with low-level lighting, in the evening.
- Swimming pool
- Wellness suite
- Golf course
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
The garden-facing rooms - particularly with a terrace - of the Follifoot wing are light and good for people-watching; choose the woodland-facing rooms for more privacy. Room size is good - plenty of space for two armchairs as well as a desk and chair - plus the underfloor heating feels luxurious.
Follifoot Room, Ribston Room, Spa Room, Family Room, Follifoot Suite, Ribston Suite, Lodge, Cottage
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with Molten Brown toiletries, hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities, TV, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
At breakfast ask for a table in the conservatory, a beautifully light area overlooking the terrace and woodland gardens. Horto is stylishly relaxed and the dishes are a treat to look at as well as eat - and several are vegan and vegetarian adaptable.
Horto: 3 AA-Rosette restaurant, contemporary fine dining. Estate to plate ethos. Open for dinner, Wed-Sun. Six course tasting menu, £94.
Clocktower Brasserie: relaxed dining room with terrace. Classic British cuisine and seasonal specials. All-day menu, open daily.