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Stow House, Aysgarth, Yorkshire
This impressive stone-built vicarage in the soft-green Yorkshire Dales has been transformed into a cool B&B, while still keeping its Victorian grandeur. Sarah and Phil Bucknall, former London advertising creatives, have used their keen eyes for style, detail and wit to mix vintage furniture, original features and modern art to great effect. Bedrooms are large and airy, in muted shades, with grand views, stripped-wood floors and spare but always interesting furnishings - cast-iron baths, French beds and cocktail cabinets. Breakfasts are informal, with views over the huge gardens, and cooked to order. Come the evening, after a day's walking - dogs are welcome, too - guests relax over one of Phil's sparkling cocktails.
Take a lovely walk across fields to the ridiculously pretty village of West Burton, with its large village green, traditional pub and attractive waterfall - once painted by Turner.
The hotel is in beautiful north Yorkshire countryside, with two acres of private grounds. It's five minutes' walk to the Aysgarth Waterfalls along the River Ure.
By car: Stow House is 1 hour 25 mins from Leeds, 2 hours from Manchester and just under 5 hours from London. There is free private parking on-site.
By train: London Kings Cross to Northallerton takes around 2 hours 20 mins. The hotel is a 45-minute taxi ride from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
Outdoorsy couples and people who want a country B&B with a laidback, arty style and great views will love it here. The light, uncluttered style and the wide views from practically every room are immediately calming and restful.
Service & Facilities
Sitting in the garden, perhaps with a drink from the bar, and taking in the views is very restful, as is a chat with the rare-breed pigs, tucked in one corner. Dogs are allowed in five of the seven bedrooms and throughout the rest of the house. Sarah and Phil can advise on both dog-friendly walks and places to eat.
- Dining room
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free parking
'Cowboy Girl', on the top floor, has beams, a rolltop bath, clever accents of blue, plus a '50s cocktail cabinet hiding the teas and coffees. We love the unadorned windows (there are blinds, but no-one can see in) which means no fussy curtains to block the rolling views; a great wake-up call.
Love is Blind, Kes, Cowboy Balance, Shotgun Clare, Lovebirds, Badger, Like Wow Man
Facilities include: ensuite with shower and/or bath, toiletries, bathrobes, hairdryer, free Wi-Fi, TV, DVD player, tea and coffee facilities
Food & Drink
Breakfast is a meal to be lingered over, so do leave time; the coffee is good and plentiful, and in summer the French door opens to the garden. Phil's cocktails are the real deal, taken from the Savoy cocktail book and beautifully served with all the right trimmings.
Breakfast: local sausages, bacon and eggs, salmon which cured in nearby Bedale, freshly-squeezed orange juice. Served every day in the dining room.
Bar: cocktails served 6.30-7.30pm and can be enjoyed in the bar, dining room or library.