As those of you who are outdoors bloggers will know, you are sometimes asked to review outdoors / hiking kit and occasionally books. This was a first for me: staying at a great hotel in a lovely part of the world – and it was dog friendly too!
Anita doesn’t do mountainous day walks or the longer treks that I do, as it’s not her bag and also her health has been bad for the last year or two. But she loves the seaside and also walks in beautiful countryside. So when I was contacted by Shaun from Ox Pasture Hall hotel near Scarborough and he asked if we’d like to stay (disclaimer: f.o.c – so that he could get the word out about the newly refurbished hotel), it looked like an overnight / 2 day short break that we’d both love.
Ox Pasture Hall hotel is a luxury Yorkshire hotel just west of Scarborough and also really close to some ancient woodlands and a nature reserve (more of that later).
Before we set off, I’d looked out for dog friendly beaches nearby. Scarborough seafront wasn’t (that I could work out) but I spotted Cayton Bay only a few miles south. So we headed there first before going on to the hotel to book in for the evening. Cayton Bay is one of the ‘Jurassic Coast’ fossil-rich beaches. Well, if you have: some luck, the right tide / weather before you arrive (to ‘grab’ at the alluvial mud of the cliffs that hold the fossils) and eagle eyes. We didn’t find any and I was only looking half-heartedly to be honest: the walk was more about looking at the impressive cliffs above us and the sea vistas in front. Doggerland never looked so lovely. We were in shadow for most of the beach walk but could see the sun illuminate Scarborough to the north. This was the 2nd weekend in a row for Brodie dog to be mooching around a shoreline, she had a great time.
From Cayton Bay we headed to the hotel down a country lane from the outskirts of Scarborough. As mentioned it is a dog friendly hotel and that came across as soon as we arrived: Lynsey the manager very kindly gave Brodie some biscuits and made a real fuss of her.
As well as Lynsey’s welcome, we could tell the hotel is dog friendly as there were water bowls dotted around the site for any visiting dogs, which was nice to see. And the bistro staff in the evening were as equally attentive and friendly to us and the hound.
The room we stayed in was one of the luxury suites in the newer end of the old courtyard (I think part of it may have been the stable block once). The room was great, with a king sized bed and huge bathroom. And the lounge area had enough room for the hound’s bed, so everyone was happy. The new build rooms blend in really well with the old sections of the hotel and you go through a lovely courtyard to get to them. The hotel is a popular wedding venue apparently and you can see why.
I’m not going to attempt a food critic type of review of the evening’s meal, suffice to say it was truly excellent, we agreed on ‘top marks’ for each course. And what made for a great atmosphere was that some other guests with dogs also sat in the bistro bar area with us (you can’t take your dog – rightly – into the more formal courtyard restaurant). So between the handful of hounds all stretched under owners tables and the Christmas decorations (and well stocked bar) it was a great vibe.
We were up pretty early the next morning and I had a walk around the grounds to walk of the copious amounts of lovely food from the night before. The hotel backs onto farmland and I watched four Pheasants scrat about in the post dawn gloom, just over the fence from where I was. Before the dog got too interested and they scattered.
She had already stood transfixed in the half-light, watching a deer. I knew it was a statue in the gardens but wasn’t letting on.
There are 17 acres of grounds at the hotel and I had a good leg stretch – ready for the big cooked breakfast that awaited!
I’m glad we had that cooked breakfast, as the rest of the day was split between walking the Forge Valley Nature reserve and a walk on Filey south beach.
The Forge Valley woodland (and linked Raincliffe Woods) has an elevated ridge line that I explored whilst Anita took a slightly lower route at one point. The reserve wardens (I assume) have put out some bird feeders in places, so you the a good chance of seeing the woodland residents, and it doesn’t feel too artificial as it were. Raincliffe Woods are nearest the hotel and about 10 minutes walk to access one of the paths that traverse the woods.
Filey itself has a dog-friendly beach (the southern side of the coastline) so we made the most of that before refuelling on late afternoon chips then heading back home.