Signposted walks cut though ancient woodland and follow the curve of the river Nidd at this 14-acre Woodland Trust site. March through to May are the best months to see the native wood anemone’s white flowers. It’s also worth the walk to Nidd’s viaduct for the sight of the seven majestic arches rising 100 feet above the river.
Nidd is the Celtic word for shining, rather fitting for a fine country hotel with 45 acres of stunning gardens and woodland. Plus, it’s smack bang in the middle of North Yorkshire, or God’s own country as it’s otherwise known.
Call it greedy, or call it good fortune, but there’s no denying that North Yorkshire is the cat that’s got the cream when it comes to natural beauty and heritage. The region’s home to the Dales and North York Moors, cultural Harrogate (Betty’s famous tea rooms too) and a sterling collection of market towns and castles. All on the doorstep of Nidd Hall, itself one of the area’s historic houses with a stand-out setting of which it can be proud.
BBC Countryfile Awards 2019
North Yorkshire was the winner of two awards; Holiday Destination of the Year and National Park of the Year for the North York Moors. What’s not to adore! England’s north east has expansive moors, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, historic houses and mansions, vintage steam railways and market towns with bags of personality
Nidd Hall is a 30-minute stroll from Ripley, a charming model estate village built in the 1830s. There are shops, a tea room and, of course, a scoop or two of the world-famous Ripley ice cream to enjoy in the cobbled market square. Then time to explore the lake and deer park at Ripley Castle. The grounds are free to visitors until April when tours of the rooms also start.
Exploring the grounds
Birdsong and the occasional baa of sheep provide the soundtrack at Nidd Hall. The hotel’s surrounded by mile upon mile of field and farmland but the grounds too are an oasis for wildlife with squirrels, geese and a lake full of fish. Bring your rods and tackle. Walks in the garden move from the bluebell wood in springtime to the croquet lawn and secret water garden. Keep an eye out as well for the tiny doors belonging to a family of fairies
Enjoying the hotel
The Grade II listed mansion was built by a wealthy wool merchant who loved a good party – rumour has it that this is where Edward VIII began courting Wallis Simpson. Not one to break with tradition, the hotel is serious about giving you a good time with 70s and Motown and Soul Festivals, as well as tribute acts, comedians and big band breaks. Otherwise, there’s a trio of relaxed lounges, a large restaurant, and a pool for stretching out