Friday, 10 March 2017

Our Weekend Break at The Shibden Mill Inn, Yorkshire

I really don't like going away without the kids, so we generally tend not to, unless it's to attend a wedding or business event, and at the most we will only have a couple of nights away a year. However, back in August 2016, I won a competition through Inn Places to win a night away in a beautiful suite, with a three course dinner and breakfast at a lovely hotel in the Shibden Valley, near Halifax. After putting off booking for several months, we finally decided that a night away might be nice for my husbands birthday and so we booked our stay for last Saturday 4th March.

A couple of nights prior to our visit, I did begin to feel anxious about our stay and even thought about cancelling, but my husband convinced me that all would be fine, and so I finally began to relax about it and started to look forward to experiencing some luxury and fine food.

The journey from North Wales to Shibden, took us just over an hour and a half, and it was an easy journey there without too much traffic, on what was a bright and sunny day. The sat nav did send us down a very bumpy cobbled lane as we approached our destination, but we remembered to avoid this when we left the following day.

The location of our weekend break was at the Shibden Mill Inn, which dates back to the 17th century and was formerly a water mill. The inn has retained a lot of its original features and character and these have been cleverly incorporated into the individually designed guest rooms. The Inn is literally a stones throw away from Halifax, taking only a few minutes to reach the city centre, however on arrival you truly feel as though you are in the heart of the countryside and away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It offers both 5 star guest accommodation and a fantastic dining experience, with excellent quality food available from a choice of several different menus dependent on the day and time of your visit.

On arrival we found a parking space and admired the pretty stream that ran alongside it. We saw lots of couples out with their dogs enjoying the sunshine and it seemed a popular place for walkers. We entered into the reception area where we received a very warm and friendly welcome and the gentleman who checked us in, guided us to our room and gave us a quick tour of the inn on the way. He showed us where we could visit the bar, and explained where we would be dining in the evening and the following morning.

As he opened the door to our room, we were extremely impressed by both the size and the decor of the room. We were staying in the Bower Suite which had been tastefully decorated, with a great combination of both traditional and modern furnishings. The bathroom was of a modern appearance with a wonderfully large walk in shower which had both a fixed and handheld shower option. In the main room was a spectacular bath, which has given me serious bath envy and is something I would love to have in my own home.

The bed was huge and looked lovely with its display of pillows and soft furnishings, and in front of this was a large sofa, which was ideal for watching television or simply having a rest. There were tea and coffee making facilities, a large widescreen television on the wall, a dvd player, and a retro look digital radio which supplied lovely background music into the room. In addition to all of these modern conveniences, there was ample storage space in the form of both a wardrobe and two chest of drawers, and the doors located to the rear of the room, opened out onto a lovely outdoor patio area.

Shibden Mill Inn has also thought about the little finishing touches to the room as well, and there were plenty of little extras available that help to make a comfortable stay, such as toiletries and an ample selection of tea, coffee and biscuits. The added addition of some magazines, and information on the Inn, finished the room off nicely, and our first impressions were that the room was both comfortable and luxurious.

We made a reservation for a table for two for 6:30pm, and headed to the bar area for a drink mid afternoon. The bar area seemed very popular and was quite busy when we visited at around 4pm. The seating areas within the bar are very charming, and the wonderful open fires ensured a nice warm atmosphere. The drinks were not overpriced, and after purchasing two drinks and some nuts, we were surprised to have a several pounds change from a ten pound note. After a drink and a chat, we returned to our room to relax for a while before returning to the bar area for dinner.

We were both very much looking forward to our evening meal, and being a social media addict, I suggested that we both left our phones in the room so that we didn't get distracted. This would be the first time in a very long time, where I could enjoy my food hot, without having to help my youngest son Riley with his dinner, and so I couldn't wait for our dining experience.

On arrival in the restaurant, we confirmed our reservation details and we were seated on a table for two in the corner of the main bar area by the extensive display of awards that Shibden Mill Inn have received over the years, This was certainly a very impressive collection of trophies and plates from numerous awarding bodies and they must be very proud to be able to show off these accomplishments to their guests.  My only negative comment here, would be that it was so busy near where we were sat, that my chair got knocked into several times by passing guests, which did get a little frustrating after a while. Therefore if we were to eat here again, we would request a table away from the bar in a quieter location of the dining area.

This minor annoyance was soon forgotten however, once we viewed the menu, and saw the wonderful array of dishes that were on offer. The waiter came and took our drinks and food order promptly and politely, then he also provided me with some information on the choice of wines available. He was happy to answer any questions that we had regarding the dishes, and seemed very knowledgeable of the menu. Both our drinks and starters arrived very quickly, and we both tucked in to our starters of Chicken Liver Pate with potato bread, roasted chicken skin butter & rhubarb gel. This came beautiful presented with the bread in the form of a mini loaf that you could cut to your size requirements. The pate came in a lidded jar with the rhubarb gel set on the top. This was the perfect sized starter portion and was absolutely delicious.

Once our plates were collected there was a suitable waiting period between courses and so it was nice to be able to have a chat together over a drink whilst waiting for our mains. My husband had chosen the Waterford Farm 6oz Fillet that came accompanied by a meat and potato pie, grilled kidney, and onion gravy. He also purchased a side order of dripping fat chips. I opted for the Beer Battered Scottish Haddock, with dripping fat chips, mushy pea ketchup, tartar sauce, and lemon. I realise that this may sound like a boring option given the amazing selection of choice on offer, however I had read a review a few days prior that had recommended this dish, and being a huge fan of comfort food, I was very keen to try it out.

Neither of us were disappointed, and as our main courses arrived, both our eyes lit up with delight at both the portion quantity and the lovely display of food on offer. My husbands fillet was cooked to perfection and he stated that it was one of the nicest meals he had had in a very long time. My fish was also delicious, and the mushy pea ketchup accompaniment was a treat when combined with both the fish and the dripping fat chips.

I somehow managed to finish my huge portion, and so politely declined the option of dessert. My husband was not going to miss out on sampling what was available however and so he ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding with stout and toffee sauce, and salted caramel ice cream. This was the perfect end to our three course meal, and we both thoroughly enjoyed the menu choices we had made. Sadly I have no pictures of the food due to not taking my phone to dinner.

The following morning, breakfast was just as delicious, with an ample selection of continental offerings, and the ability to order a cooked option too. We both opted for the full Yorkshire breakfast, which was both tasty and filling, and the sausage and bacon were cooked just how I like them. The waitress service was very friendly, and she frequently came back to the table to ask whether we would like any tea, coffee or toast.

Unfortunately, our little weekend break had to come to an end, but we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and the wonderful meal that we were provided with. As I mentioned previously this was a competition win, however had we paid for our stay it would have cost £262 (including drinks we had ordered at the bar) which I actually feel offers incredible value for money for the accommodation and standard of food we were provided with. Our accommodation was in the Bower Suite which is the most expensive of the rooms, however all the rooms are beautifully decorated and can be viewed on their website here: Shibden Mill Inn

If you are thinking of staying at The Shibden Mill Inn, then here are some tips:

* Check in is from 2pm, which is quite early compared to some other establishments. Therefore take advantage of this early check in time to make the most of your stay.
* If dining in the evening, request a table away from the main bar area.
* Check the website prior to visiting to see their latest dining offers and the menus that will be available during your stay.
* Visit the website and select "Latest Offers" to view some great deals on packaged stays, or stays for longer periods, to get the best value for money.

Overall, we had a fantastic stay, and definitely hope to return again in the future as a family.

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