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Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey Review: An Experience in Fine Dining

Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey Review

Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey Review: An Experience in Fine Dining

It’s time to get comfy. Grab your cup of tea. Go on, get that extra biscuit as well. Because we have got a treat of a review – The Devonshire Arms at Bolton Abbey.

When you hear the phrase ‘luxury escape,’ my guess is that you picture a beach far far away, with a waiter offering you a cocktail in a coconut, or something similar. Do you think of Yorkshire? Let me tell you, you certainly should.

Tucked away between Skipton and Ilkley is a slice of blissful luxury, oozing comfort.

It has a helicopter pad. Need I say more?

That’s right, The Devonshire Arms is North Yorkshire’s beautiful retreat. Built in the late 17th Century (although it was a site of hospitality long before that), it has perfectly wed the area’s traditional heritage with modern comforts. This may be due to the supervision of The Duchess of Devonshire over the interiors, including many stunning pieces of artwork from Chatsworth’s Devonshire Collection. Think open fireplaces, high backed arm-chairs and subtle tartan carpets.

Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey Hotel Exterior

We were greeted at the door and immediately relieved of our luggage. After taking in the comforts of our room, including complimentary Parkin and the best of Yorkshire’s snack selection, we head outside to catch the last of the sun before dinner.

Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey Bathroom

To feel completely immersed in the beautiful surroundings, it’s a HUGE 30-second walk. Just round the back of the hotel is a view over the rolling hills and moorland. They catch the sun and make the best backdrop for an evening walk around the grounds. Then we got a little chilly (bring an extra layer – it’s always just slightly colder up there than you would think) and head inside ready to dine in the Burlington Restaurant.

Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey Landscape

We started the evening in the Cocktail Lounge, which has a selection of very tasty sounding drinks. After much deliberation, I went for the Rhubarb and Ginger cocktail. Good choice by me, it was delicious!

Next, through to the Burlington Dining Room where we had a brief moment of private dining before the other diners came through. Our waiter, Chris, was friendly and made the whole evening feel relaxed. We were eating from a seven-course tasting menu with wine pairings for each course, meaning we definitely needed someone to take us through exactly what we were eating and drinking. Chris did this flawlessly. Our first two drinks were my favourite of the evening, as we started with a gooseberry-infused gin and prosecco combination (right up my street), then a thick and sweet Domaine Laguilhon, from Jurancon, France. Having quite the sweet tooth, this was my ideal start to the evening.

Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey Burlington Restaurant

As for the food: oh boy! Two amuse-bouche appetisers to prepare our palettes for everything that was to come. We had high expectations for the food, they haven’t been awarded 3AA Rosettes for just anything after all. But we well and truly had our socks blown off. Each mouthful, though small, had more flavour than I thought possible. As each course was delivered, we spent a good couple of minutes simply looking at it, mouths watering but entranced by the artfully-arranged dishes.

Let me run you through a quick-stop-highlights-tour of my very favourite bits of the evening. The Heritage Carrot with Smoked Eel. Never have I been so excited over a carrot. Complimented with spiced seeds, I could feel each individual taste bud having a little party. The smoked eel had the perfect texture.

The Tartare of Hereford Beef felt naughty but very very nice as they poured Smoked Beef Fat over the colourful dish, and the picked onion lifted the flavour.

Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey Pig Cheek

Onto what was described as ‘definitely not surf and turf,’ the Creel Caught Langoustine with Pig Cheek, Fennel and Granola. Kudos to the chef – I would not have thought of putting granola in with Langoustine and Pig Cheek, but the resulting textures and flavours worked perfectly. I’m still dreaming of that pig cheek, ‘melt in the mouth’ does not do justice to its juicy, meaty goodness.

Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey Duck Dish

Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey Dessert

My favourite course? It had to be the Yorkshire Salt Aged Duck with Celeriac, Hispi and Pear. We could barely wait until we had been walked through its different elements before tucking right in, it smelt amazing. The cubes of pear worked beautifully with the duck. It was a stunning and triumphant dish. If you’ve never taken a mouthful and been lost for words, only able to laugh at the staggering flavours in your mouth, then visit the Burlington Restaurant at The Devonshire Arms to experience this wonderful sensation.

We met Head Chef Paul Leonard after the meal and rather gushed over the food. Well, if something’s great, you’ve got to shout about it!

Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey Spa

The next morning, we head over to the spa to enjoy a swim in the luxurious converted barn. Featuring gigantic windows where the old barn door stood, the pool was bathed in the morning light. The jacuzzi and sauna made for a very relaxed morning. After building up an appetite for breakfast, we were thrilled to see such a high-quality selection for the continental breakfast. We also ordered the Yorkshire Breakfast, a perfectly portioned cooked breakfast made with the best ingredients. After breakfast, we headed over to Bolton Abbey for a walk, a lovely bit of countryside worth visiting if you’re in the area.

Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey

All in all, we left feeling very pampered and refreshed. The Devonshire Arms did a fantastic job of looking after us, we have no complaints about the quality of any part of our stay. Be right back, I’m off to book my next stay!

Find out more about the Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey

Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey, Bolton Bridge, Skipton BD23 6AJ – 01756 718100

Words by Jemima Parsons, Photos by Jemima Parsons and The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa. 


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Written by

Jemima Parsons


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