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Feversham Arms

Helmsley YO62 5AG 01439 770 766

We say

Cornerstone of much of Helmsley's reinvention as a country resort is the town's Feversham Arms – "the Fev" – located just off the main square, behind the church. They call themselves "a modern country inn with good food and a great spa" and that pretty much covers the essential facts. It's stylish and boutiquey – just 33 rooms – without being uncomfortably designer-like, so contemporary country-house rooms are nice and sensible, just like Helmsley itself. The double rooms all face the street, though we're talking a small country town here, not an urban jungle – but once you're talking about suites you might also get a wood-burner, direct access to the gardens or a private balcony. There's a rather fab heated outdoor pool and hot tub, open all year (that's a North Yorkshire challenge, if ever there was one), while the Verbena Spa offers everything from facials to exotic rituals. Dining is in the same modern Yorkshire vein, lunch and dinner, with alfresco poolside lunches in summer and afternoon teas in front of the fire pulling in locals and passing tourists as well as guests. The hotel has a fair country-pursuits following, but that doesn't make it a toffs' retreat – and coming in with mud on your boots won't throw everyone into a tizzy, which makes it all pretty fab in our book.

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