Wednesday 6 March 2019

A Spring Travel Guide to Hull & Beverley, East Yorkshire

Spring has sprung early and as the daffodils begin to make an appearance and the first lambs begin to gambol through the lush fields, right now is a great time to go and experience a new, mini-break retreat in the UK. With February and March looking so different to last year's snowy scenes which swept the nation, I wanted to seize the opportunity to go and explore completely new places in the UK, ones which I had never previously ventured out to and some places I had really heard little, if anything, about. I'm a believer in experiencing new, unique places and events to truly broaden your horizons and expand your mind and your perspective on life, not to mention to have fun of course! With so many of the UK's regions and counties being culture-rich and steeped in history, for those who are wanting to travel and would like to start 'at home' in the UK, setting out with their satnav on and music playing as the sun rises, there're oh so many utterly beautiful and quintessentially British villages, towns and areas that are wholesome, friendly and incredibly welcoming.
To round off February and to welcome in the month of March, I was kindly invited to discover all that Hull and East Yorkshire has to offer. I have always adored the look of Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Wolds, and having recently being swept away by the idyllic beauty of the endless rolling hills, bucolic pastures and snug villages I read about in the Jenny Holmes trilogy about the Land Girls of the 1940s, I was intrigued to pay a visit to the area and see it for myself. Living in Durham, I have visited York before and loved the 'olde worlde' cobbled streets, quaint shops, stunning architecture of the minster and views out across the river and high up over the city. Like being taken back in time, there's something rather lovely about that. Our itinerary spanned across three days so I knew that we would have plenty of time to see and do a wide variety of things.
Thursday 28th February
So on Thursday morning, we got up early, set the satnav and were off, me being chief direction coordinator. Our first point of call was Hull to visit the highly esteemed aquarium called The Deep. The drive from our house took about 2 hours 15 minutes so the iced latte midway was a much needed reviving caffeine hit for the journey ahead! Upon our arrival in Hull, we navigated our way into the centre and parked up at The Deep where I then collected our press pack and we began our adventure!...

The Deep, located in Hull's city centre, is for conservation, not profit, and it is home to a vast co-hort of tropical marine life and also a gang of penguins who are very adorable. It's amazing to see these animals in real life as opposed to just on the TV and you can really appreciate their beauty / cuteness close up! The tour of the aquarium begins by gradually lowering you down into the building which does actually make you feel like you're descending into the deep of the ocean! It took us through warm tropical lagoons, murky depths, cold Antarctic seas all the way to the Amazon. There are some truly spectacular fish to see including clown fish ('Finding Nemo' fans will be in their element!) as well as huge sharks and rays, sea turtles and the colony of Gentoo penguins of course.

After our aquarium visit, we took a short walk into the city to discover some of their culinary delights. We visited a tapas restaurant called Ambiente which is located in the hip Humber Street where all of the nice bars and clubs are. With fairy lights adorning the restaurant exterior and cool art work on the shutters, it felt like an artsy haven for those with a hip, youthful vibe, keen to immerse themselves in all that the city has to offer from its lively social scene.

We were really hungry as it was about 4pm by the time we got there for lunch, so we were delighted to read that there was a Vegetarian sharing option where you were given an introduction to Tapas. Other than Mezze once whilst I was on holiday in Paphos, this was all new to me so this seemed like the perfect option for us! With our choice, we were presented with such a variety of different dishes which was amazing! They included Black bean fritters served with a cashew nut purée, Mushrooms with caramelised shallots and tarragon cream, Green beans pan fried in garlic with sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts, Mediterranean vegetable paella, Triple cooked potatoes dusted with a special blend of spices and generously drizzled with aioli and tomato sauce (my personal favourite dish!), Josper roast citrus vegetables with a seed and nut crumb and the classic Ambiente baked focaccia bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Needless to say it was plentiful but totally delicious and a true taste of the Mediterranean in a simply stunning and very welcoming atmosphere. If you visit Hull, I'd recommend going. It'd be a great place to go with a group too as you can share all the dishes and try a little bit of everything!
After lunch, we headed into the city to check out Hull Minster and Old Town, as well as just get a feel for our surroundings and of course do a little bit of shopping! The city is quite open plan and the centre is marked by a water feature and surrounded by shops, cafes and bars. The Minster is a beautiful landmark and really stands out as it's a historic building nestled among an industrialised, modern city.

As the evening set in, we made our way back to the car and drove over to Beverley, a historic town in East Yorkshire which we were to be based in. I had never been before and didn't know what to really expect. I had read online that the hotel - The Beverley Arms which is a traditional 17th century coaching inn - had recently undergone a massive renovation to modernise it which cost £6.5m. The revamp was well and truly worth it as the hotel is utterly divine. With a state of the art bar and log burning fire at its entrance and plush furniture with accents of tweed, sleek, minimalist yet homely décor and room styling which is so fashionable but comfortable, I was delighted to be in such a gorgeous place for our stay!

We stayed in a Feature Room which was very plush and exceeded any expectations. With all beautiful original features cloaked in complete modern luxury, it was stylish and sophisticated with a depth of character that I loved. The art work was simple and fun and there were sofas for a daydream as you look out of the huge bay windows over the beautiful view which was of the highly ornate St. Mary's Church just opposite the hotel. The bed was ginormous which the hotel hand-picked for complete comfort. Sleeping beautifully was never so easy!

The bathroom was really vast and spacious, with both a bath for a long, luxurious soak and a powerful shower. The room also came with a few little extras such as deliciously crumbly biscuits and fresh milk for a proper cup of tea. The latter was such a blessing as I am truly addicted to Earl Grey tea!
That night, we dined in The Beverly Arms' restaurant. With a sophisticated and welcoming ambiance, it was full of couples, business people and families gathered to enjoy an evening meal together. For starter, I went for the Twice baked mature cheddar cheese soufflé with sautéed spinach and chive cream and my guest went for the little nibbles selection of humus, fresh pesto and homemade tortilla chips. The pesto was so nice, it's made me want to make my own now I'm back home!

For mains we both opted for the veggie mixed bean and roasted root vegetable cassoulet with winter greens and a rosemary scone and for dessert I went for the Mango and Passionfruit Cheesecake with mango sorbet and my guest went for the Sticky Toffee Pudding with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream. Delicious!
 We then relaxed for the rest of the night and enjoyed the comfort of the hotel.
Friday 1st March 
Our first full day in Beverley began with breakfast and a walk into the heart of Beverley to visit the minster, look around the shops and immerse ourselves in the town.
It is home to some of my favourite shops including Neal's Yard and Jo Malone. The minster, located down a street to the end of the town but still only a short 15 minute walk away from where we were staying is beautiful and ornate.

We had a spa day booked in the afternoon for lunch and treatments so we headed back to The Beverly Arms for a cup of reviving tea and then set off to Sessions Spa which was only a 10 minute walk. Based in a stately home, it set a luxurious tone to the afternoon the moment we set eyes upon it!
Upon arrival, we were given our fluffy gowns and slippers and headed to the relaxation area to choose our lunch options. I went for a light salad option with beetroot and goats' cheese and my guest went for the lightly spiced cauliflower soup. For dessert I chose the Pineapple Panacotta with a Madeleine biscuit and my guest opted for the Eton Mess with raspberries and tropical mango sorbet. I'd never tried Panacotta before but I loved it and will definitely be making one myself soon!

We each had a treatment booked in for us which was for 2 hours which meant we'd get a really immersive, thorough pampering! Sessions Spa use Decleor products which are kind to sensitive skin and are balanced with a variety of skin soothing essential oils, which target different concerns which you may have about your skin. Charlotte did my pre-treatment consultation and then my treatments and she was so lovely and she did my aromatherapy massage and facial amazingly too, I was really relaxed and uplifted by the end of my spa session!
The treatments were a Decleor Aromatherapy Body Massage (£58) which involves massage to either refine, tone or relax the skin, mind and body - an all round holistic experience to make you feel like the best you possible! I went for the relax option as I wanted to be truly chilled out! The warm aromatherapy balms are expertly blended from all natural essential oils which are able to unlock deep rooted stress and melt away tension to leave you feeling renewed of energy and with velvety soft skin.

The second part of the treatment was the highly esteemed Decleor Ultimate Vitamin Glow facial, which is an award winning, vitamin facial treatment which is tailored to leave your skin visibly radiant (£65) This internationally renowned facial is power-packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants.
There are 5 different massaging techniques used and the ideal re-balancing aromatic elixir for your skin type is chosen so that your skin gets the right kind of nourishment. The deeply warm and decongesting mask softly cocoons the skin, to provide the environment for it to flourish and look glowing and radiant without make up. Skin is left deeply cleansed, perfectly replenished and glowing with vitality. The exfoliation which makes up part of this facial is really good for revitalising the skin before moisturising it. I have to say, my skin looks really glowy and healthy now and its been a few days, so it's really done a fabulous job. It was by far the best facial I have ever had! Charlotte advised me to exfoliate twice a week and to use the Decleor Essential Cleansing Milk, Aromessence Neroli Amara and Intense Nutrition Cocoon Cream as well as the Phytopeel Exfoliating Cream. All products which are designed to balance the skin and intensely hydrate it.
After our treatments, we relaxed for a little while in the tranquillity room before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the night ahead...
We were booked in to a gorgeous pub for dinner that night called The King's Head, located a stone's throw away from the hotel. We were seated at a candle lit table by the window and able to see out across the town square and people watch as friends and couples made their way to dinner and the array of bars which cascade through the town. Inside the pub was warm and welcoming, perfect for a chilled out Friday night post-spa.
For mains I went for a chicken dish with creamy mushrooms, chorizo which I'd never actually tried before and sautéed baby potatoes and chips and my guest opted for the oh so traditional beer battered fish with minted peas and chips and tartar sauce.

We chatted and enjoyed the hum of activity both inside and outside the pub as we had dinner. As this was a culinary extravaganza of a trip to Yorkshire, we decided to continue down the foodie trail and got a rather decadent sharing selection of desserts, and may I add the very best desserts that you could actually ask for. From Eton Mess, Sticky Toffee Pudding and Chocolate Brownie with a chocolate shard and vanilla ice cream, we were treated to some gorgeous cuisine that's really inspired me to make some new desserts this spring / summer when I feel like getting creative in the kitchen and putting my inner domestic Goddess to work!
We then went for a walk through the town before heading back to the hotel for the night.
Saturday 2nd March
On our final morning at The Beverley Arms hotel, we went down for a continental breakfast before getting ourselves ready to explore the local market that morning and visit a wedding fair that was happening in the minster.

The market was full of artisan produce and florists sold stunning bouquets of flowers and live music was playing, helping to put a spring in everyone's step.
The wedding fair was beautiful as well and we were kindly given some really cute cakes to take home and try. Before we left that afternoon, we had one final point of call in the form of the simply delightful Kavanagh's Beverley, which is a tea room. Serving up home-cooked food and tasty cakes, it's a perfect lunch spot and lovely for afternoon tea as well.

 The cheese and onion quiche with a salad and chips was delightful!
My guest got the fishcakes with potatoes and salad.
Located in a prime spot in Beverley, Kavanagh's is the most delightful place to stop for some tea and to watch the world go by. Of course, enjoying some tasty food is also an essential. I really love home cooking and cook all the time when I'm at home, so this food was really nice and heart warming.
For dessert, I got the apple and cinnamon pie with vanilla custard (literally so delicious and very traditional) and my guest got the coffee and walnut cake and we each had a latte for that caffeine hit before our journey back.

Our journey back was so scenic as we drove through Yorkshire, listening / me singing along to the radio and admiring the villages and farms which we passed. I loved the trip to Hull and Beverley, and it was a true delight getting to visit the spa and try so many amazing and totally diverse restaurants and pubs. Thank you so much inviting me and my +1 along! Have you ever visited Hull or Beverley before? Bilgi   x
 This trip was kindly gifted by Hull and East Yorkshire. All views remain honest and my own.


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