When #TeamCoco were invited to enjoy The Carlton Experience at Carlton Towers near Selby in North Yorkshire we instantly knew that it would be an adventure from start to finish.
Our UK travel writer Rachel McAlley set off to Carlton Towers with Barbour jacket, wellies and collection of country hats in tow. She was ready for three days of fun in the country. In her own words…
I arrived at Carlton Towers and drove up the winding driveway to the beautiful family home of Lord and Lady Gerald Fiztalan Howard. It was exactly as I had expected it to be: a grand grade I-listed, truly resplendent 17th Century house, surrounded by beautiful Yorkshire countryside.
I walked across the courtyard and up the sprawling steps to the front doors, and entered an ornate foyer, largely open plan with wooden panelled mezzanine leading to the bedrooms. Nestled off the foyer was the cosy lounge area complete with roaring open fire and plenty of comfy sofas.
After being shown to my quaint room, I enjoyed the view of the vineyards, in-house brewery, and vast amounts of rolling countryside while drinking my complimentary fruit tea and homemade shortbread.
My bedroom was one of the smaller ones at Carlton Towers, however it was perfectly formed with king-size bed, oversized bedside lamps and the walls were adorned with family crested framed plates. The antique dressing table was a treasure trove of mirrors and drawers; it was packed with country-style luxury magazines to read.
Carlton Towers has a total of 16 guestrooms uniquely designed by Lady Gerald herself, and is open for unique events such as The Carlton Experience, corporate activities, and weddings. It was The Carlton Experience that I was there to enjoy on behalf of House of Coco.
Some of Carlton Towers bedrooms offer luxury superior bathrooms, worthy of royalty. And I dare say a few members of the royal family have visited over the years and have experienced the seriously beautiful clock tower bathroom luxury that can be found hidden away from the rest of us mere mortals!
After meeting the other guests we were treated to a guided tour of the house, parts of which date back to the Domesday Book of 1086, before enjoying a candle-lit 4-course gala dinner hosted by Lord and Lady Gerald in the Venetian Drawing Room, complimented with matching wines.
The following day involved a full English breakfast (perfect for curing a slight hangover from the night before), featuring homegrown bacon and sausage from Carlton Towers’ rare-breed pigs, eggs from the house hens and honey from the estate’s beehives. This was preceded by an exciting morning of clay pigeon shooting and off-road 4 x 4 driving by Ardent around the estate woodland all before lunch, which was served downstairs in the servants’ quarters.
Post-lunch we were lucky to make our own cheese, taught by Cryer & Stott Cheesemongers of West Yorkshire and then have a small cheese and wine tasting experience. The group then visited the in-house brewery at Little Black Dog Microbrewery to brew our own beer and to sample the new ‘pales’ produced by the brewery. We may have been a little tipsy by this point, as both the cheese and wine and the brewery included many samples!
Dinner that evening consisted of tapas and paired wines in a number of different rooms downstairs in the beautifully restored Victorian kitchens that now house the acclaimed Cooks – The Carlton School of Food. We met the executive head chef who talked us through the ethos of Cooks, and he produced some outstanding tapas for dinner.
If I were to stay for the full experience it would have included a third day spent in the city of York visiting the world-famous Shambles, a guided tour of the city by a renowned Yorkshire historian, 3-course dinner at a York restaurant and the chance to visit local market town Beverley. There would have also been the opportunity to relax at Lusso, Carlton Towers’ in-house luxury spa.
The three-night all inclusive The Carlton Towers Experience package costs £899 per person (two sharing each room). Visit http://www.carltontowers.co.uk to book or to find out more.
I would like to thank the team at Carlton Towers for this wonderful experience, especially Lord Gerald and Lady Emma Fitzalan Howard for opening their beautiful home to #TeamCoco!