Everyone has their own favourite sporting hotel – a home from home – but what if you could hire out an entire Georgian Palladian mansion expressly for you and your syndicate?
Owned by the Allison family since 1980, Middleton Lodge was built by prolific English architect John Carr between 1777 and 1780 for landowner George Hartley, and was later home to the coal merchant Sir Arthur Francis Pease. The way the 17 individually-styled en-suite bedrooms at Middleton Lodge have been redecorated would doubtless be warmly applauded by any of the former owners, and the Allison family want you to treat their home as your own during your stay, to the point that there are no locks on the bedroom doors (rest assured the lodge is secure). Guests have almost the same views of the lodge’s 250 acres of parkland and the Vale of Mowbray too.
Middleton Lodge, which is surrounded by 250 acres of parkland, was built by prolific English architect John Carr and has been home to the Allison family since 1980.
Once bags are unpacked guests can really start to relax, be it with a book in a drawing room chair, cue in hand at the snooker table or a drink in the bar. If you like something a little more sophisticated, slip below stairs at Middleton Lodge and into the new Cellar Bar, accessible only by a walk along narrow exposed brick passages that lead to vaulted-ceilinged speakeasy-esque compartments with soft lighting and leather booths. The selection of drinks here is worthy of any West End or Prohibition-era nightclub and, given that the cellar can also be turned into a cinema, it’s likely this is where nighthawks will be found when it really is time to go to bed.
Guests at Middleton Lodge will be falling over themselves to put the Cellar Bar to good use.
Back upstairs at Middleton Lodge, the private dining room is easily large enough for a shooting party to enjoy dinner in, and the menus of Robert Taylor and Caroline Whalley, coupled with the finest wines from local merchant Guy Wimhurst from Corney & Barrow, will make a lasting impression on guests.
Where: Middleton Tyas, less than five minutes from Scotch Corner on the A1.
What we ate: As part of a special shoot party taster evening: pea veloute with pancetta crisp; game terrine with fig puree; poached, roasted and pan fried rabbit and vegetables; hazelnut parfait with a milk chocolate mousse. Wines included Les Setilles Bourgogne Blanc, Carmel Road Chardonnay and Chateau Barrail du Blanc.
Plus points: The Allison family have done a superb job in restoring the lodge, and while house rules are fair but firm, they won’t be looking over your shoulder every other hour to make sure your party is abiding by them. Being a family home, you can have as much privacy as you want, or vice versa. Guests have access to a drying room, dog kennels and gun cabinets.
Drawbacks: Middleton Lodge is a popular wedding venue, so you may struggle to book it on Fridays and Saturdays between August and December.
Shoots in the area: Given that the Yorkshire and Durham Dales are a short distance away your sporting options are virtually endless.
Cost: Sunday-Thursday from £145 per room including breakfast. Special rates for bespoke events, which include shoot dinners and a late night bar. Discount room rates also available.
Contact: 01325 377977 or alternatively visit the website www.middletonlodge.co.uk