We came up to Harrogate on Friday night for a little relaxing weekend. N had booked us into the Majestic Hotel and as we pulled up I tried to imagine what this enormous building had been before a hotel - a hospital perhaps when judged from the outside, or may be a huge retirement home when we got inside - but it had been built in 1900 as a spa hotel. Our room on the fourth floor looks out over the lawns towards the old royal baths, and has a lovely oldy worldy feel with a giant bathroom with white tiles with little pink flowers on them all. Dinner on Friday was in the hotel itself, the menu was a delight but the room we dined in was something like a school refectory and though all the elements of the courses were wonderful the execution and presentation were somewhat peculiar. N said it was like the chef had read some great books about cuisine but had never actually seen anything!
In the morning we went for a potter into Harrogate. Breakfast was had at Cocoa - free delicious danish pastries with every hot drink (strawberry tea for me) and good bacon butties! After a little browsing we decided to walk up to Harlow Carr, stopping at Cupcakes by Charley for blueberry cheesecake and chocolate orange cupcakes on the way. It was a super walk up Cold Bath Road (named after a spring with really cold water that was good for the eyes - I wonder if the Coldbath Road in Brum has the same claim to fame!). We past lots of beautiful houses and trees in blossom. At Harlow Carr it was Tulip Madness! We walked down to the lower garden, past the willow whale to see a drum band filling the air with fabulous music. Then up to the log maze and past the logness monster and back to the tulips at the front.
Back in town we found some lovely looking restaurants for dinner and managed to book a table at the fantastic Drum and Monkey fish restaurant in the Montpellier area. So with some time to spare before dinner we headed off to the jacuzzi and sauna for a little relaxation. There were a couple of weddings going on in the hotel so when we went down to the bar later the place was filled with men in kilts and ladies in pretty dresses!! We went into town early and had a drink in the Winter Gardens too - it must have been a grand place to visit at the turn of the last century! Then on to the restaurant. We were greeted by the smell of fantastic food and were shown into a cosy front room to eat at a marble topped old cast iron sewing table with the drum and monkey looking down at us from the window. What a choice of dishes, it was hard to choose! But eventually N went for Niddledale smoked trout and then Malaysian fish brochettes and I had croustade of fish mourney and then monk fish with lemon and capers. These were all delicious and N nearly booked a table for tonight too! We were just about the last to leave as we lingered over our glasses of wine, too full for desserts too!
This morning we have been to Betty's tea rooms for breakfast. Bircher muesli, croissants with smoked salmon or bacon and cheese and the raspberry macaroon above! Fantastic!! And as the rain as gone off, it was only a light shower anyway, we shall go out and explore Fountains Abbey, Brimham Rocks and Ilkely.