Discreetly tucked away in the shadow of York Minster, the oldest parts of Grays Court were built as early as the 11th Century, originally to entertain visitors. Since then, it’s been home to various cathedral treasurers and archbishops, and in the 17th Century Sir Thomas Fairfax, commander of Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army.
Owned by the Gray family for the past 200 years, it’s now entertaining visitors once more, and from the moment they walk in through the medieval stone-flagged entrance hall, guests feel they are a part of a unique institution that has played host to kings and queens.
The hotel has a dozen bedrooms each with its own character and view of the cobbled courtyard, of the gardens or of York Minster itself. Each room is tastefully decorated and furnished with carefully selected antiques in keeping with the building’s unique heritage.
On the first floor guests can wander through the Jacobean oak panelling of the Long Gallery, 90 feet long, then relax with a drink in the Lower Gallery and take a leisurely dinner in the Georgian Bow Room, a fine-dining restaurant with 3 AA Rosettes and an entry in the Michelin Guide. There’s also a casual Lounge Menu served through the day in the Long Gallery.
Half an acre of Grays Court’s extensive gardens, bounded by the city walls and the cathedral, are devoted to organically-grown fruit and vegetables, herbs and ornamentals for the kitchen, tended by gardener Jules Fern and showcased in head chef Adam Jackson’s tasting menu, which can be paired with a flight of wines from the cellar.
Lovingly curated, and with direct access onto the city walls, the gardens themselves are a tranquil spot where guests can escape from the bustle of one of Britain’s most popular tourist destinations, just a few minutes’ walk away.