Best Western Plus Milford Hotel

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September, 2017

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There is a famous scene in the film ‘Life of Brian’ when John Cleese, as the revolutionary character Reg, poses the question; “What have the Romans ever done for us?”

After a pause, the unexpected response from his rebel group includes; aqueducts, better sanitation, medicine, education, irrigation, public health, roads, a freshwater system, baths and public order.

“Alright..alright”‘ he replies, ” but apart from that, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

Ermine Street was established by the Romans as a route from London to Lincoln and York. It became well used and later extended to Scotland.

The Brits continued to use and update it long after the Romans left and the first recorded coach and horses to use this highway from London to York was in 1658. It soon became a popular coaching route with many inns and taverns alongside it taking full advantage, often offering stabling for the horsepower. The road also became known as The Great North Road.

The original starting point was close to Smithfield Market in London and the so called ‘Golden Age of Coaching’ lasted from 1815 to 1835 when railways began to usurp it’s purpose. The last coach from London to Newcastle left in 1842.

Much of the route became the A1 road after cars became popular and into common usage. These upgraded roads bypassed many of the small towns and villages in which established coaching inns were situated and these were either demolished or put to alternate use. Some of course remain to this day, famous inns and hotels in their own right.

In an echo of the past, modern premises, built to take in trade from the A1, have also suffered as a consequence of more recent bypasses and one such is the Milford Hotel, at Peckfield, on the outskirts of Leeds.

Once right by the main A1 dual carriageway, the new A1 road went to the east, leaving the old dual carriageway to become the renamed and much less busy A63.

Only eight miles from the many delights of modern day Leeds City Centre and an easy twenty minute drive from the ancient city of York, it is ideally placed to take visitors to both cities.

The hotel has recently been refurbished and is part of the Best Western Plus group, although it is actually owned by Compass Hospitality. This business is based in Bangkok and operates 44 hotels in Thailand, Malaysia and throughout the UK.

There are 45 rooms here, all spacious and contemporary. There is no spa or pool, as it is a relatively small hotel.

The on-site Watermill Restaurant is rated very highly. I and several of my friends have dined here several times and it is first class. There is a faux, watermill wheel with running water inside the restaurant, but I guess you can overlook that!

The restaurant itself is softly lit and intimate, not one of the vast caverns that some hotels provide. It is on two levels, with a bar which has hand pulled Black Sheep ale from Masham, amongst others. On good form it was too.

The produce for the restaurant is sourced from Yorkshire, where possible, and the breakfasts apparently include Local Yorkshire honeycombs.

It was for the ‘Luxury’ afternoon tea that my partner and I ventured out for this time however, having heard about it locally. We sat on a sofa in one of the two separate and comfortable, modern lounges.

A large pot of tea from Taylors of Harrogate was accompanied by a three tier china cake stand containing six quarters of sandwich each. These were mature cheddar and vine tomato, baked York ham, and tuna mayonnaise. All were generously proportioned and freshly made. The waitress apologised for the fact that our scones were still being baked. Not a problem as we tucked into the sandwiches.

Also waiting on the tiers were lemon treacle tarts, cream filled chocolate éclairs, rich fruit cake and chocolate dipped and drizzled fresh strawberries.

The hot scones came straight from the oven, dusted with icing sugar and were soon sliced open and spread with clotted cream and Raydale strawberry preserve from Askrigg in North Yorkshire. Askrigg doubled as Darrowby in the t.v. vet series All Creatures Great and Small and you can’t get much more Yorkshire than that part of the County.

Greedily, we just about managed the lot. At the normal price of £10.75 per head it would have been good value, but with discounted coupon deals available, even better.

Dinner at home later that night could not be contemplated. Simply outstanding was the verdict.

So, what have the Romans ever done for us? Indirectly, given us this place.

For further details visit the “website”:

Your sat-nav will find it just off Junction 42 of the A1(M) at LS25 5LQ.


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