For the past two years, we’ve both been tackling our Masters degrees and juggling them with weddings, editing, admin, client meetings and all the rest. During that time, we both turned 30 and whilst we managed to fit in a getaway for Lianne’s 30th, James’ just fell at a bad time with dissertation deadlines and such so we decided to postpone it – besides, it’s better to have a Summer birthday for once rather than in the dead of Winter!
So, we planned a midweek getaway to The Black Swan at Oldstead, a Michelin starred restaurant out in a tiny sleepy village just outside of Helmlsey in North Yorkshire. We’d eaten at Michelin starred restaurants before (our last blog post for a wedding at The Star Inn also in Helmlsey, for example), but always as wedding suppliers and never really getting the full experience. So, we booked our room in the lovely house up the street from the restaurant and made our way over. For us, the draw of The Black Swan, aisde from its Michelin star, was that they grow all their own food right out the back of the restaurant. As allotmenteers and keen cooks ourselves, we really liked the idea of ‘growing the menu’. Now that we’re well and truly no longer in our 20s anymore, we’re definitely hitting middle age because we find ourselves watching Gardeners’ World, and visiting show gardens. This trip was no exception….
As always we took our beloved Rolleiflex medium format camera with us and shot some rolls whilst we visited Helmlsey Walled Garden to gawp at their massive pumpkins and fantastic apple trees. We stomped our way to Rievaulx Abbey (well, halfway before we got tired and turned back), went o’er hill and dale, and also popped into the Ripley Castle too to take a peak at their glasshouses. So yeah, gone are the days of falling out of clubs at 3am, now it’s all garden centres!
Luckily, we booked and arrived just a couple of weeks before The Black Swan at Oldstead was named not just the best restaurant in the UK but the best restaurant in the world! Apparently getting a table is hellish since the announcement. But the food was delicious and we’d definitely recommend the wine pairing too, every wine was absolutely fantastic, just don’t be in a rush to do anything the following day as you’ll likely be nursing a sore head! Luckily, The Black Swan caters for any potential hangover with a slap-up English breakfast to send you on your way…. perfect!
And after all that, the answer is yes, we both passed our Masters degrees with the highest mark of distinction. 🙂
The Black Swan on the misty morning following the night before. James had gone out for a walk and some fresh air to clear the cobwebs and also captured the chefs pulling up root veg on their plot ready for upcoming menus.