THERE are many hotels in York - but nowhere quite like Middletons.

Set within York’s City Walls, this charming hotel comprises a cluster of historic buildings in a beautiful courtyard garden.

It’s short walk from the railway station, and York’s famous attractions, but a haven from the hustle and bustle. The secluded location feels like a peaceful hamlet within the city.

Close to the river, Middletons Hotel has 56 rooms across six Grade II listed buildings, each with its own slice of history:

* Lady Anne House: Built in 1659 as a refuge for 20 widows of York Freemen, its name is from founder Dame Anne Middleton, wife of Sheriff of York Peter Middleton. Often referred to as a hospital, the building was extended in 1829 and, 140 years later, saved from dereliction. Features include Roman masonry and a glass-topped well.

* The Organ Factory: Grand Victorian building, used by master organ builder Walter Hopkins, who built organs for churches of York and beyond, until he retired in 1921.

* Cromwell House: Originally part of a sawmill near the river’s Emperor’s Wharf, where timber from Northern Europe landed. The building has 18 bedrooms and the Sawmill Restaurant. A wall at the far end is part of the old city gaol. Salvaged timber from the sawmill is a striking architectural feature around the hotel complex.

* Chaplin House: Elegant 17th century town house. Re-built in the 1940s after war damage, it became the home of Hans Hess, director of York City Art Gallery, who entertained guests including Charlie Chaplin - hence the name - composer Benjamin Britten and jazz queen Cleo Laine.

* Sir Joseph Terry Cottages: The ‘Terry Memorial Houses’ were funded in, 1899, by public subscriptions to the memory of Sir Joseph Terry of York-based confectionery company Terry’s.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Sir Joseph Terry cottages are part of the hotel complex The Sir Joseph Terry cottages are part of the hotel complex (Image: Daniel Thwaites)

* No. 56 Skeldergate: Large 18th century town house, previous occupants include a Lord Mayor and Sheriff of York. In 1925 a carriageway was driven through it to access a rear yard. In the late 90s it was extended and today its features include a beautiful Venetian window overlooking the Skeldergate House garden.

Bought by Daniel Thwaites in 2017, Middletons Hotel blends 17th century features with contemporary chic. Facilities include a sun lounge, private dining area and gym.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: There's a range of dining experiences at Middletons HotelThere's a range of dining experiences at Middletons Hotel (Image: Daniel Thwaites)

We stayed in Lady Anne House, which has 18 bedrooms over two floors in vibrant, funky designs. After checking in (the reception desk is worth a mention - it’s the old counter from distinguished York furnishers/haberdashers Hunter & Smallpage, complete with brass measuring rules) we freshened up in our stylish, spacious room overlooking the Terry almshouses and courtyard garden. The room’s wildlife-inspired décor and soothing colour scheme reflect the natural beauty of the grounds.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A stylish bedroom in the Grade II* listed Lady Anne House A stylish bedroom in the Grade II* listed Lady Anne House (Image: Daniel Thwaites)

We had dinner at The Judge’s Lodging, a Daniel Thwaites sister hotel in York. The grand Georgian townhouse was the residence of judges attending Assize court sessions at York Castle until the 1970s.

With vaulted ceilings and quirky features, including a row of servants’ bells and books found in nooks and crannies, the Cellar Bar is a cosy snug with a relaxed vibe. Its seasonal menu offers locally sourced Yorkshire dishes, and drinks including cocktails, Thwaites ales and local tipples.

I started with a tasty gnocchi dish and my sister, Sophie, enjoyed tempura deep friend prawns. Main course dishes include beer battered fish, and steak and ale and beef Bourguignon among the selection of pies. I went for the delicious chestnut mushroom, onion and leek pie, with seasonal vegetables, caper and tarragon cream, and chive mash. Sophie had roast duck with confit potatoes, roasted onions and crispy kale.

With just enough room for desserts, I went for fruit cheesecake and blackcurrant sorbet while Sophie couldn’t resist the sticky toffee pudding. Divine!

Returning to Middletons, we had a nightcap in the Central Lounge, a spacious but cosy barn-like space, with beams of reclaimed sawmill timber.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The striking bar, with reclaimed timber beams from the sawmillThe striking bar, with reclaimed timber beams from the sawmill (Image: Daniel Thwaites)

The staff were friendly and efficient during our overnight stay. We loved the boutique hotel vibe, and rich history of the complex.

Next morning, after a hearty cooked breakfast, we wandered through winding streets and up the Shambles to the mighty Minster. There was a Saturday morning queue building, so we didn’t go in, but if you can beat the queues it’s well worth a visit - up there with the world’s most awesome cathedrals. Make sure you head down to the crypt, which contains fascinating carvings and Norman artefacts.

There are endless things to do in York. You can unearth the city’s Viking past at JORVIK; discover its confectionery heritage, and indulge in a chocolate-making workshop, at York Chocolate Story; re-live its criminal past at York Dungeon; step into Victorian streets and shops at the Castle Museum; get spooked on a ghost tour; immerse yourself in a world of steam locomotives and engineering brilliance at the National Railway Museum.

Having done all the above at one time or another, we decided to walk the City Walls - the longest medieval town walls in England - or part of it, anyway. Foundations of Roman walls, built to defend a fort near the banks of the Ouse, form part of the existing 13th century walls. There are splendid views, not least York Museum Gardens and the Minister’s green spaces, and along the way we encountered arrow slits and musket loops. The full walk takes in York’s four gateways (bars): Bootham Bar, which has some of the city’s oldest surviving stonework; Monk Bar, at four storeys high, the tallest, most elaborate bar, built as a self-contained fort; Walmgate Bar, the only surviving barbican on a town gate in England; and Micklegate Bar, ceremonial gate for monarchs entering the city, and home to the City Walls Experience museum.

* Middletons Hotel, Skeldergate, York. Tel. (01904) 611570. Visit