An Edwardian Christmas

Yorkshire’s only five-star hotel plans to turn back the clock to bring families an opulent, Edwardian Christmas.

Built in 1906 for one of the most powerful railway companies in England, The Grand, York, is now the city’s finest hotel – overlooking the city walls and with views of historic York Minster.

And it has unveiled a festive programme which combines the grandeur of a bygone age with 21st century luxury – the dazzling highlight of which will be its two, spectacular gala balls, on 5 and 12 December.

The hotel’s Grand Boardroom – the building’s historic centrepiece during the golden age of rail travel – will be a lavishly decorated backdrop as guests enjoy an evening of dancing and dining.

Chefs, led by the hotel’s executive chef Norman McKenzie, will create a starter of chicken and leek and tarragon terrines with pickled mushrooms, followed by a fish course of cured chalk stream trout, with kohlrabi, pickled garlic and horseradish.

This will be followed by traditional roast turkey with a dessert of almond bavarois with mulled pears, blackberry sorbet and Amaretti biscuit and guests can then dance the night away to live music and entertainment.

For the ultimate Christmas Day treat, the Grand is opening its private dining rooms to families wishing to enjoy all the traditional food and fun – without the washing and tidying up.

Guests will be welcomed with champagne and hors d’oeuvres before sitting down to a four-course lunch of sweet potato velouté with spiced sour cream, followed by Thirkleby turkey – which they can hand carve – with traditional accompaniments.

Lunch will be rounded off with Christmas pudding and brandy sauce and a cheeseboard featuring Yorkshire and artisan produce and guests can then play traditional board games over coffee with petits fours.

For those wishing to stay at the hotel right over Christmas, a three-night package has been designed, which begins on Christmas Eve with champagne and mince pies, includes a four course lunch in the Grand Boardroom on Christmas Day and ends on Friday 27 December.

On Sunday 1, 8 and 15 December and on Christmas Eve, the Grand Boardroom is also the setting for mulled wine and afternoon tea, with treats such as Yorkshire tea loaf, Richard III Wensleydale and white chocolate panna cotta, with carols sung by a local choir and even a visit from Father Christmas.

And, throughout November and December not only will special festive menus be in place at both the hotel’s restaurants; The Rise and Hudsons, but its newly opened The Cookery School will be running a series of workshops and short courses for those wishing to perfect their own Christmas cooking.

“The Grand really becomes a magical place at Christmas,” said, general manager, Philip Bolson, “with its gorgeous Edwardian architecture and marble corridors lit by twinkling fairy lights and, of course, our spectacular tree soaring up past the main staircase.

“And this year our chefs and bartenders have worked harder than ever to conceive drinks and dishes which express Christmas in a way which bridges age-old traditions with contemporary tastes and ingredients. It’s going to be magnificent in every sense of the word.”