Monday, 15 August 2016

Halifax Comedy Festival - where to stay

If you're visiting the Halifax Comedy Festival for some of the world's brilliant stand up comedy acts, then be sure to book your accommodation at Holdsworth House, the town's award-winning four star hotel.

We've put together a special offer just for Festival goers from £85 per room per night for two people including a welcome drink, free parking on site, wifi and a fabulous freshly cooked Yorkshire breakfast, or continental style buffet if you'd prefer.

The Halifax Comedy Festival runs from 1-29 October 2016 and you can book tickets here for the events taking place at the Victoria Theatre, Square Chapel or any of the venues.

We're also offering a pre-theatre early bird menu if you want to try the 2 AA Rosette-winning food or bar menu.

It's set to be a fabulous event with headline acts including Jimmy CarrRomesh Ranganathan Al MurrayAndrew Lawrence and James Acaster.

£85 per Snug Double room
£95 per House Double room
£115 per Suite

2 AA Rosette Restaurant, Bar menu, Dog friendly*, Wifi, Free parking. Subject to availability and includes continental buffet or cooked to order breakfast. *£10 per dog per night, selected rooms only

Tel: 01422 240024

Thursday, 28 July 2016

A Tale of Two Naughty Rabbits

When two adorable rabbits were in need of a home, the management team at Holdsworth House came to their rescue.

The two brothers were nameless, but quick thinking guests at the hotel thought up 'Ringo' and 'Paul', after two of the four most famous guests that have stayed at the historic manor. After all, the little white rabbit had black rings like smudges around its eyes - Ringo was a very fitting name.

Paul and Ringo were treated to every kind of luxury, as is the Holdsworth House way. They were met on their arrival with lots of 'oohs' and 'aaahs'; they'd even had the most wonderful hutch and expansive rabbit run built. John, the hotel gardener, ensured the lawn was rich and green whilst Chef even saved some of the finest carrots fresh from the Yorkshire fields. The road ahead was a life of bliss.

Whilst extra comforts and fine food was already a given, it was the customer service and daily attention lavished on the two rabbits that was to ensure their regal existence. Daily feeds, cleaning and human contact, in particular with wedding coordinator Sophie, was to help the timid little creatures settle in.

All was wonderful in the bountiful gardens of Holdsworth House and as time went on, the two rabbits soon found their paws. But then things began to change... and cuteness grew up into adolescent cheekiness!  Perhaps all the lavish attention went to their heads, perhaps they were just born scallywags. Whatever the change, these two rabbits certainly heard the 'Exit' in 'Brexit' and their escape artistry skills were honed.

The first notion to be tested was 'how deep is the ground?' Paul and Ringo joint forces to dig their way under the hutch. Great Escape style, they tunnelled down and out. Some lovely Yorkshire stone flags put a stop to that.

Next was 'can rabbits fly?' This test involved Paul climbing on top of the hutch and launching himself towards the outer run fence - let's just say this was more Chicken Run than rabbit run.

Finally as repairs were made to the rabbits' bedroom ramp (yes you read correctly), which had broken in the melee, Ringo decided to nibble the toecaps of maintenance man Charles' boots as he worked, probably in a bid to hitch a ride to nirvana beyond the run's picket fence.

Of yes, even today the rabbits are exceptionally well loved. But maybe Houdini and Copperfield might have been more appropriate names! #butterwouldntmelt

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Shortlisted for the White Rose Awards final - for second consecutive year

Holdsworth House has made it to the finals of the Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Awards for the second consecutive year.

The prestigious awards recognises the best of Yorkshire's accommodation and tourist attractions and Holdsworth House is once again shortlisted for the Large Hotel of the Year title.

Hotel general manager, Mr Joseph Farrar, said "This is amazing news for Holdsworth House. To be shortlisted last year was incredible, but to reach the finals again this year is extra special. There are some incredible hotels in the final and to be ranked alongside them makes us all feel very proud. This comes off the back of our recent win at the I Do Wedding Awards for
Best Wedding Venue, making 2016 a great year for us."

Farrar continues, 'We've continued to invest in the hotel and we're always looking to develop new ideas so that we can offer guests something special, somewhere unique. We've just created two new roomy suites by knocking together our former single rooms which are going down very well with our wedding parties, plus we've upgraded the bar area with new flooring and furniture. There is lots of investment behind the scenes too to ensure the operation continues to run smoothly."

The White Rose Awards judging process continues throughout the summer and the winner is announced at a glittering awards ceremony in the autumn.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Bronte Yorkshire - 5 Top Bronte Attractions on a trail from Holdsworth House

2016 marked the 200th anniversary since Charlotte Brontë's birth. Sisters Charlotte (the eldest of the surviving girls born to father Patrick and mother Maria), Anne and Emily lived in Haworth, West Yorkshire, with their brother Branwell. Their parsonage home, adjacent to the church where Patrick preached, is now a world-class museum dedicated to preserving the Brontës' artefacts and works.

If you're London-based then we suggest you hop on a Grand Central train and take the direct journey from Kings Cross to Halifax, West Yorkshire to combine a luxury short break with visiting the Bronte sights first hand. Stay at Holdsworth House in Halifax and you'll have the perfect base from which to explore.

There are some brilliant Bronte Places listed on the Bronte website, but here are our Yorkshire recommendations to enhance your literary trail:

Bronte Parsonage, Haworth
1. The Bronte Parsonage Museum, Haworth. 
A 20 minute car ride from Holdsworth House takes you across the rolling landscapes to the beautiful town of Haworth and the Brontë Parsonage Museum. Feel goosebumps as you wander their halls, see their writing desks, jotters, drawings, paintings, clothes and artefacts. In Haworth you'll find plenty of coffee shops, the Black Bull pub that was frequented by Branwell and the famous cobbled street that was the scene for the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014. (N.B.Brontë Parsonage closed each January).
2. Visit the film locations of the latest chapter in the Bronte story.

Filming of Sally Wainwright's To Walk Invisible 2016 Brontë drama, written for the BBC, took place on Penistone Hill - half a mile from Haworth (around 20 minutes drive from Holdsworth House). Out on the moors a fake parsonage was built for filming. Penistone Hill makes a wonderful visit if you're a walking enthusiast; it boasts 179 acres of undulating grass and heather moorland with many rough paths and breathtaking views; you'll see the actual landscapes that the Brontë sisters wrote about and cast your eyes where theirs once fell.

To Walk Invisible was a drama about the lives of the Brontë sisters and brother Branwell. It took the viewer on an unmissable journey through the Brontës' everyday struggles - as Emily, Anne and Charlotte attempted to get their works published under male pseudonyms.

The fake parsonage for the BBC drama To Walk Invisible

3. Top Withens - Haworth Moors. Thought to be the most likely inspiration for Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights house. A lonely farmhouse (now ruins) that you can walk to from Haworth along the well-marked path which runs past the Brontë waterfall. For more description and directions click here.

Red House, Gomersal
4. Red House, Gomersal is 30 minutes from Holdsworth House by car. This Grade II* Listed 1830s cloth merchant's home has fascinating Bronte connections and is featured in Charlotte Bronte's novel Shirley. As well as seeing the restored house and outbuldings you can wander the beautiful gardens.

5. The Lord Nelson Pub, Luddendon is just five miles from the hotel and was the drinking place of Branwell whilst he was station master at Luddenden Foot Railway Station and where he met with the Luddenden Reading Society. Here you'll get another good Yorkshire pint in an lovely country setting. 

Book a Holdsworth House Bronte Break from £135 per room for one night including tickets to the Bronte Parsonage Museum, or book our Best Available Rate online for the number of nights you need.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Showcasing Yorkshire Talent

Sometimes the hard working team members beavering away right under your nose hold hidden talents, as we discovered recently with one of our own fantabulous restaurant crew.

Ailsa Lisham (already a good name for a designer) studied Textiles in Practice at Manchester School of Art, where she specialised in printed textiles for interiors.

Throughout Ailsa's degree she worked with both digital and traditional screen-printing techniques but screen print proved to be the process that she enjoyed the most.

Since graduating Ailsa has worked part-time at Holdsworth House, however when she's not here you can find her at ‘The Egg Factory’ in Hebden Bridge, a creative co-working space, where she make all of her prints.

Ailsa said, "I’ve currently designed and printed a range of linen cushions and cotton pouch bags, all are individually screen-printed by hand. The beauty of screen-print means that no two designs are ever exactly the same; you’re technically getting a one off every time!"

Whilst we'd hate to lose Ailsa as a wonderful member of our team,  we can't help but showcase her talents and encourage her to succeed in her design career. We think Ailsa's work isn't out of place in luxury homes and premium high street stores. 

If you're interested in seeing more of Ailsa's work and purchasing these affordable luxury items, then visit online store Folksy at

Connect with Alisha on social media and online:

Friday, 15 April 2016

Real Life Yorkshire Wedding: Caroline and Lindsay

As happy couples go, Caroline and Lindsay are certainly a perfect match. Here Caroline recounts her wedding day at Holdsworth House in 2016, where sourcing suppliers locally was an important part of the couple's decision making process.

"Our wedding day was fantastic, easily the best day of our lives. "

Caroline (right) and Lindsay
at Holdsworth House

Tell us about when/where you met?

"We met three years ago. I had pretty much given up on my love life and after going to yet another wedding of a friend with no 'plus one' I decided to give it one last try with online dating. Two weeks later I had my first date and we arranged to meet at St Georges Square in Huddersfield. I looked up to find the potential love of my life, just in time to see a pair of legs swooping past me; my date had stepped over one of the fountains and slipped right off her feet. From that second I knew Lindsay was the one!"

What about the venue, why Holdsworth House?

"We looked at a few wedding venues and they weren’t quite right. A friend had been to an evening do at Holdsworth House in Halifax before and said it was fantastic, so we booked to go to an open day. 
When we walked into the hotel we knew it was the place, it mixed tradition with a warm, friendly vibe. There was something magical about all the corridors and rooms, I can’t put my finger on it. It could be the exposed wood beams or traditional furniture but when it married up with the amazing staff, we booked it there and then. People smiled and made us feel welcome on every visit - from the open day to occasional lunches to meetings with the planner. The venue never let us down. 
When it came to selecting suppliers we only used people that we liked. We wanted humans who smiled, not faceless businesses who saw our wedding as a great way to make money. 
We had 60 guests during the day and around 80 at night and selected Holdsworth House’s Pain Free Wedding Package, which allowed us to select what we wanted in terms of food and drink but also gave us the reassurance that many other things were taken care of (trust me there are more things than you can ever imagine to organise for a wedding!)"

Describe your wedding invitations...

"We made the invites ourselves. I designed the invite and separate cards for additional information (totally not in work time) and Lindsay made a folding envelope, which she wrapped with lace and brown string and sealed with a button. All the invites were expertly printed by Perry Print in Huddersfield."

Tell us about your food...

"The menu tasting, about 6 weeks out, was amazing. When we arrived we were taken to our pre-prepared table with a personalised taster booklet at our places. We were presented with wine to taste in a carafe with cute little handmade labels. Then the food arrived ... it was immense. Fine filo tart of confit tomato, red onion, watercress pesto shaved pecorino - which Lindsay claimed - leaving me to taste the vegetarian option.
Despite being envious of the tart, the leek and potato soup arrived to my delight and was very tasty. This was only the beginning of a lovely meal of lemon sorbet and then ale braised beef and mustard seed mash, which was to die for. When we thought we couldn’t eat any more the pudding arrived, Bramley apple and blackberry crumble with vanilla custard. We rolled home in food coma bliss!
The wedding cake was a big deal for me. Dottie Bee’s Bakery in Leeds is run by a lovely lady named Karen. I knew her beforehand - she provides cakes for my office and I swear everyone goes crazy for them. We opted for 80 cup cakes in a variety of flavours; salted caramel with caramel centre, vanilla with raspberry conserve, lemon curd with lemon buttercream, and carrot with cream cheese. My dad made a cake stand using wood discs with 6” salted caramel sponge on top, finished with buttercream for a rustic style." 

Describe your wedding dresses...

"Lindsay and I went dress shopping separately as we didn’t want to see each other’s choice until we were at the end of the aisle. Even though we both shopped independently, we both picked Elenor Rose in Huddersfield . I think Lynette at the boutique won us over with her friendly nature and warm personality. Unbeknown to us both our dresses matched and complemented each other perfectly. Lindsay’s dress was Philipa Grace Louella, with a custom made top section and belt. Mine was a LQ London with customised sparkles."

Who did your flowers?

"Lindsay is a flower enthusiast so alongside her friends created all the centre pieces, which were jars of spring flowers on individual woodland themed log discs. She also created flower displays in items that I borrowed from my uncle's farm; a milk churn, coal bucket, wellies, a metal teapot, a mini milk churn and various vases and containers we found. The night before the wedding Holdsworth House allowed us to use a room so we could create the displays. When it came to the bouquets and button holes we contracted the talented Pink Ginger who did a wonderful job. 
For the tables we bought lots off items off Ebay, including place names that were little chalk boards on wine bottle corks, “words of wisdom” cards for guests to write their marriage advice for us, and wooden hearts which say “Mrs & Mrs Owen” to scatter on the tables."

Hair & Make-up

"Cat Eccle and the team at Mods and Rockers in Huddersfield did hair and our make-up at the hotel. Obviously as we are two girls it doubles the pressure, plus mothers of the brides and bridesmaids! But all the team were relaxed, calm and did brilliant jobs."

What was the best bit about the day?

"It’s impossible to pick one thing out of the day, the joy and happiness you feel is indescribable. When you wear a wedding dress everyone you meet smiles; friends, family, Holdsworth employees and even strangers. One special moment was when we walked out from the ceremony as a married couple and all the hotel staff congratulated us. Lindsay and I say we have our own bubble: when we are alone together we describe that time as "our bubble time", for that one day we let everyone in our bubble and shared our love."
Want to know more about weddings at Holdsworth House? Contact the team on 01422 240024 or follow us on Instagram, Facebook  or Twitter 

A picture perfect outdoor wedding

Picture the perfect wedding and you won't be far from this beauty at Holdsworth House in 2015.

The wedding was an outdoor ceremony with a full wedding breakfast and evening live band.

The images really show how beautiful an outdoor summer wedding can be and how guests enjoy the private grounds at the Jacobean country manor.

Outdoor weddings are held in the Colonnade Courtyard at Holdsworth House. On this occasion the bride and groom had the columns dressed with fresh flowers and greenery. In the event of forecast heavy rain, marriage ceremonies are moved indoors to the Abraham Brigg room, but this couple happily enjoyed the fine weather all day.

Many thanks to wedding photographer Tim Dunk and to Karen and Ryan for allowing us to share these wonderful images of their special wedding day. For Tim's full image blog click here.

For wedding enquires at Holdsworth House call 01422 240024 or complete the enquiry form.

See Holdsworth House's wedding offers.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

A dog's life - Staying in hotels with your dog

Champ: Am I smart enough
for Holdsworth House?
When you're wanting some escapism, a romantic getaway or to see new surroundings, the sticking point is often the dog. Do you ring the kennels, find a house sitter or a dog-friendly hotel? Finding a good quality dog-friendly hotel isn't always as simple as it sounds.

Sadly many hotels don't allow dogs at all, few that do are luxury hotels and some even stick visitors with pets in substandard rooms, where 'a dog can't do any more damage'.

Surely this is where hotels are losing out? Any responsible dog owner knows his pet inside out: if you have such a badly behaved pet, you just wouldn't take it with you. So why don't many hotels help to treat our very important pets and their owners better?

Hotels do have to strike a balance; some guests have pet allergies and need to know whether dogs have slept in the same room before, although thorough cleaning practices should lift the trace of most pet allergens. Dogs sleeping on the beds is obviously a no no, but then at Holdsworth House we provide a dog blanket in case you don't want to trail your own from home. In fact that's just one of the perks of bringing your dog to Holdsworth House on a short break.

Holdsworth House for dogs and their well-behaved owners

Four-legged guests are welcomed at Holdsworth House with a tasty chew, water bowl to use in the room, poop bags and a leaflet listing nearby parks to stretch legs and chase balls, although they might need a bit of help reading it!

Dogs are permitted in certain lovely bedrooms (all well-decorated, clean, bright and airy) as well as the lounge, hall and bar. Only the restaurant rooms are off-limits, except for guide dogs. There are spacious grounds for fresh air and a host of dog-loving team members who might want to take your pooch's picture to add to our Facebook gallery.

So if you're wanting a short break, head to Yorkshire and Holdsworth House and look forward to a break with all the family.

Ted, taking it all in

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

How to write an amazing father of the bride wedding speech

This is the story of Danielle Shaw, her new husband Jay and her dad Graham. It is with their permission that we share their special story.

Sadly Graham passed away earlier this year but together the family and Holdsworth House hopes that Graham's wonderful Father of the Bride Speech inspires other dads to get just the right amount of humour, pace, digs at the groom and toe-curling tales to ensure a rousing applause, as Graham's did.

Please share this story, even if you're not getting married. Graham's creativity and delivery is wonderful to watch (look out for the groom's reactions) and includes stories that everyone can relate to. Click to watch the video and scroll down for Danielle's story.

Our special thanks to Danielle and Jay.

"My boyfriend, Jay, proposed in the most perfect way – under the Eiffel Tower in Paris in August 2014. Wedding talk began immediately but I assured Jay there would be no rushing - we agreed that the marriage wouldn’t take place for two years. 
Months later, in the October, my dad was told that the cancer he had been battling for two years was terminal. With advice from the consultant we brought the wedding forward a year. Though Jay needed a paper bag to breathe into initially (!) he knew it was the right thing to do. Whilst my dad continued with gruelling chemotherapy to help suppress the cancer, planning was in full swing and we managed to book a date at Holdsworth House on the 2nd of August, 2015. Dad loved this place – he had been to weddings here before and spoke highly of it.
A few months before the wedding he began to think about his speech; something he was actually really nervous about! He always had a great way with words and it didn’t surprise me when he told me he was writing a poem. I always knew the day was going to be so emotional…. I am a daddy’s girl who loved nothing better than spending time with my dad – him giving me away was always going to be so special.
My wedding day was Heaven on Earth; we could not have asked for a better day. Thoughts of my dad’s illness were tucked away for the day - it was our special day and we were going to enjoy every single second. In the car and walking up the isle I clung onto my dad so tightly!! We were both so nervous and excited. The sun shone and we just had the best time with everyone we love celebrating with us.
Throughout the meal he was getting more and more nervous, knocking the red wine back a little too fast!!! I think my mum thought she might have had to read it for him, but he did it. It blew me away. I sat there hanging on to every word, every rhyme, holding my breath as to what he was going to say next! He did me proud. To this day everyone mentions my dad’s speech to me – it was so memorable for everyone.
What I also love is how amazing my dad looks on the video – people always commented on how well he looked. He continued with chemotherapy and up until February 2016 was still fighting hard. Unfortunately the cancer got the better to him and the cruel disease had spread to his brain. My dad lost his battle with cancer in March. 
He always said to me that the speech was his legacy.  I finally got around to editing it and I’m so made up that we can share his fantastic work with everyone else."

This blog post is dedicated to the memory of Graham Shaw.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

A Real Bride's Guide

Mr and Mrs Ramsaroop were married at Holdsworth House in August 2015. Here they share their story: 

The Venue...

"Right from our first visit to look around Holdsworth House we knew we had made the right decision. The house is beautiful and the gardens are outstanding."

The Planning...

"The wedding team was readily available throughout the whole planning process to answer any questions. We booked the Pain Free Package - and it really was pain free! Our tasting evening a few months before the wed- ding, to try different dishes and wines, was really helpful. The staff were incredibly helpful too in assisting our guests in booking rooms for the night of the wedding, including family from Canada and South America.

In the final run up to the wedding we were able to visit as much as we needed to plan how we wanted the rooms decorated and to check we could leave decorations at the hotel the day before, to reduce the stress on the big day."

The big day...

"Everything went perfectly, the staff were amazing especially Tracy who is a real asset to Holdsworth; she took charge of arranging all the decorations, checking the bride and groom parties were all OK getting ready. She was even on hand to tidy up the groomsmen and put their buttonholes on correctly! Throughout the day everything just flowed and the staff were always a step ahead of us, so we could just relax and enjoy the day.

We were married in the Abraham Brigg room with its intimate feel, then held the wedding reception and party the Stuart room. We were lucky to have glorious sunshine on the day and have some amazing photos with the gardens in full bloom.

The wedding breakfast was very tasty with very generous portions. We chose the peking duck salad, then leek and potato soup, followed by roast sirloin, with sticky toffee pudding to finish.

The rooms are lovely, they are not very large but this is in keeping with the hotel and are all individually designed and full of character. The bridal suite with its rose petal turndown, champagne, chocolate dipped strawberries and box of chocolates is a lovely touch. In the morning we had a delicious, cooked breakfast with all our guests which was a great way to finish."

Our lasting thoughts...

"Holdsworth House is very special; we cannot recommend it highly enough!"

(Pictures courtesy of 2007bc Photography)

Monday, 7 March 2016

Charlottle Bronte's Bicentenary Year

If you're a Bronte fan you'll be excited that 2016 marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Bronte's birth. The Bronte Parsonage Museum, in nearby Haworth, West Yorkshire, has lots of events taking place to mark the special occasion on April 21st, the same celebration date as the Queen's birthday.

As well as wreath laying and a party in Charlotte's name, the Museum is hosting a brilliant exhibition curated by novelist Tracy Chevalier. You'll be able to see the Bronte's writings, their household artifacts, their clothes and of course where they lived and wrote many of their world-famous novels.


Holdsworth House is a beautiful country manor hotel, on the outskirts of Halifax and a scenic 20 minute drive to the centre of Haworth, where you'll find the Bronte Parsonage Museum. Built in 1633 Holdsworth House was once owned by the Wadsworth family.


In the early half of the 1800s Holdsworth House was lived in by Elisabeth Wadsworth whose family was of a similar standing to the Brontes. Whilst Elisabeth's precious diaries, which are with the Halifax library, do not mention meeting the Brontes there is reference to Elisabeth seeing the famous violinist Paganini. It is believed that the Brontes also went to a performance of Paganini - perhaps it was the same one, we will sadly never know.

Holdsworth House offers a Bronte Break, which includes an overnight stay with breakfast and two adult tickets to the Bronte Parsonage Museum. If you're a Bronte fan and attending any of the bicentenary events then come and stay here.