Hiding in plain sight. Sometimes somewhere is so obvious, so familiar that it gets overlooked. Especially when it’s on your doorstep. Welcome to Millgate House in Richmond, North Yorkshire. It’s a B&B but with so much more. Started around thirty years ago by Tim Culkin and Austin Lynch, both teachers at the local secondary school, it definitely offers great rooms and inventive breakfasts, but for us it’s been the scene of many, many dinners with friends and colleagues, always with something to celebrate. Their guest list says it all…
Guests are offered luxurious, individually furnished rooms, outstanding breakfasts and superb service. It is little wonder that their guest/visitor list includes Graham Turner, Ian McKellen, Alan Titchmarsh, Carol Klein, Chris Mullen, Angela Hewitt, Clare Short, Gavin Turk, Guy Hands, Ruth Rendal, Pam Ayres, Alan Bennett, Ruby Wax, Joanna Trollope, William Hague, Barry Cryer, Lucinda Lampton, Julian LLoyd Webber, Tom Courtenay, Blake Morrison, Eileen Atkins, Pam Ayres, David Starkey, Shirley Williams, Seb Coe, Hugh Thompson, Edward Fox, Brenda Hale, Angela Harris, Jane Asher, Gerald Scarfe, Alistair McGowan, Charlotte Page, Rowland Holmes-Smith, Caroline Potter and many others.
The house is on Millgate in Richmond, North Yorkshire, set right on the back of the pavement. There’s a small, discreet doorway which leads, rather dramatically, into the most beautiful Georgian hallway. It’s here that you’re greeted with a glass of fizz (bring your own wine) poured into a motley collection of champagne glasses fashionable in a bygone era – you know, wide rather than tall. Beyond lie the two principal rooms – dining room to the left, elegant drawing room to the right. Although the dining room can be arranged in many ways, for us it’s always been one long table set for maybe 20-25 people. Gleaming silver, old plates, crystal glasses – a time capsule designed for relaxation and pleasure.
Tim Culkin and Austin Lynch’s eye for ‘silver, china, glass, clocks, pictures and more’ has turned their ‘nicely designed, roomy, welcoming’ B&B into a collector’s paradise – and a nightmare for fans of minimalism or parents of young children
Tim and Austin rustle up some wonderful food – assemble your menu from a long list of carefully prepared dishes, and let them choreograph the event. They have half a dozen rooms if you’re staying over and, to really get your evening going, arrange a splendid magician – usually Paul Lytton. You can see the left overs from his previous visits by the playing cards stuck to the ceiling or the windows.
The house is built into a hill so, although you enter from the street, the main rooms share a balcony with a view over the garden and to the Dales beyond as the land drops away. The garden itself is Nationally recognised and, together with the house, has won many awards and accolades.
Wonderfully eccentric B&B Millgate House Richmond
…oh, and they will also rent you their splendid house in Italy.