Located at the gateway to the North York Moors National Park, The Fox & Hounds in Sinnington has undergone a lavish refurbishment. Lisa Salmon checks in.

Everybody needs a little time away - especially with the current economic and political doom and gloom.

With its spectacular coastline, dense woodlands, beautiful dales and vast expanses of heather moorland, the North York Moors National Park could be just the ticket for some much-needed peace and quiet.

A few miles west of Pickering, on the park's southern boundary, is the pretty little village of Sinnington, which dates back to Anglo-Saxon times and is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. The focal point of the village for more than 300 years has been its charming 18th century inn, the Fox & Hounds (thefoxandhoundsinn.co.uk), which has just undergone a £1.25m refurbishment and is a prime spot to stay for exploring the North York Moors National Park.

What's it like?

The Grade II listed inn has 14 luxury bedrooms and an AA rosette-accredited restaurant, which serves meals in both a cosy lounge bar and an elegant dining room.

We stay in one of the inn's luxury cottage rooms, standing in a quiet courtyard behind the main building. Our room is named Parr, in homage to the last of King Henry VIII's wives, Katherine Parr, who lived in the manor of Sinnington before her marriage to Henry in 1543.

And while the room is a good size, with a very comfortable super-king bed with beautifully silky Egyptian cotton sheets, a giant TV, and tea and coffee making facilities (with great biscuits - always a mark of a good hotel in my book), my husband and I are most impressed with the gorgeous bathroom.

Not only is it huge (I point out we could have a disco in there, but my husband isn't in the mood for dancing), but the walls are beautiful Italian marble and there's a huge wet room shower.

How's the food?

After taking a particularly long time to get ready in the dream bathroom/disco, we head down to dinner. Head chef Fabien Hombourger learned his culinary trade in Paris and worked all over the world before bringing his French cuisine to the Fox & Hounds.

The menu is mouth-watering - although, unusually in this day and age, there was nothing vegetarian on the menu. My husband chooses beef carpaccio (thinly-sliced raw beef) to start, followed by a main course of sea bass, and a dessert of raspberry souffle with black cherry ice cream.

Fabien creates a bespoke vegetarian menu for me with a goat's cheese starter and a vegetable bake, followed by warm Parkin and ice cream for dessert.

Happily, though, the next morning there is a vegetarian cooked breakfast option, which sets me up for our subsequent day of exploring.

What can you do in the area?

First on the list is a gentle walk round the lovely and extremely quiet village of Sinnington, through which the River Seven meanders. We could have opted for a much longer walk to burn off the calories from our big dinners and breakfasts, but although the Fox & Hounds allows guests to bring their dogs to stay in some of its Garden Rooms, unfortunately, those rooms were fully booked during our stay, so we'd had to leave our dogs at home.

Instead, we took advantage of being unencumbered with both dogs and kids, and filled our day with activities that would either have been impossible or unpleasant if they'd been with us.

After leaving Sinnington, we drive about 12 miles through nearby Pickering to the bustling Saturday morning market at Malton, where we pick up goodies like pork pies (for him), and Wensleydale cheese with lemon (for me).

Then it's off to the spectacular and immense Castle Howard (castlehoward.co.uk), where both Brideshead Revisited and Bridgerton were filmed. Having never been to the iconic stately home before, which is about eight miles past Malton, we are blown away by its sheer scale.

It's a pleasure to stroll around its vast, beautifully manicured gardens and lake, and drink in the history of the house with its huge crowning dome, and opulent rooms (not to mention drinking tea and scoffing carrot cake at the castle cafe).

We learn that the colossal 145-room mansion is still home to some of the Howard family more than 300 years after the 3rd Earl of Carlisle, Charles Howard, began its construction in 1699. It was built in the same era as the Fox & Hounds, around 10 miles away, and I imagine grand ladies and gentlemen may have stopped off at the inn en-route to Castle Howard all those centuries ago.

I'll never know whether they did or not. But what I do know is staying at the Fox & Hounds and enjoying the North York Moors area, including Castle Howard, is a great way to relax and unwind, feeling very far away from the stresses and strains of day-to-day life.

How to plan your trip

Rooms at the Fox & Hounds (thefoxandhoundsinn.co.uk) in Sinnington start from £120 per night.