Hotel review: Ye Olde Bell, Retford

Adam Lowe

Featured image: Ye Olde Bell

Ye Olde Bell is a gorgeous, AA four-star hotel and spa, situated on the cusp of three counties: Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The historic building seamlessly blends 17th-century charm and contemporary conveniences, standing as a wonderful slice of luxury and tradition in the English countryside.

Ye Olde Bell thankfully has a range of rooms, suites and lodges, meaning it can accommodate single travellers as well as families and large groups. With its onsite spa, and three eateries, it’s a destination in its own right – and perfect for any occasion.

The lodges

We were lucky enough to stay in The Grove, one of two lodges (alongside The Rufford next door). In their own private corner of the estate, set back off the Courtyard, these two lodges are enjoined, allowing them to be connected for bigger parties or booked out as separate self-catering properties.

On the ground floor, you walk in to find a stylish countryside lounge with kitchenette. There’s an oak staircase, crafted by hand, which twists upward into the galleried double room, which has its own en suite bathroom.

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Image credit: Ye Olde Bell

In the bathroom, you can enjoy a slow and decadent bath in the roll-top tub, or a rinse in the walk-in power shower.

The lodges can be set up with additional bedding for children, if required, which makes them great for families.

We were especially pleased with our room, as the blend of traditional English décor and all the mod cons you’d expect at a four-star hotel made it a real treat to stay here. With the coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits in the room, we also had the perfect early morning pick-me-up before breakfast.

Prices for the lodges start at £440 per night.

Image credit: Ye Olde Bell

The rooms

Ye Olde Bell also sports a number of single, classic and superior rooms, for those who don’t need the space of a lodge. Each of the rooms features period furnishings and en suite bathroom, plus a flat screen TV, free wi-fi and luxury toiletries.

The single rooms are generous in size, with just as much style as the classic rooms and suites. Solo travellers can enjoy the same luxuries as their coupled-up peers, with prices starting from £140 per room per night.

The classic twin and double rooms are a little larger, allowing couples and friends to enjoy a restful stay at the same level of style, without having to compromise on space. Prices start from £205 per room per night.

The roomier superior rooms also take the style up a notch, bordering on decadence. You can expert larger beds (four-posters are also available), roll-top baths, walk-in power showers, and a view either over the gardens or over the Barnby Moor countryside. Prices start at £275 per room per night.

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Ye Olde Bell also has a range of other suites on offer, such as the regal Lady Jane Suite and the opulent Firth Suite, with prices from £360. Some suites have adjoining double or single rooms, so they’re great for families and groups too.


Ye Olde Bell offers a continental and cooked breakfast. You can order a full English, or treats such as eggs benedict or smoked kippers. We found there was an excellent selection and the food came promptly (though with enough time for us to sample the continental selection too). The hot breakfast was a great way to set us up for the day, as we later went on to explore the nearby Clumber Park (a National Trust property with oodles of character and a lovely café overlooking the gardens).

Image credit: Ye Olde Bell

The verdict

Ye Olde Bell offers up exquisite surroundings with fantastic food, brilliant service and a hearty breakfast to boot. If you’re looking for a quintessentially English stay in the countryside, look no further than Ye Olde Bell.

More information


Check out our review of St Leger Bistro-by-the-Bar and the spa’s Herb Garden Brasserie for a look at the fabulous food on offer. Note that spa guests should book their lunch before 11am to ensure they can dine in the brasserie.


Check out our spa review for the downlow on the treatments and facilities available.


Ye Olde Bell, Barnby Moor, Retford, DN22 8QS / 01777 705121 / /

About Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe is an award-winning author, editor and publisher from Leeds, now based in Manchester. He runs Dog Horn Publishing and is Director and Writing Coordinator for Young Enigma, a writer development programme for LGBT young people. He sometimes performs as Beyonce Holes.