For our latest personal profile, Our Huddersfield spoke to Mark Ayre, general manager of the Manor House Lindley hotel.
So Mark, can you describe what your business does?
Manor House Lindley is a luxury hotel, restaurant, wedding venue and event space in Lindley. Our Lantern Room Restaurant has recently been awarded the Three AA Rosettes.
What attracted you to start/operate your business in Huddersfield?
As a hotel general manager, I have worked all over the UK opening up new luxury hotels. My hometown is Wakefield and when I first heard about the plans for Manor House Lindley opening, I wasn’t sure that there would be a market for a luxury hotel with such extensive food and beverage options in Huddersfield. But upon visiting it in its build stage in the thriving village of Lindley, the owner, Sara Presley, had already created some of the vision for it and sold me into how she saw it operating. She dreamed of restoring it to its former glory and so, with vision, passion, and commitment, Sara assembled a team and embarked on a huge restoration project to create a venue like no other.
I was sold as soon as I saw it, and I believed it was something we would be able to make a success of. I saw it as a challenge and having recently been awarded the Three Rosettes by the AA I think it is safe to say that we have made it an attractive and successful luxury destination. It is one of only two restaurants in West Yorkshire to have achieved the Three Rosette standard, ranking it amongst the best restaurants in the UK. This follows other prestigious award wins, such as the TWIAs and Hotel Wedding Venue of the Year in 2022.
What advice would you give to someone looking to set up or relocate their business in Huddersfield?
I know there is a committed investment in the Civic Quarter, the University, the hospital, and the town infrastructure, which shows future regeneration. It is positive to see that more businesses are getting support and help and there are a number of empty properties that have been re-purposed for business, leisure and hospitality uses. We are seeing more footfall in the centre again which is encouraging. The surrounding villages are thriving, and Lindley in particular is a great destination village. There is a real sense of community here with local businesses and residents, making it a great place to set up.
What are your hopes for Huddersfield 10 years from now?
That the Huddersfield Blueprint ten-year vision to create a thriving, modern-day town centre can be carried out and achieved as proposed. It will be great to see it as a vibrant busy town that is family friendly and attracting tourism, new businesses and further employment.
On a personal level, what do you love most about the town?
Working at Manor House Lindley has allowed me to move back to Yorkshire to my hometown of Wakefield. But working in hospitality naturally means that I spend a lot of my time at work, and I have learnt so much about Huddersfield, and Lindley in particular. A lot of our customers are regulars and come back time and time again. We get to know them, get to know their stories, and have really integrated into the community. At Manor House Lindley we have become part of the Lindley community, even having members of our team run the annual Lindley 10K! We love the feeling of being involved and supporting the community group here and in turn, we feel like we have so much support from them.
What is your opinion on Kirklees’ Council’s plans/aim/objectives for the ‘Cultural Heart’?
It sounds excellent and it will be great to see this regeneration project come to life. It will have a really positive effect on generations to come and if the town centre gets redeveloped as planned, it may even be an opportunity for Manor House Lindley to take some space in it with a coffee shop and see further growth of our local brand.
Do you have a favourite shop in Huddersfield?
Owen Scott has to be up there. We see a lot of beautiful suits from the modern bespoke tailors at our weddings and you will see our management team wearing Owen Scott jackets. I also love Porter Hill tea company who are located in the centre, they provide a wonderful selection of loose tea leaves to accompany our afternoon tea menu.
What is still on your “to do” list in Huddersfield?
I’d love a family trip to the leisure centre in Huddersfield, as we still haven’t manged to go. I’d also like to spend some time visiting other villages like Slaithwaite and exploring them further. It is great that the Slaithwaite-based cheese and wine venue, Wine Slaithwaite, is opening up a second venue in Lindley. It will really add something to the Lindley high street which we welcome with open arms.
What’s your idea of the perfect day, or a perfect weekend in Huddersfield?
As much as I would love to explore Huddersfield on a weekend, I like to have a weekday off to go shopping and do chores while it is quieter, so I work weekends!
Are there any recommendations or local knowledge you’d like to share with a visitor?
Huddersfield really is beautiful. When you go up to the Pennines, there are a lot of beautiful walks and stunning scenery on the doorstep. Surrounding villages like Lindley have great food and drink scenes. It might come as a surprise to people that you don’t have to travel to Manchester and Leeds to get really good food and restaurants!
If you’re interested in reading more of our local business profiles, check out our blog.