Yorkshire Dales restaurants
After a hard day’s exploring in the Yorkshire Dales, you will want some good food and drink to prepare you for the following day’s excursion. Fortunately, the area has some great places for eating out with options to suit all tastes and budgets. Starting with one of the most acclaimed, The Yorke Arms in Ramsgill, is not strictly in the National Park, but well worth making a special trip for.
The historic former 18th-century coaching house and shooting lodge’s kitchen is led by one of the country’s top female chefs, Frances Atkins, and the restaurant is one of only six in Yorkshire to hold a coveted Michelin star. The Yorke Arms has recently reopened following a refurbishment.
Down the road at Bolton Abbey is the Burlington Restaurant at The Devonshire Arms, which has built up an impressive reputation for fine dining and has achieved three AA Rosettes. With its nine-course signature tasting menu costing £90, plus the antiques, designer silverware, fine crystal glasses and stylish white china, its possibly not the place to bring the kids – and there is a dress code of no jeans or trainers – but for those looking for a memorable fine dining experience, the Burlington is a great option.
You will never be too far from a pub which serves great food in the Dales. Almost all pubs offer an extensive menu, while many have built up good reputations for serving delicious and imaginative dishes. The best pubs and restaurants usually make use of the superb local produce available on their doorstep, including locally-reared lamb and beef, pheasant, grouse and partridge from the Park’s woods and moors, Yorkshire rhubarb, trout and salmon from Dales rivers, fish landed at Whitby and cheese from creameries in Wensleydale and Swaledale.
After a hard day’s exploring in the Yorkshire Dales, you will want some good food and drink to prepare you for the following day’s excursion
In some cases the produce comes from so close nearby that they talk of food yards rather than food miles. A well-established, family-run pub with a good reputation is the Red Lion Hotel in Burnsall. The view across the River Wharfe from the Red Lion is worth a visit alone but the food isn’t bad either.
Among the regular treats on offer at the Red Lion are Cumberland sausages from the renowned H Weatherhead and Sons Butchers, of Pateley Bridge and Grassington. For diners looking for a specialist fish restaurant, the Wensleydale Heifer in West Witton, between Leyburn and Hawes, comes highly recommended by national food critics and guide book authors.
It has won numerous awards and was once the Guinness World Record holder for cooking the largest fish and chips ever. As well as a more modestly-sized fish and chips – although still a decent sized portion – made with Black Sheep beer batter, and coming with posh peas and exceptional goose fat chips, the Heifer serves dishes such as Whitby crab and dill-crusted halibut fillet or maple roast lobster salad.
The Fox and Hounds, also in West Witton, offers more basic food but is not without its charms. The landlord may even sing a song if you catch him in the mood. Hawes has three pubs which all serve bar food, as well as a number of cafes.
One of the most popular is the Penny Garth Café on the main street which on a sunny afternoon is usually packed with motorbikers who call in for a cuppa and a bacon sandwich while enjoying a ride out on the A684 between Hawes and Sedbergh. The Chippy, which is of course a fish and chip shop, is also a favourite with queues often stretching down the street during the summer.
In some cases the produce comes from so close nearby that people talk of food yards rather than food miles
Head over the hill into Swaledale and you might come across the charming Farmers’ Arms in Muker – where Prince Charles one played dominoes with the locals during a visit. The food isn’t fancy, but it’s generally quick and tasty and there’s is no need to book. Continue over the next hill to Arkengarthdale and eventually, when you think you must have missed it, you will come across the Charles Bathurst Inn, known locally as the CB. Despite its remote location, the CB is usually busy, particularly on a weekend when it is popular with visitors and locals alike.
During the grouse season it is often used by visiting shooting parties. Grouse with all the traditional trimmings makes it on to the specials board when in season and is worth trying if you’re looking for an authentic Dales dish. The owners of the CB also run the Punch Bowl Inn, over the tops in Low Row, near Reeth.
Like many pubs and restaurants in the Park, they look nothing from the outside, but are bursting with appeal and character once you step through the door. Although just on the edge of the National Park, it would be remiss not to mention the Blue Lion at East Witton, near Masham, which, with its stone flag floors, antique furniture, candles, wooden beams and huge open fires, simply oozes atmosphere and charm.
The food’s not bad either and has helped the Blue Lion win the Dining Pub of the Year Award three times. The pub is popular every day, all year round, but the Sunday lunch is something of an institution, with the beef sirloin carved by the waiter on a trolley wheeled to your table. The Blue Lion has something of a celebrity following, with James Bond actor Daniel Craig and chef Jamie Oliver among the famous guests to have popped in for a pint and a bite to eat.
Head over the hill into Swaledale and you might come across the charming Farmers’ Arms in Muker – where Prince Charles one played dominoes with the locals during a visit
The Saddle Room
The Saddle Room at the Forbidden Corner attraction in Coverdale near Middleham is relatively new but has quickly developed a good reputation. The restaurant was converted from racehorse stables and is split into five sections including a cellar containing over 110 wines. The George and Dragon Hotel, in Dent, near Sedbergh, is actually in Cumbria, but still falls within the boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The award-winning real ale pub is the tap house for the Dent Brewery and their ales feature in many of the hearty dishes, including the steak and t’owd tup pie. In Sedbergh, as well as several good pubs, you will find Smatt’s Due Cafe and Bistro, which prides itself on its use of locally-sourced produce. Nearby is the Three Hares cafe, bistro and bakery, which serves food throughout the day and also takes the local produce as its inspiration.
The dishes on the evening menu include the mouthwatering Dentdale pork loin and belly, with medlar and salt baked swede. Boutique hotel Yorebridge House in Bainbridge is a regular winner of awards for its accommodation but also has an excellent restaurant which has three AA rosettes. Venison from Masham, sole from Scarborough and Dales lamb are regulars on the evening menu.
The hotel occupies the former offices of the National Park Authority. However, it has come a long way since then with visitors to an online review website voting it the most romantic hotel in the UK. The outdoor hot tubs on the banks of the River Ure are possibly what gave Yorebridge the edge. To the west is Malham where you find more country pubs serving good food, including the Lister Arms and the Buck Inn.
The restaurant was converted from racehorse stables and is split into five sections including a cellar containing over 110 wines
Eating out in Airton
In nearby Airton there’s the Town End Farm Shop and Tearoom, which serves breakfasts featuring home-cured bacon, the owners’ own-recipe sausages and Yorkshire chorizo. The Pen-y-ghent Café is used by many walkers as the starting point of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Walk. As well as serving hearty food, the cafe operates a clock-in/out system to time and aid the safety of walkers.
The Inglesport Café, in Ingleton, is not posh and the food isn’t fancy but the breakfasts are the stuff of legend for the thousands of cavers and climbers who flock to the town every year. Even if you’re just passing through to look at the waterfall it’s still worth a visit, if only to sample the flapjack and see some of the amazing photographs on the wall. If you’re visiting by cycle, there’s even a secure area to leave your bike around the back.
The Grassington House Hotel, in The Square, Grassington, boasts two AA rosettes for its food quality. Diners can eat in the elegant restaurant, the fireside bar or, if it’s not too nippy, al fresco on the terrace. As well as dishes such as grilled Cornish grey mullet fillet, with confit citrus fennel and spice shrimps, the menu includes steak raised just down the road in Pateley Bridge and aged for 28 days, and local lamb slow-cooked for 12 hours.
Elsewhere in Grassington, The Cobblestones Café, in the Square, is renowned for its cream teas. The rest of the menu isn’t bad, either. The Retreat Cafe and Bistro has delicious vegetarian and vegan options, and is very popular at weekends. The pretty Fountaine Inn lies just outside Grassington in the village of Linton. Dining is informal with regular dishes including slow-braised lamb shank and mixed fish stew.
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