Pubs of Wharfedale - my personal top ten
There are so many good pubs in Wharfedale that this was a really difficult page
But here it is anyway, my personal favourite Wharfedale pubs ranging from amazing
country inns to some rather nice pubs in the larger towns.
1. The White Lion at Cray
Located at the very head of Wharfedale in the tiny hamlet of Cray, this 17th century
inn has had lots of care and attention lavished on it over the years. The floors
are flagged and the whole place reeks of character. There's a nice garden outside
or you can take your drinks over the road and sit alongside Cray Gill, which is
ideal for kids to play in while you're drinking. The menu is good country food,
but I haven't eaten here in a while so it could be anything nowadays.
Cray itself is so tiny it doesn't really exist, so this is a pretty isolated pub,
but just a mile or so from Buckden and Hubberholme. It really is a wonderful location
for a pub and is only bettered by The George at Hubberholme.
The pub does accommodation (nine rooms) and you used to be able to camp round the
back though I'm not sure if that's still allowed. The pub has nine rooms and three
of them allow dogs, though this is sheep country, so be careful.
2. The George, Hubberholme
is probably the most picturesque hamlet in Yorkshire, and although not
technically in Wharfedale the George comes in at second because of the glorious setting.
Beer is Black Sheep and Copper Dragon and the menu is a cut above average pub food,
but still largely revolves around large high quality lumps of meat. Pretty good
overall, but I think the White Lion just shades it.
The pub has six rooms, but it's not dog or child friendly.
3. The Clarendon Hotel at Hebden
This is a cracking little country pub, with Good honest beer (Tetley's and Taylor's), good
honest food (great steaks) and good accommodation at fair prices. The decor's
a bit dated but you can't have everything. Hebden is a small village a couple of miles outside Grassington
on the Pateley Bridge road, and isn't as scenic as higher up the dale, but it's a great starting point
for some really good walking both in
the valley and up onto the moors. Accommodation is not dog-friendly.
4. The New Inn at Eccup
The New Inn is an absolute gem, a real country pub just a few minutes drive from
North Leeds. It can get a bit busy, particularly for Sunday lunch when they do a
good old fashioned roast. Many a Summer's evening have I spent in the garden there
when the kids were small. They also have a children's room, but that's
about as inviting as such things usually are. It's also in the middle of the area where Red
Kites were released a few years ago, so you can quite often see them circling overhead
- a magnificent site.
It's also the nearest pub to the fake village they use for filming Emmerdale,
so who knows, you might even spot a celebrity - if actors in Emmerdale can be classed
Food is pretty basic pub food - nothing too exciting, nothing too objectionable.
And oh yes, many years ago I used to go Clay Pigeon Shooting there on a Saturday
afternoon, but I don't think they do that anymore. Heartily recommended.
5. Bar t'at Ilkley
I'm not a great fan of Ilkley, but if you
must drink there then Bar t'at is the winner. A clean modernistic beer selling take
on the urban wine bar. Lots of foreign beers and Modern British Cuisine type food
- not the cheapest but pretty good value. I've had some nice meals there and would
happily eat there again. Always a good selection of real ales which are very well
kept indeed. Newspapers in the rack and silly bar snacks - I'm sure you know the
sort of place. Quite civilised overall - clean, pleasant and welcoming.
6. The Black Horse at Grassington
The Black Horse is tucked away just off the square at Grassington, and serves an
excellent pint of Black Sheep plus John Smiths and lots of guest beers.
There are cosy bars with real log fires, but the real beauty of this place is the
huge dining room where you can tuck into huge portions of good traditional British
food. Exactly what's needed at the end of a good day's walking. They have
lots of rooms of which I don't have any details, but here's the email address for The Black Horse.
7. The Kings Head, Kettlewell
The Kings Head is tucked away round the back in Kettlewell, so misses out on much of the passing
trade that goes to the Blue Bell and the Racehorses, but in my view it's by far the best.
The menu is superb, with local cooked food prepared to a very high standard, and
if you add in an Inglenook fireplace and a landlord who knows how to keep ale you've
got a winning combination.
There are three rooms to let, and to cap it all this is a proper dog friendly pub.
8. The Buck Inn at Buckden
The Buck is not really my type of pub. It's quite posh with a very upmarket restaurant.
Certainly doesn't float my boat, but it's here because friends who eat there on a regular basis absolutely rave about it. And
you can't deny that it has a fabulous location at the foot of Buckden Pike.
They do have rather elegant accommodation, and will take well behaved dogs.
9. The Bingley Arms at Bardsey
The Bingley Arms claims to be the oldest pub in Britain, but then so do many others.
However it's in a pretty spot, has a couple of priest holes in the chimmney and
a varied menu.
My brother was a chef there for a while and I ate there several times and really
enjoyed the food. After that it went through a bit of a bad patch, but is rumoured
to be back on form now.
Nice garden to sit outside in.
10. The Blue Bell, Kettlewell
The Blue Bell is a great example of a typical Dales pub. Warm, welcoming and with
a great location in the middle of kettlewell. It's really cosy, with real fires
and a good selection of Ales.
Food again follows the tried and tested route of good local produce, nicely cooked.
They have accommodation, which I'm told is good, but I've never stayed there myself.