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Pubs of Wharfedale - my personal top ten

There are so many good pubs in Wharfedale that this was a really difficult page to write. But here it is anyway, my personal favourite Wharfedale pubs ranging from amazing country inns to some rather nice pubs in the larger towns.

White Lion at Cray

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.

The George at Hubberholme

2. The George, Hubberholme

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.

The Clarendon Hotel at Hebden

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.


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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 as such.

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.

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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.


Black Horse, Grassington

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.



Kings Head, Kettlewell

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.


Buck Inn, Buckden

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.

Bingley Arms, Bardsey

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.

Blue Bell Kettlewell

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.


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Comments (10)
fantastic hotel best hand pull beers in the dales fantastic food well done lads mark neil continue your good work 10 out of 10
posted by george denman 25/01/2009 14:35:37
what a shame blackhorse just isnt the same with out mark an neil 2 brilliant caracters sadly missed
posted by mr cooper 25/01/2009 15:17:14
blackhorse best beers food 10 out 10 sunday walkers last visited sunday 11 january to my dismay new owners come back boys the beer industry needs landlords like you shame on greeneking
posted by sunday walkers 25/01/2009 15:24:21
Must agree about the Kings Head at Kettlewell. Buck Inn has never been a personal favourite & The White Lion at Cray was a lovely pub but for me it has been really spoilt over the last couple of years although it's still nice to sit outside on your way down from the Pike & try to enjoy their beers (not a patch on what they were!) The George at Hubberholme is a great little pub but my personal favourite has always been The Fox & Hounds at Starbotton, I can't believe it doesn't get a mention. Try it & make your own minds up!
posted by Dave T. 19/03/2009 14:32:57
Yes, a definite error on my part, and I shall visit soon and add it in.
posted by Mick 20/03/2009 16:55:04
I agree with the adding the Fox & Hounds, its a pub worth supporting. I would also reccommend the Craven Arms at Appletreewick, now theres a pub with character & the ale is great, heres their website http://www.craven-cruckbarn.co.uk
posted by Robbie 12/07/2009 19:23:50
You've missed the best proper pub, pints still from barrel, jug then glass and in a beautiful village setting. The Falcon at Arncliffe 0 just off Wharfedale in pretty, unspoilt Littondale.
posted by Tedsma 18/10/2009 13:22:30
The Clarendon at Hebden, under recent new ownership from May 2009 is now one of the best eating places in Wharfedale and at good prices, unlike the Craven Arms at Appletreewick which has now become something of a rip-off. Forget the White Lion at Cray - the landlord can be very unwelcoming, he ruined our Christmas weekend last year which is a shame as the rest of his staff are great and so is the food. If you're lucky to be there when the landlord is absent, you're in luck. But, do try the Clarendon at Hebden, I guarantee you will not be dissapointed!
posted by Harrymojouk 14/12/2009 15:50:52
i went to the Clarendon recentley & found the service slow, food average and the decor towny, if you like Keighley pubs you'll like here
posted by Tony P 22/12/2009 12:56:08
I visited The George at Hubberholme (after reading some great reviews) in September 2008 and would only say that I was very disappointed with both the service and the food. We stopped for lunch and it was obviously near to closing time as we were made to feel uncomfortable when ordering our food. I certainly would not recommend this establishment.
posted by Caroline Lunn 21/01/2010 15:06:48
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