Good Food And Open Fires (2008)
One thing that is guaranteed to make you smile on entering a restaurant or pub dining room is the sight and the feel of an open fire, warming the cockles of your heart, if not the ones on your plate. So we've drawn up a 'hot' list of Yorkshire venues with some of the warmest welcomes you'll find in the county. No surprise that most -- but not all -- of them are pubs, former coaching inns in the main.
By venturing into the Kings Arms, a grand pub and hotel set on three floors, you'll get a right royal welcome thanks in large part to its magisterial inglenook open log fire, very much in the old tradition. For this is an 18th century coaching inn of fine proportions, with an olde worlde bar and dining room, serving food all week, with a fine view of the valley of Swaledale, and equally fine views from its garden and most of its well appointed bedrooms. Greater cosiness is hard to find. What is more, live music rings out for that ever-so-hard to beat atmosphere on some evenings. And what more would you want than to crown it all - the lovely country village setting of Reeth with lovely walks, and other country pursuits and cultural facilities and activities to hand such as racing and theatre.
The Blue Lion in East Witton is another 18th-century coaching inn, this time in Wensleydale, home to a certain crumbly cheese. And home is the feel here in this warm and friendly pub with a heart of gold with its hearty hearth, flag-stoned floor and hand pulled beers. Where a fire does come in rather handy and really appreciated is if you're in the middle of nowhere and high on a hill, especially in the depths of the Pennine winter. In this case Tan Hill. For this is where your trekking along the backbone of Britain could take you to find the Tan Hill Inn - Britiain's highest pub at 1,732 feet, and the quintessential old time British warm and friendly inn. There's a fire in the grate here almost every day of the year. And, perhaps because of its isolation, it has long opening hours throughout the week -- opening at 8am through to 2am and even 3am on a weekend. It caters for those in need of breakfast, lunch and an evening meal, offering good, home-cooked, traditional pub food. Anyone fancy a Tan Hill sausage?
The Alma Inn at Cottonstones is a typical boozer with a moorland view, but not typical for its food. And while there's standard pub grub on offer, together with a spitting open fire, they actually have a real pizza oven spitting out a range of good pizzas too. The Olive Branch Restaurant With Rooms is highly favoured by the English Tourism Council. Unsurprising when you cinsider not only it's cosy open fire, but also it's countryside valley view taken in from its secluded sun trap garden, and stylish restaurant and themed rooms. The Yorke Arms at Ramsgill is a Michelin-starred restaurant situated in an old shooting lodge in lovely Nidderdale, with the obligitory cosy dining room fire, so you can be assured of great cuisine in very comfortable and stylish surroundings. The wine list is another key highlight. Overstaying isn't an issue as they have some comfortable bedrooms.
Coaching Inns seem to be much the thing where open fires are concerned, and there can be hardly a finer example than The White Swan Inn at Pickering, near York. Here, standards are exceptionally high, from the well appointed rooms to the lavishly praised cuisine - National Food Producer 2005 award -- to the exceptional wine list with bottles going as far back as 1934. People come from all over the county to use this delightful place as a base for the racing and shooting season. People just can't get enough of the place, as has been the case for the best part of 500 years
The Star Inn at Harome, Helmsley is hard to top with its Michelin-star rating and charm a-plenty, being a 14th century cruck-framed longhouse and topped by a handsome thatch. Several rooms here throughout its quirky, organic 'design' and they are exceptionally well appointed - a must for a special occasion. The bar is of the rustic variety with open fire of course, this one being a central fire with soft sofas around it. There is a glazed upper dining area ideal for private parties, so blending the old and the new with great taste and flair. Another old celestial charmer is The Old Star at West Witton, Wensleydale. A former 17th century coaching inn, boasting oak beams and log fire in what is now a characterful family run guest house, or B&B with en-suite rooms. Ideal for a Yorkshire Dales National Park romp and stay on a budget. The Boars Head at Long Preston, near Skipton, is of a similar vein - a characterful old place set in a picturesque Dales village with en-suite rooms which have been recently refurbished. Expect good food and a lovely roaring fire to settle down to.
The Blue Bell Inn in Weatherthorpe, Malton, has two dining areas - a dedicated dining room and a bar dining room. The main dining room is handsomely decked out with lots of wood, leather and heavy fabrics adorning the place. It looks sumptuous with its carefully thought out decor with even a little tromp on the wall too. An open fire with oak beams may be your ticket to eat here, but the award-winning Modern English cuisine served with a good range of wines is another strong reason to make a visit. That fact that it' not far from the East Coast is a bonus. It seems coaching inns are the bastion of open fires, and The Kings head is no exception. What it does have also though, apart from its rooms and en-suite accommodation, is a conservatory and a walled and patio garden. It is set on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, between Pickering and Helmsley, so is ideal for some great scenery and refreshing walks where you'll come across some stunning heather-bound landscapes.
The Rising Sun at Colton near York is worth a mention, being a grade above most other pubs for food and environment. Expect a roaring fire in winter, and stylishly dressed tables with good food atop 'em. The Black Bull in East Marton is a real gem of a find near the border with Yorkshire and Lancashire. Excellent quality pub dining with a cosy ambience helped by the open fire. Service is efficient, and it's often busy here with drinkers and diners alike. A good, pleasant atmosphere is to be had.
Blacksmiths Inn at Westow looks after both the aspiring upmarket diner and the more traditional local drinkers. Good solid furniture is set off by equally solid candles. The menu and wine list is solid too. The open wood burning strove provides a cosy central feature in its brick inglenook where you can sip and sup, downing some fine hand pulled pints. The very pleasant Shoulder of Mutton pub at Kirkby Overblow boasts not only a couple of handsome log fires, but they proudly provide a 'gluten-free menu'. A real communal spirit thrives here as the local community and children have got together to produce a splendid little cookbook, which they've handsomely illustrated themselves. A reason in itself to visit this pub, for this is a unique item, full of delicious recipes homed and collated and passed on over the years no doubt amongst the locals here. Proceeds go to the local school and charity. The Box Tree at Ilkely is one of those rare examples of a dedicated (and Michelin-starred) restaurant where you can find an open fire. In this case, it is the first thing you come across as you enter the dining room, with high backed old wooden settles either side. It provides for a suitable resting area where tea or after dinner coffee can be taken.
The Radisson SAS Hotel on Cookridge Street, Leeds, has very much a modern version of an open fire, funnelled up and away directly overhead, so as to leave the surrounding space uncluttered and complementing the very art deco look with a 1930's style liner theme running throughout. Strictly speaking the fire is located in the cocktail bar area, but you can also eat in this space too. The food is of excellent quality, as is the decor, service and general experience here. Crown Inn at Roecliffe near Boroughbridge is a fine example of an old country pub that after years of neglect has been sympathetically refurbished with great taste and quality and integrity exudes form every nook and cranny. There is a fire in each and every room, complemented by subtle lighting and candlelight on an evening. The main dining room is exceptionally well appointed with a lovely fireplace at the far end. Gastro pub hardly does justice to this place. Apart form some handsome beers, the bar sports several jars of preserve, made on the premises, and a quality menu and wine list is to be had thanks to the proprietor's real unmatched passion for excellence.
The Foxglove, which is nestled in a valley in Kirkburton near Huddersfield, is a delightful wood-centred pub which forms the central feature of what are a collection of nicely tucked away and tastefully designed Tudor-style lodges. It has been tastefully fitted out with a variety of nice, comfortable furniture and three very inviting fires throughout this quite extensive place. Candles and fresh coffee, a good choice of beers and a good food menu complements the quality environment. Rooms are available thanks to Innkeeper's Lodge. A well planted garden can be found and an extensive secure car park. Blacksmiths Arms, Flaxton, near York, is a characterful 250-year-old Free House with some cracking beers, open fire, and beamed ceilings. Locally sourced, freshly cooked home made food is a feature. The Spencers Arms, Cawthorne, near Barnsley, now stylishly and sympathetically renovated, is set in a very attractive little village, with the pub at its hub. A nicely planted patio area provides a nice sun trap, while the beamed interior provides a cosy and characterful culinary sanctuary, with a couple of wood-burning fires in each of its bar rooms. Service is efficient and friendly and nicely complemented by smart and attractive staff.
Read More Features: The Hare Inn (2009) | Eating On The North York Moors (2009) | Storm (2009) | The Art Of Experimentation (2009) | The Olive Press (2008) | The City Limits (2008) | J Baker's Bistro Moderne (2008) | Good Food And Open Fires (2008) - The Pax (2007) | Good Bars, Good Restaurants (2007) | The Gray Ox (2007) | The Cheese Course (2007) | The Beehive (2007) | Where To Wine & Dine In Yorkshire (2007) | The Restaurant Bar & Grill (2006) | Dining Out In Bradford (2006) | Lockwoods (2006) | Yorkshire's Culinary Stars (2006) | Salvo's (2006) | A Room With A View (2006) | Angel's Share (2006) | Modern British, Old World Charm (2006) | Aagrah (2006) | Country Pub Dining In Yorkshire (2006) | A Swanky Night Out (2006) | The Blue Bicycle (2006) | Sukhothai (2005) | Off-Motorway Dining, The Good-Value Venues (2005) | Wasabi (2005) | Eating On The Beaten Track (2005) | Orchid (2005) | Family-Friendly Venues (2005) | Hob Green (March 2005) | The Fruits Of The Sea (March 2005) | Where To Dine Out In Style (December 2004) | Bella Med (December 2004) | Exploring The Food Chain (October 2004) | Malmasion Hotel (October 2004) | Where To Eat Italian (August 2004) | Le Bon Apetit (June 2004) | Gastropub Dining Around Leeds (June 2004) | Country House Dining (May 2004) | Anams (May 2004) | Live Music Dining Venues (April 2004) | Harris's (March 2004) | The Taste Of The East (March 2004) | Est Est Est (February 2004) | Where Veggies Dare To Tread (February 2004) | The Best Value Meal Deals (December 2003) | Hotel Du Vin Bistro (December 2003) | Weaver's Restaurant With Rooms (October 2003) | Straight From The Chateau (October 2003) | The Lounge (August 2003) | Eating Business Class (August 2003) | Where To Eat On The Street (July 2003) | The Wardrobe (July 2003) | Coffee With Your Cash, Sir? (June 2003) | Life (June 2003)