Some of the very best scenery and hospitality can be found at The White Horse Farm Inn, Rosedale Abbey - no wonder it won a top accolade from Welcome to Yorkshire
There are certain things you expect if you are going to stay at Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub.
For a start there would have to be plenty of banter at the bar. A warm welcome would be a must. Open beams and open fires paint the right picture. To drink; a good choice of wines and spirits and, of course, top quality real ales. On the food front meals should be hale and hearty but above all there should be a top landlady.
The White Horse Farm Inn fulfilled all those expectations, and more.
The pub is clearly not only in the heart of the North Yorkshire moors, but in the hearts of its customers, whether they be locals or those from further afield who have been enjoying the special welcome for years. It’s probably why it found itself winning the accolade of Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub last year, awarded by Welcome to Yorkshire.
It has one of the most spectacular locations of any pub in the country. Perched on a hillside next to the gruelling 1 in 3 Chimney Bank, this one-time coaching inn has panoramic views across the valley. It’s about an hour and three quarters from West Yorkshire.
It’s a journey landlady Christine Cullen has done – albeit with a few detours along the way – as she was originally a Mirfield lass. Her family moved to Batley where her dad ran the Black Bull pub in the town centre. By all accounts it was a fairly lively establishment, her dad did not like his children going into the bar, even when the pub was shut!
Christine too has had her share of experience of the pub trade, at one time running the huge World’s End pub in London’s famous Camden Town. It was there she met southerner Jim and eventually the pair left the big smoke to come up to sleepy Rosedale Abbey. The village does not get a lot of through traffic, unless you count tractors and bikes, you have to turn off the road between Pickering and Helmsley to find it, but the rewards for doing so are plentiful.
Cycling is big round here. The challenge of Chimney Bank had brought out the roadies in force (despite a sign at the top advising cyclists to dismount) and the plethora of great trails, moorland single-track and forest make it a magnet for mountain bikers.
The North Yorkshire Moors are classic walking country of course. We’d earned lunch with a stride over the heather so sat outside the pub to take full advantage of that vista and demolish some more-than-substantial prawn sandwiches. Local character Winston, a rooster from a neighbouring farm, came to join us too. Inside the pretty building is a snug bar area, cosy restaurant and 11 rooms - some are doubles, one is a twin, some are family rooms, and some have a balcony (dogs can stay too).
Our comfy room was at the front with sash windows giving out onto that wonderful view. A recent refurbishment meant everything was neat and tidy, spotlessly clean and fresh-looking. A few years ago the pub almost shut. Its owners wanted to sell leaving Christine and Jim in limbo. But a consortium, including Christine and Jim, bought the place.
The food is good hearty pub food - “traditional Yorkshire portions” as the leaflet promised, offering a good variety including Whitby lobster and Steak and Ale pie (my black pudding and red cabbage starter and whole dressed crab and salad left me little room for wine, although I did seem to manage a glass or several!). One of the diners next to us was delighted with his steak and came to ask where it was from - York. Much of the food is local, the lamb practically walks in off the hills!
In the pub the atmosphere was great, plenty of banter and friendly faces. At one point some music came on - a CD of a customer’s daughter singing with a voice so sweet and pure it silenced us all and ended with spontaneous applause.
Next morning, chatting with other guests over our man-sized breakfast, we found more than one or two regular guests. Yes it’s a pretty place with terrific views. But there’s something else. The staff are like family, and the customers are treated the same.
If you like anonymous hotels with an urban chic minimalist look this is not for you. But if you like a bit of banter, generous meals and a drink or two, gorgeous views, great cycling, stupendous walks, and good company, what are you waiting for?
The White Horse Farm Inn Rosedale Abbey North Yorkshire, YO18 8SE
01751 417239 or 411993
Start at £80 per night for a standard double/twin. Superior and family rooms available.
Welcome to Yorkshire