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A drink with a difference

Enjoy the highest and oldest, the first pub & more.

Some say it's impossible to have a bad meal in Paris. Well the same can be said of a pint of beer in Yorkshire. Not content with offering some of the finest ales known to man (Black Sheep, Theakstons, Copper Dragon and more!) the Yorkshire Dales and its surrounding areas also offers some of the most beautiful, memorable and downright unique places to drink them in.

But it’s not just the ale, nor the lovely scenery, nor the disarmingly friendly welcome that prompts visitors to cross continents for the homely welcome of ‘God’s Own Country’ – though that would be reason enough. The Yorkshire Dales offers a host of alehouses that lay claim to some very unique events, records and facts. So if anyone questions your need to do nothing but enjoy the cosy welcome afforded by the region’s pubs on your Yorkshire Dales holiday, you can always reply that you’re going on a fact finding mission…

Tan Hill Inn, Swaledale – Britain’s highest pub

If drinking at altitude is your thing, or you just want to lay claim to the honour of enjoying the UK’s highest pint, then we recommend a visit to the Tan Hill Inn. The drive may be as ‘interesting’ as it is scenic (we guarantee you’ll think you’re lost at least once on the route – but trust us, it’s just really remote!) but the view and experience is well worth it.

Despite the remoteness, The Tan Hill is no well-kept secret. You could find yourself drinking with the Arctic Monkeys, Mark Ronson and British Sea Power – all of whom have stopped off to play an impromptu gig – or you could find yourself chatting about the weather with Griff Rhys Jones, Kyle McClachlan and Jeremy Clarkson. It’s that kind of place. And if you’re really lucky you might even get snowed in!

Bingley Arms, Bardsey – Britain’s oldest pub

You’d imagine that being Britain’s oldest boozer is quite a draw for drinkers, so it’s perhaps not surprising to find that the claim is contested by a handful of ancient alehouses around the country. The Bingley Arms’ unique claim is that the pub featured in the Domesday Book in the 11th Century, which predates the Good Pub Guide by quite some margin!

Whether this is true will perhaps never be known, but we can claim with some certainty that it has a very good selection of ales from the likes of Copper Dragon and Black Sheep and a great selection of wines. If you’re holidaying in the Dales, we think it’s worth making the trip.

The Angel Inn, Hetton – One of the first gastropubs

As if being a mainstay on countless ‘Best Pub’ lists, taking a starring role on TV’s The Trip series and being located in the idyllic Yorkshire village of Hetton were not enough to crow about, The Angel has earned its reputation as one of the Dales’ finest eateries by basically creating the concept of a gastropub.

Nowadays gastropubs are almost as common a sight in the countryside as lovely views and sheep, but we’re sure there must have been a few raised eyebrows in the mid-1980s when new owners Denis and Juliet Watkins gave pre-cooked chips the boot and threw the frozen chickens out with their baskets. Instead they introduced fresh local produce and a host of regional delicacies. Now, thirty years later, everyone’s at it. But that doesn’t mean they’re as good at it as The Angel, and even if they could replicate the amazing wine list, we’d be surprised if they could replicate the beauty of the surroundings.

Falcon Inn, Arncliffe, Littondale - The original Woolpack from Emmerdale

Emmerdale’s Woolpack may not hold the claim of TV’s oldest pub (that honour belongs to its neighbour 2 hours south via the M6), but for ‘the most scenic oldest pub on TV’ it would take some beating.

Littondale is a smooth formed sheltered valley with gentle hills and occasional limestone outcrops. Likewise The Falcon Inn itself offers a traditionally warm Dales welcome with Timothy Taylors on the pumps and large bay windows from which to survey the resplendent glory of your surroundings. The only thing missing is a landlord shouting “Get out, Seth!”, but we think the trade-off is more than worth it.

The Craven Arms, Appletreewick – A Day at the races, Yorkshire Dales style

For our last suggestion we thought we introduce somewhere that offers an abundance of local beauty and great ales with a side order of regional quirk. The Craven Arms in Appletreewick sounds so quintessentially charming and idyllically ‘Yorkshire’ that you’d be forgiven for thinking it came from the pages of a historical novel. Pay a visit and you will witness a setting so charming that you may even think you’ve entered the pages of a historical novel.

However, we’ve never read a historical novel that featured overhead ferret racing (and how we’ve looked!).

The charity ferret racing event raised such a stir that The Wall Street Journal sent over a reporter to witness the pub’s own ferret Paul seize victory in the 2015 event with a virtuoso performance of drainpipe running. Visit The Craven Arms and you may even share a drink with the current champion!