Motoring and Property Editor
9:32 PM 7th November 2019
The Yorke Arms, Ramsgill – A Hidden Gem
I am a huge fan of Nidderdale, having got to know the area well when I worked in Harrogate and Pateley Bridge many years ago. Stunning scenery, fabulous driving roads and friendly people make it a lovely location for a day trip.
I have passed the Yorke Arms many times over the years but had never found time to see what delights await inside this former coaching inn. Situated in the small picturesque village of Ramsgill, a few miles north of Pateley Bridge, it feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
A recent drive event with supercar manufacturer Lamborghini gave me the opportunity to spend the night and with an enviable reputation for fine food, I knew I was in for a very special experience.
I have been fortunate enough to stay in some of the UK’s finest country house hotels over the last few years and it is a while since I have had such a warm welcome. The warmth not only radiated from the roaring open fires in the public rooms, but mainly from the genuinely friendly and hospitable staff who had to deal with a dozen or so travel weary journalists all arriving at once. Nothing was too much trouble.
Former owner and award-winning chef Frances Atkins was also on hand to meet and greet, even though she was doubtless needed in the kitchen to prepare dinner for us all.
Frances and husband Bill purchased The Yorke Arms in 1996 and in the early years invested any money they made back into the business. The hard work paid off with Frances becoming one of just six female Michelin starred chefs in the UK. Now described as a restaurant with rooms, The Yorke Arms is now definitely on the foodie trail.
In 2017 the Atkins sold the business to local entrepreneur Jonathan Turner, but Frances and her team are still very much at the helm. In 2018 a sympathetic refurbishment took place, but rest assured the charm and character of the building very much remains.
Jonathan is a wine enthusiast so much money was spent on the cellar, where now lurk over 2000 bottles of the very finest wines. The temperature-controlled environment has a tasting area where enthusiasts can meet and sample, but of course all bottles can be served at your table. I’m told the prices are affordable too.
‘Ey Up’, my cosy room
My billet for the night was one of the Yorke Arms’ cosy rooms, named ‘Ey Up’. Each room is individually designed but with a definite Yorkshire flavour, with mine boasting a bespoke Yorkshire Rose headboard made with fine fabrics from the Abraham Moon mill. Expect to pay £300 for dinner bed and breakfast, though this rises to £375 if you wish to have a five-course dinner in the more formal restaurant.
Travelling alone, the lack of a king size bed was not an issue, but I would recommend couples book a deluxe room (£375-450 depending on dinner choice).
In all there are eighteen suites and bedrooms, so perhaps an ideal location for a family party or celebration.
The food in all its glory
Our Italian hosts had organised for Frances to prepare an 8-course tasting menu for us, each course accompanied by appropriate wines. Whilst sipping our aperitifs, we were talked through the menu and there was no doubt the excitement was building.
Each course was a veritable delight, my highlight being the seared tuna, with celeriac, squid and pickled beetroot. The grouse with smoked bilberry came a close second.
The bespoke menu
Post dinner drinks in the cosy bar with my travelling companions rounded off a memorable evening. A good night’s sleep and excellent breakfast meant I was refreshed and ready to tackle another exciting day’s driving.
As our exotic convoy roared away down the sleepy dale, I was left to reflect on one of the best nights away from home that I have had in a long time. I had expected the finest rooms and excellent food, but what stood out was the warmth and friendliness of the staff and sometimes that is what makes all the difference. I look forward to returning in the not too distant future.
Telephone The Yorke Arms on 01423 755243 or email email@example.com