I first went to the Blue Lion in EastWitton about a decade ago. I was a guest of the Northern Racing WritersAssociation, which convenes for dinner there at least once a year, and I soonunderstood why.
The handsome greystone inn is found besidethe village green in a picture-perfect corner of the Yorkshire Dales. There’s asmart dining room on one side of the entrance hall and an atmospheric front andback bar with flagstone floors, oak settles and blazing log fires.
We ate in the bar and I’ve continuedto do so on numerous return visits. The food is top-of-the-range, gastropubfare, all locally sourced, with a particularly strong focus on game – includingpheasant, partridge and grouse, in season, shot just down the road on theJervaulx Estate. It caters for around 100 shooting parties a year andthe area is truly a sportsman’s paradise.
The River Cove trout stream flowsthrough the village and Middleham, the Newmarket of the north and home todozens of racing stables, is only two miles away. There are five racecourseswithin an hour’s drive and, if you want to make a grand tour, the Blue Lion has15 prettily decorated bedrooms divided between the old house and theconverted stables next door.