Sometimes you want a good cuppa and sometimes you want a decent pint – but where are the best places to sample these vital thirst quenchers in Swaledale?
In the course of our research, we had a few lively discussions about what makes the best brew and we’re sure it will spark a debate amongst anyone who knows the various watering holes in Swaledale. Not least because there’s such an amazing choice and great quality. But places change, they get better, get worse or change hands which is a great excuse to keep travelling up and down the Dale to sample our favourites over again and try somewhere new.
The Tea Shop at Muker. This is by some margin our number one choice, brewing the kind of Yorkshire Tea that somehow soothes and revives, just what you want after a nice walk across the hay meadows and along the Swale. Lovely home made cakes and an open fire make this top of our list.
Ghyllfoot Tearooms, Gunnerside. A close second, again because of the lovely Yorkshire Tea, brewed to perfection. Homemade ham sandwiches and chips are highly recommended and a nice seat out the back in the sunshine make this a worthwhile stop en route up or down the Dale.
The Copper Kettle Reeth. Tucked away at the bottom of the Green, The Copper Kettle ranks highly for its homemade cakes and scones and the homely interior was a welcome sight on a grey day when we last visited.
The Keld Lodge Hotel. Ok, not strictly a team room but competition is thin on the ground at the top of Swaledale – apart from Park House when it opens for the summer. It’s been a while since we were last there but we went with some friends and found it to a really great lunch stop with a generous supply of tea, sandwiches and cakes. The portion sizes even satisfied our American visitors.
Great pubs are thankfully something that we are spoilt for choice for in Swaledale. In the last 10 years, the standard has kept going up and up and it’s been a tough task to recommend our favourites because they are all so good.
The Bridge Inn Grinton – a Jennings pub (the only one in the Dale?) which serves a great pint of Cumberland plus plenty of other guests – sometimes the usual such as Timothy Taylor and sometimes more off the wall stuff which makes a nice change. The best thing about The Bridge is that it’s a genuine friendly locals pub – muddy boots, plenty of dogs taking up the floor space near the fire and a music night every Thursday that can sometimes be a late session. Food is very good too.
The CB Inn Arkengarthdale – we’ve been regulars at the pub since it opened more than 15 years ago and apart from the odd hiccup (so to speak) it’s been a consistently good pub selling a quality pint of Theakstons plus plenty of guest beers and lagers. It’s an AA 4 star hotel too, attracting shooting parties etc but still feels very welcoming.
The Farmers Arms Muker – Selling local craft beers from around the Dales including The Wensleydale Brewery, Yorkshire Dales Brewery, Black Sheep, Theakstons etc the Farmers keeps a very good pint. The range is really local so if you like a pint that hasn’t had far to travel, this is for you. The food is sound pub grub and caters for walkers that need a hearty plateful after a hard day.
We shouldn’t discriminate against places that also do a great coffee! The Dales Bike Centre is our firm favourite here, not least because every Friday is Brens Showstopper – a weekly special cake made by Brenda that you will definitely need a long bike ride to built up your appetite for. The coffee is really good too.