This is what it's like to run one of the most traditional pubs in the Yorkshire Dales

The George Inn at Hubberholme is a storybook country pub that's hardly changed in 300 years.
The George Inn at HubberholmeThe George Inn at Hubberholme
The George Inn at Hubberholme

Peaceful rural location in a quiet hamlet? Check. Norman church nearby? Check. Beer garden overlooking a stream? Check. And that's before you step inside this 17th-century former farmhouse and spot the flagstone floor, mullioned windows, range fire and wooden bench seats.

The George was built in 1640, became a pub in 1754 and was owned by the Church until 1965, with the rent going towards the vicar's salary.

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The pub has barely changed in centuriesThe pub has barely changed in centuries
The pub has barely changed in centuries

The 400-year-old whitewashed pub in Langstrothdale observes many quaint traditions - a candle is kept burning during opening hours, a throwback to when the building was a vicarage and the parson would display a light when he was available to parishioners. It's still known fondly as the 'Candle Inn'.

It's also the location of the Hubberholme Parliament, a centuries-old ritual which is still keenly embraced today.

On the first Monday night in January, the candle comes out again, but this time to arbitrate in a land auction. It is placed in the window as the local farmers gather in the bar to bid for the grazing rights to 16 acres of pasture owned by the church. The proceedings go to help the poor of the parish and the vicar still oversees the gathering from the dining room. When the candle dies, the highest bid made by that point is awarded the land.

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The inn has been unchanged for years, although some sympathetic modernisation has taken place. In 2013, Ed and Jackie Yarrow arrived as landlords - a city couple who had moved from Leeds in search of a different life in a remote dale.

The George is known colloquially as 'the Candle Inn'The George is known colloquially as 'the Candle Inn'
The George is known colloquially as 'the Candle Inn'

They've embraced the change in pace and found themselves warmly welcomed in a hamlet that consists of just a church, three houses and a farm.

"It was a long-held ambition of ours to own a pub - on our honeymoon we met an older couple who had run pubs and they regaled us with stories. It sounded like a right hoot. After our son left home, we started looking for one and eventually happened upon the George," explains Jackie, speaking from the kitchen while preparing Sunday's batch of Yorkshire puddings.

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"It was fairly quiet when we arrived - it had a bit of a curmudgeonly reputation in the past, and it was a functioning Dalesway pub without being busy. We wanted it to remain as a traditional inn while opening the doors to more people and making a success of it."

The pub is popular with Dalesway walkersThe pub is popular with Dalesway walkers
The pub is popular with Dalesway walkers

The couple admit they weren't aware of the Hubberholme Parliament when they took on the business, but soon realised its importance in the local calendar.

"We didn't known the history of it, but it was soon revealed to us! The first one was quite scary, a daunting prospect - it's a fun evening but the farmers take it very seriously. There was a lot riding on it and we really wanted to make it a success. It was a great night.

"One of the other traditions is the Morris dancers, who have been coming on the May Bank Holiday since Noah was a lad.

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"We've even got a ghost - she's an ex-landlady but she's benevolent, not mischievous."

Due to its location on the Dalesway route between Ilkley and Windermere, the George is popular with walkers, many of whom stay overnight, and the Yarrows describe their clientele as 'outdoorsy'.

But the pub's appeal goes back generations.

"We have some farming families who have been in this area forever, and it's nice to have that connection and longevity. We also get a lot of people coming who will say 'I remember coming here 50 years ago'."

Her husband Ed has even found Dales winters easier to cope with than those he experienced back in Leeds.

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"The pub has such a rich history, and it's very closely connected to the church - it's quite ironic that the vicar used to preach abstinence to his congregation while the pub was paying his stipend!

"It's better than working for a living - it's a grand lifestyle if you embrace it. We've won awards for our pies and our Sunday roast has been called the best in Yorkshire, which was a good leg-up.

"The winter in 2018 was a rough time - we always used to joke that we wanted a weekend when our guests got snowed in, but when the Beast from the East hit the opposite happened - 19 of our 21 bookings cancelled because they couldn't get to us. That was quite a challenge, but in general the road clearance job is done here better than it was when we lived in Leeds.

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"Some of the arterial roads leading to the pub flood, but in the winter it's lovely to sit by the fire stroking the dog and chatting to a few customers.

"We only address the customers by their first names - we want them to be treated like locals and create an atmosphere that's more like a big family gathering.

"It's the best pub in the world!"

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