Pub Of The Week: The Bay Tree, Stillington

You’re just a squeak from Easingwold here, and 20 minutes from York; it’s a postcard-pretty village and worth a quick nose round before lunch.

John Sparrow (left) with  his staff at the Bay Tree
John Sparrow (left) with his staff at the Bay Tree

The stunning 12th-century Grade II listed St Nicholas church is a good place to start. In 1745, the novelist Laurence Sterne became vicar and it’s said he gave readings from Tristram Shandy from the pulpit, but not getting the attention he felt it deserved, threw the pages on the fire. They were rescued and his literary reputation assured.

The pretty, whitewashed pub has also been salvaged, by local farmer John Sparrow. In the bar are stone floors and beams. Slightly raised at one end is a snug with blue and white striped linen upholstered chairs and twinkling tea lights.

A slightly more formal dining room has a tented ceiling, with French doors out to an elegant walled garden with tons of space.

The crowd-pleasing menu features fish and chips, home made burger, gammon and eggs, while on the a la carte you’ll find the like of fishcakes with hollandaise sauce, roast rump of lamb and a particularly excellent steak & ale pie. There are no surprises in the pudding department, but with sticky toffee, vanilla cheesecake and steamed treacle sponge this is no bad thing.

Black Sheep and Golden Sheep are on tap, the house Sauvignon Blanc starts at £14.95 (or £2.75 for a 125ml glass) and cracking coffee comes from a gleaming espresso machine.

The welcome’s warm, the vibe sat-back, so enjoy a pint of bitter, read the paper and smile at the home-spun epithets chalked on the walls; ‘cheese, wine and friends must be old to be good’. Indeed.


Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 12-2pm and 6-9pm; Sunday, 12-6pm.

Stillington, North Yorks, YO61 1JU. 01347 811394,



Drinks selection***