The Blue Bell Inn, Kettlewell: Historic Yorkshire pub which prides itself on its homely pub grub

“The charm of Kettlewell is an abiding charm, and to those of us whose life is spent amid the hurley-burley of city life, the village seems the peculiar abode of peace and quiet beauty,” said Frederick Moorman 100 years ago.

Moorman was Professor of English at the University of Leeds where he penned the first stanza from the The Dalesman's Litany: ‘From Hull, Halifax, and Hell, good Lord deliver us’. He was clearly a fan of the area but ironically he drowned at Hawkswick, Upper Wharfedale while swimming with his children.

When you’ve had a long day on the hills and riverside paths of Upper Wharfedale, or an ambitious hike up Great Whernside, this handsome Georgian pub is a sight for sore eyes. It’s certainly got some history.

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Established in 1860, the former coaching inn is arguably the oldest building in Kettlewell; according to a fact board in the pub, this wouldn’t have been the case but for the Great Flood of 1686 when Kettlewell and Starbotton were almost lost.

The Blue Bell, KettlewellThe Blue Bell, Kettlewell
The Blue Bell, Kettlewell

On an early spring day it’s bathed in sunshine and drinkers are taking advantage and sitting outside on benches. Inside, there’s a lot of space; three large, comfortable rooms with flagged floors, including one with a wood stove the size of a small family car – very welcome in fact because there’s still a nip in the air.

We’re the only ones in so I can’t report what the atmosphere might be like, except to say the music is on the loud side – or maybe it’s because there were no bodies to soak it up. What I can tell you is that they’ve got an impressive selection of cask ales.

I counted eight hand pumps including Wharfdale best bitter and blonde, Norr Drift from the Bingley Brewery, CPA pale ale from the Craven Brew Co, Wensleydale Semer Water and Hetton Pale Ale brewed up the road at the Queens Arms in Litton.

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They pride themselves on the food offer too: expect rustic, homely pub grub with a regularly changing menu depending on what’s seasonal and available.

The Blue Bell Inn, Middle Lane, Kettlewell, North Yorks BD23 5QX

01756 760230