On a filthy winter’s night I couldn’t help wondering if the daunting drive to the North York Moors National Park would be worth the effort.
That thought was soon dismissed with the warmth of the welcome I received from Nikki, the landlady at the White Horse Inn at Ampleforth. The roaring fire also helped as did the bar chock-full of locals and given their roars of laughter, someone clearly had a good tale to tell.
The White Horse dates from the 18th- century and comes with the prerequisite flagstone floors and beamed ceilings and, surprisingly, candles on every table. There’s an assortment of customary beers on the bar (John Smiths and Tetley’s Cask, Black Sheep), commercial ciders plus a guest ale and a small, but perfectly formed selection of decent wines.
It was early evening and with food an integral part of the offering at the White Horse, most tables in the bar were full, including several families tucking into a late tea. A restaurant room at the back was much quieter though, so lacking the cordiality of the bar area, but it was midweek. Food is the domain of Nikki’s husband Pete and his menu is comforting, familiar and reassuringly compact enough to warrant the food being freshly cooked.
As the evening wore on, dining was replaced by darts, the families left but the locals lingered, always the sign of a good pub, which this one certainly is.
The White Horse Inn, West End, Ampleforth, YO62 4DX. Tel: 01439 788378. Food served Tue-Fri, 12-1.45pm and 6-8.45pm; Sat 12-1.45pm & 6-8.45pm; Sun: 12-1.45pm. Closed Mondays, except bank holidays.