Publican calls '˜last orders' after creating the perfect village inn
Now the rush is on to be the next landlord.
For many of us, escaping to the one of the nation's prettiest Yorkshire moors village, sounds like a dream come true.
Throw in the chance to run a centuries-old inn that's been handed awards from real ale group CAMRA for the quality and range of its beers and ciders, and there could well be a stampede.
Whoever takes up the opportunity to become the new owner of the 18th century Board Inn in Lealholm, 10 miles west of Whitby and in the heart of the North York Moors National Park will, according to current owner Alistair Deans, enjoy the best of both worlds.
On one hand, there's the chance to live in a picturesque village with countryside pursuits and stunning scenery; on the other to work in a lovingly refurbished inn packed with history, with a stream of tourists passing by.
“It's a lovely place to live and work – you couldn't ask for better,” says Alistair, the Board Inn's landlord for the past 12 years. “I came because I love the Yorkshire countryside, and found a brilliant quality of life in a lovely community.
“I've got a camper van, and when I go away, it's to explore the North Yorkshire Moors right on my own doorstep.”
After a dozen years in charge of the historic inn, Alistair and wife Karen, both 45, are now planning to call ‘time' on their spell in charge, to concentrate on running another leisure-related business in the village.
It means that the Board Inn, with its 220 years of history, charming bar and delightful accommodation, is ready for new hands.
Whoever snaps it up will have a ready-made, thriving business – and less of a challenge Alistair and Karen had when they moved in.
“It was a bit sad back then, but we really fancied making something of it,” recalls Alistair. “We spent five or six years working on it, restoring it and getting it to the point that we were really happy with it.
“We brought in experienced stonemasons who were able to revive the character of the building, and concentrated on creating bedrooms which reflect the countryside and the beautiful views.”
Along with the refurbishment, came new customers. While the parish is home to around 1000 permanent residents, the Board Inn is perfectly located to attract tourists who flock to the area to soak up the country scenery: passing cyclists exploring the North Yorkshire routes; walkers tackling the Cleveland Way and Esk Valley Walk; steam train enthusiasts – the station is just five minutes on the Esk Valley Railway line.
Many tourists are drawn to Lealholm's quaint way of life - the village has been named “prettiest village in Yorkshire” by the Sunday Times, and has retained a traditional feel with local butcher, a homely tearoom and craft shops.
In recent years, the Lealholm area has been boosted further by the cycling buzz gripping the countryside. The Yorkshire Cycle Hub fringes the village, attracting cyclists, walkers and tourists.
The Board Inn, located near a humpback bridge over the River Esk is at the heart of the village. Named as CAMRA's North East Community Pub of the Year 2015, CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year 2016, and placed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for 11 years, it's where locals meet to play in the quoits team, sip an award-winning craft beer or cider and catch up on local football team matches.
In fact, it's not so different to how it was in 1742, when the pub first opened its doors as the Bridge House.
“Around 1780 as a result of the industrial revolution and all the ironstone mining there were upwards of 2000 immigrant workers in the area,” says Alistair. “They were living around the village and would spend their wages in the village pub.
“We found in the local records that a local police force had been put together by the local magistrates after one gentleman had been put through the window of the pub after an argument – which explains why it was different from the other windows!”
These days the Board Inn is better known as one of the area's best pubs for dining, with dishes created using local produce and often unusual cuts of meat, served in the cosy main bar and lounge with 40 covers, further lounge with 15 covers, spacious restaurant with 30 covers, and beautiful outdoor dining area with seating for 100 covers.
Upstairs, are five en-suite double bedrooms for guests, and the owner's one-bedroom accommodation with lounge and family bathroom.
Above all, it has achieved impressive net profits of £70,000 for the past financial year.
The Board Inn is priced at offers over £599,950 and is being offered for sale via business specialists Ernest Wilson.
Find out more about how you could grab a business in the North Yorkshire countryside by clicking here.