And they’ve made a terrific job of it. A former drover’s inn, the fabulous flagged floor, dark beams and monumental stone fireplace remain. Walls are smoothly painted plaster and there are fresh flowers on the oak tables.
It’s a good 10 years since I last visited, but on that occasion I recall being grunted at by the landlord. Now there’s a genuine welcome from Dennis, Amelia and Sandra, ex-Provenance Inns, who “does the books”. Behind the high bar, nicely-kept Wharfedale Blonde, Hetton Pale Ale and Black Sheep, plus a selection of Yorkshire gins. There’s an interesting wine list with over half a dozen by the glass and bottles from £15.
On the menu, pub grub and then some. Parfait: chicken liver, croutes, onion marmalade £6. Smoked: duo of smoked duck & chicken breast, orange and black cherry salad, berry dressing £7. Mains-wise, the likes of game pie (£14) Jacksons of Cracoe sausages (£13) and wild mushroom risotto (£12). I go for the “Ultimate Open Sandwich” – beef and stilton on a toasted brioche. There are nine simply furnished but stunning bedrooms, all with views over Upper Wharfedale.
• The White Lion Inn, Cray, Skipton, BD23 5JB. 01756 760262, bestpubinthedales.co.uk. Open daily, bar 12-10.30pm; food 12-2.30pm; dinner 6-8.30pm.
Drinks Selection 5/5