Blue Lion at East Witton Review | A Glorious Getaway
Blue Lion at East Witton Review, written by YFG’s Sarah Cotterill Winding through the cathedral city of Ripon, and up along the perimeter of the Dales, The Blue Lion at East Witton appears like a picture postcard of a Yorkshire country pub. Originally built as a shooting lodge and coaching inn around 1840, The Blue Lion stands proud at the corner of the East Witton village. Nestled between cliffs of coppice and soft moorland on an estate run by the same family for three generations. The Bruce family coat of arms still swings from the front of the Grade II listed building, and fittingly, it’s a warm family welcome that greets you inside.
Checking in at The Blue Lion at East Witton
At the impressive wooden panelled reception, with fog gently creeping below the hilltops, the scent of wood polish feels comforting and familiar. Giant silver teapots, salt sellers and candelabras decorate alcoves. Traditional oil paintings depict the surrounding lakes and landscape; maps detail local walking routes; a ruffed grouse peers down from his gilt frame. With fifteen superior guest rooms on site, it’s no surprise that The Blue Lion East Witton is a popular destination for hikers, shooting groups and fishermen. The new management has just secured a license for a stretch of the River Ure which meanders through their land. Sporting packages can be arranged on request, with a professional instructor available throughout the season. Four-legged friends can even join in the fun and stay overnight for a small fee.
Rooms are as sumptuous as you’d expect
Set around a pleasant courtyard lined with hanging baskets, accessed via a narrow stone archway, accommodation feels like a rural home away from home: White beams reinforce high ceilings painted in rich opulent shades; plush upholstery in florals and velvets; rattan furniture; gold accent mirrors and side tables. There are novel little details such as coat hooks in the shape of miniature hare’s heads, and room keys attached to vintage cricket balls. Heavy curtains unveil French doors which open out onto a private garden area. Recline on the bounciest of beds, pressed with crisp white linen sheets. Or run a rolltop bubble bath, against a backdrop of shining emerald-green tiles, lathered in H2K Botanical toiletries.
Nearby The Blue Lion East Witton, explore the ruins of Jervaulx Abbey: Sixteenth-century remnants, left crumbling after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, now tranquil, bar a flock of sheep bleating under the shade of old oak trees. Up the road, there’s Brymor Dairy, the home of real Yorkshire ice cream, available to sample from the parlour, in a world of rainbow flavours. For little ones, there’s a maze, play area, and Chalkie the Shetland Pony to pet. Their dappled black and white herd graze beside you on luscious tufts of grass.
The Menu at Blue Lion at East Witton
At the Blue Lion East Witton, too reflects the bounty of the wildlife within reach, chalked up on a blackboard above a large fireplace which roars and crackles in the Winter. There’s a Yorkshire fillet of beef carpaccio to start, dressed with a heady truffle emulsion, pomegranate compote, shaved parmesan, and ciabatta croutons.
Artisan bread, which features on the generous charcuterie board, comes from Two Dales Bakery in nearby Reeth. Ideal for sweeping a bowl of whipped burrata, white and mousse-like against a salad of sharp, fennel-infused heirloom tomatoes.
Meats are from Sykes House Farm Butchers, and the seasonal game is shot practically over the ridge beyond the window. Steak lovers will enjoy the tender chargrilled thirty-day dry-aged Hereford sirloin, served with the most incredible chips and a garlic-studded mushroom.
Fish comes in direct from the seaside port of Hartlepool. Try the seabass main course, on a bed of bright wiry samphire and an expertly reduced bouillabaisse sauce. Braised fennel and charred courgette accompany a crisp bon-bon, plump with shredded crab.
You’ll spot a selection of Brymor Ice Creams for dessert, alongside the likes of black cherry souffle and warm pecan pie. There’s even a dedicated cheese list, with Yellison goat cheese made by the Parker family in Skipton, and not one, but two types of Hawes Creamery Wensleydale.
By the morning
Waking up at The Blue Lion East Witton, the clouds have lifted, and blue skies begin to accentuate the sheer breadth of the view. A stroll around the oval village green offers more moments of picture postcard transcendence. White picket fences surround a strip of cottages in Witton Fell Sandstone, with roses and ivy crawling up the front. Tables selling plum jam on the pavement. A rope swing hangs from a tangle of timber above the community’s very own original spring water supply. There’s an old post office and temperance hotel, a village schoolhouse and a parish church.
Build up an appetite for breakfast
Where the Full English comes cooked to order, exactly how you like it. Prize apart the flakiest of croissants, steaming and fresh from the oven. Pink curls of smoked salmon fan around the buttery scrambled egg. Those stunning silver pots are filled with fine teas from Taylors of Harrogate, freshly squeezed orange juice laid out on the bar, alongside little pots of yoghurt from the Ribble Valley, soaked prunes, and tropical fruit salad. Why not wash it all down with a glass of Buzz Fizz to kick start the day with a pop?
With smiling staff in grey tweed waistcoats on hand to attend to every need, there is no better way to spend a weekend’s staycation in the Dales. For country folk who enjoy real ales and some of the region’s best gastropub dishes, or visitors from further afield after a slice of that postcard-worthy Yorkshire hospitality. The Blue Lion East Witton has it all. Even Jasper the Labradoodle, from the room next door, comes back each Summer. So, grab a pen for that postcard, as you’ll be sure to write home about this glorious getaway.
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