HERE'S a phrase that might divide regular readers: family-friendly pub.

To some, those words will send a shiver up your spine, as you recoil in horror at the notion of untamed children running, shouting and squealing away while you try to enjoy your beer.

To others, “family-friendly pub” is a green light, reassurance that you've not been excommunicated on account of your offspring but that instead you can still go to the pub and even (whisper it) have a pint.

Having become a dad last year, I have a foot in both camps.

Sometimes, I cherish a peaceful pint in a peaceful pub. But it's true, I also seek out occasional weekend lunch spots that are charming rather than chaotic, and where children are genuinely welcome, rather than bemoaned or simply tolerated. And bingo, did we find a good place last month?

The Aldwark Arms in Aldwark has been on my radar for a while. My wife and I popped in a year ago and vowed to return to eat. Only now have we finally done so though, junior in tow.

Many of you may recall this pub as The Bay Horse. It's an elegant building, with a commanding but not domineering presence in its pretty little village, and it has a large car-park.

A few years ago though, it was struggling and closed for six months. At that point, things began to change rapidly.

Local brothers Peter, Ian and Andrew Hardisty took over the freehold of the pub, refurbished it, and reopened it as The Aldwark Arms, and since then they have never looked back.

Peter says they have focussed on putting on a range of events for locals, developing the food range to focus on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, and says they have gone to town on social media to drum up new business, leading to customers often coming from York, Harrogate or Leeds.

It has become an excellent destination pub and a busy local. The beer range includes high-quality local breweries such as Great Yorkshire, Rudgate, Hambleton and Yorkshire Heart. And the food is fantastic, including considered and creative vegetarian, children's and "thrifty at sixty" menus, Yorkshire tapas light bites, traditional pub options, and imaginative mains with international twists.

My highlight was an altogether more British dish: Doreen's black pudding fritters. I ordered them as a side, expecting a small plate of nibbles. How naive! I received two fritters, the size of a fist, with rich black pudding encased in proper crisp batter. Coupled with a hot roast sandwich, they made a hearty and heartening Saturday lunch.

My wife had the vegetarian Japanese curry noodles, which included pak choi, spinach and snow peas in a coconut, ginger and lemongrass broth.

Our little one was content with baby food we had brought, but we were made very welcome and our waitress brought a couple of toys to the table with the high-chair.

Whether you're after a family pub or just a pleasant lunch, this is a place to consider - and you'll have the perfect excuse very soon... On July 15 and 16, the pub is hosting a charity beer and music festival with around 20 real ales, 12 live bands, a barbecue and charity events.

Entry is £6, which includes a glass, pint and programme. Tickets can be bought in advance at