In a perhaps crazy, warming world, a ‘crackling log fire’ just might not be the drawcard it used to be.

However, I spent a most lovely night at the Red Lion at Burnsall, near Skipton, in what is no doubt the prettiest and most scenic part of the Yorkshire Dales.

The 16th century coaching inn has just undergone a £850,000 refurbishment of its Manor House, turning 11 bedrooms into three (2-bedded) family rooms, a double and a large feature room (where I stayed).

And combining character with mod cons, you are promised and rewarded with the best riverside view in Yorkshire.



I stayed on what was the hottest day of the year- in September of all things!

After leaving the A59 near the thriving market town of Skipton, I turned up Wharfedale, passed Bolton Abbey and Appletreewick.

Burnsall looked a little busy as crowds enjoyed the beach by the river, paying, I’m told, a tenner to park in the nearby farmer’s field, so I drove on to Grassington.

York Press: A sunny terrace

This village was also bustling and I enjoyed a pint of Riggwelter at the Foresters Arms and excellent fish and chips from the nearby chippy. Other nearby eateries offered anything from nice-looking toasted teacakes, to grazing plates.

I headed back to Burnsall, but in Appletreewick was tempted by the New Inn, a traditional Dales inn, with up to 16 beers, served from wooden casks. It was packed with historical curiosities, including gas lighting and its own barrel cooperage.

I parked in the free and extensive car park of the Red Lion, which along with a large area of seating has idyllic views of the river and bridge.

After a prompt check-in, I headed off to my room, a ‘feature room’ on the top floor of the Manor House.

It was magnificent with plenty of space, and designs mixing modern, rural and traditional, with a bit of a Scandi thrown in.

There was a lovely view of the village, a gleaming separate bathroom with large bath, a settee/lounge area and the comfiest bed around. The towels were the whitest and fluffiest I recall and the wi-fi worked easily and beautifully.

York Press: The terrace

A nice touch were the tiny homemade shortbread biscuits I enjoyed.

After a nap, I then enjoyed a hearty walk around the village with ice-cream from a café. Then it was up to the bridge over the Wharfe to admire the view.

You could see heather-clad hills, a fertile river valley with farmland, sheep and cows, and people enjoying such bucolic delights. 

Now, the Red Lion has its own extensive dining terrace overlooking the river and bridge. Tempting as al-fresco seemed that warm Saturday night, I decided to head inside.

Inside is a range of rooms from something snug and cosy, to larger dining areas.

The impressive-looking bar had a fine range of excellent Thwaites beers, plus other ales and ciders, and plenty of spirits. The bar area is also dog friendly.

Sitting by an open window, I joked to the warm, friendly young server about the lack of a burning fire in a hearth packed with logs.

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“We’d melt,” came the reply.

The menu had plenty of choice, with many pub classics and favourites.

I started with salmon gravlax, caper and dill crème fraiche, pickled cucumber and rye bread crouton.

It was superb, but there could have been more.

My mains was the 10oz rib eye with garlic and butter sauce, chips, mushroom, tomato, dollop of salad and a side-dish of the best crispiest onion rings ever.

This was washed down with a bottle of a smooth and fruity merlot.

York Press: Feature room

I still had room to squeeze in pudding and the panna cotta finished things off beautifully.

I returned to my room and with a robust fan efficiently keeping things cool, I soon nodded off.

Later, I ventured under the lovely sheet and duvet, also enjoying the many cushions and pillows.

I slept well and was up for a walk, enjoying the peaceful harmony of the village before the day-trippers arrive.

Then, I went inside for breakfast, where a vast choice awaits, served by lovely, efficient staff.

I began with fruit salad, followed by a ‘full grill’ with scrambled eggs, mushroom, bacon, hash brown, baked beans, and grilled tomato.

This was a delight, as always, and I left full, well until mid-afternoon.

I headed back to my room and passed guests enjoying breakfast overlooking the bridge and river.

I stayed until almost the 11am checkout, and having enjoyed such comfort, was reluctant to leave.

Check-out was also prompt and efficient, but it seemed too soon to leave such a lovely place.

Alas, unless you are into walking or sunbathing by or paddling in the river, there’s not much to do in Burnsall. But the scenic village and the Red Lion makes for an excellent destination.

Heading towards Appletreewick, I had coffee at the Mason’s campsite and quickly saw the tents, yurts and the river, before a final stop off at the Craven Inn.

Again, another delight with beer served from barrels, more historical curiosities, gas lighting and an amazing heather thatched Cruck Barn.

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Then, it really was time for home, stopping off in nearby Harrogate on the way.

I felt content after an enjoyable weekend, in glorious surroundings, amazing comfort, good food, with friendly and efficient service, plus a couple of surprises.

And now the temperatures have tumbled to where they should be, I can only pine for the fire I did not get to enjoy.

“Time to chuck on another log!” I’d ask my server.