There is no posh designer doggy wallpaper lining the upper walls of moody, oak clad, log fire-lit public areas either. There are more Discos than Range Rovers in the car park and the place has to make do with a the picture-perfect view of the River Wharfe across the road from its elevated hillside position. Down the road at ‘The Dev’ the river Wharfe flows through the hotel’s grounds – not that one can see it. But it does. Apparently.
Anyway my point is that none of this stuff really matters because The Devonshire Fell shines in its own right. The Devonshire Fell is the sister property to The Devonshire Arms down the road at Bolton Abbey, and definitely sits in the shadows of ‘The Dev’. But that view of the Wharfe from the light and airy conservatory at The Devonshire Fell Hotel where afternoon tea is served daily and guests can dine from a very delicious daytime lunch menu is beyond compare.
The staff, including David the General Manager, greeted the hubby and I like we were royalty as soon we lurched over the threshold with wellies caked in mud. We looked rather knackered and dishevelled after our 12 mile Gin-soaked march across Whafedale in the Yorkshire Dales, but that didn’t prevent them from welcoming us with open arms. It’s a popular stop off for walkers, like many of the pubs along the Dalesway. The Devonshire Fell, however, comes with a little sparkle.
We were shown to our table in the conservatory with the very best view. My double Bombay Sapphire and Fever Tree tonic with ice and a slice was put in front of me in a way which suggested that this sneaky little lot might have actually been checking out my progress on Twitter and Instagram. Bloody genius.
And to top it off, G.M. David reappeared to tell me that a little birdie had informed him that it was my Birthday and would I accept a chilled glass of Laurent Perrier? Is Yorkshire full of dry stone walls? Cause I bloody would!
As I switched and swapped between generous slurps of my G&T and my glass of fine fizz I browsed the lunch, light bites and bar menu. It was a little early for us to fine dine, although there is the option to for those who want to eat later, in a more formal, purple setting in the restaurant next to the conservatory.
Unlike ‘The Dev’, The Devonshire Fell is bursting with colour and vibrancy. God don’t get me wrong, I love the grown-up elegance and sophisticated old-world style that ‘The Dev’ radiates but there is something wonderful about the playfulness and the joie de vivre that emanates from The Devonshire Fell. It’s almost like The Devonshire Arms’ naughty little sister. And I like it.
The public seating area that surrounds the bar is a colourful collection of comfy sofas in a myriad of colours that I related to a of box of Quality Street wrappers.
Food ordered, we sit back and enjoy the view across Burnsall and the river Wharfe. As the sun sets over the Yorkshire Dales, the conservatory’s natural light is replaced by the flicker of soft fairy lights.
Iain opted for the Fell Burger and I go straight for the Rib Eye (£24). Medium rare. On the rare side please. It came with a field mushroom, grilled tomato, chunky chips & red wine or peppercorn sauce. Meanwhile we order a large glass of Malbec each. After all, what’s a piece of red meat without a decent glass of red to wash it down with?
There was a slight hiccup with my Rib Eye. I did have to send it back as it was far too overdone but it was corrected with speed and grace. Meanwhile I assisted Iain with his Fell burger, which resulted in huge pangs of regret at not opting for it myself.
At £16.95 it’s a bloody expensive burger. Not to ever be compared with a Big Mac. But then a Big Mac doesn’t come accompanied with an organic, homemade tomato chutney, homemade chunky chips and the star of the show; possibly the world’s best onion rings. Nor is a Big Mac made from best Yorkshire Beef, and mixed with Yorkshire blue cheese and bacon to create what quite simply was, a taste sensation. Those onion rings though…
It wasn’t long before my new, improved Rib Eye was placed in front of me. I ate it. It was good. But I looked over at my husband in envy as he devoured the burger, licking every last little bit of it from the tips of his fingers. At no point offering me just a another little nibble.
For dessert I ordered the pear and berry cheesecake (£7.50) which was served with a birthday candle. Iain ordered the chocolate and cherry parfait (£7.50). By now the sun had set and the conservatory was lit by what seemed like a thousand fairy lights. But then I had had quite a few G&Ts, champagne and red wine so I expect I was seeing at least double.
Unfortunately, being a Monday, we had a babysitter to relieve of her duties so however much we wanted to curl up in front of the roaring open fire in the lounge area and have a nightcap or three, we couldn’t.
The local taxi company charged us less that £20 to take us back to Ilkley. There aren’t that many establishments that one can embark on a gin trail across the Yorkshire Dales to, enjoy the most wonderful food, drink and views, and then cab it back home for less that a score are there really?
A massive thank you to The Devonshire Fell for the wonderful birthday meal. For more info on this wonderful place CLICK HERE. They have 16 beautifully decorated guest rooms by the way. Next time…
For the full lowdown on our gin trail across the Yorkshire Dales CLICK HERE