In an attempt to banish the blues (full-blown depression), stemming from Dry January, my fellow Nurse friend, Lady B and I ventured out for a retreat to The Gamekeeper’s Inn.
Located in Threshfield only 9.5 miles from the thriving market town of Skipton, the name derived from ‘screap’ (sheep) and ‘tun’ (town or village – we do all still sound like this up dale) we decided a quick visit to town on the way was the order of the day. So, on Sunday morning we wrapped up jolly warm, donning our thermal underwear due to temperatures of minus 14 degrees and head into Skipton for a spot of sightseeing. 4 pairs of boots, 2 scarves and 4lb of fudge later we are all ready for the short drive to the Inn. Market days in Skipton are Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and are well worth a nosey!
We approached the Inn via a winding wooded lane, taking you through Long Ashes Park, a popular caravan site in Threshfield, Skipton. A stunning, sunny day to drive here despite the nip int’ air.
Formerly a gamekeepers cottage, The Gamekeeper’s Inn now boasts 11 bedrooms, is a wedding venue and has a well stocked bar and restaurant. A Yorkshire Dales Country Inn it is. The Inn itself sits next to a leisure facility and an outbuilding housing the newly refurbished additional bedrooms.
We are greeted by Stuart, the general manager who shows us to our room and advises of breakfast times and makes us a reservation in the restaurant for dinner. Our room is High Seat, known as the ‘Mother of the Bride Suite’. I have not reached that age yet and don’t have my own children but I didn’t take any offence. Honestly.
On entering the room, the first thing that you notice is the incredibly deep pile of the carpet underfoot. It was possibly the plushest carpet that I have ever stood in my life. Yes, I stood in it, not on it! A little polite notice and tray for footwear are located next to the door so that you can experience the full benefits of the world’s deepest carpet without the worry of leaving a boot print! We are now regretting the purchases of the afternoon as we will never have any need to wear them if we stay here on The Carpet, forever.
Once we get over the carpet the next thing that grabs our attention is the huge, crushed velvet, studded bed. Crisp, clean, white bed linen with a high thread count sets the scene with plump pillows. This room has evidently been recently refurbished, to a high standard, with a modern approach to décor. The indulgent purple armchair is sitting next to the huge French doors that open on to a private balcony with plenty of space for a table and chairs in the summertime. Excellent for light maximisation in this room with a large mirror over the dressing table so when Mum is getting ready for the wedding, the light is perfect! Our bathroom is also nice and spacious, immaculately clean and toasty warm. Thank the Lord for underfloor heating in these Yorkshire Dales temperatures! Luxury Elemis products are available for us to use when we would like a shower or a relax in the bath.
On-site at the Gamekeeper’s Inn is a leisure facility with a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and spa. Perfect on a day like this to sink into the warm bubbles from the chilly conditions of the outdoors. The pool is huge, plenty of chance for a swim before a soak in the jacuzzi. For those who want to of course, or a relax poolside on one of the loungers with a good book before detoxing those pores in the steam room. Sadly, the Spa was closed on our visit otherwise a massage would have helped after a hard mornings shopping.
We are able then to return to our room and organise our well-relaxed selves for dinner. Our room is located in the additional building so a short walk of a few yards and we are at the Inn. We walk into the bar area. Intimate tables by the window or a pew at the bar to mingle with the locals. On offer is an excellent selection of drinks for an aperitif. Local Yorkshire Dales beer, a good wine list and Yorkshire Lass Gin – yes please, fever tree light of course. Not that will make any difference given the calories we are about to consume after tucking into this terrific menu. Tom looks after us at the bar and comes for a quick natter whilst he leaves his father sitting at a pew enjoying a pint. His dad is the Butcher at Jacksons in Cracoe, a picturesque village only a 5-minute drive away. Not shy of putting the hours in, Tom tells us how he enjoys working here at the bar in the evening after a days work at the butchers and how great the atmosphere is.
What he describes to us that is that they are achieving a great mix of local folk, visitors and holiday makers. The music hums in the background of the bar with a friendly but intimate feel. Lovely environment for a couples weekend away.
We choose our food from the menu. Excellent choice. It’s not often that I can’t decide what to eat! The meat is locally sourced where possible and the selection fantastic. Venison and redcurrant casserole, whilst sounds delicious it’s not for me as I am a firm believer that fruit and meat are not on the same plate, ever. Fat pig burger- more like it……
We decide on prawns with chilli and garlic and chicken liver pate with red onion marmalade and sourdough crisps to start. The portions are generous and the quality good.
We follow with Netherside lamb shoulder with a mint marinade & colcannon mash and chicken wrapped in bacon with fondant potato & a creamy white wine sauce. They also bring us a lovely warming side of seasonal vegetables. The food is of a high standard and beautifully cooked.
Last, but not least, my partner in crime orders for us the jam roly-poly. We have to share as one each would have meant we would need roly-polying out of there. With a crane. 2 cranes. T’was delish!
The restaurant is in the conservatory so on a night like tonight, with clear skies, the stars are out. The accompanying wine menu is also of a good standard. The selections seem well matched with the food offering. Something light and juicy or more full-bodied depending on your food choices.
Each night during the week also has something different to offer. Be it a roast on Sunday or Burger Night on Wednesday, there is an offering so that you have plenty of variety. Veganuary menu, curry night, Steak night or afternoon tea, you won’t go short for choice.
We wind up with a little digestif at the bar and another natter with the wonderful Tom. He is a great asset to the place, friendly, informative, a lovely Yorkshire lad. He tells us of local activities, if it’s trout fishing at Kilnsey Park or clay pigeon shooting at Coniston Hall there is plenty to do if you are here for a week or a long weekend. Located only a few miles from Grassington a walk out into the Yorkshire Dales would be perfect with The Gamekeeper’s Inn as your base.
Satisfied and stuffed we head back to our room to dive into one of Yorkshires most comfortable beds and snooze exceptionally well until the bird song in the morning. Of course, this is rather early as the sun is out and we are in the woodland/ countryside. My partner in crime has a cup of Proper Yorkshire Brew on our private terrace and partakes in a spot of bird watching as I pack our bits and bobs for our departure after breakfast.
Breakfast is served in the Inn restaurant. A selection of cereals, fruits or a full Yorkshire breakfast? Hmmmm, tough call…. Bacon, sausage, egg, black pudding, beans (no thanks), tomato and toast. Excellent. No more words needed other than perfect. This was to set us up for the day and our departure from the Gamekeeper’s Inn at Skipton.
We checked out and begun the drive through the dale stopping to take in the views and the Yorkshire Countryside. What more could a Girl About the Dales ask for………….
Thank you to The Gamekeeper’s Inn, Skipton for our stay.
Standard rooms priced from £110 Bed and Breakfast or £130 Dinner, Bed and Breakfast.
Deluxe rooms priced from £130 B&B, £150 D, B&B
Suites priced from £150 B&B, £170 D, B&B.