Charming setting for stay in Moors
WHENEVER I check into a hotel room for the night, the first thing I do is pick up the information guide and put the kettle on.
You can tell an awful lot about a place from that one little book – not only about the services it offers, but also about the tone and style of management.
So it was an absolute delight when the informative offering at The White Swan, in Pickering, had me in stitches. As well as helpful advice on how to get the bar to stay open later (bribery) and what to do if you come in late from drinking at another establishment (hang your head in shame), there was a brilliant entry on how to telepathically order a visit from a ghoul.
With the main hotel dating back to 1532, I'm sure a ghostly visitation or two is not unheard of – whether desired or not!
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Situated slap-bang in the middle of the quaint market town, The White Swan has been open for business as a coaching inn since the 16th century.
There are a variety of rooms on offer, from Vintage Nests in the main property – which are packed with period features – to the Hideaway Treat rooms, which are located in the adjacent courtyard.
Our hideaway room was contemporary but with a rustic twist – think marble floors with underfloor heating and comfy furniture finished in country-chic fabrics.
The home-made cookies we discovered were a welcome treat, as was the access to a DVD library with more than 100 titles. Just outside our room we discovered The Bothy – a coded entry barn conversion which is home to an honesty bar, board games, glossy magazines and a roaring fireplace.
We'd heard great things about the food and were delighted to discover honest, uncomplicated grub that was perfectly cooked using the finest ingredients.
You know you're in Yorkshire when you start your meal with a slab of home-made bread the size of a doorstep – just the ticket after a day exploring the area either on foot or aboard the North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway (which has a station in Pickering).
Starters of tomato, caramelised onion and goats cheese tart tatin with pesto and green salad for me and moules marinieres for my other half were delicious. But the meal's highlight had to be the chargrilled rib-eye of longhorn steak with garlic mushrooms, handcut chips and green peppercorn sauce.
Good food is taken seriously here, but not so seriously that you're served with a smear of foam. Although there's no dress code in the restaurant per se, I did chuckle when I read in the information book that "anybody wearing a shell suit may be pushed too close to an open fire".
We woke early the following morning, eager to get on the road to Whitby for the day, and were treated to a full-English breakfast, featuring rare breed Ginger Pig sausages and bacon.
For those who like good, honest food in a charming setting, The White Swan is the place to stay – and don't forget to check out the guide book when you arrive.
Rooms start at £199 per night for a Vintage Nest for two people on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis. This includes an allowance of £36 per person for dinner.
To book, call 01751 472288, visit www.white-swan.co.uk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org