Good food, done with flair, in a remote country location.
Carlton Bank Chop Gate North Yorkshire TS9 7JH 01642 778 482
A long and winding drive into the western half of the North York Moors National Park is reward itself – this is perhaps the most dramatic and unvisited part of the region. But with the revamp of the facilities at Lord Stones – a privately owned country park within the National Park – you've also got the perfect excuse for a trip to the alluring west. Both the café-restaurant and local produce shop sit in a sympathetic stone building under a grass roof – there's courtyard dining outside and a fairly upscale, contemporary feel within, featuring the obligatory log-burner but also handmade oak tables and chairs and some striking photography. The menu is locally sourced – beef from the adjoining Estate, plus Yorkshire ham, bangers and bacon, herbs from the garden, etc – and runs to anything from an organic porridge brekkie to a grilled king prawn salad. Dinner ratchets up the style a bit, with things like local pigeon salad or rump of Yorkshire lamb; steaks are all cooked in the fancy imported charcoal-fired oven. It might seem like the middle of nowhere but the restaurant already has a loyal following, while during the day hikers stop by to refuel – the cafe is bang on the Cleveland Way and Coast to Coast routes. There's free parking if you fancy a walk and a bite to eat later – an easy 2-hour circuit takes in the old 'Lord Stones' themselves (boundary markers on top of a Bronze Age barrow) and runs up the escarpment for some amazing views over Teesside, County Durham and over to the Yorkshire Dales. Or stay the night – there are camping pitches, pods and bell-tents, with the shop and cafe-restaurant right on your doorstep.
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Lunch dishes £4.25–£10.25, plus breakfast, snacks and drinks; dinner starters £4.50–£7.95, mains £9.95–£22.50.
It's about 7 miles from Great Ayton, or 16 miles from Helmsley, the last part on a bumpy country lane.
Cafe and shop Mon–Sat 9am–5pm, Sun 9am–4pm, restricted hours in winter; restaurant Thurs–Sat 6pm–9.30pm.