Lord Stones Cafe and Restaurant
Carlton Bank Chop Gate North Yorkshire TS9 7JH
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.