Litton North Yorkshire BD23 5QJ
If it's been a while since you headed up-dale to Litton, it might be time to break out the walking boots again – the old village pub is in new hands and has scrubbed up nicely. It's still as traditional as you'd like inside – exposed stone walls, flagged floors, open fire and a few simple tables – but it's amazing what a coat of paint and a fresh attitude can do. Management and cheery staff are all local, as is (pretty much) the menu – butcher's bangers and mash, rabbit pie, Wharfedale lamb and moorland game, with Whitby fish and seafood specials on Fridays accompanied by homemade chips. "Refreshingly traditional" they say, so expect a few flourishes (Provençal fish soup, smoked venison, soy-and-ginger belly pork) along the way too. It's a real ale place too, and there are plans for their own microbrewery. You can either eat in the snug main bar or the fancied-up Littondale Bar, and there's a sunny beer garden around the side, and tables out front for passing hikers and bikers. And where are you heading afterwards to walk off those calories? Maybe a couple of miles back down the beautiful Littondale valley to Arncliffe or up and over to Buckden – let's face it, either would justify a pud or a go at the cheeseboard. Several rooms upstairs provide a cosy, quiet night.
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