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As pub locations go, they don’t come better than the Queens Arms at Litton in the heart of the Dales.
The five-mile detour off the busy main Grassington to Kettlewell Road is well worth it for the stunning scenery and heartening hospitality at the quaint 17th- century inn.
After a few years of ups and downs at the Queens, it eventually closed. However, new owners and a total – yet careful – refurbishment in 2012, has put that gloomy era behind them. The upshot – a refreshingly traditional and well-cared-for pub with six cosy rooms for those not wanting to make the long trek home.
All the staff are local, including talented chef Ann Baker. Her outstanding home-cooked food offers all you could dream of on a pub menu, plus a little waft of the contemporary to keep things interesting.
Steak and ale pie, fish and chips, et al, share the menu with a duck confit; rib-sticking puds with blueberry cheesecake
There is a micro brewery on site, which hopefully will reopen later this year. Meanwhile enjoy Thwaites Original, Black Sheep and Goose Eye Brewery Chinook Pale Ale alongside the standard Guinness, lager and the rest.
Be warned, this place is tiny. Food is served in the bar area which you will share with the locals, farmers, their dogs and even possibly a visiting darts team. Exactly how a pub should be. One of the best nights in a pub in a long time for me. So, if you don’t like squishing together, I suggest you stay away.
Elaine Lemm, Yorkshire Post
The Queens Arms, Litton, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 5QJ. 01756 770096.
Taken from the Yorkshire Post, 22nd September 2013 – click here to read the article on line.
The Queens Arms at Litton, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, was bought by local couple Mark and Heather Hancock and opened on June 1 last year.
The 17th-century pub’s staff have now been honoured with an Alastair Sawday award for putting the business at the centre of village life.
The pub has hosted parish council meetings, it sells stamps, bread and milk and also hosts a range of tasting evenings. The darts team is back and the business has created around 15 jobs.
Only three pubs in England and Wales were honoured in the category; the others were the Old Hall Inn at Chinley, Derbyshire, and Y Ffarmers at Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn, seven miles from Aberystwyth.
David Hancock (no relation), editor of Sawday’s Pubs & Inns of England & Wales, said: “With many rural pubs closing the Queens Arms is a good news story in the remote Yorkshire Dales.
“It remains a local offering Yorkshire ales, proper country cooking, a warm welcome to walkers and six comfortable bedrooms.
“With over 950 pubs in the guide, winning is a terrific achievement for the hard-working landlords, landladies, chefs and staff.”
The entry in the guide says of the Queens Arms: “It’s a good day when a rural pub re-opens.
“This one sits in Litton, one of the most remote villages in this corner of the Dales and as pretty as it gets, with a smattering of handsome, thick-walled 17th-century houses, wildflower meadows and the river Skirfare burbling through.
“The Queens Arms, long, low and freshly whitewashed, is a fabulous find after a lovely walk. A lick of paint has smartened the inside without routing tradition; flagged floors, open fire, beams and stone walls remain.
“There’s a new regime in the tiny kitchen, and a short but appealing menu. Seared Littondale mallard breast with homemade carrot and ginger chutney is a substantial starter, while pot roast wild rabbit with prunes will set you up nicely for that stroll – particularly if you finish with treacle sponge.
“As you’d expect in a building this age, no wall is straight, but the wobbliness just adds to the charm, along with some lovely antique pieces.”
Queens Arms owner Mark Hancock, who is chairman of Skipton-based company Rural Solutions, said everyone at the pub was “chuffed and delighted” with the award.
He praised staff, including manager John Younger and head chef Ann Baker.
“We are not pretentious; we are not a gastro pub,” he added. “We have good cooks who make proper pub food.”
Published on 17/05/2013
Reproduced from the Yorkshire Post
The latest edition of Sawday’s much loved Special Places Pubs and Inns of England & Wales comprises over 950 of Britain’s very best pubs with just twelve selected to receive an award in one of four categories; authenticity, commitment to the community, local, seasonal & organic produce or pubs with rooms.
David Hancock (no relation to owner Mark Hancock!), editor of Sawday’s Pubs & Inns of England & Wales said “With many rural pubs closing, The Queens Arms is a good news story in the remote Yorkshire Dales. It remains a local offering Yorkshire ales, proper country cooking, a warm welcome to walkers and six comfortable bedrooms. With over 950 pubs in the guide, winning is a terrific achievement for the hard-working landlord, chefs and staff!”
Mark Hancock, owner of The Queens Arms is thrilled with the recognition for his staff and the local community; “from the first day we re-opened the pub we have tried to keep everything as local as possible. We employ nearly 10% of the population of our Dale and are very lucky that they have pulled together so brilliantly to provide our customers with a great welcome, lovely food and such friendly service. The local support we have received has been overwhelming and we are delighted to win such a prestigious award.”
“Please join our 10th anniversary celebrations by raising a glass to the Queens Arms at Litton for this very real achievement. In this, our biggest ever edition, award-winning pubs have had to stand out more than ever before. So each has demonstrated remarkable creativity – plus excellence and willingness to evolve – in a changing and challenging industry” said Alastair Sawday founder of the Guides.
David Hancock of Sawdays presented Mark Hancock, Queens Arms Manager John Younger, Head Chef Ann Baker and the Queens Team with the award on Saturday 18th May.
Published on Monday 18 February 2013 – Yorkshire Post
For the villagers of Litton in the Yorkshire Dales, it was an event that had an all too familiar ring to it.
When the historic Queen’s Arms closed its doors in February last year, many feared it was the latest in a long list of village pubs that had fallen victim to the economic slump. The building dates from 1637 and had been a pub since 1841, but its demise was seen as another major blow to the rural community after the nearby Arncliffe Primary School closed the previous year.
But Mark and Heather Hancock, who have lived in Littondale for the last 16 years, decided to buy the premises and undertook a major restoration before re-opening in May. The efforts to rejuvenate the pub have now seen the Queen’s Arms named as the best rural start-up business in Yorkshire in The Countryside Alliance’s annual Rural Awards.
The accolade has been announced as the pub’s landlady, Emily Cowan, who grew up in Litton, is due to celebrate her 21st birthday tomorrow. She will travel to London with Mr and Mrs Hancock and the pub’s chef, Ann Baker, for the national awards ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on March 13.
Miss Cowan said: “We are absolutely thrilled and it is amazing to have won the award. You often hear a lot of doom and gloom about village pubs closing, but The Queen’s Arms proves they can be a success. We have worked really hard for this to be something the whole dale can be proud of, and the award is recognition of what we are trying to achieve.”
The pub employs about a dozen staff and its menu features ingredients sourced from local farmers.
While it is back at the heart of the community, it is also helping boost the tourism industry. Visitors from as far afield as Australia, China and America have all stayed since it re-opened. Two new bedrooms will be ready next month to rent out alongside the existing four rooms, while a micro-brewery is being launched in April.
Congratulations to the team at The Queens Arms – we have been nominated, shortlisted and are now CHAMPIONS in the Countryside Alliance 2013 Rural Awards, declared BEST START-UP BUSINESS IN YORKSHIRE!
We now go forward to the national awards in London in March where we will go head to head with the other regional winners.
Emily Cowan, Landlady of The Queens Arms said “We are thrilled and humbled by this award which is made all the more special by being voted for by our customers. The team at The Queens Arms lives and breathes the pub, its customers and our local area and we all believe passionately in the future of this pretty little Dales inn. We are lucky to have had tremendous support from the owners of The Queens and are very excited about the future and of course going forward to London to compete against the other regional winners. Fingers crossed for us!”
The UK Champion will be announced in an awards ceremony in London at The Houses of Parliament on 13th March.
We have always know it but now the news is confirmed – Yorkshire has been named the UK’s best holiday destination, beating off competition from other counties including Cornwall, Cumbria and Devon.
With an increase in visitors over the last 12 months despite a difficult summer, Yorkshire and in particular the Yorkshire Dales, stands heads and shoulders above its rivals in terms of popularity, outdoor space, history, culture and our famous Yorkshire hospitality.
With the bid to host the opening stage of the Tour de France in 2016, Yorkshire is now competing on the international stage.
For the full article in the Daily Telegraph please click here.
Absolutely beautiful up on Birks Fell today....a different world!
Perfectly beautiful day in Litton....
Located deep in the Dales this pub is a real find. It has a local, traditional feel with a warm welcome to visitors from further afield. The food is fantastic, it's traditional yet extremely well cooked, I only wish more places could do food like this. This pub really makes you realise how good traditional British food can be when cooked properly.
- Gillian N - August 2013
Gift vouchers are available in any amount you choose from £10 and are valid for six months from the day of purchase. Queens gift vouchers are presented in an attractive glossy card with a personal message, and make an ideal gift or thank you token.
They can be redeemed against food or accommodation at The Queens Arms. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 01756 770096 or call in to buy.