Angie Aspinall: The Moors Inn – a perfect ‘quiet’ pub in Yorkshire

Posted on November 28, 2012

You know how people use the expression ‘a quiet country pub’? Well, I found one that was really was: The Moors Inn at Appleton-le- Moors in North Yorkshire!

Carolyn, one of the current owners told me, “My Mum insisted on having it quiet – with no music – when she ran the pub and she likes it that way now too. We like it that all you can hear is the low rumble of conversation.” As you can imagine, as a hearing aid user, this was music to my ears (if you’ll pardon the pun).

The bar, restaurant and games room were all music-free: I could sit wherever I liked and it felt remarkably liberating to be able to do so. How often to you get settled in a pub or restaurant only to discover later that you’re right near a speaker? How frustrating is that? It can really ruin your evening. Well, not at the Moors Inn, where a ‘warm welcome’ means a real fire on chilly days as well as a friendly greeting – and a ‘quiet pub’ means just that: no background noise.

So, if you’re looking to get away somewhere quiet this autumn or winter, you’d have to go a long way to beat the reception you’ll get at The Moors Inn. Whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic getaway, a small group of friends celebrating a special occasion – this friendly pub can certainly cater for your needs.

Located in a picturesque village, the inn offers peace and tranquillity in this rural idyll. Appleton-le-Moors isn’t what you’d recognise as a ‘destination’ village (like neighbouring destination towns of Helmsley or Pickering for example) but it’s all the better for that if you know the area well and are looking for somewhere different to try and there are great walks which start from the pub so you can leave your car in the car park and get walking. As well as the attraction of the footpaths, in the village, alongside the pub, there’s a spa, a ceramic artist, a pottery.

City folk will find charm in seeing sheep grazing on the common land – although, I’d hazard a guess that villagers may tire of the sheep‘s relentless eating which makes it impossible to have prettily planted verges or low growing window boxes. For visitors, there’s also the excitement of seeing the local hare population at play, which is not something many town or city-dwellers get to do. For the adventurous foodies amongst you, occasionally, there’s the chance to sample hare on the menu – along with other game which comes into season in the autumn.

With the coal fire lit in the range and wholesome, warming dishes on offer, who could resist dropping into the Moors Inn? In addition to the extensive menu, which features ultra-local produce – from the inn’s own allotment and villagers’ gardens no less – there’s also a surprisingly good wine list (which is something which is sometimes overlooked by small country pubs which are more used to catering for real ale fans). The Malbec we were recommended to accompany the Lamb Shank, was exceptionally good.

The regular menu features such treasures as Pea and parmesan risotto and Mussels in home-made dill and cream sauce – served with a hunk of warm, farmhouse loaf – and, this type of treat is complimented by a regularly refreshed specials board. There are traditional meals such as gammon or steak and chips – but there is far more on offer here than ‘pub food’. This is a place for real home cooking and the pub owners pride themselves of the quality of the food they serve. Their full English breakfasts are also a testament to this. The portions are generous too so, make sure you pack your appetite along with your walking boots!

We enjoyed a mid-week break in September, taking in local attractions such as Helmsley, Thornton- le-Dale, Scarborough and the Ryedale Folk Museum at Hutton-le-Hole. We were particularly seeking dog-friendly activities as this was our first holiday with our rescue dog, Tilly. We found the Ryedale Folk Museum to be excellent in this regard and it made for a great wet weather destination too as you can pop in and out of each of the cottages and houses, taking you from the Iron Age, through a Victorian Cottage and some fabulous 1940s shops.

What surprised me most about the folk museum was what an excellent ‘quiet’ day out it turned out to be. There was only one audio visual display in the whole place and all other exhibits can be enjoyed without any hearing involved. There are information cards and boards and very visual displays. By going mid-week, in term-time, there were no families with chattering children and when we visited there were no school trips: it was just us and some middle aged and older couples wandering round taking in the scenes. It was a truly relaxing day out, the likes of which I don’t usually get and I loved every minute of it.

As professional photographers, my husband and I especially enjoyed the exhibition celebrating the life and times of veteran Yorkshire photographer T Geoffrey Willey (who is now 101). There was even his home-made underwater camera housing which is a fascinating exhibit for any modern day underwater photographers to see.

The recently opened Harrison collection is a fabulous new addition to the museum: it’s an incredible collection of English antiques and rare curiosities put together by local brothers Edward and Richard Harrison. Spanning five centuries of history, the collection includes artefacts relating to food preparation, heating, lighting and family life.

At the museum, there’s also an exhibition garden and some farm animals to visit. Some of the craft shops in Hutton-le-Hole also welcomed dogs and there’s a local cafe with a garden, where dogs are welcome too.

Another great attraction for autumn/winter visitors is the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. (Dogs are welcome on all trains (except dining trains) provided they are kept off the seats, tables and not in first class. Dog tickets are £2.50 each and have the same validity as the owner’s ticket.) Whatever the weather, this is a great day out. Wherever you start your journey – Pickering, Whitby or somewhere in between, hopping off at Grosmont is highly recommended: not only can you visit the engine shed but you can also pay a visit to the studio of our favourite local artist Chris Geall, which is handily located in a superb artisan café!

And after all that excitement, you’ll be glad to wend your weary way back to the Moors Inn for a sit by the fire and a glass of something soothing.

Photos by Richard Aspinall


Dining at The Moors Inn: bookings recommended)

Local visitor attractions:

Angie is a journalist, food and travel writer, photographer and co-founder of #Yorkshirehour on Twitter – as well as having a full-time job in local government. She’s also a wife, chicken-keeper, gardener, foodie and WI member, living in Glorious Yorkshire. Angie started going deaf in one ear at the age of 30, then suffered total sudden onset hearing loss in her ‘good’ ear in 2011. Her husband and her chickens keep her sane – or as close as she’s gonna get! You can check out her website, blog, twitter account, Facebook and Linked In.

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