The Lion Inn – the best pub on the Coast to Coast

Published 19 March 2014

The front of the Lion Inn

Can there be anything finer when you’re hiking to be doing so on a remote piece of moorland, and you look out in to the quiet distance. Next to no one lives round here but it’s your destination for the day. You’re going to stay there. It’s the only building for miles around. And it’s a pub. And you’re hoping that it’s a good one.

On the Coast to Coast that pub is a 16th century pub called The Lion Inn and it sits on the heather topped moorland of Blakey Ridge in the North York Moors National Park. It sits on a quiet road, over six miles from the nearest village.

Unlike many similarly isolated pubs, the Lion Inn wasn’t particularly a coaching inn. Instead, for a lot of its history, its trade came from the many mines which covered the area. Once there was even a multitude of railway tracks covering this moorland. This was once a thriving area but the closure of the mines and the demise of the railway led to the Lion Inn heading slowly in to decline. In the early 20th century, the Lion’s owner spent most of his time farming in order to pay the bills. Many similar pubs never made it but the Lion did. The automobile rose and then one Alfred Wainwright created a walking route that became a sensation.

Looking down on the Lion Inn

It’s on the road to nowhere in particular, in a remote and isolated location, but every day the Lion Inn is filled with people who have got in their car and driven up the hill to have a drink and some food. And there’s a healthy dose of hikers too. And it’s frankly the best pub on the Coast to Coast.

There’s a lot of excellent pubs on the Coast to Coast. But there’s only one Lion Inn. Given its location, you’d expect it to be a dinky place but in reality its massive. People come here for the food, and what food it is. On face value the menu looks – to be honest – like pretty much any other pub menu in the North of England. It’s just that the Lion Inn does it better. It’s that thing of simple food done extremely well. And you can wash it down with a range of classic Yorkshire ales. It’s friendly, What more could you want?

Sunset seen from the Lion Inn

What was that? A view? Well let’s just say that the sun setting over Blakey Ridge is one of the finest sights you can see. Ironically it’s a view that many of the Lion’s customers miss because the sun sets behind the pub. Anyone standing at the front door will miss it. But if you’re smart and head behind the pub, it’s utterly splendid.

The pub does accommodation. If you’re walking the Coast to Coast it’s an excellent place to stay. You won’t regret it one bit. And if the sun has been shining all day, do make sure you head outside as it heads to the horizon. Take your pint, settle down on the hillside and watch the show. You won’t regret it.



18 January 2015 at 10:39 pm

Sadly, the Lion shall have to remain on my ‘to-do’ list, as will the Coast to Coast. My wife and I passed the pub while completing the moorland section of the Esk Valley Way last October (a rather lovely 37 mile walk following the Esk from source to sea). However it was not a day to enjoy the views, the mist was thick (OK, it was fog) and wearing glasses is no fun in those conditions. We walked right past it and could see nothing beyond a lone car parked adjacent to the road. It was only later we realised we had passed it. Such was the dodgy road walking at that point in the poor conditions we didn’t fancy braving speeding cars yet again. A much anticipated pint and a sarnie in the pub for lunch turned into a cold wrap with tuna some miles later

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