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      June 2014 > Culinary Highlights of the Grand Départ: Stage 1

Culinary Highlights of the Grand Départ: Stage 1

Culinary highlights of the Grand DepartThe Tour de France racers will be sticking to a strict diet designed to help power them up and down dale, but for those of us with no dietician looking over our shoulder, there are plenty of tempting culinary treats in the towns and villages featuring in the Grand Départ. Who better than Sue Nelson, local food expert and founder of Yorkshire Food Finder, to offer a few insider tips on which pubs, restaurants and independent producers to look out for along the route of the first day’s race?


Starting as you mean to go on (you’ll need plenty of space in your boot or panniers for this version of the Grand Départ route!), you can stock up on a few local food treats at Otley Farmers’ Market which is held on the last Sunday morning of every month. The market sells fresh and organic food direct from the producer and there are plenty of opportunities to try before you buy!

If it’s high-quality meat you’re after, you can’t do any better than Lishman’s of Ilkley, where David Lishman has worked as a butcher since leaving school. A true champion of all things Yorkshire, David’s butcher’s shop is a real destination for foodies. And you can enrol on his occasional butchery courses too…

Culinary highlights of the Grand DepartAlso in Ilkley, the Box Tree restaurant is one of Yorkshire’s finest culinary destinations. It holds a Michelin star and has been on the county’s dining scene since the 1960s. It is here that renowned chef Marco Pierre White began his culinary career and he is still involved with the restaurant.


The village of Addingham is unique in that the Tour de France cyclists pass through here twice on both Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the race. Fittingly, there are two places worthy of note here: the Craven Heifer pub and restaurant which specialises in craft beers and delicious food, and the Fleece Inn which prides itself on good wines, local beers and Yorkshire dishes.

Skipton is home to the Copper Dragon Brewery, one of the fastest growing artisan brewers in Yorkshire. The county is, in fact, home to more than 120 breweries making some 1,000 artisan beers, so is a very much a real-ale destination. There’s a new brew here – Hill Hammer – to mark the Tour de France coming to town…

Just outside Skipton you might want to drop in for a bite to eat at the Bull at Broughton, one of a handful of hostelries owned by renowned chef Nigel Haworth who hails from over t’ border in Lancashire. We can forgive him that though, as the Bull is a friendly place where you’ll get a great meal and good beers.

Culinary highlights of the Grand DepartThe peloton will pass through Calendar Girls country where some of the now world-famous WI charity fundraisers still live. Just off the route lies the Angel at Hetton at the heart of the eponymous village. This was a gastro pub before they were ever invented and led the way in the revolution that saw the rise of welcoming pubs where high-quality food is the norm rather than the exception.

Commanding a presence in the market place of the picturesque Dales village of Grassington is John Rudden’s Grassington House Hotel. John serves up award-winning food using local produce, and also offers cookery classes for discerning foodies.

In the lea of the famous Kilnsey Crag lies Kilnsey Park and Trout Farm where members of the Roberts family show you how they rear their trout and teach you how to fish it to eat for your supper! There’s a good-quality café and farm shop here too.

Culinary highlights of the Grand DepartAt Aysgarth the George and Dragon Inn promises to open early for breakfast to accommodate the hordes of spectators that are expected to descend on the village, and will continue to serve up delicious local food throughout the day.


The town of Hawes in Wensleydale is a real hub of the Yorkshire Dales for locals and visitors alike. It is home to not one, but two, cheese-makers: the world-famous Wensleydale Creamery and Ribblesdale Creamery which specialises in goat’s cheese and runs a series of much sought-after cheese-making courses.

Continuing the dairy theme somewhat tenuously, the breathtakingly beautiful but formidable Buttertubs Pass will take the Tour de France riders out of Wensleydale into Swaledale, the most remote of Yorkshire’s dales.

The riders will enter Swaledale at Thwaite, and head down the valley, but just a few miles the other way is Ravenseat, the remote farm of Yorkshire shepherdess Amanda Owen and her family, who feature on the TV series The Dales. Located slap bang on the Pennine Way, it is a haven for walkers who stop off for cream teas featuring Amanda’s home-made scones.

Culinary highlights of the Grand DepartIf it’s pubs you’re after, there are a couple of note: the traditional Farmer’s Arms in Muker, where you’ll find local ales and hearty, good-quality pub food, and the Punchbowl Inn in Low Row where chefs make the most of Yorkshire produce to serve up meals to please any discerning palate.

The small town of Reeth is the biggest place in the dale before reaching Richmond. It is the home of Glendale Ginger, where David Goff makes delicious ginger cordial drinks based on a 300-year-old local recipe and wife Judy crafts delicious hand-made chocolate derived from Valrhona cocoa beans, reputed to be the best in the world.


Culinary highlights of the Grand DepartOnwards from Reeth in the small village of Fremington is the Dales Bike Centre, another husband-and-wife venture. Here Stuart Price looks after cyclists of all ages and abilities while Brenda serves up the biggest, fluffiest scones in the centre’s café – voted among the top ten cafés in a high-profile cycling magazine. They’ve really taken the Tour de France to heart and to celebrate the Grand Départ will be hosting a three-day Fête du Vélo cycling festival across the race weekend. And why not when the race goes right past their front door?

At Leyburn is the 17th-century Sandpiper Inn where chef Jonathan Harris is known for his quality food incorporating local ingredients. And he should be – before heading to the Dales, Jonathan won the highly coveted Roux Scholarship, one of the toughest chef awards there is.

You could also try the Blue Lion at East Witton further down the dale, which has just won the Good Pub Guide Inn of the Year award for 2014. With its real ales, log fire, sweeping settles and burly oak tables, the inn epitomises the traditional pub. What’s more, it has a vast menu of quality seasonal produce that will leave you spoiled for choice.

Further on near Ripon is the General Tarleton in Ferrensby, an 18th-century coaching inn turned gastro pub where award-winning chef John Topham creates dishes for a menu that offers a modern take on popular traditional cuisine. They have thirteen 5-star rooms too if you fancy staying over.

And then it’s finally to Harrogate, the end of Stage 1 of the Grand Départ. This quintessentially English town needs little introduction. Of its eclectic mix of high-quality restaurants, bars and cafés a big favourite is Betty’s Café Tea Rooms. For 95 years customers have been enjoying delicious Yorkshire and continental confections, and now it’s your turn...

[Images courtesy of Yorkshire Food Finder and Michael McKinstry]

Posted: 17/06/2014 09:25:12 by Sue Nelson, Yorkshire Food Finder | with 0 comments
Filed under: gastronomy, UK, Yorkshire

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