Weekend walks in North Yorkshire – with a pub en route
Last updated Mar 31, 2024

It’s hard to beat the feeling of getting out into the countryside to get some fresh air, stretch your legs and take in some quintessential Yorkshire scenery.

Add to that the possibility of visiting a local pub for a pint or some hearty food, and you’ve got a winning weekend combination.

Welburn, Castle Howard and The Crown & Cushion

Castle Howard (Image: Pixabay)

The route: Starting and ending outside The Crown & Cushion pub in the pretty village of Welburn there are several circular walks that pass through woodlands and the land belonging to Castle Howard  – the estate website suggests longer and shorter routes, which are available to download as pdfs.

With sweeping scenery across the Howardian Hills, the estate boasts several follies, set amongst the arable farmland and gently undulating terrain.

The pub: The Crown & Cushion serves ‘fresh, locally sourced and seasonally led food’, according to its website.

Boasting a large beer garden and a dog-friendly policy, it’s a popular destination for both lunchtime walkers and fine diners.

Spofforth, Kirkby Overblow and The Castle Inn

Spofforth Castle

The route: The charming village of Spofforth is located between Wetherby and Harrogate and connects to many outlying villages by footpaths and bridleways.

Crossing farmlands and through the woods to Kirkby Overblow – which boasts several pubs of its own – the route can also be lengthened to incorporate another ancient village, Sicklinghall.

There are many walks that follow this route, including suggested directions from All Trails, and a blog by the Walking Englishman.

The pub: The Castle Inn in Spofforth is a classic example of an upmarket country pub, with rooms, an event space and a spacious outdoor area.

Sunday roasts are served with a signature giant Yorkshire pudding, and cask ales are sourced from a range of local breweries, including Leeds Brewery, Theakston and Timothy Taylor’s.

Staveley Nature Reserve and The Royal Oak Inn

Staveley Nature Reserve

The route: Staveley Nature Reserve, located between the villages of Staveley and Minskip, offers a large network of footpaths, covering 79 hectares of wetlands.

Parking is free, either in the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust car park or along Minskip Road, and many of the trails are accessible by both buggies and wheelchairs, and clearly signposted along the way.

The area is a haven for wildlife; a huge variety of birds such as ringed plovers, avocet and sand oystercatchers can be seen, as well as foxes, roe deer, otters, and grazing Highland cattle.

The pub: The Royal Oak Inn is located in the village of Staveley itself. On colder days, there is often a roaring fire for dogs and owners alike to enjoy, and the menu features traditional pub fare, such as pies, curry and fish and chips.

Burnsall, Hebden and The Red Lion

Wharfedale (Image: Pixabay)

The route: In picturesque Wharfedale, Burnsall is nestled between a circle of fells and the River Wharfe, with a history dating back to the Viking era.

Parking can be found on the west side of the river, and a permissive footpath winds its way down the riverbank for one mile, before reaching stepping stones that cross to the opposite bank, and to the village of Hebden.

To get back to Burnsall, follow the path along Hebden Beck, offering a quieter return journey than the riverside which can be popular with visitors in summer. Both the Yorkshire Dales National Park and The Red Lion itself have a suggested route on their respective websites.

The pub: A 16th century coaching inn, The Red Lion is not only a Burnsall institution, but a well-known watering hole in the Yorkshire Dales.

The beer terrace is a busy spot on a sunny day, and there’s a wide range of food and drink offerings, including brunch, as well as the firm favourites.

Knaresborough, and The Half Moon Inn

The Half Moon pub in Knaresborough.

The Half Moon pub in Knaresborough

The route: Knaresborough is often bustling with visitors and boaters in the summer months, but venturing further out of the historic town centre allows you to enjoy views of the River Nidd, without the crowds.

Strolling the length of the waterside you’ll pass the Shrine of Our Lady in the Crag, interesting rock garden sculptures and the impressively manicured lawns of the riverside houses.

To extend your journey, you can walk in the woodlands to Old Bilton, before looping back into Knaresborough. Visit Harrogate and All Trails both have versions of this route on their websites.

The pub: A family owned, independently run free house, The Half Moon Inn specialises in wood-fired pizza, grazing boards sourced from local producers, and a selection of local ales.

Perched at the end of Low Bridge, a short walk along Knaresborough’s riverside, the pub benefits from being slightly further out from the hubbub – although it’s certainly still a popular spot.

Read more:

Download the FREE Stray Ferret app here to access the latest news, competitions and offers.