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Pickering is perhaps one of the prettiest market towns in the North York Moors National Park and this handsome 16th-century inn is undoubtedly the jewel in its crown.

Driving through the ancient stone archway you get a real sense of the history of the place. Originally a four-room cottage built in 1532, it later became a popular coaching inn between York and Whitby, and much of this historic heritage remains today. The Buchanan family has been at the helm for over 35 years, and today Victor and Marion extend the same warmth and hospitality.

Walk in off the street into one of two wonderfully traditional bar rooms, all stone flags, burnished oak tables and open fires - the window seat is a great place for a spot of lunch with the papers and a chance to people-watch on market day - or slip through to the elegant dining room for a candle-lit dinner. Cycling enthusiasts abound in this part of Yorkshire, and the White Swan offers secure bike storage plus lots of add on's for cyclists keen to experience the tracks and trails in Dalby Forest and along the coast.

Rooms from

Bed and breakfast: £149

Good to know

  • All major credit cards accepted
  • Disabled access
  • Private dining
  • Parking available
  • Dog stay: £12.50 (beds, treats, breakfast)

Family favourite
Children are very welcome and there's an extensive kids menu. The Hideaway Rooms are particularly family friendly.

Quiet romance
The elegant dining room is an ideal spot for a quiet candle-lit dinner.

Town and city
Explore the bustling market town of pretty Pickering.

Outdoor adventures
With excellent walking and cycling paths along the coastline, this is a great choice for keen hikers and cyclists.


As befits an inn of this era and character, there's barely a straight wall in the place, and delightful Vintage Rooms boast plenty of comfort and style.

Check out the fabulous 19th-century French Caribbean four poster (it's so high off the floor there's a set of steps to climb up - perhaps hold back on that second bottle, it's a long way to fall!) The vibe might be vintage but the luxury is bang up to date - bathrooms are modern and spotless with robes and posh toiletries.

Or, why not splash out on one of the 'hideaway' rooms in the renovated stables with underfloor heating and a more contemporary, stylish feel. Set out over two floors, the 'Treat' room is a wonderful indulgence with an antique French super king bed, Juliet balcony and a free-standing roll-top bath.

After a day's walking, treat yourself to tea and coffee in the fabulous Bothy and recover in a super-comfy armchair in front of the wood stove. Dogs are welcome to stay over in the four annexe rooms.

Restaurant & bar

Local lad Darren Clemmit heads up the kitchen and is part of the fabric of the place - he's been involved with the Swan for 20 years and his devotion is palpable. What he doesn't know about good local ingredients isn't worth knowing, and his grasp of terroir shines through his menus.

Fish comes from Whitby and Scarborough and is put to good use in dishes like sea bream with lemon, aioli, chilli, tenderstem broccoli and coriander potatoes. The Ginger Pig supplies top-quality rare breed meat - don't miss the signature dish, Ginger Pig belly pork, or, for something lighter, why not try the jar of Ginger Pig pork terrine with sharp apple sauce. Sunday's are special here, diners flock from far and wide to tuck into sides of beef and pork served up with goose fat roast potatoes. If you're heading for an outdoor concert at Dalby Forest, the kitchen will happily put together a picnic hamper for you. ​

You'll find Black Sheep Bitter and Timothy Taylor Landlord in fine fettle behind the old oak bar; if you're a wine drinker you're in for a treat. Victor has carefully chosen a collection of wines of character and individuality rather than a list of well known names - many of them by the glass, so in his words: 'experiment!'

Things to do

This part of Yorkshire boasts fabulous countryside with some of Britain's finest National Trails in the area. Choose from Cleveland Way, The Yorkshire Wolds Way, the Pennine Way or the Pennine Bridleway, and explore the stunning scenery by foot or bike.

This part of Yorkshire boasts all manner of country homes and castles, and top of the list is the exquisite Castle Howard. This splendid 18th-century house is set in 1,000 acres of fabulous landscape in the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with wonderful collections of paintings and furniture, as well as beautiful gardens.

Head to Helmsley Art Centre to see exhibitions from local artists, as well as a busy programme of theatre, music, dance and cinema. Set in Helmsley's market square, it's a good base to explore this lively market town and its good selection of shops, cafes and restaurants.

Getting here

Nearest train station: Malton
Taxi from station: 16min
Drive: Helmsley 22min; Scarborough 40min


Market Place, Pickering, North Yorkshire YO18 7AA​

Prices & availability