George and Dragon Inn 17th century coaching inn and great place to stay in the Yorkshire Dales

George and Dragon Inn

George and Dragon is a 17th Century coaching inn
George and Dragon Inn & Black Sheep Pub

The George and Dragon Inn is a 17th-century coaching inn located in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales National Park, UK.

After nearly a 24 hour  5000+ mile journey, it welcomed me for a much-needed rest. You never know what to expect when stepping inside a historic pub, but the George and Dragon is a fabulous find.

Visiting here is a visit of history. Narrow country roads make you slow down and enjoy the views. And the views are spectacular.

George and Dragon Inn, Aysgarth

Situated on the edge of quaint Aysgarth village, the George and Dragon

Rich dark woods dominate the pub at the George and Dragon Inn
Pub at George and Dragon Inn

has been greeting travelers for over 300 years.  Called a coaching inn, it was a place the carriages stopped to give weary travelers a break. Friendly, casual, welcoming.  When you step inside you step back in history. Rich dark woods, brass, vintage decor in a classic Dales pub style. Eclectic collections adorn the walls. Fun.  Step back in time and slow down.

Friendly, comfy, delightful

The manager and staff were excellent hosts. Upstairs, the generous queen

Your room at the George and Dragon Inn offers lovely views of the Yorkshire Dales.
View of the Dales from a room at George and Dragon Inn

bed was super comfy. The building may be old, but the amenities are modern. Complete with wi-fi. All rooms are en-suite!

The food in the Black Sheep Pub was delightful. From classics like fish and chips or meat pies to gourmet pub food, choices are diverse.  Don’t forget to try a local brew.

Guests are also treated to great breakfast options. Start with the cereal bar then pick your customized hot breakfast from a part or full English and more.

There is a car park on the hotel property.  If you are campers, there is a camping area nearby.  Hikers were stopping past the pub for a brew on their way back home.

It’s a central location for exploring the area.

Wensleydale cheese factory, Cover River

Bolton Castle is an easy drive from the George and Dragon Inn
Bolton Castle viewed from across the Dales

Bolton Castle, Aysgarth Falls.  Lots of spectacular scenery. Great hiking.  Shopping.  If the landscape looks familiar it’s been in the movies. Both Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and All Creatures Great and Small were set here.  Nearby, you can find the building that still bears the Harriott name.

Not sure what to see?  Just ask, they will be happy to make recommendations based on your interests.

Thanks much for a great visit!! We look forward to returning.  For the very best prices, contact the inn directly and ask about specials.  http://www.georgeanddragonaysgarth.co.uk/home

Explore the Yorkshire Dales enchanting in any season

 Yorkshire Dales

Rolling Yorkshire Dales offer a magical wellness escape
View across Yorkshire Dales

The locals call it “God’s country”. The Yorkshire Dales is unique and enchanting. Remove the cars, you’d swear you are transported back 150 years or more.

Life in stone cottages, Manor houses or castles. It’s a countryside as remote and secluded as it comes in England. The landscape is crisscrossed with stone fences that have stood for hundreds of years.

From the Vale of York to the top of the Pennines

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is in the ancient county of Yorkshire. The Dales stretch across the steep glacially rounded Pennines, that form the backbone of England. Sprawling across 680 square miles, the park was created in 1954 to conserve its beauty for the future.

Giant domes loom above green valleys and sparkling rivers. Soft peaks and sharp slopes. Dry stone walls, limestone scars, and lofty craigs. Lush pastures, heather moorlands. Among the mountains are dozens of interconnected valleys (dales). Their individual personalities blossom amidst the harmony of this National Park.

Lodging

Stone-built villages dot the landscape.  No hotel chains here. Building

Yorkshire dales fields are crisscrossed with stone fences and farms
Yorkshire Dales is dotted with stone farms

codes are enforced to maintain the history.Inns, small hotels and bed and breakfasts are the norm. There are also places to camp or park caravans (recreational vehicles).

Inns, small hotels and Bed and Breakfast homes are the norm. There are also places to camp or park caravans (recreational vehicles).

Your inn may be from the 17th, 18th or 19th century,  but you will find all the modern facilities within.  While there are some exceptions, most rooms are en-suite. Do expect steep stairs and sometimes a low ceiling.

Friendliness abounds. A warm greeting and a fabulous stay. Most properties include full breakfast. Inns and hotels also serve meals throughout the day.

Explore the Yorkshire Dales

Roads are narrow, the pace is slower. Whether you chose to drive, walk or

Bolton Castle is an easy drive from the George and Dragon Inn
Bolton Castle viewed from across the Dales

cycle there are paths for you.  Be aware this is farming country. Watch for agricultural vehicles – and animals. This is where they live and work.

For hikers and cyclists, you have lots of choices.  Choose a day trip from your inn. Or elect to follow one of the circular tours.  These tours will take you from one inn to the next. There you will find a comfortable bed and good hot foot to welcome you at the end of the day.

Whether you choose a leisurely meander or something more challenging options abound. Books and maps will help you pick your route. Check the tourist information sites if you want to plan in advance. The Three Peaks tour is popular with the more adventurous.

Stone bridges cross every stream or river.  They were designed for horse-drawn carriages. Approach these with courtesy as they handle one car or truck at a time. In other parts of the world, they might have replaced and modernized to meet the demands of the auto.  The Dales is about protecting and history.  Enjoy, photograph, savor.

So what’s to see beyond the spectacular landscape? Rushing rivers, waterfalls, stone walls crisscross every field, sheep, hay, cattle. Visit castles, gardens, museums and stately homes. Wensleydale Cheese Factory, artisan candle makers, brewery tours, shops of all manner.

Small friendly places where the locals go.  Lots of great tea rooms, pubs, and foods of all sorts.  Don’t miss a farmer’s market where the locals go to visit, buy and sell. How about a ride on one of the railway routes that connect the many towns?  Choices are many, scenic and nostalgic including steam powered trains.

Enjoy Yorkshire Dales History

This is James Herriot Country. Herriot is the world’s most famous vet.  He brought the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales and the lives of the locals to life for readers all over the world. Although he created a fictitious setting, the places where he lived and worked are strongly featured. For a feel of his home visit Hawes, Richmond, Leyburn, Middleham, Swaledale, and Wensleydale. This is the area the BBC used for the filming of the popular TV series “All Creatures Great and Small.”

If you are a classical novels buff the place may feel familiar. Charlotte Bronte lived and worked here. Charlotte’s childhood and experiences as a governess were her inspiration. Moors, manors, highlands. Jane Eyre and many other works live in the Yorkshire Dales.

Regardless of the season, the place is pure magic.  Choose to see it during peak summer season or visit in the winter when you feel you have it to yourself.  Want a cozy getaway spot? Try Middleham.  A castle in your backyard, pubs across the square. Choose an inn or a private “to let.” Every morning the race horses clop their way up the cobblestone market square and up onto the hills for their workout.

Plan ahead for the summer as the locals flock to the area for holiday. Some of the attractions don’t run year around so it’s good to investigate. Regardless of when you go, you will be greeted warmly and served great hot food often near a cozy fireplace.  Locals think it is the best place for great beer.

Celtic Festival – Major Fun Locally

Celtic Festival

Bagpipe bands are key at a Celtic Festival
Bagpipe band courtesy McKenzie Highland Games

You might be of Celtic ancestry. One of the seven British Nations: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Mann (Manx), Cornish and Brittany.  Or you may just love to have fun.  In either case, you can have a great weekend experiencing a local Celtic Festival Highland Games event.

When the call goes out in Scotland for the games – people take it seriously. Pride, power and a passion for fun.

People gather, eat great Scottish, Irish and American foods, and meet like-minded people. It’s a party, Celtic style. Scottish, Irish, Renaissance all mixed up together just to have fun.

Come hungry.

There will be lots to taste. Food from the home country. Yummy beefy Scottish pies, scones with berries and cream. Don’t forget the haggis, a Scottish cross between meatloaf and sausage.

You’ll also find hamburgers, fish and chips, pulled pork or whatever else local food trucks cook up.  Lots of kid friendly choices.

Get on your Celtic festival kilt

It won’t be just the dancers, athletes and pipers dressed up. Attendees are

HIghland Dancers are popular at Celtic festivals
Celtic Festival Dancer

invited to get their gear on too. Kilts and all manner of Celtic dress. You’ll see Jacobite to Renaissance, traditional to Victorian and modern twists too. Plaid scarves, tartans, berets, skirts. You will find it all.  No costume?  The vendors will help you find just the thing.

Music, Dancers, Athletics

Dancers and pipe bands compete and entertain. No Highland festival would be complete without the magical sound of bagpipes! Lots of them. But you may also find brass bands and Irish folk music. Listen…there is harp music in the air.

Brawny lads and lasses compete in athletic events -attired in kilts.  If

Guys in kilts compete in heavy athletics
Mackenzie Highland Games photos by David Postier

you’ve never seen a strong lad throw a heavy stone or flip a heavy pole (Caber), you’ve missed something. You might see a cast iron frying pan toss. Or, the ladies do their own version of the same events the guys do.

You might be thirsty after cheering on the athletes, so head over to the beer garden for some libations.

What is that dog doing??? It’s a sheep herding demonstration. Clever dog.

Each Celtic Festival is unique

Every event is a little different depending on the venue.  You might see

Sword fighting and jousting are popular at celtic festivals
Celtic Festival Sword fighting

sword fights or jousting.  There might be a Scottish cow.  Face painting and a kid’s area get everyone involved.

At clan booths, you can learn some of the histories of the clans.  They will even help you find what clan you might descend from. Not from the British Isles?  No worries.  They are a friendly group, especially at these gatherings and welcome all.

Many events are dog-friendly to well-mannered dogs on leash. Some offer camping or places to park an RV for those traveling to attend. Some offer a classical bagpipe recital.

Almost all have a Saturday evening party called a Ceilidh (kay-lee). It’s generally held after the closing of the day event. It’s an evening of live music, piping, drumming, and dancing. The Scottish and Irish love their parties… especially when accompanied by good brews and whisky.

To find an event near you, Google is your friend.  Just “google” highland games or Celtic festivals for your state or region.  A list will pop up and you can check out their websites.

Volunteers are always needed

Want even more fun?  Volunteer to help out.  They always need an extra set of hands either in the background or at the event.  It might get you a free t-shirt or even a free entry.