B&B and Beyond Gallon House, Knaresborough, Yorkshire

The hosts at this ornate guesthouse above the River Nidd have years of culinary experience. Rhiannon Batten tucks in

The Yorkshire market town of Knaresborough is often neglected by tourists, but not by those who know about Gallon House. A minute's walk from the town's railway station, its gingerbread house-style 19th-century exterior, painted a sludgy stone, looms grandly among a row of humbler buildings. Named after John Gallon, who once owned the flax mill below it, the house has been carefully restored in the decade that Rick and Sue Hodgson have owned it.

The Bed

Above a large dining room, oak-panelled lounge and magazine-stacked conservatory are three light, cosy and comfortable en-suite bedrooms. One double and a twin look out over the River Nidd at the back of the house, with better views than the second (but slightly larger) double at the front. Ideal for anyone bored by the bling of many a contemporary "boutique" guesthouses, the decor here is smart but homely, with old pine chests, quilted bedspreads and armchairs upholstered in traditional fabrics. Bathrooms are small, with showers rather than baths, but they do the job and come with Clarins toiletries. A stash of toothbrushes, eye masks and other basics is also provided, as is Yorkshire Tea, Taylor's coffee, Black Sheep ale, Harrogate Spa water and elderflower cordial.

The ultimate freebie isn't something you can take home with you, though. From the conservatory, the two back bedrooms and the building's south-facing balcony, there are extraordinary views over the gorge below. To one side is an ancient but still working railway viaduct, to the other Knaresborough Castle and, between them both, a precipitous drop to the River Nidd.

The Breakfast

A classier than average help-yourself buffet offers all the usual favourites (homemade muesli, cereals, yoghurt, fresh fruit and pastries) plus more unusual seasonal options (fruit compote in cinnamon syrup, freshly poached plums, homemade jams). The choice of hot breakfasts includes a full Yorkshire, bacon muffins, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, grilled Yorkshire kippers and grilled tomatoes with Wensleydale cheese on toast.

The Hosts

Sue previously worked in human resources for Betty's tea rooms in Harrogate. Rick brings years of experience as a chef to Gallon House. So the couple are as good with guests as they are with behind-the-scenes service and food. And anyone with arsonphobia can sleep easy here; Rick is also a retained fireman.

The Weekend

Go for a stroll around the town's 14th-century castle (01423 556188; bit.ly/knarecastle; £3.20), marketplace or riverside "Long Walk". Then take a rowing boat out along the river (£5 per adult per hour) from Marigolds Café (01423 869773) or Blenkhorns (01423 862105) or fit in a visit to the slightly underwhelming Mother Shipton's Cave, where the prophet of the same name is thought to have been born in the 15th century (01423 864600; mothershipton.co.uk) and you've covered Knaresborough's main sights.

However, Harrogate is only eight minutes away by train (08457 484950; nationalrail.co.uk). Here the attractions range from Victorian Turkish Baths (01423 556746; bit.ly/HarrogateBaths) and Harlow Carr Gardens (0845 265 8070; rhs.org.uk), to afternoon tea at Betty's (01423 814070; bettys.co.uk) and great shopping.

If you have your own wheels, set off for a day's hiking in the Yorkshire Dales National Park (0300 456 0030; yorkshiredales.org.uk).

The Pit Stop

While Carriages (01423 867041) serves tapas and modern European fare, Knaresborough is surprisingly stony ground for foodies. All the more reason, then, for booking in for dinner at Gallon House (£36 per person). Taking a Slow Food ethos as his starting point, Rick discusses preferences with guests before designing a locally sourced, three-course menu to suit. Ours started with rich onion, plum tomato and anchovy puff pastry tarts before moving on to tender Nidderdale lamb with creamy celeriac, boulangère potatoes and three homemade jellies – quince from a friend's garden, handpicked apple and elderberries. And, finally, brandy snap baskets filled with Cointreau ice cream and a rhubarb and orange compôte. There's an impressive wine list, too.

Part of the fun is sharing the guesthouse's dining table with other guests. Starting off with a G&T by the lounge's fireplace, or on the balcony if the weather's good, helps to set a sociable tone.

The Essentials

Gallon House, 47 Kirkgate, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire HG5 8BZ (01423 862102; gallon-house.co.uk). B&B doubles from £120.

Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower