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.

Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge face-off in the final
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture