As part of the Great Inns of Britain
and Historic Hotels of Europe
event, I had the pleasure of staying in the Boar's Head Hotel
at Ripley this week. I can now see very clearly why this friendly, efficient establishment has won awards for high levels of service and comfort.
It has all the history of one of England’s wonderful traditional coaching inns, combined with modern comforts and a beguiling location on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.
The Boar's Head
sits within the Ripley Castle Estate, and a great bonus of a stay at the hotel is free admission to the Castle, garden, grounds and picturesque deer park. The Ripley Castle Walled Gardens are a particular springtime treat.
The Castle has been home to the Ingilby family for 700 years, and the present incumbents, Lord and Lady Ingilby, have a very hands-on approach, even down to Lady Ingilby placing toy boats in every bathroom in the hotel for the guests to enjoy.
Like all great British establishments, this one has a legend attached to it. In the 1300s, the story goes that Thomas Ingilby saved King Edward III from a boar that was charging at him after being wounded during their hunt. Overwhelmed with gratitude, the King gave him both the knighthood and the castle that the Ingilby family still enjoy today. A rather menacing boar’s head still hangs in the entrance hall, clearly more displeased at the outcome of the legend than the first Thomas Ingilby.
With just 25 rooms, the hotel has a pleasant, boutique feel and extremely comfy beds. The rooms combine quite traditional furnishings with flat screen TVs and other helpful modern touches like free wifi. Although both children and dogs are welcome, it would be best for them to be on good behaviour given the enviable air of serenity that the hotel has cultivated.
Famed for its fine dining as well as its rooms, you need to make sure that you book well in advance to enjoy the restaurant or bistro. Head Chef Kevin Kindland has been awarded two AA Rosettes for his innovative, seasonal cuisine.
There was a nice little final moment when the charming lady making up the beds warned me not to trip on a racing pigeon sitting on the steps. It was a moment that seemed to sum up in microcosm everything that is thoughtful, quirky and British about the hotel.