Short Break - The White Swan, Pickering


The White Swan in Pickering combines the charms of an old coaching inn with the creature comforts of modern life. Review by Janet Reeder

One of the pleasures of weekends away is choosing the hotel. I love a place with its own unique character.

In the past, this has led me and my other half to rooms without a view and all manner of country house horrors, including one where starters were called ‘beginnings’.

But, happily, when I gazed out over Pickering’s high street from the first floor window of the White Swan Inn, I was smitten. The shop fronts look unchanged since the 1950s, there were olde-worlde raised pavements and the attitude of the people strolling by was decidedly unhurried. And this feeling of being transported into some cosy other era was enhanced by the very lovely hotel.

There’s the countryish bar, a comfy snug and a very inviting dining room in the main building. Anyone who loves nestling among old beams and real fires will not be disappointed.

The White Swan has been owned by the Buchanan family for 28 years so we can thank them for their good taste and respect for a building which started out as a series of cottages in the 16th century. The bedrooms in the main building range from pretty vintage rooms filled with character to ‘Treat’ rooms that have their own sitting room as well as modern amenities such as a double wet room.

We stayed in Hideaway Room in the open courtyard, just a stroll away from the main building. The advantage is peace and quiet with just the sound of an owl for company as we went to sleep.

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The hotel is situated on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors and would be a good base for visits to York, Scarborough and Whitby. Take the steam train from Pickering to Whitby if you want the ultimate retro experience.

We really enjoyed dining at the White Swan because, while smart it wasn’t stuffy. A jar of Ginger Pig pork (Ginger Pig is the local supplier), rhubarb chutney and crisp breads for starters, chargrilled longhorn steak with garlic button mushrooms, hand-cut, chips and green pepper sauce were enjoyed with relish.

I meanwhile was presented with a vegetarian menu and didn’t feel short-changed by the tomato, caramelised onion and goats’ cheese tart and Jerusalem artichoke and wild mushroom, leek roulade and lyonnaise potatoes.The test of a good hotel for me is simple – would we stay at the White Swan in Pickering again? The answer is a resounding yes.

THE DETAILSPrice for room, dinner, bed and breakfast in a Hideaway room is priced from £239 for two Please see website for offers.Dogs allowed.White Swan Inn, Market Place, Pickering North Yorkshire YO18 7AA01751 472