The Blue Lion was originally built as a shooting lodge and evolved into a coaching inn around 1840.
The hotel was run by the same family for 3 generations from 1856 to 1989, until the previous landlady (Bessie Fletcher) died. Bessie Fletcher’s reputation was well known around Wensleydale, with beer being served in a jug straight from the barrel in a back room - although only available Monday to Saturday (that was if she liked the look of you!), as on Sundays, Bessie was the organist at the parish church and the pub was closed - no exceptions!
The Blue Lion was the last public house in England to have a 6-day license.
Paul and Helen Klein ran The Blue Lion from 1990 to 2022 and made it what it is today, including installing its first bar! Whilst there have been alterations and amendments over the years, as the Inn is a Grade II listed building, attention to retaining the character and history of a Dales inn has been paramount. For instance, the courtyard rooms are in converted stables, which once housed the horses for travelling tradespeople.
The name ‘The Blue Lion’ was given to the pub when it was built. It is taken from the Bruce family coat of arms which belonged to the Earl of Ailesbury, who at one time owned the local East Witton estate. On arrival you’ll notice that we still have the original pub sign on the front of the hotel, whilst not that easy to maintain, we feel that as an important part of the history of our Inn, we can’t replace it!
This Summer, The Blue Lion welcomed Melanie Jackson our new General Manger, who has big plans to make The Blue Lion even better than before, creating a blend of quintessential English coaching inn with modern comfort to relax and recharge!