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Main Road, East Witton, Nr Leyburn DL8 4SN
01969 624 273

About Us

Our staff are a hugely important part of The Blue Lion's success. Take a look at our interviews to learn more about the team

Our history

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 took over the Blue Lion in 1990 to make 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 in our minds.  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!

The current owners Paul and Helen Klein have run The Blue Lion for nearly 30 years, creating a blend of quintessential English coaching inn with modern comfort to relax and recharge.  

Staff experiences

Our staff are a hugely important part of The Blue Lion's success. Take a look at our interviews to learn more about the team


Paul Klein


Racking up nearly 30 years at The Blue Lion, find out more about owner Paul.

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Jon Appleby


Making customers happy gives our chef Jon the biggest buzz. Read more about him.

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Accolades, news and what the media said...

The Good Pub Guide Inn of the Year!
The Blue Lion has been dining pub of the year three times!
The Blue Lion is a Michelin Guide recommended Inn with Rooms
Chef Jon Appleby – is taking the food festival scene by surprise with his outstanding British Menu demonstrations

2018 Finalist Welcome to Yorkshire – Inns and Restaurants with Rooms

2018 Paul Klein – Living North, Living It Up Q&A Interview

2018 Blue Lion Chef Jon Appleby takes part in the Yorkshire Chefs Help for Heroes Game Cookery Competition with Simon Crannage

2018 Blue Lion Chef Jon Appleby returns to Countryside Live to cook for the Yorkshire Vet

2018 Blue Lion Chef Jon Appleby demonstrates at the York Food Festival

2018 Blue Lion Chef Jon Appleby demonstrates at The Great Yorkshire Show

2018 Blue Lion Chef Jon Appleby demonstrates at the Great British Food Festival, Harewood House

2017 Blue Lion Chef Jon Appleby cooks for the Yorkshire Vet at Countryside Live

2017 Voted Number 1 in North Yorkshire by the Good Food Guide

2017 The Sun, 15 of Britain’s Best Pubs with Rooms

2016 Esquire Magazine – 60 of the Best Pubs in Britain

2016 Welcome to Yorkshire Pub of the Year Finalist

2016 Yorkshire Life, 12 of the Best Dinning Pubs in North Yorkshire

2015 Yorkshire Life Dining Pub of the Year Finalist

2015 Telegrapher Travel, Fiona Duncan, “I’m Home”

2014 The Good Pub Guide Inn of the Year

2014 Yorkshire Grand Départ passes the Blue Lion’s front door

2014 Living North Inn from the Cold

2013 Jamie Oliver stays at the Blue Lion

2013 Dining with 007 – Craig Daniel visits The Blue Lion

2013 The Sunday Times Travel Magazine – Six of the Best Pubs with rooms

2010 The Sunday Times Recommended weekend stay

2009 Julia Bradbury named The Blue Lion as her favorite restaurant

2008 Guardian, Angela Harnett’s Favorite Places

This is the second time we have stayed the night and dined at the Blue Lion, what a belting place. I have eaten in many places and this place is up at the very top. A country pub/hotel who's food is absolutely fantastic, the rooms are comfortable and the people are friendly. We will be back again, I can recommend this place you will not be disappointed, just brilliant .

- Tom A from Trip Advisor