Settle down for a few beers

While the bars of Skipton and Keighley areas are well-known to beer drinkers in Keighley and Craven, those in Craven’s second market town may be less familiar. Settle, fifteen miles north-west of Skipton, is only a twenty minute train ride away and has four pubs, a hotel, a bar/restaurant and a social club, all within a third of a mile of the station. Between them they offer an impressive number of cask beers: at least twenty different ales are usually available. This article describes a short tour of five of the seven bars.

The Golden Lion (1) on Duke Street is a good place to start. Open from 10am, the Lion is a Thwaites Inn of Character dating from about 1671. A minimum of six beers are on offer with 8 sometimes available. These include Original, Gold and Amber from Thwaites and three guest ales. Guest beers generally come from Settle Brewery, Dark Horse or Kirkby Lonsdale, and Thwaites Mild is often available. A fruit cider from the Rosie‘s Pig range complements the cask beers. These can be enjoyed in the comfortable main bar, the larger Lion’s Den or in the newly refurbished dining room, where food is served all day.

Next up is the Royal Oak (2), further along Duke Street on Market Place, which offers two changing beers, often from Sharps or Black Sheep, with a third usually available at weekends and in summer. Open from 11am, the Royal Oak serves food lunchtime and evenings and all day at weekends. A former coaching inn, it features historic imitation-timber panelling dating from the 1930s and an unusual revolving door. Both the Lion and the Royal Oak have accommodation, should you wish to stay in town a little longer.

Directly opposite the Royal Oak, tucked into the north-west corner of the square in part of what was Garnett‘s Electrical Store, is the newest addition to Settle‘s social scene: Sydney‘s opened in July 2019. A tapas restaurant and bar, Sydney‘s offers 3 cask beers from Settle Brewery. It has a small bar area with both seating and standing room and a tiny snug. The remainder of the premises are set out for dining, with food available lunchtimes and evenings. (Sydney‘s is not marked on the map.)

A short walk across the Market Place past the Shambles into High Street will bring you to the Talbot Arms (3). Winner of our branch Pub of the Year award in 2019, the Talbot is a family-run free house with five ales on the bar in winter and a sixth added in summer. Settle Mainline and Theakston Best Bitter are regular with the remaining beers coming from the local breweries such as Settle, Wishbone, Dark Horse, Worsthorne, Wensleydale, Roosters and Pennine. The range always includes a dark beer. Dating originally from 1642, the Talbot claims to be Settle’s oldest operating pub. A changing cider is available (it is brought from the cellar, check the board on the bar for details) and food is served 12-8 daily.

To reach our final port of call, continue along High Street and turn right at the Folly into Chapel Street. At the end of the road, turn right and bar 13 (4) is just round the corner. Look out for the A-board outside, as it’s easy to miss. If you find yourself back at the Lion, you’ve gone too far. Open from 3pm, bar 13 offers Goose Eye Chinook and two changing beers, often from York, Kirkby Lonsdale or Wishbone. A long narrow single room, bar 13 has a loyal local following. It is the nearest pub to the railway station.

Almost directly across the road from bar 13, Settle Social Club (5) serves Tetley Bitter and a guest ale. The town’s sixth regular real ale outlet, the Falcon Manor (6), is a little out of town on the Skipton Road and has two beers, at least one usually from Bowland Brewery. More intrepid travellers may also wish to visit Giggleswick (7), a mile away across the river (continue on past the Royal Oak under the railway viaduct), where the Hart’s Head offers a further three or four beers. The Craven Arms, on the Settle bypass opposite Giggleswick station, has a further two to four real ales, and is the only place in the area where you occasionally find a beer from Timothy Taylor.

There are seven trains a day between Leeds, Keighley, Skipton and Settle (four on Sundays), and the Off-Peak return fare from Skipton is £5. Details of all the pubs can be found on CAMRA‘s national pub database, WhatPub.

Richard Candeland

Note: The above article appeared in the Skipton Beer Festival 2018 programme in April 2018. The scope of the article was limited by amount of space available, so apologies for the lack of detail about Giggleswick etc. The article has been updated to July 2019.

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Branch chair Colleen presents the Pub of the Season Winter 2018/9 plaque to the staff at the Wuthering Heights, Stanbury, February 2019

Branch chair Colleen presents the Pub of the Season Winter 2018/9 plaque to Nicci and Darren at the Wuthering Heights, Stanbury, February 2019

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