Hotel Reviews - UK

The White Swan Inn: Family-run inn pulling off something special in the heart of Pickering

Pickering is a beautiful market town on the edge of the North York Moors National Park that is quite simply steeped in history. Some of this history is hidden, and demands to be sought out and uncovered if you have a few days to spend here, and some of it is blatant, proudly boasted about by locals and visitors alike.

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The railway is perhaps the best example of the latter, the steam trains that chug in and out a huge visitor attraction and a fantastic spectacle for observers of all ages.

Sitting amidst all of this history is a truly historic inn that has been family-run for nearly 30 years.

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The family-run element to the White Swan Inn is evident all over the place, from the genuinely friendly welcome you receive at reception (I don’t think we have ever experienced such a welcoming, warm, and friendly presence at front desk during a hotel stay of any duration before anywhere in the world – amazing!) to the biscuits left in a biscuit jar in your room, to the hilarious welcome notes that inform you about the hotel and local area. Corporate speak is something that isn’t done at the White Swan Inn and it pays off in the bucket-load.

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Our room was gorgeous. We were lucky enough to be staying in one of the inn’s huge hideaway rooms. Set away from the main building of the hotel, our hideaway was luxurious, peaceful, and big enough for our little girl to rampage around in without doing any damage! We were given a crash course in the underfloor heating but we didn’t need to use it thanks to the mild early Yorkshire autumn. The room was so beautiful and the atmosphere so relaxing that it was a shame to have to pop out so quickly after our arrival, but we had a steam train to watch, so we were working to a timetable!

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After heading back from the station before dinner, we stopped in at The Bothy, a relaxing communal lounge dominated by wooden beams, sofas you just sink into, a roaring log fire, and an honesty bar alongside complimentary tea and coffee (and more amazing ginger biscuits – yum!).

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This is the perfect place to lose yourself in if you have a good book on the go, or want to unleash your competitive streak with a board game. The Bothy is also used by the owners as an events space for private dinners and events and we honestly can’t think of many nicer places to do such a thing if you do have anything special coming up on the horizon.

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We’ll cover dinner in another post but needless to say the restaurant more than lives up to the quality and experience of the rest of the inn. After dinner, we decided against retreating to The Bothy for a post-dinner coffee, mainly because our little girl needed a bath and her bed, and so relaxed in our room after she was asleep. What a night’s sleep we had in our room – it was so quiet in the hideaway room and so nice and dark that our little one even had a lie-in!

Everything about our stay had been so perfect that I had exceptionally high hopes for breakfast, and I wasn’t disappointed. A beautifully presented continental breakfast table boasting fruits and croissants alongside fresh jams was complemented by our hot selections of boiled eggs with soldiers and mushrooms on toast. I ordered the boiled eggs with soldiers because it’s a breakfast staple for me and I wanted to see how well they executed such a simple yet delicious dish. I’m happy to report the eggs were perfectly cooked, and the soldiers buttery and seasoned to perfection. This may just have been toast, but it was toast treated like a King.

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Our goodbye was as warm and friendly as our welcome had been the day before and we were genuinely sad to leave. We could easily have spent a few more nights hiding out in our room and The Bothy and taking in all of the delights of the surrounding countryside and little market towns. We hope to be back one day for another country escape!

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