Yorkshire's Independent Restaurant Guide

Blue Lion, East Witton

The Blue Lion is in one of Yorkshire’s most strikingly pretty villages. East Witton with its handsome greensward bordered by a horseshoe of honey-coloured cottages, and like so many proper English villages, at its heart sits the pub and the church. Richard Whiteley of Calendar and Countdown, who died too young, is buried in the churchyard. He was a friend and former colleague of ours and the Blue Lion was his local. Trust Richard to ferret out the best pub in Lower Wensleydale.

Yellowing walls, soft lights, an inglenook fireplace with logs collapsing to ash and hissing away gently. It all seems timeless except that it’s only been like this since Paul Klein took over in 1990.  Before then, it was run by the eccentric Bessie Fletcher and a bit of a dive by all accounts. She served beer from a jug and kept the door locked. The flagged floor, the old settles, the ticking grandfather clock and the hunting and shooting-alia, are central to a sensitive refurb, and it’s lovely.

Klein retired in 2022 and today the Blue Lion and a new team has taken over, with head chef Shaun Best. He provides sandwiches and light meals at lunch and trades up in the evening with the likes of roast partridge with red cabbage, braised ox cheek and smoked haddock with poached egg. They provide a dedicated vegan menu and traditional Sunday lunch. Eat in the bar, the back bar or the candlelit dining room and if the Blue Lion is all too good to leave, they have 15 bedrooms.


Blue Lion

East Witton, Nr Leyburn, North Yorkshire DL8 4SN

East Witton, Nr Leyburn, North Yorkshire DL8 4SN

01969 624273


Price guide

3 out of 5 price guide

Area: North Yorkshire

This restaurant appears in our

Reviewed by Jill on 07 Feb 2022

Return to all reviews