29 January | Places

Yorkshire is - and this is a fact rather than an opinion up for debate - one of the greatest places on the planet.

There is history and scenery, of both the industrial and natural variety. There are great powerhouse cities sat side-by-side with quaintly cobbled-and-thatched villages with amusing and twee names. And then, of course, there is the food.

Liquorice from Pontefract, tea from Harrogate, Wensleydale cheese from (obviously enough) Wensleydale, Yorkshire puddings from any part of the county you care to stick a pin in - the list is as long as it is mouth-watering.

So we travelled light and quick up the M1, the original London-Yorkshire motoring route no less, with a far more attractive companion along for the ride, in search of authentic and memorable Yorkshire grub.

We were told, by a friend with impeccable taste, that we would find what we were looking for at The Yorke Arms, an historic 18th century coaching house and shooting lodge, now reinvented as a Michelin starred restaurant with rooms.

The first thing to mention, is the Yorke's location. Nestled in a particularly picturesque nook in Yorkshire’s beautiful Nidderdale Valley, the greenery that tumbles and barrels around you is stunning.

There is a brook babbling right beside you. An actual brook, making actual babbling noises, like something from an 18th century romantic novella.

Green fields roll, rows of trees and ramshackle gates define their edges, and the sky - whether watery blue or brooding grey - is enough to make you want to set up an easel and start painting. At least, that is, until you catch a scent of what is cooking in The Yorke's kitchens and remember what you came for in the first place.

Inside the gorgeous coachhouse, its exterior tattooed with beautiful plants and flowers snaking their way up the building, the decor is timeless and classic, with nods to the building's history offset by more contemporary flourishes.

The food follows a similar theme - locally-sourced and incredibly fresh produce is finished off with imagination and finesse to create a variety of tantalising dishes which cater to local tastes centuries in the making, and more modern palates too.

We could eat absolutely everything on the menu. We try, indeed, to succeed in that aim, but fall a little short when we feel our chair begin to creak beneath our fast-increasing heft.

The ambience, the setting, the food, the service - each has been so first-rate, it's easy to approach the journey back down the M1, laden with traffic with something approaching enthusiasm. If you are ever in Yorkshire - and by 'eck, tha' really ought to be - hotfoot it to The Yorke Arms.