North Yorkshire restaurants play key role in boosting tourism

Chef Director Stephen Smith and The Star Inn at Harome owner, Andrew Pern, in the restaurant. Picture credit: John Carey

Some of the nation’s leading chefs have spoken of the importance of North Yorkshire’s hotels and restaurants in helping to boost the county’s £1.5 billion a year visitor economy.

The hospitality sector is seen as a key element of a new plan that is being drawn up to entice more visitors to the county.

In November, it was announced that a joint bid for a Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) for both York and North Yorkshire had been approved.

A destination management plan has now been drawn up providing the first countywide approach to promoting the visitor economy following the launch of North Yorkshire Council.

In a boost for the partnership, the Good Food Guide recently declared Helmsley and the Howardian Hills as the ‘Most Exciting Food Destination’ for 2024.

The area, which is designated as a National Landscape, is located between the Yorkshire Wolds, the North York Moors National Park, and the Vale of York.

Organisers spoke glowingly of local restaurants, each “different and distinctive yet reflecting the commitment and enthusiasm of the people who run them”. 

Executive member for open to business, Cllr Derek Bastiman, whose responsibilities include the visitor economy, said restaurants and the businesses they supported were crucial in growing the county’s economy.

“When people eat at any of our restaurants and cafes they are not only supporting that location, but a wide range of other businesses across North Yorkshire as well, thereby securing jobs and ensuring future investment,” he said. 

The Abbey Inn at Byland, Star Inn at Harome, Pignut at Helmsley and Myse in Hovingham were among the venues singled out for praise by the Good Food Guide judges.

The owner of the Michelin-starred Star Inn, Andrew Pern, said: “Having so many exceptional pubs, restaurants and all-round eateries in our area is great for our local economy. 

“One Michelin-starred restaurant might be worth a day out, but three is worthy of a few nights away, with time to visit attractions such as Castle Howard or Rievaulx Abbey, for example.

“Visitors from outside the area bring in money that allows us to employ people from the area, support suppliers and use local tradespeople in this lovely part of the world." 

Tommy Banks, who runs the Michelin-starred Black Swan at Oldstead, Abbey Inn at Byland and Roots in York, accepted the award along with Howardian Hills National Landscape manager, Ellie Hook.

He said: “I have always been very proud that people come from all over the world to visit our beautiful pocket of North Yorkshire. 

“In recent times the food scene has really evolved and now you are spoilt for choice for great award-winning pubs and restaurants in the area.”

Speaking about the award, the member for the Helmsley and Sinnington division on North Yorkshire Council and vice-chair of the Howardian Hills National Landscape Joint Advisory Committee, Cllr George Jabbour, said: “This is a real coup for the area and further enhances our reputation as not only one of the friendliest places to visit, but also one of the best when it comes to the food on offer at our restaurants.

“In addition to our fantastic landscapes and vistas, eating locally sourced produce in beautiful surroundings makes the county an enticing destination for people from across the country and further afield and is why we should rightly champion them as a local authority.”