Britain's highest pub is for sale: 19 things to know about the Tan Hill Inn

By Fred A'Court

- Last updated on GMT

Unique pub: the Tan Hill Inn, officially Britain's highest pub, is up for sale
Unique pub: the Tan Hill Inn, officially Britain's highest pub, is up for sale

Related tags: Tan hill inn, Pennine way

One of the most famous pubs in Britain, the Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire, is on sale for £900,000. Landlady Louise Peace tells Fred A’Court what is wonderful, weird, wacky, well known and not so well known about it.

The fame

It is best known for two main reasons – it’s location and the snow.

Officially Britain’s highest altitude public house, the pub is situated at an isolated 1,732ft (528m) above sea level. It can leave you breathless although I’ve never actually walked up from the bottom, it’s too far. Still, I suppose you could say that we feel on top of the world every day. The views are breathtaking; I can see as far as Redcar, which is 70 miles away.

We’ve been snowed in about 50 times since I bought the inn with my husband in 2005. The highest the snow has come is 17ft and, on that occasion, I could actually feed my duck outside my bedroom window. For three days over new year several years ago, customers were trapped inside by the snow. But that’s not the longest I’ve been locked in by snow.

The ultimate pub lock-in

Once snow kept us in for 11 days. I simply drew up a chair, put my feet up on the bar, and watched the telly. Then boredom set in so I found some jobs to do. It was while I was scrubbing and sealing the floor that the door opened and the snowplough driver came in. Within minutes I went from being on my own to having 25 customers in the bar. 

The rules

Some customers turn up hoping to get snowed in but if they do it’s my rules as I’m not a 24-hour waitress: they go to bed when I go to bed, they eat what I eat and they do what I want them to do.

The isolation

Did I say it's an isolated location? The nearest town is Kirkby Stephen,​ a 12-mile (18 km) drive away.

The walk

We’re on the Pennine Way long distance footpath so you can always walk to us. There’s a circular walk from here, just nine and a half miles. It’ll only take you six hours. Come back to real ale and a roaring fire.

The ride

We offer bike hire – front suspension mountain bikes, road bikes and hybrids. Needless to say there are some tough rides and stunning landscapes. The bikes are stored 12 miles away, which would be quite a hike. Luckily, the hire company delivers them to here.

The drive

Although its surprisingly quick from the A66, most drives up to Tan Hill involve navigating a series of twisting single track, undulating, unclassified roads. It’s a challenge to some and exciting for others. What we can guarantee is that you’ll experience some of the most stunning views in Great Britain.

The weather

It snows. It’s not quite Mount Everest but we do have one thing in common - you never know what the weather is going to be like here at the top.

The music

Fame brings its own rewards. The Arctic Monkeys, Mark Ronson, The Levellers, British Sea Power and Brit award-winning band Scouting for Girls have all played at the pub.

The hen and stag parties

You know what it’s like on a hen do: people go missing, you get split up, you worry for your friends… well let’s be honest, once you’re at the highest inn in Great Britain you know no one is going anywhere far. For the morning after, we find that one of our famous Bloody Marys and a quick walk on the Pennine Way just outside our door will blow away any thoughts of a hangover.

The barn

It’s a great barn where you can make as much noise as you like because it’s got thick walls and, frankly, there aren’t that many passers-by or near neighbours. Did I mention that it’s a bit isolated? Anyway the barn is so big that you can even have an impromptu game of football inside.

The weddings

As we do hen and stag parties, it’s only fair that we do weddings as well. We were the first pub to obtain a licence to hold wedding ceremonies under laws that allow people to marry in places other than a church or registry office. 

The corporate team building days

We’ve had some rather ‘special’ members of the armed forces that think it’s great for morale to yomp over the Dales, get their arctic gear out and sleep rough in our barn from time to time. But we’ll try to cater for any type of corporate team building event that a client wants.

The customers

We get everyone in here from lords and gentry to little old ladies and bikers. They come from far and wide. And they’re in here all under the same roof at the same time.

The animals

We’re dog-friendly. Come to think of it we’re pig-friendly, sheep-friendly and duck-friendly too. We’ve had them all in here. The local farmers sometimes brings in little lambs for me to nurse.

The opening times

Every day of the week, all-year-round, even in winter.

The worst bit

It can be hurtful when customers complain about a lack of staff because they’re out rescuing some little old lady from the moor who has got lost or fallen.

The best bit

The chat. There’s such a mix of interesting customers from all round the world that walk through the door.

The potential

You have to run this place for the love of it. We got planning permission, now lapsed but probably renewable, to put 27 beds above the barn. We could fill those bed three times over. Just by sprucing the place up a bit we doubled our money in just 18 months. Did I mention it’s a bit isolated?

Related topics: Property law

Related news

Show more