Britain’s highest pub features in Waitrose’s Christmas TV advert

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Britain's Highest Pub: the Tan Hill Inn is at the heart of Waitrose's festive advert
Britain's Highest Pub: the Tan Hill Inn is at the heart of Waitrose's festive advert

Related tags Yorkshire evening post Snow

Tan Hill Inn in Swaledale, Yorkshire, provides the remote setting for this year’s Christmas advert from Waitrose.

The pub, the highest in Britain at 1,732 feet (528m) above sea level, features in the black and white ninety second promo, which revolves around a group of locals getting snowed in after gathering for a drink on Christmas morning.

The 17th​-century pub has been snowed in 50 times since 2005, with one such incident lasting 11 days. The advert, dreamt up by Waitrose customer director, Yorkshireman Martin George, is based on familiar scenes.

George told the Yorkshire Evening Post​: “Food plays an essential role in bringing people together. When we have the opportunity to eat with others, we can enjoy great food and feel closer to those we share the experience with. As our ad depicts, eating together is a way to share not just food, but friendship and community spirit.”

Waitrose’s advert is their latest entry into the annual festive TV scrum, which this year includes John Lewis’ Moz the Monster, Kevin the Carrot from Aldi and Paddington Bear representing Marks & Spencer.

Louise Pearce landlady of the Tan Hill, which has become an internationally known meeting and drinking place for cyclists and walkers, told the Yorkshire Evening Post​: “Tan Hill is like no other pub in the country. It is isolated and in a world of its own.”

Pearce added: “We are normally snowed in for a couple of weeks each year, usually for two days each time. We do have a snow plough, which is absolutely fantastic at keeping the roads open, but if it is snowing and the wind is blowing, it just causes an instant drift.

“If it looks like they might get snowed in we do warn people, but sometimes it can’t be helped.”

She told the Yorkshire Evening Post​ that on New Year’s Eve 2009 that she and her husband spent the evening rescuing drivers who had become stuck. When the day’s work was done, they had performed 17 rescues in 70mph winds. They ended the night with two members of staff tending to 60 snowed in guests.

Pearce said that conditions that greeted the Waitrose film crew when they came to film were “blissful sunshine” and “powdery snow”. She added: “It looked fantastic and now the advertisement is out there we can say proudly that it was filmed at Tan Hill.”

Earlier this year, Pearce began a search for a new owner for Tan Hill so that she could move further south to be closer to her grandchildren after 12 years as the remote pub’s landlady.

The advert is at the centre of a broader campaign for Waitrose. The supermarket will create “community tables” in many of its cafes – inviting customers to join shared tables. There will also be an associated product range and a chance for customers to win a festive feast for their community. 

It is not the first time the Tan Hill Inn has appeared in TV adverts. In the past it has been used as a location for Everest double glazing and Vodafone adverts.

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