If you were to think about the kind of pub you would absolutely love to have as your local pub, then the Windmill at Linton near Wetherby is likely to feature high on anyone’s list.
The villagers of up-market Linton near Wetherby in West Yorkshire are indeed very fortunate to have this on their doorstep.
The village is within the ‘Golden Triangle’, formed by the beautiful countryside between York, Harrogate and North Leeds, which estate agents drool over.
There are quite a few million pound plus homes here though none of them would have been in existence when the 14th century Windmill Inn first plied it’s trade.
As the name suggests, there would have been an operational flour mill at this location but this has long gone. The pub/restaurant still remains, though the old stable block has also gone and a barn conversion now houses two classy, 4star AA rated, boutique bed and breakfast apartments, complete with en-suites and private lounges over two floors.
These apartments are ideal for walkers undertaking the White Rose Way,
a 104 mile long distance footpath from Leeds to Scarborough, which passes the front door of the pub. (www.whiteroseway.co.uk). This is a walk which I created.
Additionally and gratifyingly, the pub is independently owned and run, not an identikit chain pub. Hurrah for that!
The pub itself is built in Yorkshire stone and has stone roof tiles which add to the centuries old feel. The exterior is a rainbow of colour in Spring and Summer with hanging flower baskets and half barrels. To the rear door is an old pear tree which is said to have been grown from seeds brought back from the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) and which still produces fruit to this day.
The interior is a higgle-piggle of cosy, interconnected rooms on two levels with wooden beamed ceilings, stone flagged floors and bare stone walls, all warmed by two open fires and a log burner, which blaze away in colder months.
An airy conservatory, more of an extension really, complete with more wooden beams, adjacent to the main restaurant, has double doors which lead out onto the large, tree and shrub lined beer garden which has views down and over the golf course to the River Wharfe.
The owners take pride in producing home made food from local suppliers and they have established a marvellous reputation over many years.
Food is served seven days a week, from sandwiches to their famous steak pies (£12 incl. drink), to pub classics (£12 incl. drink), to a la carte.
Their is also a dedicated gluten free menu.
A Specials List completes the line-up.
Starters range from £4.25 to £7.95, mains from £11 to £21 (rib-eye).
Desserts are from a choice of eight on chalk boards.
Wednesdays are ‘Pie Nights’ whilst Thursdays are ‘Steak and Quiz Nights’.
At the bar, accessible at two places or by waitress service in the restaurant, the regulars are John Smith’s, Theakston’s and Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, supplemented on my visit by a guest beer, Taylor’s Boltmaker, a beautifully subtle, nutty ale with a creamy head.
All are local Yorkshire brews. The usual suspects of lagers and ciders were also available.
My party chose starters of home-made Yorkshire puddings with a rich, dark and meaty gravy and butternut squash risottos. All were excellent.
For mains I took the 8oz sirloin which came medium rare as requested, together with crisp yet fluffy home made chips and peas. A pot of sharp peppercorn sauce accompanied it. The steak was full of flavour.
A very palatable glass of rich, fruity and smooth red wine came with the steak.
One of my other diners had a hunk of roast salmon, another the white and flaky haddock fingers which were more like fillets, but the star of the show was the juicy hunk of gammon topped with fried egg, grilled pineapple, onion rings, chips and peas.
All were Yorkshire portions and so tasty. Great pub food.
We were unable to contemplate the desserts which by this stage were beyond our capabilities, though I did see some pass me by and they did look good.
Staff were all very welcoming, friendly and chatty, making everyone feel right at home, regular visitor or not.
With this up-market location and clientele it would be easy for the Windmill to be snooty and pretentious.
Not a bit of it. This is Yorkshire and the atmosphere is relaxed, warm and friendly.
Don’t be surprised if you end up in conversations with fellow diners and drinkers. It is that kind of sociable place.
For further information, menus etc., go to www.thewindmillinnlinton.co.uk and set your sat-nav to LS 22 4HT where you will find a large car park as well as the old pear tree over the rear door of the pub.
We had no trouble at t’mill, and neither will you.