The Lister Arms, rustic perfection in a package, sits in the Malhamdale countryside. Currently holding the title of Yorkshire’s Greatest Pub 2019, it’s the number 2 rated Malham accommodation on Tripadvisor. It’s free parking allowed us to pull up just outside the annex, The Lister Barn where we were staying, and try to enter through the main door. We quickly realised that we had to check in at The Lister Arms, the pub just over the road, on the other side of Malham Beck and a cluster of trees.
A hotel employee showed us back to the barn, explained how to enter through the keypad locking system, and directed us to our room, on the upper floor. I thought it was a lot of care and effort for someone to walk halfway across the village to help us, so it was greatly appreciated.
On entering the barn, we were met with a light and airy communal area. At the far end is a wood burner, which wasn’t lit on that warm April day. In winter, I’m sure it would make the room very toasty, indeed. Beside the wood burner were a collection of family board games, which I thought was a wonderful, homely touch. Beyond the wood burner was a terrace, which seemed the perfect place to sip a glass of wine on a summer evening.
I had an idea of what to expect as I had booked The Lister Barn based on photos alone. Although small, it was superbly decorated in a neutral, country colour scheme. I was a big fan of the tartan soft furnishings and animal themed decor, although I loved the exposed stonework on the walls. Dan was most excited by the skylight: a complete novelty and unfortunately totally underused by us, just like the torch that was generously left in a drawer to use when finding our way back from the pub itself at night.
The collection of ‘minor touches’ made it feel as though it could be my own bedroom! Hanging on a rail were two extraordinarily soft dressing gowns and a bag containing eye masks and ear plugs.
Another huge benefit of the room was its bathroom; though the room was small, the bathroom was huge, and it featured a large spotless bathtub. Following a long(ish) walk to Malham Cove, then on to Janet’s Foss, I wanted to rest my muscles, and it transpired that a hot bath was the best way to do it.
When we visited, Ted wasn’t with us, but if he had, he would have been made welcome in the Barn and The Lister Arms. We decided to have our dinner in the pub, and although all the tables in the dining room were booked, we did manage to claim a seat at the tiny bar. Despite its size, we were able to have a comfortable and tasty meal, joined by a number of two and four legged locals.
As the sun began to set, we traversed across the beck and back to our room. It’s a good job we returned before night fell. It gets very dark. There are no street lights in the countryside. We hadn’t thought to bring the torch.
It’s been a while since I visited, but I’m chuffed we ignored the number one Malham accommodation. Sometimes number two is best, even if it was a whole £30 more expensive than any of the other local rooms.