In the late 18th Century, Mary Wollstonecraft, the feminist and philosopher, was taught in one of the buildings of the Beverley Arms. In 1868, the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope based himself here while standing as local parliamentary candidate.
Later, Lewis Carroll is believed to have stayed; intriguingly he is said to have been inspired by a stone ‘pilgrim hare’ near the altar in St Mary’s Church, directly opposite, to create his White Rabbit of Alice In Wonderland fame. This curious hare is still there – and is worth a look for Alice-lovers.
This smart redbrick coaching inn has a lot of history. It is in a perfect location for exploring the marvellous ancient market town of Beverley and, better still, it has just been immaculately renovated.
Long history: The exterior of The Beverley Arms in East Yorkshire
You enter into a cavernous space with a bright and breezy restaurant at one end and a bar with various nooks and crannies at the other.
There is nothing fusty about it. Pop art a la Andy Warhol decorates the walls. Tan leather stools face a zinc-topped champagne bar where cocktails are served. Music plays, wood fires flicker and drinkers laugh and chatter.
There’s a glass-roofed restaurant so it’s light year-round and there’s a sunny terrace with a fire pit for drinks on balmy evenings.
It’s a lively sort of place, yet in the afternoons all is calm. Tuck yourself away on a chair in one of the hideaway lounges near the front, facing St Mary’s, enjoy a cup of something hot and imagine the many ghosts of the past.
The USP: Its location is ideal for pottering around the extraordinary Gothic masterpiece of Beverley Minster, visiting Beverley Racecourse or going for a stroll across the beautiful sweeping pasture of Beverley Westwood – all while staying in absolute comfort.
Room with a view: One of the 38 cosy bedrooms, with St Mary’s visible from the window
The rooms: Soft greys and smoky blues, with the occasional swirl of floral wallpaper adorn the 38 bedrooms. Ask for one which faces St Mary’s Church for the quintessentially English view. Clever line-drawings depicting animals decorate the walls – a camel, horse and owl in our room.
The food: Fancier fare includes smoked sea bass fillet and glazed duck breast. Fillet steaks and grilled lobsters are available for those looking for a feast. Or delicious sharing platters are on offer – meat, fish or cheese – the latter is served with Yorkshire blue, cheese croquettes, goat cheese, pesto tart and other delights. The carrot and coriander soup, served piping hot with hunks of bread, hit the spot, although the portion of fish stew was not hearty. The fruit strudel with yummy rum ice-cream was first-rate. Three courses from £24. Enjoy a full Yorkshire breakfast the next day (black pudding included) or The Vegetarian for a lighter start.
The Beverley Arms, East Yorkshire. B&B doubles from £95. For more information visit beverleyarms.co.uk