The Wolds Inn has served Huggate since the 16th century, and for the past 25 years John Jane and Dan Leaver have been in charge. They run a simple, no-nonsense country boozer with a comfy lounge, 50-seater dining room, local hand-pulled real ales and a kitchen that turns out marvellous (and voluminous) pub classics. All the meat, fish and veg come from local suppliers and appear in proper Yorkshire portion sizes. The pub is always busy for Sunday lunches.
Can you remember the first pub you were drunk in? A very famous East Yorkshire-based artist certainly can.
Some 13 miles north-west of Beverley lies Huggate. Surrounded by picturesque steep-sided dales, this chocolate box village – the highest on the Yorkshire Wolds – has one of the deepest wells in England and one marvellous country boozer.
For a start, it may be an unusual distinction for any pub to hold but the Wolds Inn can legitimately claim to be the first pub that David Hockney ever got drunk in. According to the great man himself, when he was a youngster he used to work summers stooking corn in the fields around Huggate and one day after work he was taken to the pub and over-imbibed for the very first time.
An odd boast it may be, but it’s one that will interest the legions of art loving Hockney Hunters who flock to this part of the Wolds. Maybe a blue plaque in the bar might be in order?
To be fair, Hockney picked a great pub in which to break his duck. The Wolds Inn has been serving Huggate since sometime in the 16th century, and for the past 18 of those John and Jane Leaver have been in charge. They run a simple, no-nonsense country boozer with a comfy lounge, 50-seater dining room, a couple of local hand-pulled real ales and a kitchen that turns out hearty (and voluminous) pub classics.
All the meat, fish and veg are sourced from the villages nearby and positively heaped on the plate. Proper Yorkshire portion sizes. The pub is always busy for Sunday lunches, but if you visit any other time you should have a go at the ‘Wolds Topper’, a mixed grill consisting of – deep breath – sirloin steak, gammon, pork chop, lamb chop, sausage, black pudding, eggs, tomato, mushrooms and home battered onion rings. The pub is popular with walkers and cyclists and to be fair, you’d certainly need some exercise after that lot.
There’s a sizeable car park and a tidy beer garden to the rear, but your best bet is to get yourself sat on the benches out the front of the pub on a sunny summer day and give false directions to tourists trying to find the location of the nearby ‘Bigger Trees near Warter’.
David Hockney, incidentally, returned to the scene of his first crime a couple of years ago and showed remarkable restraint by only ordering a half of bitter.
David Lee Yorkshire Post