87-89 High Street, Knaresborough, HG5 0HL

As summer becomes just a hazy, distant memory, the nights draw in, and the air cools to the point that you can barely leave your home without immediately falling to the floor with frostbite, getting out of bed to make the most of this most underrated season can seem torturous. But between rushing to the shops to buy last-minute Christmas gifts and trying to dodge the rain on a dark and dismal trek home from work, it’s nice to slow down and appreciate the beauty of the season, and how better to do that than with a gorgeous walk through the great English countryside, followed by some comforting, hearty pub grub in one of the county’s cosiest establishments, known for its warm welcome, impeccable service, and outstanding fare!?

Singled out by nature writers in a list of 20 great pub walks featured in The Guardian, discover the Nidd Gorge in North Yorkshire and soak up spectacular nature views from the now-defunct Victorian viaduct that spans the river before stopping off at Carriages in Knaresborough, a vibrant bar and restaurant housed in a beautiful Grade II listed building located above an historic Victorian railway tunnel.

Build up an appetite while you wander past calming waters and miles of enchanting, thickly wooded landscapes – potentially covered in a dusting of snow transforming the surroundings into a Narnia-like winter wonderland – and then step out of the cold and into Carriages, with its intimate and cosy ambience enhanced by traditional, rustic décor with large oak beams and a warm, welcoming bar area.

Knaresborough’s oldest restaurant, Carriages has built up a respectable reputation over the years, with a loyal following of regular patrons who visit from all across North Yorkshire to savour local, seasonal dishes in relaxed, homely surroundings. Taken over in July 2018 by the Straker family, who have owned and run the renowned Harrogate restaurant and wine bar, William & Victoria, for over 30 years, the Strakers have worked hard to ensure Carriages remains a go-to destination with local and visiting diners alike for many years to come.

With an impressive selection of menus to peruse, relax in the dining room and dig into delectable, seasonal fare like starters of pan-seared scallops with black pudding, pea puree and crispy pancetta, mains of crispy cider-braised belly pork accompanied by apple mash, mustard cabbage, a black pudding bon bon and red wine sauce, and orange and almond cake with custard. Other tempting dishes on the à la carte include slow-braised beef rib with creamed potato, roasted root vegetables and kale, and seafood dishes like pan-fried sea bream with sautéed new potatoes, asparagus, and a mild mustard and dill sauce.

Christmas at Carriages this year is an unmissable event, with a festive menu that will have you feeling as joyous as Scrooge at the end of A Christmas Carol. With a three-course lunch for £22.50pp and a three-course dinner for £26.50, enjoy the likes of chicken liver parfait, smoked duck, pomegranate and caramelised orange salad, and deep-fried brie to start, mains like turkey parcel with pigs in blankets and all the trimmings, and desserts like Baileys crème brûlée with shortbread biscuit, Christmas pudding with brandy sauce, and rich chocolate mousse with Tia Maria cream.

Whatever you’re craving, whether that’s a Modern European dish off of their à la carte menu, a sociable snack from the enticing tapas menu available Tuesday through to Sunday, an early bite from the early bird menu – perfect for a pre-theatre dinner for those going on to the Frazer theatre, or a hearty and warming Sunday lunch, wild horses couldn’t drag you away from Carriages when the food is this fantastic.

Read our review of Carriages here – https://www.foodanddrinkguides.co.uk/england/yorkshire-and-humber/harrogate/knaresborough/carriages-wine-bar

Read all about Christmas at Carriages here – https://www.carriagesknaresborough.co.uk/christmas/

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