Our Rich History

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Discover the history of the Tan Hill Inn

The History of the Tan Hill Inn Dates back to the 17th century.

With its exposed beams, stone-flagged floor and welcoming fire, the unique and historic Tan Hill Inn is Britain’s highest public house at 1,732 feet (528m) above sea level.

Situated in Swaledale, just near Keld, the highest Inn in Great Britain is a warm meeting place known internationally.

History Timeline

Two colleagues Mike & Andrew decided to buy the Pub for nearly £1m in July 2017. Since then they have invested over £750k in the business and extended the barn area and general infrastructure.

Plans will be presented in 2021 for a significant extension of the property to include a Spa facility, including an outside pool. ( The highest in the UK ) to extend their business model through the winter months.

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Mike & Louise ( AKA Tracey ), continued building a loyal customer base. However, it is true to say that some new customers were shocked when they had their mobile phones taken off them, and repeat offenders had theirs dropped in a large jar of water that can still be seen at the pub today.

Know as the rudest landlady in the UK for her swearing, Louise was also known for her great Charitable efforts at the pub.

Everest broadcast their new 2008 advert – featuring their installation of new double-glazing and solar panels at the Inn. The Inn looks absolutely splendid with its new roof and re-pointing.

Renovation and refurbishment are undertaken.

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Landlords Margaret and Alex Baines finally hang up their Bar Towels after 20 years of service at Tan Hill. The new owners’ Mike and Louise are looking forward to the challenge of running this unique and very special place.

Tan Hill Inn’s unique place in the United Kingdom and in history should hopefully guarantee its future at a time when many rural pubs are facing closure. Its fame has led to the Inn featuring in a couple of television adverts, one for double glazing and the other for mobile telephones.

The Inn has been visited by several celebrities of the day and created a few personalities itself. Join us up the hill and soak up some of the histories for yourself.

Resumption of the Tan Hill Sheep Show. Continuing restrictions from the Foot and Mouth outbreak forced the cancellation of the 2002 show.

Our website wins a Silver Award for best pub website.

The year was however marred by a major outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease which affects most livestock (but not humans except in extreme cases) and forced the cancellation of the Tan Hill Sheep Show. Loss of trade resulted from footpath closures designed to curb the spread of this highly infectious disease.

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Embracing new technology, Tan Hill Inn was launched onto the World Wide Web where it is hoped to attract interest and custom in the same way as Susan Peacock’s early wireless broadcasts.

In 1995, the inn was the first pub to obtain a licence to hold wedding ceremonies under new laws that allow people to marry in places other than a church or registry office.

Construction of extension providing the inn with seven new en-suite rooms along with new toilets, a pool room and a flat.

Relaxation of World War One emergency measures 70 years late! Pubs in England and Wales are allowed all-day opening and an extra hour on Sundays. Later extended to all-day Sundays.

shows an image of the outside of Tan Hill Inn

Margaret and Alec Baines purchase Tan Hill Inn for £82,500 at auction.

A new form of a customer was brought to the inn with the opening of the Pennine Way, Britain’s first long-distance footpath, a result of vigorous campaigning by ramblers which led to the opening of public rights of way and the establishment of many more long-distance footpaths which later included the Coast to Coast path which passes through nearby Keld.

Tan Hill hosts its first Sheep Show under the land lordship of Lew Hamilton. Sheep Fairs were popular in Swaledale before then before falling victim to the Depression of the 1930s.

The Tan Hill Sheep Show revived that tradition, held on the last Thursday of every May since its inauguration. The same year, Robert Clough, a historian spoke to Lew Hamilton about extending the inn as a tourist centre. Clough wrote that nothing came of it due to the inn’s inaccessibility during the winter.

Closure of the last mine on Tan Hill, starting a quiet period for the inn which was able to remain open thanks to local farmers and the development of the motor car.


The Tan Hill miners worked during the General Strike of 1926, opting to do so because their wages were marginal, but it was not long before they lost their jobs, improved roads enabled better coal to be brought into Swaledale and Arkengarthdale.

During the First World War, pub opening was restricted to lunchtimes and evenings only to stop people from getting drunk during the war effort. These laws will change little for the next seventy years.


Richard Parrington died, leaving Susan to bring up her three daughters, Olive, Edna and Maggie. She married Michael Peacock, an Arkengarthdale native and owner of one of the Tan Hill pits, acquiring the Peacock name which is familiar to all those who come to Tan Hill.

The wireless became a novelty at the inn in 1930 and Susan Peacock would often take part in radio broadcasts, telling people of the quiet life. This led to hundreds of people visiting the inn out of curiosity.

William Camden in his guide book, ‘Britannia’ notes a solitary inn. The current inn dates from the 17th Century.

In 1085, when William the Conqueror’s surveyors were compiling the Doomsday Book, they wrote the area above Reeth off as a “wasteland”. Records of Tan Hill’s early days are sketchy at best although mining for coal had started by the 12th Century.

It is possible that the Romans mined coal during their occupation of England and Wales in the first four centuries A.D.

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In 1995, the inn was the first pub to obtain a licence to hold wedding ceremonies under new laws that allow people to marry in places other than a church or registry office.



Stay in one of 12 cosy, individually styled rooms and wake up to stunning countryside views.

Eat & Drink

The Tan Hill Inn Menu boasts dishes that are locally sourced. Come & enjoy a wonderful meal.

Live Events

Acoustic Buskers and live Acts in our barn on Fridays and Saturdays. Come and see one of our legendary live events.


The Inn provides a romantic and memorable setting to get married. A unique, remote and rustic Yorkshire Dales venue.

Tan Hill Inn plus Tripadvisor official logo 2023

Established 1840.

The World Famous Tan Hill Inn is Britain’s highest public house at 1,732 feet (528m) above sea level.

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