Our customers are always curious to learn more about the Tan Hill Inn, so to possess a rudimentary knowledge about this old pub and the surrounding area as-well is useful! This crib sheet combining-interesting facts, essential information and other quirky Tan Hill trivia, may be helpful to you in answering our customers most frequently asked questions . You never know it might inspire you to delve further into the history and folklore of this old pub, and before you know it, you will be able to engage anyone who wants to listen, in lively conversation about all things Tan Hill, as if you had been here for years!
1. At 1732 feet or 528 metres above sea level we are the highest pub in the British Isles.
2. We are proudly situated in the county of North Yorkshire and on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park close to the borders of both Co Durham and Cumbria
3. Tan Hill is roughly the halfway point of the Pennine way, (Britain’s longest non coastal path which runs for 268 miles)
4. Our closest neighbours are over 4 miles away and the closest town is over 10.
5. We generate our own electricity, being totally off grid.
6. The pub sits above a natural supply of water, a spring once discovered by a water diviner using Hazel twig divining rods
Every day information
7. We have an online presence on Facebook and Instagram, as well as our own website www.tanhillinn.com and our Wi-Fi is free for all to use!
8. Food is served every day. However, there can be seasonal variations to our serving times, so do please ask! Being the busy place that we are, booking a table is always advisable, particularly if you are a large group.
9. Our chef’s prepare meals from fresh ingredients obtained locally (wherever possible) and all are made on the premises in a fully equipped, modern kitchen
10. Recently renovated, we offer classically decorated comfortable bedrooms(twin, double &family rooms) all with modern en-suite facilities.
- Camper vans are welcome (generally no booking required!)
- No Caravans allowed unfortunately
- Wild camping (no booking required). We have an area where tents can be pitched.
- No barbecues or open fires allowed outside!( the moorland is very susceptible to wildfire which
can devastate local wildlife!)
- The small fee taken for any form of camping is donated to local charities
12. Dogs are welcome. We are a canine friendly pub, but we do ask that they are kept on a lead. This is very important, particularly outside in consideration to the sheep and their lambs that roam freely nearby and ground nesting birds (See point 22)
13. Live music plays here regularly from Thursday through to Saturday
- Thursday is an open mic acoustic night. It is an evening to which all musicians of any ability can
join in. We can even provide instruments to those that can play, if they haven’t brought their own!
- Friday and Saturday night live music is usually played in the barn, which can be both free or
- Checkout the webpage or Facebook for all the regularly updated details!
14. You can get married here (and we were the first pub in the country to do so)
15. We have a large barn with its own bar that caters for many different types of functions!
16. We sell a wide selection of merchandise from mugs, and glasses to, T-shirts and hoodies, biscuits ,chocolate and much more, all of which make great souvenirs to remind guests of their visit here, or fantastic gifts, for friends, family, and even pets!
17. We also have our own ale, lager, stout, gin, rum and more, all available at the bar to enjoy here, or again taken home as souvenirs or gifts!
18. We serve eight hand pulled real ales, the very best of local breweries alongside some interesting guest ales all of which are nurtured from delivery to pint. We were so very proud that our efforts were recognised by CAMRA(campaign for real ale), and Tan Hill is now included in the prestigious 50th edition of the Good Beer guide!
19. On the last Thursday in May, for over 70 years, the Tan Hill Swaledale Sheep Show has been held here, exhibiting the very best of the local hardy breed.
20. Santa Claus and his reindeer visit Tan Hill regularly every year throughout December until Christmas Eve
21. The area of moorland around Tan Hill is an important breeding site for ground nesting birds such as Curlew, Lapwing, golden plover and other more endangered species and rare visitors, that you may be lucky enough to see!
22. Did we mention ghosts? There are some reputedly, including ex landlady Susan Peacock who has made her presence known, only appearing when she disapproves of any changes afoot in the pub!! Glasses have been thrown off the bar shelves, but whether it’s Mrs Peacock, or something else, we cannot be sure! There are other ghosts here, dare you ask about them?
There were once many inns like Tan Hill, serving the needs of those that travelled the lonely roads that crossed the high uplands of the country. All have long since disappeared , unable to adapt to ever changing times. So for our pub to have survived into the 21st-Century, weathering not only the elements, but a turbulent and colourful history is quite the remarkable feat!
23. The name Tan Hill derives from the Celtic words ’Tan Heol ’which roughly translates as ‘The hill of Fire ‘due to the beacon pyres once lit to mark both midsummer and midwinter solstices and celebrate the passing of the seasons
24. Remains of older structures have been unearthed here supporting the belief this site has been a place of gathering for a very long time, perhaps as far back as 600 BC
25. In 984 A.D. the Vikings were defeated in the battle of Stainmore and their fearsome King, Eric Bloodaxe was slain, a mere stone-throw away, well within sight of the pub!
26. In 1085 an entry in the Doomsday book dismisses the area the pub resides in as a “ wasteland! “ Which probably justified the decision of the compilers of this important manuscript not to travel into what would have been a dangerous and lawless land!
27. Tan Hill was once known as the Kings Pit Inn, named after one of the local collieries, it served the needs of miners as far back as the 12th century when coal was first dug here. Though, as to which King it is that the pit is attributed to, we can find no record!
28. The pub is first mentioned in print in 1586 where it is described as a “solitary inn amongst a vast mountainous tract! “
29. The pub was an important stop off point for drovers, taking cattle and sheep to the livestock markets on either side of the Pennines
30. Mary, Queen of Scots, at the start of 19 years of incarceration in various venues allegedly stayed here whilst en route from Carlisle to Bolton Castle in North Yorkshire,
31. Highwayman Dick Turpin was said to have used Tan Hill as a place, to lie low, and stable, his steed ‘ Black Bess’
32. Landlady Susan Peacock allegedly, kept an army service-revolver behind the bar, once firing bullets above the head of an unruly customer, who had refused to leave!
Discussing the weather is a particular favourite British past time. Tan Hill’s weather is notoriously changeable. We can go from sunshine to snow, with rain, mist, thunder, and lightning and , everything in between within a matter of minutes. It is a subject that fascinates our customers who often inquire when the snow will arrive, and when are they likely to be snowed in!…..
33. winter is coming! Snow can fall anytime from late September to early June.(10 months of the year. Hail storms in July and August have sometimes been mistaken for snow. But there is no record of snow falling in these two months.
34. White Christmases are not uncommon at Tan Hill, and it’s rare to not have snow around the festive period.
35. In one of the great winters of the last century, it snowed almost continually from December through to the end of March. The first customer of the year arrived in April.
36. More recently over 60 customers, staff and a rock‘n’roll cover band was snowed in for four days of blizzards in a winter storm, a story that made news around the world!
37. Magical, white rainbows, or mist bows are one of the rarer weather phenomena that do occur round Tan Hill
38. With a clear view of the northern horizon Tan Hill is ideally positioned to witness the wonder of the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, Highly unpredictable, the conditions have to be absolutely perfect for them to appear, but when they do, it is really quite something!
39. Tan Hill is in a designated dark skies sanctuary, and when the weather is performing favourably, the star scape above our location, is quite spectacular, making the pub a popular destination for astronomers.
Media information and miss-information
Tan Hill has courted the media throughout its history in print, radio, television, and film. These highlights are just a few of a great many more.
40. It is generally thought that the Everest double glazing advertisement in the early 1980s first brought Tan Hill to a wider audience, Featuring Ted Moult with his trusty feather demonstrating that newly installed window’s despite the howling wind outside were draught free, It is still fondly remembered today
41. Bearing a striking resemblance to the ‘slaughtered Lamb‘ the pub in cult horror movie ‘An American werewolf in London’, Tan Hill has often been mistaken for the location where it was shot! The association has proved fortuitous for Tan Hill, which went on to appear in the 1990s pastiche of the film in a tv advertisement for Vodafone
42. Radio X DJ Chris Moyles birthday show was broadcasted from here in Feb 2022.
43. Popular detective series Vera was also filmed here recently,
44. Clive Owen and his son Ruben, the stars of channel fives, ‘Beyond the Yorkshire farm’, as our closest neighbours, often pop in for a drink at the end of their working day.
45. A broad range of factual shows have featured Tan Hill, ranging from Paul Merton travelling through Yorkshire in a camper-van, and Craig Revel-Horwood, and Bruno Tonioli, popping in for a drink and hearing some grisly history of the pubs past from our
46. James May has filmed at Tan Hill for other TV shows as well as Episodes of Top Gear which have utilised the roads round the pub. Richard Hammond, was here last whilst his co-presenters filmed nearby on what turned out to be the day that the infamous incident occurred, that cost Jeremy Clarkson his job!
47. Other celebrities that have either filmed here or popped in for a visit, include Alfred Wainwright, Griff, Rhys Jones, Timothy Dalton, Ellie Harrison, Toby Jones, Mark Little, Natalie Imbruglia, Helen Skelton, Alan Bennett, Hannah Hauxwell, Craig Doyle, Oz Clarke, Kyle Mclauchlan, Stephen Gough aka the ‘naked rambler’ and many more
48. It is rather fitting that the MP for the highest pub in Great Britain, holds the highest office in the land. On a dreary mid week morning in-2015 the newly appointed MP for the constituency of Richmond (Yorks) Rishi Sunak, arrived at an almost empty pub for coffee. he conversed with the only member of staff, who was on duty at the time about the history of the pub,. As a gesture of goodwill the barman graciously let him have the coffee on the house. When he left, the future Prime Minister shook the hand of the friendly barman, said ‘I owe you one!’ (I haven’t forgotten Rishi!)
49. A recent poll voted to find the best Christmas tv advertisement was won by the 2017 entry produced by Waitrose featuring customers and staff in a snowed in Tan Hill pulling together, to create a Christmas feast!
50. The Tan Hill inn has a team of friendly hard-working staff(some whom have been here for many years!)all of whom alongside the owners, care and love this very special lonely isolated pub high on the top of the hill! We want you to love it too, enjoy working here, and assist us in ensuring that all our visitors have both an enjoyable and memorable experience and ultimately leave having fallen in love with it, too!